Saturday, January 08, 2022

Weekend Post

A question I’m always asked is “how do you find a writing partner?”. I met mine in the army but I sure don’t recommend that method. The WGA has come up with a nifty idea. Speed Dating. Just like the social version with the same success rate of getting laid. Every so often the Guild sponsors evenings for writers looking for that perfect scribe mate. I’ve never been to one of course, but I imagine you hear some pretty wacky responses. As a public service, so you don’t make these gaffes, here are few of the responses I would NOT want to hear. (I'm sure you can think of some more yourself.)

Dennis Miller is funny now. He never used to be but he is now.

We can work at my place. I live in Bakersfield.

Hey, hey, don’t touch my Naomi Watts photos! They’re not bothering you.

I can work anywhere any time. In fact, if you’ve got a couch I could crash on, that would be sweet.

If I could go back and work on any classic sitcom from the past, it would have to be 2 BROKE GIRLS.

You would be…let’s see…my eighth partner.

I’m really good at editing. You pitch me ten ideas and I can tell you which is the good one.

It's nothing personal. I don't look anyone in the eye.

Do graphic comics count as books I’ve read?

Look, if you didn’t go to an Ivy school I don’t even know why we’re talking.

Everyone who’s read my script thought it wasn’t funny. That’s why I need a partner.

I do my best work between 2 and 4 A.M.

First things first -- who gets top billing?

Let’s work at my place. That way I can watch my twins. They just started walking!

You don’t remember? You slept with me at the Sundance retreat and never called me back, you shit!

I have a spec JOEY I could show you.

This rubber band? Whenever I start feeling this building smoldering rage my shrink says play with this rubber band. Does it bother you?

There’s a British version of THE OFFICE?

You have beautiful hair. Can I touch it?

Do you have a cigarette?

How long have I fucking been writing? Fuck knows. But I guess it was, fuck, I dunno, some fucking time around the end of last fucking year or some shit.

The only thing is… I don’t drive.

I took Robert McKee’s class twice. So I kind of see myself as an expert on story.

Would you take my hands and join me in a prayer?

Okay, well…if you’re here and I’m here it’s pretty clear our partnership isn’t working. 


Pat Reeder said...

My wife just submitted her Grammy ballot, and after listening along with her to all the Song and Record of the Year nominees, I suggest that the person with the Tourette's-level proclivity for F-words forget about writing for television and become a songwriter instead. Success awaits!

BTW, I actually do my best work between 2 and 6 a.m., which is probably why I had to find a writing partner I could marry.

VincentP said...

Like you, I love writing comedy features. Now who are these "Carole Lombard," "William Powell" and "Ernst Lubitsch" you mentioned? (And shouldn't that be "Ernest"?)

Buttermilk Sky said...

Larry Gelbart? Who's he? (Or Carl Reiner, Nat Hiken, Neil Simon, Diane English, etc.)

Jim Amato said...

-"I used to write for Jimmy Fallon."

-"Pauly Shore made some outstanding movies."

-"They called me the Clown Prince of Cell Block 5."

-"My hope for this script is that it will supplement my income from Amway."

-"I'm writing a sitcom treatment about Charlie Manson. It's called Helter Hilarity!"

-"I'd shake your hand, but my doctor advised me not to come into contact with anyone while I'm still dealing with this fungus I have."

Darwin's Ghost said...

My favorite comedy movie is Mac & Me.

Who's Stanley Kubrick?

My last writing partner made me watch Citizen Kane. I still don't know what Rosebud was.

I refuse to watch Jurassic Park because it says dinosaurs were real when I know dinosaur fossils are a hoax.

What does INT and EXT mean?

After every line of dialogue, I think we should write what the character is thinking.

KB said...

Whoever it is, they better be worth waiting twice as long to get and keep health insurance.

Eric J said...

Hey, you're funny! Every thought about writing for TV?

jcs said...

"I just submitted a pilot script that I specifically wrote for Cybill Shepherd and Roseanne Barr. I'm gonna suggest Ken Levine as director."

Cowboy Surfer said...

it's pretty much the same as writing a book report...

BGVA said...

-"My mom thinks my writing is hilarious."
-"This is the funniest SNL cast of all time!"
-"Dick Van Dyke? Redd Foxx? Mary Tyler Moore? Who watches those dinosaurs? It's 2022!"

Chris said...

Friday question. I've been rewatching Everybody Loves Raymond and I just realized how rare performances like Patti Heaton's have been for many years, at least in network sitcoms, especially multicams, despite an innumerable series of highly neurotic characters in these shows. Even when the writing was good, I don't recall similar performances for many years.

She'd do these theatrical, highly charged, electrifying performances that could've just as well been on Broadway if they'd been written by David Mamet instead of Phil Rosenthal.

Jason Alexander did the same thing with George Constanza on Seinfeld. He also did a lot of theatre before Seinfeld.

I'm wondering if these kinds of very powerful dramatic performances were frowned upon in the multi cam sitcom world. Patti Heaton and Jason Alexander got huge laughs, especially as those characters became established, but might they actually turn off a studio audience early on in the run of a show? (Debra was quieter in the early seasons of Raymond, but George Constanza blew right up in the second season. Just recall The Revenge episode that starts with him ranting like a madman and quitting while calling his perplexed boss a loser, a scene which by the way, Jason Alexander refused to play as written, because he thought it to be cartoonishly over the top until learning it was directly based on Larry David quitting SNL in the 80s after co-creator Dick Ebersol had cut yet another of his sketches). For Patti Heaton references, if readers haven't seen the show, watch

And for Jason Alexander: - mind you, this is the first scene in that episode.

Breadbaker said...

Even when I was collaborating in my prior work as a lawyer, I did do my best work between two and four am. My partners got used to waking up to emails solving the biggest problems and no one ever complained. But different from writing comedy I'm sure.

Don Kemp said...

"I've got a great idea for a reality show."

"I'm hoping to write a Hallmark movie."

"I'm doing my part for the ozone layer. I use deodorant every third day".

"Let's make sure to write a part for the 90 Day Fiancee girl who sells jars of her farts."

"Let's have an entire show be nothing but mimes."

DBenson said...

"I'm naturally creative, so all I need is somebody to fill in the blanks. You know, plot details, characters, dialogue ..."

"My last partner was anal-retentive. It was always, 'Oh, we have a deadline', and 'We have to meet the deadline', and 'Where were you all last month?' ..."

"You'll have to do pitches alone at first. I've got a few minor restraining orders."

"Any moron can write. I bring the personality and salesmanship."

"Let's hit the ground running. First, we'll add my name to your spec scripts ..."

"Our first project will be an inspirational religious drama, based on my own life."

"I just need a gig to tide me over until my plagiarism lawsuits against Paramount, Disney, Warner, Universal and Sony are settled."

"Geez, I guess I'll have to be the brains of this outfit."

Dave W said...

"We have to meet at my place, I can't go more than 150 feet from my mom's apartment."

"We could really make an impression with iambic pentameter."

"Your place isn't within 1000 feet of a school is it?"

"I have some good plot outlines we can use, nobody remembers the Brady Bunch anymore."

Mike Bloodworth said...

No. I do think you're attractive, but I'm looking for a WRITING partner.

I used to be head writer at "Vivid Video."

I don't own a computer, but my typewriter is in good working order.

My last partner had an unfortunate "accident." But the cops accepted my alibi.

Does this script make my butt look big?

Do I have experience?! I know Ken Levine.


Darwin's Ghost said...

"How long have I fucking been writing? Fuck knows. But I guess it was, fuck, I dunno, some fucking time around the end of last fucking year or some shit."

That reminded me of an hilarious sketch on Youtube called "How adults write teenagers on HBO."

Necco said...

God, why did I know this particular blog post would attract unsolicited "comedy" attempts from readers...

Jay Moriarty said...

TRUE STORY: The WGA once hosted an evening titled "How To Find a Writing Partner" hosted by Glen and Les Charles. ("Hey, Mom...")

Darwin's Ghost said...


Maybe you're psychic or there was a subtle hint in the sentence "I'm sure you can think of some more yourself."

mike schlesinger said...

I was once contacted by a producer who needed a rewrite and but fast. He said the script lacked plot and character (correct on both counts) and he'd heard those were my strong points. I spent an entire weekend rewriting and managed to churn out 69 pages by Sunday night. He called me on Monday morning, absolutely furious. "What's all this plot and character you jammed in there?" "You told me that's what you wanted." "I DIDN'T THINK YOU'D TAKE ME LITERALLY!!!" And he hung up. Needless to say, I never heard from him again and of course never got a penny for my weekend's worth of work. I don't think the picture ever got made, which didn't surprise me at all. So when I hear things like "Does the rabbi have to be Jewish?" I don't doubt their veracity in the slightest.

Jahn Ghalt said...

I don't own a computer, but my typewriter is in good working order.

Late in his life Ray Bradbury was asked why he didn't use a word-processor.

I suppose he was a crack typist, but (as one who does 10-15 WPM, more or less) I was amused by his reply, which included the statement that he couldn't believe anyone could not retype a page within a few minutes.

On further reflection I now think, given his other talents and track record, it seems the "good working order" comment would not be such a deal-breaker

Peter said...

Thank you for the Naomi Watts picture.