Writing on Norm MacDonald's new sports-themed show

Interesting comments rolling in to yesterday's What goes into a comedy writing packet post. Luke Cunningham is currently writing on a new sports-themed Norm MacDonald show in LA and posted this:

I'm currently writing on the new Sports Show with Norm MacDonald in LA. It's like the Daily Show but about sports.

I was asked to submit a 3 page packet of topical material with a 48-hour turnaround. This was a Friday. It was due Sunday. I had a gig hosting at Helium in Philadelphia that weekend. I would come off-stage and immediately get working on it. What I ended up doing was mixing my best stand-up jokes and lines into topical material.

Now that I'm here and writing, here's how it works:
- Every morning, I get a packet of 9-10 pages of topical stories from the Writers' Assistant. I'm expected to go through the 9-10 pages and write jokes underneath each story in Norm's voice.
- By 2PM, we meet in the Writers' Room and table the jokes. Norm picks what he likes.
- Then we go back and punch up those jokes to be re-tabled at around 5.
- We are also putting together segment ideas through the day which get tabled at the same time as the later meeting.
- It's 12 hours/day and mentally exhausting but I've loved every minute of it.
- I have no idea if every show works this way.

Networks and agents are much more interested in original scripts then spec scripts right now. Though I've been told that the paradigm swings back and forth every few seasons.

Then I asked Luke how they found out about him.

I worked as an assistant on "Important Things with Demetri Martin." Was referred by that producer...They took my packet. I made it to the final 12. Had to go to LA to interview with Norm and the showrunner...Key in those meetings is NOT being on. They think you'll be annoying in the writers' room.

Good life lesson there: Unless you're onstage, don't try too hard to be on. It's just annoying.

Thanks for the details, Luke.

1 comment:

Abbi Crutchfield said...

Congratulations Luke! Can't wait to see the show.

Remember just a few years ago when we were standing on a subway platform and you thought you'd never be able to write for television, and I said, "Why don't you give Norm MacDonald a call?" and you said, "That guy would never give me the time of day," and I said, "I'll pull a few strings,"? Sorry I dropped the ball but glad to see it made no difference.

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