Paul Scheer is enjoying his share of well-deserved success these days. Among his many projects are the tremendously popular podcast How Did This Get Made?, the FXX comedy The League, and his recurring role on ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat. Of course, Scheer’s “instant success” actually took many long years of toil as he honed his craft.

Over at Funny Or Die’s Before You Were Funny, Scheer generously shares an early sketch he wrote called “The Closet.” Scheer is joined by Earwolf colleagues Kristen Schaal and Andy Daly, who perform a table read of his work. “The Closet” is jam-packed full of an East Coaster’s misguided assumptions about California, a nonsensical plot involving a house-genie and missing keys, and jokes that don’t actually land. It’s a tour de force, by which we mean it’s not very funny. Of course, that’s the point. Scheer openly discusses how proud he was of the idea at the time, and that he narrowly avoided the career-stymieing move of sharing it with the wrong people. In fact, the nicest things Scheer can say about “The Closet” is that he still believes in the premise, and that the script is mercifully short.

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So discouraged comedy writers should take some consolation: Paul Scheer’s ambitions definitely outpaced the quality of his early material. Like most talented folks, his skills didn’t just appear; they were built up over time, and sharpened by failure and frustration. So keep at it, and if your house-genie can’t find your keys, maybe it will workshop your script.

Before You Were Funny: Paul Scheer with Kristen Schaal, Andy Daly from Funny Or Die

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