6 Jokes That Didn’t Get Me a Job Writing for Weekend Update

Seth Meyers was pushing for me. Or whatever.

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.   Continue reading

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Tribeca Film Festival: Inside the “Baby Mama” Premiere

Moma_partyThe Tribeca Film Festival is off to a strong start, with the stars turning out for last night’s world premiere of “Baby Mama” at the Ziegfeld. We were in attendance at the official after-party, held at the Museum of Modern Art, which could have been mistaken for a “Saturday Night Live” reunion. In addition to Lorne Michaels and “Baby Mama” stars Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, guests at the MoMa included a long list of present and former cast-members, like Jimmy Fallon (who eventually left the party with former “SNL” player Chris Kattan), Rachel Dratch, Jason Sudeikis, Fred Armisen, Molly Shannon and even Chevy Chase. But the superstar of the evening was Steve Martin, who sauntered in wearing a panama hat, spent most of his time at a table with Lorne and Chevy and later departed without obliging the fans who were waiting outside for an autograph. (That said, Martin’s role in “Baby Mama” is much funnier than the rest of the movie.) Continue reading

SNL Writers, Players & Andy Samberg Groupies Turn Out to Support Writers Guild

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It was a full house Monday evening at Comix where assorted Saturday Night Live writers and players both past and present participated in a comedy event to benefit the striking Writers Guild of America, East. In keeping with the trend of wearing your support for the writers on your face, “strike beards” were in full effect, and the overall mood seemed to indicate that no one expects to return to work anytime soon.  Continue reading

An Evening with the Cast of MTV’s Human Giant

Photo: Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and Aziz Ansari are Human Giant

Ordinarily, the chances of me going out on a Monday night are nil, especially in this brick-ass cold. But with my television withdrawal giving me an increasingly nasty case of the shakes, I took the opportunity to check out last night’s sneak preview of the new season of Human Giant–the best thing to happen to MTV‘s comedy programming (or rather, MTV period) since The State— hosted by the Human Giants themselves.

As any proper night should, this one began with drinks. Various members of the press (editors and writers from Maxim, the NY Post, the Village Voice, ASCAP, Giant and other publications) assembled beforehand at West Chelsea haunt Half King, along with the show’s stars, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and Aziz Ansari, before making the troupe to the UCB Theater. Continue reading

Movie: The Brothers Solomon

Will Arnett and Will Forte are the Brothers Solomon

The Solomon brothers want to put a baby in you, and goddammit they will, even if it’s the last thing they do. When their dying father expresses one final wish to have a grandchild, Dean and John Solomon (Will Forte and Will Arnett) must find a way to procreate, stat. And it’s not going to be easy. That’s because until now, they’ve grown and developed (or rather, not developed) in the social equivalent of a concentration camp: a remote arctic location where they were home-schooled by their father. Miffed to find that the ladies aren’t exactly swooning, Dean and John explore other options, such as kidnapping (“We were trying to coax that little girl into our car, but her mom’s being a real pain in the ass,” Arnett explains to the police) and adoption (“What is your return policy?”), before they find Janine (SNL’s Kristen Wiig) on Craigslist, and convince her to serve as a surrogate. Written by Forte and directed by the legendary Bob Odenkirk (Mr. Show), this late-summer gem has all the right ingredients for comedy gold.

Interview: SNL’s Andy Samberg

Photo: Seth Kushner for YRB Magazine

Ever since Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell bade farewell to Saturday Night Live, the weekly sketch comedy show has been driven by veteran cast members like Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Chris Parnell and Amy Poehler. But with the remarkable success of the SNL Digital Short “Lazy Sunday,” which aired last December, a rookie cast member has been catapulted into the spotlight: Andy Samberg, 27.

Unless you’ve been in a coma for the last few months, you’ve probably seen the two-and-a-half minute rap video, which follows Samberg and Chris Parnell as they quench their “snack-attacks” with pink frosted cupcakes from New York’s famed Magnolia Bakery, load a backpack with Mr. Pibb and Red Vines purchased with less-than-crisp $10 bills at the local deli, and cab it to the Upper West Side to catch an afternoon showing of The Chronicles of NarniaContinue reading