Splitsider

Posts tagged as mike sacks

In 'Poking a Dead Frog', Comedians' Advice, Stories, and Neuroses Shine

Nerding out on comedy just got a lot easier with Mike Sacks’ new Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers. In his follow up to 2009’s excellent And Here’s the Kicker, Sacks has compiled an impressively diverse list of writers working within the humor genre, from both sitcom and feature writers to directors to cartoonists to radio writers, like The Best Show on WFMU’s Tom Sharpling and 97-year-old Peg Lynch, writer of the 1940s Ethel and Albert. Whether you’re a comedian or a fan, there’s something here to interest you and that’s no doubt by design. The table of contents alone is intimidatingly long in the best possible way.

[...]

'Poking a Dead Frog,' Mike Sacks's Sequel to 'And Here's the Kicker' Out Today

Mike Sacks's latest book of interviews with comedians, Poking a Dead Frog, hits the shelves today. A follow-up to his 2009 book, And Here's the Kicker, Poking a Dead Frog features interviews and advice from over 40 professional comedy writers, spanning a wide range of mediums including movies, late night, sitcoms, standup, print, podcasts, and more. James L. Brooks, Adam McKay, Amy Poehler, Mel Brooks, Diablo Cody,Glen Charles, and Carol Kolb are just some of the writers included in the new book, from which we excerpted an interview with longtime SNL writer James Downey this morning.

Pre-Order 'Poking a Dead Frog,' Mike Sacks's Follow-Up to 'And Here's the Kicker'

Mike Sacks has written a sequel to his hit 2009 book And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft. The new series of interviews — called Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers — includes new insights from Amy Poehler, Patton Oswalt, Mel Brooks, Adam McKay, George Saunders, and more and is now available for pre-order on Amazon ahead of its June 24th release. Order it now for extra comedy nerd credit.

(Full disclosure: Our Managing Editor Bradford Evans contributed to the book.)

Talking with Mike Sacks about 'And Here's the Kicker', Interviewing Comedians, References in Comedy, and More!

Six weeks ago, you guys chose And Here's the Kicker as the first book of the Splitsider Comedy Book Club. Great job! I hope you enjoyed it and got as much out of it as I did. What Mike Sacks achieved with And Here's was tremendous. He got a rare level of access to these comedic geniuses and they did not disappoint. Just to be able to read about how Bob Odenkirk, Dick Cavett, or Marshall Brickman thinks of a joke is profound; to be able pass on the legend of Milton Berle's penis is even more so.

Recently, I discussed the book and some of its [...]

The First Splitsider Comedy Book Club Book Is…

And Here's The Kicker by Mike Sacks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHTK won the popular comment vote, narrowly beating Chris Gethard's A Bad Idea I'm About to Do (which will definitely be the second book we'll do). In a way, it's the perfect book to start the series, as it offers so many different points of view. The book features 21 interviews with some of the most revered comedy writers ever from George Meyer to David Sedaris to Jack Handey to Bob Odenkirk to Harold Ramis – seriously, I kind of just want to list all the amazing names – each offering their unique perspective on comedy.

So, what's next? [...]

Mike Sacks on 'Poking a Dead Frog', Discontented Comedy Writers, and "Comic Decay"

Comedians think often about how their identity relates to the world around them. They spent much of their time reflecting on who they are, where they come from, what they've done, and what they've seen. Usually these reflections are form-fitted and presented to us as comedy for entertainment, and it's through this process that we may come to know more about the comedian and the world we live in.

Imagine if you gave comedians free-range to tell us about themselves and what they think about their world without having to mold it to fit a comic form. Mike Sacks has been doing that for us since 2009 when he [...]

'SNL's James Downey on Working with Norm Macdonald and Getting Fired for Making Fun of OJ Simpson

Saturday Night Live has employed hundreds of comedy writers in its four decades on the air, but no writer has been associated with the show longer — or had more of a lasting impact — than James Woodward Downey. If Lorne Michaels is the face of Saturday Night Live, Downey is its behind-the-scenes creative force. 

Called by Lorne Michaels the best political humorist alive, Downey has been responsible for most of the political-centered pieces during Saturday Night Live’s run (many of which he co-wrote with now Senator Al Franken), starting with Jimmy Carter in the mid-’70s and ending, six administrations later, with Barack Obama. The power of Downey’s political comedy extends [...]

Preview: Mike Sacks's Sequel to 'And Here's the Kicker'

I remember picking up Mike Sacks's book And Here's the Kicker, a collection of interviews with some of the greatest comedy writers ever, when it was released back in 2009, and instantly devouring it. I couldn't cram the words into my brain fast enough. While my peers' childhood heroes were pro skateboarders and wrestlers, I instead worshiped comedy writers, and in Sacks's book, here they all were – Letterman head writer Merrill Markoe, original Simpsons scribe George Meyer, and '80s comedy king Harold Ramis – talking at length on the subject of humor writing. I recall this distinct feeling that there had never been anything more perfectly suited [...]

Checking in Halfway Through 'And Here's The Kicker'

Two weeks ago, we named And Here's The Kicker as the first book of the Splitsider Comedy Book Club. The plan is to give everyone a month to obtain and read the book but I wanted to check in as we're halfway through. So far, I've read the wonderful interviews with Buck Henry, Stephen Merchant, Harold Ramis, Dan Mazer, Merrill Markoe, Paul Feig, Bob Odenkirk, Todd Hanson, Marshall Brickman, and Mitch Hurwitz. Though the hope is to have a longer discussion at the end of the book, below are a few questions to be discussed in the comments section of this post to get the ball rolling [...]

Check Out Adult Swim's "Not a Blog"

Did you know that Mike Sacks, author of the much-loved And Here's the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers on their Craft, is now the editor of Adult Swim's Not a Blog? Well, he is! And he's running fun things like today's Movie Reviewer Trapped in a Wall by The Onion's Dan Mirk. So go check it out why don't you?

Adam McKay on What He Learned from Working with Improv Guru Del Close

Will Ferrell doesn’t mince words when describing Adam McKay, his longtime friend and comedy collaborator. “He’s kind of a dangerous individual,” Ferrell says. “He’s extremely funny; there’s no doubt about it. But he’s dangerous. I wouldn’t stay in a room with him, one on one, for any longer than I had to. There’s a criminal tendency there. We have a great working relationship because I don’t ask him much about his past. He just frightens me.” Ferrell is joking, obviously. But there was a time, years before McKay found Hollywood success directing and co-writing films such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) and The Other Guys (2010), [...]

Mike Sacks Is Re-Releasing an Extended Version of 'And Here's the Kicker'

Mike Sacks's new book of interviews with comedians, Poking a Dead Frog, hits the shelves June 24th, and as part of the lead-up, he's re-released his first book in the series, And Here's the Kicker. Originally published in 2009, And Here's the Kicker features interviews with 21 big comedy writers, including Bob Odenkirk, Mitch Hurwitz, and the late Harold Ramis, and the re-release includes 200 pages of extra material including an interview with a canned laughter editor and one with The New Yorker's cartoon editor.

Sacks calls the new edition of And Here's the Kicker his "Directors Cut version. It's the book the way I originally wanted [...]

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.

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 [...]