Tuesday October 3, 2017

‘SNL’ Veterans Judge Bombeck Finalists

Live from New York, it’s Erma Bombeck humorist-in-residence judges!

Original Saturday Night Live writer Alan Zweibel and cast member Laraine Newman will reunite as finalist judges for “A Hotel Room of One’s Own,” the Erma Bombeck - Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence program.

Thanks to a generous gift from comic novelist and writer Anna Lefler, the University of Dayton’s Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is offering two emerging humor writers the opportunity to dive into their comedy writing for two uninterrupted weeks at the Marriott at the University of Dayton following the spring 2018 workshop. It’s the gift of time to write, plus free room service. The application deadline is midnight Friday, Oct. 6.

Humorist Erma Bombeck '49 is one of America's most celebrated writers and one of the University of Dayton's most famous graduates. The popular, biennial workshop attracts 350 writers from around the nation. It is supported by the College of Arts and Sciences dean’s office, the department of communication and the Alumni Association.

Zweibel, who has served as a keynote speaker and faculty member at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, has won multiple Emmy, Writers Guild of America and TV Critics awards for his work in television, including It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which he co-created and produced, The Late Show With David Letterman and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Newman, who portrayed Connie Conehead, Sheri the Valley Girl and other memorable characters on Saturday Night Live, has enjoyed a thriving career as an actress, comedian and writer. Her more notable movie roles have been in Problem Child 2, Stardust Memories, American Hot Wax and Perfect.

A frequent guest on late night talk shows, Zweibel also has made a significant mark in theater, where he’s collaborated with Billy Crystal on the Tony Award-winning play 700 Sundays, Martin Short’s Broadway hit Fame Becomes Me and the off-Broadway play Bunny Bunny — Gilda Radner: A Sort of Romantic Comedy, which he adapted from his best-selling book.

He has written 11 books, including the 2006 Thurber Prize winning novel The Other Shulman and the popular children’s book Our Tree Named Steve. Zweibel’s humor writing also has appeared in such publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times’ op-ed page, the Huffington Post and MAD Magazine.

Newman got her first break after appearing in a Lily Tomlin Special produced by Lorne Michaels. After then seeing her again in The Groundlings, an improv group she founded with her sister Tracy, Michaels hired her to be part of a new late-night show, Saturday Night Live, where she was part of the cast for five years.

Her most recent television appearances include Dice, IFC’s The Birthday Boys and Curb Your Enthusiasm. She has enjoyed a thriving voice-acting career and can be heard in such animated features as Sing, Zootopia, Secret Life Of Pets, Inside Out and Minions.

As a writer, Newman has written pieces for Esquire, The Huffington Post, The Believer and McSweeneys. She is contributing editor for the online food magazine One for the Table.

Writers selected for the humorist-in-residence program will receive free registration to the April 5-7 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop as well as travel, hotel and meal expenses for a two-week-plus experience of a lifetime. The Marriott at the University of Dayton is an in-kind sponsor for the program.

The program is open to all aspiring humor writers regardless of gender or comedic point of view. Writers working on novels, narrative non-fiction, plays, essays, sitcom scripts and other humor writing are encouraged to apply, with special consideration given to emerging writers. The application fee is $25.

All entries will be blind-judged during preliminary and final rounds. The preliminary judges, who are all established writers, will be named soon. The two winners will be announced Dec. 4.

To apply, please visit the humorist-in-residence program’s website.

- Teri Rizvi, executive director of strategic communications

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