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Leigh Anne Jasheway p1

READERSVOICE.COM aims to collect a few interesting reading tips. Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H., from Eugene, Oregon, is known as the Accidental Comic. In this interview she gives some good advice on comedy writing, e.g. take a situation or premise that has a lot of potential for material -- not just a couple of gags -- and go with that. She also talks about some of her favorite humor books and authors.

READERSVOICE.COM: What might be typical weekly routine for you, with radio shows; novel, book and column writing; standup routines and writing courses?

LEIGH ANNE JASHEWAY: Typical is a hysterical word! Three terms of the year, I teach at UO (grammar and academic comedy classes) and LCC (comedy writing and improv), so that’s the most typical part of my weekly routine. I try to work my humorous speaking career (I keynote about 40 conferences a year) and stand-up performances around that. I don’t do bar comedy—just special events and corporate comedy. My radio show is on Saturdays, and I usually prep for it on Thursday (after having set up guests the previous month). I write books, columns, blogs and jokes in my sleep, apparently.

RV: What markets exist for paid humor writing these days?

LAJ: Not what it used to be. The Internet is great in that it has shown us how many people in the world are good or great writers, including of the humorous variety. That, however, means that those of us who do this for a living now have more competition and less compensation. I used to write for a number of newspapers, including the LA Times, but as that part of journalism has shrunk and refocused on online content, those opportunities aren’t as available to writers. I have written greeting cards, aprons, welcome mats, post-it notes, and novelties and the pay for that is about the same: $50-100 per tagline plus product. The ability to self-publish books easily, especially e-books, has made it easier to publish, but there is more competition. I’m not complaining – I love being challenged to do more differently.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.