In March 2011, Jen Statsky (TSOA ’08) woke up to two missed calls from her manager, and one e-mail that read: “Call me!!” Still half asleep, Statsky—who was working as an SAT practice proctor in Los Angeles at the time—dialed her phone to discover she’d been offered a job writing for Jimmy Fallon on his NBC show, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. In that instant, years of hard work and perseverance came to a head. “I always thought that the second I got this kind of news I would be so happy…and I was super happy,” Statsky says. “But I was also like…oh, my God, I have to do this now.”
That initial fear subsided once Statsky found herself right inside the tornado of working on a daily TV show—and having to be funny full-time. Now more than a year into the game, she’s grown accustomed to receiving a batch of topics each night and transforming them into punchy monologue jokes by morning. It’s an art form she calls “a marathon, not a sprint.” When you write a good joke, she says, “you don’t stop and celebrate,” just like “you don’t dwell on the terrible jokes you write either.”
While the former intern for Saturday Night Live, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, and The Onion can certainly see her success as the result of years of networking and honing her craft, a good chunk of credit must also go to a six-year-old microblog, otherwise known as Twitter. Though skeptical, Statsky started “tweeting” in September 2010 because she’d heard it was a good way to practice joke writing in front of an audience—even if it was mostly family and friends at first. But as her maximum 140-character quips quickly gained traction, getting retweeted and viewed by others in the industry, she watched her “followers” steadily climb. Within six months, she got a message from Late Night head writer A.D. Miles, who said he admired her work and invited her to apply for an open writing position.
Twitter magic struck again when Statsky became the centerpiece of a New York Times article last fall on comedians using the social networking site to further their careers. That story tripled her followers from about 7,000 to more than 23,000 as of this April. Equal parts Steven Wright, Louis C.K., and Sarah Silverman, Statsky still posts tweets almost every day. And although the pressure to be funny has never been higher, she says that putting new twists on old ideas feels “like a discovery” each time, which helps fuel her next joke. “I think, oh, there’s more out there,” she explains. “It hasn’t all been done.”
A sampling of Statsky's Top Tweets
It’s so nice out today, I decided to go to the park and have my panic attack there.
“If it’s Margaret, I’m not here.” —God
Think my cat might be depressed. She just told me she’s thinking about getting a cat.
That last syllable of “techno” is exactly how I feel about it.
Infuriates me that all dogs go to heaven when I think about that maltese that murdered my grandpa.
So crazy that even in 2012, for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes a delicious apple pie.
My seasonal depression is entering its 10th straight season!
Remember that time I had a headache but didn’t let anyone know about it? Me either.
“Alright, alright, HI already.” —Kitty
No sadder sound than a human being repositioning themselves on an air mattress.