Thursday, July 26, 2007

alec guinness is in front of the bed, bath and beyond.

Fame is a thing. David Bowie wrote a whole song about it and everything.

Fame is pretty big here. Lot’s of famous-types. Which means paparazzi. They're all over the place and whatnot. I’ve concluded that “paparazzi” is another word for “cockroaches.” They seem to be the lowest of the low. Even lower than anyone who’d wear a Ray Lewis jersey. But then, maybe not. Either way, it takes a certain deficiency — a certain nothing — to surround someone’s car in the In-N-Out Burger drive-thru just because the guy ordering the Double-Double Animal Style played “Astonished Juror #3” in a movie back in 1997.

But it seems to me that fame is something that I would absolutely abhor. Why would anyone aspire to have total strangers interrupt as they try to polish off the last of the their cobb salad? Although, it wasn’t a very good one. Mostly iceberg lettuce. And the bacon left something to be desired. I think it was fake bacon. Yeah. It was facon. More like Grape Nuts®. Bacon doesn’t get that hard and gravel-like. And that iced tea was pretty tasteless too. I should have gotten an Arnold Palmer. Oooh… and Arnold Palmer. That would really hit the spot right about now…

But I digress yet again.

So then, it seems to go like this: move to Hollywood, audition, get discovered, get hyped, get famous, get a star on the Hollywood walk of fame, situated in front of a retail chain.

In rare instances, the location of one’s star is fitting. Johnny Cash, for example, is across the street from an X-rated movie theater. Jamie Farr is… well… in front of the Bed, Bath & Beyond with Alec Guinness.

Of course, this wasn’t Alec’s goal. He never asked to end up a doormat for people looking to buy a 3-pack of Dust Buster filters, now did he?

Not Obi-Wan Kenobi. No, he seems more like a Borders Bookstore kind of guy.

“These are not the Ayn Rand books you’re looking for…”

Thursday, July 05, 2007

comedy brittle.


There’s been quite a large amount of water under the bridge since I last wrote on this blog. That’s at LEAST a gallon. Which, in L.A. runs about $16.

The reason I’ve been away for so long is that I’ve begun freelancing for an agency in town. And I think it’s the beginning of the magical and breathtaking world advertising — a land where candy canes and lollipops grow wild along the hallways and art directors quiver in their offices in the fetal position, muttering “I'm really a painter… I'm really a painter... “

The agency I’m doing work for isn’t Chiat Day, who, for those of you don’t know, has the Apple account. But they’re paying me. [Oh yes. I’m in it for the art. I’m like Warhol but without the hip, beautiful, destructive crowd of hangers on… Actually? Never mind. I’m exactly like Warhol.] But, as usual, I digress. The agency — a few of the people are quite nice and it’s good to know some of those kinds of people in Los Angeles [where gold-plated three-picture deals line the streets and the waiters move from table to table, muttering, “I’m really an actor… I’m really an actor…”]
But my time at this agency has brought into sharp focus, once again, an observation I’ve brought up time and time again. And that observation is that comedy is brittle. And when somebody fucks up your idea, I feel, it goes from brittle to brutal. This isn’t by any stretch a new notion. In fact, the brilliant John Cleese applied the word “brittle” to comedy about 10 years ago.

The reason I bring this up is because I’ve been experiencing this brittle/brutal thing firsthand lately. See, I labor under the revolutionary notion that the writer understands his humor better than anyone else. Except, maybe, your average Hollywood suit. Those guys are known for bringin’ the funny. They’re right up there with Hermann Goering and Carrot Top. I believe that the writer should be the director. And if he or she can’t be the director, they should be in the director’s ear, making suggestions. Things like, “could you get that guy to say my words less crappily?” [And I think Cleese would find this a fair question.]

The other day I came up with what I thought was a pretty funny ad for McDonald’s. This, in and of itself was a victory. But the end result is one that I’d turn off within 15 seconds.

I’m hoping that my pilot [which I wrote with the alarmingly talented mike exner] or my screenplay [which I wrote with the alarmingly talented mike exner] fares better.

Time will tell.