Justin Avery Smith Is Making Magic Happen Above A Garage

By Matt Levy

Justin Smith out of the garage (Photo courtesy of Justin Avery Smith).

Justin Avery Smith is a born comedy writer. He just didn’t know it. These days, Smith churns jokes out in Central Massachusetts in his office built above the garage of his parent’s house. However, Justin, a major in theater and minor (though never officially declaring) in Arts Admin at Suffolk University wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do with his life while still in school. After taking a business class one summer, his teacher asked him the prophetic question, “Do you want to employ someone, or be the one that’s employed? Justin proudly replied, “I wanna work WITH someone.”

Smith, a native of Trenton, NJ who moved to Central, MA at a young age had taken a few playwriting classes and many of the scenes he wrote were “basically sketches.” He had heard of how collaborative places like SNL were from behind-the-scenes stories shared online by Maya Rudolph, Jonah Hill and Seth Meyers and it seemed like everything he wanted. Smith began taking Second City’s online sketch writing classes. His work was so well received, that he had to stick with it. Also, while he was in the class, Trump was elected. Justin felt writing satire was the best way to “Stand up to the President outside of angry social media posts,” which Smith notes he usually keeps to a minimum anyway.

Post-graduation, he stuck to writing jokes on ComedyWire, a humor website known for showcasing topical jokes. One day, Justin’s joke portfolio caught the eye of Joe Toplyn, a former Leno and Letterman writer and the author of Comedy Writing for Late Night TV. Toplyn then chose Justin’s joke, A study says two types of gut bacteria have consistently been found in people with depression. The scientific name for them is “Ben & Jerry” as the Comedywire Joke of the Week. With this boost of confidence, Smith quit his job at The New England Aquarium and decided to pursue writing full-time.

Justin, a rabid gamer who plays Tomb Raider and Zelda among others, has a diverse range of comedic influences ranging from Amy Poehler for her silliness and commitment, to Seth Meyers for letting other performers shine. Also his father, a systems engineer (Smith called his dad’s profession, “A plumber, but for computers”) who gave him life advice such as “Don’t wear a plain white t-shirt in public” and “Don’t laugh when you shake hands with someone.” Smith’s mother is quite the character too sharing a birthday with her oldest brother, 18 years apart, and has been a homemaker making him laugh since he was born.

Smith, who is continually trying to be the best version of himself, has been very proudly honing his voice since he was a youngster with refined pop culture tastes. He said, “While other kids were watching Yu-Gi-Oh, I was watching Hitchcock movies and Star Trek. To this day, I regret none of that.” He proudly played Elle Woods in a Legally Blonde: The Musical rehearsal and wrote personalized letters to the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation as a kid. Gates Mcfadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher) was the only one wrote back, so Beverly has been his favorite character from then on. In High School, he was known as the Harry Potter nerd who had seen every Broadway show. He tried his darndest to get a big part in the shows to no avail. Painfully shy, but always with a script in hand. Folks, Smith was destined to write.

These days, Justin is participating in SlackJaw’s writing challenge with his humor piece If Songs About New York Were Changed To Be About Boston, writing articles independently on Medium, curating listicles on WhatCulture and streaming on Twitch from 2–4 PM EST weekdays where he engages with viewers, talking about his life while playing Playstation games. He wanted to point out that, “No, I don’t have an OnlyFans.” Luckily for you, that’s about the only place Justin isn’t generating content online.

In five years, Justin sees himself probably still in quarantine and hopefully “writing jokes about Joe Biden’s successor as President and AG Kamala Harris.” His dream is to write for a late night talk show or humor/news publication full time. Or create an hour long drama (likely based on either Horizon Zero Dawn or Tomb Raider). Or a half-hour sitcom based on his community theater escapades. The possibilities are endless.

Basically, Smith wants to create one of every type of medium (film, television, podcast). So, look closely above the next garage you see. The next great comedic voice might be writing up there.

You can find Justin on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.

Finally, Justin wanted everyone to know, “The Harry Potter tie-in games are the best video games of all time, don’t @ me!”

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