It has been a tumultuous 2 weeks, to say the least. There have been many stressful, stomach turning days. Thankfully, everything has been resolved. But before I get to what the hell I am talking about, let's start at the beginning...
It was the summer of 2009. The Jay Leno Show was going to premiere in the fall, and the head writer wanted me to submit stuff to possibly work on it. At the same time, a little show on Comedy Central was interested in hiring me.
I spoke to my dad. He said it was a no brainer, go on Jay Leno. I explained to him that that wasn't necessarily the best move. Even though Jay was a big name on TV, and the host on the other show was not, there were good arguments to take the smaller show on the lesser network.
First of all, working on Jay might be a nice, steady gig that everyone will know about, but it might mean no one else would hire me again. Because no one respects Jay Leno. And when you have that credit attached to your name, it's like a Scarlet letter. But instead of an "A", it's an "H" for hack.
And there is no second of all.
So I took the job on the tiny show on Comedy Central that nobody thought much about. And no one watched. We had 10 episodes to make our mark, and we barely did. It was up in the air if we were going to get picked up. Luckily, the show is so cheap to produce, they gave us 6 more episodes because it barely cost them anything.
In the beginning, no one knew the show's name, and if they did, they said it wrong. I'd tell people what I was working on and they'd just give me a confused look. But we thought what we were doing was funny. And, in the first time in my career, we would just put the stuff we thought was funny on the air.
This may seem weird. Why doesn't everyone put the funniest thing on TV? Because they don't. Because the person who calls the shots didn't think of it and thought of a less funny thing to say. Because it might hurt someone's feelings. Because the host is good friends with J. Lo, or the President of the network pals around with Jessica Simpson's father.
Not on this show. There were countless times where we would be laughing at something in the room, and say "too bad we can't put that on TV". But then we actually would. Again, this normally doesn't happen and it was an incredible feeling. We couldn't believe the shit we were getting away with, and thanked the Lord we were blessed with a host brave enough to say what a lot of people on TV would be too afraid to say.
So while no one knew us and the ratings weren't great, at least we were going out on the stuff we liked.
Then a strange thing happened, people did start watching.
We got a second season, and more people started watching. And then a third, and suddenly we were the highest rated show on the network. It was great validation, apparently there were other people who found our mean inside jokes funny too.
Another great thing: sports jokes. This was the first time I had been on a show with a staff filled with people who loved sports. Even though that's not what our show was about, we loved wedging them in, and in my personal opinion, we did the best sports jokes that have been done on TV.
All in all, a pretty fantastic experience from a joke writing perspective.
Now we're in the middle of our 4th season. And for the first time since the beginning, I'm not working on it.
As you may or may not know, I've been trying to get into the ol' scripted game for a long time now. In the meanwhile, I've been writing the crap out of talk shows, sketch shows, variety shows, and whatever you call shows like The Soup.
It's been fun, and a pretty good living, but it wasn't "the dream". And it wasn't creatively what I thought I could be my best at.
Enter Team Handleman. I mean, the new, improved, expanded Team Handleman. They read a script I wrote and thought it could do great things for me.
And I of course thought they were being agents. And by agents I mean liars.
They did what all agents do when you first allow them to "work for you" (that has to be in quotes because we all know that's how it is supposed to be but never really is), they actually worked for me.
They got me a lot of meetings. But that wasn't that surprising because there are always a lot of meetings. Hollywood loves meetings. Know what Hollywood loves more than meetings? Pushing meetings, rescheduling meetings, and getting your "avails" for other meetings.
This time, however, something actually happened. I got offered a job. On a sitcom on a big network.
This caused quite the dilemma. But in the end, scripted TV is what I've always wanted to do, and it was an offer that I just couldn't turn down. So after much contemplation and sitting on the toilet, I am now a sitcom guy.
I will refrain from discussing the show I got hired on until I start actually working there and determine how easily I can get fired.
So that's the big news. I just want to express how appreciative I am of the last show I was on, how awesome it was, and how shitty it is not being a part of that team anymore. I'm also sad that I will now be unable to bitterly mock the folks who do scripted shows, because I'm one of them now. But as they say, if you keep beating them in the ratings, join them.