Climbing the Comedy Writing Ladder.

I had a mate in Cambridge; well he is actually still a mate – just not in Cambridge. He told me about some people who were putting on a live topical comedy show in small Cambridge venues. They needed some material, so to make a change from what I was doing (worrying and drinking mostly,) I wrote some sketches and they used them.

I was delighted – absolutely over the moon – well stoked!

Well-stoked Terry on his board.
Well-stoked Terry on his board.

So I wrote lots more and they got on as well. These nice people told me about a long running comedy show based in London called ‘NewsRevue’ that was always on the lookout for material on a weekly basis. I wrote some and they used them too.

I was delighted – completely over the moon, again.

The nice people at ‘NewsRevue’ told me about a satirical BBC radio 4 show called ‘Week Ending’ that took material from ‘uncommissioned’ writers and there was a meeting at Broadcasting House you could go to. I went to the meeting and I wrote some and they didn’t use it. So I wrote some more, and some more, and eventually they used some.

I was delighted – absolutely over the moon, in fact.

I kept on until one day to my delight, to my surprise, I wasn’t a non-commissioned writer any more. I had a commission. A three-minute commission, which meant I got paid for that amount of script time, whatever happened! The nice people at Week Ending told me about ‘The News Huddlines’ on Radio 2, I kept on at that for a while, and eventually I got my commission there.

Over the moon (as were my parents who liked ‘Huddlines’).

The BBC people told me that Rory Bremner’s TV show on C4 took uncommisioned material.

How over the moon was I when I got my first gag on ‘Rory Bremner’ and then my first sketch? Totally stoked!

I had surely ‘made it’ now?

Except, of course, ladders are movable items and you will always find another being placed in front of you, or taken away. Or you might find different ladders you want to climb – writing comedy plays, or comedy films or comedy novels for example. However, once you have climbed one ladder successfully, the others are never so daunting and the view from the top is simply – well, over the moon!

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Author and scriptwriter, Terry Newman

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