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The routine for each Monday night meetup of the DC Comedy Writers...

READERSVOICE.COM: What’s the routine for each Monday night meeting?

MANDY DALTON: Newbie Talk: We welcome new folks, remind them that they are walking into an uncensored forum, give them the house rules.
Icebreaker: it’s usually a stupid thing to take the pressure off of being funny. Example: Say your name and your favorite breakfast cereal.
Exercise: This is usually some kind of writing prompt or an exercise that focuses on joke mechanics. Sometimes we do collaboration exercises, sometimes we work solo. It’s usually fast.
Open floor: We open the group floor up to anyone who is working on material. We ask them to specify the kind of feedback that they want. (Open mic nights are a binary process: there is a laugh or no laugh. We have an opportunity for people to dig a little deeper so we encourage that they dig for something.) After someone shares their material “spitballing” starts to happen. That’s where people begin to offer new jokes, thoughts for tightening the existing jokes, alterations to premises, or “tags” (jokes made off of a successful punchline).
Plugs: members can share upcoming appearances, publications, shows, podcasts, etc.
Networking: Mingling and drinking.

RV: How can people use Facebook or other means to become involved and get their comedy work looked at?

MD: They can ask for an invite to our FB group. facebook.com/groups/dcwritersgroup. Go to open mic and watch people. In their own area they can reach out to others try to start their own comedy writing group.

RV: How did you get started in circuses and clowning?

MD: I grew up with a lot of it. My father was an amateur magician, and many of his friends were professionals. I went to the Ringling Clown College at age 17. Studied Theater at the Moscow Art theater school in 1992. Trained with Cirque du Soleil. etc.

RV: What are some of your plans?

MD: Not sure. Excited to see what will happen with the group. Each year I direct an original children’s musical where we take a group of theater students and give them a taste of the real life of a working actor for a summer job. I am hoping that as I turn 50 this year I can plan a trip around the world to look at comedy traditions in other cultures.

– See dccomedywriters.com which links to their Facebook page, facebook.com/groups/dcwritersgroup.
– copyright Simon Sandall