"Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy"

Jul 9, 2015

On this presentation of ST, we chat with Joe Randazzo, a former editor of The Onion and former creative director of adultswim.com who now writes for the Comedy Central program called @midnight. Randazzo is also the author of a new book, "Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTube." Randazzo says that the idea for this book was originally to write a parody of your typical "how to" guidebook...but then, as he thought more about his own stint in the comedy biz, the project took a much more practical and grounded turn. As Michael Ian Black has noted of this volume in The New York Times Book Review: "'Funny on Purpose' has actual, useful advice for those who would seek to subject themselves to the paradoxical suffering and pain of a career devoted to making others laugh. For example, his five traits for performing comedy are as succinct as they are debatable: relatability, timing, shamelessness, yelling, and vulnerability. Actually, of these, I think only yelling is debatable. Bob Newhart never yelled and still did O.K. People who already know they want to be screenwriters or stand-up comedians can find books on the market with more in-depth advice on their specific subjects. Those, however, who have a sense that they are funny people but, unlike Le­Bron James, do not know where to take their talents would be well served heeding Randazzo's advice, as well as reading his assorted interviews with comedy luminaries like Terry Jones, Joan Rivers, Judd Apatow, and many others scattered throughout the book."