Bruce Dessau is a renowned critic who specialises in music, television and comedy. Bruce writes regularly for The Times and the Guardian, and he is currently the comedy critic for the Evening Standard.
His latest book ‘Beyond A Joke: Inside The Dark World of Stand-Up Comedy’ is a celebration of the stand-up comedy industry. Working as a stand-up comedy critic on both sides of the Atlantic since the 1980s, few are better stationed than Dessau to uncloak the grubby and obscure antics of the industry’s finest. From George Formby and Tommy Cooper to Bob Monkhouse and Russell Brand, Dessau has seemingly infinite quantities of dirt to dish on the merchants of mirth. The book also grapples admirably with the question of whether comedians are an inherently dysfunctional ilk, or if turning barmy is simply an occupational hazard? Bruce has chaired the Edinburgh Comedy Awards panel twice and has regularly served on the judging committee, spending dawn to dusk to dawn again seeing stand-up comedy. ‘There’s virtually a scandal on every page’ – Chortle, the UK Comedy Guide
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Instantly acquire all the knowledge you need to pass as an expert in the world of stand-up comedy. Never again confuse a nail with a bomb, a flop sweat with a cotton mouth, or a tag line with a zinger. Bask in the admiration of your fellow comedy aficionados as you pronounce confidently on the comparative merits of the greatest performers in the history of stand-up, and hold your own in any discussion about the best gags of all time. DO SAY I never forget a face, but in your case I d be glad to make an exception. DON T SAY Groucho Marx? He invented alternative communism in Soho s Comedy Store, right? The Bluffer’s® Guides: the 5-million-copy bestselling book series. These short, humorous guides contain all the facts you need to become an instant expert.
Publisher: Bluffers Guides
Publication date: 26 July 2014
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Beyond a Joke is a celebration of comedy – one of the modern world’s most dominant and compelling art forms – but it is also the story of comedy’s dark side, homing in on the scandals that have surrounded some of light entertainment’s biggest stars, and telling it as it is, featuring insight from one who was there at the time.
While Beyond a Joke explores the extremes of this world it also addresses another question. Are comedians naturally dysfunctional, or does the stress and pressure of the job make them dysfunctional? Ruby Wax once told the author that she had builders in her house who were just as emotionally unstable as most stand-up comedians she had worked with. But they don’t want to go on stage and plead with an audience to love them.
Bruce Dessau is the only person who could write this book. From Russell Brand slashing his chest onstage to Jo Brand trashing a friend’s car on the motorway, he has heard it all. Bruce Dessau knows where the bodies are buried.
Publisher: Arrow; Reprint edition
Publication date: 16 Aug. 2012