What It Takes to Write For The Daily Show With Jon Stewart

InterviewPersonal Branding

*Following responses are not verbatim*

unnamedI recently had the privilege to sit down with Delaney Yeager, a writer from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Delaney told me about her experience on the show and the hard work it takes to be ready to air at 11pm Monday through Friday. The Daily Show’s focus is political satire covering current news stories through comedy. 2.5 Million viewers tune in every night to hear Jon Stewart report on the daily news.

Christian Roberts: Where did you go to school?

Delaney Yeager: I attended Pace University and had a major in Theater and minors in Creative Writing and Fine Art. As a kid, I wanted to be an actor. But after about two years in the BFA Acting program, I realized I felt more like a writer and director, so I changed my major and got myself a couple minors. I still love theater and have put up a couple shows at small theaters in Manhattan. My senior year in college I got an internship at The Daily Show in production. I met a lot of great people while interning and ended up starting a sketch group with a few former TDS interns. Skootch Comedy – look us up!

Roberts: What’s an average writing day like on TDS?

Yeager: It’s long. The day starts at 9:15 every morning. I normally get there earlier than that to give myself a little bit more time to get prepared. At around 9:15 we meet with the producers, Jon, and the entire writing staff. At this point everyone is up to date on the current events. A big part of the job is watching the news. So Jon will lay out the agenda, we are given our assignments, and then we’re off. We toss around ideas, write the jokes, and write more jokes. It’s the kind of job where you have to always be prepared. You could have a script ready to turn in, then something happens over night, and you would have to toss it and write another. That’s just how it goes!

Roberts: What’s it like working with Jon Stewart?

Yeager: It’s great. I still get star-struck sometimes. He’s crazy nice and the same guy in the office as he is on-camera, which is always refreshing. I mean, he’s Jon Stewart. Enough said.

Roberts: What are important attributes a writer must have for TDS?

Yeager: Definitely being able to work well under pressure. You have to be open to ideas and be able to speak them clearly. It’s a collaborative effort and if a joke doesn’t work you move on to the next one. You should also have a unique point of view, while being able to write in Jon’s voice.

Roberts: What kind of career advice can you give to someone pursuing a career in writing for TV?

Yeager: You must write all the time, even if it isn’t good. It’s a muscle that needs to be worked. Create stuff with your friends to keep the juices flowing, hang out with comedians and writers. Take constructive criticism from your peers, write some more, and have fun. And then write even more.