Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop 2022: Plus One to Paradise

I am home in my bed with my phone, one of my cats and my laptop. I haven’t even turned on the TV.

I am exhausted.

And satisfied.

The Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop 2022 was held this weekend.

This only happens every two years. Due to the apocalypse, 2020 was virtual, and it’s been four years since seeing my friends in person.

I have a lot to say about this, but right now? I’m just going to tell you about the first 10 minutes.

Randy picked me up from work Thursday afternoon and we made the 30 minute drive north to Dayton, Ohio.

He dropped me off at the hotel. I went from excited to nervous. My anxiety clearly felt I was feeling too joyful and needed to step in. I wasn’t worried though, I was 4th in line at the check in counter and I’d be escaping to my room in no time.

Someone entered the lobby and got in line behind me.

alan zweibel and michelle poston combs

Alan Zweibel.

Alan Zweibel was one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live.

He’s also done a shit ton of other things. He’s hilarious, engaging and genuine.

I remembered attending his session in 2016 and enjoyed hearing about his friendship with Gilda Radner. I wrote about him in 2016, I have a picture of him kissing my cheek. I was excited and then, throughout that weekend, I saw photographic evidence that Alan Zweibel kissed every single woman at the conference. I was going to title that post “Alan Zweibel is a Whore”, but I chickened out.  I didn’t think I was in any real danger that he would read my blog, but you never know.

I shushed my anxiety, said hello and introduced myself.

Alan Zweibel: You’re not going to believe what happened just now.

Me: Okay?

AZ: I got a text from the cab driver who was assigned to pick me up from the airport and her name was Gilda.

Me: Bullshit.

AZ: No, really. Look.

He showed me a text from the cab driver and her name was indeed Gilda. Then he showed me the texts between him and Laraine Newman about the cab driver. You know, just your typical afternoon.

AZ: I am going to take this as a sign that I’m getting into heaven.

Me: Ah, well, I probably won’t see you as I don’t think I get to go there.

AZ: Really? That’s a shame. Bad person?

Me: Either that, or it doesn’t exist.

AZ: I’ll tell you what, I will take you as my plus one.

Some people walked up and started talking to Alan, which was fine with me. They could interrupt our conversation, no worries. I had just secured a nice place for my afterlife. I had no complaints.

I checked into my hotel room. Hid for a bit and then proceeded to have an epic weekend.

Saturday evening was the final evening of the conference. Laraine Newman was the keynote speaker. Her stories were compelling and completely hilarious. Alan Zweibel introduced her.

During his introduction, he started telling a story about the name of the cab driver that picked him up from the airport and I thought “Oh, that story? I heard that story days ago.”

28 Thoughts.

  1. That sounded like a wonderful weekend! Hope you had a ton of laughs to make up for all the dreary you’ve been through recently.

    • It was wonderful. The best one yet. There was so much that I feel like I only skimmed the surface of all the potential awesomeness, but I’m not complaining. The people are beautiful and accepting. Everyone there wants success for everyone around them. It’s inspiring and hilarious. Truly an amazing experience.

  2. I’ve read a couple of Alan Zweibel’s books and remember seeing his name in the credits of SNL but I wouldn’t recognize him if he came up and kissed me, which he probably wouldn’t do but that’s okay. I’m glad he’s a good guy and that Laraine Newman was there too and so was Gilda, in spirit. It sounds like an amazing time.
    A guy in my writing group told me to read “Lunatics” and then said he wanted me to be the Dave Barry to his Alan Zweibel. But that’s impossible. There’s only one Alan Zweibel. Enjoy the trip to Heaven.

    • Well, Wendy, I don’t know if my blog ate your comment or perhaps you tripped and fell mid type? I’m hoping for the former. Since I don’t know what you mean to say, I will try to cover all possibilities in my reply:

      Thank you so much! It was lovely to see you. I feel like we got about a half a second to talk and that just isn’t long enough. I love dogs, but I’m a cat person. Blue. Socrates. Truffle salt. Star Trek and slipped discs.

  3. Wait, wouldn’t getting lost and never making it to hell be better than, you know, hell?
    So happy that that you had an amazing time at the workshop.

  4. I’m not reading this till 420 CST but your excitement and joy seem sufficient to carry you through till the next conference.
    And through the going back to the hellscape of the cubicle farm. Carry those memories with you. Put that picture of you and AZ (as I now like to call him…never having actually heard of him before but now he’s my bestie having made you smile so big) up in a good spot.

  5. Michelle, How exciting and FUN! I’m so glad you got to go. And I want to know more. Are you going to write more about what you did and learned and everything? I didn’t even know there was an Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop — but OF COURSE THERE IS! At present, I can only live vicariously through others and this is something I’d die (okay, maybe not die die but almost) to live vicariously through! Great story about AZ!

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