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Home » Archives » November 2007 » Sweaty Observations
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11/07/2007: Sweaty Observations

Hi all! So, how many of you have been singing "Werewolf Barmitzvah" to yourself since you saw it on 30 Rock? I certainly have. It is, as I'm sure you've noticed, available in a full version here. I'm not just mentioning it as a good example of solid comedy, which it is, but because it also provides an excellent example of a comedy writers' room term. Listen to some of the chatter running through the song and you'll hear an exchange that goes something like this: "I don't know if the idea of this song can sustain itself for this long. It seems a little sweaty now." "This whole premise is sweaty!"

"Sweaty"! I've actually been looking for a chance to discuss this term, but I hadn't come up with the perfect way to explain it. Well, here it is. A scene, a joke, or especially a comedic premise is called "sweaty" when the writer has to labor to keep it going, when they have to over-extend a metaphor or make characters say unlikely things to propel a comedic situation. Not every comedy room uses the term, but some do, and it's a favorite of mine. Add it to the little writer-to-English dictionary you carry with you to your first week on a show!

Strike: A hearty thank you to Friends-of-the-Blog Kal-el and Chris, who brought cheese and cold-cuts and crackers and fruit to the picket line today. It was much appreciated by the hungry hungry writers!

Lunch: cheese and cold-cuts and crackers and fruit


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UC Berkeley
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November 2007

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