The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon head writer Rebecca Drysdale has exited the series amid behind-the-scenes changes.
In a statement Thursday night to Urban Hollywood 411, Drysdale said she was notified over the weekend that the NBC late-night program would be going in a different direction.
“The new showrunner called me on Sunday to let me know that there were creative changes happening with the show, and that it was felt that I was not the right fit. I agreed,” Drysdale shared via email.
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The veteran writer joined the series seven months ago, just as host Jimmy Fallon began filming from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Drysdale said she worked remotely via Zoom during the lockdown, and had only recently returned to the studio with the rest of the crew.
NBC recently extended its contract with Fallon and promoted longtime producer Jamie Granet-Bederman to showrunner, according to published reports. Granet-Bederman’s elevation marked Tonight‘s third showrunner change in the past two years — never a good sign.
As for Drysdale, she shared with friends in a private Facebook post — that was picked up by multiple media outlets — that she was no longer with The Tonight Show. She mentioned in her post that she had grown weary of writing about politics and President Trump. However, she told us her departure from Tonight “was totally unrelated” to Trump.
“I have had a few jobs in the last few years where writing Trump sketches has been a source of a lot of division and anxiety within writers rooms and creative teams, and I am deciding for myself not to write comedy about him anymore,” Drysdale said in her email.
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While she admitted The Tonight Show was “not a great fit,” she said she gained valuable experience at the program and has “admiration for the staff and crew of the show.”
Before joining the NBC series, Drysdale wrote for shows such as Key & Peele, Weird Loners, and Baskets.
During her time as a comedian at famed Second City comedy club in Chicago, Drysdale performed with Jordan Peele and co-wrote sketches with him. When Peele went on to launch his own TV show, he brought Drysdale along as a writer. Key & Peele ran from 2012 to 2015.
Urban Hollywood 411 writer Jacquelinne Mejia contributed to this report.