Skip to main content


April 27, 2016

Funny Business: Writing for Late Night

Writers from The Daily Show, The Nightly Show & Late Night with David Letterman

In an election year, we're reminded how much we look to comedy and late-night television to provide perspective and give voice to frustrations and absurdities of the political process. Three of the people who put those jokes on TV came to St. Francis College on April 26, 2016 for Funny Business: Writing for Late Night.

Organized by the Center for Communication, Zhubin Parang (The Daily Show with Trevor Noah), Franchesca Ramsey (The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore), and Joe Toplyn (Comedy Writer and Producer) discussed their impact on politics and the national conversation in this election year as well as their process of thoroughly researching and fact-checking each segment.

(Watch Writing for Late Night)

The panel was moderated by Jennifer Danielson, President of Above Average Productions.

The event is presented with the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and St. Francis College.

center communication

About the Writers

Zhubin Parang
Head Writer, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Zhubin Parang is a multiple Emmy award-winning writer and comedian living in New York City. He is currently the head writer for The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and was previously a writer for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Franchesca Ramsey
Writer / Performer, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore

Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) is a Writer/Performer on Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore" who joined the series in February 2016. She is a New York City based writer, actress, video blogger and host of the MTV web series "Decoded." Known to many online fans as Chescaleigh, Ramsey created her first viral video, "Sh*t White Girls Black Girls," in January of 2012. It garnered more than 1.5 million views in 24 hours, 5 million views in just 5 days, currently has 11 million views and has been featured on MSNBC, ABC, The Daily Mail and "Anderson Cooper Live," to name a few.

Ramsey's two YouTube channels have more than 250,000 subscribers combined and more than 26 million views. Her Chescaleigh YouTube comedy channel features a mix of song parodies, impersonations and original characters along with socially conscious and topical comedy sketches. Her Chescalocs YouTube channel focuses on beauty, natural hair care and styling. Ramsey and her videos have been featured on MTV, The New York Times, NPR, Ebony Magazine and BBC.

Joe Toplyn
Comedy Writer / Producer

Joe Toplyn has written and produced comedy/talk shows for over fifteen years. He began his television career on the writing staff of Late Night with David Letterman, where he won four Emmy awards. He went on to become co-head writer of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and head writer of Late Night with David Letterman. His other TV writing credits include the sketch show In Living Color and the comedic detective show Monk. He is the author of the book Comedy Writing for Late-Night TV.

This site uses cookies

We use cookies to improve user experience and analyze website traffic. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies.