Jesse Joyce frequently toured with the late Greg Giraldo, who brought Joyce aboard the Comedy Central Roast franchise as an annual writer. Now also a @midnight staffer, the Tonight Show vet and Last Comic Standing semifinalist performs multiple nights across the 2016 Moontower Comedy Festival.
I’ve done ten Comedy Central Roasts, TBS, a couple on ESPN, a few Friars Club ones now. Flavor Flav was my first one.
It’s not like it pays my mortgage or anything, but it’s a fun thing to do.
I tweet out the unused jokes every year afterwards, and HuffPo and a couple others always pick it up as “Hey, here are some jokes Jesse wrote that didn’t get in!”
And a lot of them are reusable. You write a good Artie Lange joke and it doesn’t get used, you just keep it in the folder of, like, “Fat Drug Addicts.” And there will always be another one that the joke will kind of work for.
With stand-up, the pretense is you kind of have to water down the writing a little bit. You have to downplay it because part of the magic trick of stand-up is it’s all coming off the top of your head. It’s conversational. At a Roast, nobody thinks you’re just coming up with this now. The jokes don’t even have to tie into each other; it’s literally just, like, “Here’s the best joke I could think of. Here’s joke number two. Here’s the third…”
The reason my writing resume is so diverse is because I bounce around to gigs all the time. I don’t want to get sucked into the writers loop. A lot of people I know are great comics, and going into a late-night show is good money but exhausting, and they stop stand-up. I never wanted that to happen. It is nice to have a consistent salary, but if you ask most people, they don’t know who they are because that’s all they do.
@midnight came along, and I thought it was a real cool showcase of comics. I worked out a deal where I would be on the show semi-regularly and write for it, and the beauty of it is we only tape Monday through Wednesday, so it doesn’t interfere with stand-up. And the show is three different comics coming in every day who always see that I’m there. Ironically by taking myself off the road as much, it’s kind of helped my stand-up profile. And then I do the show, and you get to plug your shows for comedy fans. And I feel like on that show, there is a real premium on respecting stand-up specifically. It’s a perfect writing gig.