Check out a great book filled with interviews with humor writers
A few weeks ago I added Andy Borowitz’s The 50 Funniest Writers to this website’s esteemed list of Great Books About Humor Writing. I read the other books on that list before I launched this site, which means I have not written about them. So let’s change that. I’ll start with one of my favorites.
In And Here’s The Kicker journalist Mike Sacks interviews 21 top humor writers about humor writing. Sacks did his homework. As a result, the conversations are enlightening and entertaining and the interview subjects are forthcoming. The 21 interviewed are Buck Henry, Stephen Merchant, Harold Ramis, Dan Mazer, Merrill Markoe, Paul Feig, Irving Brecher, Bob Odenkirk, Todd Hanson, Marshall Brickman, Mitch Hurwitz, David Sedaris, George Meyer, Al Jaffee, Allison Silverman, Robert Smigel, Dave Barry, Dick Cavett, Larry Wilmore, Jack Handey and Larry Gelbart.
Not coincidentally, Barry, Sedaris, Handey and Wilmore all have pieces in The 50 Funniest Writers.
And Here’s the Kicker was published in 2009, but its stories are timeless. Most of the writers work primarily in television or film. The exceptions are Barry, Sedaris, Hanson and Jaffee, all of whom built careers out of entertaining people via the written word or, in Jaffee’s case, illustration.
A lot of what is discussed in the book regarding the mechanics of writing humor is well-known. In the book Barry makes a point that Bruce Cameron recently made on this website–that there is a technical skill to humor writing that must be learned and perfected.
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