Behind the Laughs: A Deep Dive into SNL’s Comedy Writing Process

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Behind the Laughs: A Deep Dive into SNL’s Comedy Writing Process

For those looking to dive into the world of stand-up comedy or even thinking of signing up for a stand-up comedy class, the behind-the-scenes workings of Saturday Night Live (SNL) offers some invaluable insights. Let’s get a chuckle-worthy deep dive into the process:


  1. The Classic SNL Routine: The week at SNL starts on a Monday when hosts meet the team. By Wednesday morning, ideas shared on Monday are developed into sketches for a table read.
  2. First Impressions Count: While pitching ideas on Monday might feel like a waste of time, it’s an essential step to reassure the host that they’re in good hands. After all, everyone’s on board to get those laughs.
  3. Meritocracy at Its Best: Sketch selection is pretty straightforward – if it gets laughs, it gets a spot. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a newbie, what counts is the humor.
  4. Collaborative Rewriting: Once the top sketches are selected, Thursday sees everyone working together to refine them.
  5. Rehearsal Marathon: Friday and Saturday are all about rehearsals, set constructions, and designing costumes. Every sketch is prepared with the same dedication.
  6. Feedback Matters: Lauren provides real-time feedback during a full dress rehearsal on Saturday. Creative freedom is encouraged, but when Lauren provides feedback, it’s worth its weight in comedic gold.
  7. Performance Pressure: Even after all the hard work, sketches might get cut based on audience reception. Resilience is key – every week offers a new opportunity to make ’em laugh.
  8. Busting the Myths: While many assume SNL is a breeding ground for rivalry, the reality is quite the opposite. SNL fosters an environment of collaboration and mutual respect.
  9. Mentorship: Veteran writers, like Seth Meyers and Colin Jost, are often found guiding newcomers, teaching the intricacies of comedic writing.
  10. Learning Curve for Newbies: Many SNL writers start without television writing experience. Yet, thanks to the collaborative environment and guidance from seasoned writers, they learn the ropes quickly.

So, for anyone looking to take a stand-up comedy class or dive into comedy writing, understanding the rhythm and camaraderie of a place like SNL can be both enlightening and encouraging. Remember, every laugh starts with a simple idea!


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