Fred Farrell and Famous Celebrities|
Jeff Sawyer writes:
You certainly have an excuse for the delay in your book now! "Alice, I received 700 e-mails today about our Newt jokes alone." I wrote the following opening sentence for a short story ten years ago: "Uncle Bernie was a sightless person who loved to drive." I have never been able to move the story beyond that. Alice would hate me. I received a nice letter from your producer, Christine, a while back, after responding to your web call for freelance writing for the show. I've since submitted two rhubarb pie sketches, but heard nothing yet. This is understandable; no doubt the show is swamped with submissions, and mine were probably unworthy. I freelanced for David Letterman for two years, writing monologue jokes for Late Show, and it was frequent feedback that made the work better. (Of course, Dave's ratings have since tanked, but happily I chose to move on before that began.)
So in answer to your question about how to encourage more comedy, I'd suggest finding a mechanism with which to provide brief feedback on the comedy you do receive. "Too Pythonesque" or "10,000 words on mutton?" or the like. If someone of your talent calls for input via the internet, surely your freelancers will benefit from it, too.
That said, my input follows:
As for your question about politics, an overabundance of politics has always been my chief complaint against NPR. I see no reason to perpetuate it on PHC. (By the way, is there a difference between NPR and PRI?)
I have an idea for a sketch mocking journalists -- they take themselves so seriously these days that you'd think they were making the news, not just writing it down. Did you witness the hysterics that accompanied Bryant Gumbel's departure from Today? The man was paid a million a year to read teleprompters! Plus, free ties! Those were tears of laughter on his face.
Finally, as for your Lake Wobegon monologue - well, don't change a thing. Ever. You, Thurber, and White are the heroes of American humor writing - and they're dead, so that leaves you.
Thanks for asking. Sorry this ran long. I hope to hear from you.
You're right. We should be better about responding. The problem is, what can you say about failed comedy? It fails because it's not funny enough. How do you make it funnier? You tinker with it. I don't like to spend a lot of time trying to figure out new and kinder ways of saying, "This script about electrolysis does not seem to have that elusive magic that we were hoping for." But a person should answer his mail, doggone it.
Sorry Fred doesn't hit the spot with you. I like the list of animals at the end. Where else would you find wallabies and walleyes and walruses together in a series?
I think that Famous Celebrities is played out and that we need to put those guys into a story. A continuing story.
Put "seminar" in the subject line of your email.
Reference the name of this writer in the body of your email.
Stay on topic! Be brief!
Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).