4 Unconventional Comedy Writing Gigs to Hone Your Craft

Posted on: Jun 25, 2024

Photo Credit: LightField Studios // Shutterstock

By Brendan Fitzgibbons

Comedy writing might be one of the only careers untouched by the AI revolution, since robots aren’t exactly known for their comedic skills. That being said, the profession is not exempt from major shifts. Like any job, being adaptable to change is crucial.

Don’t get me wrong, if your goal is to become a successful TV or screenplay writer, author, or playwright, it’s never been more important to double down on your dream. Even though the industry is slow for us all, there’s a few ways to keep your writing chops fresh and bring in some income while you wait for the bigger gig.

Writing for an Influencer

As long as you stay within the parameters of your artistic integrity, writing for an influencer is just another way to make more people laugh. Many influencers are touring or are on YouTube and desperately need their content to be more engaging and significantly funnier. 

This is where your genius comes in. Treat their audience as a breeding ground and springboard for your material. If something works, know that you can take that positive feedback and build your own YouTube following.

Writing for a Brand

Have you ever seen a commercial and thought, “Wow, that was actually funny?” It’s because a writer like you had a hand in it. Writing for a brand is a great way to practice key components of comedy writing: ideation, joke pitching and arguably most importantly, learning when to fight for your material and when to let it go. 

This is a highly underrated yet incredibly crucial part of comedy writing. As writers, we care deeply about our material, but sometimes we have to learn the hard way that it’s okay to “kill your darlings.” This is a great way to practice.

Writing for a Stand-Up Comic

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re currently in the greatest boom for stand-up comedy ever. A little-known secret is that many of the greatest stand-ups have had the help of other writers, including Chris Rock, Kevin Hart, Ron White and Judd Apatow.

One of the biggest benefits of writing for a stand-up is that you’ll have instant access to the greatest real-time feedback mechanism of your material: a live audience. You’ll immediately be able to tell which jokes land and which flop. You’ll be able to hone your skills at writing in someone else’s voice, which you can then use on your pilots and screenplays.

Writing for Video Games

As someone who has dabbled in the video game space, there is truly no greater playground for creativity. Video games allow writers to perfect story arcs, dialogue and dazzling action sequences. 

Writing for a game feels almost like writing for an animated series. Companies such as EA Sports, Activision Blizzard, Riot, Tencent and Epic are often looking for fresh story and dialogue writers.

As they say, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Don’t let an industry dip slow you down. Keep working at it and it will have a bigger chance of paying off. Keep writing.

Brendan Fitzgibbons is a comedy writer and actor living in Los Angeles. He’s written for Comedy Central, The Onion, NBC, HuffPost and Bravo. As an actor, he’s appeared on Comedy Central, MTV and “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” His podcast, “Spiritual As****e” was named a Top Indie Podcast by Stitcher.

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