I'm Dying up Here

I'm Dying up Here

Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy's Golden Era

Book - 2009
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In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show . There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot--but it couldn't last.

William Knoedelseder was then a cub reporter covering the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times . He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of several of the future stars. And he was there when the comedians--who were not paid by the clubs where they performed-- tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. In I'm Dying Up Here he tells the whole story of that golden age, of the strike that ended it, and of how those days still resonate in the lives of those who were there. As comedy clubs and cable TV began to boom, many would achieve stardom.... but success had its price.

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, c2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781586483173
158648317X
Characteristics: x, 280 p., [12] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: I am dying up here

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Mark_Daly Aug 15, 2017

Come for the big-name celebrities, stay for the business lessons. This true story is a great way to learn about how the entertainment industry works, how labor disputes arise, the process of creating and maintaining a worker's strike, how labor unions operate, and the theatrical nature of labor negotiations.

w
wendyheath
Aug 11, 2017

In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from all across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot — but it couldn’t last.

Showtime

j
JackAtTheLibrary
Jun 09, 2013

Comedian and great interviewer of comedians on his podcast "WTF" says that this is a great book about The Comedy Store. If you'd like to know more about the comedy scene and how it was to be a comic at the Comedy Store, check out this book.

b
bobfrombob
Mar 30, 2010

I don't know how many ratings are in but I see somebody else has rated this higher than me. It was ok but I was more interested in the lives of Letterman and Leno and Lewis and Williams etc..... How they wrote, what they performed, how they performed. Instead, a lot of this book centers around the venues, mostly the Commedy Store and the "strike" against it. I enjoyed the first half or so but then it got into the "business" side and kind of lost me.

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Mark_Daly Aug 15, 2017

"Always remember that your fellow comics will get you more work than any agent or manager ever will." - Tom Dreesen

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