TheatreBooks logo
Theatre FilmOperaDance
spacer We've moved! TheatreBooks has a new home at 101 Spadina Avenue. One short block north of King Street, on the east side of Spadina Avenue. Same phone number 416.922.7175. Same email Same website
You are here: TheatreBooks > Creative Writing > Comedy>
Search the site
New Books
New Plays
Actors & Acting
Creative Writing
Drama in Education
Arts Administration
Costumes & Fashion
Various & Sundry
How to Reach Us
About TheatreBooks
Order Now
Site Map
TheatreBooks Gift Certificates: Always a great choice


The Comedy BibleThe Comedy Bible
Brian McKim & Traci Skene
From improv to standup, and from satire to slapstick, this essential guide will show you how to get yourself a cult following or achieve mainstream success in comedy. Ha! Hardcover, coil-bound. 250 pp. $27.50.

Getting the Joke: The Inner Workings of Stand-Up Comedy

Oliver Double
Charting its evolution from American vaudeville and British music hall over a century ago, to the comedy clubs and stadium gigs of today, Oliver Double acts as a lively guide to the stand-up scene past and present and the impact of recorded and televised shows in more recent years. In addition to the historical survey, he delves into the comic's arsenal of skills to analyse the features that set it apart from other forms of comedy. Softcover, 320 pp. $27.95.

Show Me the Funny!Show Me the Funny!

Peter Desberg
Show Me the Funny offers an innovative, insider's perspective on how comedy writers improvise, create, pitch, and think. Softcover, 345 pp. $19.50.


Olde Charlie Farquharson's TestamentOlde Charlie Farquharson's Testament

Don Harron
First published in hardcover in 1978 with seven printings of that edition alone, Olde Charlie Farquharson's Testament has truly become a Canadian classic. It covers all books of the Olde Testament in Charlie's own inimitable words, starting with The First Book of Moeziz, followed by Exxodust, Levickedness, Nummers, Due to Run on Me, Joshawa and all the rest. Softcover, 160 pp. $14.95.

Yuk Yuk's Guide to Canadian Stand-UpYuk Yuk's Guide to Canadian Stand-Up

Mark Breslin
Narrated by Yuk Yuk's founder Mark Breslin, these 5 CDs capture the stories, spirit and non-stop laughter that have been the past 35 years of the legendary Toronto comedy club. Featuring early performances from some of the world's biggest stars of comedy, such as Jim Carrey, Russell Peters and Norm Macdonald, Breslin's collection manages to capture the heart of Canadian comedy. Audio CD. $34.99.

I'm Dying Up HereI'm Dying Up Here

William Knoedelseder
In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from all across the country migrated en masse to become part of the burgeoning community of comedians in Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. In I'm Dying Up Here, William Knoedelseder tells the whole story of sex, drugs, dreams, laughter, and the players who would achieve stardom at any price. Hardcover, 280 pp. $31.95.

Voices from the Wings

Ned Sherrin
Voices from the Wings is a collection of thousands of anecdotal gems, witty or malicious putdowns, potted biographies, and caustic one-liners from the lively worlds of the performing arts. Lovers of showbiz in all its forms, from theatre to television and musicals to operetta, will welcome this new edition of a much-admired work, now extensively revised and expanded. Hardcover, 421 pp. $27.95.

Writing the Comedy FilmWriting the Comedy Film

Stuart Voytilla & Scott Petri
This book takes you into the world of comedy and helps you discover what makes us laugh. Using concise examples from our comedy masters - from Preston Sturges to the Farrelly Brothers - Voytilla and Petri show you how to apply the time-proven "tenets of laughter" to your comedy writing. With easy-to-use guidelines, learn the successful mechanics and characteristics of various comic story forms. Softcover, 200 pp. $20.95.

Comedy at the EdgeComedy at the Edge

Richard Zoglin
In the rock-and-roll 1970s, a new kind of outlaw hero emerged on the American cultural scene. Joining the guitar slingers and underground writers of the previous decade was a mixture of social commentator and rock star: the stand-up comic. Inspired by the fearless Lenny Bruce, breakthrough comics like George Carlin, Richard Pryor, and Robert Klein, and later, Steve Martin, Albert Brooks, Robin Williams, and Andy Kaufman, took the country by storm, packing nightclubs and concert halls, recording bestselling albums, and, along the way, inventing a new voice for American entertainment: smart, wild, wised-up, and disdainful of boundaries. This is their story. Softcover, 247 pp. $16.50.

Horribly Awkward: The New Funny BoneHorribly Awkward: The New Funny Bone

Edwin Page
Awkward comedy - the kind that makes us laugh and wince at the same time - has never been so popular. This book looks at leading pioneers of the obscene, the cringeworthy and the extreme. It includes the analyses of recent UK successes, old favourites, as well as hugely succesful US animations. Softcover, 272 pp. $21.00.

Why Is That So Funny?Why Is That So Funny?

John Wright
Why Is That So Funny? starts with a discussion of the various types of laughter that can be provoked by performance. It then presents graduated sequences of over a hundred games and exercises devised to demonstrate and investigate the whole range of comic possibilities open to a performer and to test every assertion made. Softcover, 334 pp. $19.95.

Vaudeville HumorVaudeville Humor: The Collected Jokes, Routines , and Skits of Ed Lowry

Edited by Paul Levitt
This book contains vaudeville skits, jokes, and routines from the first three decades of the twentieth century originally compiled by comedian Ed Lowry, revised in this edition by Paul Levitt. Although occasionally found in bits and pieces in anthologies and in some period dramatic comedies, vaudeville humor has never before been available in one collection. Softcover, 463 pp. $22.50.

Funny You Should Say ThatFunny You Should Say That

Edited by Andrew Martin
In this handbook, the lines we all wish we could have said are arranged thematically and cover all aspects of life. Within each theme, the quotations are place chronologically, providing a real sense of the development of the thoughts about each subject - as well as seeing how jokes evolve over the years and, in somem cases, who "borrowed" from whom. This book is a browser's delight, and should be enjoyed at leisure. Softcover, 510 pp. $22.50.

Man Walks Into a BarMan Walks Into a Bar

Stephen Arnott
Packed full of thousands of jokes and alphabetically organized into hundreds of topics from accountants to zebras, this book offers you a massive collection of over-the-top jokes that will have everyone laughing out loud. Softcover, 477 pp. $18.50.

Born Standing Up Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life

Steve Martin
Steve Martin is and always has been a writer. In this subtly intimate memoir, Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. While telling his story he also paints a vivid portrait of his times from “free love “ to the Vietnam war and student protests. Whether as a performer, actor or writer, Martin’s memoir reveals the unique qualities that have inspired his creativity. Illustrated with over forty photos from his personal collection. Softcover, $17.50.

Only JokingOnly Joking
Jimmy Carr & Lucy Greeves
A seriously funny exploration of the world's most amusing subject: Jokes. Why do we laugh? Why is it that women have such a hard time remembering punch lines? And why did the chicken cross the road? In Only Joking, star comedian (and host of TV's Distraction) Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves probe these questions and more as they take an in-depth look at humor through its purest verbal form, the joke. Packed with comedic insight and quips from comic geniuses such as Sigmund Freud, Steve Martin, and Sarah Silverman, Only Joking is a rollicking analysis of why joking will always be close to the human heart--and an irresistible exploration of humor that makes clear why we need a good laugh now more than ever. Hardcover, 300 pp. $30.00.

Back to top

TheatreBooks social media links Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Read our blog

Creative Writing
Creativity & Writing
Dictionaries & Guides
Prose by Playwrights
Screenwriting for Film
Screenwriting for Television
Screenwriting Software
Screenwriting: The Business

See also:

Film > Screenplays

Television > Screenplays

Theatre > Playwrights

 You're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a SitcomYou're Lucky You're Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom
Phil Rosenthal
In You're Lucky You're Funny, Phil Rosenthal, the creator and executive producer of Everybody Loves Raymond, tells the behind-the-scenes story of the making of a number-one smash hit sitcom. Based on Ray Romano's actual life, the show also took much of its material from Phil's equally, and hysterically disfunctional family characters and experiences. Despite a few missteps and setbacks, thanks to the support of David Letterman and a fortunate and fruitful meeting with Ray Romano, Raymond was conceived, and the rest, as we all know, is history. Besides being one of the funniest books ever written about television, You're Lucky You're Funny is one of the most illuminating. For anyone who loves comedy, for the millions of devoted fans of Everybody Loves Raymond, and for all the aspiring writers who are edging their way into Hollywood, You're Lucky You're Funny will be a gift and an inspiration. Softcover, 243 pp. $18.50.

The Best British Stand-Up Comedy and RoutinesThe Best British Stand-Up Comedy and Routines

Mike O'Brien
The artists and routines that revolutionized the world of comedy. Over thirty exclusive transcripts reveal the secrets of comedy groundbreakers including Monty Python's all-time smash-hit The Parrot Sketch; Eddie Izzard's own bizarre world in Cats and Dogs; Pete & Dud sending up British stiff upper lips in The Psychiatrist; Rowan Atkinson's tight-lipped Schoolmaster; Arnold Brown revealing The Secret of Comedy; Steve Coogan's chain-smoking, masturbating alter-ego Paul Calf; Mark Thomas on waging war on concepts - his War on Terror; Lenny Henry's Brixton wide-boy Delbert Wilkins, and Bill Hicks, the late American comedy supremo, on Pornography. Softcover, 304 pp. $24.95.

You Say TomatoYou Say Tomato

R.W. Jackson
Whether you're an articulation stickler or (like the rest of us) insecure with pronounciation, R.W. Jackson's You Say Tomato is sure to amuse and inform. With subtle, acerbic repartee, Jackson has created a diabolically funny dictionary of words that, as he gleefully points out, even our highest officials grapple with. Softcover, 249 pp. $17.50.

The Genius of the Jewish JokeThe Genius of the Jewish Joke

Arthur Asa Berger
This book focuses on what is distinctive and unusual about Jewish jokes and Jewish humour. Jewish humour is humour by Jews and about Jews, in whatever medium this humour is found: jokes, riddles, comic definitions, and parodies. In addition to providing amusement, Jewish humour reveals a great deal about Jewish character and culture, and even the human condition. This is an exploration into its distinctiveness, its unique spirit, and its role in Jewish identity. Softcover, 184 pp. $29.95.

The Eight Characters of ComedyThe Eight Characters of Comedy: A Guide to Sitcom Acting and Writing
Scott Sedita
This is a 'how-to' guide for actors and writers who want to break into the world of situation comedy. Renowned acting coach Scott Sedita will teach you how to break down a comedy script, identify different types of jokes and deliver them with comedic precision. You will learn about sitcom history, specific sitcom auditioning techniques and how to market yourself in this competitive industry. Softcover, 243 pp. $22.50.

The Art of the Laugh: A Handbook for Sketch Writers, Actors, and Directors The Art of the Laugh: A Handbook for Sketch Writers, Actors, and Directors
John Sweeney
Improvisation is a powerful tool for all theatre professionals; when it works, it is undeniably effective as a source of creative energy. Based on the traditions of the Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre, this is a guide to comedy writing and improvisation. These secrets, which have been with the Theatre throughout its long existence (since 1958), are applicable for any sketch writer, playwright, actor, director, or theatre administrator. Includes a CD-ROM, with scripts and videos. Softcover, 149 pp. $30.00.

Me FunnyMe Funny
Drew Hayden Taylor
For this book, Drew Hayden Taylor has invited a stellar cast of writers from a variety of fields to take a look at what makes Aboriginal humour tick. Their irreverent, insightful and often hilarious contributions examine the use of humour in areas as diverse as stand-up comedy, fiction, visual art, drama, performance, traditional storytelling and education. Softcover, 191 pp. $22.95.

The Rough Guide to Comedy MoviesThe Rough Guide to Comedy Movies
Bob McCabe
Cracking open a whole barrel-load of movie mirth, The Rough Guide to Comedy Movies gives you the ultimate lowdown on laughter in the cinema, from Airplane! to Withnail and I, and from John Belushi to Billy Wilder. Sections include: the comedy story, the comedy canon, comedy movie icons, comedy teamwork, and international comedy. Softcover, 303 pp. $16.50.

The Comedy ThesaurusThe Comedy Thesaurus
Judy Brown
Here are more than three thousand quotations from the funniest people on the planet -- everyone from Bernie Mac, Jay Leno, and Jerry Seinfeld to Ellen DeGeneres, David Letterman, Paula Poundstone, Margaret Cho, Conan O'Brien, Dave Chappelle, and Dennis Miller. Arranged A to Z by subject, this is the ultimate resource for anyone who loves a good joke. Softcover, 480 pp. $22.95.

Comedy Writing SecretsComedy Writing Secrets
Second Edition
Mel Helitzer
With Comedy Writing Secrets you can master the fundamentals of humour writing and turn your comedic talent into a well-paying pursuit. This book will provide you with humour writing exercises to punch up your jokes, extra information on writing for sitcoms and stand-up, comedic brainstorming techniques, and tips for writing humour for specific markets. Softcover, 342 pp. $19.99.

222 Comedy Monologues 2 Minutes and Under222 Comedy Monologues 2 Minutes and Under
Irene Zeigler Aston & John Capecci
This is the best collection available for the actor who is looking for a comedic monologue. Situational humour, word play, absurdity, and surrealism are all represented in a diverse assortment of plays -- from classical to contemporary works -- for male and female actors. Softcover, 313 pp. $24.95.

What Are You Laughing AtWhat Are You Laughing At: How to Write Funny Screenplays, Stories & More
Brad Schreiber
What Are You Laughing At
is the definitive book on how to "write funny", and the first to compare writing comedic screenplays with fiction and nonfiction in all forms. Using the principles described in this informative and entertaining book, you'll be well on your way to writing hilarious dialogue and scenarios for television, movies, and the stage. Softcover, 278 pp. $23.95.

Back to top

Funny BusinessFunny Business
Helaine Becker
There's no business like funny business when Helaine Becker is at the helm. Hot on the heels of the good-time-for-all, smash hit Boredom Blasters, Funny Business serves up another barrel of laughs. This book is full of seriously funny jokes, activities, and games, so hold onto your hats and let the hilarity begin. Softcover, 160 pp. $12.95.

Comedy FAQs and AnswersComedy FAQs and Answers: How the Stand-up Biz Really Works
Dave Schwensen
Here is the ultimate guide to surviving and thriving in the world of stand-up comedy. Some of the biggest comics in the business -- including Dave Attell, Lewis Black, Brett Butler, George Carlin, Margaret Cho, Mark Curry, Jeff Foxworthy, Richard Jeni, Ray Romano, George Wallace and Weird Al Yankovic -- share the lessons they learned the hard way, while club owners, talent executives, and publicists reveal what goes on behind-the-scenes and what it takes to succeed in the serious business of making people laugh. Softcover, 207 pp. $23.95.

Writing ComedyWriting Comedy
Third Edition
John Byrne
This book contains a wealth of practical advice both on how to get your career off the ground and how to keep it there. Whether you are writing routines, sketches, sitcoms or comedy for print, this book will encourage, inform and inspire you. This updated edition looks at all the latest markets for comedy writers, with new material on writing The Office style docu-comedies, writing for children's TV, and even how to try out your own jokes in stand-up comedy routines. Softcover, 168 pp. $29.95.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comedy WritingThe Complete Idiot's Guide to Comedy Writing
James Mendrinos
With this Complete Idiot's Guide you''ll learn how to find the funny in everything, connect with an audience, pick the best genre and format for your comedy, edit your work to a sharp edge, sell your work, and much more! Softcover, $25.00. 328 pp.

What Are You Laughing AtWhat Are You Laughing At
How to Write Funny Screenplays, Stories & More
Brad Schreiber
What Are You Laughing At
is the definitive book on how to "write funny", and the first to compare writing comedic screenplays with fiction and nonfiction in all forms. Using the principles described in this informative and entertaining book, you'll be well on your way to writing hilarious dialogue and scenarios for television, movies, and the stage. Softcover, 278 pp. $23.95.

Back to top

The Death of ComedyThe Death of Comedy
Erich Segal
In a grand tour of comic theatre over the centuries, Erich Segal traces the evolution of the classical form from its early orgins to the Theater of the Absurd. With fitting wit, profound erudition lightly worn, and instructive examples from the mildly amusing to the uproarious, this book fully illustrates comedy's glorious life cycle from its first breath right up to its death. Softcover, 589 pp. $36.95.

John Dressler & Lawrence Phillis
These 50 comedy sketches are all winning satires of everyday life. Each is ideal for the stage, television or film. An essential resource for schools, libraries, and theatre repertory groups. Softcover, 251 pp. $20.95.

Tragically I was an Only TwinTragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook
Peter Cook
For his many friends and fans, Peter Cook was quite simply the funniest man they'd ever encountered. Not simply a performer of comedy, Cook was also a prolific writer, penning countless outrageous sketches and hilarious articles. Now, for the first time, are all of his writing, both published and unpublished, in this single definitive collection of the wit, humour and genius of Peter Cook. Softcover, 429 pp. $23.95.

Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950's and 1960'sSeriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950's and 1960's
Gerald Nachman
The comedians of the 50's and 60's were a totally different breed of performer from any that came before or after. Taken together, comics such as Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Woody Allen, Mort Sahl, Phyllis Diller, Steve Allen, and several others, formed a new school of vigorous and socially aware performers. Seriously Funny is at once a dazzling cultural history and a joyous celebration of an extraordinary era in American comedy. Softcover, 659 pp. $29.95.

The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous QuotationsThe Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations
Ned Sherrin
Dazzingly entertaining, this new edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations contains over 5,000 quotations hand-picked by the writer and broadcaster Ned Sherrin. From sharp one-liners to witty quips, herein you will find quotations from classic humorists covering every topic imaginable. An ideal comedy reference tool. Softcover, 512 pp., $29.95.

On HumourOn Humour
Simon Critchley
On Humour is a fascinating, beautifully written and funny book on what humour can tell us about being human. From antiquity to modernity, and drawing on work from a vast range of authors, Simon Critchley turns the comical inside out to reveal some delectable insights about what we find funny. Softcover, $19.95.

The Comedy Bible
Judy Carter
Do you think you're funny? Do you want to turn your sense of humor into a career? If the answer is yes, then Judy Carter's The Comedy Bible is for you. The guru to aspiring stand up comics provides the complete scoop on being -- and writing -- funny for money. Written in Carter's unique take no prisoners voice, The Comedy Bible is practical, inspirational and funny. Softcover, 367 pp., $16.99.

Back to top

TheatreBooks, 101 Spadina Avenue, Toronto 416.922.7175, 1.800.361.3414, email

Home / Theatre / Film / Opera / Dance / Television / Actors & Acting / Creative Writing / Drama in Education /
Arts Administration / Costumes & Fashion / DVDs & Videos / Events / Awards / News & Reviews / Various & Sundry
About TheatreBooks
/ How to Reach Us / Order Now / Search the Site / Coming Soon / Site Map / The history of Lamborghini, the company and their cars / Send an Email

Paddler Productions websites
TheatreBooks / The history of Lamborghini, the company and their cars

Last modified July 18, 2012.
Please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars. All prices are subject to change without notice.