©1994 Peter Mehlman and Mel Helitzer; (P)2004 Writer's AudioShop
I began listening to this book thinking it was about how to write "selling humor" in the context of "sales copy with humour injected"... I was wrong - It's very much a book aimed at comedians or comedy writers who want to sell their comedy writing.
If you are in that field, then this audio does provide some good advice, and includes an engaging (but not overly educational) except from a live presentation from a Seinfield writer, which I enjoyed.
If you are wanting to learn how to write sales copy which includes humour, this is NOT that book.
I enjoyed the academic look at humor. There's some really interesting stuff in there.
The casual sexism, racism, and homophobia when it comes to humor. The talks are from the 80s, and delight in telling people that "fruit" is now a synonym for homosexual and "women and prudes don't like too many sex jokes."
The Seinfeld stories.
Made me realize that approaching humor academically won't work in my writing.
Overall I was disappointed in this.
"Disappointing and limited"
Beware! The first workshop by Peter Mehlman was recorded when President Reagan was still in office so you may find it rather out of date! The constant references to Bob Newhart, Johnny Carson and Bob Hope are another giveaway that this recording has probably lost most of its relevance to today?s comedy writers. Mostly Mehlman talks about selling jokes rather than selling longer comedy sketches and he focuses almost exclusively on selling to the print market. Whilst I managed to get a couple of nuggets from this workshop, most of it was obvious and basic stuff. I found Mehlman?s delivery too slow and rather dreary. Although he tries, he never really manages to evoke much humour. I was, therefore, disappointed by this workshop and I would have been most put out had the second workshop not been a considerable improvement. Mel Helitzer (who delivers the second workshop) is a co-producer and writer on ?Seinfeld? and his presentation is full of funny examples, anecdotes and helpful tips. The problem is that unless you are familiar with ?Seinfeld? you may not appreciate much of what Helitzer is talking about. You may also struggle to understand him since the quality of the recording is not great. Nevertheless, I managed to get several more nuggets from Helitzer to help me with my comedy writing, so the investment of just under three hours and ?7.99 was not entirely wasted. All the same, I won?t be listening to this again and I cannot recommend it as a truly helpful guide to writing comedy.
"Second part much better"
The above review got it the wrong way round, Peter Mehlman did the second talk. I agree with the rest of the review though. The second part was much better. Tip for comedy writing "become a spy in the house of me" meaning taking notice of all your actions.
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