Review: I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era

I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy's Golden Era
I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era by William Knoedelseder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fantastic oral history of stand-up in New York and L.A. in the 70s, particularly focused on the scene at the Improv and the Comedy Store. It is primarily concerned with the events leading up to the stand-up strike at the Comedy Store and the aftermath of the strike.

The author is a journalist who covered the comedy beat for the L.A. Times, so he had a great window into the times. During this time, he also developed a friendship with Richard Lewis, so Lewis’s experiences and circle of friends are featured.

I remember having seen the E! True Hollywood Story about the Comedy Store walkout, so this is a great supplement to that. If you love stand-up comedy, I highly recommend this book. (I am a fan of this author–I’ve also read and recommended his Stiffed and Bitter Brew.)

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