Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Comedy Writing

I'm pretty much at the point in my life where I sorta-kinda know what I want to do with the rest of my life. And it definitely involves comedy and it definitely involves writing. I love performing so much, but if I were to label myself as anything, it'd probably be "writer". I think I'm a decent improviser, but I think I do better and smarter stuff when I write it out.

 Since I'm turning 25 and all, I've been thinking of the "next step". I have people coming at me from every angle telling me what to do and where to go. But I don't want to do what other people think, or what the "logical next move" is. I want to do what's right for me.

Then I read this interview on Splitsider with Conan writer, Brian Stack. It reminded me to continue to do what I love, have fun doing it and be a fun and nice person to be around!
What would your advice be to young comedy writers?

I would say, first of all, whatever background you’re coming from, whether it's improv or standup or writing exclusively, I would follow what's fun to you and not necessarily what you think you are supposed to do. I think when you love what you do, as you’re coming up, it shows in your work, and people want to be around you, and work with you because you are clearly having fun. And there's an infectious energy to that. Whether you are on stage doing standup, or doing improv with a group of people, or whether you're just writing, I think doing what you think is fun and funny is the best road to take.

Also, if they don't go for what you find funny, you might not have been happy in that particular place anyway. I remember Andy Richter had a writing job in Chicago once, and they hated all the ideas that would have been loved at Late Night. The same sense of humor that he brought to Late Night later on was completely rejected by this show. And it's not that Andy's ideas weren't funny, it's that they weren't funny to those people. Also, I think it's good to meet people who are on a similar wavelength to you, whether it's in improv or standup. I remember someone asked Amy Poehler, in an interview "What would your advice be for improvisors who want to be successful in comedy?" and she said, "Don't plan on making any money or owning anything for ten years, and if you stick with it, and are talented, one of your friends will give you a job."

And that's exactly what's happened for many people I know. When someone gets in the door, they remember the people they loved working with back in Chicago, or wherever. And when something comes up, they recommend them. That’s what happened to me. You can make a lot of things happen on your own too, but it's so often your relationships you have with other comedians. They’re the ones who tell people who don't know about you what you’re like and what you can bring to the table. In the improv community in Chicago, Kelly Leonard at Second City, would say "Who's good out there? Who have you been noticing? Who have you been watching?" and I am sure that's how they still do it. And if you are around people you relate to, your work is going to be more fun, you're going to have more fun, and you're going to get better faster.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I liked this post. I am about to turn 25 and would label myself a "writer" even though I do stand up and improv.


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