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The Comedy Bible: From Stand-up to Sitcom--The Comedy Writer's Ultimate "How To" Guide

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  312 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Judy Carter, guru to aspiring comedy writers and stand-up comics, tells all about the biz of being funny and writing funny in this bright, entertaining, and totally practical guide on how to draw humor from your life and turn it into a career.

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 Comed
Paperback, 368 pages
Published September 5th 2001 by Touchstone (first published August 7th 2001)
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The Comedy Bible by Judy CarterImprov Wisdom by Patricia Ryan MadsonArt by Committee by Charna HalpernImprovise. by Mick NapierTruth in Comedy by Charna Halpern
1st out of 8 books — 1 voter
Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays by Lucy V. HayThe Anatomy of Story by John TrubyThe Screenwriter's Bible by David TrottierThe Devil's Guide to Hollywood by Joe EszterhasCrafting the Character ARC by Jennie Jarvis
best screenwriting books
34th out of 39 books — 9 voters

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Community Reviews

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Michael Lawrence
Jul 09, 2008 Michael Lawrence rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Judy Carter
Recommended to Michael by: Judy Carter
Shelves: comedy
I bought this when I first had aspirations to be a stand up comic. I also joined a comedy workshop and began writing jokes on a daily basis and doing the necessary steps on being a comic.

What i learned along the way is that funny is not something that can be taught. You either have chops or you don't. I also realized I had chops and comedic timing and that this book was really a waste of my time.

It is good to help you begin the joke writing process and to get into the mind set of being a comedia
Aug 22, 2012 Ken rated it it was amazing
This is how-to, written more than ten years ago, has great advice for starting comics. Comedy styles change, and the blueprint might be aging, but it is invaluable help to a comic who wants to become a stage performer after getting laughs from friends and family. It still works to improve a starting comic's material.

There is a formula. Judy Carter explains it, and why it works. She provides examples of work done by well-known comedians that illustrate the formula. She guides you how to find your
Jul 15, 2008 Andrew rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: aspiring comics
I read this book before I started stand-up and I really only got one good tip from it: Start doing stand-up. I followed the exercises, writing jokes on index cards, etc, but never used them. To this day I don't think I have used any of the jokes I came up with from that book. This book might be useful to some people, but I guess my 'comedy style' is different. I think this book glosses over some of the unpleasant things a new comic can expect to encounter on their comedy experience.
Apr 17, 2011 Kristi rated it liked it
Shelves: comdy
While I can certainly respect Ms Carters success as a writer and teacher of comedy, her how-to guide is scattered and self-conflicting. Her focus seems to be cleaning up and dumbing down, rather than developing a unique creative voice. I'll pass.
Peter Orvetti
Sep 26, 2015 Peter Orvetti rated it liked it
After a few years of improv and scripted stage performance, I decided earlier this year to try my hand at stand-up. I did a couple of open mics and decided it wasn't for me, at least not right now. Before doing so, I read this book. It provided some useful information, but ultimately I found it rather flawed.

Carter gives some good advice on how to sit down and bang out jokes, through a relatively simple formula of selecting a topic and exploring it from different emotional angles. She advises on
Aug 02, 2015 Jason rated it liked it
Shelves: comedy
Had a hard time rating this because while I feel like some of this book is out of date and comedy has most definitely moved beyond what the author in this book claims to be gospel (Carter says that telling stories is a no-no), but I think I think she discusses a lot of things worth considering when creating stand-up material.
Lisbeth Mizula
Apr 26, 2015 Lisbeth Mizula rated it it was amazing
I put this aside several years back to work on The Novel but now I'm back reading it and it's even better than I remembered. FANTASTIC!
T. Faye Griffin
Dec 01, 2014 T. Faye Griffin rated it it was amazing
Recently took a 3-day workshop with Judy Carter. Now I've got her voice in my head and on my book shelf. Invaluable!
May 16, 2008 Isman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: comics and humor writers
It's like a saying in the game Guitar Hero, "If you want to make a song titled 'The Rock Anthem', you'd better be damn sure."

Ditto with a book titled, "Comedy Bible."

Guess what? Judy Carter was sure as hell. And she delivers. This book is (almost) everything what it claims. It provides step-by-step instruction on what to do to get your routines and gig.

It might get too formulaic in the process. But like the old boxing saying, you need to learn the ropes, before start dancing in the ring.
Feb 01, 2008 Kate rated it really liked it
yeah, this one is good. really detailed, step-by-step on how to do stand up and how to do screenplays. she's a little too "you must do it my way or else" and i've heard critiques that this book among others encourages formulaic standup. but she knows her shit, and really helps break it down into understandable ideas.
Ray Charbonneau
Feb 16, 2009 Ray Charbonneau rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The first section, where sh'e writing about how to be a standup, is pretty good. The next part, where she writes about script writing and other things you can do in the comedy business, not so much. The final section, where she gives ideas on how to make a living at comedy, is good but fairly superficial.
Truthcansuck Goring
Oct 26, 2007 Truthcansuck Goring rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Aspiring Comics
Shelves: contemporary
This book is invaluable for anyone wanting to understand the process of putting together a routine. Actual exercises intended to culminate in a stand-up routine to perform in front of an open mic audience makes this one of the better resources an aspiring comic will read.
Jan 14, 2010 Kurtbg rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
This book was a great resource for introducing to the beginner how to craft comedy. The author breaks the process down and provide roadmaps to honing the comedy and how to get your laughs out there.
Dave Riley
Really this has to be a standard work. Reliable. Practical. Full of quality q wisdom. ...with exercises! I've read and studied it three times already.
Jeff Bobin
Good foundation knowledge builder on how to write and perform comedy.

Very helpful if you have a partner to work with.
Jul 01, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
Details a program for creating a stand-up comedy routine. If that is what you want to do, just follow the instructions.
Paul Hart
Jun 08, 2009 Paul Hart is currently reading it
Helping me think about joke writing and order. Some great tips about getting started in stand-up.
Peter Henk
Jun 04, 2007 Peter Henk rated it really liked it
Shelves: about
Very well written.
Very inspiring when you are entering this field......
Jul 30, 2013 Donna rated it really liked it
Recommended for anyone involved in public speaking.
Dec 08, 2014 Fee rated it really liked it
positive and practical. Love it.
Aug 25, 2011 Joshbgosh rated it really liked it
I liked the exercises she provided.
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