Welcome to the course. Here's a little background and accompanying literature before we begin.
Before we kick this off, there are a few people I’d like to thank. Over the years I’ve worked with many talented comedy writers, actors, directors and producers, and I’ve learnt a huge amount from all of them.
I worked with actor/writer Andrew Barclay for over ten years and he taught me a hell of a lot about the tools of comedy writing and performance. From my friend Keith Lindsay, an accomplished BBC scriptwriter, I learned the very precise mathematics of constructing a sitcom.
A man with a truly encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry – Peter Grahame from Downstairs at the Kings Head – taught me many of the do’s and don’ts of stand-up comedy, and from comedian Marc Blake I learnt a lot about how to teach stand-up as a discipline.
More recently, TV executive Ben Caudell taught me that pain is at the root of all successful comedy. From actor and fringe director Forbes Collins I learnt one of the most valuable lessons of all: Always make the audience feel clever – a concept we will visit many times in this book.
Most importantly, I’d like to thank Georgina Sowerby – my partner, co-writer and business associate for the past 20 years.