For Deepak Sethi, a Western alumnus who graduated in 2002, comedy writing wasn’t a required course to complete his science degree. However, post-graduation would hold a different fate. While working in Toronto at his father’s ethnic food distribution company, Sethi sought a creative outlet and started up a comedic blog in 2009.
“I liked tackling stuff that people found devastatingly important—like the incorrect use of the word ‘literally,’” he says. “That would be an entire article, dissecting how the word seeped into the modern lexicon and has destroyed conversations all over the world.”
With posts like “How To Be the Worst Facebook Friend” and “Who Would Win In A Battle, A Polar Bear or a Tiger?” Sethi developed his comedic chops and cut himself a slice of virtual celebrity. By August 2009, his readership reached 60,000. When the blog’s witty style caught the eye of actress Alyssa Milano, she tweeted links to it and spread the word in real life.
The game of Hollywood telephone had begun. Ricky Blitt, writer of the Johnny Knoxville movie The Ringer and former Family Guy producer, passed Sethi’s work on to Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane. In 2010, Sethi left the basmati rice behind for a new family in Los Angeles—as Family Guy’s newest staff writer.
Hired on for Season 10, Sethi began collaborating and co-writing episodes like the recently aired Family Guy Viewer Mail #2. Since his TV debut, the writer has continued to develop creatively. He produced and acted in a short film, Being Bin Laden, which recently premiered at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival in 2011. And his most recent work is on Comedy Central’s new animated series, Brickleberry.
Sethi may no longer eat at Centre Spot, but he hasn’t forgotten about the family that made him the outgoing and eccentric writer he is today.
“Western’s a family,” he says. “We all try to help each other out.”
As for inspiring his rapid-fire creativity today, Sethi mentions that his past as a residence advisor is particularly inspiring.
“I think a movie about an RA could be funny, but you’d need a Hollywood spin on it—like the RA is a penguin,” he says, only half-joking.
Seth is full of off-the-wall ideas. As part of the USC’s Backpack 2 Briefcase speaker series, the comedian hopes to give aspiring screenwriters some insight into the industry. Step one: don’t question yourself as a writer—keep being neurotic and weird.
“If you can nail that, the world is your oyster,” he says. “Even if you’re violently allergic to oysters, it’s now an oyster, so how great is that for you. Now you can be neurotic about your new-found oyster.”
With dreams of writing a children’s book and a musical, Sethi has plenty to be neurotic and weird about—in a dynamic way, of course. He recently sold his own TV show to CBC, hoping to return to the quirky styles of Canadian comedy.
For now, he’s back to London to share some inspiration with his Western family. Staying true to his roots, Sethi spills Western’s best-kept secret to success—Wednesday nights at the Spoke.
“Rick McGhie’s whimsical voice helped me become a better writer,” he says.
So sing along to “Sweet Caroline” and keep on blogging in the free world, Western.