60: 52 episodes of Comedy Masterclass (Behind the scenes and what I’ve learned)

In this episode, Danielle celebrates completing 52 episodes of Comedy Masterclass and is joined by her husband, Jeremiah, as a surprise guest host. They discuss the motivation behind creating the podcast and Danielle’s own thoughts and approaches to comedy.

Note from Danielle: There are 3 more fabulous guests in this season, so listen out. 🙂

Chapters:

00:00 The Motivation Behind Comedy Masterclass

06:10 Exploring Different Comedy Styles and Formats

09:06 The Influence of Media Consumption on Comedy

11:36 Applying Comedy Techniques to Writing

23:55 Using Comedy to Address the Darkness in Life

26:22 Challenging Gender Roles in Comedy with Female Protagonists

32:59 Overcoming Challenges in the Publishing Industry with Drive and Passion

37:44 Expanding Creativity Through Learning from Different Comedy Forms

You can find Danielle website here:  https://daniellekrage.com

Danielle’s Stash: https://daniellekrage.com/stash

https://twitter.com/daniellekrage

https://www.instagram.com/dekrage

You can find Jeremiah here: https://jeremiahkrage.com

Episodes mentioned:

Chris Head: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/2-chris-head-comedy-tools-and-frameworks/

Stuart Laws: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/7-stuart-laws-surreality-satire-and-stand-up/

John Truby: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/14-john-truby-story-code-and-beats/

Andrew Kaufman: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/13-andrew-kaufman-allegory-and-absurdity/

Zanandi Botes: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/30-zanandi-botes-comedy-horror-for-halloween/

Ray Bradbury: https://comedymasterclass.com/podcast/44-writing-advice-from-my-favourite-ghost-ray-bradbury/

CLICK HERE FOR TRANSCRIPT

Danielle (00:01.646)

Hey everybody. It’s a different kind of episode today as I wanted to mark completing this creative challenge. I set out to record 52 episodes of Comedy Masterclass initially, and I have succeeded in doing that. So if you’re on YouTube, you’ll find 52. And actually if you go to comedymasterclass.com or anywhere that you like to listen to your podcast in audio format, there’s 53, because I did one, I think it was in season two that was also audio only.

So that’s very fun. And this week’s also going to be an audio only one, just to match up to logistics to my surprise guest host, who is none other than my husband, Jeremiah. He’s joined me to turn the tables today and ask me some questions about the podcast, about comedy, about writing, all this stuff. So.

Before we dive in, I must say a quick thank you to Jeremiah for all that help behind the scenes. Lots of tech wrangling… from making the theme work on my website to dealing with tech, gremlins and recordings. Super patient, super helpful. Thank you.

Thank you also to all my lovely guests who made this process such a delight and to all you listeners. As I said before, it truly does make my day when I get an email from you or a DM from you telling you that you found this useful as a resource. So thank you.

And to introduce Jeremiah quickly, if you’ve listened to lots of episodes of the show, you’ve heard probably little snippets about him. If you’ve watched on YouTube, you’ll have seen behind me the bright yellow painting. That’s his work. He’s a visual artist. He’s had many creative lives. Well, many, many, in fact, for example, he has been a skin performer in children’s TV, which means he’s the person inside the creature, whether that’s Tinky Winky or a Cyberman.

So super creative, much I could say, but apparently this episode is all about me this week. So handing over to you, Jeremiah, to fire the questions.

J (01:54.847)

It is. Fantastic. this is very exciting. This is great. I get the opportunity to grill you on all the things that, yeah, behind the scenes stuff that happens. So I think the first question where I’d like to start is why a comedy masterclass? Why commit to making 52 episodes all about comedy?

Danielle (02:00.974)

Hmm. Yeah. Well, so there’s two parts to that question. Why comedy and why 52? So I’ll start with the comedy bit. Why comedy? Honestly, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I was getting more and more and more interested in writing comedy and I’d taken a really great comedy course, shout out to Chris Head, who was my first guest on the podcast, took his course. Fantastic.

But when it came to podcasts, which I love… I love podcasts when I’m in the gym, when I’m driving, I couldn’t find what I wanted. There’s brilliant, for example, I love the Script Notes podcast, all about screenwriting, story, so much, but it doesn’t often focus on comedy. And there are comedy podcasts that are focused on stand-up….So lots of standups joining together, kind of very fun atmosphere, but that’s just not the form I’m interested in. I’m interested in comedy as it sits really firmly within like long form storytelling. For me, that’s novels, but that could be film, that could be series. So I wanted something that focused specifically on comedy and spoke to those forms.

And why 52? Kind of how I like to roll is to set a creative challenge that’s long enough that it kind of…You’re like, there’s just no way you can not learn. If you make 52 episodes, you’re committed and you’re strapped in for the ride and then you just get to enjoy it and you don’t have to go through, well, you go through it, but you don’t consider giving up when like around week three, it’s just takes so much more time than you thought or the tech’s harder than you thought or the pod, you know, podbean feed isn’t synching through right to the website. Like all those glitches, I just knew there was no… I wasn’t spending a lot of time thinking, should I do this? Should I not? Is anyone listening? Not? I just was like, no, I’m strapped in for 52. 52 it is, it’s going to be a fun ride.

J (04:07.547)

And what is it that you were looking for in a podcast that you couldn’t find?

Danielle (04:15.95)

Yeah, I’d say it was really about that focus on story, character, world, beats, all those things for comedy. I found it so much more challenging than I could have ever imagined trying to write a comic novel compared to other things with comedy specifically. So one, I’ve learned from all the books I’ve read and then the people that I’ve had on the show, like say for example, John Truby in his Anatomy of Genres, he has a whole chapter on comedy and how he talks about the themes of it and manners and morals. All of this gives me vocabulary that I just didn’t have. And that’s true of so many of my guests, too many to name. I don’t want to start naming them. Otherwise I’m going to name like 52 people, which would be a lot. So you can go through and find them. But on the structure side, on the story side, also having novelists on who share the pains of trying to make it work and the joys of trying to make it work. It’s been both an education and a comfort.

J (04:58.815)

Yeah.

Danielle (05:14.286)

And entertainment and it’s kind of a highlight of the week to get to have those conversations. Particularly like…. I live in a really rural area, you know, because you’re married to me, you also live there. It’s very rural. There’s lots of horses. It’s very beautiful. But it’s not the kind of scene where you’re out in, you know, venues having those conversations. So to be able to have it like from the solitude of my own little space, but connecting with these people all over the world is fabulous.

J (05:41.311)

Yeah. And you mentioned stand up as a form that gets a lot of coverage in podcasts, a lot of people talk about it. But across the 52 episodes, you’ve covered a really wide range of comedy styles. I don’t even know if you’d call them genres of comedy or subgenres. What do you think you’ve found from doing that and diving into styles that you may not even be writing in or even formats that aren’t written. You’ve interviewed people who are into performance or topical comedy which aren’t your focus. What do you think you get from covering all of that and spending that time talking to those people?

Danielle (06:26.382)

Yeah, well, just my general life philosophy is to get a broad education. So even, say… I started in theatre and there were things that I knew that I liked in theatre, but how do you know what you are really drawn to unless you get input from all of it and be willing to learn from all of it. So in theatre, like a good example is the uni that I went to was really focused on Shakespeare. Amazing, tons you can learn from Shakespeare. But then I was also like, hmm, I’m going to go to mime school, which is where I met you. And through doing that, you’re like, do you know what? I really love words. Mime is not for me, but I wouldn’t have known that. But actually there’s still tons to learn from, you know, really physical forms and physical forms of storytelling.

So I think the same is true in comedy. I don’t have any aspirations to be a standup. But you can always learn from other people, from how they do it, how it calibrates against you, what the similarities are. So I wouldn’t say, I learned these five things. I really believe it makes like a much richer stew. I’m vegetarian. So a rich vegetarian stew to have all that input. And it means as well that I think you can be more flexible in your approach.

And from hearing from 52 people, you know that there’s no one way to do things, but there are things that kind of coalesce and you think, that’s true for a lot of people. I’ve heard this come up multiple times. So tell me if that answers your question.

J (08:08.351)

Yeah, I think so. But I think related to that then is you also consume a lot of media outside of comedy. So you’ll watch a lot of series or films. We’ll watch them together. We’ll read other kinds of books. And you’re I’m just curious what how you feel those feed into your understanding of comedy, if at all. But I imagine there must be….Because I also know that you you I think you’ve described yourself in the podcast as a structure geek and a comedy fiend so and I know that when we watch things you’re constantly asking me questions about and commenting on the structure dialogue setting character development, so I’m curious how all of that fits together borrowing or immersing yourself in other forms outside of comedy and then how that might inform your work in writing in a comedic vein.

Danielle (09:06.126)

Yeah, well, I just always want to better myself in every single aspect possible as it relates to craft. And if I just watched films, for example, on Netflix that are labeled as comedies, there’s so much that I’d miss out on. Because for example, I watched Cha Cha Real Smooth. I always get the title wrong. It sounds funny, but I think it’s Cha Cha Real Smooth. Yeah, I’ll say upfront, if you want to see some of the things I’ve watched or I’m finding interesting, there’s a place on my daniellekrage.com website called Stash, which is where I, as a mental note to myself, stash these things. So there you’ll find the actual title, if it’s not Cha Cha Real Smooth. And I wouldn’t, like, there are humorous elements in that film, but from that, I was like, this dialogue is so good.

It was just so many things about the dialogue that I thought were immaculate and that I find just incredibly inspiring. Or there’s something else that I’ll look at where I’m like, they’ve really managed to get the tone just right there. What are they doing? That’s a really interesting character. I’m just like trying to learn from everything to get as good at possible at all the aspects of craft rather than in a reductionist way, just being like, how can I be funny? It’s like, no, I want to really understand character.

I want to…and when I think about like… some of my favourite characters are from dramas. So you’ll know the characters that I’m obsessed by. So yes, so for example, think about like Mickey from Ray Donovan. I wouldn’t call Ray Donovan a comedy, but I’m obsessed by Mickey, the character and how it’s drawn and how it’s performed. So I’m willing to kind of magpie like…I don’t actually, Magpie doesn’t seem right for me, but something that goes around more like an underwater sea creature with lots of tentacles and suction tubes that’s just like sucking it all in to try and learn from all of it.

J (11:15.135)

Yeah, I would say that’s very accurate.

Danielle (11:16.526)

Yeah, making myself sound delightful here. Yeah.

Jeremiah
Yeah. It’s very attractive. Absolutely. Yeah. But it also has a slightly forensic quality to it. It’s like a real, let me dissect this and really understand what’s happening. So with…because you’ve done 52 episodes, you’ve spoken to so many people who are really good or excel or have dedicated their lives to very particular aspects of comedy. How are you applying that to your own work? And maybe you could talk a little bit about what your work is.

Danielle (11:55.566)

Yeah. So it changes depending on what phase I’m in. So for example, when I do these kind of creative projects, sometimes I set one train running and sometimes they overlap a bit. So there was a point where my writing 52 short stories in a year, in under two hours for each story, where that overlapped with this podcast. And there would be things that people would say on the podcast. They’d be like… I immediately want to try that.

And even though in the short stories, I wasn’t really putting a lot of pressure on myself to make them really comedic…. I was just letting them be what they wanted to be, because I was already under enough pressure trying to figure out how to write a short story having not written short stories before. So I wasn’t like, these need to all be comedic. I wasn’t worried about that. But still people would sometimes say something and I’d be like, I want to try that. So for example, I think it’s in the Stuart Laws episode. I can’t remember what number, but I’ll put that in the show notes.

There was some, it was an exercise he mentioned that he liked to think about how he like described a friend. And I was like, I want to try that this week. So I would immediately be applying it.

Other things, it’s more kind of going into that pot. So for example, in the Chris Head episode bac in, episode one, Chris has been on the show more than once, but in that episode one, he talked about this character set of four of being the….

Chris, this is a test to see if I can get them right now. The striver, the boss, the fool and the foil. Yay, I got all four. Yeah, done service to Chris. But go back and listen to the episode, because if you’re thinking…. what she’s talking about, Chris explains it really well. But it’s a character set of four dynamics that work in interesting ways together to identify who your characters are. And at that point, I was already far into my novel, but it was interesting to go back and look at them and be like, which of these, and because there are four, really four main characters…which of these is like the boss, which is the foil, which is the fool, which is the striver. So again, like directly applying it.

Other things…just really clarifying. So like in the John Truby episode, it was like, because horror and comedy sit next to each other. And my book that I’m working on currently has like a tinge of horror at the beginning. It’s definitely not a horror, but has like a tinge of horror and then really like veers much more strongly into comedy. And like, what’s, what are the themes as he outlines them and how does it match up to what I already have? And it was fun to see what I already had that I just wanted to kind of sharpen.

And other things like…John Vorhaus came on….The Comic Toolbox. That was one of the first books that helped me with comedy that I found that was actually about writing. And there are like tools and techniques in there that I was already using before I had John on. But it’s such a lovely reminder then to have the guest on the podcast to be like, gosh, yeah. Like the, I think it’s the rule of nines. I often change it and just make it 10. I don’t know for my own sort of neatness, but where you’re, there’s not the pressure to come up with one good idea. It’s like you do nine and eight of them might be rubbish, but one of them might be good. So like constant reminders and just so many things I’ve learned

I had Ken Pisani Pisani recently on the show, like in reading his book, he has a comic game around lists. And although I didn’t say it on the podcast… when I read it, it’s like, that’s interesting. Because he’s trying to solve a similar problem to me in a very different book and for a different audience. And I’m also using lists as a comic game in this way. How interesting that we both come to this as a solution. I can’t remember the question, but I hope that gives you an answer. Okay.

J (15:36.511)

No, that’s great. But also I was asking how you applying this to your work, but also what is your work? What are you actually working on? Because I think people here you’d mention these challenges and these projects of like I’m going to write 52 short stories. I’m going to do the Ray Bradbury A Thousand Nights. But that’s all at the service of actually writing your own book or books.

Danielle (15:45.678)

Yes.

J (16:06.015)

So I think it might be interesting to talk about what those are and where you’re going with that.

Danielle (16:08.11)

Yeah, so I’m interested as someone who consumes and views, I’m interested in many forms of comedy, but as a writer, like my primary and kind of devoted focus right now is comic novels. And I’m particularly interested in writing them for young adults. So teens. The reason I’m sort of hesitating as I say that is lots of people who read young adult, which gets shortened to YA are actually, you know, older than that. I read young adult things and I am not a teen anymore. But that’s the space that I’m writing for. The novel that I’m working on right now is Beth Raises Hell. And yeah, so I’ll tell you a little bit about the premise.

J (17:02.175)

Please. Because I don’t know much about it either.

Danielle (17:05.678)

Essentially, it’s about a heartbroken teen whose last night in town goes horribly wrong when she accidentally raises the ghost of her seven year old self. So there’s certain elements in there that I just knew I really wanted to focus on. One being that she’s heartbroken. Because I think there’s, when we think of comedy and we think of the young adult novel space or even adult space, often when it’s female protagonists, it’s rom-com, which is amazing. I’ve read some

absolutely genius rom-coms, so many brilliant rom-coms. But I’m also the kind of person that thinks, well, gosh, yeah, but life is life. And comedy is great for helping us deal with all of life. And we’re probably going to break up just as much as we’re going to be together, which is not a hint for you, Jeremiah, as my husband. I’m just talking about my teen experience. So lots of breakups. And I think comedy is really interesting when applied to those challenging, difficult things. I often, when things are, like we’re reading about quite painful subjects, when it is possible to bring comedy to it, I think it can, for me, can make it a, more enjoyable read. I’ve never been the kind of person to enjoy watching films that are called weepies. I’ve never, like, found it cathartic to watch something really sad and cry. I would rather kind of be laugh crying, that’s, ow, clutching my chest, kind of, that’s a bit painful, but laughing too. So I really wanted to write about the heartbreak end of the spectrum. And it does have this what in fiction is called a speculative twist, which means it’s got like, it’s happening in reality, but there’s this non-realistic element that happens, which is that she’s doing a Ouija board expecting, you know, because her grandfather’s died and there’s reasons why she’s doing a Ouija board in a car with her dad

to bring back the ghost of her dead grandfather, but instead the ghost of her seven-year-old self comes through. And it comes through on this night when she thinks it’s going to be her last night in town and she’s got this whole plan of the stops that she’s going to do as she drives. She hasn’t passed her driving test yet, so the dad has to be in the passenger seat. She’s got her plan of what’s going to happen, but the seven-year-old ghost comes through and it like from that first scene, that first moment, as you would expect in a comedy, things do not go to plan.

And the move also gets cancelled. So now she has to stay and deal with the havoc.

J (19:36.255)

You used a term in there, a something twist, a speculative twist. Yeah, so I know, I’m not sure how much this would have come across to listeners of the podcast, but I know you have a particular interest in that speculative twist, that the zombies are slightly fantastical. There’s something that’s not completely, you’re not always writing things that are completely anchored in reality. There’s always a slight elevation of, or yeah, fantastical element, but I’m aware of using the word fantastical because you definitely don’t write fantasy as we know it in terms of Tolkien -esque or dragon-based content, but because it is rooted in reality, but with this additional element layered on top. What do you think that gives you to expand your canvas for comedy?

Danielle (20:29.262)

Yeah, yeah. So I think it gives me tons of things. And one thing I will say as well is that this book is grounded in reality and has that one element, but I also have another standalone, which is a novel that you read by itself, and another series actually that do take place in other realities. So it is relevant to talk about those fantastical elements. And I actually talked about it with Andrew Kaufman in his episode, like what to call that when it’s not that…. It’s not dragons, it’s not Tolkien, as you say, like we use the word fantasy, but it means so many things. So just a heads up to say, I am super interested in it to the point where that I would want to write books that aren’t grounded in this reality.

But what I think it gives you is it allows you to be incredibly playful with the themes that you’re dealing with and to push them really far. So people will know as well if they listened to the Halloween episode with Zanandi, I had two zombie picks in there. And it’s the same reason that I love zombies is like you are taking something further, but so often for me, you can then follow the logic to really be talking about heartbreak or sadness or death or estrangement or separation. But when you wrap it up in this zombie form, there’s just so much room for physical comedy. There’s so much room to kind of push the dynamics. There’s so much room to take it even further without, like if we went off in the opposite direction and we’re taking it further, we’d end up in just more and more and more tragedy, which is not what I want.

So, I think I talked about in the, there’s an episode that I did that I called something like an interview with my favourite dead ghost or something like that, the Ray Bradbury one, where I think I mentioned the zombie story and that’s appealing to me because if you’re now placing them, these two female characters kind of at the end of the world, but now you have to deal with literally what’s happening with the zombie body. Now, if you’ve got something like, you know, that kind of makeover scene that you see in films, those tropes, where girls would get together and they might be putting their makeup on or washing their hair, getting ready to go out to do their thing. And now it’s zombies. You’ve got so many layers to play with in terms of what happens to the body. How’s it decomposing?

For example, one of those standalone novels that’s in my queue to write, they’re centaurs, which I think is really interesting because then you can take the really real grounded thing of what happens when you’re a teen with a body that’s changing. And you’re going through puberty and you’re thinking about, you know, partners and romance, love, sex, whatever it is. But now you’re a centaur, all those things are made much visually stronger for an audience. And also just in any scene, now you’ve got a centaur body that’s trying to navigate stairs or an alleyway. So I really love physical and visual humour too. So I’m always looking for ways of like, how can we amp that up more than something that’s set in a more sort of domestic, quotidien way.

J (23:55.711)

Yeah, right. So what I’m getting from this are that you’re interested in exploring comedy as a way of poking at and exploring the some of the darkness in life, though you’re not a dark person, but it’s you also don’t shy away from the reality of life. And I think that’s something that you get a lot of…you actually find a lot of comedy in what life is.

Things happen in the world and we need to, well there’s comedy to be found in looking at that and addressing them head on and you’re very good at doing that. But then also in order to do that in a way like you said that’s not too tragic or too maudlin that bringing in this fantastical element allows you to explore it in an increasingly comedic and slightly abstracted way because suddenly now it’s not, we’re not just dealing with two real humans with a real…I don’t wanna, I don’t, I;m misspeaking, I think. But you’re creating characters that are slightly larger than life. So they give us a little bit of room to enjoy their discomfort or their pain or the challenges that they’re having.

But there’s another element on top of that, which you’ve mentioned several times, which is female protagonists. Why this focus on female protagonists? And particularly because I feel like so much comedy. We see so much comedy, physical comedy, because that’s also an element that you’re clearly very interested in, which I think is an incredible challenge to take on as a writer instead of a filmmaker. How do you describe physical comedy? But we’re so used to seeing that as a male field, a male -dominated arena, that men are doing the pratfalls or getting themselves into outlandish situations. But you’re choosing very clearly to focus on female protagonists, but within a comedic genre. How do you? Why and what are the challenges of doing that?

Danielle (25:52.718)

Yeah, so, I mean, I don’t want to make it like that I’m the first person to think about female protagonists, because even as you say, pratfalls, so like there’ll be sitcoms like Miranda, where Miranda was a very physical character, for example. But I am really interested in female protagonists. And one thing that I will say is that when I started writing novels, and got very interested in comedy, all the main characters were male. And I found it really easy to write and got really good feedback about it.

So for example, I did a really fun online course at UCLA and that’s what I was writing and people were really enjoying the brother relationship of these centaurs, which is great. But there came a point where I was like, why men though? Why young guys? And it’s not that they can’t be written or shouldn’t be written, but…when I really thought about it for myself, I just felt like that’s what I’d absorbed. So again, not that there aren’t other films out there, but I’d watched and enjoyed things like Superbad. And that’s a great film and really fun male teen protagonists.

And also when I think about, because I do think a lot about myself as a teen, just in terms of like emotional truths, there’s lots of things that will have changed since then. And there’s lots of things just in human nature, so we do actually want to go back to and check our own experience for at least the emotional truths of it. They might be dressed up in different ways.

And when I think about that friend group from say 15 to 18, a lot of the sort of kinds of scenes that I was writing was the kind of stuff that the guys would do. And it made sense because… we end up in very generalized territory when we start sort of splitting gender in a binary way and saying, guys are like this, women are like this. So please take all of this with like a huge pinch of salt. But generally, the guys would get themselves into scrapes from doing things before they thought it through. And you’ve told me lots of stories from your own teenage years of doing things before you’d thought it through, or really misunderstanding something in an emotional sense. So when we talk about EQ, like that emotional awareness, just being a bit of a lag and so getting themselves into trouble. And that came very naturally and was very fun to write and it was very easy to write. But I was like, but what is the equivalent for all the girls or the women because…You know, we have sense of humour too, like we’re funny too, like where is the comedy? And I knew that I didn’t want it to be in sort of matching the boys in that way of like, I’ll just take all the things that they used to do and put it in through the females. And now they’re the ones who are, you know, stealing the pallet and running off with the thing and getting caught by the security guard and you’re doing, you know, tripping over the stuff because they haven’t thought it through. I didn’t just want to swap the genders out and do that.

So I’ve thought very extensively about where the comedy is for female protagonists that feels really truthful to me and my experience and feels truthful to the, you know, groups of friends that I grew up with. And for example, I went to a girl’s school in my senior years and like, there was all kinds of things that happened, but it functioned differently. So what are those dynamics? So that’s what I’ve really worked hard to figure out for myself is what feels really true, something that I might do or one of my friends might do, but that still leads to those elevated scrapes, that visual comedy. And that’s been a really interesting puzzle to solve.

J (29:31.935)

Yeah, do you think you’ve found a vocabulary or a, yeah, like would you be able to, do you think consistently be able to now write a range of different female protagonists who have different expressions in the way that they operate in the world that are comedic?

Danielle (29:48.526)

Yeah, yeah, I do. And it’s taken me a bit and a bit to figure out the dynamics. But because you know me, I am really big on logic in the sense of like, I have to really believe it would stack up. And that’s true, to come back to the fantasy thing, like I’m interested, I am interested in fantastical things, but it’s the logic of it. So if you’re going to give me a centaur, there’s no way that they’re going to appear like trotting through a wood with golden light on them as a mythical figure, I’m gonna want to know how does a horse sleep in a bed, you know, a centaur, like how do those knees work? What happens with stairs? What happens with someone who’s a centaur, who, you know, is now gonna be in a space trying to eat? What’s the table height? Like, I want all the logic.

So it’s that thing, with the female protagonist. I feel like I now have a range of things that I have come up with where I’m like,I can see them doing that. And of course,in comedy, it’s a game. You want to keep stacking, stacking, stacking, stacking, stacking, and pushing it further. So they’ll end up in a place that I will never have ended up in myself or, you know, it’s gone further, but I absolutely understand with their motivation and from where they’re starting, like what’s the flaw that would drive them to do that? Like what’s the worldview that would mean that they start in that direction and get themselves into that much trouble. And yeah, I feel like I do have now like a nice palette to draw from.

J (31:20.575)

Brilliant. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to read them. Yeah, for anyone listening, I may be married to Danielle, but I don’t know. I haven’t read any of these pieces yet, so I’m very excited to read them.

Danielle (31:26.926)

Yeah. I think you read all the 52 short stories though. And I think you’ve listened to every podcast so far. So you’re very supportive. Thank you.

J (31:34.751)

I have read the short stories. Yeah. Yeah. yeah. No, no, no. Absolutely. But I’m as equally excited about reading them as anyone else would be. So I have just a couple more questions, just as we’re coming to the end here.

This one is slightly maybe controversial, which is essentially you’ve really, really committed to the written form. And like you mentioned, you had a background in theatre. That’s where we met. We both have a background in theatre. So we understand performance and doing things in a live and visual way, but you’ve really committed to writing comedy and not only that, but…

As you’ve been doing this, because I know you’ve been exploring this for many years, and in that time, educating yourself about the industry and what it means to be an author and to make a career as a writer. But over the last few years and learning more about it and me standing on the sidelines watching, understanding that the industry is becoming increasingly challenging or at least that’s the perception that a lot of people are worried about all sorts of things from challenging contracts to agents leaving the publishing house. I don’t fully understand the full spectrum, but that it is a potentially a challenged and beleaguered industry. What are your thoughts about continuing to move in that direction and aim towards actually publishing a book within those constructs that exist already.

Danielle (33:05.294)

Hmm. Yeah. Well, I, I’m super excited. And, I say that as someone like eyes wide open looking. So I do educate myself on these things. I’m in multiple communities and hear the conversations, behind the scenes. I have a good awareness, I think of AI and its capacities and do talk to people about that. And yet still, I want to do it. So, I think in some ways it’s kind of like… because, you hear people say things like it’s because they have to, but not from the sense of like what else could they do? But there’s just this drive to make this thing. And that does feel true to an extent. This is very strong drive to make this work.

But because I am a creative person and I’ve worked in other forms before, I’ve worked in theatre, I’ve done many different kinds of creative projects. I also know that I could pick different creative outlets and that would also be fun. But this is like one thing that… I’m really making what I want to see in the world. Like I really want these books to exist. They’re the kind of books that I’d look for as a teen and enjoyed and that I’m not finding this.

I mean, as you know, like we…read so many books together, there are so many brilliant books. It’s not that there’s a shortage of brilliant books, there’s a plethora of genius books, but there’s like a very specific vein of female protagonists and comedies that are farce or action comedies and that are sort of in that sort of teen liminal space. I’m not finding the exact thing that I would like to find. So it’s like I have to make it.

And I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to make it. And hopefully other people will want it too. If not, I’ll have to take my creative ideas somewhere else and kind of shape and shift and that’s all good. And so in some ways it is just pure drive and passion. And also there is me kind of thinking that if you are going to enter that industry then it…It is finding what’s your unique contribution? What do you really want to contribute? And this is what I really want to contribute. And the same as why I’ve made Comedy Masterclass and made it as nerdy about comedy as I have. It’s not like tea and a chat with Danielle. It’s me drilling guests like you have today. It’s like, that’s what I wanted to see. That’s what I wanted to, you know, accompany me in the world. And so that’s what I’m going to make. So I don’t know if that answers your question, but it’s the contribution I want to make.

J (36:01.073)

That’s brilliant. No, I love that. That’s great. There’s a real, there’s a very definite drive and passion there with a very clear intention. Very clear about what you want to be creating. And that’s been very clear for a long time. I’ve been able to see that for a long time, which has been wonderful.

Danielle (36:18.286)

Yes.

J (36:19.487)

You’ve mentioned your stash but you… sorry you normally ask your guests what would you recommend. Any comedy that you’ve seen lately that in any form written or otherwise –  and I know that you keep this stash on on your website daniellekrage.com which is great by the way, I I can highly recommend it but what…Are there any other things that you’ve seen or listened to lately that you would like to share with guests and listeners?

Danielle (36:46.19)

Gosh, so many. And The Stash is only a fraction of the things that I love. It’s very comedy focused. So what’s missing from there is all the other books that I read and adore that aren’t comedies or other series that I adore that aren’t comedies. I might have, you know, sneaked a few in there, but in general, it’s comedy-focused. Just makes sense for this podcast.

Other things. So I would say, as we’ve said, I like to learn from everything. So sometimes the things that I really learn from and that really stretch my creative brain might not be the things that I love the most. And that doesn’t mean that I’m sort of dissing them, that I dislike them, but like literally, I think it was last night or over the last two nights, we’ve watched the Tom Brady roast on Netflix. So it’s hosted by Kevin Hart, who was fabulous, love Kevin Hart. And it was all different people roasting Tom Brady. And that’s interesting, because I think that’s very far from my own comedic inclination. I’m not a sarcastic person and I don’t think I’m a particularly mean person in my comedy and I don’t like to trade, you know, gossip or insults too much. So, a roast is very far from my own comedic style. And yet I loved watching it.

So I was like, how does a roast work? We’re back to the forensic. How does it work? How are they doing it? Who’s doing it well? How does it work? What would I do? Because then, as you know, like after it’s over, then I’m like…so if you had to do a roast, how would you do it? If I had to do a roast, how would I do it? Listeners who’ve listened to different episodes may be unsurprised to know that my answer was to do it through a puppet. Because I thought it’d be much more fun and gentler to come through a puppet if we’re going to roast Tom Brady. So that’s to say that….It’s not like one thing that I’m like, I love this, you have to watch it. It’s like everything, watch everything and suck it up for why you do or don’t like it.

If I have to give a couple of things I love, recently also watched Fleabag. Quite late to watching that, but it was tremendous. Like I say, so what do you get from watching the different things in that? I was just like, it was just alarmingly good how good the writing was, the performances, so much to take away from there as a comedy writer.

And also one thing you will find in The Stash, but I’ll give a shout out, because I love to also think about books too. Georgia Pritchett, Succession, not necessarily a comedy, but Georgia has like lent so much to that series as all the writers have. She, I think, is credited with writing the water bottle scene, which I love with Greg and Tom when they’re in the kind of safe room. So writing on Succession, paired with her memoir, My Mess is a Bit of a Life. Brilliant, lovely, short excerpts, really funny, beautifully written, awesome.

J (39:52.735)

Yeah, and I love that reference to puppets in a roast, which again is a great example of that bringing a slightly fantastical element to allow access to something that might otherwise be a little too… But it just softens it and gives you another level of play.

Danielle (39:56.75)

Yeah.

J (40:12.319)

And another avenue to comedy that is different from, I guess, how everyone else would treat the roast. And again, I love your ideas. I would love to have seen your puppet roasting Tom Brady. I’d love to see how that would go. So we’re brilliant. We’re just coming up to the end of time here. Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

Danielle (40:30.766)

Yes, so you’ll know if you listen to the podcast, comedymasterclass.com is the website… from there…. If you’re listening to it, you’ve already found the audio things or you’ve already found it on YouTube. And then my personal website is daniellekrage.com. Danielle, spelt like you probably know, but Krage a bit different, K -R -A -G -E .com. And that’s where I house, yes, the podcast, but also the 52 Short Story Challenge. And that’s where all the news will be about my book as it progresses. Aand whatever creative projects I choose to do next.

J (41:09.503)

And it’ll also have information about your books, plural, as they come out as well. Yeah. Yes.

Danielle (41:08.878)

Yes, books, exactly. Yeah. And Jeremiah, where should people go to find out more about you and your work as a visual artist and more?

Jeremiah

Well, if anyone’s very interested in my work, you can find me at jeremiahkrage.com. So it’s the  same spelling as Danielle, the Krage part, K -R -A -G -E. Yeah, and feel free to come in and check it out and say hi. But thank you very much, Danielle, for letting me ask you the question. what? You’ve got another update. Yes.

Danielle (41:24.27)

Yeah. Just one last thing to say is also we’ll be right back next week with more guests. So even though we’re marking 52 episodes here, I’ve got more fabulous guests to round out this season. So I’ll be back next week with another comedy, fabulous guest.

J (41:57.631)

I’m looking forward to it. That’s a great benefit of being your husband. I get to listen to all of them and learn. I’ve learned so much from listening to them and I’m sure many of the listeners have as well. So thank you everyone for listening and thank you Danielle for letting me ask you the questions, turning the tables on you. And is there an outro you want to send?

Danielle (41:59.086)

Mm. An outro? What? We’re at the end. What, like a little song?

J (42:22.815)

Yeah, just we didn’t talk about how we’re going to end this. We’re at the end, but you can really end it. So.

Danielle

Go write some comedy and have tons of fun writing your comedy this week. We need more comedy in the world. We need all different kinds of comedy written by all kinds of people and with all kinds of protagonists.

J (42:49.343)

That is a brilliant call to action. What a perfect ending. All right. Thank you so much, Danielle. Thank you everyone for listening.