Working

How Late Night Writer Karen Chee Generates Punchlines

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

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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.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to working@slate.com or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.

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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.