I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Standup Comedy's Golden Era

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A little-known story of the brief, shining moment when comedy's stars-to-be were starving artists and friends in 1970s L.A.—and of the strike that tore them apart.

I'm Dying Up Here

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In the mid-1970s, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Robin Williams, Elayne Boosler, Tom Dreesen, and several hundred other shameless showoffs and incorrigible cutups from across the country migrated en masse to Los Angeles, the new home of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. There, in a late-night world of sex, drugs, dreams and laughter, they created an artistic community unlike any before or since. It was Comedy Camelot—but it couldn't last. William Knoedelseder was then a cub reporter covering the burgeoning local comedy scene for the Los Angeles Times. He wrote the first major newspaper profiles of several of the future stars. And he was there when the comedians—who were not paid by the clubs where they performed— tried to change the system and incidentally tore apart their own close-knit community. In I'm Dying Up Here he tells the whole story of that golden age, of the strike that ended it, and of how those days still resonate in the lives of those who were there. As comedy clubs and cable TV began to boom, many would achieve stardom. . . . but success had its price.

Additional Information

Author William Knoedelseder
Publisher PublicAffairs Books
Page Count 304pp
Publication Size 6 x 8.25
Publication Notes softcover
Publication Date July 25, 2010
ISBN 978-1586488963

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