I'm Dying Up Here

Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy's Golden Era

By William Knoedelseder
(PublicAffairs, Hardcover, 9781586483173, 304pp.)

Publication Date: August 2009

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD, Paperback, Paperback

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.



A little-known story of the brief, shining moment when comedy’s stars-to-be were starving artists and friends in 1970s L.A.—and of the strike that tore them apart

About the Author

William Knoedelseder has been a journalist with The Los Angeles Times, executive producer of Fox Entertainment News and of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s television news program “Inquirer News Tonight,” and vice president of news at USA Broadcasting. He is the author of Stiffed: A True Story of MCA, The Music Business, and the Mafia, and In Eddie’s Name. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, he lives near Los Angeles.

Thursday, Sep 3, 2009

With comics like Letterman and Leno on their way up, Los Angeles in the 1970s was a very funny place to be. William Knoedelseder chronicles the scene in his new book, I'm Dying Up Here. More at NPR.org

NPR Audio Player Requires Flash Upgrade: Please upgrade your plug-in to view this content.

Praise For I'm Dying Up Here

Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
“Knoedelseder skillfully layers powerful dramatic details, and readers will shelve the book alongside those other key classics on comedy.”

Shelf Awareness
“A revealing and entertaining look at the 1970s Los Angeles comedy scene and the labor dispute that ended its most glorious era.”

“Fact-packed, highly readable history… peppered with plenty of portraits of struggling young comics, some destined for national fame, others headed to obscurity and, in a few cases, early death.”

Buffalo News
“One of the most eye-opening and informative books ever written about standup comedy…One of the books of the year for any student of American television and pop culture…A little-known story has now been told very well in perfect context. And when you finish the book you may feel as if you finally understand every comedian you see on TV for the first time.”

Daily Variety
“A lively new book…Knoedelseder reminds us that comedy is a dicey calling.”

New York Times Book Review

Irish Times
“Knoedelseder, who was around in those days as a reporter on the Los Angeles Times, interweaves the fascinating stories of the tragic, unknown Lubetkin and the performers who were to become household names, set against the basic contradictions of working the Comedy Store.”

Dallas Morning News
“Written with a journalist's strong narrative sense, I'm Dying Up Here chronicles the tight-knit community of artists who cracked open the world of funny entertainment and the event that shattered their camaraderie...Knoedelseder's ability to sniff out the human stories behind the headlines is what makes this rowdy chapter in stand-up such a good read. It's a bittersweet tale told with humor and economy.”

I’m Dying Up Here lays bare the bad and the ugly of Hollywood; from what good there was, like primordial muck, emerged the funniest guys and gals around.”

Indie Bookstore Finder

Indie Bestsellers

Lucky Us
Amy Bloom
Random House
Good Poems, American Places
Garrison Keillor
Penguin Books
The Paleo Kitchen
Juli Bauer; George Bryant
Victory Belt Publishing
The Great Glass Sea
Josh Weil
Grove Press

Make Your Own Wishlist

Update Profile