The Secret Of Successful Comedy Writing

I was recently commissioned to ask comedians and writers for the tricks of their trade by the Independent on Sunday. Their responses offered readers a fascinating insight into the creative mind. There was not enough room to run the full interviews in the newspaper so I've published them all below. Inevitably a number mention that nothing beats old school hard work, but there is a lot more useful advice here. Tea and hats apparently help according to Susan Calman. Pay attention and that next award could be yours.

News: More Brig Society From Marcus Brigstocke

Marcus Brigstocke is returning to BBC Radio 4 with a new series of The Brig Society, mixing stand-up, sketches and an attempt to improve the world.

Each week, Brigstocke is in charge of a big thing - the Foreign Office, football, Facebook - and attempts to make it run smoothly. He starts out by thinking "Well, it can't be that difficult, surely?" and ends up with "Oh - it's utterly difficult and I've made a complete fist of it." 

News: Impressive Line-Up For British Summer Time Comedy

The Barclaycard British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park has announced its comedy line-up for June 22 –  25.

News: Sam Baines Wins What The Frock! Prize

Samantha Baines has been crowned the winner of the third What The Frock! Newcomer of the Year Award. The competition was launched in 2012 to champion up and coming female comedy talent, to celebrate and support emerging acts and ultimately help to widen the pool of female comedians on the comedy circuit

News: David Mitchell & Jeremy Paxman Team Up

No, he hasn't ditched Robert Webb and formed a new comedy double act with Jeremy Paxman. But David Mitchell will be temporarily teaming up with the former Newsnight anchor to present an all-night feast of comedy and comment on C4's Alternative Election Night on May 7. Other guests include Romesh Ranganathan, Aisling Bea and Richard Osman. Here's the first trailer for the programme.


Opinion: There's A Lot Of Satire About, But It's All Achieving Nothing

I could be mistaken but it certainly feels as if there are more TV comedies with an election theme this year than there have ever been before. Just to pick a few, ITV1 has just launched the topical Newzoids, C4's The Last Leg is running politics-themed shows, BBC2's Jack Dee’s Election Help Desk is like Question Time with laughs and C4'a Ballot Monkeys is providing rapid-response punchlines.


Live Review: Dave Hill, Aces & Eights

Most cult American stand-ups play the Soho Theatre when they come to London. Not Dave Hill. He has somehow been drawn, like a well-dressed moth to a flame, to the bright lights of Tufnell Park for a short residency at this boutique basement club. It’s a lovely, weird venue and strangely appropriate for this lovely, weird comedian. 


Opinion: Janey Godley Brews Up Trouble For Irn-Bru?

Janey Godley’s complaint that she thinks she was ripped off by the people who made the new Irn-Bru ad has caused a stir in comedy circles. It is not the first time a comedian has allegedly had input into an advertising campaign and not been given credit. Or, in some cases, paid.


Live Review: Death Of A Comedian, Soho Theatre

The Soho Theatre has established itself as London’s go-to venue for both hilarious stand-up comedy and exciting theatre. So it makes perfect sense to stage Owen McCafferty’s play about stand-up comedy here. The trouble is that Death of A Comedian is not hilarious or exciting.

News: Radio 4 for Ria Lina

Ria Lina’s 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show, Ria Lina’s School of Riason, is to be turned into a one-off 28-minute special for BBC Radio 4.

The comic and ukelele player’s stage show was inspired by true events. After encountering the inner city London school system, she decided to home-school her children and devised her own curriculum.  The show was nominated for the Amused Moose Laughter Award 2014 and contained one of Dave’s top 10 Fringe jokes of 2014. 


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