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Late-night comedy has been in reruns, or off the air entirely, since day one of the Writers Guild’s strike. But many of their current and former writers have banded together to put on a weekly YouTube show called Contract TK that satirizes the news, lampoons the company bosses, and promotes the goals of the strike, which is now in its 38th day.
Host Greg Iwinski, a former writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, opened tonight’s episode with a reference to the apocalyptic air quality conditions blanketing the East Coast. “Hi! I’m Greg Iwinski, coming to you from New York City, sponsored by Bladerunner.”
When the show was launched four weeks ago, he told Deadline – in all seriousness – that the issues at stake in the strike are “existential” for late-night comedy writers. “As the studios continue to move into streaming, but especially as they move into the free ad-supported space where stuff looks more and more like old TV, you’re going to be seeing more late-night television, soap operas, and game shows in the digital space. And right now, we have no protections there. We don’t have a payment amount; we don’t have contract-linked minimums; we don’t have residuals, really. We’re in the Wild West.”
The shows are allowed under the guild’s strike rules, because everyone involved is an unpaid volunteer and they’re not working for a struck company. Here’s tonight’s show, which can be found by searching YouTube for Contract TK, which is journalism lingo for Contract To Come.
And here are the previous three episodes: