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Posts tagged as poking a dead frog

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.

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'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.)

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 [...]

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 [...]