‘The Tonight Show’ Head Writer Rebecca Drysdale Exits

Peter White
·2 min read

Rebecca Drysdale has exited as head writer of The Tonight Show.

This comes just over six months after she was named head writer on the NBC late-night show and follows a busy week for the Jimmy Fallon-hosted show, which earlier this week saw showrunner Gavin Purcell leave, replaced by Jamie Granet-Bederman, and Fallon himself extend his contract with the network.

Drysdale, in a private Facebook post first picked up by the Chicago Sun-Times, said that the decision to leave was mutual. “They made it clear that I was not a good fit for the show, and I did not disagree. I wish it had gone differently and I had been able to be what they needed but that is not how it shook out,” she wrote.

Drysdale added that she decided to never to write another sketch about Donald Trump again, saying that she doesn’t believe making fun of him is a good use of the power comedy, but said that this was not the reason that she was leaving The Tonight Show.

Drysdale started on The Tonight Show on April 13, during the middle of the pandemic, replacing previous head writer Nedaa Sweiss, who earlier this week was named co-showrunner of the show.

She was previously a writer on Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key’s Comedy Central sketch program Key and Peele, where she shared a Peabody Award and three Emmy nominations in the writing for a variety series category. Drysdale was also head writer on the Nickelodeon reboot of All That With Keenan Thompson. She also has written on Baskets at FX and High Maintenance at HBO.

She got her start by forming the Two White Guys comedy troupe with her former college roommate Peele, performing together at the ImprovOlympics. In 2005, she took home the first Breakout Performer Award at the Aspen Comedy Festival.

On the film side, she co-wrote the independent feature Becks, which won the U.S. Fiction Award at the L.A. Film Festival. Her feature spec script, Dan Pan, is in development at Netflix with Adam Sandler attached. As an actress, Drysdale has appeared in Orange Is the New Black, Arrested Development and 30 Rock. She is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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