On the eve of another sketch performance, I’ve managed to memorize my lines and I’m now left with some thoughts about group work. Whether it be working in a group in a Poli Sci class filled with kids who aspire to run the country one day, a sports team filled with players from all levels of experience, or the ever open-to-criticism-and-to-suggestions, never-ever-passive-aggressive-or-condescending, ever-patient, always-willing-to-give-it-their-all comic writers, *cough* there is one commonality that always rings true… and that, my friends, is that GROUP WORK IS FUCKING TOUGH!
Of course it is! And in the case of comedy writing, so should it be! We’re assigned to a small group of people, all of which come from different walks of life and backgrounds and all of which have a very different sense of humour. We have to mould each other into the characters we’ve created, these little made-up people who in our minds are hilarious, but to others may have no significance whatsoever, let alone any source of humour. What a concept!
I realize the reason they ask us to work together in groups is to prepare us for the “real world,” where, if we do end up working in a writers room, we will be obligated to work with people we don’t know, people we can’t stand or people with uncommon body odours. But I can’t help but visualize perhaps a more professional environment.
The difference, to me, seems simple and clear as daylight. If we were working in an actual writers room, we’d be getting paid. And if we were getting paid, we wouldn’t want to lose our jobs. And if we didn’t want to lose our jobs, we’d make time to listen to each other’s ideas, to contribute our own thoughts in order to better our writing and eventually our performance. We’d be willing to attend whatever writing session or rehearsal was necessary to get our project up to snuff and we’d truly be dedicated to our work.
Wait. Hold on a minute. Forget actually making money for the time being.
Rather, maybe that kind of devotion should be given to a project you actually paid thousands of dollars in which to participate?