image: Mario Testino for Vogue
I feel like an idiot sharing this revelation, but I never realized that comedy is writing. Maybe it’s not so idiotic though since the end process of stand-up or a sitcom used to feel so separate from the writers.
I never particularly gave much thought to standup, improv or comedic writing until Louis C.K, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling or even James Lipton of Inside the Actor’s Studio came along.The latter in particular has been eye-opening because it gives such insight into something I love (films) but have, up until now, known so little about as far as the actor’s process is concerned.
Reading Tina and Mindy’s respective books shed light on their process and taught me rules of comedy that I wasn’t familiar with, like Tina’s rules of improvisation. And watching Louis C.K’s self-title show is like peeking behind the curtains as he’s working on a bit, but not just as he develops it, but as he’s on the subway, observing people. Or walking around, analyzing.
As I crave more time to write each day, I’ve realized it isn’t the act of writing itself that appeals to me; writing can be an incredbily frustrating process. But writing is expression of thought—processing; analyzing; learning. That is what I crave each day. I don’t know how I feel or what I think until I write. Talking helps too, but if I haven’t had time to think something through with words and get it on paper (in this case, my laptop is my “paper”), I don’t know how I feel about something.