French Tickler
In this piece, Dan French explains what it's like to write for The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, and provides tips on landing a network-television comedy-writing gig. (Thanks to Chumworth for the link.)

An excerpt:

I have an office (my own office, as compared to a cubicle in a trailer at FOX) at CBS studios, Television City, at the corner of Fairfax and Beverly. This is the studio most famous for The Price is Right, whose customers line up every day to pour in and see whether Bob Barker will keel over before they get their washer and dryer set.

I roll in every morning at 9 a.m. (about a 40-minute commute), roll out when we start taping at 6 p.m. (home by 6:45, not too bad).

My day has specific rhythms. From 9:00-10:00 all the writers meet in the conference room to drink coffee and eat free bagels and insult each other. A feature producer has laid off possible news stories into bite-sized stories from the overnight CBS news feeds, and we choose three of them that will be the foundation of our "In the News Segment." But mostly, it's about the coffee and bagels and insulting.

The Late, Late Show has four comedy segments: opening monologue (four or five jokes), desk piece (six or eight minutes of some kind of comedy feature, such as "What Up?" or some skit/sketch between the head writer, Mike Gibbons, and Craig), In the News (fifteen jokes), and Kilborn's signature 5 Questions.

So that's 25 jokes, and maybe another 25 in the desk piece, every night. Fifty jokes from eight writers. For which we write, I'd estimate, probably 300-500 jokes between us. I guess. Maybe. I don't really keep count.

Most of the writers write stuff for all four segments. One guy is straight monologue. I'm a write-it-all guy.

From 10-11:30 we write news parody jokes, which are gathered from all the writers by a writer's assistant, and taken to the guy who goes through the pile and chooses the ones he likes for a first draft collection. 11:30-1:00 is lunch-ish, or you can start on a Desk Piece if the topic has been decided. I usually use that time to get organized for monologue jokes and 5 questions. At 1:00 we meet and choose the jokes that will go into the actual news (basically by whatever jokes from the first draft get any sort of laugh, response, endorsement, cough, etc., in the room). 1:30 to 4:30 is filled with monologue, 5 questions, desk piece, and playing basketball outside on the roof of CBS or wandering into another writer's office to ask "What are you doing?"

At 4:30 we have rehearsal with Craig. He runs through the jokes, throws out the ones he dislikes (usually just a few), or rewrites things on the fly. It's a fast process, but he's usually good at knowing what works for him and what doesn't, so it has its own efficiency.

At 5:00 we head to the green room to grab free food and beer (yeah, free food and beer-it's like a really good road gig before the comics screw it up). If there are last minute changes we go back and write them, or throw in some more 5 questions.

Taping starts around 6:15, and sometimes I stay, sometimes I don't. Some of the writers are on-air a lot, so they stay the whole time, but once the script is set, there's not much to do, so it's onto the roads and back to the family awaiting in Glendale.


French has his own website -- FunnyPlanet.com -- where you can eyeball lots of funny stuff he's written.

For example:

Top Animal Moments They Don't Show on Nature Programs

The crying crocodile pleading, "Please, I don't care about your ratings, I can't kill again!"

The crew picking the remains of an endangered falcon out of the grill of the truck.

The mother wildebeest throwing its young to the hyenas so it can get away.

The big lesbian scene when Simba is away from the pride.

An ostrich trying to stick its head in the sand instead goes up a gopher's butt.

The host throwing his own crap at a tied-up monkey.

A sloth galloping along suddenly stops and barely moves when it sees the camera.

The sedative dart from a rifle hits a rhino in the left nut.

A cheetah slamming into a parked safari car.

A snake unhinging its jaws to pleasure an elephant.

A father antelope weighing into a pack of leopards with a flamethrower.

A bear taking a squat on the new intern.