Comedy mastermind David Javerbaum talks Emmy nominationPosted on September 18, 2013 | by Ife Olujobi
Having just won his 13th Emmy award at the Creative Emmy Awards on Sunday, one might think that writer and former Tisch graduate student David Javerbaum would be over the whole awards show routine. To a degree, he is, but not because he’s ungrateful or jaded.
“It’s always an honor. It’s a cool thing to be recognized for your work,” Javerbaum said of his latest Emmy, which he earned for writing “If I Had Time,” the closing number for the 2013 Tony Awards.
Javerbaum won the bulk of his Emmys by serving as former head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He’s also the author of two books and the co-author of two more, covering topics from religion to politics to fetuses. Javerbaum also serves as the wit behind the popular Twitter handle, @TheTweetOfGod, which is approaching one million followers.
“I have commitment issues,” Javerbaum said of his numerous projects. “I don’t like doing the same thing over and over.”
After working with “The Daily Show” for 11 years and winning as many Emmy awards, Javerbaum called it quits to focus on his musical inclinations.
“It was hard to leave,” he said. “It was the best job I ever had, but it was very demanding.”
Since leaving the show, Javerbaum has gone on to win his first Emmy outside of “The Daily Show” for the Tony Awards’ 2012 opening number, “Broadway: It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore.” Both that song and this year’s “If I Had Time” were performed by Tony host Neil Patrick Harris, who Javerbaum said has become a friend and a collaborator. Javerbaum plans to write more for Harris in the future, hinting a possible “smart, clever opening number” for the Emmy Awards.
Javerbaum is clearly a man with many interests, passions and talents, but ultimately he is rooted in comedy — and it shows in his list of influences and inspirations, which includes works like “The Book of Mormon,” “Saturday Night Live” and “South Park,” as well as comedians such as Louis C.K. and Steve Martin.
“Basically, I try to see everything,” he said. “I try to watch shows and movies and theater that interest me, and I draw what I like from it and try to let it influence my work.”
Javerbaum found his start while attending Harvard University, where he wrote original student plays and musicals. Following Harvard, he attended NYU’s graduate musical theater writing program, which he said “absolutely helped me to get where I am now.”
Mostly, he says being in the program helped influence his collaboration skills.
“I had never done it before, working closely with partners and groups and really having to listen, but you learn how to get the best out of them and out of yourself,” Javerbaum said.
Knowing how difficult finding a foothold in the entertainment industry can be, Javerbaum imparted some advice to aspiring writers.
“Try everything,” he said. “You’re going to hit homeruns and you’re going to strike out, but don’t be afraid to try something unusual or stupid, because you never know what’s going to work.”
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 18 print edition. Ife Olujobi is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.