Beating Twitter To The Punchline

Dec 21 2012 @ 8:29am

Paul Myers looks at how Twitter affects comedy show writing. Here's SNL "Weekend Update" writer Alex Baze on the fear of a planned joke getting scooped on Twitter:

"We were doing a run that scolded global warming deniers that used the line 'If you’re still denying global warming, you’re the mayor from Jaws.' I was pretty happy about that joke, written by Pete Schultz, and then about an hour before show time, Gary Janetti tweeted that exact joke, pretty much word for word. We ended up having to cut the whole run for other reasons, but yeah, sometimes you write a joke you really like and then you nervously scan Twitter all day, hoping you don’t see it."

But Twitter helps out as well:

According to Kimmel Live’s [Molly] McNearney, Twitter is currently the best way to track the pulse of the popular culture that her show parodies on a nightly basis. "You can spend a few minutes on Twitter and know instantly what everyone is talking about," says McNearney. "It’s the modern-day water cooler without the awkward small talk. We aim to cover the popular topics in our monologue each night and Twitter is a great indicator of relevancy."

(Hat tip: Bradford Evans)