In comedy there is always the temptation to go for the easy jokes – but now, more than ever, comedians have to challenge themselves.
What’s that smell? It’s political humor in 2017, according to Josh Lieb, former producer and writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. "There's always a temptation in comedy to go for the low hanging fruit, to go for the easy jokes. And right now it's not even that the fruit is low-hanging – it's on the ground, it's rotting on the ground," says Lieb. When your grannie gets on Twitter to ridicule the current administration, she’s as funny as someone who’s studied and performed comedy for a decade. Political absurdity is stealing the comedic limelight, and comedians must evolve and aim much higher. Josh Lieb is the author of I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President and Ratscalibur.
Josh Lieb had worked in the writer's rooms of comedy successes from the Simpsons to the Daily Show, but he warns those who want to follow in his footsteps that the job is full of more frustrations than glory. If there's anything else you can do, he says, do that.
Josh Lieb is the former Producer and Show Runner of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. His credits include stints as Executive Producer of NewsRadio and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He won 7 Prime Time Emmys as a producer and writer for The Daily Show. In 2009, he published a young adult novel, I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President, which was a New York Times Bestseller.
Lieb was raised in Columbia, South Carolina, and graduated from Harvard, where he was an editor of The Lampoon, the college humor magazine. After graduation, he found work writing for Twisted Puppet Theater, The Jon Stewart Show, and NewsRadio. He subsequently worked as a producer or consultant on shows including The Simpsons, Drawn Together, Sirens, Nikki, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Lieb's tenure at The Daily Show lasted from 2006 to 2010, during which he also served as Executive Producer of “The Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear” and as co-editor and co-author of Earth: The Book.
In 2013, he wrote and directed a series of comedic shorts to raise money and awareness for the charity Water.Org. Stars featured in the shorts included Matt Damon, Jessica Biel, Sir Richard Branson, and Bono.
Penguin/ Random House released Lieb's second novel, Ratscalibur, in 2015.
In October 2016, NBCUniversal announced an exclusive writing deal with Lieb.