Mandy Dalton and Wayne Manigo started the DC Comedy Writers group in January 2011, so that comedy writers could meet up, work on improving their writing, talk shop and have fun. People perform standup or sketches they’ve written; and garner feedback and suggestions from fellow writers. But they don’t have to perform, and can just learn and have a good time if they wish, which may or may not involve drinking beer. The group welcomes standup comedians, speech writers, bloggers, or anyone else involved in creating comedy, regardless of their politics. They meet every Monday at Restaurant Judys in Washington DC, from 8.30 to 10.30 pm.
RV: How did you and Wayne Manigo come up with the idea for the DC Comedy Writers Group, and how did you publicise the first meetup?
MD: I met Wayne at an open mic. No long after we met we discussed the idea for the group. I had made a few attempts to get a group of comedy writers together in a few other places, all failed. They failed because people were pretty precious about their material, so they only wanted to be with “other professionals” and other people that they trusted. Usually the first few meetings would go well, then people would start canceling because of “because.”
My idea on this round was to just make it a “pinpoint in a map”. If it’s a Monday night at 8:30 at a specific spot and two comedy writers show up, then there is a meeting. If more showed up then great. Wayne agreed and found us a bar and reached out to some of his friends. The first meeting had six people. A month later we had nearly 20. The we put it up on Meetup.com. That’s when it really took off. Suddenly, we had to have a web page and a Facebook group. Then the twitter feed so that we could let people know about our venue changes quickly (at first that became a problem, later we settled into Judy’s restaurant.) Other than that we have done very little to get the word out. Wayne and I might put out a press release about a specific activity, but most of it is Meetup.com and word of mouth.
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– copyright Simon Sandall.