Jimmie Walker – yes, Jimmie Walker – has terrific piece over at Slate about the staff he assembled in the 70s to help him write jokes for his stand-up. He writes:
Sitting on the couch would be David Letterman next to Jay Leno next to Paul Mooney. Snacking on the food might be Robert Schimmel, Richard Jeni, Louie Anderson, and Elayne Boosler. Young Byron Allen would be trying to ignore the fact that his mother was in the kitchen waiting to drive him home.
Additionally, Jack Handey and Steve Oedekirk were two of the upwards of two dozen comedians who would gather in JJ’s Beverly Hills apartment and pitch jokes like the following:
The government just did a study. Found out the reason the unemployment rate is so high is because there are so many people out of work.There’s a new course they have in school now called black studies. But I always wondered what would happen if I flunked. Would I fade?I was on the Johnny Carson show last week, and I mentioned in passing that I had never gone out with an airline stewardess or Playboy Bunny before, and I do not believe the response I got. I got like 200 letters from guys who said they’ve never been out with one either.
His writers’ room was such a snapshot of the LA stand-up scene at that time. One could say it was “dynomite!” (Get it? That was his catchphrase and junk. Oh, you do get it? Dynomite!)