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Elliot Kalan

Have you ever wondered how a variety series gets off the ground every night?

Meet Elliott Kalan, 4-time Emmy Award winning former Head Writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Co-Host of The Flop House podcast, who walks us through a typical day of the show.

You’ll also learn about Elliott’s background and his advice for writers and comedians looking to progress in their careers.

Our special thanks to Larry Josephson and The RadioArt Studio for recording this episode.

(April 2016)

In May 2016, Elliott became the Head Writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Also in May 2016, Audible launched the series Presidents Are People Too, which Elliott Co-Hosts. In December 2017, Elliott became Head Writer and Producer of Comedy Central’s new show, “The Fake News with Ted Nelms.” Elliott continues to Co-Host The Flop House podcast.



What advice do you have for aspiring writers and comedians?


– Do not be afraid to put yourself out there.  Do not be afraid to submit for things and produce your own content and put it on the internet or get in touch with places and professionally and respectfully express your interest in a writing job or other position.  The worst that happens is nothing happens and you’re exactly where you started and the best is that you get a leg up or get a position you’re looking for.


– Do not wait for the perfect job but instead take the job that will get you closer to where you want to be, and be open to opportunities that might take you in directions you didn’t expect but might get you to where you want to be.


– I made three rules for myself when working in retail at Barnes and Noble’s right before I started at The Daily Show:


1) Dress a little nicer than you have to.  I always wore a tie to Barnes and Nobles, which made customers think that I was a manager so they would listen to me when I told them things!  When I was an intern at The Daily Show, I never wore a t-shirt to work.  I always wore a button down shirt and it might have been a short-sleeved button down shirt, but it was a button down shirt.  I don’t think that anyone cared, but it made me feel that this is a workplace and I want to be professional.


2) Work as hard as you can because most people don’t.  If you give 100%, most are giving 50% and even at a top show where everyone wants to succeed, many are giving 85% so you look like you’re giving a superhuman amount of effort just because you’re trying as hard as you can.


3) Always be nice to people.  So much of this business is about personal relationships. You want to help people that you like.  The best networking is to make friends and be friendly to people.  Get as good as you can at comedy, find people who share your sensibility, be friendly with them and, as everyone rises, they will help each other.


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