Kaitlin Fontana: You’re listening to OnWriting, a podcast from the Writers Guild of America, East. I’m Kaitlin Fontana. In each episode you’ll hear from writers in film, television, news, and new media discussing everything from pitching to production, from process to favorite lines and jokes and everything in between. Kristen Bartlett and Mike Drucker are the Emmy nominated and Writers Guild award winning co-head writers of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee now in its fourth season on TBS. Before Full Frontal, Kristen wrote on two seasons of SNL while Mike wrote on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Bill Nye Saves the World. We talked about the challenges of writing comedy remotely, how they’re taking more creative chances with material and the benefits and responsibilities of being co-head writers of a late night show in 2020. Hey guys. Thank you for being here.
Kristen Bartlett: Hey.
Kaitlin Fontana: Welcome to OnWriting.
Mike Drucker: Hello.
Kristen Bartlett: Hi, thank you for having us.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah, so I’m sure you’re used to talking to each other over remote and digital means at this point, but thank you for joining me and talking to me. I’m wondering, first of all, how each of you separately and then together, as part of the show are coping with everything that’s going on; Pandemic, lockdown. As writers how are you finding that in terms of creativity and making things?
Kristen Bartlett: Mike go for it.
Mike Drucker: All right. It’s my time to shine. Creatively, the difficulty isn’t necessarily the working remote, but creatively is the fact that we’re really outside of obviously a few other news events that have happened recently so narrow focused on COVID that you’re talking about it day after day after, day after day, and trying to find new angles on it, which can be a little more difficult than usually even on a topical political show where you’re like there’s this entirely different topic. Like we did sponcon, we did stuff about sponsored content on social media and that’s something we couldn’t necessarily do right now. And so creativity as ironic as it sounds to say for a topical new show, but at times when there’s just one news event only happening, you feel a little less creative with it.
Mike Drucker: I would also say it’s harder not being in the room with everyone. As much as you can Zoom or Google Hangout, people pitch jokes much more organically in the room, or people sometimes feel a little more open about suddenly interjecting in a room, whereas Zoom it’s like, wait, you go, wait, no, you go ahead. I had nothing. You go ahead. And so that sort of limits things. As far as me personally, I’m okay. I am a single man who lives alone with no children and owns every video game. I’m fine. So for me, this has been no problem personally, but in terms of creativity and work, it definitely makes you work more and work harder and sometimes feel a little bit more disconnected.
Kristen Bartlett: I almost think that this is Mike’s time. Like you were born-
Mike Drucker: This is my time. Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: You were born to be alone. For me it’s really hard. I’m so tired of being with just my husband. I love him very deeply. We have only seen each other’s faces and no one else’s for four months, it’s exhausting, but it’s fine. I feel really grateful to have the ability to put show on air and to respond to what’s happening on Sam Bee. I feel like a lot of shows don’t have that luxury and we can in the moment say exactly what we’re thinking, which I think is very fortunate. That said, for other writing I think it’s a little bit of a challenge. It’s a little harder for me to come up with new ideas because I’m going crazy.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. It is hard to work on… It’s been hard for me to write like stand up for myself.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Mike Drucker: Just little things are hard to get done.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: My Twitter is now like all weekend, I think I just told Hamilton jokes. That’s where I am right now. I’ve seen Hamilton two times on Disney Plus, and obviously I saw it before years ago, but now it’s all that’s in my head. It’s all I have. That’s all my connection. It’s all of my creativity right now.
Mike Drucker: Right. Although at the open of Hamilton at the Disney Plus where it says June, 2016, I was like, “Oh, let’s not do this again. Oh, let’s be careful about this.”
Kaitlin Fontana: Oh boy.
Kristen Bartlett: It’s really hard. There’s so much hope. It comes right at you so hard.
Kaitlin Fontana: Well, I should say, disclosure. I have a little insight into this show in a way that I don’t always have with the guests on OnWriting in that I was a staffer at Full Frontal. I worked in the field department for almost a year. So I have a little insight into the inside of the show. So for that reason, and because of deadline and other things, I know that you guys are both newer to the role of head writer. This is a newer role to you relative to the length of the show, but both of you have been on the show for a while, Mike you a little longer. I wonder, you’re both newer to this on top of that this is an extremely weird time to head write a show, any show, although as you both have already said, you feel lucky to be able to do that and I do understand that.
Kaitlin Fontana: But I wonder, especially with late night, what strategies have you guys implemented as a show to kind of cope with this time as a staff and as head writers, specifically, the two of you, like what kinds of strategies do you think you’ve adopted that perhaps you may not have if it weren’t for what’s going on right now?
Kristen Bartlett: Sure. I can talk a little bit about that. So we had a month, I think a little bit over a month of being head writers in the office before we went into pandemic about. So I think right at the end of that month, I think we were finally hitting our groove and we were like, “Okay, we know what we’re doing.”
Mike Drucker: Right. “We got this. We understand how to do this job.”
Kristen Bartlett: “We can do this. People like it, it’s fine.”
Mike Drucker: Right.
Kristen Bartlett: But then we went home and I think that… And we also went home with the fear of dying.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: So like being in New York City, having nonstop sirens outside the door while trying to put on a show and trying to at first even figure out if we were going to have a show was truly crazy. So I think the start of it was just survival and I think now what we’re realizing is that there are people who feel isolated on staff. And of course, Mike and I are constantly in communication and constantly talking about what we’re doing on the show, along with Sam and executive producers and the heads of field, but what happens is that the rest of the staff doesn’t get those messages and I think communication is already hard, even in the best of circumstances, but right now it’s really hard. So I think one of the things that we’re doing is having a weekly hang whether or not there’s something to talk about or… And I think that’s been helping. And I think we’re taking a lot of time to make sure that we’re touching base with absolutely everyone on staff, just to see where they are.
Mike Drucker: Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Mike Drucker: And a lot of this as Kristen was saying, we had to come up with very fast. So it’s still an evolving system. It wasn’t like we got onto a Zoom call with the executive producers and we’re like, “This is the perfect solution. This is the perfect solution.” It almost, at times feels as if we launched an entirely new show, just using the same staff and host. So we have a different production schedule. We have different ways things are delivered just by necessity of shooting remote and just like when you start up a new show, it takes weeks and months until you figure out the system. It almost feels like that. It feels like we’re still figuring out an entirely new show that just happens to be the same show.
Kristen Bartlett: Totally. And the content has changed too.
Kaitlin Fontana: Right.
Kristen Bartlett: There was a very clear format in the studio days of two acts. Like the first act was very highly topical act addressing the week’s news and the second act was maybe a longterm social issue. Third act was field and then act four was like this little fun bit of something to go out on. And now I think we had lots of discussions, like Sam is filming the show outside in the forest, how long does Sam want to stand in the forest? Does she want to deliver to full… who has-
Mike Drucker: In like July and August teeth wearing a blazer.
Kaitlin Fontana: Right.
Kristen Bartlett: With buzz. And does she want to deliver to flax? So I guess we’ve been trying to be creative with the format a little bit. So we still do act twos but we also use that time for music or another field piece and we just try to vary it up. I think one of the things that we wanted to do at the start of the year was to be more experimental and I think that we’ve had to be so-
Mike Drucker: We’ve had no choice. Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: So it’s a good thing that, that was a goal.
Mike Drucker: When we did get this job though, I feel like for that first month we were sort of like, “Oh man, the conventions are going to be when this gets hard.”
Kristen Bartlett: [crosstalk 00:08:20].
Mike Drucker: And like immediately, we were like, “Ah, it’s going to be an okay summer. There’s a lot of planning to do, but it’s the conventions and the elections are going to be crazy.” And then two weeks later it was insane.
Kaitlin Fontana: And I believe it… correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time this role has been shared on this show that the head writer has been two people at once. Right?
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Mike Drucker: As far as I know.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Okay. So I’m wondering how you guys… What does that look like for you? How do you share the work? I mean, I’m assuming Kristen, you do 80% of the work and get paid two thirds of what Mike gets paid.
Kristen Bartlett: No. We’re paid exactly the same.
Mike Drucker: We’re paid exactly the same.
Kaitlin Fontana: Oh good.
Mike Drucker: We fought for that in contract negotiations.
Kristen Bartlett: I was like, whatever.
Mike Drucker: We have the exact same contract.
Kristen Bartlett: We do have the same contract, which is amazing and I think that that speaks to the show and I also think it’s like new territory for the culture. I think that… I have friends who share the role on other shows and they do not get paid the same. So yes. So we do get paid the same and we do split the work. And I think-
Mike Drucker: You do-
Kristen Bartlett: I don’t know-
Mike Drucker: … a little more sometimes though. I definitely feel like it might be 60 40, and that’s me being generous to me.
Kristen Bartlett: Well, I think I maybe do more emotional labor.
Mike Drucker: You do more emotional labor. You definitely do more emotional labor. I do more like robotic behind the scenes behavior.
Kristen Bartlett: Exactly. And I think absolutely when I like absolutely cannot do something when I’m like, I cannot assemble this. This is not a thing that… this is not an act that I do not… I don’t want to touch this at all. Then you jump in like a hero and handle it.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. You’re definitely good about being like, “You want to do this trash thing.” I’m like, “All right, sure.” It’s almost like I’m the horse and you’re the wagon. Like what’s in the wagon is more important, but the horse is pulling.
Kristen Bartlett: I do think that’s like a marriage thing. So by the way, that’s the trick is to just ask someone if they would like to do something and they will say yes.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: Jason, would you like to do the dishes?
Mike Drucker: It’s a very good working relationship. It’s sort of like-
Kristen Bartlett: It’s great.
Mike Drucker: Almost, again, it sounds like a marriage thing with parents, but it’s almost like we’re good at propping each other up and being sure to be like, “Oh, you made that decision. I’m going to back up that decision.” We try very hard to have any conversations where we disagree about something behind the scenes, so it doesn’t seem like we’re bickering or undermining each other when talking in meetings. We’re just very good about like switching off the workload, yes handing each other. It’s actually really nice.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah. And I think especially right now there are so many times when I am like, “I don’t think I could do this without Mike.” Like, “Holy shit.” Like, thank God you’re there. And I think being able to just say out loud what I’m thinking and have that be backed up and I think like that has made me a much stronger leader because I think if I had been going into it alone, I think I would be questioning myself and being like, “Is this the right thing to do?” Because what do I know? And so I think that that’s helped us be solid quicker.
Mike Drucker: I think so too.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah. Being able to have the conversation with someone, as opposed to having it in your head about your doubts and your fears is-
Kristen Bartlett: Totally.
Kaitlin Fontana: … such a huge game changer in that kind of situation.
Mike Drucker: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Mike Drucker is one of the nicest men I’ve ever worked with in comedy. So that was a facetious joke at the beginning of this, first time-
Mike Drucker: Oh no, no, no. Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: … about not doing the work. I’ve always seen you to be someone who does the work. So I just wanted to clarify that.
Mike Drucker: I didn’t think you were criticizing me.
Kristen Bartlett: He works extremely hard.
Mike Drucker: I felt very safe. One advantage though of having two head writers as far as the other writers go, and again Kristen’s right. Like this whole period has made communication difficult and that’s something still obviously working on as much as we can, but it’s also nice that we now have two voices for the writers in higher up meetings. And that does make a giant difference. When it’s one head writer saying something, sometimes you have like a bunch of equal people, but when you have two people going like, “I agree, we should do that with the writers.” Suddenly you have more voices speaking for them. So at least as far as the writers are concerned, I think it’s great.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah. I think it’s good.
Mike Drucker: Everyone else it’s terrible, terrible for everyone else. Real rough for everyone else, but for us, fantastic.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah, we can get together and bully other people I think is the… No, but I mean, I think when we’re trying to make things happen or we’re excited about a certain idea, like having two people already on board is great.
Mike Drucker: Right. Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: So you guys mentioned that there’s this sort of pivot that you had to do to being a little more creative, taking bigger risks perhaps, and that you were sort of forced into it by having Sam be outside. And I think that it’s interesting because all the other late night shows have kind of gone with somebody’s home office or there’s a wall or a desk or whatever behind them, a strangely empty bookshelf. This is obviously a different tack with Sam and I’m wondering that has given it this vitality and it looks great. And I wonder if there are other things you guys are observing from being able to kind of pivot in this way, what are some unexpected pluses that you may take back with you when things return to normal?
Mike Drucker: Well, one thing that Kristen and I have talked about is when we were writing the show regularly, both as head writers and regular writers, you have a different flow with the audience. You want jokes where the audience responds, Sam pauses, Sam moves, Sam audience responds, Sam pauses, moves. And one of the things this has allowed us is to write slightly weirder jokes, to take a few more chances with things that were not necessarily certain a live audience would respond to or different rhythms to jokes where it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that start stop version of late night that we’re used to. So creatively, it’s given us a few extra options. I miss having an audience because they really add flavor to the show and they add time.
Kristen Bartlett: And it’s so gratifying to hear-
Mike Drucker: It’s gratifying. It’s the most gratifying thing, but we’ve been able to sort of take some chances that we might not necessarily take if we’re worried about a live audience’s response.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah. We can layer animation into an act one, which is a new thing, or like cut to something weird. So we get to play with that. And I think we’ve been able to be a little sillier and I also think Sam improvises a little bit because she has to, I think sometimes, again, like the bugs situation can be pretty intense outside. So she just ate a bug, I think, in our last show by accident. So I think she like goes with her environment too. And she’s also filming the show with Jason Jones with her husband. So she’s like having to deliver the jokes that we have written for her directly into his eyes. So that is one thing I’m sure that she… I don’t know. We ask a lot of her. I think we’ve written a lot of jokes where Sam is horny for something or someone and sometimes she has to remind us that she’s having to tell this to her husband and she would just rather not today. And that’s great.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah.
Mike Drucker: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Oh man. I can just imagine too what the children are observing in this weird new dynamic of their parents too, because it’s such an interesting… Like it’s one thing for families to be locked together in pandemic, and then it’s another thing for families to be locked together in pandemic and their parents to be filming a show on a weekly basis. Like that’s pretty intense.
Kristen Bartlett: It’s a lot.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. During read-throughs Sam will actually like… because she does her read on Zoom in the kitchen of her house, she will go quiet on swear words. So it’s almost this adorable thing that she never did before where it’s like, “I don’t know what the fuck this is about.” And I’m like your children know. Your children know what words are.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah. It’s such a funny thing. Like while we would be working, they would be learning. So they would be in school, at home while we were doing read-throughs. Yeah. It’s a wild world I think. But they’re clearly figuring it out.
Mike Drucker: But I think the favorite thing, my favorite thing Sam does is where she’s like, “Oh, I need to borrow this laptop for my daughter. She was using it for school.” And it’s like, you guys can afford more laptops.
Kristen Bartlett: I know.
Mike Drucker: I think they have two laptops in their house.
Kristen Bartlett: The kids have control of the technology I think.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah. That seems to be the case, no matter what the age of a child in this-
Kristen Bartlett: For sure.
Kaitlin Fontana: … reality. So I’m curious, you talked a little bit about the new cycle and how the new cycle is sort of narrowed and how… Late night is so driven by news cycle and having this narrowing happen and it’s not only that it’s narrowed because it narrows in other ways too, it narrows around when there are upcoming events, like an election or something like that. But this is a very particular narrowing and I wonder how being glued to this new cycle has changed for you guys as writers in these last few months on this show and how do you keep making the work vital in the face of that?
Mike Drucker: Right. Kristen?
Kristen Bartlett: Oh dear God. I think I started like a good little head writer students, which was to listen to every single political podcast before the workday and to be so prepared and now we’re living in the news I think. So I avoid it a little bit, so I keep an eye on things, but one of the things that’s happened with our show is that… I’ll tell you this. I read a lot more news than ever now, because I think that that is something that has made me feel healthier than watching constant broadcast news or cable news. So that’s one change that I’ve made for my own health. And then another is that our show is no longer as topical as it used to be. So we have to turn everything in a date earlier because Sam shoots a day earlier because there’s all of this footage to be edited now and all of this footage that has to be sent. So we can’t be as up to the minute as we used to be.
Kristen Bartlett: I think we would edit things… The show would tape on Wednesdays and we would be editing like the news into the evening, I think. Right before she filmed. So now we have to… We tell stories that are topical and relevant, but they aren’t necessarily tied to the minutiae of what’s happening and occurring and I think that I like that. That’s been nice.
Mike Drucker: It’s kind of nice. Yeah.
Kristen Bartlett: Well, my favorite thing always before this was that I love to do the act twos. So the act twos tend to be more about social issues and not necessarily tied to exactly what Mitch McConnell just said. So that is a thing that I enjoy. And I think that they tend to have like a lot of emotion to them and that’s the place that you can make a really clear argument about how we feel in a real stance, about what we think should happen and what is happening. And I think that the act ones have kind of been married with the act twos right now. So…
Mike Drucker: Yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah. It feels like a shift watching the show to see sort of how that plays out. And it kind of made me reflect back and think about watching from afar, because like I say, I was in a different department on a different… physically separate from the writers for the most part, we would occasionally work together. But I think it would be very interesting. I think a lot of people who have never worked in late night and some of the people listening to this podcast want to, although I want to talk them out of it personally.
Mike Drucker: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Kaitlin Fontana: But I think it’ll be-
Kristen Bartlett: It’s a great steady job though.
Kaitlin Fontana: Yes. That’s true. Steady paycheck is delightful, but it’s cool. I got podcasting now. I’m fine you guys. No, but I wondered if you guys could kind of take us through and obviously now is a unique time, but in a general sense, like walk us through a day in the life of writing the show now. What does it look like for you as head writers and also for your staff? Because I think a lot of people don’t necessarily know what the day to day of late night looks like.
Mike Drucker: Well, each day is different on the show just because it’s not a daily show. Since it’s a weekly show, we have a slight as you know, obviously, but for listeners, since we’re not daily, each day is a little different. So it’s not necessarily like get in this time, write this time, turn in this time. Our week sort of… to do a quick run through our week. Our week kind of now starts on Thursdays. We air on Wednesday obviously, but sort of ignoring that our week kind of starts on Thursdays. Thursdays we all meet in a big, what we call studio meeting. Again. I know, you know this, I’m trying to extrapolate for everyone.
Kaitlin Fontana: It’s cool Mike. Ignore me. Pretend I’m not here.
Mike Drucker: All right. I’m going to ignore you. Man, Kaitlin sucks. I’m glad she’s gone.
Kaitlin Fontana: Well, I didn’t say neg me. I said ignore me. Those are two different-
Mike Drucker: You said act like you’re not there. All right. I am not a father, but I should be. So on Thursday we discus the news and we’re sort of like, “Okay, here’s what’s going on.” And again, like Kristen said, it’s not quite as topical because we have a much longer tail on that. So it’s not necessarily like, “Oh man, Trump’s giving this giant speech tonight and that’s going to be our focus. Just write loose jokes off that.” That’s possible, but it hasn’t happened so far. Instead it’s like, “Oh, you know what? I read this article where talking about how coronavirus is affecting, again workers or how it affects women negatively.” So somewhat more deep divey topics than we usually do in act ones. But again, we have more time to write it as well. So on Thursday, we’ll talk about it. We’ll choose an act one topic. We’re also usually choose an act two if we want to assign them to writers. But act ones are the ones that they have to write very quickly.
Mike Drucker: So we assign it on Thursday and each writer then we have an outline meeting where Kristen and I will outline what the act is. So it’ll be like point A, point B, point C, point D, thesis statement, just a basic outline. Then we have a meeting with the research team and the writers on this piece, we sort of go through it. People give their opinions, we switch things around or we make new points. Really. It’s just a time for everyone to say how they feel about it and what they think we should do. And then we split it up. Writers will break up sections of the outline. They’ll put their initials next to it. And then three or four writers will write three or four pieces of a script that on Saturday, Kristen or I, we sort of alternate in the morning, we’ll assemble it, which takes five, six, seven hours of just sort of putting the script together, making sure it makes sense, making sure it’s one voice, removing redundancies, anticipating time cuts, just checking all of the videos that we’re saying in it. It’s not hard, but it’s very slow. It just takes a ton of time to do.
Mike Drucker: And then after that, there’s usually like a break or two. And then Kristen and I together with our writer’s assistant and one other writer on the show who rotates we’ll do a full rewrite of the acts. So we’ll just for six or seven hours on the phone. I think our record’s three and when it was just three hours, like we were doing backflips. It’s like five or six hours and we go line by line. We’re like, does this make sense? We read it a ton of times. And it’s everything from jokes to, I don’t understand this to, oh, I think verbally it’s better if it’s, you are versus you’re. There’s just little changes for verbalization. So that’s our Saturday. Sunday, we hand everything over to the production people. So like graphics gets to start making graphics. Editors are figuring out their things. Producers are pulling the video clips from the news and we’re…
Mike Drucker: Extensively writers have Sunday off. Kristen and I really don’t because we’re still like… It’s like, “All right, I know it’s your day off, but by this graphic, what do you think?” And then you’re sort of answering things. It’s a question day. It’s not a hard day for us, but it’s definitely a question day. And the writers are off in general on this day.
Mike Drucker: Then Monday we have a read-through with Sam on Zoom, of course and it’s sort of… not just studio people, it’s a good group of people that give input. We go through it, we take general notes in terms of like, does this make sense? Or someone might be like, “Oh, this section, I feel like we’re making this point, but we’re not hitting it the right way.” So we go through that. We do joke punch ups. And then Kristen and I, a writer sometimes, and the writer’s assistant we’ll do another rewrite and that takes again three or four hours where we go through everything. We make the changes, we incorporate notes. We often cut for time or at the very least we indicate sections that could be cut for time and that-
Kristen Bartlett: And do that last check for facts too.
Mike Drucker: … last check for facts. We sort of have research as these like gatekeepers that tell us whether or not we’re right or not because in political comedy it’s very easy to be right rather than correct. And so we kind of like having the researchers be like, “I know what argument you’re making, but you can’t use this as evidence for it.” So they’re very good about… They’re also good about being like, “Oh, this person you’re talking about was dead for 20 years. You mean this person.” We’re like, “Oh, okay.” So there’s little things like that.
Kristen Bartlett: They also have very good fact checks about like jokey things I think where we have to decide… I know I absolutely can’t give an example.
Mike Drucker: The example was that you said someone in 27 dresses was his 27th dress. And she was like, “Well, technically the 28th-
Kristen Bartlett: Oh.
Mike Drucker: … dress was her wedding dress for him. So he is the 28th dress.” And you were not taking that note. You were so ready to not take it.
Kristen Bartlett: No. I was like but creatively I have to… I’m going to make a person a dress and it’s okay.
Mike Drucker: But what I love was she didn’t have a logical explanation for her point of view. She’s right.
Kristen Bartlett: She’s right, Zoe. Yeah.
Mike Drucker: So yeah, we do fact check with research. Tuesday is sort of a slow day for us. And honestly, Tuesday’s when Sam shoots, but we go through the script one more time with one of the EPs, a lot of last minute questions. Sam will sometimes be like, “You know what? Now that I’m saying this, either could we get a better joke or this line doesn’t make sense to me.” So there’ll be last minute on the fly changes for Sam as she’s literally out in the forest. And then we’re just sort of sitting around we’re checking and then the rest of Tuesday and a lot of Wednesdays, us checking edits, talking to the EPs about what’s being cut, what needs to be cut. Sometimes Kristen and I will be like, “Oh, that’s an important point. Can we sacrifice this to keep that?”
Mike Drucker: So after Sam shoots, it’s really like a lot of hanging out and checking in with EPs and different people on the post production side, just so we can make sure that it’s up to the quality we want it to be up to.
Kristen Bartlett: Totally. It’s no longer like a full day of work though it is a full day of work, but it’s not like a 10:00 to 6:00 anymore. I think it’s like, “Okay, great. We’ve got this big thing to do in the middle of the day and now it’s 7:00 and we’re going to do that and here’s an eight o’clock thing to do.” So it’s kind of an appointment thing and we kind of can’t explain it. It’s just you have to be on Slack at all times.
Mike Drucker: There will genuinely be times when there’ll be like three hours of nothing. And then I will like go jog or something, which I actually do. That’s not me making that up. I will go jog and then I’ll come back and Kristen will be like, “Did you see the messages?” And there’ll be like 50 messages. I’m like, “How did this happen in 30 minutes?”
Kristen Bartlett: I do think we alternate who’s going to take the break when a huge nightmare happens. Yeah. Which is good. As long as one of us is around, it’s fine.
Mike Drucker: Someone always taps out and it’s like, “I’m going to go take a nap. Can you handle this for 30 minutes?”
Kaitlin Fontana: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Another benefit of having two head writers because it doesn’t all fall on one person.
Kristen Bartlett: Oh my God, there’s no way.
Mike Drucker: I don’t think so.
Kristen Bartlett: I know I’m blessed.
Mike Drucker: I don’t think.
Kristen Bartlett: There’s no way. It’s got to be this way. I think like maybe in a world where we were still in the studio, yes. We could make it make sense. But now that we’re working this way, we just have to alternate. The workload is much more intense and we are living in a crazy universe. Like it’s a stressful thing to take that jog. So that’s the world that we’re living in. So there’s so much like… in addition to work stress, like life stress that we have to be a duo here.
Mike Drucker: And to be honest, what’s funny is when I got this job, people were like, “Ah, that must suck. You got it with someone else.” And I was like, “No-
Kristen Bartlett: No.
Mike Drucker: … I asked to be partnered with someone.” Kristen and I both independently said we would be willing to do the job, but we’d want to be partnered with another person. We didn’t specify each other. We’re a good partnership. So I’m very glad it ended up that way. But at the same time we started this job wanting to be partners. It wasn’t like we were competing for the part and like, “Oh, we got paired together. One of us has to be the dominant one and take power.” It’s really like we started this wanting it to be shared responsibility.
Kristen Bartlett: I think so too and I also think part of it is that we started being like, “Okay, we’ll do it.”
Mike Drucker: Yeah. I definitely accidentally showed up 15 minutes late to the interview, not on purpose. You were like, “Where are you?” And I was like, “Isn’t it then?” And you’re like, “No, it’s now.”
Kristen Bartlett: No, it’s not.
Mike Drucker: And I will sit over.
Kristen Bartlett: And it was fine. I think that was what you had to do. You had to nag them going in.
Mike Drucker: Yeah. I had to make a power move.
Kaitlin Fontana: It was a full power move.
Kristen Bartlett: Yeah. I know. I think like… I mean, I think we both are… Mike and I are both joke writers and that’s the part that we really enjoy and I definitely miss being the bad kid in the room and saying the thing that you’re not supposed to say. So I think I was very fearful of that growth and then suddenly having to be the person in charge. I wasn’t excited about that, but I think we are good at it against our will. And I think that maybe that was attractive to them, the fact that we were like… We already knew that it was not going to be a walk in the park.
Mike Drucker: It’s sort of like becoming pope where you have to be like, “I don’t want to be pope.” And then they’re like, “You’re going to be pope.” And you’re like, “I don’t want to be pope.” And they’re like, “You’re pope.”
Kristen Bartlett: And then you have to learn to be pope.
Mike Drucker: And you have to be learned… And we were co-popes.
Kristen Bartlett: That’s great. Maybe things would be fixed if there were just two popes. There are two popes.
Mike Drucker: There’s the new pope and the old…
Kaitlin Fontana: Yeah.
Mike Drucker: The young pope.
Kristen Bartlett: Two popes.