Political events have been providing late night talk show hosts with funny jokes as long as the medium of TV has existed. Therefore, it should not come as a shock that the testimony of former FBI chief James Comey has drawn the attention of all the biggest names in late night TV. Trevor Noah, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien and James Corden provided their take on the critical testimony which could have a huge impact on the presidency of Donald Trump. What is interesting is the way that these late night hosts go about writing jokes about big stories in the political world.
All of the late night TV shows have large staffs of professional comedy writers who are paid to make their bosses funny on a nightly basis. The procedure about how these writers come up with material varies depending on the show. However, their procedure regarding huge stories like the Comey hearing is remarkably the same. All of the late night shows have several writers assigned to watch the hearing in its entirety. The writers were instructed to take notes about anything that could potentially be used for jokes. After the hearing is complete, those writers have a meeting to throw around ideas for funny monologue jokes or bits that can be used later in the show.
At some point, the rest of the writing staff is brought into he equation to see if they can add anything to what he first group of writers have come up with. Conan O’Brien has said that he wants his writers to always collaborate because one person can come up with a solid premise that other writers can build on. Writers who always work alone will never have the benefit of other writers making their material even funnier. Jimmy Kimmel says that his writers feed on the pressure of having to come up with topical jokes on a nightly basis. He loved their Comey material.