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Funny: The Book: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on June 17, 2012
 

Author: David Misch

Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cineman Books (An Imprint of Hal Leonard)

ISBN: 978-1-55783-829-2





Follow Here To Purchase Funny: The Book - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Comedy

Author: David Misch

Publisher: Applause Theatre & Cineman Books (An Imprint of Hal Leonard)

ISBN: 978-1-55783-829-2


How does humor work? Are there scientific principles behind humor? Does it have any rules?

According to David Misch, author of Funny: The Book: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Comedy only a fool thinks there are rules to comedy and only a bigger fool ignores them. He also points out that when we explore the workings of comedy and how it works, we are actually describing how all art forms work, as there are no principles of comedy that doesn't also apply to drama.

Then why even investigate comedy? Why should we even discover its secret? Can't we just leave it alone in its “ethnic-joked, pie-splattered mystery?”

For over thirty-five years, Misch has been involved with show business. He has written and/or produced pilots for NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, UPN, HBO, Showtime, PBS, ABC Family Disney, Universal, and Lifetime. He was also executive producer of Duckman on USA, as well as teaching musical satire at UCLA and the principles of comedy at USC. In other words, Misch is well-qualified to pose these questions, which he aptly deals with in his book.

In the introduction, Misch points out that “Humor is an essential element of human identity. Knowledge of the principles and practice of comedy is critical to understanding history, psychology, mass media, religion, and real estate investment. (One of those is a lie).” And the purpose of his book is to look at humor in general, particularly American humor; “introduce/remind and/or get you to think about significant works; and show how American comedy developed of what Martin Luther King called, in a slightly different context, the content of our characters.” To accomplish this feat, Misch proceeds to explain the origins, definition, rules, and purpose of comedy, and what it tells us about our human condition.

Misch begins his journey with the world of early humor and the Trickster, who first emerged in cave paintings eighteen thousand years ago and although they go by many names, they all share three key features: exaggerated sexuality, existential ambivalence, and love for mischief.

We are reminded that this ancient manifestation of comedy appears in Ancient Greece, Shakespeare, B'rer Rabbit in early America and up to today in Jim Carrey's shticks. Did you know that the first recorded jokes from 1900 BC involve sex and body functions, and that in the movies from early slapstick to “Bridesmaids,” bouncing breasts, jiggling genitalia, projectile vomit have been a constant menu of humor? Why are Jews funny and why do they make up a huge percentage of American comedians? What makes the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, and Steve Martin tick? Do you know how comedians judge laughs? What does the humor of Mark Twain and Oscar Wilde have in common with standup comedians as Bob Hope, Lenny Bruce and George Carlin? Why do we laugh at the jokes of Richard Pryor, whose humor is racially -charged or the sexually-charged jokes of Sarah Silverman?

Offering much fascinating and insightful information, Misch covers a huge territory which he supports with impressive scholarship always reminding his readers that comedy is not something to be denigrated, which unfortunately is often the case. As he mentions, it was Woody Allen who complained that critics treat comics like they're sitting at the children's table. However, comedy does require as much skill as drama and can be just as challenging for its audience.


Follow Here To Purchase Funny: The Book - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Comedy