BOOK REVIEW: Funny on Purpose by Joe Randazzo

Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTubeFunny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTube by Joe Randazzo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Former editor of the hilarious faux-newspaper, The Onion, (Joe Randazzo) provides a broad overview of the humor creation industry, and the many jobs, therein. Whether you’re interested in scriptwriting, performing stand-up, or starting a YouTube channel that provides color commentary of crippling skateboarding accidents, this book has tips and insight into how said job works, how to do the job, and how to avoid the pitfalls. And, as expected, the book offers humor throughout. That said, the first priority is educational, so one shouldn’t expect a laugh-a-minute humor extravaganza.

The book is divided into five parts. The first four parts delved into the various humor content creation jobs (writing, performing, making pictures, and making internet content,) and the last part is about the common business aspects like understanding intellectual property rights, knowing the difference between an agent and a manager, and learning how to get people to give you money for a product you don’t yet have.

One nice feature the book offers is brief interviews with various experts such as Judd Apatow, Weird Al, Joan Rivers, many people you’ve never heard of but I’m sure are good at what they do, and a few that you will have heard of if you have obsessive niche tastes in humor. The interviews are short, but it does help to have insight from someone whose life has largely focused on a particular dimension of humor creation. Randazzo has a diverse background, including writing, performing, and television and internet work, but there are fine insights to be gained from a specialist.

I got a lot out of this book and would recommend it for those interested in the humor content creation industrial complex.

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