Jay Sankey's Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing and Performing Stand-Up Comedy
Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy: A Book Review
If you are interested in learning how to write and perform stand-up comedy, or if you are already a comedian who wants to improve and perfect your work, you might want to check out this book by Jay Sankey. Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy is not just a how-to manual, but a detailed and comprehensive guide that covers every aspect of the craft, from finding your voice and style, to developing your material and jokes, to editing and polishing your act, to practicing and rehearsing, to getting feedback and learning from mistakes, to experimenting and evolving. But more than that, it is also a book that explores how to apply Zen principles to stand-up comedy, such as being present and mindful, embracing uncertainty and spontaneity, and finding balance and harmony.
zen and the art of stand-up comedy sankey, jay||
What is Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy?
Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy is a book written by Jay Sankey, a stand-up comic, writer, and cartoonist who has performed around the world for more than twenty years. The book was published in 1998 by Routledge/Theatre Arts Books. It has 232 pages and 96 ratings on Amazon. The book is divided into three parts: Part One covers the basics of writing and performing stand-up comedy; Part Two covers the advanced techniques of improving and perfecting your work; Part Three covers the Zen aspects of stand-up comedy.
Who is Jay Sankey?
Jay Sankey is a Canadian comedian who was born in Montreal in 1965. He started performing stand-up comedy at the age of 16. He has appeared on numerous television shows, such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Just for Laughs, Comedy Central Presents, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, Penn & Teller's Fool Us, America's Got Talent, and more. He is also known for his magic tricks, his cartoons, his podcasts, his books, his DVDs, his online courses, and his YouTube channel. He lives in Toronto with his wife Lisa and their two children.
Why should you read this book?
You should read this book if you want to learn from an experienced comedian who has been in the business for decades. You should read this book if you want to get practical advice on how to write and perform stand-up comedy that works for any audience. You should read this book if you want to get insights on how to improve and perfect your work by applying Zen principles that can help you overcome challenges, enhance creativity, reduce stress, increase confidence, and enjoy the process.
How to write and perform stand-up comedy
In this part of the book, Jay Sankey spills the beans on how to write and perform stand-up comedy. He covers the following topics:
Finding your voice and style
One of the most important aspects of stand-up comedy is finding your voice and style. Your voice is your unique perspective, personality, attitude, and tone. Your style is your way of expressing your voice, such as your delivery, timing, rhythm, gestures, facial expressions, and body language. Jay Sankey advises you to find your voice and style by being yourself, being honest, being original, and being consistent. He also suggests you to watch and learn from other comedians, but not to copy or imitate them.
Developing your material and jokes
Another important aspect of stand-up comedy is developing your material and jokes. Your material is the content of your act, such as the topics, themes, stories, observations, opinions, and experiences that you talk about. Your jokes are the specific ways of making your material funny, such as the setups, punchlines, tags, callbacks, twists, misdirections, exaggerations, comparisons, contrasts, and wordplays that you use. Jay Sankey advises you to develop your material and jokes by writing every day, keeping a notebook or a recorder handy, brainstorming ideas, exploring different angles, testing your jokes on friends or open mics, and recording your performances.
Editing and polishing your act
The final aspect of writing and performing stand-up comedy is editing and polishing your act. Your act is the overall structure and flow of your material and jokes, such as the order, length, transitions, connections, variations, and endings that you use. Jay Sankey advises you to edit and polish your act by being ruthless, being clear, being concise, being logical, being surprising, being flexible, and being prepared.
How to improve and perfect your work
In this part of the book, Jay Sankey shares his secrets on how to improve and perfect your work. He covers the following topics:
Practicing and rehearsing
One of the best ways to improve and perfect your work is to practice and rehearse. Practicing is when you work on your material and jokes by yourself or with a partner. Rehearsing is when you perform your act in front of an audience or a camera. Jay Sankey advises you to practice and rehearse by doing it regularly, doing it realistically, doing it with feedback, doing it with variety, doing it with fun.
Getting feedback and learning from mistakes
Experimenting and evolving
The last way to improve and perfect your work is to experiment and evolve. Experimenting is when you try new things, such as new topics, new jokes, new styles, new venues, new audiences, or new challenges. Evolving is when you grow and change as a comedian and as a person, by learning from your experiences, adapting to different situations, and discovering new aspects of yourself. Jay Sankey advises you to experiment and evolve by being curious, being adventurous, being flexible, being humble, and being authentic.
How to apply Zen principles to stand-up comedy
In this part of the book, Jay Sankey reveals how to apply Zen principles to stand-up comedy. He covers the following topics:
Being present and mindful
One of the Zen principles that can help you with stand-up comedy is being present and mindful. Being present means being aware of the here and now, without being distracted by the past or the future. Being mindful means being attentive to what is happening in yourself and around you, without being judgmental or reactive. Jay Sankey advises you to be present and mindful by focusing on your breath, your body, your senses, your emotions, your thoughts, your words, your actions, your audience, and your environment.
Embracing uncertainty and spontaneity
Another Zen principle that can help you with stand-up comedy is embracing uncertainty and spontaneity. Embracing uncertainty means accepting the fact that you cannot control everything, and that anything can happen at any moment. Embracing spontaneity means being open to the unexpected, and being ready to improvise and adapt to any situation. Jay Sankey advises you to embrace uncertainty and spontaneity by letting go of expectations, plans, scripts, fears, doubts, attachments, and outcomes.
Finding balance and harmony
being flexible, being respectful, and being grateful.
In conclusion, Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy is a book that can teach you a lot about how to write and perform stand-up comedy, as well as how to improve and perfect your work by applying Zen principles. It is a book that can help you become a better comedian and a better person. It is a book that can inspire you to pursue your passion and express your creativity. As Jay Sankey says in his book:
"Stand-up comedy is an art form that can be used to explore and reveal hidden connections between yourself and the world. It can be used to celebrate life, to challenge assumptions, to expose hypocrisy, to provoke thought, to share joy, to heal wounds, to affirm values, to connect with others, to express yourself."
Q: Who is the author of Zen and the Art of Stand-Up Comedy?
A: The author is Jay Sankey, a stand-up comic, writer, and cartoonist who has performed around the world for more than twenty years.
Q: What are the main topics covered in the book?
A: The main topics are how to write and perform stand-up comedy, how to improve and perfect your work, and how to apply Zen principles to stand-up comedy.
Q: What are some of the Zen principles that can help with stand-up comedy?
A: Some of the Zen principles are being present and mindful, embracing uncertainty and spontaneity, and finding balance and harmony.
Q: How can I get a copy of the book?
A: You can get a copy of the book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Q: What are some other books that can help me with stand-up comedy?
A: Some other books that can help you with stand-up comedy are The Serious Guide to Joke Writing by Sally Holloway, The NEW Comedy Bible by Judy Carter, and Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer and Mark Shatz.