The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

If you've watched The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, laughed at MAD TV, or stayed awake with David Letterman, then you may be familiar with the handiwork of comedy writer Dave Hanson.

Born and raised in Westchester, Hanson had less than stellar grades in high school. In his years at the College, however, he gained a greater interest in education, and found that Mercy was a place where he could grow and succeed.

Hanson started out majoring in Business, but ended up earning a BS in English in 1982. Why the switch? Hånson cites Professor Allyn Leidig as the man who sparked his interest in literature. "He made the study of the language exciting,' he said. "The professors at Mercy had lived a little-they were teaching from experience." His favorite memory of Mercy was his time spent as editor of the student newspaper, The Reporter's Impact.

Hanson began his career working at an advertising agency, but continued writing for himself as well. When he submitted "33 Uses for a Dead Yuppie" to National Lampoon, they bought it and asked for more. Before long, he was offered a position as an editor.


He enjoyed the job, but Hanson's career soon took another turn when one of the magazine's contributors encouraged him to submit his writing samples to the new cable station, "Comedy Central." He was hired, and worked on the show "Night after Night with Allan Havey." From there, his TV career took off. He spent a few years with David Letterman and garnered two Emmy nominations. After working as a writer for MAD-TV,

Dave landed his current job on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

But as always, Hanson is keeping a few irons in the fire. He has a movie, set in New Jersey, that's due to begin production, and he's shopping for a publisher for the novel on which the movie is based.