Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTube (Paperback)

Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTube Cover Image
By Joe Randazzo, John Hodgman (Foreword by)
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It takes guts to be a comedian, and it takes smarts to make a living off it. In this insider's guide, former Onion editor Joe Randazzo delivers a funny and insightful blueprint for those looking to turn their sense of humor into a vocation. Explaining how it works and how to break in, Joe provides tips and guidance, outlines successful career paths, and solicits advice and stories from the likes of Judd Apatow, Jack Handey, Joan Rivers, Tim & Eric, and more. From writing for TV to doing standup or developing a successful YouTube channel, Funny on Purpose gives readers the knowledge and inspiration to launch a career in comedy with confidence.

About the Author

Joe Randazzo is the former editor of The Onion and former creative director of He lives in Connecticut.

John Hodgman is an author, performer, and raconteur. He has written three books and is a regular contributor to This American Life and The Daily Show. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For…

"Lots of people are funny; very few can be comedians. For anyone unsure about the transition from the first to the second, longtime Onion editor Joe Randazzo's new book, Funny on Purpose, is here to hold your hand. Subtitled The Definitive Guide to An Unpredictable Career in Comedy, Randazzo has produced an incredibly readable book that works as both a crash course in comedy and a reference text for a seemingly endless number of possible comedic careers. Split into broad groups - writing, performing, drawing, digital, and business - the book pulls apart this often-opaque industry and lays it out for anyone to understand."

"Rare is the humorous book about humor, although Joe Randazzo has just written quite a good one about breaking into the humor industry...But how does one learn to make comedy for a living? Surely this is a question bedeviling thousands of folks unsatisfied with being the funniest guy in accounts receivable. For those aspirants comes a guidebook to the world of professional humoring, Joe Randazzo's FUNNY ON PURPOSE: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy (Chronicle, paper, $18.95). Randazzo is the former editor of the satirical newspaper The Onion, and he puts those skills to good use as he takes readers on a guided tour of the comedy community, from doing stand-up to writing for television and movies to auditioning to creating a YouTube channel. Randazzo pulls off the rare trick of being funny while discussing comedy. Here is his definition of comedy: "The simplest definition for what makes something funny is 'abnormality.' Like a tumor, for example." Tumors, of course, aren't funny. Which is why his definition is funny. Or because it's now impossible for me to read the word "tumor" without hearing Arnold Schwarzenegger say it, as in "It's not a too-mah."

"'Funny on Purpose' has actual, useful advice for those who would seek to subject themselves to the paradoxical suffering and pain of a career devoted to making others laugh. For example, his five traits for performing comedy are as succinct as they are debatable: relatability, timing, shamelessness, yelling and vulnerability. Actually, of these, I think only yelling is debatable. Bob Newhart never yelled and still did O.K. People who already know they want to be screenwriters or stand-up comedians can find books on the market with more in-depth advice on their specific subjects. Those, however, who have a sense that they are funny people but, unlike LeĀ­Bron James, do not know where to take their talents would be well served heeding Randazzo's advice, as well as reading his assorted interviews with comedy luminaries like Terry Jones, Joan Rivers, Judd Apatow and many others scattered throughout the book."
-Michael Ian Black, in The New York Times Book Review

"Randazzo's guide to making it in the professional comedy world covers an impressive range of comedy formats including standup, improv, sketch, TV, writing, directing, animation, and YouTube. Randazzo, A former editor of the Onionand creative director of, competently advises on both the artistic and business sides of comedy. And he supplements his advice with interviews of successful comedians including Judd Apatow, Joan Rivers, and Weird Al Yankovic. Randazzo's advice is not sugar-coated; he makes it clear throughout the book that doing comedy professionally is difficult and painful, and it never gets easier. But while reading this book is certainly no admission ticket to next year's Saturday Night Live cast, it provides a great overview of the field for people interested in pursuing a career in comedy. The broad survey includes tons of little details (reviews of websites that accept submissions, tips on how to create funny characters), any one of which might be the thing to jumpstart a comedian's success."
- Publisher's Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9781452128399
ISBN-10: 1452128391
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Pages: 335
Language: English