Top Tips For Comedy Writing – And Dear Mum, I’m Not ACTUALLY Selling My Couch

If you have been following this blog, you will know that I have been sharing how I use LinkedIn for networking and asking great people in the TV/Radio comedy writing/producing world how they got to do what they do. If you missed the original post, please see HERE.

I have had the happy privilege of receiving a wealth of advice over the past twelve months from author and television writer Ivor Baddiel. His current projects include writing for The X Factor & his latest book Never In A Million Years: A History of Hopeless Predictions is available HERE. You will find Ivor on Twitter as @Ivorbaddiel – or not as the case may be – as he is still an egg avatar (which does, in fairness, represent a good likeness ;-)) and only tweets occasionally. His advice for readers of this blog for this week’s snippet is:

“My advice – when writing for yourself, find your voice, don’t be derivative and be as funny as fuck. When writing for other people, give them what they want and hope to retain as much of your dignity as possible. If all else fails, think of the money!”

I have also had a kind email from British film and TV producer and director Ed Bye. Ed produced and directed Series I to IV, Series VII and Series VIII of Red Dwarf – just part of a busy career that includes Absolutely Fabulous, My FamilyThe Young OnesBottomKevin & Perry Go Large and French & Saunders. But Ed began his career in humble beginnings, as a floor assistant at the BBC. Here is my email that Ed has kindly allowed me to share here:

Hi Heather, 
Think back to your best idea, write it, put it away and do something else. 
Pull it out again and review it in the cold light of day, rewrite anything that seems even slightly iffy. 
Repeat the above at least two times. 
Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Is the plot strong enough even if there were no jokes in it? 
  • Are the characters strong enough to carry on for many episodes?
  • Will the audience have some sympathy for your principal character even if they are an utter pig? 
  • Are there of 5 to 7 equally good plots which will work for the characters? 
  • Is it funny enough? 

If the answers to the above are “Yes”, then get some mates to read it out loud and record it on a handy cam then put it away. 
Go for a drink/earn some money/both. 
Pull it out and review it in the cold light of day, rewrite anything that seems even slightly iffy. It HAS to be funny. 
Repeat all the above until absolutely certain. 

Good luck, comedy is a tough old nut to crack but don’t give up, you will eventually be rewarded. 
Ed. 

I am extremely grateful to all the wonderful people that have been happy to give their time to offer content for this blog. If you have anything to add or suggestions for future posts, please feel free to email me: hell4heather@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Keep writing!

News about ME: After months of sleepless nights, I have now completed the first draft of my comedy novel for women Mrs David Dando – which is currently undergoing the real work – editing! I hope to begin my hunt for a literary agent in the New Year. Read an overview of Mrs David Dando HERE.

And if you do nothing else, please help me tell my worried mother I’m not so skint I’m actually selling my couch! 🙂

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