Comedy Writing Secrets

a book review

product linkComedy Writing Secrets
authorMel Helitzer, Mark Shatz
date reviewed2011.10.05
genreWriting
isbn9781582973579

I bought this to offset some of the more serious books I'd bought on writing copy. It turns out to be an amazingly insightful guide on how comedy actually writes. For example, chapter three starts with the fact that humor must have a target. I'd never really thought of it that way, but they gone to explain that everything from one-liners to a "three-act theatrical piece" must have:

  • Target
  • Hostility
  • Realism
  • Exaggeration
  • Emotion
  • Surprise

You'd be forgiven for thinking that a book on comedy writing might be light, but this is a three hundred page work as serious and nuanced as any university textbook. It contains an encyclopedic coverage of the field of comedy writing.

Even though I don't plan on writing any comedy, I strongly recommend this book as a fascinating insight into something that anyone can enjoy.

rand()m quote

You can easily judge the character of a man by the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.

—Malcolm Forbes