826LA Adult Writing Seminar Series: Comedy Writers

Comedy Writing with Bob Odenkirk, Jen Kirkman, Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, and Jill Soloway

Our panelists will discuss comedy writing: how they got started, what inspires them, and the dark, dark place comedy comes from. We will also be screening some shorts written by our panelists.

Our panelists:

Ben Acker & Ben Blacker have been writing together for ten years. Since 2005, they’ve written and produced a stage show in the style of old time radio called The Thrilling Adventure Hour which can be seen monthly at Largo at the Coronet in Hollywood. It was through this show that they were given an opportunity to write a script for a low-budget feature film. So they did. That film is Drones. Many of the cast members in the movie also appear in The Thrilling Adventure Hour.

Acker and Blacker, most recently, have done punch-up for shows on Cartoon Network and Comedy Central, helped relaunch Looney Tunes for WB Animation, and developed an animated comedy for 20th Century Fox and a kids’ space-western for Nickelodeon. Presently, they are developing an hour-long pilot for the USA network.

Those are their real names.

Jen Kirkman is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer. She was recently a cast member of VH1’s Acceptable TV and has been seen as a stand-up on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, NBC’s Late Friday, The UK’s World Stands Up and many other late-night comedy shows. She played many recurring characters on Cartoon Network’s Home Movies and currently impersonates lots of celebrities and politicians on Current TV’s political cartoon “Supernews”.

Jen released her first comedy album “Self Help” (taped at L.A.’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre!) in 2007 and she’s currently a writer for the late-night show Chelsea Lately on The E! Network.

Bob Odenkirk is best known as the co-creator and co-star of the HBO sketch comedy series, Mr. Show. He has made appearances on Seinfeld, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Arrested Development, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Joey, How I Met your Mother, Weeds, The Larry Sanders Show, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job and will be joining the cast of AMC’s Breaking Bad for five episodes as a ‘slippery ambulance chasing lawyer’. He also directed the Super Deluxe series Derek & Simon starring Simon Helberg and Derek Waters. 

Jill Soloway was most recently Showrunner/Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning series United States of Tara. Before that, Jill was a writer/Co-Executive Producer of HBO’s Six Feet Under and authored Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants, a hilarious/dirty/sad memoir hailed as a post-feminist manifesto for the next generation. She is currently writing and directing short films or Funny or Die and adapting the Pamela des Barres book, I’m With the Band, into a 1/2 hour comedy for HBO with Zooey Deschanel. Jill started out doing theater with her sister Faith in Chicago, where they created the stage phenomenon, The Real Live Brady Bunch. Jill also created Sit n’ Spin, a night of comedic monologues that has run for ten years in LA. Jill has two sons and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce.

Moderator: Hailing from Amherst, New York, Marc Evan Jackson is an enormously interesting person. After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from Calvin College and a couple years sailing aboard schooners in Maine, Marc worked as an on-air host for National Public Radio affiliate stations in Michigan before joining the Second City’s resident company in Detroit.

Marc can currently be seen in the feature films Drones, Broken Lizard’s The Slammin’ Salmon, and Transformers II: Revenge of the Fallen.

An actor, improviser, musician, writer and voiceover talent, Marc lives with his (current) wife Beth, a cat veterinarian in Los Angeles, where he performs live with The 313 at iOwest, Sky & Nancy Collins from Orange County at The Improv, and as Sparks Nevada, the marshal on Mars in The Thrilling Adventure Hour.

The seminar will be held Monday, May 3, 8:00 p.m. at Busby’s East. Tickets are $25.