Humor writer of the month
Eric Heyl is a staff columnist and former reporter at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where his writing has graced the newspaper’s pages for 23 years. His witty columns garnered him first place in the humor category for large newspapers in the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ 2016 column contest. Judges called his work “laugh out loud funny” with “spot on” comical observations. He is the former president of NSNC, where he also served as vice president of the NSNC Education Foundation.
Writing humor is serious business. Just ask Donna Cavanagh, author of the newly published How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans. A former journalist and syndicated columnist, Cavanagh gained a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine, USA Today and other national media. She launched HumorOutcasts.com in 2011 as an outlet for writers to showcase their work in a world that offered few avenues for humor. The site now features the creative talents of more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors from all over the world. She has taught the how-to lessons of humor, blogging and publishing at The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. Cavanagh has penned four humor books Reality: Fantasy’s Evil Twin, Try and Avoid the Speed Bumps, A Canine’s Guide to the Good Life (which she wrote with her dogs Frankie and Lulu) and Life On the Off Ramp.
Wendy Liebman is a nationally known stand-up comic who’s performed on Carson, Letterman, Leno, Fallon, Kimmel, Ferguson and Hollywood Squares. She was a semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent. She’s hilarious. As part of the faculty at the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, she sparked laughter and encouraged learning — sharing her special brand of humor and grace.
Roy Blount Jr. has been called “a humorist and social critic in the tradition of Mark Twain, Will Rogers, H.L. Mencken and W.C. Fields.” A master storyteller and prolific writer, he has written two dozen books, including his newest, Save Room for Pie: Food Songs and Chewy Ruminations, and has won numerous awards for his work. He is a familiar voice on NPR’s Wait, Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me! and his writing regularly appears in many national magazines. He also is an original member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a rock band composed entirely of writers.
Sgt. Tim Cotton, the author of the police department’s Facebook page in Bangor, Maine, is a storyteller at heart who connects with readers with his amusing musings. Bangor boasts a population of about 33,000, but the department’s Facebook page has attracted more than 100,000 followers — boosted by some recent practical, yet humorous, snowstorm survival tips that went viral. The best advice: Stock up on Cap’t Crunch. Count The Washington Post, Huffington Post and The New York Times among fans. NPR calls the page not your typical police blotter fodder.
Author and humorist Dylan Brody calls himself a “purveyor of fine words and phrases” and specializes in smart, humane storytelling. He has performed in venues all over the world, regularly opens for David Sedaris and has written for dozens of comedians, including Jay Leno. He wrote the satirical self-help book, The Modern Depression Guidebook, and the novel, Laughs Last. He is a thrice-published author of fiction for the young adult market with one of his books, A Tale of a Hero and the Song of Her Sword, finding a place in the curriculum at several public schools in the U.S. In 2005, Dylan won the Stanley Drama Award for playwriting.
An original “Saturday Night Live” writer who the New York Times says has “earned a place in the pantheon of American pop culture,” Alan Zweibel has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America and TV Critics awards for his work in television, which includes It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (which he co-created and produced), Monk, PBS’s Great Performances, The Late Show With David Letterman and Curb Your Enthusiasm. He’s a renowned comedy writer, playwright, novelist, author of children’s books and screenwriter.
Jenny Lawson, “The Bloggess,” is an award-winning humor writer known for her great candor in sharing her struggle with depression and mental illness. She’s the author of two New York Times’ bestsellers, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. Her popular blog (www.thebloggess.com) averages millions of page views a month, and she is considered to be one of the funniest women alive (“by at least three people”).