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The Comic Toolbox How to Be Funny Even If You're Not
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The Comic Toolbox How to Be Funny Even If You're Not

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  442 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
A workbook approach to comedy writing as creative problem-solving. It offers tools of the trade such as Clash of Context, Tension and Release, The Law of Comic Opposites, The Wildly Inappropriate Response, and The Myth of the Last Great Idea to writers, comics, and anyone else who wants to be funny.
Paperback, 191 pages
Published July 1st 1994 by Silman-James Press
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Sherif Nagib
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book alone won't teach you how to be funny as the title suggests. You gotta start somewhere; be it a natural sense of humor, or a sheer contempt of the human race. But It's a great craft book. A product of meticulous observation & understanding of storytelling. It will help you write better comic characters, pinpoint flaws with your comic writing. And how to use screenwriting elements such as conflict & stakes in a comic world.
Ryan Neely
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-writing
I agree with most reviewers I've read who state that this book is simply not funny. I don't understand why anyone would expect it to be. It is in instruction manual, not a comedy piece itself. The examples within are dated, many of which I had to turn to Professor Google for reference, but the truth of the advice therein are still accurate today. If anyone is on the fence about this book, allow me to offer one morsel of advice: John Vorhaus, while speaking directly to comedy writers, has found a ...more
Jacqui
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I bought this book because I wanted to see if there were guidelines for humor. I like steps, a plan, Rules A, B, C that will insure I achieve the right end result. And the book's byline--"A funny idea is worthless until you understand the mechanics of its construction and execution. Meet Mr. Goodwrench."--made it sound like I'd found my blueprint.

Besides being a successful comic writer for most of his life with credits for a variety of sitcoms, Vorhaus taught at a variety of Film-oriented school
...more
C.M. Subasic
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This little book is jam-packed with tools that will help any and every writer, regardless of genre. With down-to-earth language, and brief explanations, Vorhaus walks you through a series of processes, tools and rules that simplify rather than complicate writing tasks.

From the rule of nine (out of every ten ideas you write, 9 will be useless, so take risks, keep going and don't judge yourself) to the hill climbing problem (when revising your work, merely good is the enemy of great, so get tha
...more
Kevin Wilder
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I hate the subtitle of this book, which seems to suggest it's purpose is in telling people how to be funny, like as in telling jokes to pick up chicks or something. Really though, it focuses on the craft of writing funny jokes, characters, and situations for both literature and television. For these reasons I found it extremely helpful, even if some of the references and styles of humor were a bit outdated. Vorhaus's tips and philosophies behind writing comedy have been beneficial for many autho ...more
Frederic Kerr
Aug 02, 2016 rated it liked it
While there is some interesting discussion here of how humour stems from pain, truth and conflict, this is mostly a book for screenwriters. Like Steve Kaplan ' s "The hidden tools of comedy" which I think was better, its cover should have been labeled with the phrase "for aspiring screenwriters". There is not much here for aspiring standup comedians.
Greg
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
A must-read for anyone interested in telling stories; not just for comedians.
Sylvia
Aug 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Be mindful that after you read this book, watching movies becomes less enjoyable because you become good at guessing plot development.
Jane
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fantastic, technical advice for how to write funny.
Amina
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
An excellent read; many useful tips about how to be funny in writing. It also gives tips on how to write a good book - funny or not. I'd recommend it to anyone who's interested in writing better.
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John Vorhaus is known to one and all as the man who brought Radar Hoverlander – con artist extraordinaire – to life in the “sunshine noir” mystery novel, The California Roll, and its acclaimed sequel, The Albuquerque Turkey.

John is also well known as the author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You're Not, and its acclaimed sequel, The Little Book of SITCOM, which continue to be defini
...more
More about John Vorhaus...
“The mere act of doing the unexpected thing created one funny moment after another.” 0 likes
“The difference between a class clown and a class nerd is that the class clown tells jokes everyone gets while the class nerd tells jokes that only he gets. Comedy, thus, is not just truth and pain, but universal, or at least general, truth and pain.” 0 likes
More quotes…