World famous Comic Strip gets the book treatment in ‘Make ‘Em Laugh’

By | October 22, 2012 at 11:02 am | 2 comments | News, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you consider yourself a comedy nerd in any capacity, next time you visit New York City, you’ll need to drop by the legendary Comic Strip Live, which sits proudly on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It’s where a seemingly countless number of iconic comedians got their start: Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Ray Romano, Jon Stewart, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman, Dave Attell and Jerry Seinfeld are but a few names. The room is so iconic, in fact, that there’s now an entire book dedicated to its history.

Written by longtime comedy scribe and professional comedy man-about-town, Jeffrey Gurian and his close friend and Comic Strip owner Richie Tienken, Make ‘Em Laugh: 35 years of the Comic Strip, the Greatest Comedy Club of All Time!, is jam packed with interviews from some of the aforementioned names and many more.

In his introduction to the book, Chris Rock explains that comedy clubs are like colleges for comedians.

“The two main schools [in New York City in the 1980s] were Catch a Rising Star and The Comic Strip. Catch was Yale, and the Strip was Illinois State University, Urbana,” writes Rock. “Catch was stressful, like you were always on the verge of being expelled if you didn’t keep up your grades. The Strip was laid back. If you put in the work and studied, you would do well. But if you blew off a term smoking pot, it didn’t go on your permanent record.”

Throughout its 200 pages, Make ‘Em Laugh not only paints an enormously fun and gritty portrait of the club, but it also allows comedy fans novel access into the lives of comedians. For instance, did you know Jerry Seinfeld only graduated from Queens College because he convinced the school to let him do a 12-credit independent study in stand-up comedy? And that Colin Quinn had to quit is job as a bartender at the Strip because in those days you couldn’t work there and perform there at the same time? Well, both of those things are true.

And there’s so much more in the book. If you ever wanted to feel like a comedy world insider, this will help you get there. We highly recommend you pick up a copy now. Just click the link below!

Make ‘Em Laugh: 35 Years of the Comic Strip, the Greatest Comedy Club of All Time!

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.

  • Don Munro

    As a comedy nerd, I so desperately wanted to like this book. Sadly, it doesn’t contain a strong story arc. Apart from the sharp essay from Chris Rock, the book consists of a series of short interviews with the best known comics to play The Strip. But the questions posed are virtually the same to each comic (“When did you start performing and when did you start at The Comic Strip”, for example) and there were some opportunities missed to ask good follow up questions. For those of us who haven’t been to The Strip–and just know it through Eddie Murphy’s album, which so many of the comedians reference–the book doesn’t give us a really good picture of what it’s like to be IN the club. The same anecdote–hanging around the club as if it’s home–is repeated by nearly all those interviewed. But you don’t get a vivid sense of what it really feels like to perform. I think the book would’ve benefitted greatly from a narrative as opposed to the series of Q+As or it could’ve been improved if all the comedians’ quotes had been used in different chapters on different topics. It’s a quick read and written with much love, but I would love to have read a longer book.

  • Mark Malkoff

    Great book.

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