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STANDUP GUYS: A Generation of Laughs by John DeBellis

STANDUP GUYS: A Generation of Laughs

by John DeBellis

262 pages
John DeBellis' STAND-UP GUYS: A Generation of Laughs is a comic's memoir that puts the reader on and off stage with a unique group of young comedians: Larry David, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Bill Maher, Gilbert Gottfried, Elayne Boosler, Rita Rudner, Larry Miller, Joe Piscopo, Robert Wuhl, Paul Reiser, Jerry Seinfeld and several of the most neurotic, lovable characters who survived and thrived due to talent, passion, and, most importantly, camaraderie. It's a memoir rich in humor, pathos, and insight.

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Category: Biography
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About the Book
Standup Guys is not only a comedy writer’s memoir, but also a family tree of friendships that were formed among forty comedians who emerged from the Improvisation, Catch a Rising Star, and Comic Strip clubs in New York City during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Through author John DeBellis’ eyes, nervous system, and rapid heart rate, the reader gets to feel what it is like to go on stage for the first time, get a first laugh, and bomb over and over again, only to be consoled by his comic friends, eating diner food that even sulfuric acid could not break down.

Awaken at noon and spend the day with comedians who were responsible for only three things--one another, comedy, and baseball. It was group self indulgency that allowed the stand-ups to give to one another the only love they could accept or even understand--the love of working together on their own separate missions to be the funniest they could be. Misery was their new happiness because they laughed at both the worst times and the best times—which mostly happened at the same time.

Big time comedians like Richard Lewis, Elayne Boosler, Richard Belzer, Robert Klein, and David Brenner unselfishly share their knowledge and help the young comics, showing them how to get better spots working themselves up the comedy night club ladder. You’ll watch Rodney Dangerfield put together his Tonight Show TV spots with a work ethic that Egyptians who built the pyramids might find obsessive. You’ll wait at the edge of the showroom to go on stage to a full house for the first time, only to be bumped at the last second by Robin Williams or Richard Pryor. You’ll perform your first set, MC the shows, put on some crazy acts, and rally audience members on stage behind Joe Piscopo.

You’ll be with the author when he becomes a comedy club heavy weight and starts bumping nervous new acts. You’ll be trapped in the writer’s wing of the Tonight Show with a vindictive head writer. You’ll be in the hall when Billy Crystal forms his patented Fernando Lama. You’ll witness the single minded determination of Rita Rudner and how she willed herself to be a great comedian with her own distinctive style. You’ll go to LA Improv and watch Richard Lewis find his patented neurotic character. You’ll realize that the only difference between Larry David then and his character on Curb Your Enthusiasm now is the upscale neighborhood.

You’ll meet some of the strangest and funniest people you never heard of and may never forget. Standup Guys is the camaraderie and the laughs of a generation of comedians and characters who will always be laughing together.

Follow John DeBellis’ blog, named after his favorite “9:20 Spot” on stage, and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and GoodReads.

What Other Comedians Are Saying About Standup Guys: A Generation of Laughs:

“I really liked it. Don’t know how you remembered all that stuff. The writing was pretty sharp, which leads me to believe you must have had some outside help. Some big words and even some traces of humanity! Couldn’t have been you. In any event, please pass on my congratulations to the author and tell him, her or perhaps your Dad before he passed. It’s a wonderful book.” - Larry David

“This amazing read reminds me of how it might have been for artists hanging out in cafes in the early 20th Century; drinking and laughing, trying to discover our authentic selves in the world of stand- up. In this crazed existence,DeBellis reveals dead-on howgetting laughs practically, if not completely, validated our reason to exist. On a personal note, I’d like to thank the author for so brilliantly reminding me of my tortured, insatiable need to be judged by strangers going on now for over forty two years. Someone had to take the hit. This book perfectly describes my favorite obsession.” - Richard Lewis

“I don’t think any of us would have become the comedians or entertainers that we’ve become without passing through that crucible. And also I wouldn’t trade anything for the fun we had. God we had fun. We were too stupid to know how hard it was. I miss seeing everybody all the time. Standup Guys authentically mirrors that time period.” - Bill Maher

“John DeBellis is one of the many comedians I met in New York City and didn’t sleep with. If the 1940s produced the greatest generation, the 1970s and 80s arguably produced the funniest generation. John documents this wonderfully in his book; add “phenomenal memory” to his list of talents, which includes ‘terrific joke craftsman’. I was transported right back to the bar at Catch A Rising Star, sitting on a stool with my various notebooks and playing “Is this funny?” I can’t believe that was thirty years ago and I was only six.” - Rita Rudner

“Standup Guys was so real that I was waiting to get heckled by the book. The writing is witty and smart and it authentically captures what it was like to be a comic during that magical time, when standup was our life, and not yet our livelihood, and the friendships we formed were destined to last a lifetime. ” - Richard Belzer

“I can honestly say the paper this book is printed on is of pretty high quality and the cover is relatively durable.” - Gilbert Gottfried

“John’s book brings back that special era vividly and makes me feel like asking for cab fare again. For eight bucks a night we lived like court jesters that had taken over the kingdom. If you want to know what it was like being a stand-up comic back in the 70’s and early 80’s then this is the ultimate read.” - Robert Wuhl

“As a stand-up comic, I was so able to identify with John’s vivid description of the comedy world in the 70's and 80's and this daring and bold wave of risk-takers. This was a generation of fresh, young comedians that spawned comedy clubs throughout the country and enticed people to go out to see them and laugh. I’m proud to be part of this club and very grateful that I’m not as neurotic and dysfunctional as some of them here in this book.” - Kevin Nealon

“John’s book relives all those great, early, explosive years of New York comedy: the brotherhood, the backstage fun, the beer, and even the broken bones. It was a blast.” - Joe Piscopo

 

 

About the Author
John DeBellis Huffington Post contributor and standup comedian John DeBellis has written for David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, Joe Piscopo, Elayne Boosler, Jenny Jones, Billy Crystal, Bill Maher, Dennis Miller, and Gabe Kaplan. John has done staff writing for Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, Politically Incorrect, The Billy Crystal Comedy Hour, and several sitcoms. He was head writer for the critically acclaimed syndicated satire, D.C. Follies, and was the supervising producer and writer for the ACE Award-winning Joe Piscopo special on HBO.

DeBellis produced what many critics say was the best TV special ever done about standup comedy, Comedy Club Super Stars. The show aired on ABC and featured Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Bill Maher, Rita Rudner, Paula Poundstone, Larry Miller, and Tim Allen.

John just completed writing and directing his first feature film, The Last Request, starring T.R. Knight, Danny Aiello, Frankie Vincent, Vinnie Pastore, Gilbert Gottfried, Mario Cantone, Joe Piscopo, Tony Lo Bianco, and Barbara Feldon.

Follow John’s blog and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and GoodReads.

 

 

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