In Comedy Rules, Lynn sheds light on how it’s done with 150 rules covering such vexed topics as:

  • Inspiration, collaboration and the Seven Deadly Sins
  • The perils of unmotivated comic business
  • Sexist jokes, taboos and bad taste
  • Pitching screenplays in LA
  • Writing outside your experience
  • Avoiding lunch with the Inland Revenue

A host of hugely enjoyable examples drawn from Lynn’s varied and successful career bring these rules to life. Along the way, we meet a cast of luminaries including Leonard Rossiter, John Landis, Nigel Hawthorne, Paul Eddington, Jack Rosenthal and Jonathan’s long-time co-writer, Antony Jay.

As we travel in Lynn’s genial company from early digs in Coventry to the Sushi bars of Hollywood, Comedy Rules offers an enlightening journey into the world of comedy and an indispensible companion to the elusive art of its creation.

‘A terrific read, a masterclass in comedy. To anyone starting out, writing, performing, or producing, Comedy Rules! is a gem. It is also a very engaging memoir of such a productive, creative, and successful career. Finally, perhaps most importantly, it is absolutely hilarious. Terribly funny.’
- Robbie Coltrane

‘Stayed up half the night reading it…loved it.
It’s about WHAT I DO!’
- Steve Martin

"A tightly constructed, rather brilliant little book...Best of all, Lynn makes it look easy, which is the basic rule of comedy, and is only ever the product of long hours of hard work."        -The Spectator

"Comedy gold...instantly more entertaining than most memoirs...there are treats galore...If your passion is acting, directing, producing or comedy writing, then this book is a gem. And if you share none of these passions but simply want to laugh out loud as you learn, then this one is for you too."   -The Scotsman


“Joanna is in desperate need of $10,000, now or soon. No holds barred.”

Ernest Mayday, a best-selling British author living in a Hollywood Hills mansion with a beautiful masseuse, has everything that money can buy – except an idea for his next book.

Then he replies to the personal ad placed by the mysterious, tantalizing Joanna. She needs money, fast, and will do anything to get it. Compromising a juror on a major fraud trial is just the beginning of an increasingly labyrinthine plot – a plot that Ernest realizes will make the perfect novel.

But is Ernest observer or voyeur? When does fact end and fiction begin? What is the truth about the Reverend Abel Pile and the sinister Angel of Darkness? Suddenly Ernest finds he is no longer calling the shots – and the bullets are real.

Written by: Jonathan Lynn
First published by: Viking UK (1993) and Penguin (1994)
Republished in the USA by: Xlibris (2002)
Format: Trade paperback, hardback, e-book

"At last, a thought-filled, mystery-laced,laugh-packed, cynical, satirical knockout novel that takes on L.A.'s cluttered complex culture, the gratuitous embroidery of American speech, the seismic idiocy of the movie business, feel-good religion, fell-bad psychoanalysis, academian nuts. single sex and group as well. Move over, Raymond Chandler and Nathaniel West." - Larry Gelbart

"Jonathan Lynn, with his marvelous sense of the comic and his artist's eye for detail has, like Thackeray, spun an unforgettable portrait of the exotic denizens of L.A - engrossing, scathingly funny, original." - Oliver Sacks

"It is several satirical novels for the price of one, all jostling and milling and spraying their targets with unrestrained vigour." - Times Literary Supplement

"Very funny - will keep you turning the pages right to the surprising end." - Eric Idle


Yes Minister Miscellany

Written by:Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay

Published by:Biteback (2009,2010)

Format:Hardback, paperback

Tracing the careers of Hacker, Sir Humphrey and his loyal sidekick Bernard, this amusing and brilliantly illustrated book will appeal to everyone who remembers the series with affection and can t resist watching the repeats. Containing obituaries of the three leading characters and the sketch written by Bernard Ingham for Margaret Thatcher to perform with Paul Eddington and Nigel Hawthorne, the book contains many surprises as well as reflections on the series and its importance by politicians and journalists of the day.


The Complete Yes Prime Minister

Written by:Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay

Published by:BBC Books (1989)

Format:Paperback, cassette

The Complete YES MINISTER and The Complete YES PRIME MINISTER both became huge best-sellers perhaps because people realized that they were not simply printed versions of the celebrated television series: since they ridicule not only the British Government but also political memoirs, they are major works of political satire in their own right. Indeed, Brian Walden in The Standard described The Complete YES MINISTER as ..."the greatest political textbook in the English language".

That book spent 106 weeks in the Sunday Times top-ten fiction list, has been translated into numerous foreign languages and was described by the New York Times Book Review as "...the funniest, wittiest and truest piece of political satire to be published on either side of the Atlantic in the post-Evelyn Waugh period". Not to be out-done, The Washington Post described the book as "...a priceless comic treasure" and the authors as "...a madcap combination of Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw and the George Orwell of Politics And The English Language."

The Complete YES PRIME MINISTER continued this amazing success: never out of the top-ten for it's first six months and the number one bestseller for twelve weeks. Uniquely, at Christmas 1986 they were at numbers one and two respectively. In the Sunday Times Bestsellers of the Decade, 1980-89, the two volumes were eventually listed as number two and number three.

The TV series. which have been showered with awards, were required viewing among top politicians and civil servants, and were seen in eighty-four countries around the world. The books have become part of the English cultural tradition, just as Sir Humphrey and Jim Hacker have become part of the English language. Many literary classics become television and film classics. YES MINISTER and YES PRIME MINISTER have the rare distinction of becoming classics of English comic literature.

The Complete Yes Minister

Written by:Jonathan Lynn and Antony Jay

Published by:BBC Books (1989)

Format:Paperback, cassette

In the spring of 1983 the BBC TV series Yes Minister achieved a unique hat trick: it became the first programme ever to win the British Academy Award for Best Comedy Series for three years running. In those three years the series had progressed from an innovation to an institution, as more and more people realized that behind all the laughter there was a great deal of accurate observation and pertinent revelation about the way the British are governed.

As the series grew in popularity, however, viewers increasingly found that a television tour of British democratic government in the Eighties, however hilarious, was not enough. They wanted this expose of Westminster and Whitehall in a more permanent and portable form. By re-interpreting the stories as Jim Hacker's political diaries (augmented by Sir Humphrey Appleby's papers and a good helping of new material) the authors have produced not just a potted version of the series but books which stand up as works of sharp political comedy in their own right.