An open mic, in 140-characters or less

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“Normally, during the day, I tweet out mundane stuff. If I have an idea for a joke, I’ll put it in the show,” Fallon says. “And then after we tape the show, I’ll tweet the joke out, if it’s good, if it’s one of my favorites. I usually tweet out one or two monologue jokes.”

But when it comes to balancing his show and Twitter, the show always comes first, he says.

Or almost always.

“I’m not ashamed of using a joke I had tweeted earlier. I’ll take anything,” he says. “If I wrote the joke, I can say it.”

Unlike O'Brien’s feed, though, Fallon’s isn’t essentially a running list of jokes. He gets deeply involved, responding to fans and interacting with celebrities. Twitter is frequently referenced or used in sketches on “Late Night,” too. One, “Late Night Hashtags,” takes jokes submitted from fans on the site.

Of course, Black, O’Brien and Fallon are well-known comedians, but Twitter has boosted the profiles of those who aren’t familiar to most people.

Brothers Eric and Justin Stangel have long been head writers for CBS’ “Late Show With David Letterman” and last year were made executive producers. Historically, though, behind-the-scene writers haven’t been widely known outside of the industry.

That has changed with Twitter, where Eric has nearly 20,000 followers and Justin some 7,000. For veteran comedy writers such as the Stangels, churning out jokes is second-nature _ and good practice at writing tightly.

“It’s sort of just like working out, like exercise,” Justin says of tweeting. “It’s writing jokes for the hell of it. But if it’s something that we really like, then we save it for the show.”

It’s also given Eric, a big sports fan, a place to unload the kind of commentary that would only be funny to avid ESPN-watchers and would have no place on “Late Show.” When something irresistible _ such as LeBron James’ much-maligned “The Decision” special _ happens on an off-week when the “Late Show” is dark, there can still be parodies, if only for a smaller audience.

Last year, CNBNC even named Eric one of the most influential sports tweeters.

“Sometimes, they’re just fragments of ideas or they’re things we think of when we’re not taping. Or sometimes, they are things that didn’t make the cut because a better joke has made the air,” Eric says. “Usually, what we like to do is put things on Twitter that wouldn’t be on the show.”

Of course, it doesn’t have to be very serious business. As Eric points out, joke-telling alongside people tweeting about eating an apple needn’t be approached with the utmost care.

“Half the time, I don’t even attempt to spell words right on Twitter,” says Justin. “I wrote one with my feet!”

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