New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

You Think You’re So Funny? Tisch Professor’s New Book Offers Tips on How to Make a Living at It

April 29, 2011

D.B. Gilles, a produced and published playwright, screenwriter, and television writer who teaches in the Undergraduate Film & Television division of the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, has the next best thing to being in his comedy writing class… his newest book You’re Funny! Turn Your Sense of Humor into a Lucrative New Career (Michael Wiese Productions, 2011), which is available May 1.

You’re Funny! covers the different ways to earn a living as a comedy writer, including writing sitcoms, jokes for late night talk shows, parody, stand up, and screenwriting.  Gilles’ straightforward approach in his new book will help the reader determine if they can actually make a living writing jokes and making people laugh.

                                                Excerpted from You’re Funny!

                                        Something You Should Know About Stand Up

                                    That’s Not Big Enough to Deserve Its Own Chapter

                                                                 Immediacy

    I’m in awe of stand up comedians. They are the comedy equivalent of the long distance runner. Alone with a microphone facing the unknown every time they walk on a stage. When a comic is just starting out, the stages are usually in grungy clubs. 

    The beauty of being a comic is the immediacy it provides for your creativity. You write a joke in the morning and you can perform it in front of an audience that night. It works or it doesn’t. If it kills you keep it and put it in your arsenal. If it bombs you either put it down or keep working on it and you can try it again the next night. Still doesn’t work? Play with it some more and try it again the next night. It finally works you keep it or you decide to let it go. 

    The only comedy-writing job where one gets some semblance of immediacy is if you’re writing for a late night show when a joke or bit you’ve created that day might make it to the air that night.

     As for sketches, it may never get on or you have to wait a few days (which is still good), but if you wrote a spec for a sitcom or a screenplay you might wait years before it gets produced, if it all.

     So relish the satisfaction of having the opportunity to have an instant reaction to your material. Other than when you’re with your friends, you won’t find it anywhere else.

2011 also marks the publication of Gilles’ The Screenwriter Within: New Strategies to Finish Your Screenplay & Get a Deal.  (The 2nd edition of The Screenwriter Within was published in 2000 by Random House).  And his The Portable Film School, published in 2005, continues to be a popular book with young filmmakers unable to go to film school.  He is also co-author of the George W. Bush parody W. The First 100 Days: A White House Journal (Andrews McMeel 2001).

Four of his plays are published by Dramatists Play Service: Men's Singles, The Girl Who Loved The Beatles, The Legendary Stardust Boys, and Cash Flow. His most recent play, Sparkling Object, had its world premier in November 2010 at The Canal Park Playhouse in New York.

Gilles is a member of The Writers Guild of America and The Dramatists Guild.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Tisch School of the Arts

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: Richard Pierce | (212) 998-6796

You Think You’re So Funny? Tisch Professor’s New Book Offers Tips on How to Make a Living at It

You're Funny! by D.B. Gilles


Search News



NYU In the News

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer