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Comedy by the Numbers: The 169 Secrets of Humor and Popularity

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This book is perfect for people who are funny and for those who aren't funny (thus it is marketable to 100 percent of the population). As we all know, true creativity comes from simple formulas and the memorization of data. This new bible makes the secrets of comedy accessible, not only to those funny few among us, but also to those who might not have the ability or talent to be funny. One no longer need worry about originality — just find the right comedy number and apply as needed... and then you're on your way to POPULARITYVILLE!© Comedy by the Numbers is a NEARLY comprehensive list of all comedy characters, bits, scenarios, sketches, skits, shtick, and much more. (We say nearly because we want to leave room for Volume 2.) Included are special hints, tips, and unboring comedy history. Comedy by the Numbers is the brainchild of Prof. Eric Hoffman (Mr. Show) and Dr. Gary Rudoren (Annoyance Theatre) — AND features loads of comedy fun facts that you can memorize and use to impress people at parties!

150 pages, Paperback

First published May 4, 2007

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About the author

Eric Hoffman

1 book1 follower
Eric Hoffman (aka Eric Von Hoffman) was born in 1963 in Angola, Indiana. He is the co-author/cartoonist of the McSweeney's how-to humor bible, "Comedy by the Numbers." He was a writer on the influential TV sketch program Mr. Show with Bob and David, and the Netflix reunion show W/Bob and David, and co-wrote the Girlfriend's Day film with Bob Odenkirk.

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5 stars
27 (19%)
4 stars
37 (26%)
3 stars
58 (41%)
2 stars
14 (9%)
1 star
5 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews
1,669 reviews21 followers
January 1, 2012
The humor here is the commitment to form and frequent #3 underlined by the use of #11, #43 and #152. Thankfully the #110 seemed to be of the #62 variety. And admit it, you enjoyed the #149 form used for #96, #105, and #120.

I would give more details, but I'm trying to do my part to help with the author's goal (outlined at the beginning and end of their book). Go buy one and find out what it is!

For extra credit go to http://comedybythenumbers.com/cmp/mai... and check out the short films.
Profile Image for Richard.
219 reviews
June 11, 2020
This book is great to grab in a free couple minutes, flip to a random page and get some "comedy advice." Some of it is is laugh out loud funny, particularly the list of novelty items ("itchy milk, hobo negligee, dead relative Halloween mask, etc.), and the rest is more smirky funny.
Profile Image for Christopher.
139 reviews14 followers
March 31, 2008
This book is more of a guide to being moderately amusing than it is a guide to honest-to-gosh comedy. Even if it's a parody of "how to" books, designed to illustrate the futility of teaching people how to embrace talents as instinctual as comic timing, this book rates a big FAIL. Sure, there are some chuckles to be had, and you could probably stock your bathroom book rack with worse toilet reading, but when you consider the past efforts of the authors, you kinda wonder what fell flat when they were given the opportunity to write a book-length manifesto on The Funny. If you take the promises offered on the book cover seriously and would really like to learn how to be funnier, go study Woody Allen's humor writing instead.
Profile Image for Greg.
719 reviews13 followers
October 4, 2007
Good laughs were had in the Euphemism at the Maupin estate this month. For anyone keeping track, "Women" are #169 (the last one) - which is itself funny, because women aren't even funny! That's why this book is so great/ useful/ educational! Plus it uses exclamation points the proper way! To encourage excitement!

Kudos as well for the serious paean to the Goons somewhere in the midst of all the mockery of the world of komedy. Let's hope it takes.

Profile Image for James.
97 reviews3 followers
September 23, 2008
I may not ever finish this...completion is not the intent of this book. There is no plot, etc. This is a reference book. Perhaps best consumed while traveling, washing clothes (my application), working (me, again), passively watching tv and so on. This book is pretty gall-dern funny. I find it to be most funny in the minor details rather than broad strokes. The final entry is the coup de grace.
May 10, 2013
When I first read this, I took this a little bit too literally as a manual for tropes and comic devices, but when I read this as a parody of how-to books, then it became quite brilliant. It provides dozens of comic devices and is genuinely funny. This should be seen as a brochure that hows you examples of many things possible given different topics, not a dogma which tells you what is absolute.

This book has no plot, so it is impossible to spoil.
21 reviews
January 26, 2008
So far, this is less of a funny book than I thought it would be, and more of am actual guide on how to be funny, which is pretty interesting. One of the two authors is Eric Hoffman, whom I _believe_ was a writer on Mr. Show. Not positive, if anyone wants to help me out here.
Profile Image for hench.
15 reviews1 follower
June 6, 2007
includes the equivalent of TWO volumes of comedy!

moves from the basics (#19: contact with something that isn't dry) to the advanced (#158: ugly people) in 169 simple, factual lessons.

24 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2007
are you funny? do you want to be? this book will introduce you to the entire known comedic world in 169 easy, alphabetized steps.

apparently, it helps to be fat. or named steve martin.
Profile Image for Matt.
Author 3 books13 followers
August 29, 2007
Would love to hear a reading of the book by the authors, in its book form it wasn't as funny as I hoped it to be. One can read list only so long until the mind is ignoring needed timing.
Profile Image for Shawn.
450 reviews17 followers
April 11, 2008
A very silly book that makes me laugh out loud each time I read a section of it. It's a McSweeney's book, like the website of the same name, rated R for hilaRious.
October 24, 2009
Best if read aloud to those around you.

The gags generally weren't that funny if only read to oneself.
Profile Image for Steven Pattison.
122 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2019
A textbook on how to be funny in any context and any situation. This would be just any standard comedy writing book but the clever writing and lack of a serious tone made it a fun read.
41 reviews
January 4, 2013
Cute more often than funny. Skimmed the second half because it was becoming more off chore to finish.
Profile Image for Michael Dorsher.
70 reviews2 followers
May 25, 2015
Interesting concept, and humorously written. Good for a reference book. Can you write a joke for every Number?
Profile Image for Brian.
102 reviews2 followers
January 3, 2009
Good for about three laughs. Unfortunately no resale value.
Displaying 1 - 19 of 19 reviews

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