I found this journal for Police Chief Rumble’s sketch show in 2004, “Piece of Bullshit Pie” (they eventually won an ECNY award for best sketch group). They walk through the entire 4-month process, from just doing improv and writing in November 2003 to finally performing the show in early 2004.
Some of it is a little abstract, but that’s ok; I kind of love the mythologizing of past shows. That said, a lot of it is practical and grants us writer/performer types some solidarity.
I love this tidbit:
Our current weekly schedule looks a little something like this:
Writing meeting (on those Tuesdays we’re up at Harold Night, we meet with Jake either before or after our shows)
Sketch rehearsal, 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Tech rehearsal, 12:30 a.m. - late
Regular improv rehearsal, 6-9 p.m.
Sketch performance, midnight to 1 a.m.
Encore performance, 1:03 a.m. to last call at McManus
SATURDAY, SUNDAY, MONDAY
Enjoy quality time with anyone but members of PCR, all day and all of the night.
OH! So that’s what a comedy team’s schedule looks like. Note to self: work harder.
Then there’s brief, little practical insight’s into the day-to-day, like this, from Charlie Sanders:
I’ve asked a couple people how they write with such focus and commitment and they both were basically like “I don’t know, i just sit down and do it.” I wish we got to do the show more than once a week. I’m trying to take my pent up, want to perform energy and focus that into writing. It’s tough because writing doesn’t give me the same immediate payoff that performing does. I want to figure out how to get the same playful fun energy I have on stage into a notebook.
I think a lot of us wonder “Where do we get ideas from?” “How often should I write?” “What if I can’t think of anything?” Just all these very simple, practical everyday problems… all of which tend to have simple, practical everyday answers. How do you do it? You do it. Get together and write. Find like-minded, funny people and write and perform. Do it all the time, as much as you can. There’s no formula to this stuff… it’s hard work and training and learning and doing.
It’s interesting to skim through and see Police Chief Rumble doing exactly that. I love this!