Former Autoworker Gets Gig Writing Jay Leno Monologue Jokes
DETROIT (CBS Detroit) He’s always had an interest in comedy, but never got the chance to go pro until recently — and now Bill Mahalic has hit the big time.
The former auto worker writes jokes for Jay Leno.
He has a contract to supply monologue jokes for one of comedy’s big men, submitting three jokes a day. He gets paid an undisclosed amount per joke that makes it on air, with Leno using an average of one of his jokes a month.
How did he get a gig like that? Mahalic explained he got to Leno through a mutual acquaintance, a friend who works in comedy.
“(We talked) about how we were both in our 60s and we both like comedy … (He’s) just a very personable guy,” Mahalic said, adding, “He said ‘What do you want to do? You want to write for me? And I said ‘absolutely.’”
He said the hottest jokes right now are about “the Obamacare debacle.”
“It just provides a wealth of material for all the comedy writers and all comedians .. I don’t know if we’ll ever be this lucky again in a lifetime. The Obamacare debacle has really provided a good starting point, a good subject.”
Many comedians find Detroit and its economic problems a worthy punchline, but not Mahalic. He doesn’t write jokes about Detroit because his primary focus is national affairs, Mahalic said.
There’s one hitch: He never sees the jokes live. Leno’s on too late, so he sets the DVR and watches them the next day, he said.
“It’s a thrill,” he said, describing how he reacts when he hears his joke through Leno, joking that he jumps up and down and runs around the room.
The biggest market for comedy material seems to be current event jokes, he added, saying, “I’m also thrilled that I’ve received a few phone calls from Jay, attended a taping of his show, met with him in Windsor, and had a tour of his fabulous car collection in Burbank.”
Before this, he’d been writing comedy on a part-time basis for 10 years, and performing stand-up for the past three. This summer he retired from the auto industry where he worked in engineering management and strategic planning for Eaton, Lear, Textron, and Denso.
So what do these jokes look like?
Here’s a sampling.
- *The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children should spend no more than two hours per day on Facebook, Twitter and other Internet entertainment sites. *** The Academy also said that adults should spend no more than two hours per day on the computer trying to register for Obamacare.
- In an interview with Vanity Fair, Mia Farrow says the biological father of her son Ronan might be Frank Sinatra, rather than Woody Allen as previously believed. *** She’s just trying to remember—on that fateful night, did the guy in bed with her sing or tell jokes.
*In a recent poll, 86% of Americans said they do not approve of the job that Congress is doing. *** Obviously the other 14% didn’t understand the question.
*The violin played by the bandleader on the Titanic as the ship went down just sold at auction for nearly $1.5 million. *** I believe it will now be used to provide background music at meetings of the President’s economic advisors.
*Both of the two top candidates for mayor of New York City are in favor of banning horse-drawn carriages. *** So, just like everywhere else in the U.S., people wishing to be taken for a ride will need to contact their Congressman.
*In a TV interview rapper Fifty Cent revealed that his best friend is his grandmother. *** And Fifty Cent’s biggest enemy? Inflation. (It makes him feel worthless.)