Allison Silverman

A weeklong electronic journal.
April 6 2001 8:30 PM

Allison Silverman

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Today I wrote and read jokes as usual, but I kept coming back to the same thought—that my perspective of life at the show is just one of many. So, I asked each of my fellow writers to compose a brief account of his day. Here then, are the other facets to the diamond.

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The car drops me off at the office 11:30-ish. Me and Robin Williams chase each other around a desk with plastic paddles riffing furiously for 45 minutes until a screenplay and a couple of devastating New Yorker cartoons emerge. Then the usual three-hour lunch at Lespinasse and finally? Gisele time.

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Today I went to work. I wrote some jokes. I read them at a meeting, and of course, THEY didn't like them. The room was trying to KEEP ME DOWN, trying to KEEP THE TRUTH FROM GETTING OUT to THE PEOPLE! I imagined smashing all their skulls in. Blood would slosh out of holes where their cheeks used to be, making a "splorking" sound ... But then again, they were just poop jokes ... and I got a few on yesterday.

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When Allison Silverman asked me to write a few words about my day, at first I couldn't believe that the only woman writer at The Daily Show was actually talking to me! Was she making a pass at me? After my parents were divorced, my father took me aside and told me about girls—how they'll lead you on, make you feel special, and then screw you to a wall at the drop of a hat. So when Miss Silverman suddenly expressed an interest in me, I was overwhelmed by nausea and fear. Anyway, long story short, we made out for like an hour after that.

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I couldn't sleep last night due to terrible nightmares. Sometimes that happens. I'm seeing a therapist to sort out why, but so far I've been unable to make anything resembling a breakthrough. What am I so scared of uncovering? Maybe it's just the fact that there "is" nothing to uncover. I'm uninteresting. I've had girlfriends say they love me. But what's that mean? Sex? Again?

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9:30 a.m. get to office. Get tea, read paper, curl up in fetal position, and weep uncontrollably. 10:30 meet with fellow writers to discuss the day's joke topics. Then, more weeping. Experiencing a sweet, comforting nausea, I'm in a perfect state of mind to write about President Bush's Drilling in the Arctic Wildlife.

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The day began like all other days. The whistle blew at 8 a.m. I rose from bed with the other 11 men who shared my writers' dormitory. To the sound of "the drum," we marched to the kitchen, where they served us gruel from an abandoned omelet station. The windowless van from The Daily Show came earlier than usual. Soon we were sitting on the wooden stools where we spend our days, making comedy, telling jokes, dreaming of our childhoods. Dreaming. At 10 a.m. the assignments come in, and like starving dogs we contend for the stories we'd like to write. I have been foiled again this morning by Paul, the slow writer who means well. This morning I will write on the situation in China, about others who are held captive. I will laugh, but inside I will cry. Another writer (who only goes by his initials) toils, despite the contagious viral disease that eats away at his immune system. The next three hours are an ecstatic orgy of work, inspiration, and frustration. Then there is the "joke read." I have not eaten, my legs are sore from the stool, and my mind is numb. It has been a good day. I will be allowed to sit on my stool and stare. I will not work again. The van comes. I return home. My bowl has been licked clean by another. I sleep. Tomorrow is another day; perhaps it will be good like this one.

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People often ask me, where do I get the ideas for my jokes from? Well, the simple answer would be pot. 

—Contributions from J.R. Havlan, Eric Drysdale, Kent Jones, Paul Michael Mercurio, Tom Johnson, Dan Goor, and Charlie Grandy.