Anne Beatts

Posted in DefaultTag by shakeytownradio on July 23rd, 2010

PEOPLE! It behooves us to bring you a very special edition of the podcast this week... Anne Beatts is a writer, producer, professor at USC and Chapman, and true legend of comedy. She has a sketch writing course coming up July 30th through August 1st at Wordspace ( in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Atwater Village. In our conversation, she shares her philosophies on the differences between writing and performing for radio, stage, stand-up, and screen, and her thoughts on Los Angeles comedy clubs, improvisation, spontaneity, and writing the funny down for later. She was the first woman to become editor at National Lampoon, both the magazine and radio show. As one of the first writers hired by Lorne Michaels, she won the Emmy for her work on "Saturday Night Live," where her and Rosie Shuster created such characters as Uncle Roy, Fred Garvin: Male Prostitute, and Todd and Lisa (whose popularity literally put the word "nerd" in the dictionary). She created the cult TV hit "Square Pegs," which launched Sarah Jessica Parker's career and featured musical performances by The Waitresses and Devo, introducing punk rock characters on TV... sorry, sorry, "new wave" (different head). We talk about dealing with the network, a difficult Mike Ovitz, and a conveniently placed Dwayne "Dobie Gillis" Hickman in trying to see her vision through for the show. She also helped revamp the first season of "A Different World," and created the characters that would later usurp Lisa Bonet's Denise Huxtable as the leads on the show - Whitley and Dwayne Wayne. Besides Beatts' literary and television works, she also wrote the book for Leader Of The Pack, the Elle Greenwich Broadway musical. We discuss her upcoming classes, how she made her way as a woman in a male-dominated industry, the questionable ethics behind how money is made with internet content, why Gary Shandling is more like Craig Kilborn than Yoda, where Jim Hightower has got it right (but where he got it wrong), the recent GQ issue on comedy, why "Modern Family" is both good and bad (and "According To Jim" is just bad), the genius of Mitch Hedberg, the insanity of Michael O'Donoghue, a prank Bill Murray played on her before his "Square Pegs" appearance, a joke she wrote for Chevy Chase that he tried to sandbag, and many more memories from her 40 years in comedy. For more information on Finding Your Comedic Voice, contact Wordspace at Or, contact Anne Beatts directly at, or 310-273-1637. This episode also features the music of The Bouncing Souls (

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