Comedy Masterclass

Where Danielle Krage interviews creators about the craft of writing comedy.

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7 days ago

Danielle Krage interviews Kay Stonham. Kay is a comedy writer-performer who has worked extensively across TV, film, theatre and radio. For example, she has written 10 original series for Radio 4, including Robin and Wendy’s Wet Weekend, and Bad Salsa.
She’s also the Co-Founder of Female Pilot Club , which was founded to amplify women’s voices and give women writers the chance to prove their jokes and characters in the room – as seen in their sold-out read-throughs of comedy pilot scripts to audiences of writers, producers and comedy lovers.
In this conversation, Kay shares really practical insights and advice for writers wanting to create and sustain a career in writing comedy.
00:00 Introduction and Background
02:25 Selecting Scripts for Live Performances
04:45 Developing Scripts for Showcases
07:09 Pitfalls in Script Submissions
09:58 Script Consultancy and Considerations
16:21 Misconceptions about the Production Process
24:54 Sustaining a Creative Career
29:29 PhD Research on Comedy Writing and Identity
39:55 Upcoming Projects and Female Pilot Club
You can find out more about Kay Stonham and her work here:
Kay’s website:
Kay’s agent:
Kay’s Audible Series:
Female Pilot Club:
Female Pilot Club Podcast:
The previous episode with Chelsea and Emily from Female Pilot Club is here:
Previous guest, Lucy Lumsden (Yellow Door Productions) was a judge and sponsor of the live showcase we referenced (along with sponsors Imagine Talent). You can find Lucy’s episode here:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday Jun 05, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Alana Schramm. Alana is a coach who works with the subconscious, the nervous system and emotions, in a way that is really practical, playful, and relevant to creativity. This conversation is a frank and fun dive into what blocks us and what motivates us effectively.
00:00 Introduction to Alana Schramm and her work
01:27 Negative emotions and creativity
06:20 Embracing imperfection in writing
10:57 Changing the relationship with yourself for creative flow
13:38 Transitioning from high-energy activities to writing
26:23 The Importance of Making Space and Tending to Our Capacity
27:35 Embracing the Present and Enjoying Life
30:08 Exploring the Power of the Subconscious Mind
32:16 Using Emotions as a Portal to the Subconscious
38:07 The Role of Self-Compassion in the Creative Process
43:24 Celebrating Ourselves: The Key to Motivation and Growth
47:00 Conclusion and Where to Find More Information
You can find Alana here:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday May 29, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Neil Martin, Honorary Professor of Psychology at Regent's University London. Neil is the author of The Psychology of Comedy, and in this conversation he introduces and dissects some of the key research and theories in the field of laughter, humour and comedy.
00:00 Introduction and Neil's Background in Comedy
03:24 The Neglect of Comedy in Psychological Research
06:44 Gallows Humour as a Coping Mechanism
08:31 Exploring the Humour Styles Questionnaire
23:11 The Timelessness of Comedy
24:27 The Influence of Laughter on Enjoyment
28:18 Humour in Learning
29:16 Sex Differences in Comedy
34:36 Comedy and Mental Well-being
41:18 Exploring Different Mediums of Comedy
44:01 The Influence of Sensory Experiences on Comedy
You can find Neil (including his contact email) here:
Neil's Deadpan piece:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday May 22, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews writer Lana Schwartz, whose interactive book ‘Build Your Own Romantic Comedy: Pick Your Plot, Meet Your Man and Direct Your Happily Ever After’ was named one of Vulture’s Best Comedy Books of the Year.
Lana has also written for The New Yorker, and is a contributor to The Onion. In this interview she shares her obsession for romcoms and the craft of comedy.
00:00 Introduction and Background
08:57 Favourite romcoms. Beats and tropes.
23:37 Building a Career in Comedy Writing
33:28 Crafting Humour: Specificity, Heightening, and Economy of Words
37:51 Upcoming Romcom Book and where to find Lana
You can find Lana Schwartz here:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday May 15, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Suchandrika Chakrabarti and Nerine Skinner.
Suchandrika is a stand-up, who runs the monthly night Good News / Bad News in north London and writes for BBC One's Have I Got News For You. She is taking her second solo show Doomscrolling to Edinburgh Fringe this summer.
Nerine is an actress, comedian, improviser and deviser whose parodies of Liz Truss have gone viral. She was a finalist in the Funny Women Awards for Content Creator and reached the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent with comedy cabaret trio, The Dots. She’s currently creating her debut show for the Edinburgh Festival.
00:00 Introduction and Background
03:07 The Joint Project: Liz Truss’ The Traitors
06:20 Balancing Structure and Improvisation
09:21 Finding Inspiration in the News
13:42 Character Comedy: Tips and Experiences
19:59 The Joy of Character Comedy
21:01 Collaboration and Selecting Guests for a Comedy Show
24:38 Navigating Boundaries in Topical Comedy
33:22 Preparing for the Edinburgh Festival
36:27 Creating a Supportive and Inclusive Comedy Environment
You can find Suchandrika and Nerine here:
Their joint show - Liz Truss’ The Traitors
You can find the Lynne Parker Funny Women episode here:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

End of Season 6

Wednesday Apr 24, 2024

Wednesday Apr 24, 2024

Back with you on May 15th. 

Wednesday Apr 17, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews writer, creator, and brand builder John Derevlany. John is an award-winning writer, animator, and showrunner who has written or produced hundreds of hours of TV (including for the Jim Henson Company and LEGO). John has also been a game designer, street artist, investigative journalist and played Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken for Michael Moore’s TV Nation!
In this episode John shares learnings from his creative career, and how he now thinks about Super Narrative – his approach to planning a story across multiple media platforms.
00:00 Introduction and Background
02:05 Founding a Comedy Newspaper
03:09 Using Comedy as a Defense Mechanism
04:12 Transition to TV Comedy
05:40 Working with National Lampoon
07:25 Creating Crackers, the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken
08:47 The Power of Reaction Shots in Comedy
09:56 Transition to Animation and Children's Shows
10:38 The Concept of Super Narrative
15:08 Understanding Super Narrative
16:00 Differentiating Super Narrative from Transmedia
24:02 The Need for Innovation in Hollywood
24:49 Adapting and Pivoting in Creative Projects
25:15 Navigating Humour and Broad Appeal
26:04 Considerations for International Audiences
26:34 Keeping Content Broad and Timeless
27:02 Challenges with Technological Advancements
27:49 Creating Characters and Expanding Worlds
28:18 Using AI for Idea Generation
28:57 Simplifying Stories and Layering Content
29:25 Creating a Multitude of Characters
29:58 The Challenges of Naming Characters
30:25 The Role of AI in Joke Generation
31:26 Using AI as a Tool for Creativity
32:09 The Increasing Speed of Content Production
33:21 The Importance of Trying New Things
34:19 The Uncertainty of the Entertainment Industry
35:28 Take Risks and Embrace Ignorance
36:36 Being Playful and Creative in All Aspects
37:35 Finding Inspiration in Comedy and Entertainment
38:16 John's Website and Projects
40:01 The Resurrection of 'Squish'
41:21 Dealing with Fan Obsession
You can find more about John’s work here:
Videos -
(Including Squish, Legends of Chima, Crackers the Corporate Crime Fighting Chicken, Uke Til U Puke.)
The "Give me a job LEGO” animation
The big, outdoor board game:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Ken Pisani (Writing Comic Novels)

Wednesday Apr 10, 2024

Wednesday Apr 10, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Ken Pisani. Ken is a screenwriter, TV writer and producer, playwright, comic book author, former cartoonist, and novelist. His novel, AMP’D, was a Thurber prize finalist, and in this episode he takes us behind the scenes of creating this comic work.
00:00 Introduction and Background
01:18 The Concept of AMP’D
05:01 Choosing the Novel Format
06:09 Challenges of Writing Prose
07:36 Writing Without an Outline
08:06 Balancing Comedy and Drama
09:00 Reversing Expectations
11:20 Writing Situational and Visual Comedy
12:09 Emotional Impact of the Novel
13:30 Finding the Balance of Comedy and Drama
19:02 Creating Beleaguered Characters
20:08 The Play and Game of Comedy
21:41 Publishing and Marketing Challenges
22:03 The Challenges of Funny Novels
25:02 Dealing with Failure and Persistence
29:01 The Appeal of Muppets
33:20 The Humour in Comic Books
38:18 Recommendations
You can find out more about Ken’s work here:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday Apr 03, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Caleb Warren, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Arizona. Caleb researches and writes about what makes things funny, what makes things cool, and what helps people reach their goals. In this conversation, Caleb shares some of his key findings about humour and how it works.
00:00 Introduction to Consumer Psychology and Humour
01:20 How Caleb Got into the Study of Humour
04:01 Physical Comedy and Empathy
06:00 Psychological Distance and Humour
07:27 The Role of Absurdity in Comedy
08:21 Psychological Distance and Animation
09:08 The Difference Between Comedy and Serious Settings
09:39 The Flawed Theory of Surprise in Humour
10:40 The Relationship Between Surprise and Humour
11:36 The Benign Violation Experiment
13:19 The Difference Between Humour and Coolness
14:18 Coolness as a Positive Deviation from the Norm
15:10 How Coolness and Humour Overlap
16:00 The Importance of Autonomy and Enjoyment in Goal Pursuit
18:27 The Importance of Product in Marketing
19:54 The Role of Humour in Marketing
20:20 The Benefits of Humour in Enjoyment and Happiness
21:46 How Humour Translates and Changes with Distance
22:44 How Sense of Humour Changes with Age
23:46 The Evolution of Humour and Cultural Norms
26:56 Research on Coolness Across Different Cultures
28:57 The Personality Traits of Cool People
30:06 The Role of Effort in Coolness and Status
32:27 The Tension Between Marketing and Coolness
35:23 The Importance of Being Good vs. Being Cool
36:54 Caleb's Band and Songwriting
You can find Caleb here:
Research website: TedX talks: Band website:
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:

Wednesday Mar 27, 2024

Danielle Krage interviews Dr Eric Maisel. Eric is the author of more than 50 books - many focused on creativity and the creative life - including Fearless Creating, Deep Writing, The Power of Daily Practice and The Magic of Sleep Thinking. He also writes the ‘Rethinking Mental Health’ blog for Psychology Today and is a regular contributor to Mad in America.
In this conversation, Eric shares insights and practical strategies for writers engaged in a creative process, that by its very nature is likely to include anxiety, doubt and uncertainty.
00:00 Introduction and Background
00:55 The Role of Anxiety in the Creative Process
06:19 Using Breathing and Incantations to Center and Ground
07:36 Accessing Flow State in Small Increments of Time
09:58 The Importance of a Morning Writing Practice
11:54 Harnessing the Power of Sleep Thinking
13:50 Embracing Mistakes and the Doubt in the Creative Process
15:17 Existential Intelligence and the Search for Meaning
25:44 Pushing Back Against Authoritarianism and Mental Health Labels
30:38 Overcoming Self-Censorship and Negative Thoughts
35:56 Strategic Goal Setting and Productivity
38:05 Upcoming Books and Projects
You can find the transcript at:
And Danielle’s socials here:


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