Found 1 comment on HN
kristianc · 2017-04-02 · Original thread
I love 'Comedy Writing for Late Night TV' by Joe Toplyn which is a 'behind the curtain' look at writing for late night TV and what makes certain lines 'work' and what doesn't. It's writing to be funny, but the principles you write to be funny are actually fairly similar to those you just use for good copywriting generally.

I liked his 'Surprise Theory of Comedy', used by the line above in fact.

A lot of great writers end up writing for comedy shows - if you end up in a writing team you get both the promise of a regular paycheck and a constant creative challenge creating lines around new news stories. The 'magic' of copywriting is really knowing maybe twenty really useful mental tools inside out, and executing on them the best way possible.

What you tend to find with copywriting is that everyone recommends the same seven books - Cialdini, D&AD etc, I guess like with programming where everyone suggests you read Code Complete - but a lot of them are quite long in the tooth, and have an annoying tendency to just hold lines up and say 'here, this is great copywriting', rather than really break down what makes lines work. That said if you're really brand new to it I'd recommend Hey Whipple, Squeeze This as a good starter for 10.

Online, ComedyWire is probably one of the best examples I've seen both for seeing great writers at work and practicing yourself. It's kind of like Hacker News for Comedy - people submit lines in response to news stories and the best ones get upvoted.

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