Don’t you just love stories about how other writers have made it in TV or films? Don’t you wish those stories were about you?
Here’s something to love. And it’s helped keep the wish alive for this TVWriter™ minion, that’s for sure. Hope it does the same for you:
by Kate Stanhope
Jeremy Bronson got his start in TV working as a producer for longtime MSNBC host Chris Matthews. So, it’s only fitting that his new series The Mayor is about – you guessed it – politics. The half-hour comedy centers on a struggling young rapper named Courtney Rose who runs for mayor of his small town to increase his celebrity and ends up winning. That being said, the transition from Hardball producer to comedy series creator (with a few stops at Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, The Mindy Project and Speechless along the way) wasn’t quite so easy. Ahead of Tuesday’s series premiere, Bronson reflects on how he made it.
I was always very interested in writing and also very interested in politics. I wrote for the Harvard Lampoon and had assumed I was going to try and write for a TV show. And then decided that I really wanted to start out in politics and specifically in political television. When I was a senior in college, I started reading a lot of White House memoirs and really got hooked and throughout the year, just found myself really gravitating towards that. I had taken two classes, one about political speech-writing and another class about how to run for president, and they both made a big impact on me. They made me want to give it a go for real.
The day I graduated college, I drove down to Tennessee and worked for a Senate campaign doing communications. And then I left Tennessee and went to D.C. to work on The Chris Matthews Show, which had not been launched yet. I thought Chris Matthews was interested in potentially working with someone who had a humorous take on certain stories, but really, I think he was just casting a wide net. I ended up coming in for an interview and we really hit it off. Then I moved over to Hardball. We were covering all the big stories that I cared a lot about, and we got to do a lot of travel as well. Chris Matthews loved to take the show on the road whenever there was an excuse to and that meant that we were doing shows in primary states, doing shows from debates, and even prepping the NBC debates themselves. I loved it, but then I started to miss comedy writing. After we finished the show every day, I would go home and I would write while I was living in D.C.
I was writing half-hour spec scripts, pages of jokes for any show that might need to hire a joke writer, I was writing some sketches in case something popped up. I just wanted to be positioned in case the right opportunity came along that I would have the material to show that I could do it. Anyone who’s trying to break into a business while they currently have a job knows it can be challenging and taxing and sleepless, but I was having fun with it. I was really, really starting to feel that this is what I’m meant to do. I was enjoying writing tryout material, which is something that is inherently not enjoyable, so if you’re actually enjoying writing your packets, it’s a good sign that you’re doing what you should be doing.
When I was at that crossroads of figuring out whether or not to continue in TV news or move out to Los Angeles and really devote myself to comedy, I was fortunate enough that I had a manager to help me. My manager then took my material out to agents and once I had an agent, he started submitting my material to different shows….