Sunday, January 09, 2011

Abandon Blog!

I started this blog to show off myself as a comedy writer and to share what I know about writing comedy.

I learned a lot about running a blot and writing. I also had a lot of fun exchanging comments about comedy, helping others start to write and indulge in some surreal madness.

I've put all I have learned into a new comedy web site

Please visit and let me know what you think.

If you like short comedy using Twitter then you might like Taliban Twitter.

If you're looking for comedy sketches then try 'Can I come in?'(Psst! It's about a sperm knocking on your door)

If you're looking for advice on comedy writing try this post on writing comedy characters.

See all my comedy writing here.

All the best and thank you for visiting comedy writer in waiting.



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sooty and Weep - Comedy Writing Engines

Prince Charles hands himself into the British Association of Comedy Writers.

I meant “Paki and weep.”

A short homage to the glory of Windsor:-


Now Harry. No more using the word ‘Paki.’

What about Coon?

Coon is fine. Just don’t film yourself saying it.

Umama ingane!

Holy fuck son what’s that?

That’s one of my Zulus.

I’ve told you before you have to put them back into the wild.

But Dad I’ve only got one Impi left.

I’m fed up with you recreating Rorke’s Drift every evening, you’re bedroom is a complete tip. For god’s sake this is the nineteenth century.

- END -

What do you mean the comedy engine?

The comedy writing engine is what drives the comedy, the idea, in whatever writing discipline. At it’s simplest , in the piece above it was Prince Charles , or PC calling a friend ‘Sooty.’

It’s funny living in the past…

For longer work it underpins the whole piece. A sitcom or a play may have more than one engine, it may have a different engine for each scene.

A fun way to come up with an engine is to think of: X versus Y.

The Tiger T’s

Currently I’m working on some short films or ‘blips’ as I call them to promote a commercial Web site and also to use as a comedy writing calling card, and because it’s fun.

So I have two Tiger hand puppets that will be filmed in scenes of no longer than one minute. O’ and they live in bra (Tiger T’s?).

Kevin and Leftie as I’ve christened them need some character, a physical difference and a RANGE of engines that I can use, play with, and develop.

Here are the engines I first come up with:-

Leftie v Kevin
Left v Right
Sensible Tiger Good Time Tiger
Neurotic v Carefree
Homebody v Outgoing Extrovert
Intellect v Appetite
Logic v Creative

Now I imagine ten scenes to work on One of the first I come up with is going on a date. How would each react to being ‘fondled?’

Kevin is the right ‘Good Time Tiger. Leftie is the sensible Tiger.

When Kevin has his head rubbed he will rub back and:-


Leftie on being fondled:-

I was looking for a more cerebral approach.

The engine is Left v Right brain. This contrast, two opposites, in the same bra, will motivate, ie be the engine, for all the comedy.

Tune in Next Time for…
How I develop the Tiger T’s.
Prince Charles finally joins Amnesty International and seeks asylum in the last century.
The credit crunch gets nasty when, due to an administrative error, the UK’s last credit card is confiscated.

Random Band Mix
The Clash v Smokey Robinson
‘Rock The Clown’

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Water-boarding made easy...Now that's Comedy Writing

Did we go too far? George! George!


A big thank you to Gary for sending his stand up ideas for me to laugh at and marvel, yes MARVEL! What was I marvelling? The wondrous bad taste, the use of a sodastream and the possibilities of getting synchronized swimming into the Winter Olympics - "Now over to the Olympic Stadium for synchronized Swimming...under ice."

I've been away working on the master plan to take over the internet using words, string, and a false trail of buttered MEPs.

Also a big thank you to Mike D Millar for asking my opinion on his writing (it's good by the way. Check him out).

An erm.. and a thank you to the nice comment on my entry (is entry the right word) to '...Shitegeist.' Stevie from the TV

And a thank you to Russell for his patience. I still have to read his latest sitcom episode ( I need to make time, crumpets, and space for myself and an extra large cat).

Normal Service has been RESUMED.

Random Mix
Green Day v Cliff Richard
Bullet in the Bible Basher


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Employment Prospects for Mr Jonathan Ross and Mr Russell Brand*

What would you say to a nice job on Radio 2?

Works under consideration: 1
Current Dominant Thought: Twitter Sit Coms
Ideas in my head: 19.17

Actors…calling all Actors…ACTORS!
I’m in desperate need of some performers to put on my ‘Live Sit Com’ and can I find any? Can I bugger. I’ve looked all over the hills, dales, and ponds of Hertfordshire and found not one. I’ve contacted all the local theatre companies and not one bite.

Plan Bz0.12
I’ll have to join Shooting People and look at Talent Circle and I may end up paying them….ARSEBISCUITS!



I think I can help.

How can you help me? Have you got a performance company down your trousers?

Funny you should…

I said company. Anyway I need someone to entertain a suicide bomber.

I’m your man.

He’s over there in the blog next door. Put this dress on, start skipping, and whatever you do mention that you are a decadent dandy with no fear of beard-wearing murdering bigots.


There goes the Internet. Still, leaves some space for the rest of us friendly types.

- END -

Random Mix
The Beach Boys v Bob Marley & The Wailers
‘God Only Knows Jamming’

*Jobs for Mr Russell Brand
1. Pipe Cleaner
2. Hare at a Greyhound Track
3. A stole to keep Gordon Brown’s neck warm

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sitcom Writing Workshop - The 'Shitegeist'

Seven Words You SHOULD Say on Television

Works under consideration: 1
Current Dominant Thought: Comedy Writing Thrills
Ideas in my head: 9.17

Sitcom Writing Workshops - The ‘Shitegeist’*

Had a fab time yesterday with a bunch of sitcom writers at a workshop organized by Ever1sacritic . A big thank you to Simon and Declan especially for making it all happen and creating such a supportive and fun atmosphere. And another big SHOUTING thank you to all the other writers that made the whole day such a pleasure and a ‘Hoot.’

- Comedy writing is hard work.
- A writer’s work is never done
- Reading your work to others is ‘scary’
- Cock’ is, well, everywhere…
- Avoid multi-story orphanages
- Swearing is fun
- Talking to other writers is liberating and is now part of the ‘Shitegeist.’

I need to take my piece ‘Hitting Things’ and workshop it with some actors and work with them to get the most out of the physical business. I didn’t realize that the work was so visual and one of the best things about the day was not having to EXPLAIN what it would look like.

I wrote “Hitting Things’ especially for Every1sacritc and it has only had one draft so far and nine hours work. When I come to a 1st draft I’ve already infested a lot of time in mapping what will happen. I start with an idea and break down the action into chunks and just what happens on one side of an index card. On the other side I write my ideas and mark up the visual element, s/fx, what the characters are doing and general ideas that may or may not work, and more besides….

Then I write a beat or ‘step’ sheet where every action is written out a line at a time.

The beat sheet is the map for writing the 1st draft**

If I was writing a longer piece I would use a giant piece of paper and write up all the different elements that go into creating a piece, everything from music, to the group dynamic for that scene. I picked this up at an Arvon course on Physical Theatre and I read recently that John Cleese and Connie Booth did the same thing to work out the plots of Fawlty Towers , only using the back of a roll of wallpaper…

Swearing is Fun
George Carlin captured almost our entire vocabulary of the day. Enjoy the clip and here’s a previous blog entry where I imagine Quentin Tarantino woes Jane Austen Quentin Tarantino woes Jane Austen but I’ve used some cunning word substitution…

Tune in Next Time…
Tools for developing comedy characters.

Random Mix
Green Day v Cornershop
‘Brimful of American Idiots’

*©Gary Lynch

**I must write the process up (mind you it changes every time I write)

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Subject: Secret Policeman’s Ball Congratulations

Excuse me Sir, were you expecting a bastard?

Works under consideration: 0
Current Dominant Thought: Comedy Writing Dreams
Ideas: 9.1

Subject: Secret Policeman’s Ball Congratulations

It’s a struggle. Writing comedy is lonely and you never know if you’ve done a good job until you show it to someone and they laugh.

I had a big thrill this week. I entered a sketch writing competition for the Secret Policeman’s Ball. Write a pitch in 140 characters. Here’s my entry:-

Celebrity water-boarding with Jonathan Ross starts well with David Cameron & a glass of water but ends badly with Sarah Palin gargling the Star-Spangled Banner.

And I received this email:-

From: Russell Barnes
Subject: Secret Policeman’s Ball Congratulations
Date Received: 30 September 10:01 am

Good morning and congratulations!

Your entry for the Secret Policeman's Ball sketch competition was highly commended by the Ball Writer's Group, which means you've won a DVD of this year's ball - hurrah!

Unfortunately for one reason or another these won't be available until after Christmas, however if you could send me your address we'll send them out as soon as we get them in the office. I'm sorry for the delay, but well done for being funny.

take care

Russell Barnes
Entertainment Editor
Channel 4 Television

So I feel good…I feel fine.

Next week I’m off to a workshop with every1sacritic and have a reading of my sitcom script ‘Hitting Things.’

The fight goes on…

Where’s The Comedy – Train of Fun/Train of Hurt?

Last time I wrote about working with actors. I’m so looking forward to doing my own workshops. Here’s the second exercise I would use to gaugue the strength and the nature of the performer.

Walking and looking.

I learned this exercise at the Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theatre.

Two performers. Stand at opposite ends of a space. On a prompt they walk past each other and take up position where the other stood. They look each other in the eye and…

That’s it. They stand and look at each other. Everyone else in the group watches them. And you wait and you can wait a long time for something to happen.

No acting is involved, no routines, no hiding behind some ‘shtick,’ nope. There’s nothing but the performers and the space, o’ and the audience.

It’s a killer, it’s love, it’s all those open wounds, it’s raw, it’s scary and it’s electric because of the simplicity. Man v man usually becomes a battle of wills. Women v women – I’ve seen this turn into a stalking and on one occasion I did it with a woman and all I felt was warm love – like sunshine on my bare back.

Try it. Don’t let anyone ‘ACT!’ It’s different every time, it’s always fascinating, and often electric.

Variations: try putting another person into the space and see what happens. Indeed you can add performer after performer – if you want an idea of how the dynamic will work.

A word of warning: Be very aware that you can hurt some one who is at a vulnerable time in their life and you should be ready to offer support and comfort. I’ve seen a lot of tears and seemingly strong people crumble to the another’s force.

If you want to know anymore drop me a line jim [at] dreamdrill dot com

Tune in Next Time…
How did the workshop go?
Tools for developing comedy characters.

Random Mix
The Undertones v Steven Wright
I Still Have Teenage Pony Kicks

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Comedy Writing and Using Actors

Come in...

Works under consideration: 0
Current Dominant Thought: Comedy Writing for the greater good
Ideas: 1.1

Working with actors can be fun. It can also be a complete bastard. It’s fun when they are not pursing their own believe in THEIR ability and a bastard when they try to assert their ego.

I worked with friends to put on my own theatre performance. The first time it was sublime as the two friends were talented, listened and contributed to make the piece stronger. The second time the actress walked out on me two weeks before taking a show to the Edinburgh fringe. The third time the show drifted away from me as I resigned control – various reasons…

I’m running our of opportunities and so I have to make my own. So what am I going to do…

Create my own online comedy publishing empire with a series of web sites showing my work. So I have to recruit a pool of performers (but not their egos), film it, and promote in online on video sites including the uber YouTube.

I’ve written a plan. A big plan full of BIG IDEAS and I’m going to make it work.

There are dozens of tools, improv’s etc that you can use to take a piece and make it special and one other fact…anyone can act.

So I’m going to start recruiting in the new year. I need a pool of actors to work on my material but also have the ability (and I have to like the F***ers) so I can create new stuff.

Opening a door and introducing yourself.

The performer goes out of the room. He/she knocks, enters, says their name and leaves.

Easy isn’t it? Well it tests them as they are faced with an audience and they have to be themselves. You can build this exercise into a comedy piece very quickly. You can ‘hot spot’ them and integrate them and you can also make it into a silent clown piece. You can learn instantly what suits them as a performer and write to their strengths as you see their discomfort.

Tune in Next Time for…
For Exercise 2how strong is the performer.

Random Band Mix
Kaiser Chiefs v The Verve
I Predict a Lucky Man

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