All Jokes Aside: Standup Comedy Is a Phunny Business Paperback – January 12, 2016
by Raymond Lambert (Author), Chris Bournea (Author), Chris Gardner (Foreword)
Chris Rock. Jamie Foxx. Steve Harvey. Dave Chappelle. Some of the biggest names in American entertainment today all appeared at Raymond Lambert’s club All Jokes Aside, the legendary Chicago showcase for African-American comedy, early in their careers. This insightful memoir follows up on Lambert’s critically acclaimed 2012 Showtime documentary, Phunny Business, and tells the story of his life as seen through the lens of All Jokes Aside—its successes, failures, and lessons learned.
By the late 1980s, Lambert was earning a six-figure salary as an investment banker on Wall Street, but dreamed of starting his own company. With zero experience, an equally committed partner, and a little borrowed money, he opened All Jokes Aside, and before long was helping to launch some of the biggest names in comedy.
This is story of Lambert’s journey, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of show business, and an inspiring tale for any would-be entrepreneur. Chock-full of cautionary tales both humorous and dramatic, revealing details on the early careers of top performers, and tangible guidance on how to build a business from the ground up, this book is a much-needed recent history of black entertainment and a powerful memoir of entrepreneurial ups and downs.
Praise for Raymond Lambert’s award-winning documentary “Phunny Business:”
“Full of history and context and has a sense of humor befitting its subject matter.” —Neil Genzlinger, New York Times
“[One of] the best documentaries of the year.” —Roger Ebert
“A wonderfully entertaining documentary about the club where it all began for many of today’s top comic talents. ” —Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“This is one documentary that comedy fans won’t want to miss.” —Huffington Post
“Breezy, vivid, funny, star-studded and delightful valentine to comedy, entrepreneurship and the All-American impulse to make something out of nothing…. Isn’t just a great Chicago story and a great comedy story: it’s a flat-out great story, lovingly and engagingly told.” —Nathan Rabin, head writer The Onion/A.V. Club
“A gem! A funny, insightful, honest knockout winner of a film about the serious business of comedy. A film that’s an absolute must see movie. Four stars!” —Sergio Mims, EbonyJET Online
“An invaluable look back at an all-too-brief but shining and important moment in the history of comedy.” —Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times
“The heartwarming and ultimately heartbreaking hidden history of south side Chicago’s premiere Black comedy club. Inspirational, motivational, hilarious.” —David Rensin, author and contributor editor Playboy
Praise for All Jokes Aside, Raymond Lambert’s iconic Chicago comedy club:
“I did a show at All Jokes Aside, and I got about four standing ovations…it was about the best show I had at that particular time in my career.” —Bernie Mac
“All Jokes Aside was a mecca; when you went there to perform, you saw black folk running a comedy club the way a comedy club should be run. Ray Lambert took it to the next level.” —Steve Harvey
“If you can get booked here, be a headliner at All Jokes Aside, you knew that, you know, you were considered in the upper echelon of comedians working at that time.” —Cedric the Entertainer
“If you went over the roster of comics that played All Jokes Aside, it would be a who’s who of comedy.” —D.L. Hughley
“Whenever anybody asks me how I got my start, I don’t hesitate to mention All Jokes.” —Craig Robinson
“You couldn’t just be Black, you had to Black and funny and good at All Jokes Aside.” —Sheryl Underwood
“It (All Jokes Aside) developed a discipline in those of us that were there that you carried with you through the rest of your career.” —Don D.C. Curry
“All Jokes Aside was the one club where you didn’t feel that sexism. I experienced equality with my fellow male comedians.” —Laura Hayes
“Not only was the club a great Black comedy club, it was a great comedy club…period.” —Mike Epps
About the Author
Raymond Lambert is an entrepreneur, independent producer, and adjunct professor at Columbia College. He wrote and produced the award-winning documentary film Phunny Business, and is executive producer on “Maya Angelou: The Peoples Poet.” He is the founder of the comedy club All Jokes Aside. Chris Bournea is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is a contributing writer for the Columbus Dispatch, This Week Community News, and the Call and Post Newspaper, Ohio’s oldest and largest African-American newspaper. Chris Gardner is the chief executive officer of Gardner Rich & Company, a multimillion-dollar brokerage with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. Gardner’s memoir, The Pursuit of Happyness, was made into a feature film starring Will Smith in 2006.
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Agate Bolden (January 12, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
RAYMOND LAMBERT is a social entrepreneur, independent producer, and adjunct professor at Columbia College in Chicago. He earned writer and producer credits for the award-winning documentary film PHUNNY BUSINESS: A Black Comedy and he is currently serving as a producer on two new documentaries, Maya Angelou: The People’s Poet, and All The Queens Horses with Kartemquin Films. He has served as a consultant on comedy and talent to producers at NBC, HBO, Comedy Central, Just For Laughs, and BET. Lambert earned his B.A. from Morehouse College and an M.B.A from The University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business.