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Delegation at the DC Comedy Writers...

READERSVOICE.COM: The membership of the DC Comedy Writers has grown from about five in 2011 to about 1400. What’s involved in the administration side of a club of that many people?

MD: We are very lucky in that we have been able to take a “hand off” approach in managing it. Sometimes between Wayne and myself it may get a bit overwhelming, but other members have been great about stepping in when needed. The Real Life meetings never get much above 20 people regularly, although our highest turn out was 60 for a meeting. At that point it was unwieldy.

If a member of the group comes to us and says “hey, we really ought to do a podcast!” Wayne and I look at each other look at the member and say “you’re right! when are you going to start?” That is exactly how the podcast came about, and that’s what we have with all of the members. If we like the idea we give permission and help where we can. If someone does not run with the idea, then we kind of let it go until someone is willing to take it up. There is a lot less stress that way.

RV: When you have weekly meetings of the DC Comedy Writers, how do script writers or authors get feedback on their ideas or work, or is it mainly focussed on stand-up comedians’ work?

MD: The format lends itself more easily to stand-up, but a number of people will bring in small sketches or script excerpts. They pass out parts. People read it aloud in the group. Some incredibly bad acting takes place, but then we offer feedback focussed on the material just as we would for “jokes.”

We focus on writing and the material. Performance is an important part of comedy, but we feel that everyone pays attention to performance and there are plenty of performance classes. Nobody just focuses on the writing. That’s why we stepped in.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.