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‘Veep’ Writer Andy Riley Reveals an Insider’s Glossary to TV Comedy Writing Terminology

A list of terminology that comedy writers use that isn’t found in screenwriting books.



About two years ago British writer Andy Riley, whose credits include “Veep,” “Gnomeo & Juliet” and “Slacker Cats,” put together a list of terminology used by comedy writers that isn’t found in screenwriting books. He’s now updated the glossary with a handful of new words that help describe a few tricky aspects of the screenwriting process.

“Most are terms that have grown out of writers’ rooms, email exchanges, and talking shop in the pub,” he explained on his website. “Some are in wide use: others used by literally only a couple of people. I’ve just been told a lot more of them so the list has grown, a lot. Please enjoy.”

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In the article, “How To Talk Comedy Writer – Updated!,” writers can learn what “Landgon” means — “A joke construction named after the writer John Langdon, who loves to write them” — and its three stages.

Included in the list are also “Turd in a Slipper,” via Judd Apatow, which means a joke which feels good, but isn’t really any good, “Frankenstein Draft” and “Cut and Shut.” There’s also “Logic Police,” — a person who must point out when there is a logical flaw in a script which is significant enough to cause problems — and the term “F.I.T.O.” which stands for “Funny In The Office.”

The entire glossary features over 40 words that you can add to your daily screenwriting lingo. To check out the list, click here.

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