Comedy writers and wanna be comedy writers apply here!
Have you ever seen a job opening for that? I didn’t think so! Because comedy writing jobs are hidden. And while I’ve never been on staff for a sitcom or late night talk show – due to my not pursuing them and them not pursuing me – I do have a few tips for freelance writing. I get asked a lot about how to do it, where to do it, etc. .and so here’s my best advice in a multi-part blog series!
I’ll be starting my comedy writing semi-career advice by
first talking to the people who have not written comedy before, but THINK they can do it! If you’ve already written comedy, then the next blogs will address things you’re more interested in, like where you can write and how to find the gigs. Good luck.
So How Do I Become a Comedy Writer
This is one of the few jobs that you get to say “I’m a comedy writer” and poof you are a comedy writer . . . since you don’t need a degree. BUT you do need to be able to actually write jokes AND if you want to make any cash at comedy writing, you’ll need credentials! So how do you get these credentials? Well, you most likely will have to get some unpaid comedy writing experience – yeah, I hate that part too, but really unless you have some joke writing samples to show, and you have a couple references that you can point to, then people won’t contract with you to do it. Plumbers apprentice. . comedy writers write free jokes. The good news is, if you’re good at it, hopefully the freebie gigs won’t last too long! And how do you find these people to write for for free? First tip –
Network! My first stop on the comedy writing train would be to go to
comedy clubs and chat with the comedians. There are tons of up and coming comedians who might be interested in collaborating with you. I’m against new comedians buying their act. . .I get a lot of requests for people to just write some jokes because, quote, “I’m good at performing jokes, but not writing jokes.” Well duh, if you don’t have stage freight, then you can learn stage presence and timing. . .but the writing might be the hardest part!!! So I’m not advocating that you give away top-notch jokes to newbie comedians. . .but instead find a comic or two that you can collaborate with. . .many comics write with their colleagues, so you can too. And, they might actually be relieved that someone wants to help them. New comics might be most open to this, but don’t discount comics who have been around either. Do this for a little bit. . . and again, do not write an entire act for an up-and-coming comedian. Helping them develop their act is fine. Writing the whole dang thing for them is, in my opinion, cheating. I feel that the only time comedians should buy material is when they are on TV so much or have so much of a following that they are burning up material a lot, or if they’re doing some special event. I am a Hillary Clinton impersonator, and I don’t have time to write for that character. . .so I’m allowed to buy some jokes. So look for comics that want collaboration and you’ll get some experience and joke samples.
Coming up. . .Comedy Writing gigs part 2 is up next. More ideas for finding writing apprentice comedy writing gigs. . .
My Main Site – check it out!
My Joke writing site – check it out!