Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier
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Alan Zweibel started his comedy career selling jokes for seven dollars apiece to the last of the Borscht Belt stand-ups. Then one night, despite bombing on stage, he caught the attention of Lorne Michaels and became one of the first writers at Saturday Night Live, where he penned classic material for Gilda Radner, John Belushi, and all of the original Not Ready for Prime Time Players. From SNL, Zweibel went on to have a hand in a series of landmark shows—from It’s Garry Shandling’s Show to Curb Your Enthusiasm. In Laugh Lines, Zweibel weaves together the stories of his influential career, from writing for a generation of Jackies and Mortys and Dickies to meeting Gilda while hiding behind a potted plant. He goes deep into the origins of famous SNL sketches, as well as how the show evolved in the wake of meteoric success, and the projects—not all of them so enduring—that followed. And Zweibel writes tenderly about his friendships—with Shandling, Billy Crystal, Larry David, and others. Woven throughout are also words from other comedians and writers, including Richard Lewis, Eric Idle, Judd Apatow, Dave Barry, Carl Reiner, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman, and more. This is a warmhearted cultural memoir from a talented, award-winning writer.