Fort Wayne man goes from factory worker to sitcom writer

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Jamarcus Turner’s first step to writing for Bob Hearts Abishola began when he promised his little brother he would try stand-up comedy if his brother could find an open mic night.

That never happened. His brother died in his sleep.

“A week after he died, I saw a flyer for an open mic and I started going and I never stopped,” Turner told WANE 15. “I got some attention for stand-up and for my writing.”

The next step? Turner’s prolific Twitter feed @MrMarcus260 – largely fueled by his lack of interest at his factory job.

“I’m bored so I’m on Twitter all the time saying terrible, terrible jokes all the time.”

That leads to a direct message from comedian Yassir Lester to ask about Turner’s career. “I said ‘Hey, I build plastic tanks in Indiana.’ And he was like, ‘Hey man, I think you should write’ and he bought me a book of writing for television and he bought me software for my computer so that I could write.

Turner says the first drafts were “terrible” but got better until he finally had a sample that was good. He started to submit to writing competitions and that “started the ball rolling.”

Turner made a deep run “almost to the finals” of the worldwide search to find writers for John Stewart’s new project The Problem with Jon Stewart for Apple TV. He didn’t get hired but he made an impression.

“The head writer over there liked my writing so much they sent me to a Disney executive. It turns out when executives at Disney tell people that they really like you, agents and managers start paying attention. So then I looked up and I had an agent. I had a manager. Then my manager started sending me on little ‘upfronts.’ That’s what they call it but it’s really just job interviews.”

He was prepared for his meeting with Bob Hearts Abishola because he knew the show fairly well since it airs after Jeopardy.

“I watch Jeopardy religiously and then I watch whatever shows that come on after, so I was already a big fan of Bob Hearts Abishola.”

Turner encourages others to take the steps toward their dreams.

“Don’t settle for the thing that you’re doing now. Do the things that you really want to do, which you feel in your heart you’re supposed to be doing. Do those things.”

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