Comedy writer returns to Clovis
The response to an appearance by three-time Emmy-winning comedy writer Gene Perret in May at A Book Barn was so popular that a second workshop had to be added. Perret’s back by popular demand and will be conducting a free comedy writing workshop at the Clovis bookstore, 640 Clovis Ave., from 2-4 p.m. March 16.
Perret, a Philadelphia native, became a joke writer because of skits he wrote for special events at the GE plant where he worked as an electrical drafting apprentice. A co-worker told comedian Phyllis Diller about Perret and soon he was writing for her, earning $5 a joke.
Perret moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s and wrote for “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Laugh-In,” “The New Bill Cosby Show,” “All in the Family,” “Three’s Company,” “Welcome Back, Kotter” and “The Tim Conway Show.” He was also on Bob Hope’s writing staff for 28 years.
For his return to A Book Barn, Perret will present 10 fundamental principles of comedy that he’s laid out in his latest book, “The Ten Commandments of Comedy” (Quill Driver Books,” $14.95).
“There’s a biblical tone to it, a sort of threat from above that might be ignored only at one’s peril,” says Perret in a news release to announce his return engagement. “These are the rules that control the effectiveness of comedy, and for your humor to be effective, you should adhere to all of them. If your jokes aren’t working, it’s because you’re breaking or bending these commandments.”
The workshop, which will include a 30-minute question-and-answer session, is free to the public. Because his last workshops were so popular, it would be wise to preregister at clovisbookbarn.com/workshop.
“The Ten Commandments of Comedy” will be available for purchase and a signing by Perret will be held at the workshop.
A look back
Sylvia Ross, a Fresno State University graduate, describes her latest book, “East of the Great Valley: The Story of Merab McCreary” (Bentley Avenue Books, $17.95), as being less of a history book and more of an emphasis on the struggle of good settlers to do the right thing against the pressure of popular opinion in California from 1856-70.
“The book is based on the decimation of the Native population that took place between the discovery of gold in California and 1900. The book also delves into the effects of the Civil War on the new state. It has a section on the California 100, who sailed from San Francisco to Boston to fight with the 2nd Massachusetts for the Union in the Shenandoah Valley,” says Ross.
“It also deals greatly with the Americans who came to provide food and services for the burgeoning population of miners, the many diverse cultural and ethnic groups in our state, and the beginnings of commerce and agriculture in the Great Valley.”
Before launching her writing career, Ross worked as a cell painter for Walt Disney Productions and taught in a school attended by children from the Tule River Indian Reservation.
The book is available at amazon.com.
Other book news
Local speaker: New York Daily News reporter and Tulare Union graduate Bill Hutchinson will be the special guest at the Tulare Public Library, 475 N. M St., at 5:30 p.m. March 14. He’s the author of “Sushi and Black-eyed Peas: An All-American Memoir” (TheWriteDeal, $5.99), a coming-of-age story set in the central San Joaquin Valley during the era of Cesar Chavez.
Graphic work: Roosevelt High School graduate Andres Salazar has created a new graphic novel, “Pariah, Missouri,” a western/horror comic set in the Civil War era that he describes as “Deadwood” meets “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” When he’s not drawing graphic novels, Salazar is a stand-up comedian.
For more information, go to kickstarter.com.
A little help: Fresno State graduates Betsy Hays and Tori Randolph Terhune have co-authored “Land Your Dream Career: 11 Steps To Take In College” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, $30), a book that offers tips for college to successfully pave the way for future employment. There will be book signings at 11 a.m. April 11 at Fresno State’s Kennel Bookstore, 5284 N. Jackson Ave., and 11 a.m. April 13 at Petunia’s Place, 6027 North Palm Ave.
Good sports: Larry Knuth, a former member of the Fresno State track team, has written “Classic Track and Field Tales” (LK Publications, $15), a history of the glory days of track and field presented with 300 photographs. He writes about Dutch Warmerdam, Bob Mathias, Tommie Smith, Bob Hayes and others.
You can order the book at usctrackandfield.com/classictrackfield.
By Rick Bentley