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Funny Business is a photo book featuring 200 of the big players and up-and-comers from the last 20 years of comedy.

Hi, my name is Seth Olenick, and I am a Brooklyn-based photographer.  For the last 6 years I have been photographing people from the comedy world for a project that I plan to make into a book called Funny Business.

What kind of book will this be?

Funny Business is going to be an 11"x13" portrait-oriented, hardcover  coffee table book with approximately 250 pages containing 200 full-color photos on glossy paper.  This Kickstarter covers the 1st edition run of 1500 copies, 200 of which will come with a hand-printed special edition slipcase.  I'm still finalizing the design that will be printed on the slipcases, and hope to unveil it before the end of this campaign.

The book designer is Adriana Garcia, a Brooklyn-based graphic designer with years of experience on magazines, and a couple of books under her belt as well.

The digital imaging guru is Jeff Spitery who has nearly 30 years experience with photo preparation for print, and is helping me with the retouching of all of the files as well.

How did I get here?

I have loved comedy in all forms ever since I can remember, and my sense of humor has been largely shaped by the "alternative comedy" scene that came out of the early 90's, and remains prevalent today; albeit in a more mainstream way.  As a fan of The Ben Stiller Show, The State, Upright Citizens Brigade, and various incarnations of SNL, I tend to gravitate toward the more off-beat.  In 2003, my photo and comedy worlds collided at Lansky Lounge on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  It was there that I had the opportunity to photograph comedian Todd Barry hosting Heeb Storytelling, a series put on by Heeb, the magazine for which I was Photo Editor.  Being that this was my first experience photographing live comedy (I had only photographed live bands up to that point), I had an epiphany.  And so began the long journey that led me to this next phase of my photo career - photographing comedians.

Who will be in Funny Business?

Over the course of this project, I have photographed many of the major players and up-and-comers that have formed the comedy landscape as we've known it for the last 20 years.  This includes stand ups, actors/actresses, writers, directors, and producers. 

Just a few of the people you will see in the book are Paul Scheer, Scott Aukerman, David Wain, Thomas Lennon, Zach Galifianakis, The State, Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt, A.D. Miles, Zak Orth, Elizabeth Banks, Judd Apatow, Paul Feig, Adam McKay, Jon Hamm, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Janeane Garofalo, Andy Dick, David Cross, Megan Mullally, Todd Barry, Jessica St. Clair, Scott Adsit, Marc Maron, Derek Waters, Mike Birbiglia, Wyatt Cenac, Jack McBrayer, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Rob Riggle, Aubrey Plaza, Kumail Nanjiani, Greg Proops, Allison Becker, Jim Gaffigan, Rob Schrab, Hannibal Buress, Jane Lynch, Greg Behrendt, Geoffrey Arend, David Koechner, Joe Mande, Larry Wilmore, Charlyne Yi, and Martin Starr (more below).

What isn't Funny Business?

Though not an exhaustive collection of comedic personalities, Funny Business features those that I feel are a good cross section of household names along with some that you may not have heard of.  In the 6 years since beginning the shoots, some of the up-and-comers have actually become widely recognized.  Though known by die-hard comedy fans, people like Aubrey Plaza, Donald Glover, and Aziz Ansari had not yet been on tv when we did our shoots, and had not yet broken into the mainstream.  There is no doubt that all three are a huge part of the next generation of comedy, each starring in hit shows on NBC, HBO and in numerous films.  They are joined in the book by some of my early comedy heroes - David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Judd Apatow, and every member of The State.

Will it have words?

Yes. Funny Business has been in the works for quite a while now, and I was lucky enough to get John Mulaney to write the intro to the book.  John is one of the funniest writer/stand-ups today.  Some people might remember him from his witty commentary on Best Week Ever a few years back, or his Comedy Central specials and albums.  He also happens to be the mastermind behind Stefon, the club-obsessed regular on SNL's Weekend Update, played by Bill Hader.  Along with the intro, all photos will be accompanied by blurbs written by the comedians themselves.  These blurbs embody their senses of humor, and range from just a few words to a couple of paragraphs.  That is the extent of the text in the book, as I really wanted the main focus to be on the photos.

Can you tell me more about the rewards?

Since this is a unique project, I really wanted to offer some unique rewards.  So, on top of the usual offering of thanks and copies of the book, I am also presenting the first ever audio version of a photo book, narrated by the unnaturally talented rockstar/comic Dave Hill.  For those of you familiar with Dave's work, you know this is not just going to be a run-of-the-mill audio book. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dave, his un-formulaic humor is bound to make you crack up as you listen to his smooth voice narrating the photos.

Some of the higher levels will get a limited edition 8x10 print (each with editions of 25) of one of the following 4 photos of Elizabeth Banks, Jon Hamm, Jane Lynch, or Patton Oswalt:

Limited 8x10 prints in editions of 25
Limited 8x10 prints in editions of 25

I'm also offering more personal experiences with the comics: meeting them, talking to them, and in some cases even dining with them.  I have also partnered with some of my favorite visual artists to create original artwork based on some of the Funny Business photos. Here's a sample of just one of the pieces available (Zach Galifianakis is an edition of 5):

Zach Galifianakis by Derek Deal
Zach Galifianakis by Derek Deal
John Mulaney byBlake Loosli
John Mulaney byBlake Loosli

For those who like mementos, I have props from some of the shoots that I will be offering along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the prop was used - these props vary in size, and are priced accordingly.  Here are a few:

To see all of the available props, click here.
To see all of the available props, click here.

You can also pledge to be on the other side of my lens either in a photo shoot of your own, or taking part as an extra in one of the last remaining shoots for the Funny Business project. 

Where is all the money going?

$30,000 is a pretty hefty sum, but it will go toward the design and preparation of files for the book, the actual printing and shipping of the books, shipping all of the props, and making prints. 

Once the book comes out, I hope to even have a gallery show and a mini tour across the country talking to other comedy and photo fans about the book.  If we can make it beyond our goal, I would also really love to create an iPad app that will make the whole Funny Business experience more interactive.

Didn't I hear something about this book over a year ago?

Yes.  In December 2011, Last Call with Carson Daly did a Spotlight feature on me where you can see some of the photos.

Who else will I see in Funny Business?

Human Giant, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, Jon Glaser, Maria Bamford, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh, Nate Corddry, Rob Corddry, Gabe Liedman and Jenny Slate, Eugene Mirman, Ken Jeong and Mike O'Connell, John Oliver, Laura Silverman, Kyle Kinane, John Mulaney, Seth Morris, Larry Murphy, Bobby Lee, Arden Myrin, Matt Braunger, Hard N' Phirm, Brent Weinbach, Ronna and Beverly, Bill Hader, Arj Barker, Melissa Rauch, Andy Borowitz, Doug Benson, Kristen Schaal, Christian Finnegan, Dave Hill, Reggie Watts, Tig Notaro, Kevin Sussman, Ed Helms, Laura Krafft, Brian Stack, Aasif Mandvi, Paul F. Tompkins, Pete Holmes, Kurt Braunohler, Morgan Murphy, Julian McCullough, Rhys Darby, John Ennis, Josh Fadem, Tim and Eric, Garfunkel and Oates, T.J. Miller, Al Madrigal, Andy Daly, Anthony Jeselnik, Ben Kronberg, Brody Stevens, Chelsea Peretti, Eric Andre, Greg Fitzsimmons, James Adomian, Jessi Klein, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, John Hodgman, Lance Krall, Nick Kroll, Paul Rust, Samm Levine, Rory Albanese, Seth Herzog, Abby Elliot, Brendon Walsh, Brooke Van Poppellen, Dan Mintz, David Krumholtz, Harris Wittels, Jerry Minor, John Hamburg, John Lutz, Key and Peele, Jonah Ray, Kate Flannery, Leo Allen, Bobby Tisdale, Max Silvestri, Moshe Kasher, Rory Scovel, Sean Patton, Thomas Middleditch, Josh Blue, Glenn Wool, The Sklar Brothers, Dave Holmes, Brian Huskey, Amber Tozer, Jen Kirkman, Natasha Leggero, Wendy Spero, Clara Bijl, Rob  Huebel, Ken Ober, Iliza Shlesinger, Jeremy Hotz, Kevin Sussman, Shaun Majumder, B.J. Porter, June Diane Raphael, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Matt Dwyer, Frangela, Dragon Boy Suede, Jeff Garlin, Graham Elwood, Joe LoTruglio, Robert Ben Garant, Stephen Hale, Nick Thune, Jon Daly, Brett Gelman, Cracked Out, Dana Gould, Steve Agee, Brendon Small, Jimmy Pardo, Andy Richter, Brandon Johnson, Michael Patrick Jann, Ken Marino, Scot Armstrong, Ryan Hansen, Lizzy Caplan, Steve Byrne, Aziz Ansari, Maria Thayer, Jim Rash, Marguerite Moreau, Gillian Jacobs, Bobcat Goldthwait, JB Smoove, Ali Wong, Chris Meloni, Wayne Federman, John Gemberling, Alex Karpovsky, Adam Lowitt, Nick Turner, Kevin Corrigan, Kevin Allison, Todd Holoubek, Andre DuBouchet, H. Jon Benjamin, Heather Lawless, John Roberts, Wendy Ho, John F. O'Donnell, Julia Segal, Tom McCaffrey, Greg Johnson, Casey Wilson, Horation Sanz, The Whitest Kids U Know, Billy Lyons, Stone and Stone, Donnell Rawlings, Jason Woliner, Heather Fink, DERRICK, Brent Sullivan, Andrea Rosen, Bill Plympton, Malcolm Barrett, and many more.

The music in your video is pretty cool.  Who is that?

I totally agree with you.  That's Les Savy Fav, an amazing band from around where I live who put on a killer live show. The singer and guitarist have even lent themselves to one of my rewards, offering to write a song and make a video for one lucky fan. The songs in the video are called "Je T'aime" and "Patty Lee".

Special thanks!!

I would like to single out a few people, without whom this project would not have been possible: Paul Scheer, Scott Aukerman, David Wain, Thomas Lennon, Kerri Kenney-Silver, and Wendy Spero.  Your support of my work over the years, and help with this project along the way, is appreciated more than you will ever know.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This is my first time producing/publishing a book. Luckily, I have friends who have made high-end art books and can help guide me through the process.

While I already have blurbs from 1/4 of the participants, I still need to coordinate getting the rest of them for the book. Unforeseen issues may come up which could affect the production schedule, though I am working hard to make sure that we meet our deadlines.

FAQ

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    CLEANLINESS SPECIAL A copy of Funny Business in the special edition slipcase and thanks as a donor in the book. You will also receive the audio book for being so kind. ...AND you get special, limited edition of 30, Funny Business-engraved bar of soap so you can wash away the dirty feeling you'll get after reading the book.

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    ANALOG PHOTO SPECIAL 1: A copy of the special edition of the book, thanks as a donor, the audio book and a disposable camera containing photos taken by Kyle Kinane, and not seen by anyone before you (except the creepy guy at the one hour photo lab). You will be responsible for the cost of developing the film, but I have factored this into the price, having slashed the pledge from $350 to $335.

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    ANALOG PHOTO SPECIAL 2: A copy of the special edition of the book, thanks as a donor, the audio book and a disposable camera containing photos taken by John Oliver, and not seen by anyone before you (except the creepy guy at the one hour photo lab). You will be responsible for the cost of developing the film, but I have factored this into the price, having slashed the pledge from $350 to $335.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - MAX SILVESTRI: An oversized Zippo-style lighter used by Max Silvestri along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the lighter appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - DANNY PUDI: The one-of-a-kind putty beard worn so well by Danny Pudi along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the putty beard appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - MARGUERITE MOREAU: A fake blood-covered inflatable horse with a one way ticket to the glue factory after a freak accident riding with Marguerite Moreau, along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the horse appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    A special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and a limited edition (only 5) print by artist Blake Loosli (www.blakeloosli.com) based on my photo of John Mulaney.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - NICHOLAS STOLLER: A small, framed original still life fruit drawing by Nicholas Stoller along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the drawing appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - BOBCAT GOLDTHWAIT: The mustache worn by Bobcat Goldthwait, handed to you by the man himself with a firm handshake thrown in along with an 8x10 of the photo in which the mustache appeared. Logistically, this will likely have to happen in L.A. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - ALEX KARPOVSKY: Four inflatable dolls from Alex Karpovsky's laundromat shoot personally folded by Karpovsky himself. A photo and note will be included to prove it along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the dolls appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - DAVID WAIN: Special Package Deal! Get the crown, gold grills and gold plastic oversized clock necklace from my shoot with David Wain along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the items all appeared. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    PROP AND A PRINT - A.D. Miles: Oversized Prop! Get the carved and sawed-into side table from my shoot with A.D. Miles along with an 8x10 print of the photo in which the table appeared. Logistically, this can only be delivered within the greater Los Angeles area. You will also get everything from the $225 level.

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    A special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and an original 12x18 watercolor by artist Dave Kloc (www.davekloc.com) based on my photo of Judd Apatow.

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    I like you very much, and for that you get your very own personal photo shoot with me in Brooklyn or anywhere within 50 miles of NYC. You also get a special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, and the audio book.

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    FREAKS AND GEEKS SPECIAL Your very own portrait by Martin Starr! He has asked to make you all aware that he may, or may not, be an amazing painter, so you're in for a special treat one way or the other. And, of course, you also get a special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, and the audio book.

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    A special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and an original piece of art by artist Dave Chung (www.thechung.com) based on my photo of David Cross.

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    A special edition copy of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and an original piece of art by artist Desiree Fessler (www.theartofdesiree.com/) based on my photo of Kristen Schaal.

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    GET IN THE GAME! You're not content sitting this one out, so I'm going to put you in as an extra in one of the final photo shoots for Funny Business. You also get 2 special edition copies of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and an 8x10 of your photo. This is only open to those who can be in NY in March. There is no guarantee that the photo will appear in the book itself, but could later appear in the ebook and/or app.

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    Stoopid Buddy Special: 2 special edition copies of Funny Business signed by me, a special thanks in the book, the audio book, and a one-of-a-kind figure (approx. 6" high) based on one of my photos of your choosing. The figure, or "puppet", will be fabricated by one of the builders over at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the producers of animated shows like Robot Chicken.

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    UCB[enihana] Special...You and three of your friends will join Matt Walsh, Ian Roberts and Matt Besser of the Upright Citizens Brigade for a chicken and steak dinner at Benihana cooked by me (I am a certified Benihana Master Teppanyaki Chef). You will also receive 4 copies of the special edition book, the ebook and the audio book. As a bonus, we'll have a photo taken commemorating the evening. This will happen in L.A., so you must live there or find your way there on your own. Due to busy schedules, this will require a lot of flexibility, but it will be worth it. You also get a double special thanks in the book.

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    MUSIC SPECIAL: Tim and Seth from Les Savy Fav will write a song about you based on information that you supply us about yourself. We will also make a video for the song, directed by animator/director Edmond Hawkins and myself. You will also get 2 copies of the special edition book, the ebook and the audio book, plus major bragging rights. You also get a double special thanks in the book.

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    Benihana West Special...Join SNL alum/UCB founding member, Horatio Sanz, and two of his comedian friends for a chicken and steak dinner at Benihana cooked by me (I am a certified Benihana Master Teppanyaki Chef). You will also receive 4 copies of the special edition book, the ebook and the audio book. As a bonus, we'll have a photo taken commemorating the evening. This will happen in L.A., so you must live there or find your way there on your own. Due to busy schedules, this will require a lot of flexibility, but it will be worth it. You also get a double special thanks in the book.

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    INVITE THEM UP...TO BENIHANA: You and three of your friends will join Bobby Tisdale and Eugene Mirman, hosts of the historic East Village comedy show Invite Them Up, and one of their comedy friends for a chicken and steak dinner at Benihana cooked by me (I am a certified Benihana Master Teppanyaki Chef). You will also receive 4 copies of the special edition book, the ebook and the audio book. As a bonus, we'll have a photo taken commemorating the evening. This will happen in NYC, so you must live there or find your way there on your own. Due to busy schedules, this will require a lot of flexibility, but it will be worth it. You also get a double special thanks in the book.

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    Your very own photo shoot with me in NY or L.A. plus 3 signed copies of the special edition of the book with slipcase, the ebook and the audio book. You also get an 11x14 print of one photo from the book which you get to choose. You also get a super special thanks in the book.

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    STATE SPECIAL: Everything from the $2,500 level as well as an 8x10 photo of The State from their reunion in San Francisco in 2009 limited to just 16 prints given to the members of the group (this one is number 2/16 and is also signed by me on the back). Oh, and did I mention that it is signed on the front by every single original member?

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    PRODUCER PACKAGE: Words cannot express my gratitude, so I'll just have to bribe you with rewards. You will get 5 copies of the special edition book signed by me, the ebook, the audio book, a photo shoot with me, and a 16x20 print of one photo from the book which you get to choose. You also get a super duper special thanks in the book.

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