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IU telecommunications student spent summer interning with Team CoCo

Sept. 7, 2016

IU telecommunications student Lilah Taber was in scriptwriting class when she got an email informing her she had landed an interview for a dream internship with "Conan," a well-known late-night talk show.

lilah taber

As a monologue intern, Lilah Taber spent the majority of her time researching news articles and current events and then condensing them into short and concise blurbs. She submitted those stories to the show's writers, who then used those as premises for punchlines. | PHOTO COURTESY OF LILAH TABER

A couple of months later, she made the cross-country move to L.A. and found herself sitting in on rehearsals and hearing her own work being used by the host, Conan O'Brien, on live TV. 

As a monologue intern, she spent the majority of her time researching news articles and current events and then condensing them into short and concise blurbs. She submitted those stories to the show's writers, who then used those as premises for punchlines.

"When one of my ideas would be used in a monologue or a sketch, it was a great feeling," Taber said. "It was so cool to see something that I had worked all day on be solidified and shot out into the world."

And that happened quite often. Taber said she would hear one to three of her premises used on the show daily, but occasionally that number went up to five.

The experiences, opportunities and classes that Taber has enjoyed while at IU all made her a perfect candidate for the internship. Taber is an involved member of The University tWits, a sketch comedy group that writes and performs original material, as well as IU’s Radio and Television Services, where she shoots sporting events and assists with WTIU shows. She also interned as a production assistant on the set of "The Good Catholic" when it was being filmed in Bloomington. However, she said, what really mattered once she got the "Conan" position was her writing background -- a skill she has honed through classes here at IU. 

"Figuring out how to condense a news story into a sentence and how to make it sound good and in the show’s voice is challenging," she said. "But the writing experience I’ve gotten with The University tWits and classes really helped shaped that ability and give me the tools I needed to be successful."

However, the telecommunications major took a nontraditional path to get to where she is now. Taber enrolled at IU as a biology major before discovering her need for a creative outlet. When she took her first biology class, she said, "it just didn’t click anymore." That's when she decided to switch her major to telecommunications, where she specializes in design and production.

"I realized that I’m more of a creative person, and going into a profession where I wouldn’t be able to create something wouldn't make me happy," Taber said.

Now back at IU for her senior year, Taber is armed with a renewed passion to pursue her dream of writing for a comedy TV show after graduation.

"I have a much clearer idea of what I need to do to get there," she said.

Lilah Taber's internship aligns with priorities outlined in the university’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan, including a commitment to student success.

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