YBY ep 311: Riley E. Smith on how books and improv saved her life.

This week on Yes But Why, I talk to comedy writer and novelist, Riley E. Smith.

Riley E. Smith writes and reads everything, with a specialty in smart-talking antiheroes and strong-willed women across genres. She’s taught and performed standup comedy, sketch comedy, and improv on two continents.

Riley was brought up in Arizona but she currently lives in Southern California with her helpful editor/boyfriend, where she teaches improv and writes books. Riley also runs a small business helping burgeoning artists find their creativity called the MakeGood Creative Network.

In our conversation, Riley told me how she hustled poker as a kid. Listen in for her story of writing and performing hilarious parodies in school.

As a born director, the other kids would often ask Riley what games they should play on the playground. Riley, being brave and confident, didn’t blink an eye at the leadership position. She likes to take risks like the time when she was asked to direct a musical and she did it without ever having done it before.

When she started acting in college, Riley always got the funny roles. She wanted the dark, serious roles but instead, she ended up acting in comedy sketches and later, teaching sketch comedy.

Riley told me how “books and improv saved [her] life.” She explained how she got back into sketch comedy as an adult because she needed help dealing with a horrible job. She shared that after a series of ridiculously terrible jobs, her freelance writing career was borne. Riley has self-published a few books, including her most recent novel, CARDINAL.

I had such a fun time talking to Riley. We really dug deep into a discussion of world building and the creative process of that. We talk about being goal oriented and taking the next step even when it’s scary.

Oh and we totally forgot to talk about it but Riley is also spearheading a network for artists on makegoodcreativenetwork.com. Check out all the amazing creative resources she has available!

Support Riley E. Smith by reading her books! Or hiring her to write for you! Or taking comedy classes with her!


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(production notes: recorded zoom meeting via Rodecaster on 3/7/2022; posted on 4/18/2022)

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