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Give Us Your Best: Inspired by Andy Kaufman Sketchfest New York City 2009 Was Awesome!
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wilmorerockternSomething freaking amazing happened to me yesterday morning. Free breakfast! And not the whack continental kind with the cold bagels, unidentifiable pastries and fruit fresh from the can, but actual yummy breakfast! Yay!

But wait, my friends, that was not the best part. Daily Show Correspondent Larry Wilmore came with my yummy breakfast. Wait! That sounded dirty. He was at my yummy breakfast along with four other freshly-minted Rockterns and our fearless leader, the fabulous Kelleigh Dulany.

I admit, Mr. Wilmore's appearance wasn't a surprise. I came prepared with my nerdy writer questions, and like a good little Rocktern, my brain was stuffed with facts about his career so's I could ask non-dumbass questions.

I learned a lot in my research. For example, we all know Larry Wilmore as the Senior Black Correspondent on The Daily Show, but that is just scratching the surface of his awesome career. This dude is a comedy beast! He's been in cracking us up for years writing/producing shows like In Living Color, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Whoopi, The PJs, The Jaime Foxx Show and The Office. He created The Bernie Mac Show for which he a won an Emmy and he is currently developing his own show for HBO whilst returning to stand-up. If that wasn't enough, he wrote a hilarious new book called I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts. Yeah. I know. What are YOU doing with your life? Me and Langston (my computer) have a date.

Needless to say, Larry couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. He regaled us with witty tales from the start of his career. The funniest involved a stand-up gig at an Alaskan strip joint with the most horrible strippers he's ever seen. [Note to self: A Sarah Palin joke would be inappropriate and might land her on The Today Show again]. Larry even tried out some of his stand-up on us including a joke about Obama being so cool that we accept that he did some coke back in the day. He tells it better, obviously. Oh! And he wants to change the term "African American" to "Chocolate." This Chocolate lady likes :) .

Mostly, Mr. Wilmore gave us writerly advice. He advised us to find the emotional core of a scene before writing it and build the action around that core. He reminded us that writing, comedy in particular, is about specificity. And my favorite: getting paid to write makes you a better writer, because you HAVE to meet a deadline and you HAVE to get it right. He also described his own writing process, including how he wrote the ground-breaking pilot for The Bernie Mac Show.

Overall, it was an amazing learning experience. Larry's passion for writing was very evident. I was inspired that even after so many years in the business, Larry is still genuinely excited about all the projects that he's involved with. I hope I will always be able to say that for my career.

BTW, if you nerds were wondering, Larry Wilmore likes oatmeal with maple syrup and raisins.

–Grace Edwards, Rocktern '09

P.S. I know that this is post is overwhelmingly positive, but give me a break. A sister is trying to be the Junior Black Correspondent on the Daily Show☺. Seriously though, I have nothing snarky to say about the experience which if you know me is high praise.

[Learn more about Rockterns here.]

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