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

CUSP Unveils its “Urban Observatory”

Crain’s New York Business profiled CUSP’s “Urban Observatory” that is continuously photographing lower Manhattan to gather scientific data.

Post-Sandy Upgrades at the Langone Medical Center

NY1 reported on the major post-Sandy upgrades and renovations made at the Medical Center to protect the hospital from future catastrophic storms.

Steinhardt Research Helps Solve Tough Speech Problems.

The Wall Street Journal reported on research at Steinhardt’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, including an interview with Assistant Professor Tara McAllister Byun, that uses ultrasound to help solve tough speech problems.

Times Column Lauds Professor Stevenson’s New Memoir

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about “Just Mercy,” a new memoir by Law Professor Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, whom he noted has been called America’s Nelson Mandela.

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.

NYU Footer