As avid a reader as I consider myself I have to admit, my book collection isn’t very diverse. My bookshelf and everything I check out from the library consists of comedian memoirs and anything horror. I have a few business books but that’s only because a former boss of mine made us read them. Not implement any of their teachings – just read them and then do nothing. Anyway, comedy and horror are pretty much my happy place. (I strayed once before when I got tricked into reading Twilight and I’ve never forgiven myself – neither for being tricked nor for reading Twilight)
What I’m getting at is I love to read and I have a type. And for a while, I was able to share my favorite books on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, last year I had a job that limited my time which led to zero book posts in 2018. It took a year but I was finally able to call it a day with that job (don’t you worry – there’s will soon be a post about it) and get back to my website as well as Typical Jenn’s Unofficial Book Club.
My first entry since my hiatus: Just the Funny Parts by Nell Scovell.
First, an introduction: Nell Scovell is a television writer, producer, and director whose work has been featured on a multitude of shows including Late Night with David Letterman, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and The Simpsons. She’s also contributed jokes to Bette Midler’s “It’s The Girls!” tour, The Kennedy Center Honors, and former president Barack Obama’s speech for the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner.
These mentions are less than a fraction of what her resumé consists of. Just the Funny Parts details her writing career that spans over three decades and offers a look into Hollywood and what it’s like to write comedy in a male-dominated industry. In addition to learning more about Nell and how she’s held her own in comedic writing for over 30 years, I learned quite a bit about a few of the areas I hope to write in as well as the processes. Every writing job she writes about offers knowledge, insight and, of course, humor.
Other than the fact that she’s hilarious and hardworking, she’s also incredibly supportive of other women writers. I found out about her book from Jill Twiss, a writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver who was actually scouted for the show by Ms. Scovell. Back in 2017, I reached out to Jill for advice on comedic writing and you know what she did? She responded. And not with one of those bullshit motivational quotes you see on Instagram. You know the ones – “Keep shining bright and your dreams will explode” or whatever. No. She took the time to write out an entire email that included a bulleted list of ways to get my writing out there.
She had no idea who I was and yet took the time to show genuine interest in my passion and provide me with any information that could help. I still have that email; her kindness inspires me daily to show others the same courtesy she showed me when I’m presented with the opportunity. Since receiving her email I’ve gone on to spend a year writing for the website Taste of Reality where I wrote jokes about reality shows, and am currently co-authoring a book that I was given the “OK” to incorporate my style of writing and humor.
If you’re an aspiring writer I highly recommend this book. You know what, if you’re a reader I highly recommend this book. Everyone should read this book. Nell Scovell started a chain reaction she may not even be aware of. Jill’s email introduced me to McSweeney’s. Her email is what gave me hope. Her email is the reason I took a job as a content writer for a start-up, left it, and now have another story to tell.
Thank you, Jill, and a big thank you to Nell!
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll be discussing my adventures in working for a start-up with a bunch of 20 year-olds all while trying to start my career as a comedic writer at the age of 35. If that shit isn’t Instagram-motivation worthy, then nothing is.