Maggie Scudder is lesbian Ben Franklin

Maggie Scudder is a comedy writer, director, producer, and instructor. She is currently the Editor, Content Lead, and Sketch Instructor at GOLD Comedy—the online comedy world for women and nonbinary folks.

Her latest pilot script, The GOAT, is being developed* with Ryan Cunningham (Search Party, Broad City). The GOAT was an official selection and Pitchworld finalist at Catalyst Content Festival 2022, a Best TV Pilot finalist at the New York International Screenplay Awards, a Best TV Script finalist at the Portland Screenplay Awards, and won Best TV Pilot Screenplay LGBTQIA at the New York Screenwriting Awards. The GOAT is a half-hour comedy for streaming based on real New York City folk heroes.

Her directorial work includes BFF4L featuring Janeane Garofalo, Mutually Beneficial Union featuring Keisha Zollar, and PRESSED: A live sketch show (COMING SOON).

During the pandemic, she hosted a podcast, Edward is a Vampire, that averages 2,500 monthly downloads.

*All development is on hold in solidarity with the 2023 WGA Strike.

What were you like as a teen?

Shit. I have no idea. Before my frontal lobe formed, it’s a wash.I was a wicked hard worker. I was drumline captain and Speech captain. High school is where I learned how to be a creative teammate and leader–these are the skills that I hold most dearly from this time. Sure, I also learned how to write mathematical PROOFS, but that has literally never helped me for one second. I was funny! But I took myself way way way WAY too seriously. There is power in taking funny seriously, but that’s not exactly what I was doing. I never laughed at Kenan Thompson because he was “too silly.” That was my fatal flaw.

Did you have an un-sexy starter job?

Not to sound like lesbian Ben Franklin, but I’ve done it all: hotel front desk, liquor store, unpaid internships, Party City during Halloween, and I even picked peaches at an orchard for a summer. Very, very few jobs are sexy. But luckily I am so hot that I was able to bring that into each of these crazy gigs.

I feel very lucky that my parents felt strongly about writers needing to know the world before writing. They insisted upon my getting out there, working different jobs, traveling, and studying other parts of life. A writer has to know more than how to write, to be able to connect to audiences.

When you were coming up in comedy, what helped you stick with it?

Blind confidence and very funny friends.

On your deathbed, what transcendent advice would you croak at a young comedian?

Write toward what you know. Write through what you know. Write up against what you know.

But never just write what you know.

Best comedy advice you ever got?

Never cut to a closed door.

Worst comedy advice you ever got?

Not exactly “advice,” but I fully hate when people say “there’s a little truth in every joke.” As a way to feel bad about something that MIGHT just be silly. Truth in comedy, always… but also somehow the people that say this are also always the people who punch down.

How has being funny helped you in your life?

I would be nothing without funny. My whole dumb life has been bits and gags!

What specific things do you think a novice comic or comedy writer should do to shape their voice?

I am a big believer in THE FREE WRITE. Set a timer (10 minutes to start?) and just write. Don’t cross out, don’t go back, don’t worry about what you’re saying. Rant, rave, write “why am i doing this dumb thing” over and over. Just WRITE for those ten minutes.

You’ll free your brain from its patterns, and be much readier to dive into the deeper truth of whatever you’re writing.

Was there one person who inspired you to go into the comedy world?
I’m lucky that my brother is a journalist, my dad is a photographer, and my mother is a professor. Writing and storytelling, at least, has always been part of the family. But as a freaky little gay in suburban Texas, at some point I had to stop convincing my classmates that I was really one of Santa’s elves and get serious about my goofs.
Gilmore Girls made me want to write TV. It opened my eyes to the fact that all those shows I love…are written….by people??? like me??? Huge for the program.
But Tina Fey in 2008 nailed the coffin shut on me “wanting to be a doctor.” (Which come to think of it, was probably only because of Grey’s Anatomy…A TV SHOW!) Between 30 Rock and Sarah Palin, Tina’s hilarity and brashness changed my life. I wrote a scholarship essay about her for what turned out to be a Christian Athletic organization. They didn’t love it as much…
Do you have a writing routine?
I wish I had more of one, honestly. But here’s what I always do:
  • text myself all my ideas (This is a no judgment zone. Every idea gets a text. Even the shit.)
  • talk about everything (over and over until I’m so sick of talking about it that I have to write it down)
  • outline outline outline (outline!!!)
  • vomit/trash drafts (I’m a big believer in THE EDIT! So having a shitty draft done is huge for me.)
  • free write (see above)
  • edit with pen and paper (or iPad and Apple pencil, but markings are key!)

And here’s what I WISH I did:

  • morning pages
What is your go-to show when you’ve had a bad day? 
As the poet Kathrine Perry once said, I “change my mind like a girl changes clothes.” But for the past few months it has been a constant cycle of What We Do In The Shadows.
What single word always cracks you up?