The Comic Toolbox
How to be Funny Even if You're Not John Vorhaus

Other title by John Vorhaus

Creativity Rules


250 Pages
6x9 Paper
Silman-James Press
Available electronic format(s):
Kindle, iBook,
Categories: ,

Comedy is not magic, not inspiration, not a “gift.”  Mostly, it’s simple rules and structures—the logic of the illogical—tools that anyone can use.

The Comic Toolbox is a straightforward, often humorous, workbook approach to comedy writing as creative problem solving.  In it, veteran Hollywood comedy writer John Vorhaus offers his tools of the trade to writers, comics, and anyone else who wants to be funny.  Among these indispensable tools are Clash of Context, Tension and Release, The Law of Comic Opposites, The Wildly Inappropriate Response, and The Myth of the Last Great Idea.

Readers will learn that comedy = truth and pain (the essence of the comic situation), that fear is the biggest roadblock to comedy (kill your ferocious editor within and rich, useful comic ideas will flow), and much, much more.

With Vorhaus’ tools in hand, anyone can be funny.

About John Vorhaus

John Vorhaus’ writing credits include episodes of The Wonder Years, Head of the Class, and Married…With Children.  He has taught writing at the UCLA Extension Writers Program, the American Film Institute, and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.  Before turning to comedy writing, Vorhaus worked as an advertising copywriter and a folk musician.  His comic essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and other publications.

“Vorhaus has successfully organized and presented the comedy writing process—no easy feat, considering it’s hard enough to do in your own brain, let alone on the page.”
—Jeff Vlaming, writer, Northern Exposure

“Just what every comic writer needs:  rules, tools, and a good swift kick in the butt.”
—Peter Bergman, The Fireside Theatre

“After reading this book, I feel like I’ve known John for years—wait, come to think of it, I have.”
—Gary Dontzig, Executive Producer, Murphy Brown

“Aristotelian in scope, Rabelaisian in wit, a must-read for everyone from entertainment professional to living-room bard.”
—Bill Bleich, screenwriter, The Stepford Children

“I wouldn’t want to sleep with him, but I’d certainly buy his book.”
—Norma Safford Vela, Executive Producer, Designing Women

“I don’t think people should read this book.  They’re liable to learn all our secrets and
take my job.”
—Fred Rubin, Supervising Producer, Night Court

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