A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NAMED A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY NPR
Amy Poehler, Mel Brooks, Adam McKay, George Saunders, Bill Hader, Patton Oswalt, and many more take us deep inside the mysterious world of comedy in this fascinating, laugh-out-loud-funny book. Packed with behind-the-scenes stories—from a day in the writers’ room at The Onion to why a sketch does or doesn’t make it onto Saturday Night Live to how the BBC nearly erased the entire first season of Monty Python’s Flying Circus—Poking a Dead Frog is a must-read for comedy buffs, writers and pop culture junkies alike.
In this excellent book, Sacks follows up on his Conversations with 21 Humor Writers and once again displays his ability to get fascinating and honest interviews from comic luminaries such as long-time Saturday Night Live writer James Downey ("Most of the people who have been in the cast of SNL did their best work on SNL"); "Anchorman" director Adam McKay ("The biggest mistake is that people go into comedy solely for the money. It's just a dead end always"); and the legendary Mel Brooks ("Everything I've ever done, I've started with characters. I learn what they want, what they need"). But interspersed with 15 full-length interviews are insights from 30 more comedy writers in two shorter categories: "Pure, Hard-Core Advice" (Patton Oswalt: "When you're writing something, and it makes you laugh, don't judge that") and "Ultraspecific Comedic Knowledge" (Conan writer Todd Levin on "Writing a Submission Packet for Late Night TV"). While Sacks writes that he is no "humor expert," his book more than proves his contention that "we are now living in a comedic Golden Age."