I remember picking up Mike Sacks’s book And Here’s the Kicker, a collection of interviews with some of the greatest comedy writers ever, when it was released back in 2009, and instantly devouring it. I couldn’t cram the words into my brain fast enough. While my peers’ childhood heroes were pro skateboarders and wrestlers, I instead worshiped comedy writers, and in Sacks’s book, here they all were – Letterman head writer Merrill Markoe, original Simpsons scribe George Meyer, and ‘80s comedy king Harold Ramis – talking at length on the subject of humor writing. I recall this distinct feeling that there had never been anything more perfectly suited for my interests as a massive comedy nerd than that book and that there probably never would be again, but I was wrong because I recently got to sneak a peek at Mike Sacks’s upcoming sequel to And Here’s the Kicker, and it’s full of everything that I loved about the first book and more.
Shooting for a June 2014 release via Viking/Penguin, the And Here’s the Kicker sequel will run between 450 to 550 pages and feature around 20 interviews with influential comedy writers that are even longer and more in-depth than the ones in the original book. Plus, Sacks, who’s also a humor writer himself and the author of four books, has compiled tons of extra content like excerpts from lost comedy books and scripts, and short interviews with comedy writers giving specific advice on how to break into TV, movies, online humor publication, books, and every other comedy niche you can think of.
In addition to several excerpts from the book, I got to glance at the full list of names Mike Sacks has interviewed, and it’s an even more esteemed and eclectic group than the last one. The list features more than a few somewhat reclusive writers. Sacks allowed me to publish this partial list of interview subjects from the new book, but just know that there are about a dozen big names not included here and that he’s still looking for the last two interview subjects if any of the big-name comedy writers who read this blog are interested.
Henry BeardGlen and Les CharlesRoz ChastDaniel ClowesBruce Jay FriedmanDan GutermanTerry JonesCarol KolbSam LipsyteAdam McKayDon NovelloAdam ResnickGeorge SaundersTom ScharplingMike Schur
It’s an assortment of writers that spans the past 4+ decades of comedy history and features folks from every medium imaginable, such as sitcoms, late night, movies, radio, web, graphic novels, and books, but I assure you that the full list is 10 times as exciting. One of the coolest things about the book is that writers like Get a Life co-creator Adam Resnick, National Lampoon co-founder Henry Beard, and Cheers creators Glen and Les Charles have rarely, if ever, been interviewed at length for print before. The interviews I’ve seen from the book give a greater look into the craft and business of comedy writing than you can find anywhere else, and each one ends with comprehensive advice from the interview subject to new or hopeful comedy writers. With And Here’s the Kicker, Mike Sacks created the perfect book for comedy nerds, but he’s one-upped himself with the sequel, a comedy nerd bible that’s longer, stronger, and more wide-ranging than the first.