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Wisdom From the Greats #2: Writing

October 29, 2010

A few weeks ago, we looked at the craft of comedy writing in the post William Strunk Jr. Vs. Comedy.  I wanted to follow up with 5 quotes from famous comics on the same topic.  This installment of Wisdom From the Greats is all about  writing.

You’ve got the write stuff… (Baybeh)

1) Milton Berle

“Keep your ears open, keep your eyes open, watch and study.”

– Milton Berle (From Great Comedians Talk About Comedy by Larry Wilde)

2) Gary Shandling

“You can’t do old material – it reflects something you aren’t anymore.  If you can make old material work, you’ve got bigger problems because it means you’re stuck as an artist and need to grow.”

– Gary Shandling  (From Comic Insights: The Art of Standup Comedy by Franklin Ajaye)

3) Joey Bishop


“Unless you have a curious mind, you cannot be a comedian… that’s the only way to get material.”

– Joey Bishop (From Great Comedians Talk About Comedy by Larry Wilde)

4)     Shelley Berman


“Generally a comedian has a complaint – a peculiar oblique complaint which he disguises in a specific way.”

– Shelley Berman (From Great Comedians Talk About Comedy by Larry Wilde)

5) Jack Benny


“College does something to you.  It makes you feel that you know a little bit too much and you do not then consider an audience your equal – while if you haven’t had that college training you are very careful about what you say and how you say it.”

– Jack Benny (From Great Comedians Talk About Comedy by Larry Wilde)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2010 1:34 pm

    Great, especially Shandling’s quote. I used it to validate my existence.

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