Author Archive

poking a dead frog

Mike Sacks

Poking a Dead Frog
Penguin Books

By Nick A. Zaino III

Comedy writing is the cohesive thread throughout the book, but it can be read and enjoyed by any comedy fan. Sacks sets his history, he’s done his research, and he has pulled some wonderful detail from his subjects.

road work

Dave Attell

Road Work
Comedy Central

By Nick A. Zaino III

Road Work isn’t about telling revealing stories or setting up a string of one-liners as much as obliterating any boundaries of taste and tact. It’s raising the stakes, joke by joke, topping the deplorableness of the last riff.

dirty daddy

Bob Saget

Dirty Daddy
It Books

By Nick A. Zaino III

The biggest revelation may be how unabashedly Saget loves Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos, even though they created an image he fought to escape.

this will make an excellent horcrux

Jackie Kashian

This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux
All Things Comedy

By Nick A. Zaino III

Kashian is smart, bracing without being bitter, and she knows how to keep the punchlines rolling without seeming manic or insincere. It’s the kind of set that might make those who look down on “club comedy” as the petri dish of the lowest common denominator in stand up reconsider.


Bo Burnham

Comedy Central Records

By Nick A. Zaino III

Burnham is very self-aware, of his image as the nerdy theatre kid who was once picked on in school, and of someone for whom fame came quickly. And he uses all of that in his show.


Tom Shillue

BSeen Media

By Nick A. Zaino III

There is some genuine heartbreak here amongst the jokes, and an earnestness that could be deadly if handled poorly. But Shillue can and does handle it, and it’s a shame there’s only one album left to go.

american degenerate

Jim Norton

American Degenerate

By Nick A. Zaino III

At his core, he’s a highly skilled observational comedian who happens to be observing a neighborhood most try to walk through quickly without making eye contact.


Patrice O’Neal

BSeen Media

By Nick A. Zaino III

There was a visible struggle going on that bonded him to his audience, and let him get away with saying more outrageous things about sex and politics. Whether it was calculated or not doesn’t matter