Tuesday, July 30, 2013


In this month's Vassar Magazine I learned that the creators of Zagat rating guides were actually a couple of lawyers. The article ended up... 

Lawyers always know the best restaurants. 

Lawyers never eat home because eating home is not something they can expense to their client. Lawyers are always eating at restaurants or worse case scenario -- ordering take out for the entire office. 

Don't ask a lawyer for legal advice because you'll end up being charged an arm or a leg, even if you're in the lawyer's office to see about suing for damages because you've lost an arm or a leg. 

Only go to a lawyer to get his council on the best place to eat!

In this week's NY Times Magazine I learned  how comedy writer Jack Handley was revered way back when and continues to be revered because after three plus decades in the entertainment business... he's still funny. The article ended up...

Dying is Easy. 
Living the life of a Comic Writer...
... is like a Slow Death

Writing comedy is a rare talent and learned craft that very few people on this planet can claim or confidently brag about. 

I already knew that if I was feeling down, I would never think about calling any of the comedians I know to cheer me up. One on one... a comedian off stage would take my melancholy and channel it towards the nearest bathtub while their words worked like razors slicing across my wrists.  

In the NYT profile there is a picture of the writing staff of Saturday Night Live from 1985-1986. 
Of the fifteen people in the photograph -- 
There was of course comedy god, Lorne Michaels. 
There was Al Franken, currently the senator from the state of Minnesota.   
Robert Smigel was among the group. He became better known later for the funny short films on Saturday Night Live under the "TV Funhouse" banner. 
And then there's Handley 

Unfortunately, like hearing the punch line before the joke, we can now see that so many of the men and the one woman (Carol Leifer) in the photograph seemed to peak when the picture was taken. 
The article makes clear, that those who are really funny often times live on the edge... or have fallen over the ledge. 

Then there are the really rare comedic types like Handley, who long ago, moved miles and miles away from the ledge... but still remain as funny as ever.  

Here's his first "DEEP THOUGHTS WITH JACK HANDLEY" that appeared on the Jan. 19, 1991 episode --

To me, clowns aren't funny. 
In fact, they're kinda scary.
I've wondered where this started,
and  I think it goes back to the time when I went to the circus 
and a clown killed my dad. 

And here's something more recent --

"The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw."

So Handley is the exception to the rule that -- "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."

Is it possible the comedy gods give someone the talent to be funny but there's a curse attached -- every laugh one gets with a joke... kills two potential laughs in the future.