If you thought such industry giants as Jon Stewart, Craig Kilborn, and Conan O’Brian were funny, maybe it’s because they had a talented writer behind them – Emmy award winning and newly hired FILM & TV Assistant Professor Guy Nicolucci.
Although this is his first-time teaching at Montclair State University, Nicolucci has had about fifteen years’ worth of teaching experience, in areas like television and screenwriting. Most notably, Nicolucci has taught late night comedy and sitcom writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts since 2004, and at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles for the last four or five years.
Needless to say Nicolucci has a lot of experience to bring to a classroom. A television writer since 1996, he was one of the original writers for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, where he wrote nearly 550 episodes.
His next career move was as a writer for NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and then The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, for almost ten years.
In 2007, Nicolucci, and the writing team for Late Night, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music, or Comedy Program. He’s also been nominated for Emmys a handful times over the years.
Nicolucci also worked on a few of the infamous Comedy Central Roasts for Comedy Central. Such roasts are legendary and predate the Comedy Channel. During a roast, a celebrity gets a lot of jokes made at their own expense. “You wouldn’t know it, I’m such a nice guy,” Nicolucci laughs.
Nicolucci’s writing credits don’t only involve television. For the last couple of years, he’s been writing feature movies for Lifetime, in the thriller genre. “I’ve had two produced and am currently in rewrites on a third,” Nicolucci says. “And then there are two other scripts in limbo somewhere in development.”
When asked how his own education prepared him for writing in the media industry, Nicolucci says that he took what he could get out of it. “Well, I got my degree in journalism, but I turned out to be a pretty poor journalist,” he says. “But the best thing I got out of journalism was how to type, and how to do the work on deadline. The other thing journalism taught me was to look around and ask questions and just keep your eyes wide open because there’s so many interesting stories out there.”
While Nicolucci brings so much industry experience to the School of Communication and Media, he is delighted to find that our Film students match it with their own passion and knowledge. “The students are so engaged and so want to be there, and they’re all so talented that it’s making me up my game,” he says. “I feel like it’s wonderful to teach students that are focused and have goals and are interested.”
However, there are still a few words of advice that Nicolucci can give, for anyone trying to break into the media industry. “Get internships, and be nice to your fellow students, because they’re the ones that are going to be hiring you, or you’ll be hiring them,” he says. “Your future colleagues are your current classmates. So, build good relationships because it’s very rare that you get hired by a stranger. Even if that person is a stranger, that stranger is going to know somebody that knows you, and your reputation, good or bad, will help or hurt you. So be nice.”