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July 13, 2012
Writing Comedy is Serious Work for This Minister

Posted by Michael in : Writing , trackback

allen_edgeJust finished my first day at the 18th annual Karitos Christian Arts Conference in West Chicago. I attended four workshops and the afternoon general session featuring Glenn Kaiser.

I plan to write more about some of the workshops that I attended in the next few days, but I wanted to write up some quick thoughts this evening about the workshop on stand-up comedy.

Allen D. Edge led the session. Allen is an ordained minister and a stand-up comedian. Now there’s a combination.

He’s also an actor, producer and director with more than 40 years’ experience in the performing arts, according to the Karitos program. He’s been in “Barber Shop 2” and “Tyler Perry’s ‘Meet the Browns’” and has opened for Pattie LaBelle, Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson and The O’Jays.

I was interested in this workshop because I had just completed the first draft of a new writing project. It’s a comedy, and I was open to any tips that could help me sharpen my comedic writing.

One of Allen’s tips was for each of us to mine our own lives for comedic observations. He had each of us write down the happiest and saddest moments of our lives and then talked to each of us about those events to help us pull something humorous out of them.

Allen often hears people say they can’t be as funny as professional comedians, such as Robin Williams or David Letterman. But Allen insists that each of us has plenty of comedic material in our own lives. The foundation of your writing is connected to your personality.

As a comic, you’re always on the clock, looking for things in your life that can suggest material. That means you have to always be aware of what’s going on around you.

Comedy has to be based on “some modicum of truth,” Allen says. “As comedians we say things that other people don’t want to hear. Or what other people think but don’t want to say.”

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