11 Famous People Who Started as Lowly TV Writers

Becoming a comedic icon doesn't happen overnight. It takes years and years of hard work. In some cases, this means paying your dues as the low-level member of a sitcom writing staff - a rite of passage for many successful comics, actors and directors. Here are 11 notable examples.

1. Norm Macdonald: Roseanne
The deadpan comic best known for Dirty Work and a controversial stint behind the SNL Weekend Update anchor desk only stayed on staff of the blue collar comedy long enough to write two episodes – including one about DJ turning into a pee-wee hockey thug.

2. Larry David: Saturday Night Live
The hilariously abrasive co-creator of Seinfeld and creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm previously worked as a writer for SNL. Frustrated his sketches weren't making it onto the show, he quit and walked out on the gig one day, only to return shortly afterward pretending that it never happened. If that sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because the character George did the very same thing years later on an episode of Seinfeld.

3. Judd Apatow: The Critic
Before creating Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up, Apatow penned a handful of episodes of the the Jon Lovitz show The Critic – and even stepped in when the show needed a good impression of Jay Leno.

4. Richard Pryor: Sanford & Son
You know Pryor as one of the most influential stand-up comedians of all-time — and for his roles in films like Stir Crazy, Brewster’s Millions, and Superman III. But earlier in his career, Pryor co-wrote two episodes of Redd Foxx’s sitcom Sanford & Son along with longtime partner (and Chappelle Show mainstay) Paul Mooney.

5. Garry Shandling: Welcome Back, Kotter
The star of The Larry Sanders Show cut his comedic teeth writing one episode of Welcome Back, Kotter called "Horshack vs. Carvelli." And, like Pryor, he also wrote for a short time for Sanford & Son.

6 & 7. The Farrelly Brothers: Seinfeld
Two years before they released their feature film directorial debut – a little American masterpiece called Dumb & Dumber – Peter and Bobby Farrelly made their mark on TV history by penning one episode of Seinfeld. In the episode, entitled The Virgin, George and Jerry first devise their awful sitcom premise where a man without insurance is court-ordered to butler for another man after a car accident.

8. Seth Rogen: Da Ali G Show
The actor and frequent Judd Apatow collaborator had a hand in six episodes of the short-lived HBO series that starred Sacha Baron Cohen as the woefully misinformed titular host. Rogen received an Emmy nomination for his work on the show.

9. Billy Crystal: The Love Boat
Before he was known as the star of SNL, When Harry Met Sally or Analyze This (or for his ever-growing number of Academy Awards hosting gigs), Crystal was briefly a writer mapping out adventures for Captain Stubing, Gopher and the rest of the crew aboard The Love Boat.

10. Paul Lieberstein: Various
While not the most recognizable of names, fans of The Office (U.S.) know Lieberstein as the hangdog HR rep Toby Flenderson. However, Lieberstein has spent the majority of his career behind the scenes – working as a writer on King of the Hill, The Drew Carey Show, The Bernie Mac Show and others.

11. Mitchell Hurwitz: The Golden Girls
Long before giving the world the dysfunctional antics of the Bluth clan, the Arrested Development creator was crafting sarcastic repartee for Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls. Hurwitz wrote nine episodes in all, including the series finale with this bittersweet ending:

Shout! Factory
Original GLOW Wrestling Series Hits Twitch
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

When it premiered in June 2017, GLOW was a bit of a sleeper offering for Netflix. With the amount of original programming ordered by the streaming service, a show based on an obscure women’s pro wrestling league from the 1980s seemed destined to get lost in the shuffle.

Instead, the series was a critical and commercial success. Ahead of its second season, which drops on June 29, you'll have a chance to see the mat work of the original women who inspired it.

Shout! Factory has announced they will be live-streaming clips from the first four seasons of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which first premiered in 1986, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on June 28. The stream, which will be available on shoutfactorytv.com and Twitch, will feature original footage framed by new interviews with personalities including Godiva, host Johnny C, and Hollywood. The show will air live from the Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy in Los Angeles.

Godiva, who was portrayed by Dawn Maestas, inspired the character Rhonda (a.k.a. Brittanica) on the Netflix series; Hollywood was the alter ego of Jeanne Basone, who inspired the character Cherry in the fictionalized version of the league. Basone later posed for Playboy and takes bookings for one-on-one wrestling matches with fans.

Shout! Factory's site also features a full-length compilation of footage, Brawlin’ Beauties: GLOW, hosted by onetime WWE interviewer “Mean” Gene Okerlund.

Universal Studios
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Here’s some news you won’t be cheering about: Bring It On is leaving Netflix on July 1st—as are the four of its sequels that are currently part of the company’s streaming library (FYI: there are a total of six Bring It On films altogether—yes, six). The Lethal Weapon franchise will bid farewell, too, as will a handful of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To make way for July’s slate of new titles, here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in July.



Along Came Polly

An Honest Liar


Before Midnight

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight to the Finish

Bring It On: In It to Win It


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 4

Little Women

Michael Clayton

Midnight in Paris

Mixed Signals

More Than a Game


Piglet’s Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild

Scary Movie

Scream 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Art of War

Tropic Thunder

V for Vendetta


Breakfast at Tiffany’s


Alpha & Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Real Husbands of Hollywood: Seasons 1-5


Ratchet and Clank



Alice Through the Looking Glass


Wild Hogs



Lockup: State Prisons: Collection 1

Small Is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary





The Den


A Cinderella Story

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Swing State 


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