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The Comic Toolbox: How To Be Funny Even If You’re Not by John Vorhaus

October 4, 2012

A friend saw this book sitting on my desk at work and commented that it didn’t seem to be working. I wasn’t any funnier than I had been. Maybe even less. He’s an idiot. He has no idea what he’s talking about. I’m way funnier since reading this book.

Vorhaus covers the mentality of writing creative comedy, common comic structures, various tools and then gets into some specifics about sitcom writing. While the last part isn’t very useful unless you actually want to write sitcoms, most of the book is full of great advice. I relied on this book quite a bit when teaching a storytelling class this past summer. Much of the advice applies to creative thinking, storytelling and character-building in general. Each point that Vorhaus makes is made clear by examples from books or movies, and every topic has several useful exercises.

Humor is subjective, but the principles underlying humor are not. And even if you’re not writing humor, if you’re a storyteller in any regard, there’s a lot of wisdom to find in this book.

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