Conservative Comedian and Writer Adam Yenser Talks Career Path, Success, and a Typical Day as Writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Conservative Comedian and Writer Adam Yenser Talks Career Path, Success, and a Typical Day as Writer for The Ellen DeGeneres Show


Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed conservative comedian and writer for the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Adam Yenser to the newsmakers line to discuss what it’s like be a conservative in Hollywood and how he got his start in the business.

Leahy: We are joined by the rarest of the rare conservative comedian funny guy Adam Yenser. Adam thanks for joining us.

Yenser: Hey, Michael. Thanks for having me. How’s it going?

Leahy: Well, you’re a conservative comedian and you’ve written for Ellen DeGeneres. Tell us about that. That’s a combo.

Yenser: (Chuckles) Yeah, openly conservative and making it in Hollywood. It’s tough. I’ve been at Ellen for 10 years now. I started in the industry working for Conan O’Brien and then started doing stand-up. And I’ve always been pretty openly right-leaning. I somehow managed to not get cancelled and still chugging along. I don’t know when it’ll happen. But it’s something you’ve got to be careful of.

Leahy: So you’ve been writing for the Ellen DeGeneres talk show for 10 years Adam Yenser. You’re on the credits. Now, there’s been a little bit of controversy about that show.

Yenser: Yeah, I can’t get into a whole lot of that. But I’ve had a good experience there. I’ve been there 10 years and those sort of rumors that came out those rumors have been around since before I started working there. So I kind of heard that it was a tough place to work. But I still went for it. I enjoy writing there. And as far as where the shows at now I still feel that I like working there. It seems like a lot of that stuff came up because Ellen did that monologue about being friends with George W. Bush and then it seemed like there were people who had sort of been aware of these rumors, but really kind of dug into them.

Leahy: That’s interesting. So I think you’re probably right. After hanging with George W. Bush all of those things came out. Tell us what your day is like writing for the Ellen DeGeneres Show. And then tell us how you go about and do your comedy gigs. I see you’re going to be performing this month in Colorado and Oklahoma and a couple of other places. And oh, by the way, when are you coming to Nashville?

Yenser: (Chuckles) I would love to come to Nashville. I was actually in Chattanooga two weeks ago and had a great time there.

Leahy: Did you have a gig there?

Yenser: Yes at The Comedy Catch in Chattanooga right next to the choo choo.

Leahy: The Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Yenser: It was great. I would love to come to Nashville and I hope I’ll make it there at the end of the year. I’m just sort of starting to get back on the road now because things are opening up elsewhere not here in California. Here still pretty like that. I think right now it’s legal here to eat outside as long as the waiter causes your food and then you pull down your mask and catch it in your mouth.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Thank you, Gavin Newsom.

Yenser: Exactly. He’s allowed to go inside. He’s allowed to go inside the restaurants to make Tiktok videos and hang out with his friends. But the rest of us are not.

Leahy: Will Governor Gavin Newsom be recalled? what’s going on with that recall out there?

Yenser: It looks like the recall will be successful as far as getting it, you know to the ballot. I think it’s it’s an uphill battle I think to replace him with someone from the other side. But the recall effort seems to be gaining a lot of momentum because the people on both sides are annoyed with him right now because the people who are sort of against the lockdowns have been opposed to him for a year now. And the people on the left who support the lockdowns have now seen him as a hypocrite because he’s not even following his own orders.

Leahy: So as a writer for the Ellen DeGeneres Show what do you do? I mean, what do you do? What’s your typical day like?

Yenser: Our typical day is we get our assignments a week before whether writing monologues or comedy segment. And then in the morning, we have a meeting with the producers and with Ellen which is all taking place over resume right now. and then we get notes from them. We revise our scripts. We have a rehearsal in the afternoon and then we have like an hour or so to make changes.

Sometimes after rehearsal, everything goes smoothly and we go right into the show that script, and then sometimes every now and then everything gets reworked, and were scrambling to come up with new material in an hour. But we always get it together in time for the show. and then usually tapes in the afternoon and airs the next day. So we tape one day to air the next day.

Leahy: Where does the show tape? And is there a live studio audience?

Yenser: So we don’t have a lot of studio audience right now because it’s all over Zoom. For a while back in the fall, we were having a mix of a few socially distanced audio audience members and other people zooming in on TV screens. right now it’s all over Zoom and I think they’re kind of just following the guidance in the state right now as far as what we’re allowed to do with live audiences.

Leahy: Now, do you work like is your job like Monday to Friday doing that stuff and then you get on a plane and fly off to Chattanooga, and Colora Springs and Tulsa’s out what happens

Yenser: That’s exactly what happens. And it’s been it’s fun, but it’s been draining for a few weeks. I was flying to Chattanooga last weekend and working for Ellen all week. I had a few stand-up shows here at outdoor bars. last weekend I flew to Oregon. flew back on Monday morning from 7:00 a.m. to 9 a.m. And then at like 9:30, I’d be on a Zoom meeting writing for Ellen. So I’ve been working from morning to night and now It’s 5:30 here. So this is I think the earliest I’ve gotten up for anything in the whole pandemic right now.

Leahy: Well, we’re just delighted that you’ve got up so early for us. I’ve you are you have you had your coffee? Are you awake or are you having it right now?

Yensewr: I’m having it right now.

Leahy: So it’s rough getting up so early. It’s now 539 there out in LA do you live right on the ocean? Do you have your house right on the beach or are you like it somewhere in the San Fernando Valley with thousands of other people?

Yenser: I’m in the valley with a few other people. We tape at Warner Brothers. I don’t know if you are familiar with Burbank.

Leahy: Yes I am. And so so where are you from originally Adam?

Yenser: I grew up in Pennsylvania originally lived there most of my life up until College. then I lived in Brooklyn for three years. That’s where I started working for a Conan O’Brien out of college. and then I moved out to LA when Conan took over The Tonight Show. So I was there for all of the Conan why no drama and then I moved with Conan to the TBS at the Warner Brothers lot where he films his TBS show and that’s where the Ellen Show is also. And I heard about the writing job there and moved over to Ellen.

Leahy: Where are you from in Pennsylvania?

Yenser: Allentown.

Leahy: Yeah, I know it well.  Right next to Easton.

Yenser: It’s where my family still is.

Leahy: So you grow up in Allentown. Did you tell your mom and dad I want to be a comedian?

Yenser: I did and they were very supportive of it. I hear some people that you know, there are parents kind of balk at that but they were they were supportive of from the start. They still come out to shows whenever I go back home, which is always interesting because I work, I describe myself as a mostly clean comedian. NOt squeaky clean.

Leahy: (Chuckles) Mostly clean.

Yenser: Exactly. But my family and my aunts and uncles will come out to see me and cousins and relatives and I’m like I’m clean but I don’t know what else I’m exposing you to with these other comics.

Leahy: So you are from Allentown. I’m going to guess, did you go to Penn State in Lehigh?

Yenser: I went to Penn State.

Leahy: I thought so. You are a Nittany Lion.

Yenser: Yeah, I went there. Most of the family went there and my mom worked there. Both my brothers went there.

Leahy: The big question. Have you ever seen a Nittany Lion?

Yenser: Just the sort of dilapidated stuffed one they have in the library.

Leahy: Are there really Nittany Lions? I guess it’s a mountain lion.

Yenser: Yes, they are mountain lions. There are rumors that they are still roaming around like Sasquatch.

Leahy: Well, it’s a great nickname and of course Lehigh Valley football is big time. So you get out of school. How did you get the gig with Conan?

Yenser: Actually while I was at Penn State, I got an internship at his show for so the first semester that I applied to internships in the city in New York. I knew I wanted to get into television writing. I applied to like my first choices like SNL and Daily Show and Conan and Letterman. And the only place that I heard back from was the Maury Povich Show.

So for one semester, I interned at the Maury Povich Show taking calls with a call from the people that wanted to like get tested to see who is their baby daddy was. So I did that for an entire summer at the Maury Povich Show. And then after I had that on my resume, I applied again the next semester and got the internship at Conan.

And I basically just interned at Conan for three semesters. There’s a point in my senior year in college where I was taking classes four days a week in central Pennsylvania, then driving back to Allentown Thursday night and taking a bus to New York on Friday morning to keep interning at Conan. Then I got hired there as the receptionist and intern for

Leahy: Adam, we’ve got to close out here. Try and get a gig here at Zanies Comedy Club.

Yenser: Yes. I love Zanies. I played the one in Chicago. I’ve got to come to Nashville. Thanks a lot, Michael.

Leahy: Adam Yenser. A conservative comedian from Hollywood. Thanks for joining us.

Listen to the full third hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Adam Yenser” by Adam Yenser. 














Comedian Jesse Peyton Talks About His Comedic Stylings and Upcoming Show at the Franklin Marriott February 12

Comedian Jesse Peyton Talks About His Comedic Stylings and Upcoming Show at the Franklin Marriott February 12


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. –  host Leahy welcomed comedian Jessie Peyton to the newsmakers line to talk about being the opening act for Chad Prather, a conservative comedian, and his upcoming show at the Franklin Marriott February 12.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by Nashville entrepreneur promoter and merchandising specialist Lenny Heron and on our newsmakers line comedian Jesse Peyton. It’s a change of pace Tuesday. Jesse good morning and welcome to The Tennessee Star Report.

Peyton: Good morning from Texas! How are you guys?

Leahy: You know, Texas and Tennessee we are intertwined aren’t we? Two states.

Peyton: So are our football teams!

Herron: Hey!!

Leahy: The Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Oilers and became the Tennessee Titans. But you’ve got the Houston Texans now. But I did see was there there was a report that JJ Watt has been traded to the Chicago Bears. Did you see that? Is that true Jesse?

Peyton: I don’t know if it’s confirmed. It’s been going through the grapevine for the last two days.

Leahy: Yeah. I’m in that same category that it’s not sure it’s been confirmed because you know, you see all these rumors left and right. So, Jesse, we have not had or promoted here on The Tennessee Star Report a live venue for almost a year. And now I guess you are the opening act for Chad Prather. He’s coming here to Franklin, Tennessee at the Franklin Marriott on Friday, February the 12th. As a comedian, what’s the coronavirus pandemic been like for you? Have you been doing live venues or how’s that worked?

Peyton: We have been. Chad and I have we’ve done probably 30 shows in the last four months.

Leahy: Whoa, wait, wait, wait, just a minute! 30 shows in the last four months?

Peyton: Yes, sir.

Leahy: That’s remarkable. In what states have you done those shows?

Peyton: Mostly in Texas. Texas is pretty open. There’s a lot of mandates here that there are requirements for shows but we’ve done at least 25 shows in Texas since the pandemic started. I actually met Chad in Bryan-College Station during the pandemic doing shows. So I was the opening act booked by an agency for him and we hit it off and he took me on tour with him. So here we are.

Leahy: Texas is kind of leading the way and opening up live events. That’s always the case. More liberty in Texas than perhaps most states in the union.

Peyton: That’s true. We love it here. He’s running for governor in 2022. So it’s nice being on the road going to other states and bringing my own governor.

Leahy: So I this like a Pat Paulsen run for governor president in 1968 thing?

Peyton: Perhaps.

Leahy: Okay. I like that. A hat tip to Pat Paulsen.

Herron: Perhaps.

Leahy: This was way back in 1968. He was on the Smothers Brothers comedy hour and was kind of a deadpan humorist. He did get some votes for president though.

Herron: He probably got a lot of votes.

Leahy: He got more than the Communist Party back then but perhaps not too much more. but he was a fun guy. So tell us how long have you been a comedian Jesse.

Peyton: I’ve been doing about 10 years. I’ve uh, I’ve toured nationally as an opening act for about two. And I’ve toured as a co-headliner with Chad for the last five or six months. So it’s been pretty remarkable. It’s been a good year for me despite what’s going on.

Leahy: When you see all these specials about comedians like Jerry Seinfeld has Comedians in Cars getting coffee and they talk. They almost all are left-wing lunatics in their politics.

Peyton: They are.

Leahy: It seems like to me. Is there a club that you’re not allowed into or how does that work? How do other comedians react to you?

Peyton: I started comedy and I wasn’t very politically motivated in my act. So I kept politics to myself and I kind of didn’t incorporate that because of the stigma. It’s funny how logic and rationale and being capitalistic will stigmatize you in a community that sticks their hand out and doesn’t want to work. So I like to work hard and I do.

That’s how I got to where I’m at and you can be ostracized for that initially. I kept it to myself and then as I’ve kind of blossomed in the industry, I guess I don’t care anymore. I have become more vocal with it. And Chad’s obviously kind of spearheaded that some as well. So yeah, I’ve definitely felt a lot of pushback from that.

Leahy: So in your act typically is it you do 20 minutes or 30 minutes? How long is your act typically?

Peyton: Well with Chad we’re doing the Unapologetic Tour 2021 where we’re doing 50 cities in 2021. And we’re actually co-headlining. I am the opener for him. He goes second. But both of us do 40 45 minutes.

Leahy: You do 40 to 45 minutes. That is a lot. How can you be funny for 40 to 45 minutes? I can barely do it for 40 seconds and not well. (Chuckles) 45 minutes.

Peyton: It’s a lot of practice and a lot of writing. After doing 200 shows a year you kind of get an autopilot when you get up there. But Chad and I are a different breed. It’s kind of like a yin and yang we have varying styles which I think really lends itself to a good show because you come out for Chad knowing what you’re going to get and then you get me and it’s a different punch in the face.

Leahy: A different punch in the face? I don’t know if I want to get a punch in the face, Jesse.

Peyton: It’s gentle.

Leahy: Okay. So tell us about how you put your 40-45 minute act together. Do you write a series of jokes? Do they have a pattern to it? How do you do it? I saw this Jerry Seinfeld special and he like rights jokes all the time, all the time, all the time. And one day they like took all his notes out and they put it like on a huge street and it filled up the street with all of his notes on jokes. Is that how you do it? How do you keep track of your jokes?

Peyton: Well it’s 2021 and most everything is done electronically now. I’ll come up with a funny premise something funny will happen. All comedy that we write comes from a real place. Whether the premise is something that actually happened or an antidote or something that we actually were part of. So you do that and you expound upon it and you kind of you know, it’s you blend in the funny with the actual real and you build an egg from that.

And then after a while it just you find a rhythm, meter, tempo, and order and you construct a set. It’s mainly stories and stuff from my own experiences and my own path. But yeah, my notes are similar. It won’t be lined up in the street, but I’ll have megabytes on my note section on my phone eating up data because of that. So that’s definitely true.

Leahy: So you talk about rhythm and pacing, you know in a radio program like this rhythm and pacing really matters. In other words. You want to put information out that moves fairly quickly but you don’t want to step on the other person’s line. You have a dialogue back and forth. To me pacing and timing for a comedian is critical. Have you found that to be the case?

Peyton: Oh, absolutely and there are varying styles. like you talked about the guy who ran in 1968 was more deadpan. I’m a higher energy storyteller. I do a lot of crowd engagement stuff where I interact with the people in the audience. Not too much because you can’t let it slip away from you. You can’t lose command of the room. However, I like them more hands-on high energy, and less constrained. I like it to feel more organic than rehearsed if that makes sense.

Leahy: It sounds a little bit like I don’t know if you’ve followed the Tinkers which is an Amazon series and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which kind of is a like a Joan Rivers type story and how she became a comedian. Have you watched that and do you have a reaction to that series?

Peyton: I didn’t see it but I heard a buzz about it. I’ve never seen that one so I’m not really familiar.

Leahy: Well, they’re all a bunch of left-wingers by the way. So I think you know, I think it’s time for The Marvelous Jesse Peyton and Chad Prather, right?

Herron: It’s time to bring them to Franklin and get your tickets now.

Leahy: Okay.

Peyton: I’m ready.

Leahy: Hey, Jessie. Thanks so much for joining us and we will see you Friday, February 12. Doors open at 5 o’clock. Where is the place where you can get tickets?

Herron: Log on right now at

Leahy: All right. Hey, Jessie. Thanks for joining us. We’ll see you on February 12.

Herron: Thanks, Jessie.

Listen to the full third hour here:

– – –

Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jesse Peyton” by Jesse Peyton.