Hi Reddit! In addition to Fallon, I’ve also written for Jay Leno and WWE. The now infamous joke that I wrote for Seth Meyers is the first joke in this video:

See the joke

Many people at that dinner (e.g. Maggie Haberman at the NYT and Adam Gopnik from the New Yorker) believe that night was a pivotal moment in Trump's decision to run. Warranted or not, people like to remind me that I wrote that joke, and it has haunted me since Nov. 4, 2016. Because of that, I figured that election day 2020 would be a good time to host this AMA (especially since none of us might be here tomorrow).

It's a pretty weird (but 100% true) story, and you can read the basics of it here:

Boston Globe

The fun continued when I suffered a mini stroke (on the NYC subway) in 2018, but have recovered and am now teaching writing at Emerson College. My latest project is an adult party card game called Anti-Social Skills. You can play it at ASSkills.com. That’s right, I’m now the “asskills guy.”

(If you don’t care about the Trump joke and just want to shoot the shit about Late Night -- how I got the job, transitioning to Tonight Show, the “hair tussling incident etc -- WWE, making a game, The Beach Boys, or the Boston Celtics… that’s cool, too.)

Proof: https://twitter.com/Rinemania/status/1323615185488195586

EDIT: Hey everyone, this has been great. I'm going to go hang out with my daughter for a bit, but let's hop back on here later tonight to answer more questions. 7:00 good?

EDIT 2: Thanks for all the amazing questions, everyone. This was really fun! If you want to know anything else, post it in the thread and I'll answer them tomorrow!

EDIT 3: I need to take some time to be with my daughter but will check back in Wednesday PM. These are amazing questions and I will try to answer as many as possible.

Comments: 952 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

JonathanMendelsohn972 karma

What topics weren't you allowed to write about on the Tonight Show?

VisorpantsJon2228 karma

It was always changing...but one that was absolutely off limits was the idea of there being no such thing as Santa Claus.

KingsJoy780 karma

Wow so this is all YOUR fault /s

Jokes aside, do you mind if I ask about your background/how you got your job? Thank you so much for doing an AMA!

VisorpantsJon570 karma

So a family friend knew Jay Leno, who helped me by using some of my jokes when HE was hosting The Tonight Show. That kind of let me practice at it while doing it. Then, I had a blog of all the rejected jokes. And finally, when I heard a rumor they were looking at Fallon, I reached out, did a tryout from home, and got hired!

benzippo651 karma

I know Late night writing has a lot of turn over, who is a writer you loved working with and why?

VisorpantsJon1222 karma

Anthony Jeselnik is my all-time favorite. Made work fun, made the office fun, and I was super bummed when he left. He’s always been a great friend.

tumescent-bratwurst269 karma

Why is there such high turnover?

VisorpantsJon709 karma

It’s a very grueling job where it can be hard to click with a show that’s in motion. Where I got lucky was joining Fallon six months in and never knowing anything other than that show. But I think right now, people just don’t wanna write about Trump, honestly.

Cloudinterpreter89 karma

I only know Anthony Jeselnik from his standup, what's his everyday humor like? Just as dark?

VisorpantsJon234 karma

His every day sense of humor is not necessarily as DARK...but yeah, if you say something stupid while having breakfast with Jeselnik, you get made fun of by Jeselnik. And it’s funny.

SirPiffingsthwaite449 karma

What rules were you given regarding what can and can't be said at the Correspondents' Dinner?

VisorpantsJon642 karma

None. Seth didn’t really have any rules and kind of left things open (which, I understand, is his style).

SirPiffingsthwaite33 karma

Given the implication of last time, if it was offered, would you write for it again?

VisorpantsJon12 karma

The Dinner? Sure. Everything I’ve had the opportunity to write for has been worth it and taught me something. If you have the time and it’s for someone you like, always say yes.

Merentis308 karma

What's the best joke or sentence you feel you've written?

And if I may add one question what's something you written but has not been broadcasted?

VisorpantsJon502 karma

“There’s always room for one more…” - Bray Wyatt, Firefly Funhouse. There is no feeling in the world as a WWF fan of the 90s than Vince going, “MMMMMM - that’s some good shit!” and winking at you.

I wrote a *lot* of jokes about President Hillary Clinton that A.D. Miles probably has somewhere. Don’t see those being used.

BogeyBogeyBogey103 karma

Wait, do you have Vince McMahon stories? You gotta give a Vince McMahon story. Please?

What was it like overall working for wwe?

VisorpantsJon611 karma

Overall, I was in a bad place so it’s an unpleasant memory. But no ill-will against WWE - if anything, appreciation (though I feel like AEW is outworking them now.)

As far as a crazy Vince story: we had an idea where someone was going to attack somebody in a hospital. And then I had an idea for it that Vince liked, then Heyman had a bunch of ideas Vince liked. So, Vince thinks about it and says: “We’re really gonna fuck up this hospital. How much would it cost to rebuild?” He stops, thinks a second, then says, matter-of-factly, “Hmm. I might have to donate a wing to a hospital. How much does that cost?” So, our writer’s assistant started looking up how much it cost to donate a wing to a hospital.

Then later in the meeting, another idea came up that nixed the hospital idea, and Vince said, “Which one is the one without buying the hospital wing? Do that one.” Then he stopped and said, “I should donate a wing somewhere though…” and it got quiet while he thought. Then he took out his pencil and I saw him write “Hospital.”

DeanPalton285 karma

How long did it take you guys to write the whole speech for Meyers?

VisorpantsJon456 karma

We met maybe twice and did a lot of writing from home then went through the jokes. I wrote all mine around 11 or midnight while watching SportsCenter during a vacation week from Fallon.

beastROCK9757260 karma

Why does Jimmy laugh so much?

VisorpantsJon545 karma

Probably thinking about the time I opened the door into the cue card room and knocked Lorne down and ran away.

ElZoof233 karma

What’s your favourite truly awful pun?

VisorpantsJon1059 karma

I know I have one. If I could JUST remember where I reddit.

Theotherjtisme215 karma

Do you think a 31-year-old wedding florist from the suburbs of Chicago could restart her comedy writing career at this point? Asking for a friend.

VisorpantsJon229 karma

I do! (Answering for a friend)

DrunkeNinja209 karma

How was your experience writing for WWE? Around when did you work there? Any memorable storylines or experiences you were involved in?

Thanks for answering our questions today!

VisorpantsJon300 karma

I was at WWE during a tough time in my life (getting divorced, parent in poor health) so it was rough personally. That said, I had a great time with Bruce Prichard and Ed Koskey, and couldn’t help but love Vince. I learned so much from him in just a short amount of time (I only knew the “good” Vince) I helped a bit with Firefly Funhouse (“There’s always room for one more” was me) and wrote the Kane 24/7 segment with Bruce.

CoolBeansMan931 karma

How much of those segments did Bray improvise?

VisorpantsJon108 karma

I was only involved with 2-3 and on a fill-in basis, but he definitely had his own take. Bray is one of the most creative and amazing performers I’ve been around (and a nice and humble guy). Now The Fiend, though...

mitchmayne34204 karma

Who is your favorite SNL cast member that you worked with?

VisorpantsJon518 karma

Dana Carvey. One of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met, everything you want him to be.

BurningWhistle178 karma

Was it worth it?

VisorpantsJon480 karma

The Trump joke? Who’s to say, as it’s an urban legendy thing - but if true? NO!

BittahObserver158 karma

Hi!

Is it true that Fallon will not allow jokes that make him out to be the butt of the joke or that present him in a “dumb” light?

I recall hearing Anthony Jeselnik mention this in an interview.

VisorpantsJon315 karma

With Jimmy, it varied. If the take in the universe was that he was dumb, no dumb jokes. And over time, I think that became more of a “rule.” He takes that personally, just like I took it personally when he’d say I wasn’t cool or whatever. Even if it’s just in jest, we all have something that bums us out.

As far as Anthony, hahaha. I’d imagine his version of Jimmy being dumb was...more pointed. (They had a pretty legendary standoff in a pitch meeting)

chabroni81101 karma

Have you ever had a joke that everyone laughed at and found hilarious, but they couldn’t put it on because of sponsors, FCC, etc?

VisorpantsJon214 karma

Yes, a joke that was, though not intended, transphobic and I’m glad they made us cut it. As soon as it was explained, I got it.

LordGAD101 karma

Hello! What advice would you give for an aspiring writer that would kill (not literally... probably) to write for late-night?

VisorpantsJon153 karma

Well...keep the killing part to yourself. And watch the shows. And just keep on writing and try to see how your stuff, on paper, looks compared to their stuff on paper. Getting transcripts and quotables helps.

Theotherjtisme79 karma

Do you watch the Tonight Show now? Any of the late night shows? If so, how do you feel about the quality of writing?

VisorpantsJon193 karma

I watch Kimmel, Seth and Fallon. Seth is fantastic, and I think Fallon has some good stuff still. The take that bugs me is the “Trump/Biden” has dementia angle. But that’s a personal issue.

Theotherjtisme23 karma

I think it’s interesting that each show has to have their own content agenda, which essentially sets the stage for the show and the star as a whole. Is that something that develops over time or, in your experience, does it take shape right off the bat?

VisorpantsJon60 karma

This takes place over time. At Fallon, we hit our stride mono wise with Tiger Woods, because it was a one-sided story where Jimmy could really dig in. But then over time, when Jeremy Bronson left to go to LA, it felt like the priority of the show switched to sketch. So it has a lot to do with what’s working and the personnel you have on hand. One host can only do so much.

thescrounger75 karma

DO you consider Jimmy Fallon a friend and if so how do you react to the criticism he gets. Are his laughs and reactions to guest genuine?

VisorpantsJon182 karma

To be honest, sadly, not anymore. We haven’t spoken verbally since March of 2018, and while he emailed me during some pretty tough times...we rubbed each other the wrong way with some stuff this past summer. But there’s this weird protective thing when people criticize him, because...you know, like with Bruce Prichard & Vince McMahon, you always wonder, “What if?” But I don’t expect to see or hear from him in the future, sadly.

magicaleb75 karma

What’s your rough estimate of monologue writing of % jokes used vs created? Did Fallon more pick the jokes he liked then write his own? I imagine if he had a joke, he’s run it past you and valued your opinion, but ultimately it’s his call

VisorpantsJon135 karma

I’d get maybe 10-15% of mine on when I was getting the most on of everyone, so I don’t know the average, but it’s low.

Jimmy rarely wrote - he’d come up with tags and tweaks or just rewrite to make a “meh” joke funny, but like Vince, always has final call on a joke. Host always has last call.

benzippo67 karma

How did being a leader at Fallon transition over to your teaching?

VisorpantsJon106 karma

Well, I learned how to lead better from teaching and wish I’d done that before supervising at Fallon. Taught me patience and giving people time to figure things out.

beastROCK975753 karma

What are some nsfw jokes that you couldn't say on television that you always wanted to say?

VisorpantsJon114 karma

Not to shill...but honestly? A lot of them are in Anti-Social Skills (Asskills.com) Just stock lines I genuinely wrote but was afraid to tweet.

Madauras47 karma

Do you think that being former head writer for Fallon, says about the same of your qualifications, as I used to be head of security for JFK?

VisorpantsJon80 karma

First off, it was head MONO writer...so that makes me more like Lincoln’s head of security.

Prothagarus47 karma

I thought that joke was a very truth to power straight line quip. It reached into the bubble of self aggrandizement and hit where it hurts. Solid writing. Do you see yourself writing for another show? Do you feel like your writing comes out better in other medium ala Asskills?

VisorpantsJon48 karma

Thank you. I thought it was the truth, too. I genuinely thought it was a joke or a prank (or, publicity stunt) as did most. I honestly don’t know about the new show - you never say never in TV. But for now, ASSkills has been perfect and I have a couple scripted things on my plate, on in development. But I’d love to finish off in late night one day. Seeing Prichard happy in his element at WWE reminded me how I miss late night. I miss it.

coryrenton45 karma

What is your best joke written for anyone that was nixed, and your worst joke that you wish were nixed but wasn't?

Also, what is the strangest reason you've been given for a joke being nixed?

VisorpantsJon117 karma

Hmm. I had a good Matt Lauer joke that got nixed...but it was nixed by me because I heard, before it came out, it was a more serious issue than just “cheating.”

Worst joke? Trump joke. Wish that were nixed.

Once had an A-Rod joke nixed because Jimmy thought A-Rod wanted to hit him.

themaskedhippoofdoom42 karma

What’s your process into writing a wrestling storyline?

What tools are you given to write in the “big leagues”? Like do you get to pitch an idea with workers you want to work with? Or is it more like “here’s what Vince wants, make it pretty”?

VisorpantsJon43 karma

From my experience, it was a lot of Paul Heyman just saying things, us having some input, then Paul doing his thing. (Like I said though, I wasn’t in the sharpest state at the time).

Everything goes through the head writers and then they do or don’t bring it to Vince (who has final say, along with the talent involved)

coryrenton32 karma

What is the weirdest ritual you or a fellow writer would do to get over writer's block? Which show/gig had the best food?

VisorpantsJon64 karma

True story: every morning I’d listen to a “warmup mix” while showering/getting ready for work. Then while I was writing, I’d listen to pop rock songs (Beach Boys, Beatles, BNL, etc.) based on what season it was. Had a summer mix, holiday mix, etc. I always have to be listening to music when I write. It kind of keeps me company and keeps the doubt away.

CletusVanDamnit32 karma

I'm actually more interested in your writing for WWE. What does that entail? I know that the company likes to hire seasoned TV writers, but...why? What exactly are you writing? McMahon is notorious for having full control over the brand, so was it a super pain in the ass to write there? Were you writing storylines or scripted dialog or both? Did you go from writing for wrestling to late-night, or vice-versa?

VisorpantsJon40 karma

Me too! And I wish it had worked out better. Wrestling is my first love and, when good, the best entertainment in the world.

It was only a pain in the ass, honestly, because of Heyman’s process (not necessarily Heyman PERSONALLY, but just his way of running the room). And being a “comedy writer” puts a big bullseye on your back with some, and unfortunately, the guys who liked that about me were working on the other show. So….just not a great fit.

Wyjen32 karma

Hi Mr. Rineman, I enjoy a lot of the work l believe you to have a hand in. A colleague of yours at Tonight with Jimmy Fallon, Jo Firestone, is a bit of a mentor to a group of writers that I am a part of. I was wondering if we could set up a time to pick your brain some day?

VisorpantsJon41 karma

Sure! Send me an e-mail! Love Jo.

Hanstor27 karma

How much of Trump's campaigning is based on Pro Wrestling writing? It seems to me he loves to play the Heel, and relishes people despising him, while others love him no matter how far he sinks.

Reminds me of when (many years ago) WWE was trying to make Eddie Guerrero turn heel by turning on his brother, Chavo. Problem was he was so popular, that despite the obvious signalling that he was supposed to be the bad guy, the audience cheered for him. WWE tried for a few weeks to get the audience to hate Eddie, but the overwhelming voice of the crowd drowned out any booing.

I feel this scenario parallels the Trump campaign strategy in some ways. And since Trump and Vince Mcmahon have done business in the past, and Trump has hosted fights (boxing/mma) at his casinos, he might have some insight into manipulating a live audience...

What do you think?

VisorpantsJon59 karma

Great question! Now here comes the sad answer!

I 100% think he is influenced by the Mr. McMahon character. He loves Vince.

I think his original intent was just to go out there and cause hell….then, things like the Dinner, Obama jabbing at him, all that stuff...he started “living the gimmick” as they say. And the rest, as they say, has been a nightmare.

tractor_pull20 karma

Were there any topics or jokes you always felt like you wanted to get into the monologue but never found a place for? Or, related question, did you often find it was harder to fill a full monologue or to edit it down? (Thanks for your refreshingly honest answers on all the other good questions, too.)

VisorpantsJon68 karma

It always bugged me we did *nothing* about Bill Cosby. Literally nothing.

It honestly depended on the day. If Jimmy liked the jokes, then it could be tough to cut it down. And if Jimmy didn’t, like the jokes...that could be tough. You know? Like...if someone’s already read a bunch of stuff from you and not dug it...the odds they’re going to love your fifth or sixth attempt are pretty slim.

HooklessBarb20 karma

How did you feel about the hair-fluffing incident? I put it right up there with Russia, Comey, and your joke (not really) for putting us in the world we've been living in for the past 4 years...

VisorpantsJon27 karma

As I’ve been told, at least, the hair thing was part of a bigger two-part stunt that was going to involve Hillary doing something (she bailed on it last minute...so...oops?) But tussling the hair doesn’t matter if there were just some meaningful, pointed questions in the interview. When I heard he did the hair thing (didn’t see it live, was getting stuff ready for the next day), I assumed it was to break the tension after a tense exchange or something. So I didn’t even know what was up until the next day when all hell broke loose. But it was a bad day, and the day after the election was like a funeral. Bad day in that office.

Jabbam19 karma

Would Trump winning again be a boon or a bane for the comedy industry?

VisorpantsJon88 karma

Awful. Awful, awful, awful. Lazy jokes, and fake pundits on cable news pretending to hate him while profiting off of him.

vehino19 karma

Heh. So, in hindsight, given the last four years, is there anything you would have done differently?

VisorpantsJon70 karma

I would’ve quit flat-out in early 2017. The show runners talked me into staying and I had a baby on the way...but I also had a friend offering me a job in LA. Family needs to come first and I wish I’d stayed healthier and paid more attention to marriage/family.

LibertyWriter18 karma

Did your writing style/verbiage change from the “Late Night with” days to “Tonight Show” days?

VisorpantsJon19 karma

For me? Not at all. Just did my thing and let everyone else do their thing. Our transitions changed in the mono to make it conversational, and I loved coming up with funny segues with A.D. Miles. Super funny.

bob_dole-18 karma

Fellow teacher here, what has been the most challenging thing about teaching for you?

VisorpantsJon48 karma

The first day back at Emerson this fall, I sat in my car and cried afterwards. Just everything I knew being boarded up because of the pandemic and the students in masks. That was a hard day. But we’re pulling through okay. Students really stepped up.

wuhwatsdis18 karma

Who's the nicest person you've worked with that's famous?

VisorpantsJon36 karma

Semi-famous, because it’s Boston: but Randy Price from Channel 7/Channel 5 (who just retired). I worked with him for about a year and it was great. Learned so much and he’s the best. Miss seeing him every day.

vickiintn17 karma

Do you know Louis C.K. personally? What is your (and the industry's) opinion of him? I loved him so much before his huge scandal and was so disappointed when all that went down.

VisorpantsJon50 karma

I did know Louie a little and he was my standup hero - the first person I heard who sounded and talked like me. I always dreamt of following him and did at the Cellar finally. Unfortunately, it was right before the NYT story came out...and right after someone alerted me to it. So...a bittersweet moment where he really put me over to make sure I’d have a good set after him and I gave him the shittiest handshake in the world because I didn’t know what to do.

But yeah, I’m like everyone. Super bummed he did that stuff (and lied about it) and about the way he’s acted since then. It hurts a lot worse when it’s someone you loved, you know?

garrett_k17 karma

How many writers on the show were there who were Republicans?

VisorpantsJon33 karma

David Angelo is a sweet guy and hilarious writer who is famously Republican. He was with us for a couple years and I had a blast with him.

BootyLeg9616 karma

What's the cutoff for finishing the monologues? Were you writing right up til showtime, or did you have an earlier cutoff and let Fallon improvise if current events changed right before showtime?

VisorpantsJon38 karma

In Late Night, we were always done an hour beforehand, and about 30 minutes with Tonight Show. Then, when Trump came along, it was usually right up until showtime. And there would often be times I’d ask to cut a joke because something happened during the taping.

Regalbass5716 karma

What was the Jeselnik Fallon standoff about/like?

VisorpantsJon44 karma

Jeselnik pitched “Pinata Full of Blood,” then said, “But it doesn’t *have* to be real blood” and things kind of soured from there.

BUT….while he and Jimmy were staring each other down, I pitched Audience Suggestion Box and Gavin and Miles approved it, so there you go.

Zaaqen14 karma

I have mild autism and write with a partner - During quarantine we've both put a lot of thought into trying to transition into writing for television. Honestly, am I better off avoiding television because of this?

I suppose a better phrasing of my question would be - Is there a path to writing for late night for people who write as a pair and would social limitations be too big of a hurdle if something else is already working for them?

Less selfish question - Throughout your writing career how often did you write a joke that you really thought was a keeper but it had to get cut anyway for one reason or another? I'm guessing almost daily?

VisorpantsJon20 karma

There is absolutely a path for people who write in pairs, but sometimes it’s difficult to get hired as such. But, Bashir & Diallo were amazing in Late Night and now look at them. Doing great.

EVERY...SINGLE...DAY I wrote a joke I thought would get me into the National Comedy Center but got zero in the room.

TheSummerlin13 karma

Hi! Have you watched the film "Late Night" with Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling? How accurate is that from the actual writer's room environment (and the state of the business overall).

VisorpantsJon14 karma

I have not watched that film yet. But….I never worked in a writer’s room at Fallon where it was all white dudes. Even on mono, I don’t think it was ever just dudes.

jack050713 karma

What’s the worst joke you got away with?

VisorpantsJon58 karma

A woman in Florida was arrested for throwing butter at her roommate. Her roommate was immediately removed, and placed in a shelter for buttered women.

Tottochan12 karma

WHYYYY?

VisorpantsJon21 karma

ZZZZZZZZZZ… ;)

brantlythebest11 karma

Hi there! I just got home from dropping off my ballot! Do you personally believe that jab at Trump led him to run, or at least was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak? Or do you just enjoy the urban legend of it?

VisorpantsJon62 karma

No I don’t - for sure? But with Trump...you just don’t know. But what I can tell you is that, per Seth, he was VERY VERY mad at that joke for real, demanded to know who wrote it, and Seth told me to lay low for a few weeks. So that’s a genuine thing. Donald Trump wanted to know who wrote that joke in particular and wanted to hold me accountable, or something like that.

Boilerplating11 karma

Who's the greatest living comedian?

VisorpantsJon32 karma

Andy Kaufma...uh, next question please!

blueskadodo9 karma

What's a joke that you wish you had written?

VisorpantsJon44 karma

So the first time The Undertaker came on, I had all these crazy pitches that went nowhere. Then David Young said, because it was around Thanksgiving, “Why doesn’t he just tombstone a turkey?” And that made it and went viral. So that one.

asdf146287 karma

How do you deal with writer's block? And does the job get creatively draining?

VisorpantsJon12 karma

Well since I had a ministroke, not well. But...the thing about mono writing is it’s hard to get writer’s block so...I dunno, I haven’t really had it. I’m more likely to be stuck in a rut personally than creatively.

Does it get draining? Yes. But there’s two levels: the job being tough, and time to move on. Tough, you come back from. But when it’s wearing on you physically and affecting life outside the office, you need to move on (so have a plan to do so).

fenig137 karma

When I build a time machine and go back in time to tell you not to write the joke what secret do I need to tell past you that only future you would know?

VisorpantsJon16 karma

Before we go too deep here, does this involve playing “Johnny B. Goode”?

JonasPolskyAMA7 karma

Hi! I'm also a monologue joke writer. How do you feel about the quality control in a typical late night writers room? Namely, how often is a writer "phoning in" a joke in terms of quality. My perception is that after one or two seasons writers have a tendency to get lazy and "check the boxes" on a monologue joke instead of going for something that makes them laugh. Thanks

VisorpantsJon9 karma

I think as soon as a writer gets big on Twitter, has another project in the works or another gig lined up, it’s pretty common for them to check out. And yeah, two years does sound like the time that usually happens. (But hey, if those people finally kick it, check out Rinemania.com! #CheapPlug)

ranchdepressing6 karma

What is the worst spec script you've read? What is your advice to people who want to write comedy but find they're better at collaborating than leading a project?

VisorpantsJon14 karma

I wrote a “Scrubs” spec script in college that was so bad, I don’t think it can be topped and I don’t even remember what it was about. So that one.

Stryle5 karma

When will Jimmy Fallon be funny?

VisorpantsJon3 karma

Probably when he does Jeselnik’s “Pinata Full of Blood” idea. That’s really all that’s been missing.

bos2nc5 karma

Why do you think some of these shows stick with awful schtick bits like music with children’s instruments or carpool karaoke?

My take: Seems like the worst recurring bits correlate to the hosts with the worst ability to be naturally conversationally interesting/funny.

VisorpantsJon12 karma

First off, I love those two bits and they make me feel good. So maybe that’s why? Even when I was on bad terms with TS, seeing Ringo do “Yellow Submarine” with Jimmy and The Roots was really cool. (The Roots have stayed in touch and been great friends, so shout out to them.)

Dongulus5 karma

If Trump doesn't win the election, what will the late night comedy writing staff do when they suddenly have no material?

VisorpantsJon38 karma

It’s the opposite effect. They’ll love it because Biden is more fun to make fun of, and they can go back to having different things to talk about every day. Trump winning kills a lot of things, like late night (and 300,000 Americans).

fakir4 karma

Do people randomly come up to you and slap the shit out of you?

VisorpantsJon6 karma

Yes, actually! My 3.5-year-old daughter who has never been allowed to watch wrestling...but is as tall as a 5.5-year-old and, according to Dana Warrior (Ultimate’s wife), will become a wrestler. Don’t doubt it. But for real - she is STRONG.

VisorpantsJon12 karma

In some cases? Very true. To be frank, there were some *very* lazy and disappointing monologues being delivered over the summer (and again, that usually falls on the person who has ultimate say). I said so, because I thought they were punching down instead of, you know, going at Trump, and someone didn’t like it. But again...a lot of GREAT jokes just don’t make it for whatever reason. The trope of blaming the writers isn’t fair.

bigchuckdeezy3 karma

What was it like writing for WWE? I know a lot of wrestlers complain about creative freedom getting taken away so I’m curious if that was the same for the writers as well?

VisorpantsJon4 karma

Never came close to feeling comfortable there unless I was dealing with people like Bruce Prichard or Ed Koskey, tbh. Just didn’t fit in, and I knew some writers who *did* who felt kind of stifled. It’s a SUPER tough business and a tough gig, but I learned a ton.

JohnFatherJohn2 karma

Do you have any recommendations for monologue joke writing? I have a copy of Comedy Writing for Late Night TV by Joe Toplyn, which does a good job of providing formulaic systems to come up with jokes. How do you feel about using social media as a testing ground for jokes, advantages/disadvantages?

VisorpantsJon4 karma

There are certainly formulas, but I’d say that’s half of it at best - and comedy is always changing. As far as social media...it depends on who’s liking your jokes. Are you getting 100 likes from friends? Or are you getting noticed/going viral? And even then, jokes don’t SOUND the same as they read, so...the Twitter-to-good late night writer ratio isn’t as high as you’d expect.

bbbbbbbssssy2 karma

Have you considered that perhaps the pen you wrote the joke with is imbued with the power to twist fate? Have you tried writing/righting the wrong with the same pen?

VisorpantsJon4 karma

**Writes “Celtics trade up to draft Wiseman,” waits…**

No luck.

jhook872 karma

Was it as well known at the time that Trump cannot take a joke?

VisorpantsJon4 karma

Haha. You know...I won’t even bother trying to figure out what Trump can and can’t take and I hope to God we can stop giving a shit.

swapode2 karma

Did you ever hear Jim Cornette talk about anything you wrote for WWE?

VisorpantsJon4 karma

No, thank God. But I *love* Corny. I’m actually developing a show right now that has a character based on him. There aren’t too many people in wrestling for whom I do not care, My Good Sir.

enjoyt0day1 karma

Hi Jon! Glad to hear you have recovered from your stroke (a close friend recently had a stroke and is slowly but steadily improving, so my heart goes out to you and what you went through). Here’s my question for you— when it comes to writing comedy/satire about controversial issues, is there a certain process or “rule of thumb” you go by for how to take the actual issue and morph it into comedy? Or are there any rules of thumb with stuff to AVOID that you personally stick to? In recent years, between Black Lives Matter and the #metoo movement, it’s become increasingly important to have awareness & sensitivity to these topics (and many others!), but comedians & writers who can reach a huge audience and can educate (and even influence) on serious and controversial issues, how do you navigate between doing that job and not being afraid to push boundaries but also feeling confident that what you wrote is in good taste & socially responsible?

VisorpantsJon2 karma

Honestly? Lean into it and be yourself. And when you need to, break that fourth wall so your message is clear. Jimmy Kimmel has been amazing at this, as has Seth Meyers.

azrhei1 karma

It's your fault, you son of a bitch! *shakes fist in rage*

Do you envision a post-Trump world of Late Night and comedy in general to be a depressing hellscape compared to the bountiful harvest of the last 4 years?

VisorpantsJon6 karma

If Trump wins, late night’s dead. That’s my opinion. It’s already got a long road ahead...but if he’s still in the news, nobody’s gonna want to hear more news before bed, IMO.

wodie5041 karma

What's it like working with someone so unprofessional, he can't keep from giggling like an 8 year old girl on Christmas morning everytime a guest so much as sneezes?

VisorpantsJon2 karma

I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get me to say anything bad about Vince McMahon.

fredandlunchbox1 karma

Some day, long in the future, you kick the bucket and you're standing before St. Peter at the gates of Heaven.

"Jon, you did a lot of good for this world, but that Trump thing is weighing you down," he says. "We've decided to give you one more chance. Tell me a joke and if it makes me laugh, you can walk into heaven free and clear."

What do you tell him?

VisorpantsJon2 karma

How’s it feel to be God’s Walmart greeter?

Chaz_wazzers1 karma

Do you think the Correspondence Dinner will return to normal with a Presidents involvement after the election?

VisorpantsJon3 karma

If Joe Biden wins? Hell yeah. And if anyone out there is listening...I would like nothing more than to write some jokes for Joe Biden.

Wherethefigawi001 karma

Why didn’t Conan work out for the Tonight Show?

VisorpantsJon1 karma

Jay at 10 and Conan moving to LA. I think that plan hurt both Jay and Conan immensely, and also maybe Jimmy (had we still been doing Late Night in 2016, we’re still cruising along doing HeadSwap)

beastROCK97571 karma

Some people will give this post gold, platinum. And then you'll be a Reddit Premium member.

Honestly, isn't that all what you've always wanted?

VisorpantsJon6 karma

Look, this is no place to try and plug something, like Anti-Social Skills, the board game written by comedians during a pandemic, available at Asskills.com, with our Kickstarter ending in about a week.