Emily Spivey: Work, family keeps writer ‘Up All Night’

10 TV Scribes to Watch

Is Emily Spivey poised to become the next Tina Fey?

In the fall, the former “Saturday Night Live” scribe will debut “Up All Night,” a semi-autobiographical NBC sitcom (also exec produced by Lorne Michaels) starring “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph opposite Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, who play a couple coping with the challenges of parenthood.

“Up All Night” is one of the 2011 season’s buzzier new shows, both among NBC series and sitcoms.

“It’s basically my experience, having a baby and going back to work — it was just way too hard,” Spivey says. “It was trying, but hilarious.”

Spivey retooled the script once her cast was assembled. “When Christina became interested, I sat with her, and it was revelatory,” Spivey recalls. “She’s so funny, and we were in the same place — she had just had her baby. The script became way better, hearing her voice in my head. I’ve known Maya for 15 years, so it was fun to write for her. And it’s so sweet to see Will with a baby, just crazy cute.”

Spivey cut her teeth on “Mad TV” and won a job on “King of the Hill” when pal Rudolph called her and persuaded her to join “SNL.” “King” exec producer Greg Daniels rehired Spivey to write for the previous season of “Parks and Recreation,” where she learned the craft of sitcom writing.

“I definitely learned how that show is run in terms of breaking stories,” Spivey says. “Mike Schur and Dan Goor are like scientists in breaking stories. I learned to be patient — on ‘SNL,’ you’re writing as fast as you can. On ‘Parks,’ we took so long to break a story, then when we did, it was so great. You were glad you took so long.”

10 TV SCRIBES TO WATCH
Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston

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