BWW Interviews: New TONIGHT SHOW Writer Simon Taylor

September 26
10:48 2012
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While on a short tour of the stand-up comedy circle in Los Angeles, comedian Simon Taylor scored a ticket to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - a day later, he was hired to write for the show! The award-winning entertainer spoke to TalkTVWorld about what it's like to be a part of the legendary late night talk show.

Is it true that you were hired as a writer for THE TONIGHT SHOW just one day after visiting as an audience member? 

It was all pretty surreal and happened unexpectedly, to be honest. Other performers often ask me to write for them. A few months ago, my friend James Galea asked me over to LA to help him with a project. I wanted to do some stand-up while there, but only managed to get one gig booked before I flew over.

I arrived at LAX and was driven straight to the Nerdist Meltdown to do my first ever American gig. I did ten minutes of stand-up. After my set, a producer from The Tonight Show who was there came up to me. He said he liked my stuff and that if I wanted to go see the show filmed live he'd get me tickets.

The next week I was at The Tonight Show studio in Burbank. I saw the show and loved it. The producer who I met took me back stage to meet Jay. I had a split second to think of what I would say to him when I shook his hand. Being the joker than I am, what came out was "Hey Jay Leno, I'm going to write for you one day."

Jay, to my surprise said "okay, send your jokes in".

The next day I had a contract to sign.

Unbelievable. What is it like being a part of such a legendary TV show like The Tonight Show?

It's only contributed to my common comedian delusion that I will one day transform into Johnny Carson.

What is like working with Jay Leno?

He loves jokes. I love jokes. It works perfectly.

What is the writing process like for the show? Do you have your eye on the news all day long in order to have the most "up to the minute" jokes?

I'm a contributing writer, I don't have to be in the studio but it's a constant preoccupation. I wake up, read the news. I go out, listening to the radio. I check my news apps ever spare second I get. I go about my life with at least one part of my brain toying with joke ideas for the show. So I collect interesting stories around the clock as I see them, but also get the most up-to-date ones in the lead up to show time.

About Author

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Caryn Robbins Caryn Robbins is a features editor for BroadwayWorld, and Managing Editor of BWW's TV, Film and Music spin-off sites. Her original musical comedy DEAR PROSPECTIVE STUDENT (follow @DearStudent) has been staged in two NYC theater festivals and was performed as an Equity Staged Reading in New York City in 2015. This June DEAR PROSPECTIVE STUDENT won 'Best Ensemble Show' in Chicago's Premier Premieres Festival. Follow Caryn on Twitter @CarynRobbins
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