Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 1.44 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Tell the Publisher!
Id like to read this book on Kindle

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not [Paperback]

John Vorhaus
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
Price: 8.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
You Save: 1.49 (15%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 14 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 22 Aug.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback 8.50  
Unknown Binding --  
Trade In this Item for up to 1.44
Trade in The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 1.44, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Frequently Bought Together

The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even If You're Not + The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How To Say Something Funny About Anything + Be a Great Stand-Up: Teach Yourself
Price For All Three: 29.92

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press,U.S. (1 Sep 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505215
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505216
  • Product Dimensions: 22.5 x 15.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 211,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

The Comic Toolbox The Comic Toolbox is a straightforward, often humorous workbook approach to creative problem solving. Vorhaus offers writers and comics, the tools of the trade -- "clash of context, " "tension and release, "the law of comic opposites, " "the wildly inappropriate response" and more. Readers will learn that comedy = truth and pain -- the essence of the comic situation -- and that fear is the biggest roadblock to comedy. Kill your ferocious editor within, and rich, useful comic ideas will flow.

Sell a Digital Version of This Book in the Kindle Store

If you are a publisher or author and hold the digital rights to a book, you can sell a digital version of it in our Kindle Store. Learn more

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great ideas on structure for *all* writers. 9 Jan 2008
This and Vorhaus's other book on writing, "Creativity Rules" have been invaluable in helping me write more shapely fiction and I immediately recommend them to anyone who tells me they want to write, too.

His ideas on story structure are presented in a fun and funny way, but whenever I approach other books on writing I feel like Vorhaus got there first with this light little book, before all the guys with their deeply important mythic cycle breezeblock-workbooks hung around their necks -- and he got there with a smile on his face.

His principles on comedy in this book have given me what feels like X-ray vision when it comes to watching popular culture of any kind. This is someone who's been paying close attention to how story, humour, and thinking work, and he's given us all his crib notes.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I wish you could judge it by it's cover... 8 Dec 2010
By Houndog
I wish these books would be more specific in their title's. You get 'Comic toolbox', 'comedy writing' etc. all of them pretending to cover every comedic possibility. The truth is this book is a largely about old sitcoms and screenplays. Some of the additional 'tools'that you might use for stand-up etc are only given one paragraph and are only presented as ideas rather than giving a real grasp of how to use it. Interesting in places but a 'comic toolbox' it is not!
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent start to wannabe writers 25 Jan 2006
By olly
I have read and re-read this book in its entirety, and in my view is invaluable if you want to become a more confident writer/performer or just want to have a deeper understanding of what humour actually is. The author offers many exercises for the reader to complete. This built up my confidence and made me realise that you can make a whole bunch of boring and mundane parts of life into supremely comedy sequences.
First the basics of what makes us laugh are explained. The book then moves into defining how to make your comic characters and to forget about why you think a certain aspect is unfunny.
After this the book is split up into seperate sections depending on which field of comedy you wish to pursue, be it sitcom, sketch, stand-up, and, ahem, practical jokes (it is hard to show sarcasm through text).
The end of the book applies to every comedian, helping you to perfect your work, and ultimately selling your material.
Unfortunately the book is not prfect throughout. Most explainations of certain comic situations involve the use of a 1980's film or tv series, so if you are under the age of, say 25 like me (or, if you didn't watch American shows of the 80's) I would strongly suggest buying Mel Helitzer's Comedy Writing Secrets, 2005. Apart from this I strongly recommend this book, trust me you can't go wrong.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Academic approach to writing 9 Dec 2010
Mr. Vorhaus's real tool (if you'll excuse the expression) is that he's very good at analysis. This book does a broad sweep of some classic old sitcoms and screen plays or `telling of stories' as he puts it. He analyses what's been done and then says to the reader `now you do that.' I know from teaching joke writing myself that some students need more than that, hence the mixed reviews. An interesting book but his approach is academic and the tools are a bit vague.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very funny book about being funny 6 Dec 2010
By Di20
I have read lots of similar books but this one definitely stands out. Why?
1) Full of practical, fun, inspiring exercises - more of a workbook than a theory book.
2) very straightforward approach, friendly, funny, full of good advice
3) Advice that can be directly and practically applied on your work AND some inspiring words on being creative in general, working hard, finding inspiration. But mostly the fun stuff.

Beautiful book, highly recommended for comedy writers, stand-up comedians, but also any type of writers.

"Every time you make someone laugh, you bring joy into the universe and make your world, in some small way, a better place to be. Respect this gift, honor it, and take responsibility for it. Comedy is no innocent thing, but a powerful, often subversive force of change." (p.190)
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Penny Finally Drops........ 7 Feb 2014
Great book. Very readable, very informative and one that will also serve as a useful reference tome. At high school I had a maths teacher who was going through the motions. In my final year I had a teacher who was totally dedicated to his job. His lessons were a revelation and mathematical processes that I could do (although I was unsure how) were explained and made sense. Reading this book about comedy writing has mirrored that experience in school. Unfortunately for us Brits all the comedians he refers to are American (the book was written for an American readership so you cannot really blame him) so a few of the names he cites are probably unfamiliar to most readers outside the US/Canada. However, some of the techniques /tools Vorhaus uses can be applied to British comedians and sit-coms.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excllent compact guide. 11 Feb 2008
By john
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by a BBC producer when I started trying to write comedy. Yes it's simplistic, but it works. JV gives you a brilliant method for developing characters and plots. I still dip into it now and again when I'm struggling with something. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone. It's a nice slim volume rather than a big fat tome, too. Which is nice.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought for my son as another recommendation from a professional comedienne as he wants to try stand up comedy. He has rated this as easy to read and a great help.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category