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Sat, 13 Jun



Comedy 101: Topical Comedy Writer’s Room for People of Colour

A practical workshop for black, brown & East Asian writers who would like to start writing topical comedy.

Registration is Closed
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Comedy 101: Topical Comedy Writer’s Room for People of Colour
Comedy 101: Topical Comedy Writer’s Room for People of Colour

Time & Location

13 Jun 2020, 10:00 – 15:00


About the event

Across the world, news and entertainment are closer than ever. From American late-night shows to viral tweets, the way we talk about the current events has the power to shape the dominant narrative, and affect real change.

Comedians and comedy writers have the potential to fight back against incomplete, inaccurate and hateful narratives in our society, but the comedy industry, as it stands, is not fit for purpose. Writers' rooms in the UK are overwhelmingly white, and schemes do not go far enough to empower new and vital voices to gain access the networks they need to enter these spaces, or to succeed to their full potential when they get there.

The Entertainment industries are built on the oppression of people of colour. Though one Zoom workshop is absolutely not going to solve this issue, we want to ensure black and brown writers everywhere feel supported in their creative ventures. The purpose of this workshop is to give you the information, confidence and experience you need to approach topical comedy writing professionally, and to create a space where members of our writing community can better understand how to champion and uplift you.


What does this session cover?

The day is divided into two parts:

From 10-12pm (BST), we'll run a crash-course in everything you need to know to submit to existing avenues for topical comedy, and to develop your own. We'll cover the basics of joke and sketch-writing, pitching, formatting and, most importantly, understanding what producers are looking for, and what they *actually* need from you. It'll be full of tips, tricks and good advice. Ask anything you like: no question too silly!

From 12-3pm (BST), you'll write your own material, under pressure, and receive detailed written feedback from a working comedy writer/producer. This is your chance to dry run a real-life writing process, so the first time you work on a show, you'll feel like you already know the ropes.

At the end of the session, we'll collect feedback, so we can understand exactly what you need next in order to continue along your topical journey with as much help and support as we can give you.


Who is leading the session?

Leila Navabi s an prolific and disruptive producer, writer and comedian. Having begun her career at MTV, she has since gone on to write (both editorial and screen pieces) for MTV, Comedy Central, Channel 4 and BBC. Her credits include: BBC One’s ‘Tourist Trap’, and BBC Sounds’ ‘The Leak with Tom Price’ and Comedy Central’s ‘Josh Investigates’. At 20, she became the youngest producer at BBC Studios where she works in house producing audio comedy including ‘Newsjack’ and ‘The Now Show’. She's also Welsh.

Charlie Dinkin is the current comedy staff writer at BBC Studios, working across radio shows including Newsjack, The Now Show and The News Quiz. With Benjamin Sutton, she is a founding member of Seize The Means of Production, an open-access information sharing project from the next generation of TV, film and digital creators.

This session is run independently by a community of experienced topical writers and producers who have worked at the BBC, amongst other places, but it is not affiliated with any production company or channel.


Who can participate?

This is an open-level workshop, but you will find it most enjoyable if you are an active comedian or comedy writer, with some active interest in topical writing. We run plenty of other intro sessions and Q&As if you're just dipping a toe in comedy for the first time.


What does it cost to participate?

We are committed to accessibility, so all our events are FREE. However, if you are able to make a small donation to The Film & TV Charity, it would be hugely appreciated.


How do I take part?

Sign up on this event page, and we'll be in touch with all the details. The event will take place over Zoom and email.

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