Comedy Goes to Court: When People Stop Laughing And Start Fighting

by Carl Unegbu


America is widely regarded as the most litigious society in the world. And comedians, just like everybody else, are not immune from the consequences of living in a place like America. Indeed, much the same goes for the other free societies across the world. For those outside the comedy industry, aka the general public, the book gives them an invaluable window into the exciting and sometimes fraught world of comedy and those who inhabit it. In short, you can call this book a "must read" for comedians and a "should read" for everybody else.

This is a book for anyone with an interest in comedy. For people in the comedy industry itself and indeed the broader entertainment industry, this book is literally a must-read. For those thinking about embarking on a career in comedy, not reading this book beforehand is probably something you can only do at your own peril. For all others (think the growing influence that comedy exerts on our contemporary pop culture) this book is a should-read. At the minimum the book offers useful guidance on how comedians should proceed in making a deal for their work; what a comedian can or cannot safely say or do, whether on stage or off stage; how to protect their comedy "material", which means their money; and how to safely manage their relations with their comedy industry colleagues as well as people in other industries or even just everyday folks out there. To properly drive home its point, the book draws lessons from the life and work of comedians not only here in the US, but also in Canada, Britain, Australia, Germany and more.Long story short, this book helps comedians cover all their bases. Above all, this book has been years in the making and is the sort of book that could only have been written by somebody from a vantage position who not only knows the law around comedy but also has covered the world of comedy intimately and with good insight. In other words, someone like Yours Sincerely. Enjoy!

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The Author:

Carl Unegbu is a lawyer and journalist based in New York City. He studied journalism at Columbia after graduating law school at the University of Miami. Prior to his admission to the New York Bar, Carl practiced law in Miami and served as a law clerk at the International Court of Arbitration in Paris. He was a reporter at The Real Deal magazine and an editor at His articles have appeared in Reuters Forum Journal, World Policy Journal, Journal of International Arbitration, New York Review of Magazines, Gotham Gazette, City Limits and New York County Lawyer.


ISBN: 9781957013312
Publication date: September 22, 2022
Page count: 252
List price: $16.99
Formats available:

The best contemporary comedians always push the limits and sometimes push way too far for the status quo. As a result, many comedians end up in court to battle for their first amendment rights or control of their careers and material. Author Carl Unegbu is an astute observer of the rules of both law and comedy. His new book Comedy Goes to Court: When People Stop Laughing and Start Fighting is an essential book for anyone interested in how the precise legal process deals with the often-undisciplined world of comedy. Each chapter in Unegbu’s book is an incisive case study of how such comedians as Bill Maher, Dave Chappelle, and Conan O’Brien, have fared in the courtroom.

The writer gives his brief introduction about what he does, how he started a blog, and people loved his writing.

As hard as it is being a comedian, the precious few who do make it big have to pay a hefty price. In this book the writer perfectly outlines the difficulties faced by comedians throughout their journey. From writing original content to battling stage fear to seeing people get offended by your content, it is by no means an easy journey and the book lists it down with great empathy and detail.

“Comedy goes to court: When people stop laughing and start fighting” by Carl Unegbu is just an amazing book written by a clearly very intelligent author. He has more knowledge about the world of comedians than the comedians themselves. As a lawyer he knows the ins and outs of this world better than anyone else. He will explain such things as, what a comedian can say and definitely can’t say as well as how to manage your earnings and everything that comes with being a successful comedian. I personally am not a comedian but I definitely enjoyed getting some insides into the vast world of comedians. It’s crazy how big of a world is hidden behind the scenes.

The world of comedy is not only about laughs. In thisbook, the author opens up about legal cases against comedians, and their outcomes. While this might not seem important, we have to recognize that there is an uptick in violence against comedians and people need to be aware what happens when they feel their rights were hurt. The author makes a compelling case for us to learn and this book is a great insight and resource to see what comedians have to deal with behind the scenes in terms of free speech and political correctness.

I really enjoyed this book because it touches on a few issues that have interested me over the years. I especially loved reading some of the real-life court cases that helped bring the comedic world to where it is now. The book goes by fairly quickly because the author has a great writing style. I'd highly recommend it to anyone that loves books about court cases or those that just want to know more about where a comedic career path would take them.

I loved this book. The writing goes down so smoothly like listening to an old friend.

Comedy Goes to Court: When People Stop Laughing and Start Fighting by Carl Unegbu is a fantastic read about the world of comedy and how it is impacted by the law. Comedy really is one of the best parts of being alive. Being able to find things funny brings joy and a sense of relaxation that is missing in many people's lives. Comedians are able to bring that to many of us, but the reality is that many comedians are finding their hands tied because of the laws and attitudes of the society that they exist in. Anyone who is a fan of comedy will enjoy this read, but also anyone who has an interest in contemporary issues will find much to discuss and learn from.

Carl Unegbu’s Comedy Goes to Court: When People Stop Laughing and Start Fighting, is a fascinating book which gives an interesting look into the world of comedy.
From plagiarism to ableism, Unegbu breaks down and explains the background behind some of the biggest court cases in the comedy world.

Comedy Goes to Court: When People Stop Laughing and Start Fighting by Carl Unegbu is an interesting book that shows the audience how ugly comedy can get in the courtroom. The author tells multiple stories of comedians who have gone to court for various reasons. While the stories are entertaining, there are lessons to be learned from mistakes made. I think the most important lesson would be to keep well-written contact with every venue, manager, and company in which you work. When things go south, it isn't funny. Be sure the "political correctness" brigade will correct you every time they think you stepped out of bounds. This was definitely one of the most unique books I have ever read.

Comedy Goes to Court is a nonfiction self-help book providing all there is needed to know about how to start your life as a comedian. At first, I was intrigued because I never thought you needed to be told what to do in this matter. Surely being funny was enough, right? Wrong. The book is enjoyable to read. It is informative, educational, and provides a thorough guide to all the steps needed. I recommend this book to those who are struggling to become a comedian.

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