How To Write Great Jokes and Discover Your Voice as a Comedian

Interview with Comedian and Podcast Writer Louie Pearlman

We chatted with Sesame Street Podcast Writer, Louie Pearlman, about his advice for young comedians, writing for The Muppets, and his upcoming comedy classes on Lessonface.

How did you get started in comedy?

I started performing comedy when I was a teenager. I first remember doing improv exercises in my drama class in Calgary, Canada. But the thing that really made me excited about improv was participating in a drama program at my summer camp, Buck’s Rock Performing and Creative Arts Camp in Connecticut. It’s where I learned a lot about improv and comedy and then I went on to run the program for 7 years. And then in my early 20’s I moved to NYC, to study and perform comedy. I found myself as one of the first interns at The Magnet Theater in 2005. And I started the teen improv program there, which is still successfully running today.

What is your advice for someone starting their comedy journey?

My advice would be different than the path I took. Technology has really caught up with the ambitions that people have. Definitely get in a class: stand up, improv or sketch. Find a class where you can really develop your own voice. Find a medium, maybe online, that works best for you. If you like writing, maybe try Twitter, if you like performing, maybe try TikTok or Instagram. Also, if your sensibilities are more audio-based, make a podcast. 

Don’t be afraid to get your stuff out there. Start finding your own comedic voice. Now that we have this wonderful online world at our disposal, we can really form our own communities where we can find people with the same sort of comedic sensibilities as us. One of the main things about being a comedian is following what is fun for you. Some of the stuff you enjoy making will find an audience, and some of that stuff will not, but that is part of the journey. That could lead you to people to work with or it could lead you to your next project which could be really exciting for you.


How do you meet collaborators for comedy projects?

I’ve met collaborators in many different ways! A few years ago at The Magnet, I was doing a variety show, APT. 33, which was like a kid’s show for adults. I did that show because I really enjoyed it, and developed it with my friend in Calgary, Owen Chan. 

That show always had an audience, maybe 25-30 people, sometimes a little more. It was never a major hit, but a newer comic named Kyle Gordon was in the audience, and he made a point of coming up to me and telling me what he liked about the show. And then I started to see his stuff, which I really liked, and we realized we had a shared sensibility. We started doing a podcast together, (Kick The Jukebox) which we still do from time to time. Doing that podcast is one of the things that got me hired for Sesame Street. You never know what’s going to happen and be helpful for your career, or what is going to lead to what.

What is it like to write for the Muppets?

It’s really exciting. It’s definitely a feeling for me that I have arrived at a different stage in my career. Sesame Street is so beloved and such a wonderful place. Everyone has an association with the characters, so writing for them, for me, is really huge. I consider those characters really close friends. 

So far I’ve written for Bert & Ernie, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and Big Bird. Before I write for them, I go back and watch some famous sketches from the show. I also read their character bibles. After I do all of that prep, I try and have the voices of the original performers in my head. Then, once I submit a script, I get feedback from the production team at Sesame Workshop. I’m trying to give the kids listening to this podcast the same experience with these beloved Muppets that I had as a kid, and that’s really important to me and I’m really passionate about it. Obviously!

What can students expect from your upcoming classes?

Both of my upcoming classes here on Lessonface, Writing Comedic Characters and Create Your Own Podcast, are going to focus on developing your artistic voice. There are going to be a lot of performance exercises, fun games, and writing exercises. I want every student to come away with short comedic monologues which they can use for performances or a little 5 minute proof of concept for a podcast.

What you can do for a podcast is limitless, so I am excited to see all the different genres and ideas that students are going to come up with. As for comedic characters, there are so many ways that people can perform. All I am aiming to do with these exercises and classes is bring out your personal comedic sense of humor and figure out how to harness it for your projects.

We hope to see you in our new series of comedy classes!

Sign up for comedy classes with Louie Pearlman and other exciting pro comedians:

Improv for Kids
Create Your Own Podcasts
Writing Comedic Characters
Just For Laughs


Louie Pearlman has been an innovator and a maverick of the New York City comedy and arts scene since 2002. During his career, he's taught comedy, public speaking, and team-building across the continent with students of all ages. For over ten years Louie has been a producer, director, performer and teaching artist with the nationally recognized arts education company Story Pirates, where he's performed nationally in theaters, music festivals and schools.  

>> Book a lesson with Louie Pearlman

Stand Up Comedy
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