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Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier

Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier

Paperback(Reissue, Paperback)

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With his tender, funny memoir of four decades in the business, Alan Zweibel traces the history of American comedy

Alan Zweibel started his comedy career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt stand-ups. Then one night, despite bombing on stage, he caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, where he penned classic material for Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and all of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. From SNL, Zweibel went on to have a hand in a series of landmark shows—from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In Laugh Lines, Zweibel weaves together the stories of his influential career, from writing for a generation of Jackies and Mortys and Dickies to meeting Gilda while hiding behind a potted plant. He goes deep into the origins of famous SNL sketches, as well as how the show evolved in the wake of meteoric success, and the projects—not all of them so enduring—that followed. And Zweibel writes tenderly about his friendships—with Shandling, Billy Crystal, Larry David, and others. Woven throughout are also words from other comedians and writers, including Richard Lewis, Eric Idle, Judd Apatow, Dave Barry, Carl Reiner, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, and more. This is a warmhearted cultural memoir from a talented, award-winning writer.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419735356
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 04/06/2021
Edition description: Reissue, Paperback
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 305,690
Product dimensions: 8.60(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Alan Zweibel is an original Saturday Night Live writer who has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America, and TV Critics awards for his work in television. His theatrical contributions include his collaboration with Billy Crystal on the Tony Award–winning play 700 Sundays. He is the author of several books including the 2006 Thurber Prize–winning novel The Other Shulman.

Table of Contents

Foreword Billy Crystal xi

Preface xv

Chapter 1 The Catskills Comics (Writing for the Wrong People) 1

Chapter 2 The Club Year (A Large Jew Sweating) 23

Chapter 3 Saturday Night Live (The Early Part of the Early Years) 43

Chapter 4 Saturday Night Live (The Later Part of the Early Years) 72

Chapter 5 Former SNL Writer (Looking for New Voices) 91

Chapter 6 Lightning Strikes Again (It's Garry Shandling's Show) 102

Chapter 7 Good Sports (Writing for the Wrong People … Again) 138

Chapter 8 Crashing and Burning in Another Genre (North Goes South) 149

Chapter 9 Bunny Bunny (Even in Death Gilda Saves My Ass) 163

Chapter 10 700 Sundays (Billy Crystal and the Rise of the One-Man Show) 174

Chapter 11 Unfinished Business (Saying Goodbye to Garry) 193

Chapter 12 Another Kind of Collaboration (Dave Barry and Others Who Spend Their Days Alone) 200

Chapter 13 Giant Shadows (Lessons from Heroes) 210

Chapter 14 In Progress (Here Today) 217

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