Writing for the Harvard Lampoon
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: Why has the Lampoon created so many great writers?
Josh Lieb: The Lampoon . . . You know I . . . I don’t . . . I think that obviously goes in ways . . . The writers it’s creating right now, I think they’re all good. It’s . . . it’s just a . . . Look you’re at Harvard, so, you know, you’ve got sort of a pretty good pool to choose from. And it’s got this nice building and a sort of sweet setup, so it becomes very attractive. And then it’s got this history. So you know it became very easy to attract sort of talented writers. And then you know when you’re there, you sort of wanna live up to the people that have been there before. I mean that said actually putting out the magazine are not really always that funny. But the . . . there is a competitive nature with the, you know, people on the magazine itself where you’re always sort of trying to better each other and one-up each other. So you know it’s all those rams butting their heads eventually makes you stronger.
The competitive atmosphere at the Lampoon drives writers to produce good work.
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