I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era Paperback – July 27, 2010
by William Knoedelseder (Author)
In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from all across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot—but it couldn’t last.
William Knoedelseder, then a cub reporter covering the scene for the Los Angeles Times, was there when the comedians—who were not paid for performing—tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. In I’m Dying Up Here he tells the whole story of that golden age, of the strike that ended it, and of how those days still resonate in the lives of those who were there.
From Publishers Weekly
Knoedelseder offers a fascinating account of the Comedy Camelot days of the 1970s when Los Angeles abounded with future comedy superstars. Everyone from Jay Leno and David Letterman to Andy Kaufman and Robin Williams struggled through late-night sets in clubs that refused to pay them for their efforts, until a strike tore the comedy community apart and paved the way for future generations. William Dufris delivers a strong reading that is slightly more straightforward than many listeners might be searching for. However, it gets the job done and entertains along the way. Dufris has a journalistic tone to his voice, imbuing his narration with gravity and sincerity. A PublicAffairs hardcover (Reviews, June 1). (Aug.)
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“Knoedelseder skillfully layers powerful dramatic details.” —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review
–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
William Knoedelseder is a veteran journalist and best-selling author who honed his investigative and narrative skills during 12 years as a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times, where his ground breaking coverage of the entertainment industry produced a long string of exposes. His two-year investigation of payola and other corrupt practices in the record business sparked five federal grand jury investigations across the country, led to the arrest and conviction of a score of organized figures and formed the basis of his first best-selling book, Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, the Music Business and the Mafia (Harper Collins 1993). Stiffed was named Best Non-Fiction work of 1993 by Entertainment Weekly, which called it “the scariest book of the year…and the funniest.”Â The two of the principal mob figures depicted in Stiffed–New Jersey crime boss Gaetano “Corky” Vastola and Roulette Records founder Morris Levy–subsequently served as the models for HBO’s Tony Soprano and his music business mentor Herman “Hesh” Rabkin.
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs; Reprint edition (July 27, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces