BW graduate Kate Sidley is up for two Emmys

BW graduate Kate Sidley '04 is up for two Emmys for her work as a writer on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

BW theatre alumna earns two Primetime Emmy nominations for comedy writing

September 13, 2017

BW graduate Kate Sidley is up for two Emmys

BW graduate Kate Sidley '04 will have plenty of skin in the game when the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards honor the best in U.S. prime-time television programming live on Sunday, September 17. Sidley is nominated for two Emmys for her work as a writer on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Since Colbert is also hosting the Emmy show, Sidley and the rest of "The Late Show" writing team are hard at work developing material for the Emmy broadcast, leaving little time to bask in the glow of nomination glory.

"While we're all excited for the awards, right now we're mostly focused on the show itself," Sidley tells us. "We've been working on the Emmys for a few months now. It's been a great new experience and a great excuse to binge-watch TV at night (it's research!)."

Red carpet detour

Emmy AwardSidley and her fellow writers are nominated in the categories of "Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series" for "The Late Show" and "Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special" for a Colbert election special on Showtime.

Sidley confesses that, as a BW undergrad, she entertained dreams of being feted at a major awards ceremony. But her career took a red-carpet detour. "In those days, I dreamed of going to the Tony Awards," she says. "I was a theatre major, so I never imagined my work would take me into television."

What Sidley did imagine (and pursue) was the value of diverse and challenging post-BW experiences that included serving in the Peace Corps in Romania and helping to found Sea Tea Comedy Theater in Hartford, Connecticut.

"I've written for radio, dropped out of a Ph.D. program (to pursue comedy full time - thankfully that worked out) and served in the Peace Corps," she explains. "None of those gigs seem like a straight line to writing for late night TV, but all were experiences that set me apart from my peers."

Just do it, writers!

Sidley says she also gained "an enormous amount of discipline" on her winding path to comedy writing, which she deems essential for a writer. 

Kate Sidley performs in a Late Show sketch"I've met plenty of people who spend more time marketing themselves as comedy writers than they do actually writing. If you really want to write, you should already be doing it, every day, even when you're busy, even when you're tired, even when you don't feel like it. Do the job until someone pays you for it."

Sidley has also performed in some sketches on "The Late Show," like this Apple Book send-up and another featuring her wearing the "Game of Thrones" spoiler-proof bucket.

Risks worth taking

Sidley also offers Emmy-golden advice to current students with their own big dreams and goals.

"Get in one good, solid failure while you're still in college. And no, I don't mean intentionally fail a class or bomb a test. What I mean is: you're going to fail a lot in your professional life and, if you don't, you're not pushing yourself hard enough. College is a safe space to try something new, be wrong, admit it and then learn from it. That's a rare opportunity. Take advantage of it."

Finally, we asked what this BW grad is aiming for next?

"An Emmy would be pretty nice."