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|Part I||Notes of a Jazz Comedian on Stand-Up|
|First Steps To Becoming A Stand-Up Comedian||3|
|The Elements Of Stand-Up Comedy||10|
|Structuring Your Funny (Writing Your Material)||22|
|Doing Television Talk Shows||43|
|Part II||Comic Insights (Conversations With Comedians On The Art Of Stand-Up)|
|Part III||Searching for Talent|
|About the Author||289|
Posted January 27, 2003
This is a MUST READ for anyone serious about stand-up. I have been touting Larry Wilde¿s Book ¿The Great Comedians¿ for years. Franklyn¿s book matches it in quality. I am a former comedy club producer based in San Francisco. The 'unknown' comics who started performing in my open mics were Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Paula Poundstone, Rob Schneider, Will Durst . . . So it's safe to assume I know a bit about comedy. Not only will ¿Comic Insights¿ take years off your learning curve, it will also give you some consolation when you bomb. For instance: Richard Jeni: (Page 106) Ajaye: ¿Were you that comfortable when you first got on stage?¿ Jeni: ¿I sucked. The first whole year I was quitting every day. I¿d go to the guys and say, `Should I be doing this? Cause I suck and the audience doesn¿t like me.¿¿ <SNIP> Bill Maher (156): Ajaye: ¿Did you bomb much the first year?¿ Maher: ¿Of course. I mean how can you not bomb the first year? I don¿t know how anyone can get laughs even the fiftieth time. <SNIP> Jerry Seinfeld (198) Ajaye: ¿How can a beginning comic avoid bombing?¿ Seinfeld: ¿You can¿t avoid it when you are starting cause you don¿t know what¿s going on. For example you don¿t have the experience that you are talking too fast or that you¿re talking in a rote fashion instead of the present moment.¿ This is the kind of real world, no holds barred insiders' info you find in Ajaye's book. If you are serious about becoming a comedian of national stature you will buy and devour this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 8, 2002
I'm a beginning comedian and all I can say is thank God for this book. Everything I've wanted to ask a comedian is here. The first section gives you a map of the fundamentals to get started, and the second section where Ajaye interviews the great comedians on their methods, philosophies, and travails is nothing less than inspiring. You learn that all the great ones bombed when they first started. In fact Garry Shandling says that he bombed for the first five years before he made it. Amazing that he would have such tenacity. The Roseanne interview is a pure revelation about her influences and drive to speak up for women. The individual voice of each comedian is captured perfectly. You can actually hear them as they tell what they do and how they do it. What's really great is that the things that these great comedians say contain gems that refer not only to comedy but to living life itself. The Jonathan Winters interview reveals a surprisingly softer side not normally associated with this famously zany man. And the Chris Rock and Elayne Boosler interviews give you true insight into their determined truth seeking natures. My wife who has no interest in comedy, read "Comic Insights" and found it riveting just for what the interviews revealed about these famous comedians as people. And the interviews in the third section tells you what agents, managers, and comedy club owners look for in a comedian. Absolutely invaluable. I carry it with me everywhere, and read it both for information and pleasure. I've highlighted it and refer to it all the time. It's a Bible for aspiring comedians.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2002
The hardest thing about starting a new career is getting helpful information from the best in that field. "Comic Insights" provides that for people like me, a woman who is thinking about trying standup comedy. I've been going back and forth for months trying to get up the courage to take that first step and recently saw this book and bought it. It's amazing and shows me the amount of thought that's needed to be a good comedian. The first part by Mr. Ajaye talking about the basics of standup has made me start to look at and analyze the comedians I like more closely. And the second part with the various comedians talking about their experiences gives me hope. Elayne Boosler's interview about how she handles her business dealings was mindblowing. What a smart, determined woman!! I liked all the interviews a lot but the Roseanne, DeGeneres, and Boosler ones were my favorites probably because they showed that all three women were individuals. I now know more of what it takes to do standup successfully, and while I'm still scared, I'm more motivated than ever to try thanks to "Comic Insights", which is not only full of great information but a great read as well. I couldn't put it down and when I finished it I felt that both the author and the people interviewed had given me an honest, no B.S. look at what it takes to be a comedian. And you can't ask for more than that.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2002
I recently had the opportunity to purchase and read Franklyn Ajaye's new book Comic Insights. I read it in one sitting. I've followed Franklyn's career for over 30 years so reading his book came out of genuine interest, as a quasi student of stand-up comedy and as a good friend for even longer. When we were in high school he was the proverbial class clown who also exhibited tremendous insecurities when not "on", characteristics of which I've always believed, even if it sounds trite and cliche to be the hallmark of all great creative types and in particular what made Franklyn such an insightful, sensitive and probing comedian. I've always believed that his cross to bear or his white albatross was the fact that he appeared on the comedy scene just after and in the same generation as Richard Pryor. To make matters worse was the great influence Pryor was to have on Franklyn. They both came out of the same genre of comedy, the Black American "experience" and that of wonderful storytellers. Which is why I sincerely believe their celebrity profiles today would be just the reverse if Franklyn had appeared on the comedy scene first. It's just unfortunate that comparisons are always inevitable. His book reads like a textbook that should be required reading in whatever schools that teach stand-up comedy. This book would've been his masters thesis had he gone to a graduate school for comedy. It's probably the best textbook of it's kind anywhere, if there are such things. I thought his writing on personal experiences to be more interesting than his probing interviews with celebrities. His investigations into what he believes to be what makes a good comedian quite fascinating. The one criticism I had of the book was his glaring omission in his interview section of a comedian of towering figure and probably one of the most important if not influential figure of our time, Robins Williams. Franklyn explained his rationale to me this way. Since Robin Williams was so influenced by Jonathan Winters and Winters was "considered a greater comedian in his prime than Robin" and because Franklyn had access to Winters for his interviews, Even though our careers took us in different directions geographically, Franklyn and I have always shared somewhat common political and social views, which is why I guess I've always found his humor to be to my liking. I believe it was George Burns who was once asked what was the secret to his success and longevity. He answered. And I paraphrase. In show biz, if you live long enough everybody makes a comeback. So I say to Franklyn, come back soon we need your humorous insights now more than ever. Bill JonesWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.