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Tonight Show Head Writer Quits Over Not Wanting To Write Trump Sketches


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Tonight Show head writer Rebecca Drysdale leaves the show after only six months, citing her refusal to write Trump sketches that have led to division.

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon head writer Rebecca Drysdale decides to leave the show after only six months, citing in a Facebook post that she no longer wants to write Trump jokes as part of her career. Drysdale was previously a writer on Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, as well as HBO’s High Maintenance and a head writer of Nickelodeon’s All That. She first started writing on The Tonight Show in April, replacing head writer Nedaa Sweiss who has recently been announced to return as co-showrunner through the rest of the year. 

Quite a few changes have occurred behind the scenes in The Tonight Show this week, notably the show’s extension to the end of 2021. Showrunner Gavin Purcell has also announced he will be leaving the show, with Jamie Granet-Bederman replacing him. Sweiss’s return as co-showrunner will primarily serve to guide Granet-Bederman in shaping the show’s creative direction. Now, the show faces another change, primarily on the creative side. 

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According to the Chicago Sun-Times, The Tonight Show head writer Rebecca Drysdale has announced her decision to leave the late-night show in a Facebook post to her friends. Drysdale wrote that the decision was mutual, and she underscores her refusal to work on any Trump-related content in her creative career moving forward. Check out her comments below:

“I am making the decision for myself to never work on, write, or be involved with, another Trump sketch ever again…I have landed in several jobs and situations over the last few years, not just The Tonight Show, where the project of making fun of Trump, or doing material about Trump, has led to divided creative teams, anxiety, tears and pain. I can’t decide the outcome of this election, but I can make the choice for myself, to vote him out of my creative life.”

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Drysdale explains that she does not believe making fun of Trump is a good use of the power comedy. Whether in a news or satire context, Trump has become the face of entertainment, and even writers like Drysdale cannot avoid it. As difficult tensions seem to rise within the writer’s room that mimic those outside, it appears that the purpose comedy intends — light-hearted entertainment and escape — has itself withered away with the demands of satirizing a figure who already all but dominates the screen. 

Comedy has long been rooted in humorizing the current climate, though. Trump cannot be ignored, especially when anxious individuals seek comfort in comedy during an unprecedented pandemic and election. In any case, Drysdale has made a personal decision to “vote him out” of her creative life and pursue other projects on hold. Perhaps, in between the Trump sketches and jokes that will premiere in the coming months, TV-goers can also anticipate the projects Drysdale has lined up for the future.

Next: SNL: Jim Carrey’s Biden vs Alec Baldwin’s Trump – Which Is Better?

Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: November 7, 2020 — 7:51 pm

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