How To Write For Late Night TV

If you are wondering how to write for late night TV, you probably already know that it is not an easy feat. Very few writers earn the coveted title of "Late Night TV Writer," so chances are slim. However, the five points below explain what some of the qualities are that late night TV is looking for.

Skills you will need to write for late night TV:

  • Comedic writing talent
  • Good social networking
  • Luck
  • Persistence


  1. Network. Especially if you are a "people person," social networking of all kinds can help you to land a job in any field. If you are a comedy writer, try to make friends with other comedy writers by utilizing comedy websites, comedy clubs, and writing workshops. If you meet someone who you connect with, ask for his or her phone number or email address and do your best to keep in touch. Networking with comedy writers like this may eventually lead to you writing  for Late Night TV.
  2. Be persistent. Send in your best work to head late night TV writers. While you may not ever hear back from them, it never hurts to try. And even if you are rejected at first, continue to send in your work every time you create some new material.
  3. Ask about writing opportunities directly. Dial the number of the show that you are interested in and politely ask for the writer's assistant or head writer. This person can help guide you in terms of whether or not any jobs are available. Keep calling every so often if jobs aren't available at first.
  4. Have material prepared. You are not going to impress any late night TV writer if you ask about a job and have no material at hand. Study late night TV-type comedy and work on your own sketches and monologues. If it is good enough to make America laugh, you may have a shot.
  5. Be a Man… Literally. As terrible as this is, it is extremely rare for a woman to write for late night TV. According to an article by The New York Times, there were no female writers for Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, or Jay Leno's shows in 2009. And a 2009 Vanity Fair article makes the point that though fewer women apply to be late night TV writers, even the funniest female writers do not even hear back from the shows. This may be in part due to male writers recommending their male friends for writing gigs.
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