SUPPORTIVE ROOMS GENERATE MORE JOKES
In anticipation of his Comedy Knowledge Drop, we asked writer/show runner/producer Brent Forrester to recount some lessons learned from working for over twenty years on some of the most Iconic television of past three decades, including The Simpsons
Brent Forrester: When I joined The Simpsons in Season Five, it was one of the most intimidating
writers rooms ever assembled. The staff was all hotshots from the Harvard Lampoon, and their standard of quality was so high, it was suffocating. People were simply afraid to pitch jokes in that room, for fear of looking stupid in front of each other, and our punch up sessions were famous for long silent stretches, where no one dared to speak. At first I did not have the courage to pitch jokes in that room. But I did have the courage to laugh! Even that can be a risk – no one wants to be the only one laughing – but it was one that paid off instantly. I discovered that even
“legendary” comedy writers are often deeply insecure, and they appreciate the support of a generous chuckler. When I did dare to start pitching lines for Bart and Homer, these same writers were a lot more patient with me. As a result of my early years in a “tough” room like the Simpsons, I tend to run very “warm” rooms now. A lot of comedy is trial and error. And you get a lot more “trial” in a room where the Head Writer is a generous chuckler.
Join us at Dynasty Typewriter on Sunday May 20th where Brent will be sharing more stories and tips from his time behind the frontlines of comedy. Tickets available here.