Not the droids I was looking for

Here's the thing: I never thought I was going to be a playwright. And I especially never thought I was going to be a writer of comedy. When I was about eleven I think I actually said outloud that it was impossible to write comedy. (I said this because someone had asked me to be part of a comedy duo. I was eleven, and he was a grown friend of the family. He thought I was hilarious, I thought he relied too much on puns.)


It was scary to think about how to make a room laugh, even though I'd been doing it for years. But I don't tell jokes. I don't even remember jokes. I was just being off the cuff, adlibbing, being observational. So I figured actually writing things that will be funny outside of a particular situation was kinda magical. I watched comedies and comedians, had albums, but I just could not see how to do that.


Anyway at that point I also did not even want to act. I was a very shy teen, but for a weird reason - I would tell people that I had the notion that if I ever started talking I would never shut up. And... bullseye on that one.


Long story short I got into acting because my friends were doing it, and because it was a way to up-close stalk the woman I'd eventually marry. But I still did not think writing plays was going to be my thing. I started writing horror... stories so disturbing I was the only student in my English class whose stories could not be read out loud. In college one of my classmates said her psychiatrist told her reading my stories was driving her insane.


Ah, the delicious satisfaction. But playwriting? No.


I didn't get into playwriting until I was actually an actor in the rooms with writers at the Mime Troupe, seeing the fits and starts, hearing how character choices were made, testing plot points that were immediately changed and clarified. And I started to see that writing comedy wasn't about writing jokes, it was about writing inevitable but unpredicted truths.


So anyway now I've written or been a contributing writer on over twenty comedies. I also write dramas. but even then I put comedy in them. Hell, I put comedy in my "1984" adaptation, with a special note for the directors: If something seems like I joke it probably is. I added it so the audience would not kill themselves.


This whole playwriting thing, and especially comedic playwriting, was not what I was looking for. But it found me.




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