I had a meeting last week with a successful comedy writer and executive producer. He’s worked on numerous different successful shows on various networks and is working on a cable comedy show right now.
Warning, this is a pretentious post.
First of all, I watch a lot of television. Pretty much every show you can think of, I have watched–unless it’s on CBS. For one thing, I’ve never liked shows with laugh tracks. I grew up in a house that didn’t really watch sitcoms every week, or at least not that I remember. I do remember watching television every night with my parents, but I seem to always remember it was dramas or reality shows with the occasional sitcom thrown in. Of course I watched kids shows like Boy Meets World and What I Like About You, but those weren’t all the time and I really don’t think they contributed to my sense of humor. The Office is one that I really remember religiously watching. That’s kind of why I have the taste in comedy that I do today. I ended up being obsessed with shows like 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, and Modern Family. All shows with a slightly dark sense of humor and coincidentally without a laugh track. So why am I telling you this? Well, because one of the first things I talked about at that meeting was what shows are on that I currently like and where I see myself writing. I named the same shows as above and said that I really wanted to see what I ended up writing to best.
He immediately said that it really doesn’t matter what you’re best at, it’s what you can get hired at. That struck a chord with me. I’ve been approaching this whole “comedy writer” thing thinking that I’d end up writing for a show that I love and one I would watch even if I wasn’t writing for it. Yeah, no. I would be lucky to have a job, period, let alone a job for a show that I necessarily like. Now, obviously, if I’m writing for a show, I’m going to think it’s funny and great because it’s a product of something I have contributed to.
I guess what I’m saying is I need to broaden my horizons. Be the best writer I can be, not necessarily the best comedy writer I can be.
I want a job. I want to write. So maybe I’ll suck it up and watch every episode of Big Bang Theory and learn that all humor is worthwhile whether or not I immediately connect to it.