All Jokes Aside: Stand-Up Comedy Is a Phunny Business is the wildly entertaining story of Lambert’s journey, a behind-the-scenes look at the world of show business, and an inspiring tale for any dreamer and would-be entrepreneur. In 2012, Lambert released the documentary film Phunny Business, which profiles his iconic club through interviews with many of the club's most famous alumni. The film was met with worldwide acclaim and has since been nationally syndicated on Showtime and has sold more than 50,000 copies. All Jokes Aside provides an even deeper look into Lambert's successes and failures, as well as the lessons he learned from running America's one-time preeminent black comedy showcase.
In the late 1980s, with a degree from Morehouse College and an MBA from University of Virginia's Darden School under his belt, the young Lambert had one more thing going for him: he was being mentored by legendary investment banker Chris Gardner, famously portrayed in an Oscar-nominated performance by Will Smith in the 2006 movie The Pursuit of Happyness. The only problem was that Lambert still felt unfulfilled. So on August 9, 1991, with no experience running a comedy club, Lambert and business partner James Alexander borrowed money from Alexander's mother and opened All Jokes Aside on Chicago's South Side.
For a decade, All Jokes Aside was an often-unheralded "star factory" that nonetheless made an indelible impression on American pop culture. The club gave crucial early exposure to major talents, many of whom are now headliners of Hollywood's top box-office blockbusters. All Jokes Aside is chock-full of cautionary tales both humorous and dramatic, intimate details on the early careers of today's star performers, and tangible guidance on how to build a business. Lambert's storytelling is funny, insightful, and brutally honest. Whether you are looking for business advice or an uproarious good time, All Jokes Aside is a much-needed history of black entertainment and an uplifting personal memoir of stepping out into the spotlight.
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