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‘Tonight Show’ head writer from Chicago leaves after seven months

Becky Drysdale, a former Second City writer-performer, says it was a mutual decision.

Becky Drysdale became head writer of “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” in March.
Sunshine Sachs

Second City alum Becky Drysdale, the head writer on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” has stepped down after seven months on the job.

The decision to part ways with the NBC late-night mainstay was mutual, she wrote in a post to her Facebook friends: “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.”

A TV comedy veteran with stints at “Key & Peele” and “All That” on her resume, Drysdale is taking the transition as an opportunity to swear off comedy about Donald Trump.

“I am making the decision for myself to never work on, write, or be involved with, another Trump sketch ever again,” she wrote. “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.”

She did not directly discuss “The Tonight Show’s” treatment of Trump, a frequent subject of jokes and sketches, and a figure often impersonated by Fallon.

An Ohio native, Drysdale used to perform in Chicago with her friend Jordan Peele, the future “Get Out” and “Us” writer-director. They put on two acclaimed sketch shows as the duo Two White Guys, and Drysdale co-wrote and performed at Second City e.t.c. in the early 2000s.

She came aboard “The Tonight Show” in April, just as Fallon was beginning to host pandemic shows from his home. That required guests to patch in from their kitchens and crew members to contribute from several miles or several states away, an obstacle Drysdale found sort of thrilling.

“I come from Chicago, where I was doing shows with two chairs and one light,” she told the Sun-Times in June. “So I don’t feel limited. I feel like it’s a fun opportunity to figure out, ‘What can we do with these limitations? What can we do that we couldn’t even do live?’ I think that’s a fun challenge.”

Fallon since has returned to his studio.