On Wednesday, my sketch team New Money had one of our best, weirdest shows to date. It was a thousand degrees on stage at UCB, and we had run long but the audience was miserable but being supportive. This is a photo from our last sketch “Red Hat Ladies Induct A New Member” and it killed. Lauren McGuire (far right) wrote it after the two of us had spent MONTHS trying to figure out what it was.
We knew that the Red Hat Society was inherently funny.
But we didn’t know why.
That’s the thing; sometimes it comes so easy and the joke is obvious. But sometimes it’s hunkered deep down and you’ve got to fucking dig it out with no clear idea where to look.
I gave up on it, but Lauren brought a draft of this into a writer’s meeting and it killed. And then it killed at our read-through. And at tech. None of those are a guarantee that it will do well with an audience, which is both thrilling and frustrating. For me, I just want to solve the riddle. I want to figure out the math and know that I’m making something good and funny. All I want is to be good at it. But it just doesn’t work that way. Often things that make us as a team laugh, die on stage, with almost no rhyme or reason (or sometimes, it only becomes clear WHY it didn’t work after it fails).
Mary Holland (middle) killed this sketch. She is terrifyingly talented, as are all of our performers. I told Barak Hardley (far left), right before the show, “You just get better and better every show,” and quickly added, “please don’t get all smug about it.” If you know Barak, you get that last part. Getting to watch each of them every month is such a treat.
There is nothing more rewarding than hearing people laugh at jokes you pitched in a sketch you watched develop. Creating something that is good, that I care about, with wonderful and talented people? That is such a good, good thing.