Steve Hely - Towards Some Protocols for Producing TV Comedy or, TV Comedy Protocols: What's The Deal? | 3/6

Steve Hely, writer for Veep, The Office, 30 Rock and American Dad! presents some observations on formal and informal protocols in the creating, pitching, and producing of TV comedy shows, as well as some ideas on how protocol thinking could inform and drive comedy.


Highly recommend Steve’s really funny novel too. How I became a famous novelist. The plot is very protocolish – about a protagonist who helps students write essays to apply to US universities.

Space operas seem rich with protocols. Every other episode of Doctor Who has the word ‘protocol’ (often on a computer screen)

YARN | Protocol? It's my primary function, sir. I am well-versed in all the customs... | Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) | Video clips by quotes | e0a7c407 | 紗

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Apparently a protocols gang tv show would be full of indians

Similar to VCs vs. entrepreneurs

“No adjectives, use anecdotes” principle is really “describe the protagonist in terms of their characteristic protocols” (the “type of guy who does xxxx”)

Cf: “type of guy” memes

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“Protocols to mitigate embarrassment” for failed pitches reminds me of Erving Goffman’s “On cooling the mark out”

Protocol literacy as a way of building agency. If you know the protocol, you can skip steps / beat traffic… Ideal Chief Protocol Officer is a charismatic, procedure-hacking gremlin

Chief Protocol Officer (CPO) is really close to C3P0 as an acronym

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Writer’s room protocol is similar to a lot of collaboration zones (software team meetings, business strategy)

Fan of Abbott Elementary here, a precarious balance of cringe and funny

Brunson is also the creator of “Abbott,” one of its executive producers and showrunners, and the leader of its writers’ room, all of which means that she has the final word on everything from costumes to punch lines.

From the beginning, the show had a distinctive mix: it was idiosyncratic but accessible, familiar but fresh, warm but not sweaty.