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A Director's Guide to the Art of Stand-up


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Stand-up: it's the ultimate solo art form. Yet, behind the scenes, you will increasingly find the shadowy figure of a director. For comics themselves and for those who support them, this is the first book to give the director's perspective on creating and performing stand-up comedy. Drawing on his own experience of directing stand-up alongside speaking to comedians and their directors, Chris Head produces a revealing perspective on the creative process, comic persona, writing stand-up, structuring material and delivering a performance. Directors interviewed include Logan Murray, John Gordillo and Simon McBurney, who between them have directed Eddie Izzard, Michael McIntyre, Milton Jones, Lenny Henry and French & Saunders. With a foreword by BBC arts editor Will Gompertz and contributions from many other interviewees including Oliver Double (author of Getting the Joke), this is the only book that goes all the way from one-liners to theatre via comedy club sets and full-length shows. Perfect for stand-ups from newbies to pros, students of comedy, academics studying and teaching stand-up and for directors themselves, A Director's Guide to the Art of Stand-up offers hundreds of inspiring practical insights and shows how creating the comedian's highly personal, individual act can be a deeply collaborative process.
Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword: Will Gompertz, BBC Arts Editor Act 1: On Stage Identity/Off-Stage Process 1. Directing the Persona: The Comedic Self 2. Where Comic Ideas Come From (And How to Cultivate Them) 3. How Directors & Stand-Ups Work Together Act 2: Writing & Performing Stand-up 4. The Interplay Between Writing and Performance 5. Writing Jokes: Afterthoughts & Beforethoughts 6. Re-Writing Jokes: To Fix Them, Improve Them and Suit the Teller 7. It Takes Two: Incongruity, Transpositions, Analogies, Personification & Bathos 8. Developing and Structuring Stories & Routines 9. Set-up/Payoff in Stories & Routines 10. Directing the Stand-up Performance Act 3: Full Length Shows & Theatre 11.Developing and Structuring Full-Length Shows 12. Vulnerability and Pain in Stand-up Shows 13. Case Study: The Naked Racist 14. Stand-Ups Do Theatre 15. Theatre Makers Influenced by Stand-up Afterword: The End

Promotional Information

The only book to explore the stand-up's creative relationship with their director and to offer insights from the director's perspective for stand-up comedians and those supporting them.

About the Author

Chris Head has established himself as one of the UK's leading comedy coaches and has twenty years' experience as a director of live shows. As director he has worked on shows at all the major venues of the Edinburgh Fringe, across London including Soho and Bloomsbury Theatres, on national UK tours and internationally at the likes of Melbourne and Adelaide Comedy Festivals, and LA Shorts Comedy Film Festival.


It opened up a world that I didn't know before and haven't stopped exploring since. I hope this book does something similar for you -- From the foreword by Will Gompertz

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