Rob Burnett, executive producer of Late Night with David Letterman is finishing up five hours of IAMA at Reddit, and 27 seconds ago posted a response to the question “Why is number 5 always the funniest out of the top 10?” What a dumb question! It’s always been obvious to me that #2 is the funniest.
And, well, I don’t mean to brag, but I’m right and gregorkafka (if that’s his real name) is wrong. Here’s Rob’s response to the question:
Don’t get me started. Every headwriter has their own approach to the Top 10. Here was mine:
10 Funny, but also straight forward. Reinforce the topic.
9 Medium strength. Start with two laughs. Get a tailwind.
8 Can be a little experimental. Maybe not everyone gets it, but ok.
7 Back on track. Something medium.
6 Crowd pleaser. One that will get applause. Will help bridge the first panel to the second.
5 Coming off #6, time to take a chance.
4 Starting to land the plane. Gotta be solid.
3 For me always the second funniest one you got.
2 Funniest one you have.
1 Funniest one that is short so the band doesn’t play over it.
I always tried to never give Dave two in a row that didn’t get a laugh. Of course you want all 10 to be killer, but you don’t always have that going in.
Number 2! We’re Number 2!