Veteran comedy writer Steve O’Donnell has been selected as the winner of the Herb Sargent Award for Comedy Excellence by the Writers Guild of America East.
The honor will be presented at the 2017 Writers Guild Awards ceremony at New York’s Edison Ballroom on Feb. 19. Lewis Black is hosting.
Sargent served as president of the WGA East for 14 years and was a writer/producer at “Saturday Night Live” for more than 20 years. The guild’s award in his name is awarded to a writer who embodies the “spirit, commitment and comic genius” of Sargent, as well as his dedication to mentoring new writers. In the past, it has been presented to Judd Apatow, Gary David Goldberg, Norman Stiles, Lorne Michaels and James L. Brooks.
O’Donnell has been a WGA member since 1982 and has been nominated for 20 Emmys. He was first hired by Dave Letterman in 1982 and served as head writer on NBC’s “Late Night” from 1983 to 1992 and as a writer on CBS’s “The Late Show” from 1993 to 1995. O’Donnell led the writing on “The Top 10 List” and “The NBC Bookmobile,” among other segments.
He worked as a writer on Jimmy Kimmel’s “The Man Show” from 1999 to 2001 and was head writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” from 2003 to 2008. He also has written for “The Chris Rock Show,” “The Dana Carvey Show,””Seinfeld,” “The Simpsons,” The Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Why? With Hannibal Buress.”
“This is an especially wonderful honor coming from my friends and peers in the Writers Guild of America, East, the group I respect and love more than any other. I suppose I should add ‘except for my family’ — but they’re actually a bunch of jerks. No, no! I’m joking! That’s what I do for a living,” said O’Donnell.
“I did extensive and exhaustive research — and guess what I found out? Young writers are our future! If I’ve been encouraging them, it’s just good common sense. I’m being light-hearted, when — in fact — I couldn’t be more seriously honored and humbled, especially as this comes from the Guild which has had such professional and personal importance in my life,” he said.