Joe Piscopo sounds off on corporations ripping off union members: 'Time to stand strong'

The former ‘Saturday Night Live’ cast member weighs in on the production halt as writers strike for better pay

As several major television shows have halted production amid a nationwide writers' strike, one former "Saturday Night Live" cast member has voiced his support for the union members taking a "strong" stance.

"I don't want to sound like a socialist or anything, but they got to spread the wealth a little bit because we've gone through this year, after year, after year in the Writers Guild, of them taking advantage of us," Joe Piscopo said on "Fox & Friends First" Wednesday morning. "And I see [that] by my little puny residual checks, and it's time to stop and it's time to stand strong."

The Writers’ Guild of America (WGA), which includes East and West chapters, is accusing corporations of creating a "gig economy" that devalues the profession of writing. Union members have joined together in nationwide protests this week outside major studios like Warner Bros. and Paramount.

The last time WGA members protested for higher pay was in 2007. In a statement, the union argued writers were facing an "existential crisis."


"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon," "Late Night" with Seth Meyers – and now "Saturday Night Live" – have all paused production due to the strike.

Writers’ Guild goes on Hollywood strike

Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Joe Piscopo said he's standing "strong" in support of the Writers' Guild of America's nationwide strikes on "Fox & Friends First" Wednesday. (Getty Images)

Piscopo, who is best known for his work on "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s, expressed his support for the WGA.

"I so support the Writers Guild of America, East and West," Piscopo, who’s a WGA member himself, said. "This always happens. And this is what it's about."

"To this day, I get residuals from the Writers Guild, and it's not from the writing, it's from the producers for like a dollar, like $0.69 because of the deals we made in the past," he continued to explain. "And now they're talking about streaming. It's got to stop."

On the other side of negotiations, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the trade association that negotiates on behalf of studios and production companies, said it presented an offer with "generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals."

Ultimately, the two sides have not yet come to a resolution.

"It's the working class people of America versus the big corporate giants," Piscopo said, while also asking frustrated picketers not to target television hosts or actors themselves.

"This was one of my greatest things that ever happened: Johnny [Carson] invited me on the show and I wrote material for myself, which we were allowed to do. And Johnny came into the dressing room, thanking me. So these hosts care very, very much," Piscopo recalled. "It's bigger than that."


The last WGA strike lasted 100 days nearly 15 years ago. Another writers' strike, in 1988, lasted 153 days.

"It's the corporations that are taking over a democratic-run regime in Washington, that is hurting the people. I'm a blue-collar entertainer, I do personal appearances on the radio. I go out all across America," the former SNL cast member said. "And if I do anything in entertainment, you want to be taken care of. It's the corporations against the working man and woman. And it's got to stop, my friend."


FOX Business’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.