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Publisher's Summary

With his tender, funny memoir of four decades in the business, Alan Zweibel traces the history of American comedy.

Alan Zweibel started his comedy career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt standups. Then one night, despite bombing on stage, he caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, where he penned classic material for Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and all of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. From SNL, he went on to have a hand in a series of landmark shows - from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Throughout Laugh Lines, Zweibel weaves together his own stories and interviews with his friends and contemporaries, including Richard Lewis, Eric Idle, Bob Saget, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, Judd Apatow, Dave Barry, Carl Reiner, and more. The book also features a charming foreword from his friend of 45 years, Billy Crystal, with whom he cowrote and coproduced the film Here Today starring Crystal and Tiffany Haddish. Laugh Lines is a warmhearted cultural memoir of American comedy.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Alan Zweibel (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about Laugh Lines

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    4 out of 5 stars

A Comedy, A Tragedy, A Guide

At first blush, the book might be misinterpreted as a string of vignettes about the early days of Saturday Night Live and the usual Hollywood stories about how crazy the movie business is. The book has that--the author is a movie and television comedy writer after all--but if listened to carefully, it also is a balcony seated view of the creative process, the endless rewrites to get to the best work as we see it on stage, screen, or television. Comedy as both work and gift, of which the author demonstrates clearly. Very well done.

4 people found this helpful

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I laughed–cried–googled throughout

Thank you, Alan Zweibel for sharing your full-write-stuff life. I loved your NY accent and rhythm of your reading and each vignette and histories of your world as a writer –for comedy, TV, movies, books in NYC & LA....you took me behind the scenes of a related world I enjoyed as a dancer in the 70s, also employed in Rockerfeller Center, across the street from SNL. I lost my husband 18 months ago to dementia so I super cried at your tender friendships throughout –esp. with Gilda, Garry and the eventual collaboration with Marty Short –I was touched with your description how Marty's wife Nancy looked on and reacted with such love during each of his touring shows. For those of us who day dream about someday being a writer--uh, dream on...MUCH here to give us pause or... give us the needed kick. In the meantime, eagerly awaiting your writing and Billy Crystal's directing and acting in your upcoming movie "Here Today."

3 people found this helpful

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Yawn

Boring, like meeting an old guy full of himself, talking about a life he thinks is unusual....yawn name- dropping dribble. Not impressed, just bored. Exchanged the audiobook

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Very enjoyable history of Alan's life!

It was very nice and very appropriate that Alan Read his own book.
Very well done Alan congratulations!

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very fun and touching

what a great career! I enjoyed the story as well as the reading of it. Sentimental, yet funny.. it was fun to hear behind the scenes stories of people and events we all know..written by a talented man who has impacted popular culture in significant ways.

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Heartwarming and so funny.

This is my favorite book I’ve listened to. Alan is the quintessential Everyman, yet was in the right place at the right time and lived an exceptional life. He’s the kind of person I would’ve loved to hang out with. Great book!

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Extremely funny yet pervasively deep.

This is the funniest book I’ve ever read, and it was pervasively deep at the same time. I love the off beat comedy and the times I laughed hysterically as well as the times I first told myself, “That was not a good joke” and then asked myself, “So why am I laughing so hard?” Alan Zweibel brought me into his office, his living room, his family life and friendships, and he related to me, only how a guy could who’s been doing in it for well over 40 years, the subculture of a comedy writer, playwright, screenwriter and author. He describes his own feelings along the way, personal and at times philosophical, speaking from the heart. An admirer of his since the SNL days, I feel like I got to hear all the greatest stories and ask him the hundred questions I would have if I had the opportunity. Thank you Alan Zweibel for one great book.

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A book so nice, I listened twice

I liked Laugh Lines so much, I listened to it twice. Alan Zweibel has had and still has a very successful career as a joke, sketch, TV and film writer. The book is read by the author himself and I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. These are his stories, his jokes and he knows how they are supposed to be told. The stories range from writing for old Catskills comics when they were twice his age and stuck in a different time, to one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live, the development and launch of This is the Garry Shandling Show, 100 Sundays with Billy Crystal and so many more iconic shows. It’s an honest book and he talks about his successes AND his failures, leaving no detail out.

Overall, the stories about his life and career are fantastic, he comes across as a mensch, a guy with a loving marriage, good children and lots of very close friends, some of them the most creative and comic geniuses of our time. Alan may be lesser known, but using the genius word to describe him and his lasting jokes and characters he has created, is as valid as any of the comics with more familiar names. Fans of the history of comedy and television, what it’s really like to be in a writer’s room, work with brilliant talent and survive the industry is all in this book. Finally. fans of Gilda Radner and Garry Shandling will be moved by his stories about his special friendship with both of these complicated personalities. It’s a testament to Alan’s personality that he stuck with them and did everything he could to help them. Listen to this book at least once.

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Good humor but great storytelling

The laughs that hit hit very hard but they were far fewer than expected. However the depth and richness of the storytelling was far beyond what I had expected.

You get a real sense of what a wonderful person the author is. His influences and a clear portrait of those that imprinted his life. The characters that figured most prominently were Gilda Radner, Garry Shandling, and several influential comedy writers both sung and unsung.

This book was not what I expected it was very much worth the time.

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Fascinating read

Zweibel does a magnificent job weaving his story in and out of time. It was a a sentimental and thoughtful and enlightening look into the last half-century history of comedy, television, and Hollywood. Hearing this material in his voice was important. I’m glad I had the audiobook.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-26-22

Interesting but not as funny as I anticipated

Interesting stories but not as funny as I anticipated. I was looking for a funny book but dispite the title there isn't many funny lines in this book. This does not take away from the fact that the stories are interesting

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-08-22

Comedy Nerd Cat Nip

An amazing insight to life as a working writer. A witness to history, Zweibel’s credentials are far more phenomenal than his low key profile and narration imply. For those who fear the spotlight, this is a text book as to how life can be lived creatively and love what you do.