Monday, August 31, 2009

Mommie Dearest

Have you ever had an argument with a loved one and started to cry? And then the other person asks you what's wrong and you superglue your lips shut and grunt like the other person is the stupidest person on the planet because any psychic can FIGURE OUT WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU. The male version of this scenario is you ask him what's wrong and he goes outside and mows the lawn. Even though you live in a New York high-rise surrounded by concrete. So he has to mow the balcony. Another thing you don't have.

Which brings me to my Mother's meltdown.

Due to her macular degeneration, she's convinced she's going to go blind in the next 15 minutes. And in her own passive-aggressive way, she found a way to stick the guilt stake right through our hearts.

"But I LOVE to rrrrread."

"How will I get arrrround?"

''My friends cannot believe I have 2 daughters who neverrrr come to visit me."

In 2001, when my dad died in Florida, it took me 3 years to settle his estate, sell 2 apartments, write twenty zillion letters and notarize everything but my ass. The money we spent on lawyers alone was outrageous. It was the only time I wished my dad had been poor. I told my mother that I was not going to fly 6,000 miles to Paris and that she needed to move here.

She did not.

So the other night at Lindy's she started to cry. And wouldn't stop. Or talk when Lindy asked her if she wanted to tell her what's wrong. Crying is a manipulative game and is about the worst thing you can do to yourself. You never get out of your system what is bothering you. I don't play this game. I did it in my dating years and it NEVER worked. Men just shrug and walk away.

For those of you have lost your mothers at an early age and think that I'm being mean or selfish, let me fill you in on the aging parent syndrome. Angry, bitter, nasty liars. My mother told me she never went ANYWHERE while she was at Lindy's. I chose to out my mother to my sister and while Lindy rolled out about 200 things they had done and how hurt she was that mom would say that, my mother turned to me and said "YOU HAVE A BIG MOUTH." I think we'd all agree that is true.

I know so many sons and daughters who have gone through this nightmare with their aging parents. Oh and P.S., they will NEVER move to assisted living, even though Mom isn't there yet. I'm sure some of your older parents are lovely but eventually they'll do a quid pro quo on you because they gave birth to you and were in labor for 3 months. They will fight you to move out of their own domicile.

Mom threatened to sell off all her assets and hire someone to live with her. I told her that sounded like a good idea. I spent half my life in France and I choose not to do it again. If she dies in Paris we'd have to hire French Notaires, American lawyers, sell her considerable amount of antiques, a garage, a maid's room and her 2 bedroom apartment. Did I mention she has a sister who lives 5 minutes away?

Did I mention Paris is 6,000 miles away from Los Angeles?

What would you do?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's Everybody Can Bite Me Friday!

Mom would not watch Entertainment Tonight because Mary Hart's mouth is too big.

France was just named the country with the best health care system in a worldwide poll. They announced it on CBS' Sunday Morning. I made the mistake of telling Mom that Americans have somehow confused the French system with Socialism.

"Why eez your country so stupeed?"

Michael Jackson death's a homicide? Suicide is more like it. Having been in rehab and talked to a million addicts, there is one thing we all have in common. There comes a time when you hit rock bottom and can't control yourself and wish you were dead. I didn't know that until I went into rehab but it's surprising to hear people talk about death as if it were a night at the movies. I had those feelings right before I went into rehab and yet would never have taken my own life. You get tired, overwhelmed, more depressed than you can ever imagine and the thought just floats in. "Easier to be dead." If you ever hear someone who overindulges in narcotics or alcohol and talks about death, take them to rehab. Seriously.

I've been saying for months how retarded Facebook is. It's amazing to me that people get on there instead of trying to do something with their lives. THESE OTHERWISE LITERATE PEOPLE SPEND HOURS PLAYING BEJEWELED. You know how your husband watches or plays sports so he can ignore you and the family for a few hundred hours? Congratulations, you're now your husband.

"Tax collectors still aren't allowed to add people as friends under false pretenses, but this is bad news for anyone who doesn't pay taxes and then brags about how much they make and lists a hometown on their Facebook and MySpace profiles without setting the accounts as private."

"Why eez your country so stupeed?"
"Can't talk now Mom; I have a Bejeweled addict on my hands and I'm wondering whether I should let them die or take them to Betty Ford."
"Betty Forrrrrd is verrry farrr from yourrrr house."
"That's why I'm thinking about it."

End of chat.

I Do Not Have Bonnie Hunt's Mother

I'm still processing the 3 months of mom being in town trying to kill me and my sister with her death ray. It might be tomorrow that I talk about it, or over the weekend or Monday or WHEN THE XANAX IS GONE.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Did I Show You This Already?

After over 600 posts, and I use labels so I can find them again, I still don't think I ever posted this picture. You can check the label at the bottom if you want to prove me wrong. And I think I speak for everyone when I say "Who doesn't want to do that?" I was sent home from the hospital last year in this jumpsuit. It was made of paper that was hefty baggish enough to look like clothes. From a dumpster.

For my next doctor's appointment I took the belt of my black robe and tied it around my outfit in an effort to look like a black belt who could kick ass. With one foot.

The doctor asked me what I was wearing. I replied that it was what I got at the hospital and was sturdy enough to go up and down stairs on my butt since I had no elevator.

"How long are you going to wear that?"
"I don't know, why?"
"Because it's just to wear home, most people change into real clothes later."
"How long have you been wearing it?"
"Ten days."

Everyone in the room laughed and the doctor insisted on taking a picture of me wearing my paper confection. Needless to say, I covered my face.

Suzy went to the hospital and paid $15,000 dollars and all she got was this lousy paper jumpsuit and an arch in ONE foot.

End of chat.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ballgame. Stick A Fork In My Eye. Buy Me Some Peanuts And Crack Cocaine. Then I'll Really Be Glad That I Came.

From our seats behind home plate. The Dodgers lost 3-1 to the Cubs. Two Cubs fans were right behind us and screamed every time their team so much as scratched their balls. So you can imagine the noise level. Below is Dodger Manny Ramirez at bat and not having a great game since he's now off steroids because the genius got caught using them.

Look at the pitcher's body. I'd like to ask his wife if he's good in bed because if he's not there's no excuse since he can go down that far.

Mom pretending to watch and understand the game. I explained it 47 times and each time she would nod as if she understood and then I'd ask her if she was following and she'd say "Not really." She finally said she thought football was easier to understand. I gave up at that point because I KNOW SHE WAS LYING.

My father and every man I've seriously dated spent hours of their life glued to a football game. Instead of doing something interesting, like washing the dishes or doing laundry.
While the Kiss Cam went around the stadium, it landed on one of the Dodgers, who did not kiss the woman he was with.


The Kiss Cam eventually made its way back to them and he got down on one knee. You can see the She Said Yes sign behind #58.
Yoshi in Dodger Blue and not happy about it since he's a Yankees fan like me.
End of chat.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Picture Tour Of My Hollywood

I haven't been able to walk around my neighborhood for 3 or 4 years because of my two surgeries. Now I can and I was either looking up or looking down and amazed I didn't fall into a manhole or get hit by a car.
If someone robbed this bank they'd have a built-in getaway car.
I tried to take a picture of the guy who shines all the stars. He has one leg and never used to get paid. Now he does. He shines them all by hand. I stopped and asked if I could take his picture and he said "What's in it for me?" I said,"I'll put you on my blog." He said he didn't want anything on the internet because of all the 'trouble' that could cause down the line. I asked him if he had a computer.
"No," he replied. Next time I'm not asking.
I have two unsold screenplays but I DON'T NEED TO BE REMINDED OF IT by of all things, A FUCKING BANK.

End of first walk in a very long time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's Everybody Can Bite Me Friday!

I don't believe I'll ever run out of things to bitch about. And yet when I'm in a relationship I'm not a nag. How is that possible?

On Wednesday, the day I went to Santa Monica, Mom and I ate lunch at Babalu's, a small restaurant on Montana. I was staring out the window and saw Sean Penn and a gorgeous girl on the other side of the street. They were coming straight at us.

No paparazzi.

He's an Oscar winner, his wife JUST filed, for the third time, divorce papers and no paparazzi? As they walked, the girl stopped on the sidewalk right beside us. She was tall and thin, beautifully dressed, 25 years old, tops. She stopped and turned so that I could see her and she could see me which meant that Sean's back was to me. I kept staring and wondering why she made him stop there. And then it dawned on me she probably wanted someone to take her picture because how else was she going to become a big star? I would have taken one. Maybe even sent it to Perez or TMZ. But Sean is the American Russell Crowe. What if he stormed into the restaurant, smashed my camera, swung and missed and killed my mother?

How do I live without my camera?

Martha Jane has worked with him so I expect her to leave a comment and fill us in on whether he would have hurt me.

Lindy got a pair of Dodger tickets from a client but she can't go so I'm going with my mother, who doesn't understand how the game is played. I switched to a sports channel and started to explain it.

"The team plays until they get 3 outs."
"What duz zat mean?"
"Everrrry time that happens you give me money."
"Why do zey say zat ball is foul?"
"Because it smells and that's why he hit it over the line."
"Why did he say zerrre retirrrring ze side? Zey can quit working anytime zey want?"

We have seats behind home plate. I will not be trying to catch any balls as I have two of my own.

Management of our building has stepped in and threatened legal action against the 4 asshole women who let their dogs bark, two of whom have lived here less than 2 months. Apparently they think they're in the right and the rest of the tenants are wrong. Because we're so unreasonable as to require peace and quiet. They've stopped talking to us. Very mature. Meanwhile it's been so quiet I thought I'd gone deaf.

My blog is now on Kindle. Go review me. AND I only cost 99 cents a month. That sounds about right.

End of chat.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Going Down To Santa Monica For More Of This

Look at my mother's face. She had just completed a 24 hour meltdown at Lindy's. Underneath her sunglasses my sister is rolling her eyes at me. Plus she's wearing that size 2 slash 6 dress that is 26 years old and fit her like a glove.

My mother refused to eat or talk, preferring instead to stare balefully at the camera while keeping a death grip on Yoshi's leash. He is underneath the table saying 10 Hail Mary's and 10 Our Father's.
My sister has her Madonna arms out on display. She does that to torture me. It always works, especially when the fat on my upper underarm swings back and forth and hits her in the face.

They got back to Santa Monica and my mother went straight into the kitchen, saying she was starved. They both went to bed with their sunglasses on.

End of chat.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lassie, The Perfect Dog Stamp

June Lockhart was present for the unveiling of the Lassie stamp. June asked why she wasn't asked to be on the stamp and was told that she hadn't been dead for 10 years.

I'm not going to touch that sentence.

June Lockhart is a client of my sister's. They have become good friends over the years and we now consider her family. Whenever June is walking on her Street in Santa Monica, pedestrians and people in cars always give her a shout out, even when she's disguised in a scarf and sunglasses. I have the same problem only usually I'm jaywalking at the time.

June and her family are part of Hollywood's lore. They have three stars on the Walk of Fame. She has starred in two of America's most iconic TV shows.

One day Lindy said June and her friend Paul were going to see The Phantom of the Opera and we were invited. When June picked us up I tried not to be as inappropriate as I usually am around famous people. (Click on the label below to read the rest of the gaffes I've made)

I was bound to screw this up. At one point June leaned over the front seat and said something to me. I have no idea what it was but I do remember what I replied: "Semper Fi." Let me save you the trouble. What the fuck?

We drove for a while as June and Paul chatted up front. I leaned into my sister in the back and mumbled, "Can you believe we're in the car with Lassie's mom?"

"You do know Lassie had a canine mom, right?"
"Of course I know that; stop trying to ruin it for me. Should I ask her where Lassie is now?"
"I'm guessing she's going to say DEAD."

I continued to stare at the back of June's head, lost in my reverie of LASSIE'S MOM and thinking up things I could do to my sister, like sleep with her boyfriend.

Lassie's mom was the sweetest, kindest mom. I don't think she ever punished Timmy, never said a bad word about anyone and never raised her voice in anger.

My mother: Go do your homework.

Lassie's Mom: Timmy lay down and take a nap while I do your homework.

My mother: Do your chores.

Lassie's Mom: You spent all day in school; I'll do your chores.

Me to my mother: Why can't we have a dog? A Lassie dog.

My mother: Because your father and I hate you.

Lassie's mom: Timmy, come here, we got a dog that can find you in a well if you fall in.

My mother: If we get you Lassie you'll just fall in a well and drown before she can save you.

Suddenly June slammed on her brakes. I was brought out of my reverie because we'd hit a construction area and couldn't move. June turned right and then left but we were not making any progress. We went up and down the same streets many times, but we couldn't get to the theater. Then June turned one corner and came smack up against an even bigger construction blockage.

"FUCK!" she yelled.

Now that's a perfect mother.

End of dog chat.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Count Down To Blast Off

I haven't been reading blogs or commenting that much. There are many things going on right now, some of them unpleasant. This morning at 7:20 a.m. our side of the building was blasted out of a sound sleep by dogs shrieking in our building. This has been going on for months. The emotional stress makes it hard to concentrate and write. What should take me two hours takes me a hundred and twenty. I have finally reached Def-Con 1 with the assholes doing this. ALSO.

There is a baby upstairs. I was worried he would cry all day and ruin my life. His cries are barely audible over the cacophony of 8 dogs in 6 apartments in a 21 unit building with 4 vacancies. In a building with a courtyard that echoes. The owners of these Cujos have made our lives miserable and we're in the middle of trying to restore sanity via the long arm of the law. ALSO.

Only 2 and a half more weeks until my mother goes back to France. She has been living with my sister in a 850 square foot apartment for 3 months.

My sister has lost the will to live.

My mother has not been doing much better. Both of them are trying to kill me with a disease called Talking Behind The Other One's Back. Which I engage in for fear of being left out of the loop.

I lived in NY, Lindy lived in LA, Dad lived in Florida and Mom lived in Paris. You will not find 4 more independent people anywhere, except in Heaven, where my father is. We were all so afraid of missing out on the various wonders of the world that we, among us, have been around the world twice. We would miss out on holidays if we had an opportunity to travel. We never thought Christmas or Thanksgiving was important because we never believed in obligatory get-togethers manufactured by malls and TV commercials. We don't own any Totes.

If we saw something another would like, we would buy it and give it to them whatever time of year it was. That's how my mother ended up with some rather unfortunate silk pillows with elephants on them that I bought in Hong Kong, gave to my sister in LA, who three years later gave them to my mother in Paris who waited 7 years and gave them back to me in New York. ALSO.

I won a contest chez Kyddryn and received this matted and framed photo she took. I can't do it justice with my little camera but the colors match my living room, which I thought was amazing luck. ALSO.

I am part Russian, from Ukraine. Watch this youtube from Ukraine's Got Talent!

The girl is uber beautiful and what she does is amazing. Ukraine's Got Talent Yo! I'd laugh at that but my entire family in Russia (except for my grandfather) died in the Gulags so laughing is kinda out. ALSO.

All these 2009 deaths continue unabated. WHAT THE FUCK?

ALSO. End of chat.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Was Playing A Part Named After French Cheese

Due to my skills as an OCD practitioner, I have every piece of detritus from my career. Many years ago I was flipping through some of my scrapbooks and found this one-sheet. I read down the list and was amazed to find Dan Lauria's name on it. He played the father on The Wonder Years. This was a play reading we did and he played Carmine and I played Brie. Shut up. So when I saw him walk out of our Starbucks and past the table I was sharing with my mother and sister, I called Dan's name. He turned around and I reminded him of our brief encounters in NYC. He asked me what we had done together but I couldn't remember the name of the play. I had my OCD button in the OFF position.

I persuaded him to take a picture with me and my sister thought she took 6 or 7 pictures and it turns out she took 27. I looked shitty in every one. Which I discovered when I got home and uploaded them. HD is not kind to me and I know it. I truly do need hair and makeup to go downstairs and get my mail. Obviously all those Vicodin post-surgery made me think I was a natural beauty.

Dan had convinced my sister to stand where she did because the light was in back of us. My sister said she thought that was wrong and he INSISTED it was right. So he looks great and I have shadows on my neck that make me look like I have a Van Dyke where my neck should be. THANKS DAN. Dan and I commiserated about the business and how awful things were at NBC and how Hollywood is so fucked up they're making reality shows that can't even be syndicated and what was up with that shit? He sounded really depressed. I went home and IMDb'd him and in 2009 he has done 7 television shows and 5 movies. Then I got depressed.

Before we went to Starbucks I left a bunch of dresses hung up on the outside cabinet knobs in my bedroom. My sister saw one and said, "I remember that dress; you got it in NY." I asked her if she wanted to try it on since I was now a size 8. It was a size 6 and my sister is a size 2. I knew it would drop to her ankles like 10 pound weights. I loved that dress and didn't want to give it away.

She put it on and it fit like a glove. The dress is 26 years old. What used to be a size 6 is now a size 2. A sample size is a 2. (all the freebies the slebs get to wear at award shows) I guess 6 sounds too fat for Hollywood. I gave her the dress. I'm not going back to Twoville anytime soon.

Later that night on the phone, my mother mentions to me that perhaps I should start wearing makeup again. And combing my hair when I get out of the shower. Notice in the picture there is a nice clump of hair stuck in the middle of my bangs?

But the kicker was the email I got from my sister the next day, after I sent her the pic of me and Dan that was the least hideous looking. You don't look bad at all. Mom thought you looked great but mom has had a few glasses of wine.

End of chat.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

L.A. Sign Of The Times #44

This is the parking lot where I found that can of soup. 3 out of the 4 signs are hand-painted. Which one isn't?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Is that a movie yet? Because it is for this post.

Those Chinese douchebag spammers send the SAME 15 SPAM TO THE SAME 15 POSTS every day. Because they're geniuses. They do take the weekend off.

I had to put the comment verification back. I hope the company that does this DIED IN THE TYPHOON.

And yes I know that's mean BUT I DON'T GIVE A SHIT.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Julie & Julia

I was going to review this movie but Women in Hollywood did a good job and I'll just link it for you. I also agreed with the comments that I wish the movie had been UNIQUELY about Julia Child. I love Amy Adams but feel she was woefully miscast. To act that wimpy across a strong figure like Julia Child is going to make a lopsided film. We needed to see someone who had a little, a LITTLE, breath of life. I kept waiting for Meryl to come back on screen. I would have liked more Stanley Tucci and the brilliant Jane Lynch too. But do people call me and ask my opinion?

And FINALLY Americans will learn how to say Bon Appetit correctly. It's not 'appeteete.' The final T is not pronounced. It's pronounced Bon Appetee. And Paris looks, as usual. GORGEOUS. God, Los Angeles is a hole.

Eat a big meal before you go. Really. Not after. Before. Trust me on this.

Grade: B

Friday, August 07, 2009

It's Everybody Has The Answers Friday!

At first I was going to put people's names with their questions but I cut and pasted so much that at one point I had Al Gore asking Lisa Ling who she was. They don't read me anymore, do they?

I had to spell check these questions because some of you must bowl while you type. A reader asked me today why would she spellcheck her posts and I'm going to ASSUME that was a joke. The truth is that spellcheck and grammar check can help you with your timing. A well placed comma can give a rhythm to your sentences. So here we go, the answers from Mount Soro. Which is an entirely different post.

1. But what if you aren't funny and you aren't humorous, and you are just re-counting what happens? I'm not funny, but stupid stuff happens to me. A lot. How should that person approach the writing?

Just write the stupid stuff down. You're probably funnier than you realize. Sometimes I write stuff and think, NO ONE IS GOING TO GET THIS. And then one person from the Philippines writes and says hahahahahahaha. They may be insane though.

2. Thank you for your tips. I do have a question though; what if you don't know if you're a humor writer? What if you don't know what kind of writer you are? I mean I don't exactly fall into "Mommy Blogger" and I am definitely not a technical blogger

I don't think you need a title to write and you don't have to be in a category. When people ask me what I do I don't say, "Listen Trevor, I'm a humor writer, now fix your bowtie." Instead I tell the truth, which is that I don't do much of anything.

3. That post made me think...I don't put enough thought into my posts! No way am I ever standing out from 22 million! Yikes. Thank God that wasn't the goal.

People should only be writing for themselves. It was 22 million last year. Now that no one has a job, it's probably more like 40 million. You're welcome.

4. Everyone has a different opinion of what is funny.

Yes, everyone does. It's incredibly subjective. Being a comedian takes a lot of fun out of the game for me because only other comedians make me really, really laugh. And my sister Lindy along with my mother, Crabby Appleton The Dream Crusher. Otherwise I can see a joke coming from around the corner. Most of my readers make me laugh or cry, and they don't even do it on purpose.

5. For heaven's sake, tell people not to explain their jokes while they're telling them. And leading off with "This is the funniest thing ever" is a bad idea. Why are Jews funny? Should knock-knock jokes be abolished?

Whenever I'm introduced by another comic and they say, She's the funniest etc. etc., I can count on sucking for the first 5 minutes. I love when little kids do knock-knock jokes. I know some unfunny Jews; they're called Catholics.

6. So... the question I've been dying to ask...Is it all okay if I just write to write and continue not to care if people find it funny or humorous, as long as I don't make them want to put a screwdriver in their ear? Blogging is more like group therapy to me - and believe me, I NEED THERAPY. If I get too worried about the reader, I'm afraid I'll suffer from performance anxiety. Do they have a pill for that?

Well men do. One thing I learned from over 20 years of standup is that not everyone is going to like you. Some might even hate you and some lesbians in South Carolina might even come to all your shows every time you're in town. But you can't care about it. I DO care about it but it's impossible to please everybody unless you own a whorehouse and a shoe store.

7. I always thought a blog post title had to have a hook. You know, to reel 'em in. When people see the title in their reader, they say to themselves, "I'm checkin' that out." A hook so good that as people scroll through their reader they see and say to themselves "I'm reading this one first, or I'm saving this, this best for last."

I actually care more about the blogger than the title of their post. I know some people agonize over their titles. I don't, and it's probably obvious. Except for that whole Movie Title Post Experiment which even the guy in the Philippines didn't get. IT'S COMING BACK SO THERE.

8. Of course everyone thinks they are funny (have you ever met anyone who said "I HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOUR") It's a funny old world, although in 99% of blogs, you wouldn't know that.

I'm going to start saying that to people while I stand in line somewhere, "Excuse me sir, I have no sense of humor. Just wanted you to know. Thanks for listening."

9. I'm still trying to deconstruct my persona. I keep getting stuck on the fact that when I started blogging, I was called DCup and most of my readers were horny men. They've had a wee bit of trouble with me changing my focus a bit to encompass attempts at being funny? humorous?

Just write for yourself. If they don't like it, they can go read CCup's blog. Another way to look at a deconstructed self is the things you'd only tell to your bff is the stuff that is usually the deconstructed you. And it is sometimes sad and sometimes funny but it's always real. If you're brave enough to write that way, you get more readers.

10. I just put my blog through the rating test and it came back "G."Should I go through it and add some fucks and cunts? A "G" How fucking embarrassing!

Nothing to be embarrassed about. G might stand for Gross. Feel better?

11. Whatever the heck my blog is, #10 is the toughest. I think it's a confidence thing. Same with my novels. That is perfect advice for a successful novelist. Maybe it's a focus thing. What were we talking about?

Man are you asking the wrong person.

12. I totally noticed that you changed your post titles to the names of movies. Not really. Is there not a lie check on this thing?

No there isn't but thanks for pointing that out. As the inventor of lying I should have thought of that.

So thanks for sticking with me to the end of this. I was wondering if I helped ANYBODY when this just came in:

This Bug has left a new comment on your post "How To Write A Funny Blog Part 4":

I'm through with asterisks.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. I'm so proud. Thanks Bug!

And then I got this from someone who lost their job so you know she's in a good mood:

Will you come wr*te my B**g pl**se?

I was thisssssssssssssssssssssssssclose.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

How To Write A Funny Blog Part 4 TRICKS

Well here's a big surprise. I don't HAVE a 5 part series. I have 4. So tomorrow I'm answering all the questions you asked plus any you leave for me today.

1. Remember back in 1806, when I said to put the funniest word at the end of a sentence? The same goes for the entire post, put the funniest part last, that's what people remember most.

One of women's greatest gifts is to gab. We come in, excitedly jumping on the couch to tell the ENTIRE story in its most MINUTE configuration and we drive men crazy. They want the bottom line. Did you or did you not have a heart attack? We then make them wade through our story with us, inch by excruciating muddy inch. Best thing to do? Give him the bottom line first, then tell the story while he nods off to his favorite music, the NFL.

What I'm trying to say is don't aggravate your readers.

2. Which brings me to another tip. Start your post with a bang. like I thought I had a heart attack.

It gives us all a hint of what might be coming and we're hooked by the possibility. Don't give your post that name. Call it The Light at the End of the Tunnel. It infers but does not state.

3. Asterisks in swear words KILL me. Like b*tch. The asterisk doesn't make us think you meant botch or batch. You're a writer and those words make you a lazy one and don't make anything funny unless you're 10 years old. Come up with a word all your own that means bitch but is funnier. I read in the NY Times a few months ago that saying the N Word instead of the real word only reinforces that word in a negative way because we still say it in our heads. Same with b*tch or f*ck. If you don't want to swear, then drop the asterisk and the word. You're taking us out of the story (timing) and probably not in an amusing way. Seriously, swear or go home with a baggie full of vowels. There's nothing less interesting than a coward.

And if you think hoot! whoot! epic fail or beyotch is funny, I'm going to pray for you tonight.

4. The Rule of 3's is pretty basic comedy 101. Never make a list, except bullet ones, of more than three. And the third one is always the (alleged) funniest:

I was so starved I ate a hot dog, a hamburger and the food cart.

5. A tag is also standard in standup, less so in writing. But they're brilliant when you can pull them off. Got it b*tches?

That last word was a tag, recalling something said earlier. Readers will think you're a genius. At least I keep telling myself that.

6. The K sound, also Comedy 101. Words with the hard K sound will always get a laugh. It's why you hear Fuck so much in standup. Dick is another one. Ask a comic what kind of jokes he prefers and he'll always say, "A good dick joke," unless he's an Evangelical and then. No.

7. Many bloggers spread themselves too thin. Unless you're a political writer, DO NOT write about it if you're calling yourself a humor writer. If you don't believe me, stick your own blog into Google reader, click on SHOW DETAILS and you'll see how many readers you have. You can also do this to everyone else's blog. We get enough news on the Internet and TV, we don't want to hear your take on things that you may talk about once every two weeks. If you're a humor writer, you'd sure as hell better make it funny.

8. Funny published authors use very few adjectives and adverbs unless absolutely necessary. When they do, it's in a sarcastic or blatantly humorous way like this from: Dave Barry Turns 40:

"And let's talk about airline pilots. I have long felt that if I'm going to risk my life and valuable carry-on belongings in a profoundly heavy machine going absurdly fast way the hell up in the air over places like Arkansas, where I don't even know anybody, then I want whoever is operating this machine to be much older and more mature than me. But now I routinely get on planes where the entire flight crew looks like its raising money for its Class Trip...I want the crew to leave the cockpit door open so I can make sure they're not using the navigational computer to play Death Blasters from Planet Doom."

9. Spellcheck spellcheck spellcheck.

10. Find one thing you have or do that no other blogger has or does. Something people will be surprised at, wait for, hope you do again. For example, I changed all my post titles to the names of movies. I obviously thought I was a genius.

No one noticed.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How To Write A Funny Blog Part 3 TIMING

Your persona goes hand in hand with timing, another difficult thing to explain. More than being born funny, you are definitely born with timing. It involves word pacing and most importantly, 'beats,' or pauses. But can you write a 'beat' on the page?

A perfect example of timing comes from comedian Margaret Smith who arguably has some of the best timing in the business. One of her jokes:

A guy walked up to me in a bar and says "Can I buy you a drink?"
I said, "No, but I'll take the 7 bucks."

Now how do you put that on the page?

A guy walked up to me in a bar and says "Can I buy you a drink?"
I said, "No. But I'll take the 7 bucks."

That period is the timing. Why not the comma? We stop at a period, we read past a comma. It's a speech pattern that came with the instruction booklet they gave your parents when you were born. The good news is that it's easier to write timing into something than speak it. That's probably why there aren't that many standup comics in the world as opposed to authors.

My timing is in fragments. I think in fragments, perform in fragments and write in fragments. I start a sentence but then I stop it, sometimes in mid air. I often separate with a paragraph to approximate the beat. Sometimes it's my: (lie), Rude. or Fool. Those are some of my beats because you, the reader, have to pause out of the sentence to read that one word. It's easier for me to do this on stage because I don't have to think about it.

I write each of my posts at least three times and often up to six to try and capture what my brain is thinking. Because I hear it in my head perfectly, I take the time to replicate it on the page. Sometimes I fail and then go back and rewrite up to three months later. Demented. I know. Early readers of mine, now dead, were shocked when I admitted this. I know when it sounds perfect to me and I'm the only one I have to impress since George Clooney has a new girlfriend. Asshole.

Granted, a lot of this information comes from over 20 years of being a comedian and actor. And knowing I'm funny. Confidence goes a long way in comedy and writing. A very, very long way. If you don't think you're funny, you're probably not. And that's okay. I can give you tips to help you be humorishier or funnierishier. Or can at least give you the phone number of my shrink.

Honesty can be a problem in writing a funny blog. People sometimes can't reveal their names or their towns or where they work for legitimate reasons, like witness protection or dumbfucks in Pennsylvania. How can I get addicted to you if I know nothing about the real you and you speak in a false voice? At least put a spin on it to make it more interesting. Use the deconstructed you. I use the real me only because try Googling me, I'm all over it and would have been caught sometime. And I have nothing to hide. (lie)

And one last thing. The longer your posts, the less funny or humorous you are. I've been guilty of this myself but I write a post and do what Coco Chanel advised, Take off one thing before you go out. In this case, be brutal, cut it in half, tell the story, don't ramble and for God's sakes try and make us laugh. More on how to do that tomorrow.

Unless I o.d. on Chuckles WHICH I DON'T HAVE tonight.

Tomorrow, Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

How To Write A Funny Blog Part 2 HUMOR V. FUNNY

Remind me again why I thought it was a good idea to write this series. Thanks.

How about an example of a persona? Let's use Dooce.

We know she loves her husband Jon, her two dogs and her two children. But her deconstructed persona has her throwing objects at Jon's head, dangling one of their dogs over boiling edamame water and placing things on Chuck's head. This is where she distinguishes herself because she knows her deconstructed self. That and she's a brilliant writer, which most bloggers aren't.

Full Disclosure: I don't know Dooce, she wrote me back once with the word 'thanks' in the email and if she did know me might run screaming into the Utah night with Chuck on her head.

Back in the 80's Carol Leifer and I used to walk out of Catch A Rising Star and go next door to a raunchy bar with a bowling alley. We'd trash men all night and laugh our asses off. One day she called me and asked me to be on her first TV show Leifer Madness. When I showed up on set, after hair and makeup, Carol said, "Oh my God, what did they do to you?" They made me up with a turban and a housecoat so I looked like my part, the apartment manager. My lines were tragic and boring. Carol was upset and said, "NO, I wanted the girl at the bar, she's who I hired." She had hired my persona, not the real me. The show failed. I blame her. (love you Carol, mean it)

And here is where I should point out that men never really think women are funny. Fuckers.

Being a humor blogger is not a bad thing, but it is much harder to be funny than to be humorous. Humor is when you walk away thinking, 'Oh, that's cute.' Funny is when you walk away and can't stop laughing, tell it to your friends and generally annoy the shit out of everybody with your stupid funny joke.

My pet peeve in this category is the sheer volume of people who refer to themselves as humor writers. And if they're on those aggregate humor lists who take anyone who applies. GET OUT.(I joined one and but got HIRED for another one. After that, I joined no lists) They have other bloggers judge your writing, bloggers with no credentials, nothing published and worst of all, strangers kissing ass with very little sense of humor. If you read some of these websites you realize they're taking page views and Google ranking off your work. If you see The Onion or David Sedaris's name on a list, sign up for that one. Otherwise, write a novel. If I can do it, anyone can. Or write a screenplay, if I can do it, so can you.

P.S. But they are very hard to write. I should change my title from "I Fucked A Priest" to something a little more Disney. Agreed?

Tomorrow, Timing

Monday, August 03, 2009

How To Write A Funny Blog Part 1 PERSONA

Can anyone be a funny blogger?
Can anyone be a humorous blogger?
Can anyone be a boring blogging?


Funny can't really be taught, no matter what anyone tells you. It's like hair color, you're born with it. Humorous can be taught and if you're boring, well, I'm sorry about that. Take up golf. Although you probably already have.

Even though you can't teach someone to be funny, you can teach them to be more humorous and maybe one day they'll slide into the funny.

The first thing you need to have as a funny writer is a persona. It's literally translated as "mask" and is used in writing as well as acting. Woody Allen is a good example of this, as is Cher. You can tell who has a definitive persona by who gets imitated on Saturday Night Live.

The reason persona is so important in comedy writing is that it's an identifiable trait or traits that separates you from all the millions of bloggers (25 million at last count). It's your voice and people become addicted to hearing that voice. In standup, finding a persona is a royal flush. Some comedians never find one and sink like a stone because they sound like every other comic. The same happens in writing. Your goal is NOT to sound like everyone else.

The hardest part of the persona is isolating it. So here's how you can attempt to find yours:

1. Write 5 things about who you think you are
2. Deconstruct that list to its basest level


Goody 2 Shoes

1. married
2. excellent cook
3. has children
4. volunteers all over town
5. secretly depressed

Goody 2 Shoes Deconstructed

1. Wishes they had sex more regularly
2. likes to flambe everything
3. wishes her children weren't smarter than her
4. is sick of volunteering but can't say No
5. wants to scream at everyone but is too depressed to do so


The deconstructed version is what will get you the laughs. And because the funniest word in the sentence always goes last: 'My goldfish swim really fast when I stand there with my blowtorch.'Blowtorch is a word we don't expect at the end of that sentence.

One of my pet peeves in the blog world is that people title their posts with their punchline. In the above example, don't write HOW I KILLED MY GOLDFISH as the title. There is then no reason at all to read your post since I know the outcome.

Tomorrow, the difference between humor and funny.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Can I just call AT&T and tell them that those two stupid boys that can't seem to GRASP the concept of the little orange disks being ROLLOVER minutes makes me NEVER want to buy any of their products? EVER.

And to repeat the commercial in different scenarios only makes me want to kill them all.

Don't they need to change Ad companies? WHY YES THEY DO.

God I can get worked up over the slightest thing.

Tomorrow the Series On Writing A Comedy Blog Begins, speaking of impossible things I should do with my life.

Send sugar.