Maria Semple's Saints:
- King of farce Michael Frayn. The playwright and novelist behind Noises Off, Copenhagen and Clockwise.
- Stephen Sondheim, the master of musical theatre, responsible for West Side Story, Sweeney Todd and Gypsy.
- South African author Barbara Trapido, best known for the award winning social comedy Brother of the More Famous Jack.
Whipsmart American writer Maria Semple does that rare and beautiful thing of making you cringe, laugh and cry in recognition - all at the same time. She reminds us how ridiculous, sad and lost we can become. All the while slowly revealing how utterly tender and brilliant people are too.
It’s a comic path Maria’s spent years crafting. Although best known these days for her darkly comic best seller Where D’you Go Bernadette - picked up by Richard Linklater for the big screen - Maria notched up years penning gags for some of the biggest shows on the planet; from Saturday Night Live to Arrested Development and Ellen.
Cracking jokes and telling stories is the family business. Not only did her Dad, Lorenzo Semple Jr, create the 60s TV show Batman but Maria’s long term partner, the writer George Meyer is widely credited as having shaped the humour and comedic tone on The Simpsons over the years.
So, press play for what’s probably less like an interview and more a taste of what it might feel like in the writer’s room with Maria. She says she’s slowed down a bit lately, that she’s not as quick witted as she used to be, but don’t believe it for a minute.