Since high school, Lindsey Mutz has had a goal of interning for NBC’s The Tonight Show. The Michigan State University sophomore turned that goal into a reality this past fall when she spent the semester in New York City as an intern at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The internship gave Mutz, who is a Citizen Scholar with a double major in English and Film Studies, a realistic view of what it is like working in the television industry.
“I want to be a comedy writer and this helped me get connections within the industry,” Mutz said. “I had never been near the set of a professional television show, let alone late-night comedy. It was beneficial to see how the show comes together every night. I don’t think people understand how quickly that happens. It was fun to see how much work every department did and how it all comes together when we tape.”
Mutz had previously applied for The Tonight Show internship, but didn’t hear back until Academic Advisor Ruth Mowry put her in contact with an MSU alumnus who works for the show. The fellow Spartan offered to pass Mutz’s resume to the right person, along with a good word.
Also helping to land the position were her MSU coursework and experiences. Her coursework gave her the tools to create a resume and cover letter that accurately represented her personality and skillset.
“I didn’t do your standard cover letter, I tried to put my own comedic voice into it to make it stand out,” Mutz said. “Having the ability to make something professional, but also tailor it to your unique voice is something I have learned from my classes here.”
And thanks to a scholarship from the Citizen Scholars program, Mutz was able to fund her dream.
“It would have been a lot harder to afford living in New York if I didn’t have that scholarship,” she said. “A big part of Citizen Scholars is experiencing other cultures, going to different events you would not normally go to, and experiencing things that are outside of your comfort zone, that was New York for me.”
A big part of Citizen Scholars is experiencing other cultures, going to different events you would not normally go to, and experiencing things that are outside of your comfort zone, that was New York for me.
Helping her prepare for The Tonight Show internship was the work she does for MSU Telecasters, a student organization that produces seven different television shows, two of which Mutz helps write scripts for.
“Telecasters prepared me for the rigor of The Tonight Show,” she said. “It helped me get the internship, but also helped me learn how to write jokes, work a camera, and work with other people to put on a show. Telecasters is almost like The Tonight Show on a low-budget, smaller scale.”
Mutz now has her sights set on obtaining another internship at another late-night comedy show in New York City before she graduates in May 2020.