Friday, August 1, 2014

42 - Joe Toplyn, author; former writer/producer for Leno, Letterman

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Four-time Emmy winner Joe Toplyn joins Art. Toplyn has been a writer for Late Night with David Letterman, head writer and producer for The Late Show with David Letterman, and co-head writer and producer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has now authored a book called Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV.

The comedy writing legend candidly answers questions such as:

  • What was it like creating revolutionary TV in the early days of Late Night with David Letterman?
  • Did the "GE Handshake" bit really end Letterman's chances of getting The Tonight Show?
  • What famous Late Night  bit nearly suffocated a fellow writer?
  • How did Jay Leno turn the tables to become the new king of late night?
  • Is the late night talk show obsolete in the Internet age?

Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV Mr. Toplyn also discusses his whirlwind months as head writer for the short-lived but infamous The Chevy Chase Show, and gives a few tips on how YOU can write funny! 1 hr. 24 mins.

Art's comments: "I hope there's a section in Mr. Toplyn's book about how to ask a question without lots of stammering. I need to read it. You should buy it, too, because this guy let me talk his ear off for two hours. In the end I think the key takeaway from this show is: Carbon dioxide is heavier than air. Now, won't you please enjoy a hot towel?"

Joe Toplyn links:

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