CBS Blew It! – Craig Ferguson Announces He’s Leaving ‘Late Late Show’

Craig Ferguson announces he'll be leaving the Late, Late Show

The field is totally opening up!

Craig Ferguson announced Monday night that he’ll be leaving the Late, Late Show at the end of this year.  There is a lot of speculation that Ferguson was mistreated and completely overlooked, when CBS passed over him to replace David Letterman who will be retiring at the end of this year.

This after a 10-year run!

He was like a second string quarterback waiting his turn to take over the team.

Imagine if the Green Bay Packers overlooked Aaron Rogers after Brett Favre left the team?


CBS Blew It!

I think CBS completely blew it with this decision. They instead went with Stephen Colbert.

Colbert is very talented, but unproven and untested as a host in a non-satirical, non-character-based environment.

Ferguson is fresh, unique and extremely talented.

The execs who made this decision have ABSOLUTELY NO CONCEPT of the level of talent it takes to go off-script like Ferguson does and riff on a subject and get consistently great laughs. The guy is a genius.

*But Jerry, tell us how you really feel!*

He has an ability to detach from the show and actually make you feel like he’s in your living room; all the while still engaging the studio audience.

Who else does that?!

Answer: Nobody!

I don’t understand their reasoning for this decision. The only thing I can hypothesize on is that they are looking to target the 18-34 male demographic; the demo that is so coveted by advertisers and and already targeted by Comedy Central, Colbert’s current home.

But if that’s the case they blew it, as Ferguson and Colbert are virtually the same age!

Writing Positions Are Opening Up

But what does this mean for my readers, (all 3 of you)?

I know that some of you are really into looking to nail a job on a Late Night Show as a writer. This is a truly historic time with the shake-ups that are happening all around late night. Never in my life time have there been so many changes in the late night line up. in the same year.

With Colbert replacing Letterman and Ferguson leaving at the end of this year, new opportunities will be springing up all over the network.

Time to sharpen your pencils, freshen your pens and get your carpel tunnel wrist braces on and start re-typing and re-writing your Late Night TV submission packets.

Those of you who have taken my workshop on writing for late night know that you should be re-tooling your submission packet every 6 months and sending it in to the shows producers on a regular basis.

You should also be tweeting your daily jokes. Why?  The Late Night with Seth Meyers people plucked an I.T. worker from Peoria, and put him on the staff for the show after reading his humorous tweets.

Now the Dude is earning a $4000 minimum weekly paycheck as a staff writer on the show. Hell Yes!

So even though I’m in disagreement about the network’s decision to overlook Ferguson, I am laser-beam focused on the new opportunities available for writers.

Get writing!

Clinic Student Sascha Knopf Moves to Next Round in CA’s Funniest Female Competition

sascha-funniest-female-compQuick shout out to Stand Up Comedy Clinic student and funny girl, Sascha Knopf, who moved to the Semi-Final round in California’s Funniest Female comedy competition at the Ice House in Pasadena Wednesday night.

Sascha was in a mix of some darn good comedians too. Many of whom traveled from as far as Washington D.C. to participate in the competition.

One of the things that I really dig about teaching is watching students overcome obstacles, develop their comedic skill, hit milestones and achieve dreams… and this is no exception because the fascinating part of this share is that Sascha has only been involved in stand-up for eight months!

One of the judges said it was a blend of her structure and performance that made the judge feel like she “belonged there.”

About Sascha Knopf

Sascha is a skilled actress who has appeared in films like “Shallow Hal,” “Expiration Date”sascha-knopf-what's-the-worst-that-can-happen2 and “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?,” where she held her own comedically, playing opposite Danny Devito and Martin Lawrence. (Check out her reel on Sascha’s website.)

Sascha decided to try stand-up to compliment acting resume and give herself yet another creative outlet.

I say, “yet another,” because Knopf is one those people who exudes creativity. She’s always working on something to keep the creativity Gods happy. If she’s not acting or doing stand-up, she’s shooting pictures, because she’s also a skilled photographer. She spent some time with some of the top fashion designers shooting fashion week in New York and still shoots actors, comedians and events in L.A.

She has a keen sense of color and an intuitiveness that helps bring out the unique persona of the people she shoots. Check out some of her work, here.

I’m proud to brag that Comedy Clinic Alumn, Stephanie Blum, also moved to the next round in the competition. Stephanie is a veteran of stand-up comedy and can crank out some great material so I’m looking forward to the competition as it moves forward with two Comedy Clinic students going to the semi-finals.

Shameless Plug: Comedy Clinic Student Won in 2013

pauline-jerry-wsocOur students are no strangers to the CA Funniest Female comedy competition, as alumnus Pauline Yasuda was the winner of the competition in 2013! Pauline brought her comedy A-game to the competition last year which was held at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, CA. Pauline took first place out of a ton of comics who came from as far as Australia.

Pauline may be taking a break from comedy for a bit as she just had her first baby, but as a father of five myself (that’s right, Five!  Don’t judge!), I know Pauline will have a ton of new jokes in the coming months!

Good luck to all the comedians in this year’s California’s Funniest Female comedy competition!

About the Competition

California’s Funniest Female comedy competition is in it’s 11th year. It is produced by Bill Word and attracts comedians from all over the world and has done a lot to promote female comedians throughout its tenure. Check out their website and keep tabs so you can get into the competition next year!

Get Into The Ventura Comedy Festival

ventura comedy festival It’s that time again! The 4th Annual Ventura Comedy Festival is getting revved up for their 2014 season. Check out the website for submission opportunities.

Last year the show had over 200 comedians participating. This year the festival is even going to be bigger.

Comedian Randy Lubas is the founder of this festival and has personally reviewed all the videos that were submitted.

The submission fee is only $25, so even the most broke comic can raise that cash.

Again, they are in the earliest stages of announcement and will  be open for submissions soon. Please keep checking their website for the updates.

You know the benefits of participating in competitions, so get into this one if you can!

Late Night Writing & Submission Workshop is on!

This is fantastic news! Glad to hear that several of you want to participate in the Late Night Writing & Submission Workshop.

The date is Confirmed as Wednesday, July 31st, 2013.
The information is below to sign up for the workshop. I will help you get your material organized so that you can submit to shows and submit to the NBCUniversal contest for the weekend Late Night Workshop in New York!

What is this about?

Get more information below! And get on this. These opportunities don’t come often!


Late Night Joke Writing & Submission Workshop

Want to get prepared to submit to the Late Night Shows as a writer but don’t know what to do, what they’re looking for or how to format it?

Well then you don’t want to miss this!

Late Night Joke Writing & Submission Workshop to prepare you for this opportunity. I will cover:

  • How to write jokes quickly for Late Night
  • How to write jokes in the style of Late Night.
  • What they look for in Late Night Joke Submissions
  • How to separate yourself from the pack
  • How to properly format a sketch package
  • What the earning potential is for a staff writer
  • How to write volumes of jokes on one topic
  • 3 Easy steps to create compelling sketch concepts
  • …and much more

This will be a 4-hour workshop WEDNESDAY July 31st11am-3pm for ONLY $99.

I will also be recording this workshop and I will make it available for purchase for anyone out of town. You will have access to all the handouts and sample sheets used at the workshop.

If you have questions or need more info reach me via my contact me page.


Visit for more details!


Why Did They “Boo” Bill Maher on Letterman?

Bill Maher Gets ‘Boo’d’ on Letterman



One of my students sent me an email that asked if I could do an analysis on this video of Bill Maher getting “Boo’d” on Letterman.

I love walking through these things. It gives us a chance to understand the fickle behavior of an audience.

Bill Maher is no stranger to controversial material. Remember he got canned by ABC in 2002 when he was doing ‘Politically Incorrect.’

I’m a huge fan of Bill Maher. I love his take on most things and even when I might disagree with him on some things, I still give props for the not only the courage to say what he says, but also the way he organizes his thoughts and researches what he talks about.

Comedy Central has Bill Maher ranked 38 among the best stand up comics of all time.

So when I heard that Bill was boo’d on Letterman. I was quick to review the video.

Let’s look at it together and try to figure out why they “boo’d”

After reviewing the clip, I don’t think they “boo’d” him as much as they “ooo’ed” him.

We have to consider the nature of  the audience dynamic in today’s political environment. The immediate perception from most audiences is that every joke is an attack.

“Not as bad as being a minority in Florida…”

This particular line is layered.

The audience has an immediate reaction to the surface of it: ‘not as bad as being a minority in Florida.’ I believe that they perceived the comment initially as a general negative attack on minorities. This happens in the first second after the comment, which results in the “Ooh.”

Remember the comment was a play on the previous sentence when he uses the term ‘minority owner.’

When Maher said ‘minority owner.’  His comic brain saw an opportunity to do a double-entendre play on the word ‘minority.’

Given a few seconds to ponder and process, the audience then sorts it out in their heads as to what Maher meant exactly by that comment:

‘Is he just making fun of minorities or is he doing a play on the word ‘minority?’

I believe his intention was that Trayvon being a young, black man, got a bad deal in Florida. Also, since Zimmerman is also a minority and living in Florida, he could be saying that both of them have been or will be treated poorly.

Problem was, his intention of the joke was misunderstood, because it had a vagueness to it. It lacked specificity. So the audience did what all overtly politically correct audiences do, they reacted that the joke was an attack on minorities, so they “ooo’ed.”

You’ll notice that once some people had a moment to process the underlying meaning of the joke or what the intended target was (Florida, the jury, unfairness of the process, etc.), there was a smattering of applause indicating that they ‘got’ it.


So what do we learn from this? Sometimes, being specific is crucial for the audience to understand the immediate meaning of the joke so that we get the audience to respond the way we intended them to.

Immediacy is not necessary for all styles of jokes, but  jokes that have a perceived meaning that could be taken as racist, sexist, or an attack on anomalic sensitivity (person with a wheelchair in the room, dwarf or little person), while on T.V. with limited time to explain, specificity is crucial. 

Possible Solution

What if Bill clarified the joke by saying, “Better than being a minority in a Florida court these days.” Or “With the raw deal Trayvon got, it’s better than being a minority in Florida these days.”

With that simple clarification, he could’ve turned the “ooh” into an applause.

But with a live audience, you never know.

NOTE: How sensitive can an audience be?

I remember a friend of mine was appearing on The Tonight Show. Previous to his appearance, the band had a musical featured on the piano who was a ‘midget,’ (or little person–just to stay P.C.). While my friend was in the greenroom prepping for his set, the midget was playing the piano. The audience loved the midget. Then my friend comes on for his set, unaware that the pianist tearing it up on the piano was a midget. The comedian opened with two midget jokes…

He couldn’t recover from there and wasn’t invited back to Tonight.

Have you ever had any situations where you stepped in it? Let us know!