33: Dave Cohen (The Complete Comedy Writer)

Danielle Krage interviews Dave Cohen – Broadcaster, BBC TV writer, BAFTA winner for his Horrible Histories songs, and novelist (Stand Up, Barry Goldman, and Barry Goldman: The Wilderness Years).

Dave is the author of The Complete Comedy Writer: Make your Sitcom, Stand-Up, Screenplay, Sketches and Stories 62% funnier. He brings his extensive comedy writing experience to this conversation.

Topics covered include:

  • Ways into comedy writing (including children’s TV and radio).
  • The number one requirement for being a comedy writer.
  • Creating comedic characters – the first questions you should ask.
  • Balancing ‘emotional truths’ with ‘permission to lie’.
  • Adding funny to fiction.

You can find out more about Dave and his work here:






Danielle (00:00.598)

Today I have Dave Cohen with me, who’s known as a broadcaster, BBC TV writer, BAFTA winner for his Horrible Histories songs, novelist, and so much more. So you can see why he’s the perfect person to have also written The Complete Comedy Writer because he has so much experience in so many comedy fields. So I’m very excited to ask Dave about his approach to all different kinds of comedy. But before we dive in, is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or your work?

Dave Cohen (00:02.012)

Well, that was a very nice covering area there of the many things, I suppose. I’m a bit old, really, so I’ve been at it for 40 years. But I’m just coming up to the 40th anniversary of my first ever radio writing credit. So, I don’t honestly know everything about comedy, but I have written a book about writing, if you want to write comedy. So that’s my area. Thank you for that lovely introduction.

Danielle (00:51.246)

That’s amazing. It’s a tremendous amount of experience, and really, really practical experience, which is really valuable. And I could ask you so many questions, but where I actually wanted to start, because you do have this broader perspective, is I wanted to ask about your work with other comedy writers. Because in the introduction to The Complete Comedy Writer, so many different, really renowned comedians, give you such great props for the great notes that you’ve given them and how useful it’s been.

So I wonder when you’re in that capacity giving notes, what do you think are the kind of things that you’re seeing that other people might miss, or patterns that come up…where they’re like, thank you, Dave, for the notes, they were so helpful.

Dave Cohen (01:56.953)

Thanks, I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms, but yes, I suppose partly I’m looking at things from the perspective of having written a lot of things myself and a lot of people who give script notes, for instance, a lot of producers and script editors, some of whom are brilliant, you know, but they haven’t…..They haven’t been down the mine as it were, stuck inside a script. And I suppose I bring probably an empathic feeling of knowing…we all make mistakes and it’s so much easier to look at someone else’s script and say, this needs doing, this needs doing. And then you go back to your own script and you go, oh…I was making those exact mistakes as well. So I guess I arrive with that empathy really, and that might be what helps writers when they get my notes.

Danielle (03:09.186)

That makes total sense. Absolutely. And one thing that I was really intrigued about in the book too, is that you say. ‘If you want to write for TV, children’s is a good place to start’. And I’ve never actually heard that advice.

given before, I think it’s super interesting. My husband’s worked in children’s TV as a performer for a long time and I have an interest in that industry, but I’ve never heard anyone give that advice. I wondered if you wouldn’t mind, for people that also have never heard that, why is it that you said that? And obviously you have so much practical experience from Horrible Histories and more.

Dave Cohen (03:40.708)

I think I start with that by talking about the negativity that comedy writers will often bring, or people bring, when they talk about kids’ TV. It sounds like it’s a lesser thing. And it certainly is a lesser thing from a financial point of view, as your partner will, I’m sure, attest. But…it is very much the kind of poor relation of other TV. But there are two things I would say. The first thing is that actually writing for kids is really not that different to writing for adults. Obviously, there’s certain language you’re not allowed to use, but you should be able to communicate most of that to children as well and vice versa. And I’d say probably one of the proudest moments for me, as a writer, was one of the songs that I got asked to write for Horrible Histories. It was to write about Darwin’s theory of evolution. I had absolutely no knowledge or understanding of science, the whole of science. I was a real non-science person. So I had to learn the theory of evolution, work out how to explain it to 10-year-olds and then turn it into a spoof David Bowie song, Changes, which was probably the easy bit really compared to that.

That was a kind of moment of realization to me that actually… oh, first of all, science isn’t this thing that’s really impossible to understand. It’s just that I never took to it at school and never thought I could do it and stuck with that. But also, I thought actually communicating to children is just a brilliant way of doing things.

The second thing that I wanted to mention is that variety of things that you get to do on kids’ TV. And in fact, the model of narrative comedy for kids TV is very similar to America. So you get to do 13 episodes and they’re a bit shorter but you can really develop a much bigger narrative idea using kids TV than you can in grown-ups TV.

You’re very lucky if you can get a series of six made now and sometimes it’s four and most of the time it’s rejected anyway, very few things get made really. So for those two reasons, I think kids TV is definitely a really good place to investigate.

Danielle (06:52.374)

That’s super helpful. Thank you. I’m afraid this is going to be quite a whistle-stop tour because I want to pull out so much of your expertise. But I want to hop next to radio. We had the lovely Lucy Lumsden on the show too, who has a ton of commissioning and producing experience at a really high level. And she mentioned radio and gave the example of Miranda, a really iconic show that’s in Britain… how actually the roots of that were in radio. And you have so much radio experience and so many writing credits.

I wondered if you wouldn’t mind speaking a little bit to that, how it was helpful in terms of your comedy and potentially also how that links to different ways of finding a comedy voice.

Dave Cohen (07:31.58)

Yeah, I mean, radio is, in the same way that children’s is, radio is the more traditional known way in. But there is a very clear pathway and it hasn’t changed. I mentioned at the start that it is literally 40 years since I got my first writing credit and it was on BBC Radio. It was for a show called Week Ending and you turned up at Broadcasting House and there’s a little building off the side of Broadcasting House on Langham Street and you just walked in and anyone could walk in off the street and on a Tuesday afternoon they say… okay these are the stories we’re going to cover and all the commissioned writers will do these things, so you lot, this bunch of reprobates and mostly blokes, unemployed blokes, coming in from the wet and cold really, I think as much as anything…you could write one line jokes or sketches and get them on the show.

Week Ending that was on the radio 40 weeks a year. It’s 40 years on, and that’s still the way that you get stuff made. There are lots of topical radio shows now, there’s Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland makes a show called Breaking the News, which is on 30 weeks a year. And you just write one-line jokes for that.

And then there’s a show called The Skewer, which is much less traditional. It’s an incredible oral soundscape of topical comedy, which sounds pretentious, but actually, it’s really quite extraordinary. It takes a while to listen to get what’s going on, but it’s basically, it’s using stuff that’s already out there, people talking and juxtaposing them against things they said before where they’re basically contradicting themselves or songs that express more what these people are doing or saying. Or TV shows, spoof TV shows.

So there’s all manner of ways of picking up these credits and a lot of people say, well, I’m not really interested in topical comedy. But actually, I was remembering my first sketch for the show Week Ending and this was, it was 1983. And it was about this, something about British relations with China. Margaret Thatcher had employed, appointed this man called Percy Cradock to deal with these relations. And I wrote a sketch purely on the basis that there was a famous TV chef at the time called Fanny Cradock. It wasn’t even spelled the same way. So I wrote a sketch about Percy Cradock’s recipe for Chinese relationships. That was just like a parody of a TV show. The actual news, the beef or the meat of the story was kind of irrelevant. It was just a stupid, stupid sketch. And that’s still what it is really. You just take things that are in the news and turn them into stupid sketches.

So. I think radio is definitely worth looking into for that. And once you get known as a writer of stuff for the radio, you get to know producers. And these are the people who go on to make TV shows. And in my case, I was very lucky. The producers I worked with, they went on to make TV shows. They went on to become Head of comedy at Channel 4 and that sort of thing. So these are really good relationships to make when you’re starting out.

Danielle (11:22.39)

Wonderful. Thank you for giving us that insight and happy anniversary for your radio career. That’s awesome. I love it.

So how did, I mean…we don’t have time to trace all the things that have happened in the middle because there have been so many extraordinary things, but how do you get from there to more recently writing a comic novel, Stand Up Barry Goldman?

Dave Cohen (11:25.68)

Thank you, thank you very much. Well, when I started out it was always my ambition to write novels. So in my teenage years, when I was a student at Bristol University, I went to the Edinburgh Fringe in the late 1970s. And one year that I went up there, I met a guy, another student who happened to be Rik Mayall.

And I saw his show he was doing with Ade Edmundson at the time. And in fact, there were some other friends of theirs who were friends of mine from school. So we had people that we knew in common. And I went to see their show at the Edinburgh Fringe, this was in 1979, and it was called Death on the Toilet. And it was a kind of a prototype, I’d say, of Bottom, I think, really.

But it was…just extraordinary. I’d never seen anything like it. And it was a sort of life-changing moment. And from that point, I was distracted really from wanting to be a novelist, and I thought…I want to perform comedy. And so eventually, I became a stand-up comedian. I did that for about 10 years. And then I went into comedy writing.

And there was always a reason for not writing the novel. And eventually I decided, well, you know… am I ever going to write a novel? Am I going to go to my grave saying, oh, that one thing I always wanted to do. So I thought…I’ll write it. And it’s pretty much a very heavily fictionalized version of the story of those first Edinburgh festivals that I did in the late 1970s. And I’ve just finished the follow-up now, which is coming out.. which again is a heavily fictionalised autobiography, and that covers the next period after that. The early days of alternative comedy.

Danielle (13:58.026)

Awesome. So much great material in there as well. And it lends such a richness…. So I’ve read the first one…. It lends such a richness to everything… the setting, the characters. I felt like, it’s a book that I wouldn’t be able to write, but that you can because of your specific experiences. And I love in The Complete Comedy Writer that you highlight the importance of the emotional truth you can bring to an idea.

I wondered if you wouldn’t mind saying a little bit more about that as it relates to either your own novel or you can broaden out to other comedy work if you prefer.

Dave Cohen (14:24.196)

Yeah, I mean, interestingly in the Stand-up Barry Goldman, the first of the books, the stand-up books, there’s a lot of the stuff is real, but then a lot of what’s made up is about the relationships he has, the various…coming to terms with understanding about feminism and how to go out with people, how to behave well as a man, and he doesn’t always do that. None of those particular relationships are real, but they contain a lot of the emotional truth of what I went through. And I think what I mean by emotional truth…. I mean it’s really important when you’re being a comedy writer because there’s so much competition. The one thing that you have and you need to investigate really I would say is your own emotions, your own character, your own flaws. I mean without beating yourself up too much but…I think the number one requirement to be a comedy writer is to have self-awareness. And that involves investigating your emotions quite deeply and admitting that you were not the wonderful person you thought you were, or that you’re not as brilliant at these things as you think, but then also you’re not as terrible a person as you think in other ways. And because the best comedy characters, I think, the main thing that you can say about them is that they are totally lacking in self-awareness. So the more you examine yourself, I think, and your own flaws, the more you can bring that to comedy characters in a way that’s fresh, in a way that people haven’t spotted before.

Danielle (16:47.254)

Yeah, that’s really, really good advice. And you, I mean, that partly answers the question, but you also, you give so many great examples of characterization and you pull out examples from some of my favourite shows, like Brooklyn 99 and Lovesick and Call My Agent. And I wondered if you wouldn’t mind either from those shows or a different one if you prefer, touching on like what you think….And it’s not an easy question…but what are some of the core ingredients that really help to make a character comedic? Because you have some great vocabulary around this.

Dave Cohen (17:22.632)

Yeah, and you know, it’s not much different in comedy and drama or anything else. You have to ask… The first question that I always ask of any character, and you should always ask of your character, is what do they want? And then the second question is what is stopping them? And you know, you apply that to anything, a movie, drama, whatever, you know, a Marvel superhero. And you can answer those questions really quickly. What do they want… to save the world? You know, what’s stopping them? The evil XYZ character. James Bond. Harry Potter. They’re all, if you were talking about the classic, there’s a protagonist and there’s an antagonist.

So the main difference with comedy is the flaw in that person’s character. So what do they want? And what’s the obstacle? And so the obstacles is themselves. So that’s the first point. And then it’s, you know, then it starts to get difficult and you go…well, okay, let’s get specific here. And you need to break down… what do they want?

What are the things that we want, the external things? Some people want money, some people want love, some people want power, specific things. And that’s their external want. And then you ask the question, what’s their internal want? And that’s where you get quite interesting. That’s where the self-awareness comes in, I think, because that’s often the answer to that question is…I just want to be heard, or I want the respect that I never had when I was growing up. And it usually ties into some kind of terrible childhood slight that has stayed with you and has been exaggerated over years to make you more…it fills your head and doesn’t allow you to get on with your life. And that’s often the obstacle.

So someone say like Basil Fawlty, he wants to run a very posh hotel. But from his internal point of view….he has all those years of being slighted by people who think they’re better than him. So he’s basically wants a better class of clientele. When you’re running a hotel, you don’t get to choose. Their guests can be as rude and as nasty as whatever, as long as they’re paying the bills, you have to be polite to them. And so it’s that internal slighting that turns Basil Fawlty into this wonderful character who just upsets everybody around him, even though in his mind, he is absolutely right to be doing what he’s doing. I’m sorry to pick such an old classic as Fawlty Towers, but it’s always a good one to come to.

I had an interesting thing happen. I was working with a writer and we were talking about… what does this character want? And I was trying to explain the difference between an external one and an internal one. And I said, just for example, let’s say your character wants a Porsche. And immediately it sparked a thing with it. You weren’t then writing a sitcom about a character who wants a Porsche, but you were writing about a character, you immediately saw what does it mean when somebody wants a Porsche? It means, they value money and status and they’re probably going to not be sensitive, they’re going to be…focused and doing their own thing.

So you don’t have a scene where the guy who owns the Porsche, the guy wants a Porsche, is going past a garage and looks longing through the window at the Porsche. You don’t need that, but you bring that to every conversation this character has. You bring it to the scenes and so that’s like a subtext that’s informing everything. So it allows you to…make these characters say stuff and without saying out loud, because I need a Porsche, I want a Porsche. And also that comes from that…when I have a Porsche, you’ll all respect me, the internals. So, I suddenly found that…and every time I mentioned it, someone went, oh yeah. And it’s like, even when it’s a character who doesn’t necessarily want a Porsche, it helps people to go, oh yeah. They want that physical thing. That’s going to explain what they want, why they act like they do. Sorry, the Porsche. I get very excited about the Porsche. I have to tell everybody about it now.

Danielle (22:49.254)

It’s a great example. As you’re saying it, I’m thinking and applying it to different characters and different shows thinking, oh, what is it for them? What is it for them? And also what is it in my work? That’s great. It’s lovely and clear. I love it.

And a bit of a left turn here, but because you’ve worked in so many different contexts and my understanding is that you have worked with different writing partners. You’ve worked really collaboratively, but also now you’re in this position of also being a novelist, which we….I’m also working on a novel myself…And compared to those, it sounds like more of a solo pursuit. So I’m really curious how you’ve managed the process of the novel in terms of being able to get feedback that’s useful and particularly for how the comedy is working.

Dave Cohen (23:18.017)

Ah, good luck. Yeah, it’s been the most interesting time, writing novels. Because, in every way, you’re kind of free to do what you want. And in many ways, that can be a tyranny because when you know you have to write…a one-line gag and you know that if you want to write for the Scottish radio show that I mentioned earlier, Breaking the News, your gag will be approximately 40 words long. The setup will be this and the complication will be this and the punchline will be that. And a sitcom, a 30-minute sitcom, this has to happen in three minutes, this has to happen in six minutes, this has to happen in 20 minutes. And so…you know, I almost prefer somebody putting me in that straight jacket. I like the structure.

But I suppose the most recent thing that I’ve been doing apart from writing for sitcoms and things was the songs. And so a Horrible History song is usually about 250 words. So every word really has to count and it isn’t just coming up with jokes and punchlines and things, it’s using a word that sounds vocally okay and that will hit a beat. You can’t use some words because the second syllable will fall on the wrong beat, so you really are cutting and cutting and cutting. And actually, it was a big revelation as I was writing the novel. A friend of mine who’s quite a successful novelist gave me this advice, and it hadn’t made sense to me until that point… She said, you’re always cutting… just cut, cut. And that seems counterintuitive when you know, you think that a song is 200 words, 250 words and a novel is 80,000 words.

But actually, you’re doing the same thing with a novel really as you’re doing with everything else. For instance, in a sitcom, you know, you’re entering a scene as late as possible. You’re telling the story, you’re coming out of the scene with somebody going at the end of it… oh, I want to know what’s going to happen next. So it’s the same principle really, I think, with novel writing, but then it’s…whatever it is, 30 chapters or 40 chapters. And it’s a story that’s taking place over years rather than hours or days. So yeah, I suppose the biggest difference really is being able to hold all of that stuff in your head at the same time.

And a lot of people talk about using things like Scrivener and it works for a lot of people. I don’t know. I have tried to do that, but I find that actually writing most of my stuff with pen and paper kind of keeps it all grounded and keeps the structure there in my head. But it is, I mean, I don’t know how you feel about that because I’m not, I wouldn’t say I am a novelist. I’m still finding my way, but where would you say you are, Danielle, with your book?

Danielle (27:25.138)

I would say I use both. So I do use Scrivener, but I also love analogue too. So I do also write on paper. And I think just for those practical reasons…I also run a business and do many other things. So my laptop is a place where many things happen. And sometimes I do just find it a quieter space, no matter how many things you can turn off and put into airplane mode in terms of associations and being able to free associate and draw things out and map things out. I do still write on paper too. So yeah.

Dave Cohen (27:52.76)

Yeah, and how far are you with the book?

Danielle (27:57.222)

Yeah, so I’m redrafting, but quite majorly redrafting. So I’m in a sort of restructuring because the first, well, it wasn’t even the first draft, I go back and do multiple things as I’m going along, but the first version, I will call it, the characters and the overall structure of it going across three days and the tone of it and the themes, all those things have stayed.

But there were some things that I just wasn’t happy with structurally and things that I got feedback on that I kind of knew weren’t working and people helped to sort of pinpoint in terms of that. So where I am right now is redrafting to work towards a different ending because it was really the ending that I wasn’t happy with. It’s a farce, and it happens very quickly. It comes out the gate very hot. And in terms of being able to maintain that pacing and work towards an ending that is satisfying, I just wasn’t there. But it wasn’t a case of just…switch this up, tweak this dialogue, I needed to do some restructuring. So I’m in that process now of redrafting, restructuring, working on my new ending. Yeah.

Dave Cohen (28:49.829)

Right. Great, great. Well, good luck with that. And yeah, that redrafting stage. I mean, there are times with redrafting when it’s just a pleasure and a joy, but there are other times when it really is like wading through treacle. And I’m just coming through that for the second book, which will be out quite soon, Barry Goldman, The Wilderness Years. So we’ll see how that works out.

Danielle (29:30.878)

And how was that process for you compared to writing the first book? And what do you think over the course of the two, are the things that surprised you or you found particularly challenging about bringing comedy into prose?

Dave Cohen (29:44.092)

The first book was, as I mentioned, it was kind of 40 years of my emotional urge and desire to write a book. So the first draft was very, very autobiographical. It was full of my opinions and lots of things that I…was always excited about at that age, all the music that I loved and the comedy and the football. And so it was, it took me quite a while to get rid of all that stuff. So once it was out there on the page and once I got the first draft done, I could see….no, people aren’t really that interested in knowing more about your views about Led Zeppelin, you know. You know, you can…that’s not really anything to do with the story. Yeah, but I get so excited when I explain…

And what it taught me and what I feel it’s helping me with now, where I’m working now with other novelists, but also when I work with people who write sitcoms, a lot of people come to me with sitcom exactly as I was doing now. And so… this is me really, this is the story of my life, this is the story of when I worked here and when I worked there.

And the phrase I often say to people is, give yourself permission to lie about yourself and fictionalize who you are. And coming back to what I was saying, hang on to the emotional truths of who you are, but let go of everything else. And once I did that, I started to invent more stories around the things that were true.

And so by the time I got to the second book, even though a lot of the events were as they had happened, I actually brought more fiction into it. And I had one really interesting thing that I did, which was part of this second book, around the time of the Falklands War. I had quite an intro, I was a journalist at that time and quite an interesting thing happened while I was doing that. So I wrote, I fictionalised the whole thing. But there was one little part of it that was actually true, that was needed to kind of hold the story together, or so I thought. And I was workshopping it with a group of people. And they all said… oh, I really like that Falkland story, but there’s this one little bit in the middle that just doesn’t ring true. And that was the one true bit.

And so I had to go away and find a way to fictionalize the one true bit that I had in there. So that was really interesting.

Danielle (32:49.234)

Yeah, that is fascinating. And when you say workshopping, what do you mean by that?

Dave Cohen (32:54.368)

I did a course after I’d written the first draft of the second novel. I did a course at the City Lit in London and you can just…wherever you live in Britain, I’m sure that you can find them all around the US too…. You know, you can join a group of writers and you just share your work with writers and they’re not necessarily professionals or anything, going back to what I was saying at the beginning, you know, some people are very good at pinpointing what’s wrong with your work much better than you are. And, you know, I feel… for all my ability to edit and look at other people’s work and look at my own work, I still am aware that I need other people to read what I’ve written. So, I think you are always too much inside your project, and you have to find a way of stepping out and that’s where you get other people to critique it. As long as they don’t go, oh this is a pile of rubbish, you know, what do you think you’re trying to do? You try…as long as they have positive stuff to say as well.

Danielle (34:09.054)

Yeah, yeah, totally. And what other novelists or comedy creators do you really admire for their work? I know it’s not easy to question, there are so many brilliant ones.

Dave Cohen (34:19.744)

Yeah, I mean, I guess everybody has the people who inspired them. I mean, I was very inspired. I didn’t really read books until I was a teenager and then I kind of suddenly devoured them. And I was a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut when I was a teenager and I loved his books. I still occasionally look at them and they are very, very funny, brilliantly funny books.

Since then as well, I’ve become much more interested in… I mean, I loved the political books of Anthony Trollope. They’re great stories and great historical fiction. They have the backdrop of what’s going on. So I’ve been quite influenced by them, but mostly now I like mainly contemporary women writers, so people like Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Strout, Margaret Atwood. So those are the sort of people that I read a lot of books on. But actually, I’ve been reading across so many genres, partly just to familiarize myself with different types of books. And the one that’s been a real revelation to me in the last year or so, is Sophie Kinsella.

There’s a huge amount of snobbery in fiction. And because Sophie Kinsella writes romantic fiction, so all her book covers look like all the romantic fiction book covers. You know, they have the sort of slightly cartoonish couple and the champagne glass and a pair of stilettos in the corner and they have slightly wacky fonts on the front cover. And you just think… oh God, you know. But actually Sophie Kinsella is the funniest writer, I would say, writing today. I think she’s the sort of PG woodhouse of our generation.

Danielle (36:27.118)

Hmm, I love it. Yeah, there’s gonna be a rom-com episode coming up in November, I think. So yeah, have to listen out for that one. Because like you say, there are so many brilliant, brilliant writers in that genre. And there can be so much snobbery. And I’ve just got no time for any of it in any arts field because there are so many brilliant practitioners in every genre. Whether it’s horror, comedy. I love it.

So any parting advice as we come to the end of this interview? You are so good at encouraging writers. You do so much teaching and consulting and script work too. So for writers… you can take it either way, whether you want to address writers who want to bring more funny into their fiction specifically, or writers who just don’t feel brave enough to venture into comedy, or who want to take it to the next level. What’s some of the advice that you like to give?

Dave Cohen (37:16.936)

Well, I think that’s definitely… both of those are covered really…. And this is something that again, I do notice and I notice it very much from women more than men, surprisingly, surprise, is that women will say…I’m interested in writing comedy, but I’m not sure if this is funny or whatever. And oh, they’ll say, I don’t really I’m not…I don’t want to write comedy.

Whereas men will say, I’ve got this really funny idea, it’s this. And actually, you know, there is so much… I think people, first of all, people are worried that they’ll look stupid, you know, if they write comedy and it falls flat. And I can understand that. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed this as well, Danielle, but I mean, I’ve certainly noticed it when…If you’re watching a drama series on the telly or something and you don’t like it very much, you just say, I don’t like this very much.

But if you’re watching a comedy show on the telly and you’re not liking it, you get really angry. What? How do these people think this is funny? What the hell are they going on about? And what’s the audience laughing in the background? What the hell is that about? And so I think people fear writing comedy because it very much…It’s so subjective, but I do think to address the other side of what you were saying there as well, is that… and I did mention it earlier. I think writing comedy and writing drama, a lot of it is very, very similar. It’s all about character and it’s all about having a good story to tell and then it’s about the world that you create. So those are the things I come back to. You will need a character and an obstacle. And so the main difference, I’d say, one of the main differences of comedy and drama is, in drama, the obstacle is usually another person. In comedy, it’s usually yourself. And that’s really the main difference. And the other one as well, I mean, if you’re writing like a sitcom or something, compared to a drama….You know, drama characters go on a journey and they learn at the end of it. Comedy characters get to the end, but they don’t learn. And that’s another thing. But you’re still writing compelling characters. You’re still writing stories that people want to know what’s gonna happen next, what’s gonna happen next. And you’re still creating a world, whether it’s the world of Hogwarts school, you know. Or again to come back to Fawlty Towers, you know, there’s a beauty and a consistency to the world that once you’re in there, you feel, you belong in there. And that’s what you’re going for, I suppose.

Danielle (40:16.546)

Brilliant. That’s a lovely place to end and great encouragement there. Thank you. Where should people go to find out more about you and your work?

Dave Cohen (40:24.78)

Well, if you want to work with me on writing, comedy writing, just go to my Dave Cohen website, Davecohen.org.uk and I run various courses and classes and things. But then also, if you are, for the novels, you can get and find out more about them at Davidjcohenauthor.com. I had to.

change my name for the algorithms for the novels rather than the other books. Which is a bit annoying but there you go.

Danielle (41:00.31)

Perfect, I’ll make sure those go in the show notes. Thank you so much for your time today, Dave. I appreciate it.

Dave Cohen (41:02.576)

Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.