By Jonathan Root
Self Published, 123 pages, $6.99
Available on Amazon
I really wanted this book to be great. I think it’s amazing that a comedy juggler has written a book about comedy writing. Jonathan and his performing partner are fantastic entertainers who have a had a long and succesfull career. It’s my understanding that both Bill and Jonathan constantly strive be better people and performers. Unfortunately, Jonathan’s book doesn’t live up to its claim to be a: “Practical guide to comedy writing”.
Killer Comedy reads like a blog about a comedy juggling duo. Occasionally it offers some advice about comedy writing but mostly it’s mix of personal anecdotes and pseudo-libertarian rants. I don’t mind the stories and I think they are a great resource for the beginning juggler. They definitely show the progression from pizza boy to full time professional entertainer. A lot of them are fun to read too. If the book had been sold as Killer Comedy: The Unauthorized Story of Juggling’s Badboys I wouldn’t have had a single problem with it (besides the title, which in their defense, I made up). I would have thought it was a great read and I would have been glad for the bits about comedy writing as a glimpse into how Jonathan and Bill made a career out of juggling.
Jonathan does offer some good, if generic advice (much like this site, which is, I want to point out, not a book). In fact, the whole of his book can be summarized in one chapter. Which he does. Chapter 10: Comedy Tips. Chapter 10 is great, it offers a bunch of clear and actionable advice that is great for any beginning comedy juggler as well as being a good reminder for those of us who have been in the game longer. None of it is new, but it is a condensed and concise collection of practical advice and I think it’s the best part of the book.
I’d recommend reading Killer Comedy if you want to know more about Jonathan Root’ political views, working process, or the history of a juggling team. It’s full of affirming content about the power of laughter, the ability to succede, and one man’s struggle with his mustache. I wouldn’t recommend reading Killer Comedy if you are looking for a book that will help you become a better comedian or more specifically a better comedy juggler.