Lizz Winstead

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Lizz Winstead
Lizz Winstead.jpg
Winstead at the 2010 Netroots Nation conference
Born (1961-08-05) August 5, 1961 (age 61)
  • Comedian
  • writer
  • blogger
Years active1983–present

Lizz Winstead (born August 5, 1961) is an American comedian, radio and television personality, and blogger. A native of Minnesota, Winstead is the co-creator of The Daily Show along with Madeleine Smithberg, and served as head writer.

Early life[edit]

Winstead was the youngest child born into a conservative Catholic family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[1]


Winstead made her standup comedy debut in 1983 in Minneapolis at the Brave New Workshop.[2] She was a national headlining comedian appearing on shows like HBO's Women of the Night and the Aspen Comedy Festival. She wrote and performed for early Comedy Central shows like Women Aloud, and produced the syndicated talk series The Jon Stewart Show, starring the future Daily Show host.[3] She also created Court TV's Snap Judgment[4] and served as the consulting producer on the pilot of The Man Show.[5]

During her time at The Daily Show she helped staff the program with signature talents like Stephen Colbert, Beth Littleford, Brian Unger, and Lewis Black.[3] After Daily Show host Craig Kilborn publicly made offensive remarks about Winstead, she left the show in January 1998.[3][6]

Winstead has appeared on various shows on CNN and MSNBC as well as a panelist on shows such as Politically Incorrect, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and the public-access television cable TV/PBS program Mental Engineering (where she was notably featured in an episode that aired following Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002). In 2002, she and Brian Unger created, wrote and co-hosted O2Be, a satire of network morning programs that was broadcast on the Oxygen network.

In 2003, she co-founded and served as the program director at Air America Radio.[7][8] Until March 2005, she was also co-host of Unfiltered on Air America Radio, along with Rachel Maddow and Chuck D. Since May 2005 she has been a contributing blogger at The Huffington Post.

In 2006, she served as the executive producer of the Weekends with Maury and Connie program on MSNBC. The show was canceled later that year and in the last episode Connie Chung performed a musical number with lyrics by Winstead that was called "Thanks for the Memories."[9] Since 2007, she has produced and hosted a live show in New York City called Shoot the Messenger, a satirical wrap-up of the week's news as seen through the eyes of six-hour morning show Wake Up World, and featuring interviews with such media notables as Rachel Maddow, Andy Borowitz, Ted Rall, Kurt Andersen, Paul Rieckhoff, and Mark Crispin Miller.[3]

On May 10, 2012, her first book, Lizz Free or Die, was published by Riverhead Hardcover; it is a collection of autobiographical essays on her life.[10][11] In 2012, she founded Lady Parts Justice, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of legislative attempts to block women's reproductive freedoms.[12]

On May 20, 2013, she received public backlash after sending tweets joking about a tornado that struck outside of Oklahoma City.[13][14]


  1. ^ Minnseapolis City Pages: The life of Lizz Winstead. Archived February 13, 2015, at the Wayback Machine May 3, 2013. Accessed February 13, 2015.
  2. ^ Marsh, Steve (September 2008). "Just Asking... Lizz Winstead". MPLS.St.Paul Magazine. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Itzkoff, David (March 30, 2008). "Serving Platters of Minced Politicians". New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Colton, Michael; Bogdanovich, Peter (April 4, 1999). "Lizz Winstead Returns … and So Does Marv". New York Observer. Archived from the original on September 8, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
  5. ^ "IMDB Page- Lizz Winstead". IMDb. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  6. ^ Colton, Michael (April 4, 1999). "Lizz Winstead Returns ... and So Does Marv". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on September 8, 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Lizz Winstead: The Dictionary From A To Lizz". NPR.
  8. ^ "On the air with Signorile Show guest host Lizz Winstead — and a Q of the Day". Archived from the original on May 10, 2015.
  9. ^ "Yet Another Reason To Avoid Superman Returns". June 30, 2006. Retrieved May 19, 2009.
  10. ^ "Lizz Free or Die: Essays -".
  11. ^ "Lizz Free Or Die". NPR.
  12. ^ "How Lizz Winstead Is Using Comedy to Fight for Women's Rights". June 12, 2015.
  13. ^ 'Daily Show' co-creator called out for insensitive Oklahoma tweet Archived June 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine 05-21-2013
  14. ^ ‘Daily Show’ co-creator Lizz Winstead sparks outrage with Oklahoma tornado joke about conservatives 05-21-2013

External links[edit]