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Download I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Era Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample Im Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedys Golden Era (Unabridged) Audiobook, by William Knoedelseder
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (339 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: William Knoedelseder Narrator: William Dufris Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN:
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I'm Dying Up Here chronicles the collective coming of age of the standup comedians who defined American humor during the past three decades. Born early in the Baby Boom, they grew up watching The Tonight show, went to school during Vietnam and Watergate, migrated en masse to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and created an artistic community unlike any before or since.

They were arguably the funniest people of their generation, living in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams, and laughter. For one brief shining moment, standup comics were as revered as rock stars. It was Comedy Camelot but, of course, it couldn't last.

In the late 1970s, William Knoedelseder was a cub reporter assigned to cover the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, and others. He got to know many of them well. And so he covered the scene too when the comedians--who were not paid for performing at the career-making-or-breaking venue called the Comedy Store---tried to change an exploitative system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community.

Now Knoedelseder has gone back to interview the major participants to tell the whole story of that golden age and of the strike that ended it. Full of revealing portraits of many of the best-known comedic talents of our age, I'm Dying Up Here is also a poignant tale of the price of success and the terrible cost of failure - professional and moral. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Streator Johnson | 2/19/2014

    " A fascinating history of stand up comedy in the 70's. A subject I know next to nothing about. Enjoy it thoroughly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff | 2/13/2014

    " Great book that delves into the comedy scene of the 1970s when Jay Leno, Letterman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams and others were all coming up. Very fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jon Finkelstein | 2/7/2014

    " 1/3 through and I love it "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian DiMattia | 2/5/2014

    " Interesting history of the time period, the industry, and the artistry that makes a stand-up comedian. The author brought personal insight into it and made a bunch of characters you've heard about and from into very real people who, for awhile, had a terrific community of support and artistic development going. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beau Teague | 2/3/2014

    " Good bits and pieces but one doesn't get the feeling that Knoedelseder is telling the full story at times now does one. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Laurie | 1/17/2014

    " if you're interested in stand up comedy this is a great read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joshua | 1/10/2014

    " History of standup comedy in the 70s "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Dullum | 1/8/2014

    " Terrific book about LA's Comedy Store and the comedians who got their first breaks there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kati | 10/16/2013

    " Heartbreaking and fascinating. The only thing that bugs me is the frequent misuse of apostrophes in plural possessives. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bill | 9/18/2013

    " This is a fantastic book about the rise of stand-up comedy in the seventies, the rise of the Comedy Store in L.A., the comedian strike of 1979 to get paid, and, sadly, the life and death of Steve Lubetkin. If you are a student of the comedic form, this is an important book to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Todd | 1/28/2013

    " If you like stand up comedy you have to read this book. Btw Jay Leno is an ass ;-) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Spike Anderson | 8/30/2012

    " written in classic journalist style- an inside look at the history of comedy in LA- good for us new Angelino's who want to know some more of the context of la la land. A good read, nicely tells a few sides of the story, fun to see familiar names and their origin stories "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kevin | 5/31/2012

    " slightly interesting, nothing really groundbreaking. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Crbianfool | 3/11/2012

    " F*cking awesome story. High as balls but well told and fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 2/21/2012

    " Outstanding look at stand-up in the 70's and the strike that changed everything. Amazing read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 1/23/2012

    " So I've studied comedy a lot because I want to get into it. This book pretty much soley focused on the Comedy Store in LA and the people involved in it. A pretty good read, but seriously, I wonder why not that many women were involved in it? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ken! | 12/13/2011

    " the first 100-150 pages are fascinating. then the author gets all bogged down in the strike and the mechanics and the strikers' demands. that's when this book starts to grind to a halt. the last hundred pages are a real slog and kind of a bummer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paige Newman | 7/1/2011

    " There are some good stories in here, such as Robin Williams stealing jokes and the early friendship of Leno and Letterman, but most of this book is about how the comics picketed the Comedy Store in order to get paid, so if you're interested in that you may like this more than I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brian | 9/6/2009

    " Particularly enjoyed the description of Robin Williams as a thief of other comedians' material, with performers walking off stage if he entered the room. "

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About the Author

William Knoedelseder spent twelve years as a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, where his groundbreaking coverage of the recording industry for the newspaper’s financial section resulted in the critically acclaimed book Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business, and the Mafia. Knoedelseder has also been a television executive, creating, managing, and producing news programs for Knight Ridder, Fox, and the USA Network. At USA, he was vice president of news. His book I’m Dying up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy’s Golden Era has been optioned for film by actor Jim Carrey. He lives in Woodland Hills, California.

About the Narrator

William Dufris attended the University of Southern Maine in Portland-Gorham before pursuing a career in voice work in London and then the United States. He has won more than twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, was voted one of the Best Voices at the End of the Century by AudioFile magazine, and won the prestigious Audie Award in 2012 for best nonfiction narration. He lives with his family in Maine.