Second City's Improv Book 'Yes, And' Is Now Available for Pre-Order

Good news for improv fans: The Second City has a new book due out February 3rd, and it's now available for pre-order. Written by Second City executive vice president Kelly Leonard and Second City Works CEO Tom Yorton, Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration–Lessons from The Second City will offer a comprehensive breakdown of the Second City improv approach:

The rules of improvisation may sound a little like a recipe for disaster (“dare to offend” “fail in public,” “relinquish power”); in fact, the basic tenets of improv are also those that help groups like nonprofits, schools, apartment coops, and political [...]

What a _________ Job: How Mad Libs Are Written

“There’s a very small number of people on this planet who have this very specific job.” That’s how Mad Libs editor Laura Marchesani describes her work, and the exact thought that made me curious about a game I hadn’t played in decades.

Mad Libs have been a household name since their first release by publisher Price Stern Sloan (now a division of Penguin) in 1958. The game has a sophisticated origin story, told years ago by its inventor Leonard Stern: Stern’s friend Roger Price, whom he’d met when they were writing for The Tonight Show, had come over to polish a humor book they’d written together called What Not [...]

Read 30 Pages of Jen Kirkman's New Book 'I Can Barely Take Care of Myself' Right Now

Simon & Schuster has just uploaded a nice 30-page sneak preview of Jen Kirkman's upcoming book about living child-free, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself. The book officially comes out on April 16th, so check out the embedded preview below and then preorder it for the other 194 pages.

The Invention of Nostalgia: Inside the National Lampoon's '1964 Kaleidoscope'

Who would win in a fight between Don Draper talking about how nostalgia is a “twinge in your heart, far more powerful than memory alone” and Cheese saying “Ain’t no nostalgia to this shit here”?

I don’t know, but there is a book I love, and it’s the 1964 Kaleidoscope, the cover of which is an embossed kangaroo holding an oil lamp (or if you’re looking at it upside down and backwards, the cover is a cheerleader butt). Either way, let’s talk about it!

What this book actually is, is a thin-looking but superdense special edition of National Lampoon from 1974 parodying a high school year book from 1964, [...]

Sequel to Mike Sacks' 'And Here's the Kicker' Officially Coming to Viking/Penguin in 2014

Good news, fans of incredibly in-depth interviews with comedy writers! Mike Sacks, author of And Here's the Kicker, has officially sold the sequel to that book to Viking/Penguin. He tells me that it should clock in at around 400 pages and have a lot of "surprises." He's already working on it, aiming to have it done next year with the release scheduled for 2014. That's a long way off, but hey, good things take time to come together.

Simon Rich Reads Some Math Problems from His Book 'Ant Farm'

Here's the second installment of IFC's web series Funny People Reading Books, this time featuring former SNL writer and creator of the upcoming FXX series Man Seeking Woman Simon Rich, who reads an excerpt from his 2007 book Ant Farm: And Other Desperate Situations. If you enjoy solving math problems, these ones might be a little too depressing for you to figure out.

The UCB Improv Manual Is Finally Here

The long-awaited UCB improv manual has arrived! At Friday's opening press conference for the 15th Del Close Marathon, a mysterious box joined the UCB 4 on stage and quickly upstaged its famous co-stars; each time Ian Roberts held it above his head, chants of "Box! Box! Box!" filled the small basement theater. When someone finally asked the now-annual question about the progress of the group's book, the box (which had been joined by three brother boxes) was ripped open to triumphantly reveal The Upright Citizens Brigade Comedy Improvisation Manual.

Written by Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, the book was years in the making due to the busy [...]

'The Onion' Is Publishing a Joe Biden Autobiography Because It Would Be Irresponsible Not To

Some of the best stuff The Onion has published in recent years has been their stories about VP Joe Biden, depicting him as a sleazy party animal as experienced with martial arts as he is with vomiting, and now the satirical news outlet is publishing an autobiography written by their demented version of Joe Biden. The President of Vice: The Autobiography of Joe Biden will be released via Amazon's Kindle Singles store on Friday, and "Joe Biden" will be holding court with a Reddit AMA ("ask me anything") session on Friday at 3PM EST. The Onion's Joe Biden is really becoming a multi-platform hit, with a book [...]

Five Ways Tumblr Doesn't Prepare You To Write A Humor Book

In the modern publishing climate, there are two pathways to a humor book: Be famous or have a website. First, pull out your wallet and check your state issued I.D. Does it read “Adam Carolla,” “Stephen Colbert,” or “Chelsea Handler”? If not, you may want to go to Tumblr and sign up for an account.

However, while Tumblr may promise fame and a book deal (for some reason, people insist on saying the “deal” part, as if negotiations were cool), it doesn’t prepare you to write a book.

I started the Fake Science website in 2010. In the annals of internet history, that year will [...]

Mike Sacks Is Working on a Sequel to 'And Here's the Kicker'

Mike Sacks, the author of the must-read book of interviews with comedy writers And Here's the Kicker (and humor book Your Wildest Dreams Within Reason) has begun work on a sequel, one that'll have him talking to more big names from the world of comedy writing. He tells me that "there were quite a few writers I couldn't reach the first go-round. I hope to be able to connect with them for this version. Looking for a book editor and publisher who enjoyed and is familiar with the first book, and would know how to handle the second." Get on it, publishers.

If you haven't read [...]

Watch LeVar Burton Do a Live Reading of 'Go the Fuck to Sleep'

Every '90s kid's favorite book enthusiast LeVar Burton recently participated in a charity telethon, where he made the very charitable donation of a live reading of Adam Mansbach's Go the Fuck to Sleep to a group of grown up Reading Rainbow fans. If you're struggling with insomnia these days, you can now rely on the soothing sound of Burton saying "Jesus Christ, what the fuck? Go to sleep!" to help you drift off at night.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Humor Books Ever Written

Several months ago there was a lovely post on this site touting The Ultimate Comedy Library. As a print humorist, I couldn’t help but note, tears-in-eyes, that it was mostly books by contemporary actors and standups. Not people who wasted their one and only life sitting alone in front of a computer trying to think up jokes, in the vain hope, not of fame or fortune let’s not be silly, but someday, maybe, if they’re lucky, making it onto someone’s list of… The Ultimate Comedy Library.

Now just because your dreams are microscopically small doesn’t mean you’re going to get them, and we’re all responsible for our own [...]

Chris Ware's 'Building Stories': Finding Joy in the Most Unexpected Places

No one seems to think Chris Ware is very funny these days.

Judging by most of the reviews of his recent Building Stories — a graphic novel comprised of fourteen differently shaped comics packaged into a fifty-dollar, several-pound box — Ware has tapped directly into the goopy primordial stuff of human misery. At its simplest, Building Stories is about the inhabitants of three apartments in a Chicago three-flat near Humboldt Park, and about how their lives intersect and then break away from each other.

It has no set beginning or end, and the reader controls how to move through the narrative. In this way, the book plays with [...]

Humblebrags, Now In Book Form

If you liked @humblebrag, the twitter account by Parks and Rec writer Harris Wittels about people bragging with faux humility, there's a decent chance you will also enjoy Humblebrag: The Art of False Modesty, which is the book version of said twitter account. Now available for pre-order, which I suggest you humbly brag about on twitter after you do so.