Friend of 4Laughs, comedian Phil James, offered to review 'Teach Yourself Stand Up' by Logan

"When I first sat down to read Logan Murray's book, "Teach Yourself Stand-up comedy" I have to admit I was dubious. There must be a little goblin sitting in the back of my brain spewing forth spite as part of me wanted the book to miss a lot out. Plus, I thought, I've been going for a couple of years so I'm sure it's interesting but it won't have anything to teach me.

"Kingsley Amis once remarked, 'If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing.' And Raymond Delauney has certainly taken this advice into the twenty-first century as he embarks on a mission to antagonize as many people as he can - via email.

"Well thankfully I was wrong, and my spite has died a little death. This book does exactly what it claims to do. It serves as an introduction to the world of stand-up. If you've never set foot inside a comedy club before, Murray explains how the nights work, how to book yourself in for a spot and even the proper ettiquette once you are there. This may sound a little patronising, but trust me, some acts need to know how to behave themselves.

"On the writing side, there are a lot of exercises to get your creativity flowing and have some fun at the same time. Stress is placed on writing concisely and clearly, with examples of how too many words can kill a punch line. Some people may not like the formulae Murray puts forward for jokes, but knowingly or instinctively these are the structures and tricks many of us use in our writing.

"One reason I wish I'd have read this book before starting out is the chapter dealing with stagecraft. Had I known not to look at the floor or kick the microphone lead I might have started out as a more impressive comic instead of a shambolic wannabe. The book also dispels some of the terror people may feel about performing live.

"One of the points made in the book which comics will talk about among themselves, but punters never hear about, is that comedy is not as hard as you think, and it's the most fun you can have. This is why I'm a firm believer that everyone should try stand-up at least once, and if this book encourages anybody to do so, then that can only be a good thing.

"Despite my reservations when I started the book, Logan Murray has taught me a couple of things. My performances are better now I've used some of the techniques in the book. So it's with a bit of shame and gratitude that I heartily recommend this book."

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