On the Subject of RPG Publishing
Everyone in the bunker heard the victory klaxons on Monday, signifying that the Kickstarter was over and it was a success. We’d like to apologize to those of you who didn’t know we had a thing called “victory klaxons” and thought there had been a perimeter breach. Furthermore, we’d like to apologize to those members of the Irradiated-American community for some of the epithets that were hurled by some bunker members in what can only be dubbed mass hysteria.
In addition to a new round of sensitivity training, several members of the Division of K-9 Maintenance, Bureau of Special Projects, and the Agency of Product Review have been temporarily re-assigned to other departments until cooler heads prevail and we can all dial it back down a notch or two.
As to the successful Kickstarter, well, this is a project that has languished at the Bureau of Research and Development for several years. It will now finally pass over to the Division of Design and Fabrication and then onward to the Agency of Publishing, just as soon as they can clear out the old business they are currently dealing with.
For those of you reading this who backed the Kickstarter, or helped get the word out, or playtested with me while I was futzing with it for all these years, or even those of you with some sage advice to offer along the way...thank you, sincerely, for making this my largest Kickstarter to date. I can’t wait for you to see Polite Society!
Impending Nuptials...T-minus 4 weeks
We are still finalizing details and trying to find a place to eat that fits in our rapidly-dwindling budget that is also not an Arby’s. Such a place may not, in fact, exist—at least, not in Las Vegas, and we may be forced to choose a restaurant and let people fend for themselves.
Our Current Itinerary of Fun is as Follows:
For people who will be in town on Friday, March 31st, we have an evening excursion planned—a trip to OmegaMart! We have no idea what’s in-store for us!
Saturday, April 1st, is the big show: wedding at 2:30 pm, followed by a meet-up early dinner...somewhere TBD.
Sunday, for those people getting a late flight out, we have an optional brunch with the happy couple.
In between, we trust that there will be enough to distract everyone, including a roller coaster in the hotel (a thing I still do not understand), lots of weird museums to check out, or there’s always this thing called “gambling.” Vegas, baby!
Weekly Report from the N.T.A.B. Division of Media Review
A Very Punchable Face/Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama
This pair of books was interesting to me because not only are they memoirs from comedians, but very specifically from shows that I watch, or watched, and also, they write their own material—a process I’m endlessly fascinated with. That they both wrote for Saturday Night Live, and moreover, talk about what they wrote for the show, was both eye-opening and made me appreciate them as writers all the more.
A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost, read by the author
I’ve mentioned before about listening to celebrity autobiographies when they are read by the famous person in question, especially if it’s an actor or a comedian, because they can’t help but “perform” the book a little bit, adding emphasis and sometimes asides and other nuances that you might not ascribe yourself in a reading.
That being said, if you’re interested in this book, you must let Colin read it to you. The guy has been reading his own jokes for over a decade now, so he’s got the delivery down pat. Also, you can hear when he snickers, adds emphasis, and tries not to cry.
I never gave him much thought for the longest time. He was that guy who read the weekend update, and yeah, it was frequently the best part of the show, they were one-liners. I had no idea that he was the HEAD WRITER at SNL for several years, along with Michael Che. I also didn’t realize that he wrote all of the Sean Spicer sketches, and at a time when I really needed the laugh.
The SNL chapters are actually the least of the book, in terms of both humor and humility. He cracks his life wide open and manages to find the humor in just about everything, except for 9/11. That one chapter is worth the price of the book. Thankfully, it ends on an up note, and the chapters that follow it are laugh out loud funny. But after we finished listening to him read a very personal account of the day, we turned it off to take a break, and I said, “That guy is a damn good writer.”
The second chapter you must buy it for is where he details all of the times he shit his pants as an adult. I can’t sell A Very Punchable Face any better than that.
Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama by Bob Odenkirk, read by the author
I was completely unaware of Bob Odenkirk prior to Mr. Show, one of the best sketch comedy programs ever. Afterward, I followed his career (and David Cross’ career) with great relish, always excited to see him in TV shows or movies, but I wondered why Cross got more work.
Turns out, Odenkirk was working: he was writing his ass off. While Cross was yukking it up, playing Tobias, one of the funniest characters in Arrested Development, Odenkirk had his head down, generating script after script after script, as he reveals in Comedy Comedy Comedy Drama. His tone is more serious, and so he doesn’t quite have the comedic swings that Jost has, but his writing is tight, interesting, and rooted in craft, while he looks back on his mistakes and mishaps.
You could have knocked me over with a feather when he talked about his SNL years. I knew he’d written for the show, but when you find out which skit is his most famous—and it’s one of the most famous skits in the show’s whole history—you will change how you feel about Odenkirk as a writer, if you ever had an opinion about him to begin with.
What Odenkirk and Jost have in common was a laser-like focus on what they wanted to do. It’s bad enough that they wanted to be writers, but comedy writers, at that. I don’t know that there’s anything harder to write than that, and it’s fascinating to see these two people push other things aside, like people and security and family, in order to do it. This isn’t an object lesson, but it did make me think, and I walked away with a newfound respect for both of them.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith live in Vegas now. They like to eat out a lot. I'm sure if you went to one of their blogs and told them who you were and that you were looking for a place to eat for a wedding party, they would have some ideas, especially if you have any dietary restrictions. Dean Wesley Smith is a huge fan of pulp writers and if you meet up with him, a copy of your Robert E Howard book (if he doesn't already own it) would be an appreciated gift.
I always thought that Mr. Show was worthy of that Top Shelf of sketch comedy, along with Python, SNL, SCTV and Kids In The Hall.
Congrats on the Kickstarter.