Entertainers Extraordinaire

Posted Aug 09, 2023

Monica Piper and Dion Flynn

Improvisor Dion Flynn, best known as Barack Obama (and other characters) on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and comedy writer Monica Piper, head writer for the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats, will select two humor writers for a fun, unconventional writing residency that promises winners the gift of time to hole up in a hotel, write — and order free room service.

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is offering two emerging writers the opportunity to dive into their comedy writing for two uninterrupted weeks at the University of Dayton Marriott Hotel along the Great Miami River, dubbed the “Dayton Riviera.”

Applications will be accepted Sept. 5-Oct. 5 for A Hotel Room of One’s Own: The Erma Bombeck | Anna Lefler Humorist-in-Residence Program, what Forbes says “may be the best writer’s residency in the country.” The winners will be announced in November and honored at the April 4-6, 2024, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, where they will be presented with plush, custom-embroidered bathrobes to kick off their residency. The package is worth approximately $5,000, but the experience is priceless.

About the Finalist Judges

Cited by Oprah Magazine as “one of our favorite creative thinkers,” Dion Flynn is a writer, keynote speaker, improvisor, comedian, actor and U.S. Army veteran. He’s best known for playing Barack Obama and other characters, with over 100 appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Dubbed “the Eckhart Tolle of applied improvisation,” he is a master at using fun and innovative ways to help people connect with themselves and others, leading hundreds of writers, storytellers, business professionals, college students, sales people, recovering- and non-recovering folks through his dynamic improvisor’s mindset workshops.

Monica Piper is an Emmy Award-winning and Golden Globe-nominated comedy writer, comedian and speaker. She’s written for sit-coms Roseanne, Mad About You, Veronica’s Closet and was the head writer of the #1 children’s animated series Rugrats.

She starred in her own Showtime Network Comedy Special, No, Monica, Just You, and was nominated by the American Comedy Awards as one of the top five female comedians in the country. 

Her critically acclaimed one-woman play, Not That Jewish ran to sell-out crowds in Los Angeles, before a hit 200-performance run Off Broadway. She can soon be seen co-starring in the indie short film Grandma Bruce.

Flynn and Piper have strong ties to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, where they both served as keynote speakers.

Launched in 2017 with generous funding from humorist and writer Anna Lefler, “A Hotel Room of One’s Own” attracts hundreds of applications worldwide from writers working on comedic novels, narrative non-fiction, plays, essays, sitcom scripts and other humor-writing projects. A panel of established writers will blind judge the entries and narrow the field to 10 finalists. Flynn and Piper will then select two grand prize winners as well as finalists and honorable mentions.

For more information about the program, click here. The biennial Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop, believed to be the only conference in the country devoted to both humor and human interest writing, is enormously popular and typically sells out. The Writer magazine named it the best writing conference in Ohio and “THE conference for humor writers.” Registration for the April 4-6, 2024, workshop will open in November.