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THE COMIC IDOLBOX HOW TO BE FUNNY EVEN IF YOU'RE NOT BY JOHN VORHAUS SILMAN-JAMES PRESS Los Anceles CONTENTS Introduction xi Comedy ts Twuth and Pain 1 The WilltoRisk 9 The Comic Premise 19 Comic Characters 30 Some Tools from the Toolbox 47 Types of Comic Stories 58 The Comic Throughline 75 More Tools fom the Toolbox 103 Pract Jokes 116 Comedy and Jeopardy 117 Still More Tools from the Toolbox 125 Situation Comedy’ 139 Sketch Comedy 154 Toward Polish and Perfection 162 Scrapmetal and Doughnuts 174 Homilies & Exhomations 186 “FORWARD!” to The Comic Toolbox Are you one of those sorry folk Who cannot write a decent joke, Who cannot pen a funny scene Because you lack the comic gene? ‘Are you convinced that you alone ‘Are cursed to walk this earth without a funny bone? ike heart, dear friend, for now a book is writ To guide you on your quest To wrest from deep within, your native wit Voila! The Comic Toolbax by John Vorhaus To save you from the jester's poorhouse. It lays you certain basic rules ‘That aid the craft of serious fools. ‘You'll learn to slay that dreaded din, The Editor who lives within, ‘And once sprung from that self-constructed jail, ‘You'll then be free 10 risk and free to fail, Free to find the premise, choose the word ‘That separates the master from the nerd. So if you wish to tune your comic eraft ‘And join the ranks of the professionally daft, Then take this book of humor-honing tools And join the ranks of esters, clowns and fools ‘Who rise each day and, taking out their pen, Bring joy and laughter to their fellow men. —Peter Bergman, Furesign Theatre, Los Angeles, 1994