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by Writing Workshops Staff

3 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: Comedy Writing with Simon Taylor

by Writing Workshops Staff

3 months ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: Comedy Writing with Simon Taylor

by Writing Workshops Staff

3 months ago


Get ready to unleash your inner humorist with our upcoming Comedy Writing Workshop Weekend Intensive, led by the one and only Simon Taylor. Hailing from Melbourne and armed with a razor-sharp wit, Simon has left an indelible mark on the comedy world. At just 24 years old, he secured a coveted spot as a writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, setting the stage for a career filled with laughter. Simon has performed at Just for Laughs, and made history as the first Australian to perform stand-up on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. With a new comedy special filmed at the iconic Sydney Opera House and an international tour on the horizon, Simon Taylor is poised to share his expertise and insights with aspiring humorists.

In this enriching workshop, Simon Taylor will lead you through a meticulously crafted curriculum designed to demystify the art of humor writing. Whether you're a budding novelist looking to infuse your characters with wit or a non-fiction writer aiming to captivate your audience with humor, this course offers a treasure trove of knowledge. The comprehensive program spans five lessons, covering the fundamentals of joke structure, linguistic techniques, generating comedy material, exploring various comedic styles, and perfecting your comedic craft through practice and feedback.

By the end of this workshop, you'll possess the tools to craft jokes on any subject, seamlessly integrate humor into various mediums, and make informed stylistic choices for your future comedy writing projects. Join us for this unforgettable journey into the world of comedy writing, guided by the incomparable Simon Taylor.

Hi, Simon. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

Hello! I got my start writing jokes for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when I was 24. Since then I've penned jokes for Netflix, Comedy Central and Disney shows.

What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

Over the years I've learned to apply the joke writing techniques to many mediums from standup to novels to children's books and copywriting. I noticed that writers in some of these fields can be reluctant to try humor writing, so I created this course to help simplify the basic building blocks of comedy writing.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

On the first day of the course, I'll take you through the basic structure of a joke and teach you a range of joke writing formulas. This will include time to write jokes as we go, with specific feedback and tips to improve. On day two, we'll learn a systematic approach to writing jokes for any topic in any medium, and deciding on comedy styles for your writing project.

What was your first literary crush?

Every few months I think of the opening line of 1984, about the clock striking thirteen. George Orwell has my literary heart forever.

What are you currently reading?

I'm currently reading the Criminal series by Ed Brubaker. It's so dark and moody.

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I often tell my friends ideas that I came up with a gauge their reactions. I know the difference between a despondent "that sounds cool" and an excited "wow that sounds cool!". I tend to work on whatever I'm excited to share.

Where do you find inspiration?

Deadlines. I set deadlines and the desperation turns into inspiration.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

"Write in passion. Edit in cold blood." This stops me from critiquing my work before I've completed a first draft. Otherwise I get stuck on trying to make a sentence perfect.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

Story Craft by Jack Hart. It taught me the importance of how you arrange information, especially when you have to be accurate to a real story.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

I get very excited when students make breakthroughs, so I'm a bit of a cheerleader.

Learn More About Working with Simon:

You can learn more about Simon's upcoming Comedy Writing Workshop Weekend Intensive, and sign up now.

Instructor Simon Taylor is a Melbourne-born comedian, who by the age of 24 became a writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Since then, he has appeared on Just for Laughs and became the first ever Australian to perform stand-up on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. His latest comedy special was filmed at the Sydney Opera House, and Simon will be touring internationally before its release. He has also written a number of books, including One-Night Stand, which received critical praise for its humor and heart.

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