Why I’m Done With Hollywood
Okay, I know it’s been a while. I’ve been busy, ok? And by “busy” I mean a lazy-ass fuck. But there’s been another reason I’ve blogged infrequently; I don’t want to give away potential gold for free. Truth be told, I’ve had a lot of funny thoughts and started to blog, but then caught myself. “Hey, this is WAY too good to just put out there. Better hang onto this gem.” But I’ve given up on Hollywood, so I no longer have the fear that some of my best stuff will be given away like a coupon for fifty cents off tampons to a dude buying a nail gun.
Why have I given up on Hollywood? I have the same complaint as Adam Carolla, a man whose humor I greatly admire. Let me explain how Hollywood works. You spend anywhere from six months to two years on a script. You do a first draft, a re-write, let a few friends read it and submit notes, then do numerous polishes, until you think it’s ready to pitch. Now it’s time to pitch. You ask, beg, and cajole until a producer (or more likely, a producer’s assistant) agrees to see you. You go into a little conference room and see 2 or 3 guys whose idea of great comedy is Dude, Where’s My Car. They want the next Adam Sandler. The last time Sandler had a good movie was…well, he’s never had a good movie, but he did have a couple that made money…in 1994. You don’t have to kiss the ring, but you’d better be prepared to kiss some major ass. By the way, the people you’re pitching to are in their late 20s, and you can tell they’ve never had an original thought in their collective lives. But they’ve set aside ten minutes of their precious day, and what the fuck, you’re already paying a small fortune to park, so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, Matey.
So you give ’em some funny scenarios and dialogue. Then you stare into 3 stoic faces. It’s almost like, before they walked in, they bet each other that the first one to laugh has to buy lunch, and they all have maxed out credit cards. This is the same material that you’ve thrown out to complete strangers in line at Starbucks and they’ve nearly pissed themselves. But not here! Meanwhile, in the back of your mind, you’re thinking of all the piles of camel shit their company has produced, nearly driving them into bankruptcy. Really? My idea about a grandfather babysitting his grandson, and regaling him with bawdy tales of his youth instead of nursery rhymes, isn’t funnier than Shit My Dad Says? Then, the guys want to ask about things like back-story, B and C arcs, etc. They’ll also ask for a few other episode ideas, just in case one might be funny and original. Meanwhile, According To Jim has an “original” episode where the wife wants to sing with the band. Hmmm, I sort of remember one of those plots, but can’t quite place it. Oh yeah, now I remember. It was I Love Lucy, and it was from 19-goddamn-57! Finally, at the end, they give you a smile phonier than the Rolex you bought in South Central, extend a clammy handshake of thanks, and say, “We’ll get back to you”. And don’t wait next to the phone by the way, because you have a better chance of snapping a photo of the Loch Ness Monster in your swimming pool, than of getting that call. It’s a mindless game of Chase The Carrot, and unfortunately, you’re the burro.
Here’s how it should work: If you’ve had a couple of hits (like Adam Sandler), then you also get a couple of passes. Let them try one of their pet projects, and if it bombs…strike one. For each hit, you get an extra strike. After all, a .500 batting average in Hollywood isn’t that bad. BUT, if you put out turd after turd, then at some point you have to just tell the guy he shot his creative load during the first comedy bukake, and call it a career. Meanwhile, if the people reviewing the endless supply of new shit coming through emails, have never had a funny thought EVER, then they need to stay in the mail room, or go on goddamn coffee runs, because they’re fucking up the system. I know I can’t be the only comedy writer in Hollywood who is getting shot down time after time by flunkies with all the comedic timing of a soap-opera lead, while a quality script sits in the corner aging, not like a fine wine, but more like Aunt Betsy’s holiday fruitcake. If you need further proof, just do a little scroll through the TV or movie listings. Truly hilarious, wait, I’ll lower the bar…mildly amusing shows/films are about as common as a Rhodes Scholar selling fertilizer.
Yes, until Hollywood fixes a massively broken system, I’ll go ahead and share some very funny thoughts here on this little blogsite. But remember, whatever is written here, would be so much funnier if spoken by Zach Galifianakis.