Tim Harrod

Alumnus, 1984-1986; comedy writer for The Onion

Tim Harrod attended the Workshop in Journalism (‘84), Scriptwriting (‘85) and Playwriting (‘86). He has written for Late Night With Conan O’Brien, where the team he worked on was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Series. He currently writes for The Onion and humor magazine The American Bystander

Where are you living and what brought you there?

Family business brought me from New York City to New Hampshire a few years ago; It’s a nice tranquil place to write, though I’d like to return one day to a large city- they are vast gardens of sights and experiences available nowhere else, which any writer can benefit from.

Where are you working and what do you enjoy about it?

I’m a regular contributor to The Onion, where I mainly submit headlines and individual jokes for things like their “American Voices” feature. As hard as I’ve worked for them, I feel lucky to have the job both creatively, for their consistent excellence, and professionally, because they are a humor vortex that devours hundreds of jokes a day and immediately needs more.

What do you find yourself most often reading/listening to lately and why?

I read more online content than books these days- perhaps a bad choice. In my ears, along with a few podcasts and YouTube channels I keep up with, I get a lot of “Weird Al” Yankovic- his superior musicianship and skewed perspective are a reliable constant in a turbulent world.

What are you working on right now and what does it represent in the larger body of your artistic accomplishments?

In addition to the Onion, I contribute to The American Bystander, a magazine seeking to bring back physical, printed humor using many of the 20th century’s great humor writers and artists, plus a few very talented new names. They accept online submissions!

What are your publications, performances, albums, and/or achievements that seem most important to you at this point in time?

When the Onion’s book “Our Dumb Century” was published in 1999, I had a feeling my modest contributions would be one of my proudest achievements for a long, long time. The feeling hasn’t abated - with a little help from me, those folks crafted a monolithic and savagely funny summary of an entire century.

How would you characterize the influence of your YWW experience in your life?

I enjoyed all three years I attended so much that it undoubtedly made writing more appealing to me. One of my favorite places to be is among other creative talents, and this was one of my first such experiences- certainly the first that lasted all day, for weeks. Looking deeper, since there were no professional writers in my family, I suspect it ‘normalized’ writing to me; gathering words into paragraphs concretely became a real thing people do every day.

What’s the best advice you can give a Young Writer (in general or in your specific genre)?

The standard (and correct) advice you get everywhere - to write and write and write - may be the only advice that applies to all writers. Almost everything else is finding your own road map to what works. Not merely what makes you comfortable, mind you, but what gets the piece you’re writing finished and as good as possible! When you’re sweating over a tough job, you’re growing as a writer, so let it happen.