Alexis Wilkinson is a comedy writer and director who lives in Los Angeles. She currently writes for the HBO show Veep, the fifth season of which premieres on April 24th. This week, Wilkinson graciously answered questions about three of her favorite tweets, and we talked about formatting jokes effectively, getting around LA, and how she’s avoided copying other people’s styles on Twitter.
Wilkinson: This is quintessential me. Hypocritical, aggressively punctuated, and involving a “voice” (in this case, a live TV reporter). I am a very flawed, but very self-aware individual. I do a lot of things and think a lot of things I know are shitty. But that contradiction is funny to me and I think people understand it. I feel like everyone has multiple selves. My sense of humor is a lot of choosing which self to amplify or which two to set against each other.
Has Twitter helped you develop your voice at all, and if so, in what ways?
I don’t perform often, so this is a nice way to get feedback on jokes in an immediate way. That’s particularly helpful when I’m working on topical material.
How do you approach writing for Twitter vs writing for other media/platforms?
On Twitter, brevity, spelling, and punctuation make all the difference. I’ll spend time just moving commas around, capitalizing things, analyzing the effect of “titties” vs “tiddies” vs “tatas.” All very important.
Do you have favorite formats to tweet in?
I like writing dialogues. Made up song lyrics. I love a good GIF. The last one I tweeted is Jacob Tremblay dancing around and it cracks me up every time I look at it.
I was raised Baptist and have a lot of biblical nonsense running through my head at all times. I love thinking about Bible characters. And I’ve been in LA for almost a year without a car, just using ridesharing services. It’s really great that I can take my functional alcoholism on the road without hurting anyone.
Is there anyone you follow who helped set the mood when you first were figuring out Twitter?
I actually purposefully didn’t follow a lot of humor accounts. It’s hard to avoid absorbing others’ style of tweeting when you’re just figuring it out.
I occasionally tweet weird stuff like this and the tweets never get as much love as I think they should. I adore this tweet. I tweeted it over the holidays. I love the idea that there’s a world that’s completely ablaze all the time but they still love to celebrate Christmas.
Are there tweets that, conversely, you thought wouldn’t get any love but surprised you with their popularity?
This one is so silly and not particularly clever. Guess people just really love Mario Kart.
What is your favorite and least favorite thing about Twitter?
Favorite: Getting to interact with comedians and other people I really admire. I’ve gotten jobs from Twitter. Made friends. It’s very cool.
Least favorite: Randoms yelling at you about stupid stuff. Demanding your attention. Explaining your jokes to you. Or worse, taking your jokes seriously and then trying to give you life advice.
Favorite thing to address the least favorite thing: the “mute” button. It’s amazing.
Jenny Nelson lives and writes in Brooklyn and works at Funny Or Die.