Standup Guys Delivers the Laughter

standup3Standup comedy has probably been around since man learned to grunt; and while earlier efforts in this art form have never been fully chronicled, at least we have John DeBellis’s brilliant work on which we can rely.

“Standup Guys,” a memoir by John DeBellis takes us to the heart of a comedian’s tortured soul and at the same time is such an entertaining read you actually taste the stale beer and feel the sticky bar counters from the 70s when Debellis began his life as a comedian.


A comedian has a “deep feeling of not being one with the universe but being one against the universe,” DeBellis tells us at one point. He should well know. A veteran standup comedian from New York, DeBellis wrote for Saturday Night Live, Politically Incorrect and the short-lived but brilliant D.C. Follies.

With the deft timing of any established comedian he gets to the heart of what it means to see everything in life as if it were a bit or could be adapted for an audience; “If Einstein were also a comic this Theory of Relativity would be called Einstein’s Theory of My Cousin Is So Fat I Blame Her for the Expanding Universe and Relativity.”

He also tells the funniest lobster story ever put on paper.

DeBellis was around during what is fondly referred to as the “Golden Age” of standup comedy and tells us all fascinating stories of Richard Belzer, Rita Rudner, Larry David, Joe Piscopo, Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno among others. In fact his book is the definitive “Must Read” for anyone who wishes to become a standup comedian today.

DeBellis dives into the nature of the business with an acumen of a man who knows his stuff. He highlights the life experiences and pain the best standups brought on stage and how they perfected their craft.  He even shows future comedians how to share material and outlines the family-nature of that wonderful time in the 70s when even the best standup comedians were working for cab fare.

But this isn’t any turgid march down memory lane, nor is it a book filled with clichés. It breathes fresh life into those times and for those who enjoy comedy or a good laugh, you won’t be disappointed. DeBellis has an easy writing style that will force you to keep reading until you’re done with the book and aching for much more.

What’s most surprising for those who don’t know the life, is how unselfish and helpful all of the comedians of that era were with each other. Far from the high-pitched shrill image of unstable men and women competing for every scrap of material and fighting over drunken laughter, DeBellis shows us all the warm and empathic nature of the comedian and in some cases the reason why most comedians became comedians: They couldn’t afford therapy.

On the back cover of his book, Larry David spells it out nicely: “I really liked it. The writing was pretty sharp which leads me to believe John musti’ve had some outside help. Some big words and even traces of humanity! Please pass along my congratulations to the author and tell him, her or perhaps John’s dad before he passed. It’s a wonderful book.”

If you're looking for a "Tell All" book about the darkside of humanity, then you don't want this book. But, if you're looking for a slice of fun history that takes you back to when laughter reigned supreme, then don't miss "Standup Guys."

Standup Guys

"A Generation of Laughs"

copyright 2012

ISBN 978-1-62141-764-4

920 Spot Books


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