Bonnie McFarlane On Comedy Writing

Bonnie McFarlane is not only capable of a great stand-up set, she is also a highly regarded writer. Her career took off almost immediately, and though she had some failed pilots early on, she has been able to maintain a healthy career for 20 years by not limiting herself to stand up alone. Here Bonnie describes how her goal was always to be a writer and how stand-up led her to that goal.

Transcript

Well, I like the writing to the jokes, but I always had a hard time. I was never like one of those people that was like I love being on stage and I just get me up there.

If I even joked to someone else and they did it, I got the same feeling of like accomplishment that if I’d done it myself and got a laugh, so I didn’t need to be on stage the way. Other people really needed to be on the stage. You know, but I, but I really really like Creating jokes.

I love it. I still love writing. Jokes.

It’s my favorite thing in the whole world to do is: write, jokes, it’s and then, when you do write jokes at work, it’s there is something kind of magical about that that process. It’s so immediate. I’ve never really been that intent on being in front of the camera never, and so I’m always come at it from a writer’s perspective, even stand up when I before I was a stand-up, I was a freelance writer for you know.

I did Weird ads and I wrote like menu item kind of writing and I got hired to do weird like I remember writing like a this thing for safety equipment for kayaking stuff. I mean and just like weird things so, but it was really boring, but that’s what I wanted to do. I want to be a writer and I want to write a novel and I wanted to you know so, but then, when I saw stand up and got into that world it was.

I knew that I could write that kind of stuff. I always try new Material. You know always, I can’t do a set without doing new material, and you know I shouldn’t because it’s not good lot of it’s not good, but I don’t know how to determine if it’s good or not without trying it keep going for Bonnie.

I get it. You love me: I live a cruelty-free lifestyle, any other vegans here. Okay, let’s talk about this first one had no energy of class.

We need to get some more lentils in your Diet. It’s hard to do check it out, but it’s you know it’s! No animal or animal by-product of any kind, just it is hard. I do cheat a little.

I eat veal. I started doing stand-up in Canada. Then I moved to New York.

I got a huge development deal it just it took off. You know I mean I got that development deal just a couple of years after starting doing stand-up, and then I was doing a lot of acting and stuff, and I did I don’t know. I think I did 16 pilots or something until I and Two of them saw the light of day for like two episodes.

But anyway, I ended up becoming a writer myself when I lived in Los Angeles on a lot of different television shows a writer or producer, and then I started making my own films and I almost never went on the road. I did keep doing stand-up and I in fact did you know a lot of late night shows Letterman and stuff, but I was really interested in creating things whether it was my Stand-up act or actual short films or television. Even TV shows that I hate it.

I liked working on I like that, I liked being in the writers, room and hanging out with smart funny people that was always fun not do Santa here and talk about all that [ __ ]. That happened to me. I hate, when grown women talk about how horrible their child I’ve been stop whining.

If you know why there’s women that have had like real horrible terrible things happen in their Childhood and yet they go on they’re out there, they’re, like lawyers and astronauts and cowgirls. I don’t know all the different stripper costumes give me anything. You want to be at the beginning of your song and then when I met rich and I started going on the road with him and I was working on my HBO special.

I really had to get it together because I’d never really gone on the road. Before I mean I, I bombed so bad I’d never really been on the road before and It was Rich’s audience. It were tough audience they wanted to talk to you about.

I remember like staying at one point like getting heckled kind of, and I was like I don’t do that. I just do jokes, because at that time all I did was. I just did one joke after another sort of late night style.

I only ever really did 10-minute sets. You know and rich was like. You have to learn how to talk to the audience you have to a single yeah, don’t be married.

Oh, you have a boyfriend Colin guess my dating sim in half years so case of really four more years, make sure I’m on the 25 year plan. That’s fantastic good! You know you’re putting in [ __ ] years that you’re not gon na get good. Now the good present, sir, you do until yeah.

Well, don’t do anal, it’s got everything I write every day, either stand-up or script, or you know. I think that, but, like you know it’s weird, it all kind of gives you it all sort of Feels the same on some levels. So, where you think like, oh I’m a stand-up, I can only do stand-up.

Those skills can be translated in other things that give you the same feeling like when I’m writing this book. It’s I there’s a lot of jokes in it. I mean I’m good at writing.

Jokes because I’ve been doing you know, I’m gon na writing stand-up for almost 20 years. So it’s like they’re, it’s the same you’re you’re, you’re scratching the same itch, so it doesn’t have to be standing All the time. I mean all those years that you’ve spent if you’re like at a level where you think god I got to get to the next level, but maybe the next level isn’t something else.

It’s still you’re still utilizing all those years you had in the stand-up, it’s better to be multi skills. It’s I think it is better to be multi skills, f2 and and at least experiment with other forms of comedy. You know I mean if you like, comedies, like comedy You I was hearing Metallica.

I was seeing the black of the car at night with, like the LEDs on in the instrument panel or whatever, and yet I could also see the day time where I was, which was in the pastor’s suit as he’d. Have this really tiny, shitty pickup truck in a church college parking lot, and it was how I could hear both things and see both things. At the same time, he was like a deja vu that you could see but deja vu, Meaning something in the future, but it felt like a deja vu, because I was feeling myself back in that time, but also far and farther into the future.

So that was those as close as I got, but it was pretty incredible. .

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