Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Our assistant speaks!

In response to my post about how David Isaacs and I work, several people wondered if our assistant, Lana could share her point of view. She graciously obliged. Personally I think she was waaaaay too kind. At one point she calls us “geniuses”. Please substitute “two notches above hack”. She also left out the part where we’d be pitching “hilarious” stuff, I would turn to her say, “Okay, what have we got?” And she’d say, “Nothing!” Or she’d delicately announce, “America’s not laughing, boys.” One of my other favorites was, “How do your wives put up with you guys?”

I also asked Lana to provide a picture of herself. This is what she sent, claiming it was her passport photo.

Lana would sometimes pitch better jokes than ours (which we would then use of course). We decided a way to give her credit was to name a character in an episode of ALMOST PERFECT after her. At the first runthrough one of cast members said, “Can we give her a better name? I mean, Lana Lewis is really a dumb name. Can’t you come up with anything better?” We then introduced him to Lana Lewis, who was standing right next to us. The name stayed in. And we’ve used it in a couple of other places as well. If you’re currently producing a show and need a name, we highly recommend Lana Lewis. Anyway, here’s her all-too-kind report:

"Some bloggers posted that they'd like to hear a few words from Ken and David's Writers Asst. That would be me; and I'd love to.

What I am great at is being able to keep pen to paper while laughing hysterically and then later being able to actually read it. Best of all, I get paid for this! I love working with these guys. Ken and David can not only create full-circle storylines, but also fill them with laughs, big laughs. In my experience I've seen a lot of writers who can write story and others who can pitch jokes; but Ken and David do both exceptionally well. Most entertaining are the pitches that don't make it into the script for one reason or another-issues like character, storyline or just that they were (my words) "too much for the network suits". Despite the Hollywood stereotype of the difficult and monstrous Producer, these comic geniuses can Executive Produce a show that everyone (and I mean everyone) loves to be a part of. They never have trouble crewing up.

What is our typical day? Aren't any really, ...It's kind of like "Seinfeld": not about anything, but stuff just happens. Hey, I think we should do a show about us. We've certainly got enough material. Oh, wait a minute... two male writers and Sally/Lana... that would be "The Dick Van Dyke Show". Yeah, well, ....it worked once...

Lana Lewis

By the way, I keep Ken and David's discarded jokes. They're $10 each or 10 for $75."


Richard Cooper said...

I know you were joking about selling jokes, but I'd gladly pay you tomorrow for an authentically autographed script today! Thanks for blogging!

Hmmm, I would actually even love just one signed page from MASH or Cheers, or whatever I could get. I'd frame it and put it above my computer for inspiration.

"Just look at that," I'd tell my friends, "with the bar set that low, I'm sure to sell a script in no time."

Seriously, your autographed script pages could become as collectible as those animation cells Disney has been hawking for fifty years.

Anonymous said...

Where do I send the check? ;-)

Mary Stella said...

Thanks for blogging, Lana!

Anonymous said...

Met one of 'em, Lana.
My heart goes out to you.

Anonymous said...

Boooooooo. Where's the dirt? I realize they sign your paycheck, but not one harsh remark? That's it, in protest I will not name any of my characters "Lana Lewis" until Lana gives me at least one slightly critical word towards the writing pair. I am quite firm on this.

Anonymous said...

Well, that told me absolutely nothing.

Brian Scully said...

Hi Lana,

Hey, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed reading your entry on Ken's blog... you proved something that I have felt for most of my career, and that is that writer's assistants are often as funny as the writer's they work for. Anyway, you made me laugh... thanks for that.

Daddy Background said...

Hi there.

You asked, so:

I found your blog through Maureen Ryan's site. I can't remember how I found her site. It doesn't matter, I suppose. In the end, we're all connected to Kevin Bacon.

I'm enjoying you're site a lot. I'm pretty sure that the High School Musical post would have been even more hilarious if I'd ever seen the show. Out here in crazy-person-watching land, it's all about the naked pictures anyway. Post more of them, I say.

Speaking of which.

I must confess following your recent post that I am a new fan of the guilty pleasure that is Californication. The nudity is wonderful and - added bonus - it's funny as well. As to the other show whose name I can't recall so well, I gave it half a chance (watched half a show) and found it lacked the charm of the other and deleted it from my DVR series list. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Now I can proclaim with my honour intact that it's not all just about the tits.

By Ken Levine said...

Lana offers this comment:

Sorry, Alan. There just isn't any dirt. ...But there will be a book once the confidentiality agreement expires.

Lana Lewis

Anonymous said...

Oh come on Lana, nothing? Ken doesn't chew his pencils or wear loud ties? David doesn't call you Lana Lang and laugh uproariously like it's the first time anyone's ever thought of it?

Seriously? Nothing?

Anonymous said...

Lana, Alan, Alan, Lana
Will you guys please get together on this. You're anagrams for God's sake!

(Sorry. While I was in utero, Mother was frightened by Dick Cavett.)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I'm skeptical. Having been in many a writer's room I don't remember any geniuses and I don't remember laughing hysterically. I do remember that the rooms were full of egos (among other things).

Anonymous said...

Yep, I gotta agree with Anonymous. Being in the writer's room as an assistant is tedious at best. At other times it's like being stuck in the house on a rainy day with a bunch of nine year olds. Come on, Lana, tell the truth.

Anonymous II (in case I ever need a job and Lana's not available)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - what shows?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, right. So you can figure out what writers I'm talking about? I don't think so.