Monday, October 3, 2011

Comedy Writing for Network Television

A few weeks ago there was an article popping up everywhere about Saturday Night Life accepting freelance jokes for Weekend Update, and that if your joke was accepted SNL would pay you $100. The guy who was being interviewed had supposedly sent in thousands of jokes and only one had been used on-air. So how does one submit jokes to SNL? The article talks about a "fax list." A mysterious list that only really funny comedy dudes know about.

I felt pretty good after reading this article. Why? Because I had a joke on Weekend Update back in the 90's when I was still too young to buy booze. I was an intern at SNL when I was 19--that was my in. The joke was accepted after my internship was over and I was back home in Kansas living in my parent's basement. I sent the joke to SNL's fax machine. Because this was before email and the internet......I'm old.

SNL paid me $100 for the joke. Apparently NBC does not account for inflation since $100 bucks is still the going rate. I think I still have that fax number written down somewhere. I need to find it and see if it works. But I wanted to see if there were any other articles out there discussing this "fax list" and how to get on it.

The one article I found discussing this list is by Dan French. He breaks down what to do if you want to write comedy for a network television show. It's worth the read, although he doesn't specify how to get on the list. Here's what I suggest: If you want to write jokes for SNL or David Letterman, or C-SPAN, call their front desk and ask how to do it. Receptionists know everything.