A delightful and hilarious read for anyone interested in what makes comedians tick.




Three decades of interviews with comedy greats conducted by writer, producer, and director Apatow (The 40-Year-Old VirginKnocked Up, etc.).

The author’s sprawling and insightful collection of interviews with some of the biggest and most respected names in comedy was a project that began over 30 years ago when, as a high schooler in Long Island, he coerced various agents and managers to grant him time to speak with comedians for his school radio program. Such ambition is a testament to Apatow’s self-stated obsession with comedy and an unyielding desire to learn as much as he could about the form. The early interviews, often conducted when the author was only 15, offer a unique glimpse into the minds of the rising comedic stars of the 1980s—e.g., Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Paul Reiser, and Harold Ramis. Little did Apatow know that he was interviewing future megastars, and the comedians were unaware that the young man hoisting his giant tape recorder during the interview would become a comedic sensation in his own right. The author also wisely conducts follow-up interviews with several comedians for juxtapositions that are the most immediate charms in a book nearly bursting with them. The table of contents is a who’s who of major players: Martin Short, Steve Martin, Chris Rock, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Jim Carrey, Seth Rogen, and Stephen Colbert, among others. For added perspective, Apatow also includes interviews with less-conventional funny people like musician Eddie Vedder, novelist and artist Miranda July, and director Spike Jonze. The persistent theme across this diverse range of interviews is the comedian as tireless tradesman constantly touring and honing his craft. The candidness of the interviews also exposes the peculiar community of comedians with anecdotes and cameos unlikely to be heard elsewhere.

A delightful and hilarious read for anyone interested in what makes comedians tick.

Pub Date: June 16, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8129-9757-6

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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