Books

Book: A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai by Matthew Stillman

by Ben Whitehouse.

A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai

Back in 2008, a fellow traveller on the long road of improvisation came to me, or I came to him, probably at McManus Cafe and he or I asked if it would be cool to write some posts on Improvoker. Being the kind-hearted soul he or I am and not wanting to let this labor of love die, he or I agreed. A few weeks later Matthew Stillman created his first post on The Note That Sent Me Further On a Voyage of Discovery.

Feeling the thrill that writing about improvisation can instill, he then came to me (this part I remember) and asked if he could write a 10 posts on the 10 commandments and how they related to improvisation. Being the open-minded man I am, and realizing Matt was the sort of crazy who could flip and cut a bitch, I agreed. Matt quickly wrote 2 posts covering Commandment 1 — I am the Lord your God & Commandment 2 — You shall have no other gods before me. Both fantastic posts, both interesting takes on improvisation.

Then Matt stopped writing his posts and started his turbulent addiction to crystal dolphin figurines. Or so I thought… turns out Matt took all his awesome ideas he was writing for no money or recognition here and instead wrote a book A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai – The Ten Commandments as a Guide to Improvisation.

I know what you’re thinking, what a selfish jerk right? Well, the guy’s got to eat right? More importantly those crystal dolphin figurines don’t grow on trees. I’ve ordered my Kindle version, but it is also available for the iBooksNook, formatted PDF, and in olden-timey printed variety. I will be sure to give my impressions of the book after I read it. It’s not every day you get to have a hand in inspiring another improviser… either him or me.

The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close

by Ben Whitehouse.

The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del CloseAlthough technically not published yet (April 1st), there’s a new book available about the man, The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close ($16.47 from Amazon). I really don’t know much about the book other than that on first appearances it looks like a worthwhile read. I’ll update you when I get my copy and start in.

Order yours and we can be like Opra’s book club… except that I am white and don’t have a problem with Zebra cakes.

Update: Okay, who’s not a writer? Ben isn’t. The writer of The Funniest One in the Room: The Lives and Legends of Del Close is none other than Kim “Howard” Johnson. If that name doesn’t ring a bell, he’s one of the co-writers of Truth in Comedy, the seminal book on longform improv which he co-wrote/edited with Charna Halpern and Del. In other words, the dude knows what he’s talking about.

I got the book today and so far it’s pretty good. I’m a little mystified by mentions of Del Sr. and Del Jr. and which one Kim is talking about from moment to moment, but hopefully that will end once we get past “Young Del” year, otherwise known as the “Pickle” years. Buy the book yo.