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Writing jokes for TV in an age of Twitter

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Phone and TV remote Twitter
Phone and TV remote Twitter

Like many technological developments, social media is a double-edged sword for writers in older forms — particularly TV comedy writers. FastCoCreate has asked writers for Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and other comedy mainstays how Twitter has changed their process. Twitter, says Jimmy Kimmel Live writer Molly McNearney, is a "great indicator of relevancy," as well as a deluge of current events source material. There's also a distinct difference between what will work in a tweet and what can become part of a sketch or monologue. At the same time, writers sometimes have to pull jokes because they're too similar to ones that have been trending on Twitter hours before. "Sometimes you write a joke you really like and then you nervously scan Twitter all day," says Alex Baze of SNL, "hoping you don’t see it."