6 Pros And Cons Of Interviewing Comedy Writers

Tina Fey / 30 Rock
Tina Fey / 30 Rock

In 2009, I published a compilation of interviews with comedy writers called And Here’s the Kicker. A new compilation, Poking a Dead Frog, will be published by Penguin Press on June 24th. In the course of writing both books, I’ve interviewed over 100 comedy writers, and I’ve learned a few things in the process. What follows are some pros and cons of speaking at length to those who make a career making others laugh.

1.

Pros

They’re funny.

Cons

They’re insane.


2.

Pros

Most comedy writers, for whatever reason, have had a near-death experience, which makes for interesting conversation. For instance, Dan Guterman, writer for The Onion, Colbert Report and Community, was attacked by a bald-eagle while visiting the Birds of Prey Exhibit at the San Diego Zoo. He was eleven.

Cons

Now thirty-two, Dan is terrified of interview questions. I had to conduct this interview very, very quietly, and without the “lucky” bird mask I always wear in a professional setting for good luck. Thankfully things went very well, but only after I provided Dan with plenty of hugs and gentle feather-caresses.


3.

Pros

Comedy writers are often very friendly, and often want to meet in restaurants.

Cons

Comedy writers don’t have the best eating habits, and I did gain fifteen pounds in the process of writing this book. Luckily, all of the fat settled in my upper-left thigh.


4.

Pros

Comedy writers are really fucking smart.

Cons

Comedy writers aren’t the most patient people in the world when the interviewer’s mind begins to wander, as mine tends to do after six hours of questioning. In one case, I was told to “please wake up.” I did so, quickly. I then went back to sleep. The interview didn’t make the final cut.


5.

Pros

Comedy writers are more fun to talk with than killers, which I’ve also done.

Cons

Killers are usually more familiar with what I’ve written. Then again, they’re killers. In one particular instance, I interviewed a gentleman who murdered his wife and children, and then dumped their bodies into a lake, stuffed in luggage. He was a bit of a “character.”


6.

Pros

Talking with comedy writers has taught me many lessons about life, including the following: no matter what profession you choose, you have to work hard, you have to never stop, and you have to daydream. I guess this wouldn’t apply if you were a brain surgeon, but most other occupations would fit the bill. Maybe not fighter-jet pilot, either.

Cons

After two years of working seven days a week, fourteen hours a day, in order to finish this book, I’m tired. Other than that, it was fun as hell. If you like comedy, won’t you please buy my book? I’ll sign whatever body part you want and then you can sign one of mine. I say this to be nice, but also because it sexually “turns me on.” Thanks! TC mark

Want more? Read more humorous, insightful, and inspiring interviews here.

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  • http://countingducks.wordpress.com Peter Wells aka Countingducks

    Well your ‘insights’ certainly made me smile

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