Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

How to create comedy gold


She co-wrote hit TV show Parks And Recreation and now her first film script The Heat, starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, is set to be the biggest comedy of the year. Katie Dippold gives us her tips for penning a killer Hollywood script.

Develop your own writing rituals

“I can’t have silence, so I always have Law And Order playing in the background; I find it very calming, which is weird as it’s so violent.”

Analyse your favourite TV and films

“I love Cheers and Frasier but The Golden Girls is my favourite. I always watched them for enjoyment, but then when I got a job as a writer on Parks And Recreation, I studied them to see how they worked in the ad breaks and the number of scenes.”

I wanted to see a film where the female character isn’t the hot girl on the back of the scooter, she’s the one being funny and cool

Use your own life for material

“I have a friend who reminds me of [Melissa McCarthy’s character] Mullen in The Heat, as she’s very frank. If I said, ‘This outfit doesn’t look good on me,’ a lot of women would be like, ‘It looks great.’ Whereas she’d say, ‘No it doesn’t, you better change.’ It was very jarring at first.”

Join an improv group

“I honestly don’t know what I’d be doing if it wasn’t for the Upright Citizens Brigade [New York theatre founded by Amy Poehler] as they let me write so many shows. Improv is a great way to learn how to keep your writing sharp and focus on the funny thing in the scene.”

Find a point of difference

“I loved buddy-cop movies but I wanted to see a film where the female character isn’t the hot girl on the back of the scooter, she’s the one being funny and cool. So I wrote one.”

The Heat is in cinemas nationwide from 31 July



Where to get naked


Britain’s most beautiful gyms



Mamma Mia! ABBA confirm plans to reunite for “live experience” in 2018

All four of the original Dancing Queens are on board

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Gisele's bucket list adventures to Victoria Beckham's night out

by Nicola Colyer
27 Oct 2016

Bake Off’s Mary Berry on her TV reunion with Mel and Sue

The future for these GBBO stars is very bright indeed…

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

Lady Gaga fans, the full Carpool Karaoke video is beyond incredible

James Corden’s face says it all, really

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Oct 2016

Sorry Mel C, Little Mix don't want you to be their mum

You can be ours though

by Anna Pollitt
26 Oct 2016

This Instagram star's honest selfie has gone viral

A glimpse behind the filtered curtain

by Amy Swales
26 Oct 2016

The Alexander McQueen biopic just cast the perfect Hollywood star

Another British bad boy.

by Moya Crockett
26 Oct 2016

Jennifer Garner opens up on co-parenting with ex-husband Ben Affleck

The pair try to teach their children the importance of charity

by Sarah Biddlecombe
26 Oct 2016

Life advice from Helen Mirren, “the nastiest of nasty women”

Ignore those who judge by appearances, don’t rush into marriage, and only drink on days ending in 'Y'.

by Moya Crockett
26 Oct 2016

Miss Iceland quits beauty pageant after being ‘told she's too fat’

“I am a very strong woman, but sometimes my strength isn't enough”

by Anna Pollitt
25 Oct 2016