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I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High…

I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up…

by William Knoedelseder

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902134,128 (3.75)2
  1. 00
    Comedy at the Edge: How Stand-up in the 1970s Changed America by Richard Zoglin (gtown)
    gtown: This is a semi-recommendation, since these books cover a lot of the same ground. Merged together would have been perfect. If you've read one and didn't want the info to end, definitely read the second. "Dying" has more details on Lewis, Dreesen and Lubetkin, while "Edge", among other things, has more stories of the New York scene before the LA migration.… (more)

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Comedy was king in Los Angeles in the '70s. And the Comedy Store in Hollywood was one of the focal points of that movement. "I'm Dying Up Here" details the rise and fall of comedy in LA.

A free space was offered for comics to try out their stuff, called the Comedy Store. But the owner made money while the comedians struggled. A strike was called that forever split the comedians into two camps.

A lot of familiar faces are here, including David Letterman, Jay Leno, Elayne Boosler, Richard Lewis, Andy Kaufman, Robin Williams ... imagine what it must've been like to see these talented people on their way up!

Greed and drugs destroy some of the comedians, and success and failure pretty much destroys the rest. All the while, the comedy keeps coming.

This was an amazing book to find for $2 at Half Price Books. That's why I love the place. And this is one book I recommend to friends.

For more of my reviews, visit Ralphsbooks. ( )
  ralphz | Jul 25, 2017 |
I listened to this on audio. Man oh man does this book cover some ground. I learned not only of the comedic origins of David Letterman (the wise elder of the group; seriously), Robin Williams, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, Richard Pryor ... and Pauly Shore (the latter "comedian's" origins I inferred from the narrative; that is because Mitzi Shore, Pauly's mom, ran LA's Comedy Store, where the aforementioned giants got their starts, and whence sprang the blight on the 90s that we who watched MTV back then knew as "The Weeze"; one senses a mother's nepotistic hand nudging the frizzy headed surfer dude stage-ward, is my point) ... but of the terrible fate of one sad soul named Steve Lubetkin, who leaped to his death from a neighboring hotel and landed practically on the Comedy Store's front doorstep. I'll forgo the obvious showbiz pun. Lubetkin's story is a chilling one for those, like me, who've tried and (so far) failed to realize their artistic ambitions.

Resquiat, Lubetkin. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
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For all his attention to the industry of comedy clubs, Knoedelseder frequently loses sight of the comedic art, all the stuff that makes it worthwhile and still draws Leno to the road.
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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 was there when the comedians--not paid by the clubs where they performed--tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. Here he tells the 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.--From publisher description.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by PublicAffairs.

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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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