Jill Twiss

Jill Twiss is an American writer best known for her work on the HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.[1][2] She is a senior writer on the show and she portrays its "Janice from Accounting" character.[3] She authored a children's book called A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo about a fictional day in the life of Marlon Bundo (Vice President Mike Pence's pet rabbit), as part of a Last Week Tonight sketch, which went on to be a best seller.

Early life

She was born in Redmond, Oregon and grew up in six different U.S. states due to her father's reassignments as part of the U.S. Forest Service.[4] While Twiss was studying public policy and music in the College of William & Mary, her parents moved to Custer, South Dakota, and there she got interested in theater.[5][6] After graduating in 1998,[7] Twiss performed at the Black Hills Playhouse during the 1999 and 2000 seasons. After graduating, Twiss got accepted into a law school in New York City, but instead joined a touring children's theater troupe, and only moved to New York in 2001 with hopes of furthering her acting career.[5][6]

Career

While doing acting and stand-up comedy gigs in New York, Twiss sought writing jobs. As she learned about HBO preparing Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and recruiting writers through blind auditions, Twiss sent them sample segments, which in turn led to a demand for a second batch, and after an interview with John Oliver himself she was hired.[4][8]

As a member of the writing staff for Last Week Tonight, Twiss has won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series multiple times.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

In March 2018, as a writer on Last Week Tonight, Twiss authored a children's book called A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo about a fictional day in the life of Marlon Bundo, the real-life pet rabbit of the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence. The story details the same-sex romance between Marlon Bundo and another rabbit named Wesley. It was written in response to Pence's staunch opposition to same-sex marriage and support of conversion therapy advocate James Dobson.[9]

Twiss conceptualized the book as a loose parody of Marlon Bundo's: A Day in the Life of the Vice President, written by Charlotte Pence and illustrated by Karen Pence (Mike Pence's daughter and wife, respectively). Their book also tells about a fictionalized day of the Pence family's pet rabbit, but without the LGBT themes.[10] Rather than a straight-up parody of the Pences' book, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is an actual children's story about marriage equality and democracy.[11][12][13] It nevertheless contains some stabs at Mike Pence.[10][14]

On the day of release, John Oliver promoted the book on Last Week Tonight at the conclusion of an episode mainly dedicated to Pence and his positions on LGBT issues; it became a bestseller and the #1 book and e-book on Amazon the following day, receiving notable praise and selling much better than the crew of Last Week Tonight had expected. All profits from the book are being donated to The Trevor Project and AIDS United.[15][16]

The Someone New

Twiss authored The Someone New, which was subsequently published in June 2018. The story revolves around Jitterbug, a chipmunk fearful of change. When a snail named Pudding moves into the woods, Jitterbug learns to overcome her fear with the help of her animal-friends[17].

As part of the books premise of practicing kindness for strangers, Twiss partnered with the charity KIND (Kids in Need of Defense) on her book, and both she and her publisher, HarperCollins made donations to the charity[18].

Twiss and the book’s illustrator EG Keller have a forthcoming second book through the publisher HarperCollins called "Everyone Gets a Say." It will be released in June 2020 and will be about voting[19].

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Result
2014 Peabody Award[20] Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Won
2015 67th Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series[21] Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards 2014: Comedy/Variety (including Talk) - Series[22] Won
2016 68th Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series[21] Won
2017 69th Primetime Emmy Awards: Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series[21] Won
Writers Guild of America Awards 2016: Comedy/Variety (including Talk) - Series[23] Won
2018 Writers Guild of America Awards 2017: Comedy/Variety - Talk Series[24] Won

References

  1. "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Cast and Crew". HBO. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  2. Murphy, Kate (April 16, 2016). "Jill Twiss". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  3. Marks, Andrew (January 27, 2017). "Fox Headhunts Linda From HR From John Oliver's Last Week Tonight". Den of Geek. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  4. Folsom, Geoff (June 20, 2018). "Emmy-winning, best-selling author was born in Redmond". Redmond Spokesman. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  5. Taylor Rick, Lynn (February 26, 2004). "South Dakota humor charms New York audience". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  6. Moore, Carrie (September 23, 2017). "Twiss family shines at the Emmys". Carrie on the Arts. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  7. Sharaf, Mona (September 25, 2017). "W&M alumni honored at 69th Emmys". College of William & Mary. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  8. Kang, Inkoo (August 8, 2014). "John Oliver's Search for New Voices in Late Night". Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  9. Perkins, Dennis (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver hijacks homophobe Mike Pence's bunny book with a better one in A Day In The Life Of Marlon Bundo". AV Club. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  10. Klein, Betsy (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver is trolling Pence with a book about a gay bunny". CNN. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  11. Mazza, Ed (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver Wants Your Help Telling Mike Pence To 'Go F**k Himself'". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  12. Rosen, Christopher (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver's gay bunny 'Marlon Bundo' book is now No. 1 on Amazon". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  13. McMahon, Regan (March 20, 2018). "A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo - Book Review". Common Sense Media. Common Sense. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  14. Schick, Martha (March 19, 2018). "John Oliver takes on Vice President Mike Pence — and his pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
  15. "John Oliver's gay bunny 'Marlon Bundo' book is now No. 1 on Amazon". EW.com. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  16. Oliver, John (March 18, 2018). Mike Pence. HBO. Retrieved March 18, 2018 via YouTube.
  17. www.publishersweekly.com https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-06-29337-4-4. Retrieved 2019-12-01. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. "Team that spoofed Pence book has new picture story". AP NEWS. 2019-01-16. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  19. "Everyone Gets a Say - Jill Twiss - Hardcover". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  20. "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver". The Peabody Awards. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  21. "Jill Twiss". Television Academy. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  22. McNary, Dave (February 15, 2015). "'Grand Budapest Hotel,' 'True Detective' Top WGA Awards". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  23. McNary, Dave & Cynthia Littleton (February 20, 2017). "WGA Awards: 'Moonlight,' 'Arrival' Win for Best Screenplay, 'Atlanta' Wins Twice". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  24. "WGA Awards: The Complete Winners List". Variety. February 12, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
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