These Boots Were Made for Hoppin
The Greener Pastures May Newsletter
Welcome to May, with another installment of the Greener Pastures Newsletter. Hopefully May the 4th was with you, and even if it wasn’t, we think you’re awesome.
Most Viewed Comedy Piece for April: ‘I have a Super Power and it’s Called Wearing Combat Boots’ by Justin Avery Smith
The Greener Pastures Editors understand how transformative a good pair of footwear can be. We’ve been wearing our bunny slippers since March 2020 and it’s done wonders for adding a little pep to our step. Nearly six thousand readers agreed that what we all need in life is awesome footwear. We asked Justin Avery Smith to walk (ha!) us through the idea for his Combat Boots piece and his process.
“In many of my social circles, I’m known as “The one who wears combat boots”, so I thought it’d be fun to write a piece that explains why I continually wear them. Of course, I also have to give credit for gaming’s first lady, Lara Croft, for inspiring me to wear them in the first place.The satisfying “crunch crunch” noise she makes with every step, the commanding jog she has throughout her adventures, and whether she’s sliding down a waterfall, or climbing up some snowy mountains, those babies always remain beautifully in tact. How can you go wrong with footwear that durable?!
James Folta of Points in Case really helped me identify the game of how the boots make this character feel (Like a badass, high octane action hero) versus what his actual life is like (painfully mundane). I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention Ashley Chen and her Belladonna piece “Don’t Mess With Me, I’m Wearing Doc Martens”, which I took initial cues from, and she was even nice enough to give me feedback on my piece while I was writing it! This piece is really a beautiful amalgamation of all those awesome things!“
So Many Cool People On the Podcast, I Tell You What
If you haven’t listened to the last few episodes of the Greener Pastures podcast, what are you even waiting for? Scott Dikkers to come on the show? Well guess what, he did. We also had Julia Zhen and John Hendrick, editors of The Lunar Times, Kyrie Gray from Jane Austen’s Wastebasket — seriously it’s a who’s who of comedy awesomeness. Take a moment and have a listen.
Come to the Next Pitch Party May 21st at 8 Eastern!
That’s right, we’re hosting our third pitch party for 2021. Here’s how it works: We get together on Zoom and talk out comedy ideas in one big writer’s room. You don’t need to shop your idea but you just might think of something while listening to everyone else talk. Folks who have attended prior pitch parties have gone on to publish both in Greener Pastures and in other comedy pubs.
The mood is laid back, and we haven’t bitten ANYONE in like, two weeks. Our dog Aggie has since attended anger management classes to take care of that issue. Sign up here and we’ll send you a link when we get closer to the date.
Writer’s Tip of the Month
Brett Shollenberger here with a tip to help your piece shine. There are 2 parts to your comedy piece: the jokes and everything else. You need a different approach to each.
The jokes should be surprising. Everything else should not. Who are we? Where are we? What are we doing? What format is the piece? These should not have surprising answers.
Take the McSweeney’s classic “Sure the Velociraptors Are On the Loose, But That’s No Reason Not To Reopen Jurassic Park.” What does that sound like? A monologue. Who is speaking? Probably someone who runs Jurassic Park, preferably someone we know, so main villain and CEO Peter Ludlow. What does he want? People to visit Jurassic Park. These are not the only obvious answers (we could also imagine patrons of the park having a conversation), but they are easy, obvious choices.
More importantly, using the question of “What’s the most obvious answer” can help you when all you’ve got is a good comedic premise and no idea where to go next. It can help you put together the skeleton of the piece — the framework on which all the jokes will hang, and look fun and surprising. Remember: jokes surprising; everything else is not.
Question for the Editors: What’s Cooking In Your Kitchen Right Now?
Cassie: Misery and quesadillas.
Amy: I’ve gotten really into baking recently, because when I take on a new hobby, I like to do it 15 months after it was cool and all of my friends were Instagramming about it.
Brett: Oh shit! I left the oven on?!
Kegan: Fruit smoothie… look, I’m trying to get better with cooking, okay?
Mike: As Coolio once said, “it’s goin’ on in the kitchen, but I don’t know what’s cookin.’”
Teresa: I just made a cup of chai tea — cinnamon, green cardamom, fresh ginger, honey and tea leaves as bitter as my soul.
Susan: I just had a pb and j on wheat because I’m part child, part adult.
Justin: Expectation: Vegan enchilladas with guacamole and pico de gallo.
Reality: Frozen Amy’s bean burritos.
Ash: Nothing. But I did turn Bretts oven on.