Author, comedian and award winning comedy writer Gary Greenberg has been a writer and has served as head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live, and he’s a bestselling author. Mike met Gary Greenberg in 1993 when they were both working at New York Comedy Club, which was owned by Al Martin (who now owns Broadway Comedy Club). Mike said “me and Gary bonded fast he is one of my oldest and closest friends in comedy.”
Mike Bochetti: Besides being a super successful writer on the Jimmy Kimmel show I know you have had books published can you tell me more about them?
Gary Greenberg: Thank you for the kind words, Mike. I have had four books published. The first one was called Self-Helpless, a book that made fun of the self-help movement. I wrote that one with my friend and co-worker Jon Bines. Next was The Pop-Up Book of Phobias, where all your worst fears popped out of the book into your face. It became a best seller, so I did a sequel called The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares, where all the most common nightmares popped out at you. But that one came out a few weeks after 9/11, and I don’t think people wanted to see a bunch of nightmares jump out at them. So that one was not so successful. And the last one was Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads, which I created with my wife, Jeannie Hayden, who is a wonderful illustrator. That one became a best seller as well, and is still selling pretty well, even after 11 years. It’s currently in its 25th printing, and has been translated into 10 languages.
Mike Bocchetti: Gary how did Jimmy find out about you to hire you for the show?
Gary Greenberg: I had a few friends who were writing for The Man Show, Jon Bines and Jordan Rubin. I knew them both through stand-up, and they had moved to L.A. and loved writing for Jimmy and Adam Corolla. They recommended me, and I submitted a few packets to the show. I didn’t end up getting hired on The Man Show, but they liked my material, and they bought one of my ideas. When it came time to hire writers for Jimmy Kimmel Live, the executive producer sent me an email asking me to submit.
Mike Bocchetti: As a huge fan of jimmy myself since Win Ben Steins Money what was it like the first time you meet him?
Gary Greenberg: The head writer at the time, Steve O’Donnell, called me and said they liked my submission, and wanted me to come in to meet Jimmy, and if we clicked, I would get the job. I was living in New York at the time, and flew to L.A. for the meeting. I was incredibly nervous as I walked into Jimmy’s office. He sat down across from me, on a couch, and said “I liked your submission. You think you could live in L.A.?” I said “Yeah, I think so.” He said, “OK, you got the job.” It was that simple. He was very welcoming and laid back.
Mike Bocchetti: On the average how long is the average day at the show?
Gary Greenberg: The days vary, depending on what you are working on. We usually start writing at 7 am, and write until the taping time, which is usually 5 pm. But then we are often writing bigger projects, and things for the next day or the next week, so some days are longer than others.
Mike Bocchetti: I know you were one of the head writers on the show how long did you do that for?
Gary Greenberg: I was a writer for 4 years, a head writer for 6 years, and I have been a Supervising Producer for almost a year.
Mike Bocchetti: How much has the show changed since the first day on the job till now with all the political correctness we have in comedy and in life?
Gary Greenberg: I think its always been a balancing act. On a network late night show, you need to appeal to a very wide range of people. You can be edgy, but you also have to be aware that there are boundaries. And that can be tricky, because the boundaries often change with the times.
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