A Career of Silliness

"Colbert Report" writer Peter Grosz. (By Maia Rosenfeld)
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Friday, August 1, 2008

Politicians, be warned. You are in Peter Grosz's crosshairs.

A writer for "The Colbert Report," on Comedy Central, Grosz says officials in our city make his job easy.

"The thing that stands out most is everyone takes themselves so seriously," Grosz says.

Grosz grew up in Scarsdale, N.Y., reading the New York Times and admiring "Saturday Night Live." He made funny movies with his friends and says that he didn't consider making a career out of being silly; he was just having fun.

When he went to college, he faced a case of "not-knowingness" that he says afflicts many comedians in college when it is time to declare a major. Grosz decided to go with a radio, television and film major and never stopped writing.

After sending his writing clips to "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" and later "The Colbert Report," he finally got his break about 10 years after graduating college. The edgy "Colbert Report" made him an offer, and it seemed a good place for Grosz's humor. He has been there for a year and a half.

"Some of it should be a little shocking to somebody," says Grosz, 34. "It would be a little boring if you only wrote something that everybody thought was nice."

But at the same time, Grosz isn't out to turn anybody off from the show. Writers at "The Colbert Report" collaborate in pairs. Stephen Colbert, the show's host, has the last word if he thinks something might be too offensive. Besides, the first goal is to make people laugh; the second is to make people think.

"I would say it is nice that people think about things in the wake of 'The Daily Show,' " Grosz says. "They start to recognize things we recognize as absurd. The Trojan horse is comedy."

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