Television sitcom (situation comedy) writer Bill Daly made an impromptu visit to Ballman Elementary School earlier this week. An alum of Ballman Elementary, Ramsey Junior High and Southside High School, Daly spoke to Ballman students about his career as a comedic writer, his shows and their actors, and he offered advice as Ballman students begin to make their way in the world of work.
He began his conversation by telling the students that when he was their age, he thought he was pretty funny. “Do any of you think that you're funny?” he asked. Dozens of hands went up and the chatter began.
He continued, noting that he kind of liked being the class clown. “How many of you think that you are a good class clown?” Even more hands shot up accompanied by a fair amount of giggling. “Well, I don’t know about that,” Daly said, “because really good class clowns have to learn how to listen carefully.”
The room was silent.
Daly, who recently completed his work on the CBS sitcom “Mike and Molly,” described his workplace and discussed success and failure. He told his audience he has worked on a number of shows that many would not know. “You cannot be discouraged by failure. You have to keep trying,” he said, adding that success requires a lot of hard work and determination.
He continued, saying he was lucky enough to have the opportunity to build a career doing what he loves. “It takes hard work, and you build it stone by stone.”
He emphasized the importance of learning to work as a team, and he talked about building good relationships with everyone. “You have to be nice to everyone you meet,” he said and then explained to the students that he got his first writing job because a college classmate knew that, in addition to being talented, he was a good guy who would work hard.
One student asked, “Do you always love doing what you do?” Daly replied with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” But he also told them that there are challenging days that are harder than others.
Another student asked him about his favorite star? He said that he has enjoyed working with most of the actors, mentioning Gina Davis and Lisa McCarthy. But, he commented that John Ritter was one of the nicest men he had ever met. Daly worked with Ritter on Ritter’s final show, “8 Simple Rules.”
Daly kept up with question after question from his student audience. His answers were met with enthusiastic interest and hearty murmurs of approval. After some conversation about the recently cancelled “Mike and Molly” one student said, “Well, what do you do now?”
Daly laughed and said, “Not that your parents should let you watch it, but I am working on a Netflix comedy with Kathy Bates. Its’ called “Disjointed,” and it premieres in July.” The students answered with a resounding and knowing, “Ooooh, yeahhh, Netflix!”