What Gets Josh Lieb Excited
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.
Question: What excites you most these days?
Josh Lieb: My son. I have a little boy, a little baby. I find him very exciting. He's teething now and, you know it's all very boring and predictable but it's pretty exciting for me. I can't say I'm excited about anything in particular on the TV show, or books, or any political development. I'm fascinated by what's going on out there, but nothing is exciting me quite like having a little boy so I am definitely a mammal.
Question: What are you most concerned about for the next generation of kids?
Josh Lieb: It’s still strictly education. One of the reasons I would also write for a young audience is I don’t think there is anything better a child can do is read. If we can get our children to read, we’re set. And I probably think that because I am a reader, but I do think that is necessary for an intelligent child and for a flourishing democracy. Again, it was several years ago when I as last interviewed by Big Think, nothing has changed in our educational system. I don’t even remember what we talked about, but it’s the same problem that we talked about then. Everyone talks about fixing our schools, and nobody does anything. There is actually an exciting charter school – I really don’t know much about it – out in one of the boroughs here where they are paying every teacher $100,000, which was actually an idea I had several years ago. And I am very curious to hear how that goes over because I think the number one thing we can do is to put – look, Oliver, in the book, probably the main reason he hates school besides the fact that he is smarter than everybody is that he has no respect for his teachers. Some of these teachers are petty tyrants. Most teachers are great people, but anyone who has been to school, which all of us knows, you’ve got your petty tyrant, you’ve got your dim bulbs, you’ve got your narcissus. I just know too many really smart, interesting people in college who would have loved to have gone into teaching because they love going to school. If they thought they could have supported their families doing it.
Recorded on: October 9, 2009
Josh Lieb is very excited about his children, but he worries about education in the United States.
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