53 episodes

J.R. Havlan, 17-year veteran writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, picks the complicated and jittery brains of the writers who help create The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 30 Rock, Letterman, SNL, The Office, and more. Writers’ Bloc Podcast will let you in on how blank pages become your favorite television comedies. You love the sausage, now hear how it gets made.

Writers' Bloc Podcast Writers' Bloc Podcast

    • Comedy
    • 4.6 • 41 Ratings

J.R. Havlan, 17-year veteran writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, picks the complicated and jittery brains of the writers who help create The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 30 Rock, Letterman, SNL, The Office, and more. Writers’ Bloc Podcast will let you in on how blank pages become your favorite television comedies. You love the sausage, now hear how it gets made.

    Episode 51: Hasan Minhaj

    Episode 51: Hasan Minhaj

    Hasan Minhaj is a comedian, actor, correspondent for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and now the star of "Homecoming King", a one-man show he wrote that's running at The Cherry Lane Theater in New York City thru November 15, 2015, and hopefully even longer than that. Oh! And he was also in a Pizza Hut commercial! I mean, this guy is killin' it. In this episode, Hasan and I talk about "Homecoming King" - where the idea came from, how he turned it into a one-man show, and the people who helped him put it together. I know it's a one-man show and all, but you still don't do this kind of thing without a lot of help. Hasan speaks very openly - as he does in the show - about racism and human judgment, two things he's been battling his entire life. And we talk a lot about one of the main themes of the show, "Log Kya Kahenge", which is Urdu for "What will people think?" It's a hell of a question. This is a good one, BlocHeads. Don't put it off... put it on!

    • 50 min
    Bonus Episode: "Over The Edge" w/Mike Sacks

    Bonus Episode: "Over The Edge" w/Mike Sacks

    "Over The Edge" is a 1979 movie about teenagers who rebel against the monotony of their planned suburban community and the adults who force them to live there. It's not the most famous movie you'll ever see. It's also not the best movie you'll ever see. But it got 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is pretty damn good, it was Curt Cobain's favorite movie, and it stars a 14-year-old newcomer named Matt Dillon who, as we all know, went on to have sex with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in a pool. Not a bad career progression. Anyway, it happens to be a big favorite of WBP, episode 50 guest, Mike Sacks, so Mike and I decided to get together one more time to tell you all why we like it so much. Hint: is has a lot to do with the fact that we both grew up in the 70's and at least one of us lived a very similar life to the characters in the movie. Also, it's a surprisingly solid movie. Enjoy.

    • 40 min
    Episode 50: Mike Sacks

    Episode 50: Mike Sacks

    Mike Sacks might know as much about comedy writing as almost anybody. Why? Because he's interviewed dozens of the best comedy writers on television for his books, "And Here's the Kicker" and "Poking a Dead Frog". But wait! There's more! Mike also co-wrote the hilarious "Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk" with several other writers including Bob's Burgers writer and producer, and Writers' Bloc alum, Scott Jacobson (episode 20). Mike has also written for literally piles of publications including The Washington Post, The New Yorker, GQ, Men's Health - the list goes on. Currently, Mike is a writer and editor for Vanity Fair who enjoys laughing and taking long walks on the beach. He didn't actually tell me that. I just assumed it.
    Mike and I talk about the importance of having many and varied influences, and he shares a few tricks he's learned to help him become a better writer himself. We also talk briefly about Mike's fascination with the 1979 cult hit "Over the Edge", a fascination I now share. But more on that later. Much more. For now, thank you for joining my conversation with Mike Sacks.

    • 47 min
    Episode 49: Sarah Pappalardo

    Episode 49: Sarah Pappalardo

    Sarah Pappalardo is the co-founder of Reductress, the first and only satirical women’s magazine. Reductress is a hilarious website conceived, developed, and run by Sarah and her co-everything, Beth Newell. Sarah tells Writers' Bloc all about how she and Beth took an idea and made it into an actual product, and trust me, there's more to it than meets the eye. So it's good that you'll mainly be using your ears from here on out. We also get into a welcome and substantive conversation about women in comedy and some of the challenges they face that aren't always understood or even recognized by their male associates. It's long overdue on Writers' Bloc and I think you're going to enjoy hearing it.
    Sarah has also produced a small handful of documentary shorts, including Reverence , which was featured in IFC Theater's DOCNYC this year. And she's written several plays including Cold, which was produced at the Plays and Players Theater last summer in Philadelphia. I hope you'll be as pleased with this episode as I am. And, as usual, if not - your money back. (WINK!)
    Now get to listenin'!
    Or, if it suits you better, you can listen on iTunes. See if I care!

    • 52 min
    Episode 48: Matthew Diffee

    Episode 48: Matthew Diffee

    Matthew Diffee is a very funny man and an excellent artist, which makes him perfectly suited for the world of cartooning. Matt has been contributing cartoons to The New Yorker since 1999 and he now has a fantastically entertaining book out called “Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People.” We start, as usual, at the beginning, discussing the mutual love of art and comedy that eventually "drew" Matt to cartooning. (See what I did there?) Matt talks about an early attempt at stand-up comedy that proved he could write jokes, but didn't seem equally capable of telling them, so he made the adjustment. We find out what influenced his decision to pursue cartooning and how he eventually landed a contract with the The New Yorker. It's worth noting that Matt is also the editor of volumes one and two of “The Rejection Collection: Cartoons You Never Saw and Never Will See in The New Yorker” and is the recipient of the 2013 National Cartoonist Society’s Silver Reuben Award for single panel cartooning. But for now, he's simply "Writers' Bloc Podcast Guest #48".

    • 48 min
    Episode 47: Arthur Meyer

    Episode 47: Arthur Meyer

    Arthur Meyer is a writer and performer on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and the proud co-author of the fake menu "FUDS" which he, Dan Klein and Kelly Hudson lovingly crafted into the book, "FUDS: A Complete Encyclofoodia".
    BUY NOW!
    Arthur and I somehow manage to shove aside the obvious sexual tension and get to know each other on a personal and professional level. We talk about early jobs, performing in clubs, and stalking major league umpires - all the usual stuff. But most importantly, Arthur gives us some quality first-hand knowledge of what it takes to get a book not only written, but actually published. It ain't easy, but if that's your goal hopefully this episode will help you accomplish that.
    In addition to his Tonight Show job, Arthur continues to write and perform with the sketch comedy groups Pangea 3000 and Two Fun Men, but his biggest credit will always be as a member of the 3-sibling Wilmette, Illinois living room-based sketch comedy show "Meyer Kids' Night", performed to his parents weekly.
    (Sorry. No link to that one.)
    Listen on iTunes.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
41 Ratings

41 Ratings

coffeeintern ,

Great podcast!

Super insightful into the world of writing and the guests are Legends of the comedy writing world. Worth a listen to anyone who wants to work in comedy or just wants a behind in the scenes look to their favorite shows.

Aech404 ,

Unskilled interviewer

J.R. has great guests and then he talks over them when they’re about to say something insightful

batt97 ,

Don’t eat with a mic

Is it possible to spend an hour without eating while you conduct an interview? If so, please inform the host.

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