Fear and comedy

Ken Levine mourns a comedy writer and teacher:

"In his own words, his philosophy:

Pointing out that an idea has been done is off limits. If you say it’s been done, everything stops dead, but if you stick with it, it will probably turn out to be something totally different. And it shows it was good to go on the air. The main thing is to keep a positive attitude. If you start turning things off before they are developed, you’re going to put everybody in a frightened mood, and they are going to get very negative."

I highlight these words because that's what network comedy development's been like for as long as I've been in it.

The other note is interesting, too; one of the things you have to fight against in a room is a "its worse to be wrong than it is good to be right attitude -- your terrible pitch outlives any of your good ones. You don't want the atmosphere to be supportive, exactly -- it should be a little competitive and judgmental, just to keep you on your toes. Plus, you know, making a TV show is a business, not an avocation. But maybe with a generous spirit of overlooking the (occasional!) failure.

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