Begin At The Beginning: Blackout

12 Mar

So… I started my comedy writing class in Hollywood on Monday. I got there way too early so I walked the couple of blocks down to Hollywood and Highland to see what hell the Oscars left behind in it’s wrath from the night before. That was as close to that mess as I wanted to get…plus there were WAY too many creepy homeless dudes yelling things at me so I hid in a Starbucks for an hour.

The class I am in is very small, like 11 people and our professor looks like if Peter Boyle and older Orson Welles had a baby. Before he could get a word in we all had to go mix with the improv students…not what I really wanted to do. I like the writers because they aren’t so, smiley. I work at Disneyland so I know fake smiles and these improv students have some of oddest smiles…as if they are on some kind of extreme uppers! We had to do some activity where we got into 4 groups and made the letters of the alphabet without talking to one another. I was never more glad to be done with an activity.
We finally got to go in and do the what’s your name, where are you from and who do you like in comedy game. 75% of the class’ main goal is to be a head writer on SNL. We finally got to our teacher, Ira Miller. He’s from Chicago and was on the main stage of Second City in 1969-1973(I think) along with Peter Boyle and John Belushi. Yea, already, this guy is legit in my book. He goes on to tell us that one of his teachers had him audition when he was about 21 for Mel Brooks and has worked with Mel Brooks for over 30 years. WHOA. Clearly I will listen to this guy.
He had us do an activity called a Blackout, which was hard for me because it’s very corny. (I wish my Grampa had written down all of his corny jokes because I would have it easy right now!!) We all went around and read the few we had written, I got laughs with mine and some guys wrote a few about Nazis and Jews. Really guys? You’re going to write a Nazis/Jew joke for the guy who worked with Mel Brooks, the King of that genre?? Come on.  By the way I have to write 10 black outs by Monday, I have 4 and I’m not even sure about those. Blergh.
The next thing we talked about was what I am very interested in, creating a comic character. He said the character has to be exaggerated, have a comic take on life, flaws and a humanity point where the audience can reconnect with the character and so they can still be like-able.
 I’m using my Grandma M.
 A very good portrayal of my Grandma. (Circa the late 1960’s, early 70’s)
There are so, so, very many gems to choose from for me to write about, it’s like1849 all over again and I struck gold! Our other assignment for next week is to write a monologue with this character that conveys their comic perspective, flaws, exaggerations(there will not need to be many) and humanity all in the dialogue. I gave a brief description of her to the class and I got some laughs, good, and Ira asked me, “What is her humanity?” I told him that she’s an old grandma, so people have sympathy for old people, unlucky in relationships and people LOVE when old folks say dirty things. It’s hilarious.
I called Grandma the next day and knew I was NOT going to tell her about this. I did tell her about the class and she said,
“Writing class, ugghhh. You should really be doing modeling school, brat.”
 “Jesus, Grandma! If I did that I would come out of there with a cocaine habit and an eating disorder, both of which I do NOT need.”

See, not the typical sweet Grandma in a rocking chair.

While I think about what to use from my Grandma here’s a clip of Cherri Oterri as Debbie Reynolds, who my Mom thinks my Grandma is like. Enjoy.


2 Responses to “Begin At The Beginning: Blackout”

  1. MAYBELLINE March 12, 2010 at 4:00 PM #

    >Riot!I have tears.

  2. Anonymous May 7, 2010 at 9:24 AM #

    >Sweet fucking Christ you have put on a shitload of weight!!!! Look at those thighs in the 'getting my hur did' post, I'd say cottage cheese… but that would be insulting to cottage cheese everywhere. Goat cheese perhaps? Don't get me started on those cheeks either, Winter is over, no need to save food anymore in em deary. I digress. Seriously though… walk, run, do squats, a thigh-master, something, anything would do at this point. You used to be quite the dish, now you're just becoming 'that fat redheaded fag-hag with an unhealthy cat relationship', and that is not you!!!PLEASE OH PLEASE DO SOMETHING!!!

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