Published in the March 29, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — All good writers know that the story is in the details and Wakefield native Paul (Murphy) D’Angelo has the knack for a good tale.

WAKEFIELD NATIVE and comedian Paul D’Angelo is shown with his books and a favorite companion Duffy, part Wheaton terrier and part poodle.

WAKEFIELD NATIVE and comedian Paul D’Angelo is shown with his books and a favorite companion Duffy, part Wheaton terrier and part poodle.

And now, his work as a writer and comedian is getting noticed in high places. In 2015, for example, he won the Gold Medal for the e-Lit Awards competition. He also was a finalist in the 2015 International Book Awards contest and received honorable mention in the 2015 New York Book Festival.

The lawyer turned comedian recently published his second book “More Stories to Tell” (subtitle “A Lawyer Turned Comedian Puts Everyday Life on Trial”). So far, sales have been brisk, thanks to a recent book signing at Artichokes restaurant on Main Street and other locations.

D’Angelo also will be on hand to sign and sell books at the Blossoms at the Beebe event on Saturday evening, April 30.

Asked if he was surprised when he heard the news that he had won the awards, D’Angelo said: “I wasn’t really surprised because most of the humorous stories that make up my books have been told and honed, at one time or another, in front of live audiences, or in interviews, or to friends, so it’s not as if they were untested.”

He added that he had read many of the comedic books written by the comics he looked up to like George Carlin, Jerry Seinfeld, Woody Allen and Jay Leno and knew that his work was comparable.

“When I received the accolades, it was much more important to me that the awards gave my book legitimacy to people who weren’t familiar with my stand-up and might consider reading it,” he said.

His books (the first is titled “Stories I Tell” and subtitled “A Comic’s Random Attempts to Make Some Sense Out of Nonsense”) contain one story after another – stories from his childhood, his days in law school and working as a prosecutor prior to defending criminals; stories about show business, struggling to make it in Los Angeles and celebrity encounters, not to mention social sarcasm and original comedy routines that rarely make it into his act.

As an author, D’Angelo said that writing legal opinions for the Attorney General’s office while he was in law school has contributed to his success. He also clerked for the judges at the Middlesex Probate Court before becoming Assistant District Attorney in Essex County.

“I obviously had to be adept at punctuation, grammar and editing (which helped a lot),” he said. From a performance point of view, D’Angelo had completed almost 100 trials before a judge and jury before he ever stepped on a stage, so he was comfortable speaking in front of an audience and trying to get his point across in a concise, captivating manner. He managed to carry this talent over to his writing.

What also carried over to his writing are his childhood memories. It is from his bank of memories that he draws inspiration.

As a child, he had no choice to be funny because he was brought up in a “very funny home.”

“My Irish father was incredibly funny and entertaining, as was my Italian Uncle Vito, who lived in the same house with us,” D’Angelo explained. “As a result, my two brothers developed great senses of humor, as well, and some of the funniest times of my life were spent around the kitchen table during dinner. My father turned me on to all the comedians on the Ed Sullivan Show and my uncle’s Bill Cosby albums were an instrumental influence in my ability to tell a story.”

D’Angelo said he is inspired when he creates something new, whether it is writing another passage in a book or producing fresh material for his act and sharing it with other people who can relate to what he’s saying.

“And I still get a kick from doing my live performances. Although it’s sometimes just another job, I truly appreciate the fact that I can earn a living making people laugh,” he said.

At times, his road to writing success has been strewn with rocks, making for a bumpy journey. To illustrate, D’Angelo said that when he finished his first book, he sent it to over 50 publishers and got 50 rejections, but every one of the publishers remarked that they really liked his book.

“They informed me that for a comedy/humor book to be profitable, it typically had to be written by a famous comedian with a large national following and apparently my reach wasn’t big enough,” he said.

D’Angelo is now making a big push to promote his books through other means, including a popular promo site called “Who’s Reading My Book?” in which he features local and national celebrities enjoying his books.

Unlike many writers who get up at the crack of dawn and start writing, D’Angelo does not have a set writing schedule because his priorities change from day to day, hour to hour.

“Parts of various days are spent dealing with agents, booking shows, promoting upcoming performances, maintaining a presence on social media and the administration of my merchandise,” he said “I write around the other obligations and sometimes will work into the early morning hours when there are no other distractions. The great benefit of doing something you love is that I never find myself looking at a clock or counting the hours spent.”

Some writers spend decades on their books before writing “The End.” For D’Angelo, it’s hard to say how long it takes him to finish.

“I can’t really say how long it takes to complete a book because the books are a compilation of stories, anecdotes, ideas, premises and comedy routines that I have been accumulating and rewriting over many years. I suppose you would have to add up the countless hours I spent writing down and editing those concepts before I even thought of including them in a book. Even after you write the substantive part of the book, it takes a long time to lay it out, format it, rewrite and edit it, design a cover, add pictures and captions, construct a press release and all that goes along with it. Then comes the marketing end of it, which is a whole new ball game that takes at least as much commitment and effort as actually writing the book.”

In spite of his busy schedule of both live performances and marketing his books, CDs and DVDs, he has another goal in mind: Editing the first of his “L.A. Miserables” series of diaries he wrote when he gave up his legal career and moved to Hollywood.

“A couple of friends read the first of six installments and urged me to publish it. It’s hilarious because I was totally miserable, frustrated and increasingly jaded by the experience, which makes for good comedy as I vent my building aggravation on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Though he has not considered writing an inspirational book for aspiring comedians, he does love to teach and pass on the lessons he has learned from his experiences.

“I’m often asked to guest lecture at comedy classes and actually addressed public speaking classes at UCLA when I lived in Los Angeles,” D’Angelo said. “When I’m not doing that on a formal basis, I often make myself available to aspiring comedians because I love discussing the art of stand-up and breaking down a routine to see why some things resonate with an audience and others don’t elicit the reaction you’d expect.”

His second career as a comedian has taught him many new life lessons. For one, he has learned that “you proportionally get out of something what you put into it.”

“To be a successful comedian you have to start out with some variation of talent for the craft and after that it’s all hard work, dedication, experience and the motivation to improve yourself every time you get on stage,” he said. “It makes the process so much easier when you are doing something you love.”

D’Angelo added that the comedy business is not so much a club business anymore, where comedians could make a good living playing to packed rooms, seven nights a week, in any city in the country.

“Other than my ‘home’ clubs of Giggles and Kowloon restaurant where I appear on a regular basis, most of my shows now consist of fundraisers, benefits, special events, corporate conventions and theaters, so every week is different.”

Purchase D’Angelo’s books CDs and DVDs at or through his Web site at Book price: $20. For more information, visit