Posted Oct 02, 2017

No pressure, funny writers.

Comedy legends Alan Zweibel and Laraine Newman, original writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live, will team up again, this time to serve 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 University of Dayton Marriott Hotel following next spring’s workshop. It’s the gift of time to write (plus free room service!). Deadline to apply is midnight (EST) Friday, Oct. 6.

Zweibel, who has served as a keynoter 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. As an actress, she has worked for directors ranging from Woody Allen to Guillermo Del Toro. Her more notable movie roles have been 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 theatre, 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.

In all, he has written 11 books, including the 2006 Thurber Prize winning novel The Other Shulman, the popular children’s book Our Tree Named Steve, the novel Lunatics that he co-wrote with Dave Barry, and most recently a parody of the Haggadah titled For This We Left Egypt? that he wrote with Dave Barry and Adam Mansbach. Zweibel’s humor also has appeared in such diverse publications as The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times’ op-ed page, The Huffington Post and MAD Magazine.

He’s currently preparing Bunny Bunny for a return to the New York stage, writing a memoir, Laugh Lines — 40 Years Trying To Make Funny People Funnier for Abrams Books and developing a limited TV series based on his novel The Other Shulman for Sony television.

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 animation career. She’s currently working on Doc McStuffins, the Netflix series of Dawn Of The Croods, Puss N’Boots and Dorothy and The Wonders Of Oz. She can also be heard in animated features such as Sing, Zootopia, Secret Life Of Pets, Inside Out and Minions.

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

Because of the diversity of Zweibel’s body of work, in 2010 the Writers Guild of America, East gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Writers selected for A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program will receive a free registration to the April 5-7, 2018, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop as well as travel, hotel and meal expenses for a two-week 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, all established writers, will be named soon. The two winners will be announced Dec. 4.