The Tonight Show Head Writer Exits Over Too Many Donald Trump Jokes

While Jimmy Fallon might be staying on with NBC's The Tonight Show past the end of his 2021 contract, current head writer of the late-night talk show Rebecca Drysdale (Key & Peele, Baskets) is leaving the show after less than seven months. The move comes the same week that saw showrunner Gavin Purcell exit, replaced by Jamie Granet-Bederman and previous head writer Nedaa Sweiss. First reported on by the Chicago Sun-Times, Drysdale explained in a private Facebook post that "they [The Tonight Show team] made it clear that I was not a good fit for the show, and I did not disagree. I wish it had gone differently and I had been able to be what they needed but that is not how it shook out."

The Tonight Show (Image: NBCU)
The Tonight Show (Image: NBCU)

But it's the reasoning that could give some pause: too many Donald Trump jokes. As much of late-night has, Fallon shifted towards jokes about Trump over the years. From Drysdale's perspective, using comedy to go after Trump "adds to his" power and she didn't want to be a part of it. "I believe that comedy is a powerful tool. I believe that it can handle anything, no matter how unfunny. I don't believe that making fun of this man, doing impressions of him, or making him silly, is a good use of that power. It only adds to his," she wrote in her post. "I am making the decision for myself to never work on, write, or be involved with, another Trump sketch ever again. I have landed in several jobs and situations over the last few years, not just 'The Tonight Show,' where the project of making fun of Trump or doing material about Trump, has led to divided creative teams, anxiety, tears, and pain. I can't decide the outcome of this election, but I can make the choice for myself, to vote him out of my creative life."

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About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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