I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era

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PublicAffairs, Aug 25, 2009 - Performing Arts - 368 pages
10 Reviews
Now a Showtime original series

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 wrote the first major newspaper profiles of several of the future stars. And he was there when the comedians-who were not paid by the clubs where they performed- tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. In I'm Dying Up Here he tells the whole 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. As comedy clubs and cable TV began to boom, many would achieve stardom.... but success had its price.

 

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Review: I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era

User Review  - Kathryn - Goodreads

Fascinating history of The Comedy Store in LA and it's impact on stand up comedy in the 70s. This book definitely personifies the maxim that comedy is not pretty. Read full review

Review: I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era

User Review  - Joshua - Goodreads

History of standup comedy in the 70s Read full review

All 10 reviews »

Contents

Prologue
1
Blood Brothers
9
The Hippest Room
19
Mitzis Store
31
Tom Dave and George
45
All About Budd
59
Six MinutesTwentytwo Laughs
65
The Boys Club
71
Diary of a Young Comic
141
The Gauntlet
147
Comedians for Compensation
153
Choosing Up Sides
165
Fire
175
The Vote
181
All on the Line
189
Daves Big Night
203

Guns Drugs and Westwood
81
Comedy University
87
Richards Baroness Steves Movie
93
The Funniest Year Ever
101
Rommates
111
The New Years Resolution
117
Drugs and Theft
125
Order Please
135
The Union Forever?
211
Jays Big Flop
223
My Name Is Steve Lubetkin
231
A Standing Ovation
245
The Prisoner of Memory
253
Index
269
About the Author
281
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

William Knoedelseder is a veteran journalist who honed his investigative and narrative skills at the Los Angeles Times, where his reporting on the entertainment industry produced a string of groundbreaking exposes. He is the bestselling author of Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia and Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer.

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