Funny people talk about the comedy biz
The folks behind some of my favorite series of the past decade talking about the TV comedy business? Yes, please.
Golden Fiddle has a transcript of a panel discussion with David Cross (Arrested Development, co-creator of Mr. Show), Bob Odenkirk (the other co-creator of Mr. Show), Chuck Tatham (writer, Arrested Development), and Wonder Showzen creators Vernon Chatman and John Lee.
As is common when funny people get together, everyone has trouble talking seriously about anything, even though Odenkirk does try to steer the conversation toward something at least somewhat informative and enlightening about comedy writing. It's a quick read. Here's some highlights:
Tatham explaining how Charlize Theron was allowed to say "pussy" on Arrested Development because of her faux British accent, but Jason Bateman, with his American accent, could not.
Chatman telling about an idea he pitched as a writer for the Keenan Ivory Wayans Show that involved a yak being sliced open on stage and Wayans stepping out of it to start the show.
Odenkirk, once a writer for Saturday Night Live, commending Adam Sandler for coming on SNL and not taking himself too seriously and just having fun.
Odenkirk, I think, offers the best advice to aspiring comedy writers when he instructs the audience to not worry so much about scripts, and instead come up with funny ideas: "If you wrote three essays that were a paragraph long that made me laugh out loud, I would hire you." Lee, Chatman and Tatham also echo Odenkirk's assessments, saying it's better to just record a short version of what you want to do and shop that around. That's exactly how both Wonder Showzen and Tim and Eric's Tom Goes to the Mayor were picked up, so it's not bad advice at all.
[via Best Week Ever]