Big Think Interview with Bill Scheft | Big Think | Summary and Q&A

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April 23, 2012
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Big Think
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Big Think Interview with Bill Scheft | Big Think

TL;DR

Bill Sheft shares his journey from being a stand-up comedian to becoming a writer for Late Night with David Letterman, highlighting his love for comedy and the challenges he faced.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How did Bill Sheft's journey in comedy begin?

Bill Sheft's love for comedy started at a young age, growing up in a big Jewish family with a funny dynamic. He began performing stand-up during his late teens, stealing jokes and performing at small venues.

Q: What motivated Bill Sheft to pursue a career in comedy?

While watching stand-up comedians like George Carlin and Richard Pryor, Bill realized that being a stand-up comic was something he could do. He was particularly influenced by Lenny Bruce and felt a strong desire to become a stand-up comedian himself.

Q: How did Bill Sheft transition from stand-up comedy to becoming a writer for Late Night with David Letterman?

After performing stand-up for 13 years, Bill joined Late Night with David Letterman in 1991 as a writer. His background as a sports writer and comedian helped him in crafting jokes and funny content for the show.

Q: How has the comedic sensibility of late-night shows evolved over time?

Late-night shows have become more diverse and competitive with the emergence of cable late-night shows like The Daily Show and Colbert. The focus has shifted towards being more topical, issue-oriented, and incorporating celebrity culture, resulting in a wider variety of comedy styles.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Bill Sheft discovered his love for comedy at a young age and began performing stand-up during his late teens.

  • He pursued a career in sports writing and later transitioned to becoming a stand-up comic for 13 years before joining Late Night with David Letterman in 1991.

  • The comedic sensibility of late-night shows has evolved over time, influenced by changing demographics and the emergence of cable late-night shows like The Daily Show and Colbert.

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