Each fall, before the start of a new television season, Saturday Night Live accepts submissions from comedy writers looking to write jokes on a freelance basis for Weekend Update. To my knowledge, pretty much anyone can apply; the only prerequisite is that you know who to contact in the writer’s room. They generally respond to every inquiry, and the guidelines are fairly straightforward:
We would like you to write a total of 10 jokes based on news stories the occurred between September 6th and September 15, 2011. We are interested in seeing how you write for current events. We do not want old material. Also, please do not submit more than 10 jokes. To help you, I am enclosing a couple of pages of set-ups. You are not limited to the stories from these set-ups, but any stories you use must have occurred during the stated time period.
We are looking for solid, traditional monologue jokes. I.E. Two line jokes. Set-up followed by a punchline. We do not want Daily Show style rants. Please do not send in bits, shorts sketches, or anything involving other cast members. Do not submit jokes with multiple punchlines. They will count as separate jokes.
If you are accepted, there’s no guarantee that anything you write will ever make it to air. In fact, there’s a strong possibility that it won’t. But you still get to say you’re a freelance joke-writer at SNL, and that plays better on a résumé than “dog walker.” I have no idea of how many people typically apply, and even less of an idea of how many are accepted. I wasn’t. In fact, I was rejected in record time, just hours after emailing my submission. So, just in case you’re wondering what not to do, here are a few of the jokes that didn’t get me a job writing for Weekend Update.
- In a new international poll, America was voted the world’s “Coolest Nationality.” Meanwhile, the award for “Most Likely to Succeed” went to that bitch China.
- This week the Democratic National Committee unveiled its new slogan, “Change that matters.” Republicans responded by revealing their new slogan: “Once, you go black. Then you go back.”
- The Federal Trade Commission has blocked two developers from claiming that their mobile apps treat acne. The FTC then rejected a new drug that claims to treat Alzheimer’s by making you forget you have it.
- A new study indicates that raising children leads to lower testosterone levels in men. The findings don’t mean you shouldn’t have kids; you just shouldn’t spend time with them.
- A judge has ordered a man in France to pay his ex-wife $14,000 for failing to sexually satisfy her during their 21 years of marriage. Asked for comment, the ex-wife said that it was a hard 21 years—just not hard enough.
- GOP presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is being criticized for suggesting the HPV vaccine may cause mental retardation. She has since recanted, admitting that doctors don’t know what caused her condition.