Friday means two things now. FQ’s and another weekend of my play, GOING GOING GONE at the Hudson Theatre. Come see it. The laughs are on me.
Cat starts us off:
Ken, I've been able to spot Warren Littlefield sitting at the bar in the final season of Cheers, but I haven't been able to spot you!
I’m in the last Bar Wars episode sitting at the bar hitting on one of the other CHEERS writers.
While watching an episode of Johnny Carson on Antenna TV, Woody Harrelson was on and talking about a couple of plays he was in and had written. Pretty funny actually, he plastered a playbill on the front of Johnny's desk, had a T-shirt on with the name of the plays on it and had the plays spelled out in tape on the bottom of his shoes which showed when he crossed his legs. So......Did you ever see the play he wrote?
Did you ever discuss playwriting with him or did he come to you for advice or did you ask him for advice?
Did that give you the inspiration to write your plays or was it something in the back of your mind that you were thinking about doing anyways one day? Or was this just "The world be damned, I'm doing this on my own!" moment?
He never discussed writing with any of us. He was very respectful of the writing of CHEERS (as were all the actors, God love 'em).
I got into playwrighting because I’ve always loved the theatre, and enjoyed all those years of writing multi-camera shows where I got the benefit of hearing live audiences react. As a comedy writer, the ultimate high for me is hearing people laugh. So playwrighting was a natural.
Also, no network notes.
From John Fox:
The original Leave It to Beaver series broke a lot of new ground for sitcoms - first to have a finale, prioritizing story over simply going for the laugh - things that were later evident in M*A*S*H, among others. Did that have anything to do with your choice of Beaver Cleaver as your "boss jock" stage name?
I was looking for a name that would instantly stand out and be remembered.
Also, I was able to use the name to do shameless double entendres – none of which I’m proud of today.
Thomas Mossman queries:
In mentioning your love of A Confederacy of Dunces, it brought to my mind the multiple efforts to bring the book to the big screen. Why do you suppose no ones been able to do it, Steven Soderburgh's suggestion of "bad mojo" aside?
My partner, David Isaacs and I even tried to get the rights ourselves to try adapting the book. We were unsuccessful. You talk about red tape – yikes. But ultimately I think we dodged a bullet.
The text is so voluminous and so much of the humor is the lead’s character’s inner thoughts and how they conflict with the reality he’s encountering. Just to dramatize the story doesn’t do the book justice.
There have been numerous attempts. I think I’ve read no less than five CONFEDERACY screenplays (including the one Soderburgh oversaw). All felt flat and empty.
Another major problem is finding an actor who can play the lead, Ignatius J. Reilly. It’s not easy to play fat and disgusting and still lovable and sympathetic. Our original idea was John Belushi (which tells you how long ago it was when we were interested in the project).
Recently, there was a stage play adaptation starring Nick Offerman from PARKS & REC that played in Boston. The reviews were positive to mixed. But I would sure be curious to see it. And if they pull it off I tip my hunter’s hat with two earflaps.
What’s your Friday Question?