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SNL head writer, UNC graduate gives talk at Carroll

Comedian, actor and screenwriter Bryan Tucker speaks at a Q&A forum hosted by UNC Student Television Thursday evening.

Comedian, actor and screenwriter Bryan Tucker speaks at a Q&A forum hosted by UNC Student Television Thursday evening.


On Thursday night, UNC Student Television hosted the comedian, actor and screenwriter for a talk and question-and-answer session in Freedom Forum. Tucker is the co-head writer of “Saturday Night Live” and a graduate of UNC’s class of 1993.

Addressing a packed room, Tucker shared clips from his time as a student at UNC. As an undergraduate, he worked for STV, helped produce a sketch comedy show called “Off the Cuff” and formed a comedy troupe with friends called “Selected Hilarity.”

In the beginning of his first highlight reel, Tucker introduced himself to his audience.

“Hi, I’m Bryan Tucker, and today we have a segment that will be hilarious.”

Tucker’s early work was not as polished as SNL, but it showed a young comedian having a great time with friends against the backdrop of UNC’s campus. Grainy videos showed a college-age Tucker cracking eggs over his head, pulling pranks in the quad and impersonating an arrogant athlete.

Tucker said one of his earliest attempts at producing a show took place in the basement of Morrison Residence Hall.

Sasha Perea, who attended the talk, said she immediately wanted to go to the event.

“I saw that he was coming, and I wanted to see him since he was an alumni of UNC.”

After graduating from UNC, success was delayed for Tucker. The members of “Selected Hilarity” stayed together and performed 400 shows at small bars and clubs before going their separate ways. His first exposure to a national audience came when Tucker joined a team of comedians who mailed in jokes to “The David Letterman Show.” If the joke ran, then Tucker received $125.

His reputation as a comedy writer grew as he branched out and worked on “Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn,” “The Chris Rock Show” and “Chappelle’s Show” before landing a position at SNL in 2005.

SNL helped Tucker get comfortable writing jokes for people with different comedic styles and collaborate with a team of writers.

Lana Jordan said she was drawn to the event by the work Tucker had done on the iconic sketch-comedy show.

“I am a big fan of SNL and I am a producer for Student Television,” Jordan said.

Tucker has rubbed shoulders with household names like Seth Meyers, Tina Fey and Kenan Thompson. STV didn’t miss the opportunity to bring back one of its most successful graduates.

“I reached out since Bryan he was a graduate,” Gabrielle Garland said. “I am station manager here, and he agreed to come back and give a talk for STV.”

In between clips from the shows he has worked on, Tucker talked about his career and offered advice to UNC students trying to find success in television.

“I didn’t start getting good at writing until I was doing it all day. Give yourself time to be bad.”

arts@dailytarheel.com

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