Rich Blomquist wins
Emmy for writing


Rich Blomquist, a 2000 School of Communications graduate, is among a group of writers for Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" who won the 2003 Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. Among the other nominees were Robin Williams and the writing teams for "Saturday Night Live," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and "Late Show with David Letterman."

Blomquist joined the funny people at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," a popular cable television program that bases its material on current events, early this year. The long road to a regular comedy-writing gig began while he was at Elon; on the advice of professors, he worked in an internship with WTNH-TV in his home state of Connecticut, with the hope of landing a New York job the next summer.

"I actually applied for an internship at 'The Daily Show' but all the slots were filled," he recalled. "They passed my resume on to a Comedy Central sketch/hidden camera show called 'Upright Citizens Brigade.' That was great. I got to work as a hidden-camera guy. They also let me write a few things for the Comedy Central web site." He also interned with the same show the following winter term.

After graduating from Elon, he worked in the comedy trenches in New York, first as a unit production assistant for a Comedy Central show titled "Strangers with Candy." "It involved waking up at 4 in the morning, driving the wardrobe truck to the set, setting up hair, makeup and craft service, then breaking it all down at the end of the day and being the last to leave," he said. "I think I averaged about four hours of sleep a night."

Next he worked as a coordinator for a Comedy Central puppet/cartoon show called "TV Funhouse," a Robert Smigel project. "All of the writers for that show were my heroes, so it was both thrilling and daunting," he recalled. "They were all the great 'Conan' guys: Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos, Tommy Blacha, Greg Cohen, among others."

Next, he worked in a series of "unglamorous production-assistant jobs, driving trucks, carrying heavy stuff and making sure the soda coolers had enough ice. Working on more awful TV shows than I care to remember."

His break came when he sent a "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" submission to Smigel. Smigel liked it and agreed to pass it on to Conan's head writer, Mike Sweeney. "Although it never led to a gig at Conan, Smigel invited us to help write his Funhouse cartoons for 'Saturday Night Live,'" he said. "I helped out on four of those, and it was my first TV-writing credit." Blomquist also started writing material for Smigel's puppet alter-ego, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

He sent a submission to the "Daily Show" in December, 2002. "They asked for a second submission, liked it, and the rest is obscure cable-TV-writer history," he deadpanned.

He now contributes to all of the elements of the comic news program, including headlines, desk pieces, field pieces and star Jon Stewart's "chats" with correspondents on "location."

"The 'Daily Show' is a news-parody show, so the material all comes from what's going on in the news - both the stories and how the media are covering them," he said.
"Since getting hired, I've consumed an incredible amount of news. I read a couple of different newspapers every day, I'm constantly checking into and CNN is usually on TV in my office."

"The Daily Show" airs on Comedy Central Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m. and also reruns a couple of times a day.

"My jokes are all of the really, really funny ones," Blomquist added.

His advice for students who dream about a job in New York? "Get an internship here," he said. "It usually means working for free, but it leads to good things. And there might be a couple of years of putting ice in coolers before that happens."



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Last Modified:  9/21/03
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