Rashida Jones and Keegan-Michael Key

Comedy isn’t always a laugh

THERE IS always a risk when you give three talented comedians a topic to talk about that they will digress. So it was with McCann Worldgroup and The Paley Centre for Media’s session Creativity Is The Only Way To Survive, which featured Rashida Jones, Keegan-Michael Key and Rob Delaney.

But while the session did not exactly deliver against its title, it more than made up for this with a series of frank and amusing insights into the nature of creativity and comedy. One big discussion point was how to get the balance right between your personal vision and the audience’s expectations. Jones, known for Parks And Recreation, said there is such a demand for content that it is sometimes difficult to keep sight of where your creativity springs from: “So I really believe in having a safe place where you can just go and be creative, where you play and be dumb and don’t worry about the outcome.”


Key, star of the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele, agreed, but stressed the importance of also having a sounding board — friends or colleagues who can tell you “when what you are doing is too esoteric”.

This segued into a debate about the importance of owning your creativity, but being able to listen. Delaney said: “With Catastrophe [the Channel 4 UK sitcom that Delaney co-creates with Sharon Horgan], I had this fear of becoming this walled off-guy who wouldn’t listen. So I’m a real believer in humility.”

The debate then turned to an insightful discussion about diversity, with Key saying diversity leads to more layered stories. “We’re all wearing blinders of bias that we don’t know we are wearing,” he said. “That’s why we need to hire people from different cultures.”



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June 24 | Seminar Report