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Publisher's Summary

The world of comedy and comedians of the last five decades. By the man the New York Times calls "a comic institution himself", the only comedian (26 years in stand-up) to have made Elie Wiesel laugh, as well as having appeared on The Tonight Show (140 times, second only to Bob Hope, but who's counting). From the director of TV comedy series Mad About You, Seinfeld, Friends, Weeds, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Larry David: "I’m lucky. I know and love David Steinberg. You don’t. Now's your chance. Don’t blow it!"

"David has always been a comedy hero to me. One of his many gifts is the ability to inspire funny people to be even funnier, as you will discover in this truly hilarious, insightful book." (Martin Short)

From David Steinberg, a rabbi's son from Winnipeg, Canada, who at age 15 enrolled at Hebrew Theological College in Chicago (the rabbinate wasn't for him) and four years later, entered the master's program in English literature at the University of Chicago, until he saw Lenny Bruce, the "Blue Boy" of Comedy, the coolest guy Steinberg had ever seen, and joined Chicago's Second City improvisational group, becoming, instead, the comedian's comedian, director, actor, working with, inspired by, teaching, and learning from the most celebrated, admired, complicated comedians, then and now. A funny, moving, provocative, insightful look into the soul, wit, and bite of comedy and comedians - a universe unto itself - of the last half-century.

From the greats: George Burns, Lenny Bruce, Sid Caesar, Lucille Ball, Mel Brooks, and Carl Reiner, et al., to the newer greats: Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Billy Crystal, Bob Newhart, and the man for all comedy, Martin (Marty) Short; to the greats of right now: Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wanda Sykes; and more....

Steinberg, through stories, reminiscences, tales of directing, touring, performing, and, through the comedians themselves talking (from more than 75 interviews), makes clear why he loves comedy and comedians who have been by his side in his work, and in his life, for more than 60 years. 

Here are: Will Ferrell, Eric Idle, Whoopi Goldberg, Mike Myers, Groucho himself, and the greatest of them all (at least of the last half century), Jonathan Winters....

©2021 David Steinberg (P)2021 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“If I had written this, it would be filled with jealousy, envy, and snide remarks. But fortunately, David Steinberg wrote it, so it abounds with insights, humor, and joy. I loved it so much!” (Steve Martin)

“At first glance, David Steinberg might seem like too much of a mensch to really spill the beans about his chosen profession...the venerated stand-up comic, actor, and sitcom director, has impeccable nice-guy credentials.... [He] truly admires his peers and understands what makes them tick. And he proves to be a genial, generous raconteur and reciter of showbiz lore...charming.” (Dave Itzkoff, The New York Times)

“A memoir that nearly qualifies as a history of American comedy during the last six decades...illuminating...Steinberg’s recollections are vivid as they are hilarious.” (Booklist)

What listeners say about Inside Comedy

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  • Patsy D.
  • 2021-09-01

So disappointed…

I love David Steinberg. I’m a decades long fan. I love everything about him. I was so excited when this book came out. But…now, I’m sad to say I’m returning it. I can barely get through it. How can the narration be this abysmal when it’s David Steinberg!!!??? He constantly accents the wrong words and reads it like some awkward kid reading a book report. How can this be? Please, re-release it with a professional narrator and I’ll buy it again. How can this be? I’m so sad…(Still, I’ll always love you, David)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-11-03

Unlistenable

I tried, I really did. I am old enough to know who David Steinberg is and to have enjoyed him as a performer. The book, itself, might be a good read but it is not a good listen. Despite his many years of stand up comedy, Steinberg is not a great narrator. It made me sad to return this book because there were some interesting stories and observations, but I just couldn't keep going.

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  • Jack L. Moline
  • 2021-08-27

Terrible performance of a mediocre narrative

I have been huge fan of David Steinberg for 50 years, so the enormous disappointment I felt in this book is a surprise. Perhaps it is better in print, but Steinberg's delivery, heedless of punctuation, syntax and changes in voice, is head-shaking. And it is only mildly funny. I hoped, right to the end, for something to redeem it, but...no. It needed heavy editing to shorten it from Steinberg to St.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2022-02-14

couldn't get past chapter 2

His arrogance, repetition, and reading style were too grating. I think he thinks he is putting in bits of humility. Not enough.

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  • NYer Lady
  • 2022-06-04

I love comedy & absolutely loved this audiobook!

The comedians David talks about are so interesting. Their stories are terrific and very enjoyable, even when I had not followed that comedian. David is a consummate professional with amazing talent as a comedian, writer, performer, interviewer, and director. His own life and professional experiences made wonderful listening too. Highly recommend!

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  • Margaret L. Cross
  • 2022-04-23

Great comedy legend, disappointing book.

Having so much respect and admiration for Mr. Steinberg, it feels presumptuous to leave a negative review, but as much as I wanted to like this, I just couldn't. I am a big fan of the eras of comedy he's writing about, but I feel he needed both an editor and a audio director with a stronger hand. Repetitious, meandering, disjointed, I could never get a handle on the intent of the book. I feel like there is a good, shorter book somewhere inside this one.

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  • Tom Thompson
  • 2022-03-11

Must Listen to! If you like comedy

To listen to David Steinberg for 11 hours was pure joy. There were so many great memories of all the comedians who touched our lives for the last 60 years!! I so wish I could come up some some funny line right now! But I’m sad it is over with.

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  • C
  • 2022-02-27

Great book despite total lack of human foibles

Mr. Steinberg has direct experience with comedians from Vaudeville all the way to the present. And his work experience itself spans half a century of comedy. Combined with what is clearly a love of the subject, the result is a fabulous book for any fan of comedy.

I respect Mr. Steinerg’s choice to focus on the positive almost exclusively. But it does leave one with the sense of not knowing Mr. Steinberg, and that the comedians mentioned are not real humans. That aside, this is a marvelous book - thank you Mr. Steinberg!

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  • Don Riley
  • 2021-12-27

Fact Check

One fact David got wrong was " Conan O'Brien took over for David Letterman"
Actually he took over for Tom Snyder, then David. Aside from this minor goof, enjoyed immensely.

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  • Lynn M. Drinkard
  • 2021-09-27

Beautiful Memories

Very fun and interesting. Brought back happy memories of some of my favorite comedians. Highly recommend.