Big Day
NewsRadio episode






Joe Furey
Brad Isaacs
Josh Lieb
Paul Simms


Alan Myerson


Barbara Dorio

Production Code


Original Airdate

April 18, 1995


The Crisis


Luncheon at the Waldorf

"Big Day" is the fifth episode of the first season of NewsRadio.

Synopsis Edit

Dave learns from his staff that tomorrow is the "Big Day." Lisa explains to him that this is when Jimmy gives out the annual bonuses. As an aside, he asks her to not wear his jackets while at his place so that he doesn't smell like her perfume at work and arouse anyone's suspicions. After Jimmy detects the perfume smell and warns Dave about office romances, he admits to being miserable about figuring out the bonuses each year, so he has decided to assign the task to him. According to the usual plan, everyone will get a bonus of $400, except for one person who will get the "Big Bonus" of $3000, and one person who will get a $0 bonus, or "The Shaft." Jimmy believes that his system is a great motivator. Dave will decide who gets the Big Bonus and the Shaft, but the staff will be unaware of who made the decisions when the bonuses are announced.

Bill points out to Dave that other employees have been leaving food on his desk when he's not around. While Dave urges him to try to ignore it, Bill shows him that he only need walk away for a few seconds before more food shows up. This continually happens while Bill is away from his desk.

Matthew talks to Dave about the bonuses, mentioning that in the three years he has been working at WNYX, he has been thrice-shafted. He tries to make a show in front of Jimmy about how busy he is, but later admits to Dave that he always comes in late and leaves early. Bill and Joe tease him by reciting lyrics to the song "Shaft."

Dave tells Jimmy that he's hesitant to give anyone the Shaft, and would rather give everyone an equal bonus, but Jimmy refuses. Bill asks Dave to tell Jimmy that he would need a higher bonus than $3000 this year, as he usually gets the Big Bonus. He erupts when he sees a takeout bag left on his desk, only to realize that he had ordered it himself.

Dave asks Beth for her help in figuring out the bonuses. She points out that Lisa is expecting to get the Big Bonus. He decides to tell Lisa that he is the one who will be deciding the bonuses. She insists that she deserves the Big Bonus, but he is concerned about showing too much favoritism toward her for fear that the others will find out about their romance. After Joe and Matthew each try to indirectly threaten Jimmy through Dave regarding bonuses, he calls a staff meeting to tell everyone that he is the one deciding the bonuses. He takes matters into his own hands and proposes equal bonuses for everyone without Jimmy's knowledge. While Matthew is happy with the idea, several others are against it, except Catherine, who doesn't seem too concerned. Dave decides to reward her with the Big Bonus, while accepting the Shaft for himself to make everyone else feel guilty. Once he leaves, Catherine reveals that it was all on act on her part to plead ignorance.

Jimmy later instructs Dave to give extra bonuses to Joe, Lisa and Beth, while agreeing with the decision to give himself the Shaft. After being nagged by Bill for refusing to deal with the clutter on his desk, Dave angrily sweeps everything on the desk to the floor. Bill drops the matter, while Dave goes to get his coffee, only to turn around and find another food item appearing on the otherwise bare desk in a matter of seconds.


Jimmy (regarding Lisa): "Sweet girl, isn't she?"

Dave: "Uh, yes, yes, she certainly is."

Jimmy: "Uh huh, got a thing for her?"

Dave: "No, of course not."

Jimmy: "Good. Don't dip your pen in company ink, that's whay I always say."

Dave: "I hear you, sir."

Jimmy: "Don't punch the clock with the time card in your pants, you know what I'm saying?"

"I've been working here for three years, and I have been thrice shafted. It does not feel good, my friend."


Bill (in earshot of Matthew): "Say, Joe, who's the black private dick that's a sex machine for all the chicks?"

Joe: "Bill, I think that would be Shaft."

Bill: "And who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about?"

Joe: "Again, Bill, we're talking about Shaft."

Bill: "Damn right."

Joe: "Well, you know, they say that cat Shaft is one bad mutha..."

Matthew: "Shut up, you guys!"

Jimmy: "Hey, what's going on?"

Bill: "We're just talking about Shaft."

Jimmy: "I can dig it."

"I assume you are giving Lisa the Big Bonus, right? I mean, in addition to the one you give her on a semi-nightly basis."

"You're not going to give her the shaft, are you, Dave? I mean, in addition to the one you give her on a semi-nightly basis?"


Credits Edit

Main CastEdit

Dave Foley as Dave Nelson

Stephen Root as Jimmy James

Andy Dick as Matthew Brock

Maura Tierney as Lisa Miller

Vicki Lewis as Beth

Joe Rogan as Joe Garelli

Khandi Alexander as Catherine Duke

Phil Hartman as Bill McNeal

Guest Stars Edit

Albie Selznick as Copy Guy

Joe Wein as Delivery Guy

Trivia Edit


The beginning of the episode takes place on April 18, the same day that the episode originally aired. The "Big Day" is April 19.

Dave has been news director for two months at the time of this episode.

Matthew has been with WNYX for three years at the time of this episode.

Production Edit

This episode is credited to the entire Season 1 writing team.

Bill's news report before Dave enters the booth is not heard in the office, thus allowing the writers to not have to write as much news background chatter.