Writing Jokes with Shea Serrano (The Ringer, The Rap Year Book)

Do you ever miss teaching? Why or why not?

Yes. I miss it a lot. Teaching was such a dope job. I wish teachers got paid more. Teachers should get paid at least $100K a year. Anything less than that is unreasonable.

How did you first link up with Bun B?

We were both in the same underground fight club. We never fought each other, but we had mutual people we’d both fought.

What led to you writing for Grantland?

Molly Lambert led to me writing for Grantland.

What inspired the idea for The Rap Year Book?

It was Samantha Weiner’s idea. She’s an editor at Abrams Books. She told me she would give me money to write it, and so I said, “Okay. I will write it in exchange for said money.”

THE MOST IMPORTANT RAP SONG FROM EVERY YEAR SINCE 1979, DISCUSSED, DEBATED, AND DECONSTRUCTED: http://www.abramsbooks.com/product/rap-year-book_9781419718182/

Which song did you most enjoy deconstructing?

The DMX chapter was probably my favorite one to write.

Why do you keep a newsletter?

I haven’t done the newsletter for about nine months now. I started it back when I started it because I wasn’t writing anywhere and I wanted to feel creative again. I’m glad so many people liked it. Last I checked, it’d gotten over 30K subscribers in just a few weeks.

Why do writers become writers?

I don’t know why others do it. I did it because I needed to make some extra money.

How do you pick what topics to cover at The Ringer?

We have a machine at our offices called The Idea-tron 2000. You just plug in three different keywords and then it spits out an article premise. For example, two weeks ago Ityped in “Isaiah” and “plane” and “shark” and then the machine told me to write this.

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a staff writer?

Do dope shit. Don’t turn things in late. Always answer your emails fast. Always say yes.

Who should win this year’s NBA MVP?

James Harden.

What book that has inspired you recently?

I only read my books.

What can we expect in your new book?

A bunch of typos.

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