Comedy Writing & the Darkness Within

If there were a late-night comedy show completely run by comedy writers, without any interference from a host, producer, or network, that show would probably be called The Darkest and Most Impossibly Horrible Things You Can Imagine, Presented as Comedy. Every sketch would end with a gunshot or an infant’s

stroller engulfed in flames, and the show would be canceled halfway through its opening titles. That’s because most comedy writers are so inured by humor that only the most shockingly toxic ideas can achieve the proper velocity to penetrate their indifference.

– Todd Levin & David Schwen, GOOD Magazine

I’m not quote-obsessed but this is one that’s stuck around my mental bulletin board for the past year. I understand the dark, twisted comedy writer archetype but I’ve also struggled with it – especially lately.

The night the gypsies broke into my house was a strange one – we’d scored some last minute tickets to the Comedy Store to see Louis CK try out some new material. He was, of course, incredible – raw, bitter, and sharper than usual. It might’ve just been that his new material wasn’t as polished so those rough edges hadn’t worn off yet, but I came away from the night wondering if I’m too cheerful for comedy. I think I said on the drive home, “I need to be embittered by the world! I need the material!”

Sure enough we got home and… well… you know. Gypsies done stole my jewels!

I’ve had a string of bad luck since then and while there’s definitely good material in all that stuff, just zeroing in on the darkness isn’t my style. As I think about my next steps (hint: its definitely time to start making my OWN videos), I’m kind of glad to have this opportunity to think critically about this stuff before I decide upon my next creative leap. And articles like this one are a great way to do that. :)

Read the full article here: Just Like That But Funny – How To Kill a Joke (and Your Boss)

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About Schmal Talk

Nice girl, foul mouth. Writer, cat video connoisseur, chronic internet user.


  1. Chin up. At least you didn’t get a gypsy curse while they were there,

    • Yes, I narrowly avoided a thorough cursing and for this I’m very grateful. My mom told me that I’ll never catch the perps because gypsies are able to turn into trees and benches in order to hide.

      I Googled this fact, thinking it was some old wive’s tale but nope. My mothership is just weird and awesome.

  2. I am not sure if you believe in karma like I do, but they will get their own :)
    In any case, you should make your own videos! I would definitely tune in.

  3. Chris

    Hi Erin. Well first of all u r drop dead gorgeous and u should have no problems getting out there. But what happened to make u split ways? Any hint?

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