The Writer's Digest Podcast, Episode 4: Deconstructing Humor — Interview with Laurie Kilmartin

In this episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast, author and comedian Laurie Kilmartin discusses writing comedy and jokes that keep your audience laughing, balancing the specific tug-of-war between writing for your job and writing for yourself, and combining humor and death in a way that’s both funny and poignant.
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Welcome, welcome, writers! From fiction to nonfiction, whatever your genre persuasion—whether you love reading and writing humor or you only enjoy literature that is extraordinarily, deeply serious—the Writer’s Digest podcast is for you.

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Today I have the pleasure of interviewing author and comedian Laurie Kilmartin on the show!

Laurie is a comedian, author, and Emmy-nominated staff writer for Conan. So I guess you could say she knows a thing or two about writing humor, and laughter has been her coping method through even life’s most difficult times.

In 2014, Laurie gained significant attention for live-tweeting...the death of her father. Then in 2016, her hour-long stand-up special "45 Jokes About My Dead Dad" was named one of the best comedy specials of the year and was featured in the New York Times’ year-end piece "A Year When Death Loomed in the Laughter."

All this eventually led to Laurie’s new book Dead People Suck (also about her dead dad), that’ll have you laughing and crying at the same time.

So listen in as Laurie and I chat about the art of writing comedy, and how to use humor to tackle tough issues.

This episode of the Writer’s Digest Podcast is brought to you by Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. For more info about the Writer’s Digest Conference this summer check out writersdigestconference.com. And don’t forget to use the coupon code mentioned in the episode to get $25 off your registration!

In this episode Laurie shares:

  • The rules of humor, how to get a laugh every time.
  • What makes something “funny,” by breaking down one of her own jokes.
  • Writing performance comedy for yourself vs. for someone else.
  • Balancing the specific tug-of-war between writing for your job and writing for you.
  • How to combine humor and darkness the right way.

Listen in to hear Laurie talk about all these things… and more!

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About Laurie Kilmartin

Comedian and Emmy-nominated Conan staff writer Laurie Kilmartin gained significant attention in 2014 for live-tweeting the death of her father. In 2016, her hour-long stand-up special "45 Jokes About My Dead Dad" was named one of the best comedy specials of the year by Vulture, Paste and Decider and was featured in the New York Times' year-end piece "A Year When Death Loomed in the Laughter."

She previously authored the New York Times bestselling book Sh*tty Mom, and her new book Dead People Suck is available now.

Links and resources

In the July/August issue of Writer's Digest, Laurie and three other comedians discuss their best comedy-writing tips. Get the issue here, or subscribe.

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