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I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Era
     

I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Era

4.5 10
by William Knoedelseder, William Dufris (Narrated by)
 

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I'm Dying Up Here chronicles the collective coming of age of the standup comedians who defined American humor during the past three decades. Born early in the Baby Boom, they grew up watching The Tonight Show, went to school during Vietnam and Watergate, migrated en masse to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and created an artistic community unlike any before or since.

Overview

I'm Dying Up Here chronicles the collective coming of age of the standup comedians who defined American humor during the past three decades. Born early in the Baby Boom, they grew up watching The Tonight Show, went to school during Vietnam and Watergate, migrated en masse to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and created an artistic community unlike any before or since. They were arguably the funniest people of their generation, living in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams, and laughter. For one brief shining moment, standup comics were as revered as rock stars. It was Comedy Camelot but, of course, it couldn't last. In the late 1970s, William Knoedelseder was a cub reporter assigned to cover the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, and others. He got to know many of them well. And so he covered the scene too when the comedians-who were not paid for performing at the career-making-or-breaking venue called the Comedy Store-tried to change an exploitative system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. Now Knoedelseder has gone back to interview the major participants to tell the whole story of that golden age and of the strike that ended it. Full of revealing portraits of many of the best-known comedic talents of our age, I'm Dying Up Here is also a poignant tale of the price of success and the terrible cost of failure-professional and moral.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Knoedelseder skillfully layers powerful dramatic details." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400151844
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.34(w) x 7.46(h) x 0.59(d)

Meet the Author

William Knoedelseder, a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times, is the author of Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia and In Eddie's Name: One Family's Triumph Over Tragedy.

William Dufris has been nominated nine times as a finalist for the APA's prestigious Audie Award and has garnered twenty-one Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine, which also named him one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century. He has also acted on stage and television in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

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I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy's Golden Era 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Result 1: Introduction and List of Participating Clans<br> Result 2: Map of Common Area<br> Result 3: The Seasons, the Time, and the Weather<br> Result 4: The Moonpool<br> Result 5: Gathering (High-Rock)<br> Result 6: Gathering (Sharing Tounges)<p> ~$ilverstar of Jayclan
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her dorm is the book tout sweet. Res fifteen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
umm look at the date on hazels post. I dont think shes on anymore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey hazel i guess im your dorm mate that cool?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a funny, sad, look at the 70s comedy scene in Hollywood, when so many of the people who have become famous comedians were young and hungry compatriots. It's got a terrific plot, the characters are fascinating, but the facts are real. I especially appreciated the author's balanced telling, very much the way I remember journalism, when objectivity was a goal of the craft.
Scott_J More than 1 year ago
Leno and Letterman, Lewis and Lubetkin: fixtures in the New York and Los Angeles comedy scenes in the late 1970s. The former have gone on to become household names as fixtures of late night TV; the latter are cautionary tales about the weight of fame and the expectations that come with it. Their tales intertwine in this book by William Knoedelseder, which follows the (forced) migration of comedians from New York to LA as they followed Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show, and their subsequent struggles against the Comedy Store and its owner Mitzi Shore. Despite the danger of the book being potentially slapstick or lowbrow considering its subject matter, Knoedelseder handles class struggle, personal deception, and untimely death with equal grace. In fact, Knoedelseder even had personal relationships with some of the principals, which may result in the book's most notable shortcoming: its limited world-view. The action always stays with the select few - Tom Dreesen, Lewis, Shore, Leno, Letterman - and rarely provides the bigger picture; for example, once the Tonight Show moves west and the comedians follow, no real return to New York is made even as Saturday Night Live is getting off the ground. This also makes the reader feel as though part of the story is missing; other exciting stories are teased but never given a full explanation. Though perhaps it has too narrow a focus, "I'm Dying Up Here" still tells a story that is by turns entertaining and dramatic, inspiring and bittersweet. With "cameo" appearances by Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Andy Kaufman, Richard Pryor, and Johnny Carson and old pictures of the comedians that would be blackmail material for anyone else, "I'm Dying Up Here" is worth the read, especially as a way to warm up to NBC's Jay-Leno-in-primetime experiment.