Why The Tonight Show's Head Writer Suddenly Quit The Jimmy Fallon Talk Show This Week

Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon is one of the most recognizable talk shows on network television, but it’s experienced a number of behind-the-scenes changes since Jimmy Fallon assuming hosting duties. Now, the most recent shake-up comes, as head writer Rebecca Drysdale has announced that she’ll be leaving her post after seven months And according to the writer, the decision to leave the show was a mutual one between her and NBC:

They made it clear that I was not a good fit for the show, and I did not disagree. I wish it had gone differently and I had been able to be what they needed but that is not how it shook out.

In a private Facebook post (via The Chicago Sun-Times), Rebecca Drysdale further explained that her sudden departure stems from the number of sketches revolving around President Donald Trump. She stated that Trump-related content “led to divided creative teams, anxiety, tears and pain”:

I am making the decision for myself to never work on, write, or be involved with, another Trump sketch ever again. I have landed in several jobs and situations over the last few years, not just The Tonight Show, where the project of making fun of Trump, or doing material about Trump, has led to divided creative teams, anxiety, tears and pain. I can’t decide the outcome of this election, but I can make the choice for myself, to vote him out of my creative life.

Before landing her job on The Tonight Show, Drysdale served as a writer on Key & Peele and The Big Gay Sketch Show, among other shows. She’s also good friends with writer and director Jordan Peele, who she used to perform with in Chicago. Drysdale originally joined The Tonight Show back in April when the show first began doing remote episodes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Tonight Show, like many other talks shows, has never strayed away from covering political subject matter. The show has done a number of sketches revolving around President Trump, especially in the lead-up to the U.S. Presidential election.

Just recently, The Tonight Show also lost showrunner Gavin Purcell, who is moving on from the show to focus on his other duties under his overall deal with NBC Universal. Purcell will now be replaced by Jamie Granet-Bederman and will be assisted by former head writer Nedaa Sweiss in performing her duties. Sweiss will only remain in this position until the end of the year.

The Tonight Show became the first talk show to return to the studio for work, though the show has brought in a number of protocols to ensure the safety of the crew. The show will also move push forward with Jimmy Fallon as host since the host just signed an extension.

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Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.