How Late Night Writer Karen Chee Generates Punchlines

“There’s a moment when I’m writing something, and it’ll kind of surprise me.”


Episode Notes

This week, host Karen Han talks to comedy writer Karen Chee, who works as a writer and performer for Late Night With Seth Meyers. In the interview, Chee discusses her early work writing humor pieces for the New Yorker before landing a job writing for the Golden Globes. Then she breaks down her joke-writing process for Late Night, which involves generating dozens of setups and punchlines every day.

After the interview, Karen Han and co-host June Thomas discuss the challenges of producing a large volume of work under a tight deadline.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Chee talks about her taste in movies. Then she shares more secrets from the Late Night writers’ room.

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Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


About the Show

Slate interviews creative people about their work.

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  • Karen Han is a former Slate staff writer. Her writing on film, TV, and culture has also appeared in the New York Times, Vulture, Vanity Fair, the Atlantic, and Vice.