Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The best book on improv comedy

... is now available.  IMPROV COMEDY by Andy Goldberg is once again in print.  You can get the paperback version here. 

Of all the books on improv comedy, this is the best.  I recommend it for all actors interested in comedy and writers who want to develop or sharpen their comedic skills. 

Improvisational comedy is a terrific tool, a great deal of fun, and since SNL will probably be around for another thirty years -- a great place to start on your quest to join the cast. 


RC said...

The film industry is just that; an industry. It's a factory grinding out a product at the lowest possible cost for the highest estimated return, and targeted specifically for the most lucrative demographic. It's no different from a car company, clothing maker, or whatever. Disappointment lies only in the expectation that it will be something more than that. Most people in the US are not tasteful consumers of any other product; why would movies be any different?

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Excellent! I saw him of course at the Sitcom Room and admired his ability.

A Friday question for you: based on recommendations in this blog, I recently bought and read We Killed, the book about female comedians. Loved the first half especially, where the backgrounds and thinking about comedy got filled in for me of the great ones I grew up watching. It was particularly interesting to learn more about the women whose comedy I didn't care for that much - like Phyllis Diller - but whose talent and work I still respected.

One name that never comes up in the book, however, is Gracie Allen. Do you think she's been overlooked, and if so, why would that be? My first thought was that she didn't do stand-up - but of course neither did Carol Burnett or Lucille Ball, both of whom appear on everyone's lists of female comedians. Was it that she was always seen with George Burns? Who obviously had a great comic career of his own, but who as I remember it played the straight man to her Gracie logic.


Anonymous said...

There was a guy, William Newman, who didn't get started until well into his forties. He was a school teacher, and his wife was a casting director, and she tossed him into an audition for fun, and he got the role, discovered he liked acting, and worked steadily in all kinds of movies until 2006.
I think picking older "newbies" is often better for a film, because you don't know what to expect as an audience member. Older veteran actors can tend to fall into predictable schtick.
Struther Martin would be one example. You knew what he was going to do, every time.
Barbara Streisand... you sure as hell know what she's gonna do. Nick Nolte, you can bet the ranch on his acting style and choices.
Tarantino cast (relative newbie) Shultz in his latest film, and Shultz mops the floor with everyone but Samuel Jackson. I'd call it a dead heat between those two. If either of them get an oscar, they deserve it.
Anyway, old newbies rule!

Cap'n Bob said...

It seems the above posts belong with the rant.

As for improv--ecch! It always ends up with someone leaping around the stage screaming, which I find singularly unfunny. The great improv groups of the past actually performed scripted material (though it probably grew out of an improvise premise).

Johnny Walker said...

Bah! I haven't finished the last edition yet. Anyone know if this is completely re-written?

Dale said...

Do you mean the wife of George Burns I knew as a pup? This wonderful woman was not overlooked. Not at all. Here is a link on her at Wiki.

D. McEwan said...

Good to know. I was waiting for this new edition to come out. Definitely on my "Acquire" list!

Unknown said...

Put it on my Christmas wish list!