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The Laugh Makers

the laugh
The Laugh Makers Paperback – 29 Jun 2016
by Robert L. Mills (Author), Gary Owens (Foreword)

“At long last, a book that pays homage to television’s unsung heroes — those wit wizards who face a blank page every day and somehow manage to create something John Barrymore claimed was more difficult than dying: laughter. In his book, Bob Mills not only keeps the reader laughing, but — like a comedic Houdini revealing his secrets — shows us how it’s done. The Laugh Makers is a “must read” for anyone even thinking about a career in comedy. ” – Shelley Berman (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Boston Legal) “In the 70s and 80s, Hollywood Squares often taped next to The Bob Hope Show studio. Judging from the laughter we often heard in the hallway, I always suspected Hope’s writers were having a great time over there and now I know why. The Laugh Makers is a fascinating, heartwarming and revealing book on the day-to-day life of comedy writers working for a legend. It also revives long-ago memories of an era and that was so much fun and that I’m sure we’ll never see again.” – Peter Marshall (Host of The Hollywood Squares) “The author and I have lots in common — we’re both San Franciscans, our comedy careers were launched by a KSFO disc jockey named Don Sherwood, and we’re fellow college alumns. Now that I’ve laughed my way through his backstage stories and priceless recollections of a long and exciting tenure on the road with Bob Hope, I can finally say definitively and without fear of contradiction that Bob Mills is the second-funniest graduate of S.F. State.” – Ronnie Schell (Good Morning, World, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.) “When I was first introduced to the author, I said “How do you do?” and he replied, “I make a nice living.” Though an incurable smart ass, Bob Mills is one of the warmest, most talented members of our comedy fraternity — attributes clearly evident on every page of his landmark homage to Bob Hope and his gag writers. So buy his book… please. He’s gotten used to that nice living.”” – Jack Reilly (Mr. Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show, Stu Pickles on The Rugrats) “It’s hard to praise the work of a longtime friend without sounding like you’re angling for a free lunch. But Mills has really created something unique here — an accurate, compellingly readable, hilarious and heartwarming inside view of one of America’s most popular variety shows, its legendary host, and its guest stars. And I say that not because I got a free advance copy. Actually, it wasn’t from the author — a hotel where I was staying ran out of Gideon Bibles.” – Chuck McCann (The Projectionist, Boston Legal) “In The Laugh Makers, Bob Mills takes us on an exciting backstage journey from London to Stockholm… Bora Bora to Beijing, covering thousands of miles and nearly as many laughs. Today, Mills has more milage on him than Bob Hope’s luggage. His book is a real gem that’s got sex, violence, intrigue — and the second page is good, too. Actually, that’s a joke Mills wrote for Hope, but I couldn’t resist. I have to confess, I read the book in one sitting — stuck in traffic on the 405.” – Pat Harrington (The Steve Allen Show, One Day at a Time)

Product details
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: BearManor Media (29 Jun. 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1593933231
ISBN-13: 978-1593933234
Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,204,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

A must-read for a Bob Hope fan. 18 Aug. 2011
By Nathan A. Gordon – Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

I gave Bob Mills’ The Laugh Makers five stars for one main reason: It provides a vast amount of information on Bob Hope that we Bob Hope fans never knew before. I was surprised to learn, for example, that Bob had his make-up applied at his house before he taped at NBC and that he was his own driver. I was also surprised to learn that Bob’s favorite comedian was Shecky Greene (really?). I was familiar with the way that Bob’s writers worked since it had been well described for his radio writers in Jordan Young’s The Laugh Crafters (I wonder if Bob Mills based the name of his book on Jordan’s?)

Mills is at his best when he keeps the focus on his topic–Mr. Bob Hope. If there is a problem with the book, it’s that at some point, Mills decides to make the book serve another purpose: a primer for would-be television writers. That’s when the book starts to bog down. Other annoyances are Mill’s detours into various show production problems, guest star updates to the current day and some long drawn-out descriptions of some of the places that the show visited (China, for example).

But, in the end, it all doesn’t matter for the real Bob Hope fan. This is the only book that I know of that describes in some detail what it was like to tape Bob’s final NBC shows. It reminds me of the reason why Johnny Carson wanted to bow out at 67. I strongly recommend this book to all Bob Hope junkies. This book serves as another reminder of Bob Hope’s giant talent. I wish he was still around.


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