Tom Johnson, ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Jeselnik Offensive’ Writer, Dies at 55

“He was f—ing hilarious, like inspired as a writer but also as a performer,” comedian Marc Maron says

Tom Johnson, a writer and stand-up comic with credits including “The Daily Show” and “The Jeselnik Offensive,” has died at the age of 55.

In a statement Friday, his family said he died at his home “Peacefully and unexpectedly” on Jan. 14. No cause of death has been made public.

“Growing up,” the family wrote in their statement, Johnson “had an insatiable curiosity. He was talented in all of the arts: a gifted artist who could draw in vivid detail, played the guitar and trombone, and acted in plays throughout college at the University of Missouri. He loved the band Kiss and enjoyed dressing up like the lead singer for Halloween.”

“Tom had a huge heart and cared deeply about taking care of others. He launched the careers of countless successful comedians. His work ethic was impeccable. He was fair, kind, talented, inclusive, and funny as hell. He was a voracious reader, eater, and rescuer of cats. It brought him great joy to play pranks on those he loved. He will be truly missed by all,” the family statement said also.

Johnson’s death was first revealed on the “WTF with Marc Maron” podcast on Thursday, which he served as executive producer and head writer on in 2010, according to his LinkedIn.

“I knew him back when he did comedy briefly. He was actually at the Comedy Cellar before me and then he became a writer for The Daily Show. This is the pre – Jon Stewart incarnation of ‘The Daily Show’ and that’s sort of how he came to Air America. He started Air America with me but Lizz Winstead, who was at the original ‘Daily Show,’ pulled Tom in as a writer and that’s where we re-met,” Maron said. “He was f—ing hilarious, like inspired as a writer but also as a performer, and he wrote so many amazing bits for us that he did on the radio.”

Johnson began working on the Comedy Central late night program as a writer and performer in May 1996 and worked on the show through January 2004. He wrote on more than 1200 episodes and won two Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards for his work on the show.

His other credits at the network include co-executive producer and head writer on “Stand Up Nation With Greg Giraldo,” “Adult Content with Greg Giraldo,” and “Reality Bites,”a writer on the roast of David Hasselhoff and head writer on the roast of Roseanne, an executive producer and head writer on “Midnight with Anthony Jeselnik,” co-creator, executive producer and head writer on “The Jeselnik Offensive,” and a writer on “NSFW with Nikki Glaser.”

Outside of Comedy Central, he worked as a head writer and supervising producer on Game Show Network’s “Late Night Liars,” head writer and producer on Fox Broadcasting’s “Talkshow with Spike Feresten,” head writer on Spike TV’s 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 Guys Choice Awards and Scream Awards 2011, the 2016 MTV Music Video Awards, IFC’s Make Me Understand and Zynga’s “Words with Friends Live!,” head writer and producer on TBS’ “Lopez Tonight,” and a writer and supervising producer on MTV’s “Gamekillers.”

Additionally, Johnson served as a writer producer on HBO’s “Savage Love,” a writer on Bravo’s “Straight Talk with Joan Rivers,” A&E Television’s “Balls of Steel,” VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” MTV’s “Race Riot,” Spike TV’s 2009 Video Game Awards, Viacom’s “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Challenge,”and Quibi’s “Nice One With Ron Funches,” head consultant on the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards, a consultant on Syfy’s “Reactor” and Fox Broadcasting’s “The All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration,” and head consultant, writer and producer on 2020’s NBA All-Star Roast.

Johnson is survived by his wife Rozie Bacchi and his sisters, brothers-in-law, nieces and their families.


One response to “Tom Johnson, ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Jeselnik Offensive’ Writer, Dies at 55”

  1. Dennis M Rambo Avatar
    Dennis M Rambo

    Just another person in the prime of their life who “died unexpectedly”

    I wonder when people will begin to connect rise of all of the “Died suddenly” and “Died unexpectedly” and finally realize they have been lied to.

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