Premise Hat Comedy/Writing Exercise

This is a group writing activity suggested by comedian Rich Williams.

Take a hat, or some sort of container and a sheet of paper. Cut the paper up into strips long enough that someone could write at least a sentence on. Divvy up the pieces of cut paper to your group. Throw out a subject matter to the group, then mark the clock and for the next five minutes, write as many ideas or premises related to that subject matter in five minutes. At the end of the five minutes, put the ideas/premises into the container, then have the group pick a slip from the hat at random. 

Once the slip is selected, write or riff for five more minutes regarding whatever is on the slip. If writing, expand on the idea, make it your own. If working out audibly, see where the idea/premise takes you in relation to your own life/experiences.


2.27.13 - Challenge #13

This challenge was proposed by guest Brandon Massengill during episode 13.

Take two characters in something you're already working on, or thinking about working on, and send them on a road trip. Examine the dynamic between two characters stuck in a car together, with the need to achieve some goal. They have to pick someone up, drop something off, arrive somewhere, whatever your needs may be.

Give it a try!

Send Submissions to :

2.15.2013 -Exercise #12

In Episode 12, Ryan and Justin propose this challenge:
Write a short story in ten steps. What we mean by that is, write a story in which during several anecdotal statements, scenes or sentiments are thrown in during the action to add either/or tension, action or clarity to whatever is going on.
For an example, refer to the video that inspired this challenge:

10.29.2012 - Exercise #01


The very first writing challenge!

Write a scene in which a character has walked into a diner they haven't been to before, and someone (not necessarily the aforementioned character) is stabbed with a fork.

Wow. How far we've come.

Please send all submissions to:

11.08.2012 - Exercise #02


In five-hundred words or less, create a science-fiction narrative featuring a technological advancement based on something that is either currently being developed in the world of modern science, or something that is theoretically possible.

Send all submissions to:

11.13.2012 - Exercise #03


Write a short story, a thousand words or less, in which you the author omit one vowel entirely from it. What we mean by that is, before you write, decide you're not going to use a certain vowel (a,e,i,o,u) and then write a story in which your chosen vowel never appears.

Send all writing challenge submissions to:

11.29.2012 - Exercise #05


Write a love poem.

Get it out. Get it out of you. It needs to be said, or it'll get compressed and spit out in a very poor story or attempt at writing somewhere down the line. So please, just send out that attempt of getting love on the page.

Send all submissions to:

12.4.2012 - Exercise #06


This episode proposed both a writing challenge, and a drawing challenge!

The writing challenge: create a haiku or chunk of writing that displays your inner demons. Try to "offend" yourself and see how far you can push the envelope while making some tangible sense!

The drawing challenge (the first!) is to take a picture of yourself (preferably printed out) cut it in half, tape/glue the remaining half to another piece of paper and on that paper, draw your inner darkness reflected against yourself.

Have fun!

12.11.2012 - Exercise #07


For this challenge, create a short story that uses the following seven phrases in some context. This challenge was generated by going through several books and pulling out seven different words and phrases at random. Those phrases are:

  • Once musty quilt
  • Upon the abomination
  • What a world of ruined sculpture was about us
  • Cloudless heavens
  • Constantinople makes a noble picture
  • A weird species
  • Ministrations

12.28.2012 - Exercise #08


For this challenge, change the atmosphere of a piece of already established/previously written material to evoke a different mood. For example, a story about a zombie apocalypse from the zombies point of view rather than that of the survivors could make for some very interesting insight.

Give it a try!

Send all submissions to :

1.30.2013 - Exercise # 10

Apologies on this exercise as it did not get said in the episode, but that's why we have a shiny new website!

For this writing challenge, with the idea of throwing out your first bunch of ideas to cut through the collective unconsciousness, come up with ten initial premises for a story you think you might want to write. For example " a man wakes up in an unfamiliar place, realizes he is trapped in an underwater city." Then, keep whittling those premises down until you have only one that seems truly in your wheelhouse.

Happy writing!

2.06.2013 - Exercise # 11


Paint yourself a word-picture of a specific person or place without using exclusive detail. For example, try to describe a character like Captain America without outright naming him, or using a cheap get-around like "Bucky was his sidekick."

Send all submissions to: