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"Send your jokes in": Women Comedy Writers at the Paley Center

May 21, 2010

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="382" caption="Morgan Murphy, Meredith Scardino, and Allison Silverman. Photo by Sharilyn Johnson."][/caption] In a guest post for Women & Hollywood, Kathleen Sweeney reports from the "Women and Late Night Television" panel at the Paley Center, where female writers from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, The Jimmy Fallon Show and others gathered to talk about what it's like being such a stark minority in the boy's club of comedy, and even provided tips to wannabe late-night writers. Overall, Sweeney's pretty optimistic about the state of women in these roles, and encourages women not to wait until somebody's told them they're funny enough to get paid for it: "If you want to write for David Letterman, or Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart," Sweeney counsels, "send your jokes in. Don’t just think about it. Do it." A few more tips from the panel:
  • Target the show you want to write for and memorize it inside and out. (Several of the panelists admitted to having every season of their target shows archived.)
  • Create a streamlined packet with your best material. “Pretend like you write for the show and give it to everyone you can think of…” (Meredith Scardino)
  • Do stand up comedy. Open mics, whatever. While you may not be the best performer out there, it’s a way for your jokes to be heard and seen. It may lead to writing for a big comedian. Plus it’s a great way to network. (Morgan Murphy)
  • Envision yourself as the head writer of a late night show. It never hurts to dream big. Plus it’s funny. Read Hallie Haglund’s piece on finally meeting Conan O’Brien.
Check out the clip from the event, and read Sweeney's full post here.

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