This is a transcript of SYS Podcast Episode 420 – The Farrelly Brothers, Ray Romano and How To Write Comedy. .

Welcome to Episode 420 of the Selling Your Screenplay Podcast. I’m Ashley Scott Meyer, screenwriter, and blogger with Today I’m interviewing comedy coach and author Steve Kaplan. We have a great talk about his background in comedy. What makes comedy work. He’s a really smart guy and funny too. If you’re a comedy writer, you’re not going to want to miss this conversation. So, stay tuned for that. If you find this episode valuable, please help me out by giving me a review in iTunes or leaving a comment on YouTube or retweeting the podcast on Twitter or liking or sharing it on Facebook. These social media shares really do help spread word about the podcast, so they’re very much appreciated. Any websites or links that I mentioned in the podcast can be found on my blog in the show notes. I also publish the transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at, and then just look for episode number 420. If you want my free guide How to Sell a Screenplay in five weeks, you can pick that up by going to It’s completely free. Just put in your email address and I’ll send you a new lesson once per week for five weeks along with a bunch of bonus lessons. I teach the whole process of how to sell your screenplay in that guide. I’ll teach you how to write a professional logline and query letter and how to find agents, managers and producers who are looking for material really is everything you need to know to sell your screenplay just go to So now let’s get into the main segment. Today I’m interviewing comedy coach and author Steve Kaplan, here is the interview.

Ashley: Welcome, Steve to the selling your screenplay podcast, I really appreciate you coming on the show with me today.

Steve: Happy to be here.

Ashley: So, to start out, maybe you can tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up and how did you get interested in comedy?

Steve: I’m a New Yorker grew up in the lovely borough of Queens. And I thought I was going to be an actor when I started out. But it turned out that I wasn’t a very good actor. But I did like to tell other people what to do, so I kind of slid into directing. And when I was relatively young, a couple of friends actor friends of mine said we’d like to start a theatre. And they just wanted to start a theatre so they could have, you know, do roles and act without having to audition. And so, I pitched them the idea of a theatre completely devoted to comedy and back then in New York, that was not a typical thing. Back then in New York, the theatre scene was basically people in black turtlenecks sitting in bear theatre in toning, obscure and ambiguous texts and taking themselves very seriously in their characters named he, she, the pharmacist, things like that. So, at that time, I was very taken with from a young age I’ve been taken with comedy, fascinated by comics, wasn’t able to do stand-up myself. The joke is that I tried to do stand up, and places asked me never to come back, not even to eat.

Ashley: And why do you think you couldn’t do stand up?

Steve: For the same reason that I was a better director than I was an actor. And because I was always on the outside, looking in. And actors need to be within the experience and I was outside the experience which made me a better director, a better producer, and actually a better author that we’ll get to soon. So, I convinced them to start this theatre. We called it Manhattan punch line. And we did all forms of comedy, theatre, improv, stand up nights, and a lot of great people came through the theatre. We had Nathan Lane, who went on to great fame on Broadway. And our improv group was Michael Patrick King, who was the showrunner writer of Two Broke Girls and Sex in the City. And now is the showrunner and executive producer of whatever that the name is of that new show on HBO Max. We had Peter Tolan who went on to do Garry Shandling show and I guess, also David Crane, we produced one of his early plays, and David Crane went on to do a little thing called Friends. So, a lot of great people came through it. And as I was working in the theatre, and I was producing, and I was directing. When I started the theatre, I thought that I knew everything there was to know about comedy, you know, in the arrogance of youth, and then after doing it for a little bit, I thought to myself; Okay, I don’t know everything there is to know about comedy, but I know what’s not funny, god dammit. And shortly after that, I thought to myself, How the fuck does this stuff work? Why is something funny on a Thursday, no longer funny on a Sunday, why is a script sometimes the funniest the first time you get people around the table to read it. But then when you work on it, the more you work on it, the less and less funny it gets. So, I was fascinated and perplexed. And so, I started trying to explore what we call the physics of comedy, how it works, why it works, what’s happening when it doesn’t work, and how can you fix it? So, I was teaching an improv class at the time. And I started creating these games and experiments to try to figure out what is at the core of comedy. How is it working? Why is something funny on a Thursday, no longer funny on a Sunday? And what would happen in the theatre, is actors would come offstage. And it would be a really terrible night. And usually, this play is getting lots of laughs, and tonight, there’s no laughs, and they would come off the stage and they would say to me; Oh, what a terrible audience. The only problem with that was I was in the audience. I wasn’t terrible. Now, I wasn’t going to laugh at the jokes like I’d never heard them, but I was willing to be entertained. But something different was happening, something different that the actors didn’t realize. So, when I started these improv classes, I started to try to figure out what is going on, that actors are have never been taught, other than make it fast, make it funny, that changes performance. And so, we came up with a number of techniques and tools. And I started a 40-week masterclass in approach to comedy at my theatre. And then when the theatre closed because of economic realities. It was a not-for-profit theatre, I guess we took that title way too serious. Like, I came out to Los Angeles, and somebody said to me, somebody who had been working with Robert McKee said to me, you know, you could do for comedy what Robert McKee does for story. And I said, really? So, I said, okay, well, let’s try it out. So, we started very small, a little workshop at the Olympic, this theatre in West LA. And then it grew, and all of a sudden, I’m being asked to do workshops in Singapore, in Australia and New Zealand. I’m doing workshops at DreamWorks and Disney Animation and it just took off from there. So, I’ve been doing that. I’ve written these two books, and now I’m just teaching, now because of the pandemic. And who knew that 2020 was going to be a trilogy?

Ashley: Yeah, no kidding.

Steve: So now because of pandemic, I’m doing most of the teaching online. And I work with directors and producers and studios around the world as a consultant.

Ashley: Gotcha. So, I’m curious, I asked this more in like a philosophical sense, have you ever aimed this power of analysis that you have at your back at yourself in wonder, why are you interested in in the arts and creativity and comedy versus why don’t you just end up on Wall Street and go more of a business route? Like what attracted you to comedy, like why comedy or why the arts for you?

Steve: Well, I guess it started when I was a kid. I was kind of an antisocial, unhappy little kid. And I used to be chased home from school every day. And so, I learned to do two things. I learned to run really fast. And also, when I got cornered, I could run, I learned to make jokes. And so, I had the desire to become a class clown. I was a very unsuccessful class clown. My rate of success was like 1 in 20, you know, 19 times I’d shout something up in class, and everybody would look at me like, are you crazy. But every 20th time, I would say something that would make the whole class laugh. And I thought I was going to be a lawyer, there was some time I thought I was going to be a rabbi. And a friend of mine, Jerry Jaffe went out for the junior high school play. And I thought, well, if he is going to be in the play, I could be in the play. So, I auditioned, and my one great skill was I could talk very, very loud, which I guess in junior high school means you’re going to be cast. And so, I was cast as the comic boyfriend in the play life of the party. And I had this scene in the second act where I went after the girl, but she rejected me and I went off stage and I tripped overs. And supposedly I tripped over some stuff off stage. And so, I throw myself into a bunch of chairs to make the noise. And the first time I did it, I got exit laughter and applause. And it was like, crack cocaine. Because for a little unhappy kid, who always felt outside of things, it was this feeling of acceptance. And I think that’s what a lot of comedians react to, that feeling of immediate love and acceptance. Ray Romano once said, that if he’d been hugged once as a kid, he’d be an accountant. So, I think that there was… and also there were girls. They were girls in theatre class, so that was another good reason. But for comedy, I think, I never really had a business skills. And you could look at my theatre company, as a good example of my lack of business skills. Great artistic accomplishments, not a very good business accomplishment. And I think I wasn’t very good at anything else.

Ashley: Gotcha. And I’m going to ask this next question. Do you as a comedy guru, do you feel pressure to always be funny, and I asked that, because I know, I’ve talked to writers that want to write comedy, and they but they’re afraid to put themselves out there, they’re afraid that they’ll write something that they think is funny, and nobody else will think is funny. And how do you help people? Or how do you get over that? I mean, I think in some ways, you sort of described it in junior high, you’re cracking 20 jokes, only getting a laugh once, you’re kind of used to it. But what do you say? Do you feel pressure to just always be funny? And what do you say to people that maybe want to write comedy, but they don’t quite have the competence to do it?

Steve: Well, you see, that’s the thing that I discovered in my exploration of the approach to comedy, the correct approach to comedy. Now, there’s all different kinds of comedies, there’s everything from the Farrelly brothers, Three Stooges to more thoughtful, you know, more low-key comedy, and it’s not like there’s one way of doing it, but the most important thing is that, it’s not about the joke. And the last thing you want to do is try to be funny, try to be funnier than you are. My whole belief in what I teach is that comedy tells the truth about people. And comedy tells the truth. Now, some people will say in my class, but what about drama? And I’ll say, well, yeah, that’s great. Like Hamlet, you know, Hamlet, to be or not to be? That is the question. But what would happen in a performance of Hamlet, if, you know, while he’s doing the speech to be or not to be? He kind of, you know, amid some gas, you know, let’s out you know, you look, you’re smiling right now, just thinking about I mean, what would happen in that performance? You know, maybe the audience would laugh, and the reality is that people do pass gas. That does stuff happen. Drama teachers tell us a beautiful lie. It tells us what we could be at our best even in dramas where characters have flaws, their tragic flaws, they’re appropriate flaws. But drama helps us dream about what we could be. But comedy helps us live with who we are. Comedy helps us live with who we are. And that’s my opinion is one of the reasons why you can see great comic actors, like Melissa McCarthy doing great work and drama, and you rarely see great dramatic actors moving over to the other side, that when you’re trying to write comedy, what you’re really trying to do is write the truth. Write the truth about who you are, what you know, and what you know about the people that you know, for instance, in it all in the family, Norman Lear adapted this British sitcom ‘Till death us do part’ about a kind of a racist bigot and his very liberal son in law. But when he wrote it, he didn’t make it up like, I’m going to make a bigot. He wrote his father. It was his father. It was his father that he wrote, when Archie Bunker calls his wife dingbat, that’s what his father called his wife, when Archie Bunker tells Rob Reiner, you know, meathead, you’re the laziest white man around. That’s what his father used to tell him. So, the idea that that you have to be coming up with jokes is not as important as telling the truth. And in fact, movies and television shows that are only about the joke. Are usually very … they have a high quotient of misses. Now I can think of a couple of shows that I’m not crazy about that are joke fest. But in that case, usually the jokes are very well written. But the problem with writing jokes, especially if you’re a new writer, is that jokes are subjective. I mean, you know, something that’s funny to you might not be funny to somebody else. So, if you’re pursuing a joke, you’re by definition pursuing only a fraction of your audience, where if you tell the truth about people, you’re going to connect with the universality of all of our experiences. Which is why I think the best comedies are the comedies that not only make you laugh, but move you and make you think.

Ashley: So, let’s dig into your book, The Hidden Tools of Comedy, maybe, and kind of just tell us what is this book all about?

Steve: This is the first book I wrote. And it’s basically spelling out the tools and the techniques that I’ve discovered over the years, as I’ve been teaching, and lecturing about comedy and producing comedy, and working with great comic writers. And it’s the thing that you’re not taught in college, and it’s not a how to craft jokes. I mean, there are other books and better books on how to write jokes. But it’s about taking a look at the philosophy behind comedy and breaking it down into usable practical tools. So, it’s looking at comedy, why it works, how it works, what’s happening when it’s not working, which is the most important thing, and what can you do to fix it? So, in the book, and in the course, we don’t just talk about the great comedies, you know, just like the key talks about Casa Blanca, would that we could sit down and write Casa Blanca, wouldn’t that be great if we could do that? You know, just sit down and be brilliant and don’t make any mistakes and don’t cast Ronald Reagan, cast Humphrey Bogart instead. That would be a good idea. But one of the things that I do is I show clips of movies and television shows that don’t work and talk about well, you all know when you’re watching something, it’s not working. Well, here’s what’s happening. And here’s some of the tools that you can use to try to fix it. Like the tool of non-hero that a comic character is not simply the biggest fool in the world, I know a lot of people love him. It’s not late Jerry Lewis or early Jim Carrey, where basically, it’s just somebody’s making faces and funny voices. A non-hero, simply somebody who lacks some, if not all the required skills and tools with which to win. So, when you have a character, and you give them too many skills, when you have them know too much, it kind of undercuts the comedy, if you simply take away knowledge take away knowing from a character, you create more of a comic moment.

Ashley: And can we talk about some of those, maybe some give us some real specific examples, you know, and there’s flipside, some TV shows or movies that are out recently that you think work really well and why they work well. And then the flip side is some TVs and movie shows that are maybe you don’t think work well, and why you don’t think they work?

Steve: Well, I mean, let’s take for instance, Everybody Loves Raymond. Ray Romano, one of my best friends, and one of my earliest students is Steve Skrovan and it was executive producer on Everybody Loves Raymond. And if you take a look at Ray Romano, one of the things that Ray did very well, as a producer on the show, was he would go into the writer’s room, and he would take away his dialogue. He would take away his dialogue, why do I need to say that? I don’t need to say that, the less that I say, the more that I’m kind of not knowing what to say is better for my character. Take a look at Brad Garrett as his brother Robert. Brad Garrett is kind of the Eeyore the sad donkey in that sitcom, and he is always wanting to succeed, and he never can succeed. Very much like George in Seinfeld, there’s a great scene in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, in which Robert thinks he’s found the one in fact, the title of the episode is, ‘she is the one’ he brings this girl home to dinner with Ray and Deborah. And it’s a fine dinner and Ray is kind of covelling over this new girl and covelling as a Yiddish term that means to Cavell, to kind of fawn over. And Robert and Deb go back into the kitchen. And he’s going, Isn’t she great? Isn’t she great? Meanwhile, Ray’s out there, he’s about to put down dessert dishes. And he notices that there was this fly that had been bothering them and the girl kind of captures the fly, and puts in a napkin and goes, thinks to himself, oh, she’s got skills, she’s pretty good. Then she lifts up the napkin. She takes the fly and she eats it. And he just looks at it. Now, another friend of mine, Jay Moriarty, who used to work for Norman Lear, worked on a lot of Norman Lear shows taught a class at UCLA extension. He used to use this scene as a teaching tool. And he would say, okay, you’ve just seen your brother’s brand new girlfriend who she thinks she’s the one eat a fly, what’s the funny line you say? And you know, the students would come up with a lot of funny lines, a lot of clever, clever, funny lines. And then you watch the rest of the scene. And what’s the rest of the scene is Debra and Robert keep on talking, and he’s frozen. He doesn’t know what to say. And then the parents come in, Frank and Marie, and they’re talking, and he’s still frozen. And then Robert and Deborah finally turned to him and say, so what do you think? What do you think Ray? Isn’t she great? And after four minutes of silence, he turns to them and says; she’s not the one. She’s not the one. And like the pause that Jack Benny took when he was asked for money or your life. And he went on thinking, it created this huge laugh in the studio audience. And one of the reasons is because he was struck for four minutes because he didn’t know what to say. The problem with a lot of comedy scripts that I read is, the writers are thinking of the funniest things they can think of. They’re being as clever and as witty as they can. And that’s not the basis of comedy. I mean, how clever and witty are walking into a Trader Joe, you’re not. I mean, most people are not clever and witty. And so, when you write us, a sitcom, in which every character is clever and witty, that doesn’t kind of reflect what our lives are. Now, one of the reasons that Friends is so good is because they have such a clear and solid delineation of characters. I mean, you know who those characters are, and you know what you can expect them to do, which is another tool that we talked about in the book, the tool of art types, that you’re not talking about stereotypes, you’re not talking about the dumb one, or the egotistical one, you’re talking about archetypes, people that are that embody universal characteristics. So, when you have a character, like Joey, and you need somebody to say something kind of stupid, and you have those six characters, who you’re going to give that line to? If you want somebody to say something funny, who you’re going to give that line to?

Ashley: Now, and I’ll push back against that a little bit. I was never a fan of Friends for precisely that reason. Like how was Joey not a sort of a cliché. Whenever I would turn on Friends, that’s always what it seemed to me, it always just seemed like cliche jokes of this dumb guy. And I can remember the blonde girl always playing her guitar, the things, she was sort of the same way. The argument you’re making always seemed I always felt like I fell on the other side of it with Friends.

Steve: And that’s probably why it wasn’t successful at all.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. So, I could be in the minority.

Steve: You know, again, it’s everybody’s tastes, I’m not going to convince you that that you were wrong. You didn’t like it. And that’s okay. I found those characters to be iconic. But I take your point that you thought that everything he said was stupid, but if you watched enough of it, one of the things that is best about Friends, Big Bang Theory is that those characters evolved. And so, one of the pleasures of watching Friends was watching Joey had that moment where he wasn’t stupid. And he actually knew more than you thought he did. One of the best episodes of All in the family is when Archie and Mike were stuck in a meat closet, they got locked in there. And they just had to wait till the morning to somebody let them out. And it’s this two hander in which Archie shares with Mike and with anybody for the first time that his father kind of abused him as a kid, and they were poor. And he wore one shoe and one booty was called shoe booty. It’s this brilliant episode, in which this character that you thought, well, you know everything about him, he’s predictable, but they’re not predictable. And the best characters in sitcoms of all, I mean, in the Big Bang Theory, they all started out as nervous virgins. And by the end of it, two of them are married and the others are in relationships or at least have had relations with girls and somehow, they’ve evolved, so it’s not about stereotypical character. A stereotypical character can never change, can never evolve but a human being evolved. I mean, in reality, you know, in rom-coms people change, right? A guy is a jerk in the beginning and at the end of the film, he’s a great guy. People don’t really do that. You marry a jerk. 30 years later, he’s an older, fatter, bolder jerk, right? But in the best sitcoms, there is an arc, so that those characters are not just stereotypes, incapable of change, that they are human beings, who like the rest of us change, but very, very slowly. So, I take your criticism, I don’t agree totally with it. But I can see where you’re coming from. And if you didn’t like it, you probably never watched a lot of it.

Ashley: Yeah, exactly. You know, I noticed on your bio, that you had worked with them, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross at Mr. Show and that’s the show if people have not seen it, it’s still available on HBO on demand. And I think that, to me, that was always just a brilliant show. You know, totally original, totally unlike even to this day, I don’t know there’s anything quite like it.

Steve: Well, I’m going to push back a little on, you know, I love Mr. Show. But one of the things that you know when you explore this stuff, is that it wasn’t original. It was basically an American version of Monty Python, and they weren’t original, they base themselves on the Goon Show. So, all of these things are standing on the shoulders of giants, that no one comes up with stuff out of the blue. And one of the things that people often ask me, because I’ve taught in Moscow, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Kiev, Singapore, they asked me, well, how can you teach comedy? Isn’t it all different? And while language may be different, religion may be different, customers may be different. Government may be different people are the same. We all have parents that drive us crazy. Hopefully we have significant others and they drive us crazy. Some of us have children, and they drive us crazy. And we drive them crazy. And we have all of that in common. So, when I first started going overseas, I was asked to speak in Singapore, and I said, “Singapore? What do I know about Singapore, other than you get caned if you spit gum on the street.” That’s all I knew. So, I asked them; send me your best comedy film, so I kind of know where you guys are coming from. And they sent me a film called “I’m not stupid”, about three kids in middle school, their equivalent of a middle school, from different economic backgrounds. And they all were terrified at failing in middle school. And I’m watching this and saying, I’m back in middle school, when I was on the outs and wanting to fit in and wanting to succeed and not knowing how and trying terrible jokes in order to do it. They were the same. They were the same. Their parents were the same. And so, there’s more about us that’s the same than is different in terms of how human beings react.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah. And just to show that I’m not like a comedy elitist. I remember…

Steve: No, no, no, no.

Ashley: I remember when I was a kid, I saw Benny Hill for the first time and me and my brother thought this was absolutely hilarious. And I wonder, what advice do you have for comedians? I mean, I think if Benny Hill came now, you’re talking about getting canes, I don’t even think this would be even allowed on the air anymore. What do you say to comedians about that? I went to a stand-up comedy show maybe a year ago, and maybe before COVID. So maybe now two years ago. And one of the things that I felt like was I felt like the comedians were purposely pushing the envelope to be offensive, because they wanted them. They were unknown comedians, and they wanted themselves to have those viral moments, even if it was negative. That was something for these guys. But how do you navigate that, not being offensive in this sort of highly politicized world where everybody’s offensive, everybody’s offended and just what do you recommend to comedians that are sort of in that space?

Steve: I think Ricky Gervais has the best answer to that. He says, just tell your truth as you see it, and then take the consequences. You know, what he says is that you should never apologize for a joke. You made the joke. That was your thought. And if people don’t like you for it, that’s the consequence. You want somebody laugh. That’s a good consequence. Somebody thinks you’re being a jerk. That’s bad consequence, but it’s your joke. I think no matter what you do if you’re doing stuff just to shock, that’s a short shelf life. I look at the example of Andrew Dice Clay. Now, he says that that character was a character study of a guy we shouldn’t like. But come on, he’s there doing a you know, working in arenas, getting a ton of money for telling jokes. Like, I took a cab the other day and my cab driver had the color of urine. What am I laughing at? Am I laughing at the character, really and all those all those bros from New Jersey hooting and hollering and you’re making lots of money on that?

Ashley: He had a show and Andrew Dice Clay had a show maybe three, four or five years ago, I think it was on Showtime. And I thought it was actually very funny where it was almost sort of this meta version.

Steve: Right. Because he was trying to get beyond that. Yes. But that act itself, there’s a short shelf life for people who punch down. You know, the comedy is about comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. You got to punch up. And you got to know who you’re making fun of, what’s the target of your joke? What’s the target of your joke? It’s really easy to make fun of people who are doing less well than you are. Where is the art in that?

Ashley: I’m curious what your take is on some of these new platforms, YouTube, Tik Tok. I’ve been on Tik Tok a lot lately and I think it’s a fantastic app for comedian.

Steve: I’ve had a tic tac, is that the same thing?

Ashley: It’s very similar. Except ones on your phone. Yeah. But Tik Tok is a great thing. You can you make these one-minute little bits, you throw them out there, you get instant sort of feedback on what’s working and what’s not. What’s your take on some of these modern things? And it sort of leads me to my next question is like, what do you recommend for someone that’s starting out in comedy today, what do you recommend that they do? How do you get a foothold in comedy in 2022?

Steve: Well, I think you’ve got to go with the fact that you can’t wait for the phone to ring. You know, if you’ve written a script, and you’re wondering, well, who do I give it to? Give it to yourself and get an iPhone and make it. I think one of the good things about something like Tik Tok and isn’t that where that comic… I can’t remember her name? Who did the kind of the karaoke voiceovers of the President Trump. You know who I’m talking about?

Ashley: Yeah, no, no, I don’t actually.

Steve: She was famous for…

Ashley: I just got on Tik Tok, like maybe six months ago. So maybe I missed her.

Steve: Some of your listeners are going to remember the name. One of the reasons why comics, you know, go to stand up is because you don’t need anybody else. All you need is somebody offering you a room and a mic. If you find some other people you go to an improv group, but I think the idea is that if you’ve got a funny idea, do it. The that’s one of the good things about the explosion of social media is that its creativity has been democratized. You don’t need some guy in an office smoking, you know his cigars like he’s in the 1940s saying; yeah, kid I’ll give you a break. Make your own break. Make your own break and more than that there are there are many ways to skin a cat. And by the way, don’t skin a cat, that would be a terrible thing to do. But I like to tell the story of this girl who wrote who had written a screenplay, nobody wanted to read it. Her husband was doing well as a recurring on several sitcoms. No one wanted to hire her. So, she took the screenplay and is one woman show. And when I was working at what used to be called the HBO workspace, and I think it’s something else now, some theatre space in Hollywood that I think Showtime is running now, we presented or for night, and people from HBO came down, and they loved it, but nothing happened. So rather than just kind of going; come on guys, you make me a star, she went and she rented out, I think the matrix one night a week for like, like a year and just performed it one night a week, late hours and marketed it to, she had a niche market. And one day, this woman came down and she was… because she was Greek. And the name of the show is My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And then she brought Tom Hanks company down, Playtone. And it became the most successful independent romantic comedy ever. Because she had something she wanted to say and she kept on looking for different venues to say, she didn’t just go, here’s my script, read my script, I’m a diamond in the rough. Take my script, give it to somebody. No. Do it yourself, figure out a way. If you’re brilliant, figure out a way to let people know about it.

Ashley: Sound advice for sure.

Steve: Like, Tik Tok and YouTube those are ways of letting people know how brilliant you are. Now the danger is, maybe it’ll turn out you’re not brilliant. But that’s okay, maybe you’re brilliant at something else. But you know, the two-step method of becoming rich and famous; one is be brilliant. That’s not so easy. But if you’re are brilliant, let people know about it. And now more than ever, you have a lot of different avenues to let people know about it.

Ashley: Yeah, yeah. Sound Advice. And that goes across whether you’re a comedian or into drama writing or thriller or whatever. It’s the same idea. How can people find your book – the hidden tools of comedy? Where is it available?

Steve: It’s available on Amazon, there are actually two books, The Hidden tools of comedy. And then the Comic hero’s journey, which is story structure for comic films. So, my friend who wrote the writers journey, I stole his title, and I called it The Comic Hero’s Journey. And it basically is stealing… We’re both stealing from Joseph Campbell. But it’s showing not only how things are similar in a comic narrative, but also where the differences are.

Ashley: Gotcha. And also, you run a lot of workshops and classes. How can people find those?

Steve: They can follow me on Twitter, I’m @SKcomedy. They can write and join our mailing list at And also, we’re on Facebook @Kaplancomedy.

Ashley: Perfect, perfect. I will round all that stuff up for the show notes so people can click over. Steve, I really appreciate coming on talking, really fascinating interview. Lots of great advice. I really do appreciate it.

Steve: Well, I’m sorry, I wasn’t able to change your mind about Friends. But I think we can both agree that people should stop watching Two and a Half Men. I think we’re both there on that.

Ashley: You know, my wife used to have that on when I come home from work. And I actually thought there were some funny episodes. I actually did think that.

Steve: Well, that’s great. And comedy, you know, funny is subjective, but comedy is universal.

Ashley: There you go. Yeah, go so well. Thank you, Steve. We’ll talk to you later.

Steve: Okay, thanks.

Ashley: Thanks. Bye.

A quick plug for the SYS screenwriting analysis service. It’s a really economical way to get a high-quality professional evaluation on your screenplay. When you buy our three pack, you get evaluations at just $67 per script for feature films, and just $55 for teleplays. All the readers have professional experience reading for studios, production companies, contests and agencies. You can read a short bio on each reader on our website, and you can pick the reader who you think is the best fit for your script. Turnaround time is usually just a few days but rarely more than a week. The readers will evaluate your script on six key factors; concept, character, structure, marketability, tone, and overall craft which includes formatting, spelling and grammar. Every script will get a great pass consider or recommend, which should help you roughly understand where your script might rank if you were to submit it to a production company or agency. We can provide an analysis on features or television scripts. We also do proof-reading without any analysis. We will also look at a treatment or outline and give you the same analysis on it. So, if you’re looking to vet some of your project ideas, this is a great way to do it. We will also write your logline and synopsis for you. You can add this logline and synopsis writing service to an analysis or you can simply purchase this service as a standalone product.

As a bonus, if your screenplay gets a recommend or a consider from one of our readers, you get to list the screenplay in the SYS select database, which is a database for producers to find screenplays, and a big part of our SPS select program. Producers are in the database searching for material on a daily basis, so it’s another great way to get your material in front of them. As a further bonus, if your script gets a recommend from one of our readers, your screenplay will get included in our monthly best of newsletter. Each month, we send out a newsletter that highlights the best screenplays that have come through our script analysis service. This is a monthly newsletter that goes out to our list of over 400 producers who are actively looking for material. So again, this is another great way to get your material out there. So, if you want a professional evaluation of your screenplay at a very reasonable price, check out Again, that’s

On the next episode of the podcast, I’m going to be interviewing writer director, Nick Gregorio about his new film Old Strangers. It’s a kind of sci-fi horror film about three friends who find something sinister out in the woods. So really cool film very contained, very low budget. And next week I have him on to tell us how it all came together for him. So, keep an eye out for that episode next week. That’s the show. Thank you for listening.