Cheryl E. Klein Recommends...

If, like me, you sometimes find interviews with prose writers overwhelming and envy-inducing—a bit like staring directly at the sun—I recommend listening to other types of artists talk about their work. You get the light at an angle, without the burn. I especially like to listen to stand-up comics discuss their craft. WTF With Marc Maron is one of the best-known podcasts hosted by comedians, but my personal favorite is The Jackie and Laurie Show podcast, in which Jackie Kashian and Laurie Kilmartin discuss their very different approaches to writing jokes. Jackie is more conceptual, while Laurie is nearly surgical in her attention to detail, figuring out how one turn of phrase can transform a lackluster joke into a killer. They also talk a lot about gender inequity in comedy, and how tired they are. I’m always relieved to learn that the people who inspire me don’t feel inspired all the time. Nothing in me aspires to tell jokes in a bar full of drunk cynics, but there are many things I can learn from people who literally write on stage. It’s eye-opening and relevant, and provides a sideways entry point into the creative process.
—Cheryl E. Klein, author of Crybaby: Infertility, Illness, and Other Things That Were Not the End of the World (Brown Paper Press, 2022)  

Photo credit: Cathy Klein-Bedell