For many years, television comedy was an exclusive all boys’ club—until a brilliant comedian named Carol Leifer came along, blazing a trail for funny women everywhere. From Late Night with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live to Seinfeld, The Ellen Show, and Modern Family, Carol has written for and/or performed on some of the best TV comedies of all time.
This hilarious collection of essays charts her extraordinary three-decade journey through show business, illuminating her many triumphs and some missteps along the way—and offering valuable lessons for women and men in any profession. Part memoir, part guide to life, and all incredibly funny, How to Succeed in Business without Really Crying offers tips and tricks for getting ahead, finding your way, and opening locked doors—even if you have to use a sledgehammer.
Veteran comedy writer Leifer (When You Lie About Your Age, the Terrorists Win) reflects on nearly 40 years working in stand-up and television and offers valuable career advice for young, aspiring readers. Many tips are specific to the entertainment industry, like "get a job, any job, on a television show you love," and show enthusiasm to those in charge; others are more widely applicable such as Leifer's advice for job interviews and list of "crimes against hirability." The author describes her short-lived job as a writer for Saturday Night Live as a missed opportunity. She uses her chilly relationship with Lorne Michaels and his tendency toward favoritism, to illustrate the importance of being a proactive employee in any circumstance. She describes pitching to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, where she honed the ability to "mine own life" for ideas that went on to become legendary Seinfeld episodes like "The Rye." While admitting that the business can be sexist, Leifer argues that being a woman in comedy is a "tremendous advantage" and encourages women to "make other women a priority." Accompanying photographs feature Leifer with a host of comedic legends throughout her career including Paul Reiser, Johnny Carson, and Bill Cosby, as well as great candid shots of Seinfeld and David. With such a wealth of experience, readers will find a lot of wise words but for a comedic memoir it is somewhat lacking in humor. B&w photos.