Joke-Writing, Stand-Up and Late-Night TV ft. Simon Taylor (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) (PT22)

Joke-Writing, Stand-Up and Late-Night TV ft. Simon Taylor (The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) (PT22)

Alex and Nick welcome Simon Taylor to hear his experience being a comedian, writing jokes for late-night television, and the hard work it takes to be consistently funny.

How does the stand-up circuit work? What was it like writing for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno? Why is performing comedy different than writing comedy? How is the process of writing comedy in a room compared to doing it alone? What can a writer do to be noticed and find a following?

The Paper Team performs their in-depth set…



1 – How Simon Taylor got his start (00:33)
2 – Being funny, creating your product, and performing stand-up (08:25)
3 – Putting yourself out there, selling yourself, and pitching (24:15)
4 – Writing for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (34:22)
5 – Generating good content regularly and working your creative skills (38:53)
6 – What a successful joke is and tailoring it to your online (Twitter/Snapchat/YouTube) or real-life audience (43:35)
7 – Working on a TV pilot with Justin Willman, and writing alone for someone else versus a writers’ room for a common project (49:05)
8 – Working in the US, what Simon Taylor is doing now, and what is next for him (53:17)
Resources and Outro (57:50)


Simon Taylor on Twitter
Rove Live
Rove McManus
The Glass House (2001 TV series)
Spicks and Specks
The Project
Steve Vizard
Shaun Micallef
Live on Bowen
The Loft Live
Simon Taylor hosting Live on Bowen (Video)
The Carmichael Show
The King of Kong
Sleight of Mouth with Justin Willman


Poking a Dead Frog – Mike Sacks
Books by Stewart Lee

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Hi there!

Alex Freedman

I'm Alex Freedman, the writer behind TV Calling.

I started this site in 2008 to chronicle my own journey in television writing.

693 posts and 9 years later, TV Calling has also become a comprehensive resource dedicated to the full TV writing industry — from spec to success.

Everything here is written by yours truly (unless otherwise credited), so feel free to blame me for any missed deadlines.

I hope you'll answer your television calling, and join me in this creative journey.

Write on.

P.S.: New around? You should start here.

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