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Beyond a Joke: Inside the Dark World of Stand-up Comedy Paperback – 16 Aug 2012

3.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Frequently bought together

  • Beyond a Joke: Inside the Dark World of Stand-up Comedy
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  • Off the Mic: The World's Best Stand-Up Comedians Get Serious About Comedy (Performance Books)
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  • The Serious Guide to Joke Writing: How To Say Something Funny About Anything
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; Reprint edition (16 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099558270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099558279
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 833,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"An intriguing history of humour's bad boys claims that almost every great comedian is a damaged soul ... Delightful nuggets for the new wave of comedy enthusiasts" (Sunday Times)

"Dessau shows us that comedians tend to be weird, or compulsive, or obsessive; they veer easily towards depression; and they mostly find themselves, at least for a period, desperately out of fashion. Beyond this, he doesn't overanalyse. He simply lines them up, one after the other, and recounts their strange lives" (Evening Standard)

"Many intriguing tales of dark and outrageous dysfunction" (ShortList)

"Entertaining insight and audacity - Dessau has been reviewing comedy for more than 30 years, and knows his stuff ... A fascinating look at the dark side of stand-up" (Time Out, 4 stars)

"Its sporadic vulgarity leavened by wit and insight, the book mirrors the mood of a late-night gig." (Independent)

Book Description

Comedians are not normal. If they were normal they wouldn't want to go onstage and make thousands of strangers laugh every night. Beyond a Joke is the story of lives lived to excess: of alcohol, drugs, sex ... and running marathons.

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