Comedy Writing Jobs: How to Joke Your Way To a Career

If you’re a fan of laughter and making people smile, then a comedy writing job might be the perfect choice for you. Comedy writers craft jokes and humorous material for television shows, movies, stand-up comedians, and other performers. It’s an exciting field that requires a sharp wit, a deep understanding of comedy, and the ability to write fast and under pressure.

While there’s no one formula for success in comedy writing, most successful writers share a few key qualities, including the ability to collaborate, a strong work ethic, and an endless supply of ideas.If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career you might want to check out comedy writing jobs! 

What is comedy writing?

Comedy writing jobs are positions in which someone writes comedic pieces for various forms of media. This could include writing jokes for a stand-up comedian or working on a sitcom as a sketch writing staffer. Even politicians and businesses hire comedy writers in order to increase their appeal!

Comedy writing is a unique and specific branch of the writing profession. Unlike other genres, comedy often relies on timing, delivery, and audience interaction to be successful.As a result, comedy writers must have a strong understanding of how to craft jokes and use humor to engage an audience.

Notepad on desk with lightbulbs with comedy writing jobs written on it.

What are the different comedy writing jobs available?

When you think of jobs for comedy writers, the first thing that probably comes to mind is sitcoms. Sitcom writers typically work in teams of two or more, brainstorming ideas for episodes and then writing scripts.

This type of job likely takes place in a writer’s room, and you can probably imagine this can be a fun and fast-paced workplace.

There are also opportunities for solo writers. Creating humorous content for screenplays, YouTube videos, social media, or political satire bits are other jobs comedy writers take on. There’s also a growing demand for sketch comedy writers, as well as writers for animated shows and films.

Freelance comedy writing jobs

Freelance comedy writing jobs are another way you can get paid. Some of the best comedy writing jobs can be done remotely.

There are many online comedy writing gigs out there. Writing funny stories for magazines such as Reader’s Digest is also an option.

What skills do you need to be a successful comedy writer?

It’s difficult to write comedy! If you want to be a successful comedy writer, there are certain skills you’ll need to learn.

  • You need to make people laugh! This might seem like an obvious requirement, but it’s harder than it sounds. To be funny, you need to have a sharp wit and be able to think on your feet.
  • You also need to know how to structure a joke and build tension before the punchline.
  • You need to have a good understanding of human psychology and know what makes people tick. After all, humor is often about finding the absurd in everyday situations.
  • You also need to work well under pressure because deadlines can be tight.
  • It’s helpful to take constructive criticism well and use it to improve your work.
  • You need to have a thick skin – not everyone is going to find your material funny.
  • Finally, it’s important to be persistent and always be willing to keep trying until you get the laugh!

If you can do all these things, then you may be well on your way to becoming a successful comedy writer.

Comedy spelled out in letters on pieces of paper pinned to a corkboard.

How to start your comedy writing career

If you’re looking for comedy writing jobs that pay, your best bet is to find a market that’s looking for exactly what you offer. There are several ways to do this, but the most important thing is to keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground.

The key requirements for being a comedy writer are experience and exceptional originality. You might need to complete an internship or be persuasive to get someone to give you a chance. Comedy writers may have a background in improvisation, sketch, or stand-up comedy, along with their writing experience.

Benefits of experience

Some employers prefer candidates who have prior experience working in a writer’s room or producing professional-level content. To establish a name for themselves, some comedy writers concentrate on other platforms, such as performing as stand-up comedians.

Producing content under pressure and being adaptable enough to incorporate fresh ideas or material into your scripts are requirements for carrying out the duties and obligations of this role.

Red brick comedy stage background with empty stool.

Where to find comedy writing jobs

There are a few different places to look for comedy writer jobs. One is online job boards. These are websites where companies post job openings. You can search for comedy writing jobs on these websites and usually apply directly to the company. You might find job ads on typical freelancer platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, or LinkedIn.

Another place to look for comedy writing jobs is through a casting website. These websites list open casting calls for TV shows, movies, and other projects. You can search for comedy writing jobs on these websites and submit your material directly to the project creators.

Finally, you can also find comedy writing jobs through networking. This means getting in touch with people you know who work in the industry and asking them if they know of any openings. This is often the best way to find out about new opportunities as they arise. Comedy writing jobs are out there – it just takes a little effort to find them!

Publishers that accept freelance humor writing:

Here are some publications where you can submit your work and get paid between $25 and $250 for accepted content.

  • Cracked: is an online platform that used to also be in print. They publish short and longer types of funny articles.
  • The Funny Times: has been around for a while in both digital and print form. They cover a range of topics.
  • Saturday Evening Post: has The Lighter Side which is a regular humor section.
  • The New Yorker: publishes jokes and humorous stories.
  • Reader’s Digest (yes, that little oldie but goodie!) accepts stories, jokes, gags, and quotes.

Tips for sending your work to publications

  • It’s helpful to check out back issues of whatever publication you are pitching to so you can get an idea of what they expect in terms of style, etc.
  • Read the guidelines carefully because they vary with each market.
  • Proofread and edit your pitch! Maybe run it by someone else before submitting it.
  • Use any feedback or criticism you might receive to improve your work.
  • Keep trying and sending out those pitches! Don’t let rejections by editors stop you.

hand holding mike with "write for stand up comedy" on yellow background.

8 Tips on writing comedy that makes people laugh

Making people laugh is a hard but rewarding endeavor. The best jokes are those that are clever but not too complicated, relatable but not too specific, and surprising but not too random.

Here are some tips to help you write jokes that will make people laugh:

      1. Know your audience: The first step to writing jokes that make people laugh is understanding who your audience is. What are their sensibilities? What do they find funny? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can write material that will resonate with them!

      2. Keep it simple: A good joke should be punchy and to the point. If you try to cram too much into a single joke, it will only confuse and frustrate your audience.

      3. Timing is everything: A well-timed joke can be the difference between a big laugh and a complete bomb. Pay attention to the rhythm of your jokes and practice delivering them so that they land perfectly.

       4. Be original: There’s nothing worse than a stale joke. If you want to make people laugh, you need to bring something new to the table. Be daring and come up with material that will surprise and delight your audience.

       5. Know when to hold back: Sometimes, less is more in comedy. Don’t force a joke if it’s not landing–sometimes a simple smile or eyebrow raise can get the job done just as well. A good joke should be self-contained, so resist the urge to add unnecessary details or explanations.

      6. Avoid using offensive or taboo subjects unless you are confident in your material. It’s important to know your audience and what they will find funny.

      7.  Practice, practice, practice: The only way to get better at writing jokes is to keep at it. Write as often as you can and experiment with different styles and subjects. With enough practice, you’ll be churning out the hilarity in no time!

       8. Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks! Some of the best jokes are those that catch people off guard. So, try out your new material on family and friends – you never know when you’ll come up with a real winner!

Salary for comedy writing jobs

You can expect to make a decent amount of money writing comedy. Of course, this will all depend on the type of job or project and your comedy writing skills.

According to ZipRecruiter, the median salary in the US for comedy writing in 2022 is $52,496 or $25 an hour.

chart of comedy writer annual salary fro zipRecruiter

People are always looking for ways to make money, and writing is a great way to do that. If you’re funny, then comedy writing jobs might be a good choice for you. You can find Comedy writing jobs in many places. Some of the most common include TV shows, movies, stand-up comedy clubs, and online publications.

To get these types of jobs, you’ll need to have strong writing skills and be able to come up with funny ideas regularly.  It also helps to have some experience performing or writing comedy sketches.

Couple sitting together laughing.

If you want to break into this industry, start by sending your work to online publications or auditioning for TV shows and stand-up comedy clubs. There’s no simple path to getting these jobs, but if you’re talented and persistent, you may eventually find success!

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