Emily Spivey

Emily Spivey Headshot

Writer • Producer • Actress

Birth Date: September 29, 1971

Age: 52 years old

Birth Place: Statesville, North Carolina

For Emily Spivey, there was never any trepidation about breaking into the boys club of the TV writer's room. A veteran of such shows as "King of the Hill" (Fox 1997-2010), "MADtv," (Fox 1995-2009), and "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975- ), Spivey was creator and executive producer of the sitcom "Up All Night" (NBC 2011-12). The show followed a thirtysomething couple whose lives and careers are upended after the arrival of their baby. Spivey mined her own personal life while writing "Up All Night," which was cancelled in May of 2013 after some controversial changes to the series were proposed.

A native of High Point, NC, Spivey attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she majored in broadcasting and film. Feeling limited by the lack of opportunities available in her home state, Spivey moved to Los Angeles to continue her education at Loyola Marymount University. At night she moonlighted as a writer-performer at L.A.'s famed Groundlings improvisational theater. While performing at Groundlings, Spivey became close friends with fellow improvisers Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and Will Forte.

In 2000 Spivey was hired to write comedy sketches for "MADtv," and later went on to write for "King of the Hill." When Maya Rudolph joined the cast of "SNL" in the fall of that year, she would often call Spivey on Tuesday evenings, which was when the sketches for the upcoming show were supposed to be written. The two would stay on the phone for hours, making sure each joke hit its appropriate beat.

Spivey grew up loving "SNL," so when Rudolph convinced Lorne Michaels to hire her as a writer for the following season, Spivey booked a one-way flight to New York. Spivey joined the writing staff in the summer of 2001, and watched her first sketch performed in the final minutes of the season opener; a parody of fashion mogul Donatella Versace, as played by Rudolph, it went on to become one of the show's most popular recurring sketches throughout Rudolph's tenure on the show. Spivey served on SNL's writing staff for nearly a decade, and eventually rose to become the show's writing supervisor.

She left the show in 2011 to executive produce "Up All Night." Spivey based the show on her own experiences after returning to the SNL writing staff after the birth to her son. She found it difficult to juggle the day-to-day tasks of raising a child while focusing on her all-consuming day job as a TV writer, and wanted to translate her experiences into an authentic on-screen representation.

The result was "Up All Night," starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as the beleaguered couple and her friend and frequent collaborator Rudolph as Applegate's best friend and boss. The show ran into trouble even prior to its premiere, when the network asked Spivey to increase Rudolph's role following the success of the film "Bridesmaids" (2011), in which she had co-starred. This involved a complete change of direction for the series, which shifted its focus to include a greater emphasis on Rudolph's character Ava, whose job shifted from publicity agent to diva-like afternoon talk show host, with Applegate's Reagan as her executive producer.

Halfway through the show's second season, it was placed on hiatus due to low ratings. Executive producer Lorne Michaels announced that the series would be completely retooled, changing from a single-camera filmed sitcom to a three-camera sitcom performed live in front of a studio audience. Spivey exited the series at this point, followed quickly by Applegate. Though it was reported that the network was in talks with Lisa Kudrow to replace Applegate as Reagan, "Up All Night" was officially canceled in May of 2013. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that Spivey was joining the writing staff of the popular hit "Modern Family" (ABC 2009- ).

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