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Publisher's Summary

This entertaining and sharply written guide - for both beginners breaking into comedy and professionals seeking to improve their sets and advance their careers - examines the work of great comedians such as Louis C. K., Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Izzard, Moms Mabley, Hannibal Buress, Sarah Silverman, Richard Pryor, and more as a means of illustrating the most important techniques of performing and writing stand-up.  

Here, Stephen Rosenfield lays out a clear plan for achieving success, candidly explaining what works, what doesn't, and why. Including a 12-item "Successful Comedian's To-Do List," Rosenfield states, "Get undeniably good at each of these and you can kiss your day job good-bye. You will be a pro."

©2018 Stephen Rosenfield (P)2019 Tantor

What the critics say

"An absolutely essential instructional guide and reference for anyone aspiring to a career as a comedian." (Midwest Book Review)

What listeners say about Mastering Stand-Up

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a must for anyone in or looking to be in stand up

Easy to listen to, no filler bs, taught me lots. This has made me a better comedian and even taught me a dash of the business. Well worth the listen, and will do so again.

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Even if you don’t want to do Stand-Up

Worth it just for the chapter on The Voice. It is a great break down of how Stand-Up works, the forms and delivery. I’d recommend this to anyone who just likes stand-up comedy.

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perfect, so grateful

not only did i love the book, i went onto getting coaching with stephen. this book will advance you in stand up, years beyond people who haven't read it. the ones that started with me are still doing open mics, and i started getting paid gigs all thanks to this book and stephen

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Loved this book

I loved this book so much I took the course shortly after finishing it. Highly recommended, absolutely incredible experience.

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  • Erich
  • 2019-07-05

Brilliant

This book starts with short chapters on the kinds of comedy available to you as a standup. Then it goes into writing jokes. The advice is very good. It even has sections on being an MC and overcoming self-criticism. The writer is deeply knowledgeable and experienced. The book is right up to date, talking about YouTube and social media. Start with this book and if you like it, go on to Greg Dean and Judy Carter and the other great writers about comedy. If, like me, you’ve hit a slump in your comedy performing this inspiring book will jolt you from your lethargy. You’ll need more than a book to get “undeniably good”.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Ö
  • 2019-05-27

Great book! Very slow reader.

This book was great! I've worked with performing variety shows for a long time, and this gave me many clear direct tips for adding more comedy elements. My only critic was how very slow the reader spoke. I speed it up in the player and then it was no problem.

6 people found this helpful

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  • norissa aukerman
  • 2020-10-27

If you want to be terrific, you have to be specific!

I’m not a comedian but I am interested in public speaking and I have been getting into sales training. I know that humor is an effective tool in communication. What I loved about this book is that it was very specific and gave amazing examples that I think will be very valuable to me professionally. It felt like a weekend retreat or a workshop or something. I think a course like this should cost $2500. That is what I love about audible, I can get valuable information and listen to it while I’m driving or working. The reading did feel a little slow so I just sped it up. That’s another thing I love about audible. 1.5 is a good speed. Thank you Mr. Rosenfield!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Denis Gorbunov
  • 2020-12-21

boring bedtime storybook

no practical usage just memoirs of old mumbling man, observation mostly, no technics not much of teaching rather surface analysis

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  • Sean T. Hughes
  • 2020-07-24

Great stuff

This is a very good book for learning stand-up. I found a really good resource

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-04-22

Best book on stand up.

I’ve tried to get through several other books on stand up, and most of the time I find them preachy and restrictive. I don’t think anyone can tell an artist how to find their voice and be themselves, or tell them an exact process they need to go through. This book doesn’t try to do that, it gives great advice and sage wisdom. I’m on my second listen, thanks to COVID-19 and it really is an awesome audiobook.

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  • C.E.
  • 2020-01-29

This guy is a comic? Monotoned reading!

This guy is really monotoned for a comic! Don't listen while driving! You might drive off the road falling asleep!

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  • Brian
  • 2019-03-08

Great Book!

This is by far the best book" the ins and outs of stand-up comedy I've ever read. So much great information. I'll be referring to it over and over for the foreseeable future.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 2021-01-07

an excellent intro to the industry and the craft

I have to admit there were times that I didn't want to listen to his voice anymore, but this is an excellent primer especially about the industry. The bits on the art and writing are just enough without being too prescriptive.

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  • daniel chittenden
  • 2021-01-02

Never Knew I needed this book.

if it wasn't for this pandemic I never would've tried to look this way as a career. "The Voice" of my own immediately felt tiny once the chapter exposed it and the strength of nerves. Comedy helped me through the worst times, and this book just helped me realize how important it is to share those moments.