My review of A Piece of My Heart, a two act play by Shirley Lauro produced by the Los Angeles New Court Theater should be a rave.The script, a tightly woven series of character-driven vignettes revolving around women who served in Viet Nam, provides a stirring, painful and shocking look at the horror of the wartime experience.The piece condemns war not through didactic language or lecture but through simple revelation of the tragic, brutal wrongness to which it subjects those who face it.This is a good thing for a play to do.This is a good thing for people to see and hear and remember.The play touches on issues of race, of gender, of control, of deceit. The first act takes the women, nurses and USO performers from their pre-enlistment thoughts of service and personal empowerment into the impossible, terrifying grotesquerie of the war zone, the blood soaked medical units, the stages set up before ranks of homesick soldiers, the constant danger and desperate revelry of day-to-day survival.The second act examines the post-war treatment of these female veterans, their return to a nation split over the issue of peace, the casual dismissal by the military of their lingering physical and emotional injuries, their difficulties in returning from the battlefield to a culture that demands they fill expected roles, roles that make no sense to women who have seen what they have seen, done what they have done.This is a good and worthy play about the need to move beyond war, to see war as the glamorless, horrific waste that it is by its very nature.
Director Becca Flinn handles the direction of this complex and deliberately disjointed play beautifully, creating transitional devices and scenic shifts that allow the scenes to flow from one to the next without breaks for scene-setting.The rhythm of the production never lags.
The cast, all young women and one young man who plays every male role – the grunts, the wounded, the brass, the civilian in a bar all become as much a singular blur as the boys who cross the nurse’s tables and the audience members of the touring USO singer must, all the same face like a recurring nightmare – move through character transitions, support one another and find unexpected laughs and painful pathos in a script they all seemed to me to be too young to be capable of grasping.They stretched into difficult and uncomfortable emotional territory with the apparent effortlessness that can only mean they are all really doing their work as artists and they took us with them from the opening moment to the final candle-light imagery.
A woman sitting near me in the audience wept openly.
This is a good play, a fine production and it is performed gorgeously.
I left the theater, though, very angry.Before the play – as is often the case in small theaters – the director stood up to thank everyone for coming and to talk about how proud she is of the work and the cast.The assistant director joined her to make announcements about turning off cell phones and how long the intermission would be.Then she went on, this assistant director, to add some personal comments.She spoke briefly about how important it is that we honor our veterans and meet their needs.Yes.Agreed.A thousand times yes.She wasn’t done.She got choked up as she went on to spout the oft uttered but rarely questioned or challenged or even considered trope about how our veterans sacrifice their lives and limbs for our freedom and our happiness and that for this we owe them a debt of gratitude.
I cannot begin to express how wrong-headed and downright offensive I find this young woman’s mouthing of pro-military cliché before the performance of a play that is so carefully designed with intent to break down the sanitized, romanticized notions of what it means to serve one’s country.
Yes. Of course our veterans should be treated well, their needs met.So should our homeless, our sick, our mentally ill, the victims of bank foreclosure and natural disaster and industrial accidents.
We do not protect freedom by killing people or by allowing our servicemen and women to be killed.We protect freedom by building a society that does not incarcerate more people per capita than any other nation in the world.
We do not protect happiness by killing people or allowing our servicemen and women to be killed.We protect happiness by creating and maintaining a culture in which people feel they are valued more than property, they have greater value than the profit they can help generate.
What those who have served in times of war tell us time and again, when they are not too traumatized to tell us anything, is this: War is bad; it is ugly; it is incomprehensibly horrific. It damages the bodies and the minds of all who are directly exposed to it. It should be avoided at all costs.
I have never heard a veteran speak to a young person and say, “You should go to war. That will be a noble and beautiful way to protect the freedom and happiness of the people who do not go.”The only people who speak in those terms are those who live within the safety of their borders and wish to silence their own guilt by projecting honorable intentions onto those who fight, honorable motives onto those in command.
Those who fight know that there is no honor on the battlefield, no noble intentions, no freedom or happiness being preserved.There is death, dismemberment, blood, fear, urine, stench, mud, rage and the systematic dehumanization of the enemy by the soldiers and the soldiers by the brass. War requires, by its very nature, a break from the most basic tenets of the social contract.“Thou shalt not kill,” is out the window. Once that goes, all is fair game and once the social fabric is shredded the truth becomes apparent. Soldiers realize quickly that they do not fight for what they thought they would be fighting for. They fight not for the freedom of their families but for their nation’s political or economic interests, not for the safety of those back home but for the security of a corporation’s oil holdings or the ideals of a religious fanatic or the revenge fantasy of a second-generation politician.
To preface a beautiful play about the ugly truth with an ugly lie about a beautiful myth offends me to my core.If my freedom and happiness depended on the atrocity of war, the price would be too high.But it doesn’t matter, because that is part of the lie we’ve been told for so long that we forget to question, to challenge, to consider.War cannot continue once we acknowledge that humanity, all of humanity, is of greater value than any property.
The play I saw tonight held the truth. I wish they hadn’t allowed that young woman to come out first and spout the very lies it sought to debunk.
The rich and powerful decide that something is worth killing for and then go about convincing the desperate and frightened that it is worth dying for. Let’s try to remember that on Memorial Day, as we mourn the fallen.
every dent, each bent
inclination of my
bruised and swollen ego,
loaned my sprained spirit
a crutch from her expansive collection,
carved romance novels down my spine
to wake me from the eversleep
two decades of extended weekend
made habitual with her tongue.
When she left
her pillowed scent dissolved,
the poet's dissipated lie of lingering
perfume diffused, debunked
by cruel and fluid mathematics
of atmospheric shift and flow.
(I am almost certain this will be on the CD I will record this year for 2014 release. It's the first one I've started working up for the next batch)
The greatest comfort in my life comes from the presence of Sir Corwin the Beautiful Dog-faced Dog, Brindled Beast of Sylmar.He was named on faith.When my wife and I adopted him he was a tiny puppy.We were told he was brindled but he seemed to be black with a single, dark brown streak on his shoulder.He grew in odd fits and spurts that made us worry at times.One day we woke up and he had a giant head stuck on his little puppy body.Another day, his legs were very long and he seemed pinheaded.We really didn't know how he would turn out.He matured into his name splendidly.
He has a noble face and sad, communicative eyes.As he became an adult, his coloring turned out to be a rare, dark, reverse brindle that draws comments from strangers.
Corwin is a rare pit/akita/lab/mastiff/sharpie/king corso purebred.At the dog park, I tell his admirers that he comes from a long line of promiscuous mongrels, just like me.They chuckle and tell me that he has a beautiful coat.
While he is a strong dog, athletic and powerful at almost seventy pounds, he is not particularly aggressive or dominant.At the off leash park where we take him almost every day, he has proven time and again that he's capable of playing well with others.He wrestles hard with dogs that can handle hard wrestling and he wrestles gently with puppies, often lying on his back and allowing them to gnaw on his neck.He's not much of a runner, but he's enough of a strategist to engage runners by intersecting their wide circles and thumping chests with them as they pass.
On July 2nd, 2005, I ran late getting him out of the house and the regular morning crowd was gone when we got to the park.Corwin and I shared the park with one woman walking three golden retrievers.Friendly beast that he is, Corwin ran up to the retrievers and introduced himself.One of the dogs twigged.It snarled and attacked Corwin.I don't expect that from retrievers – from any dog, really, but retrievers especially tend to be good-natured – so it took me a moment to react.By the time I did, the others had joined in.The woman who owned the golden dogs panicked and began shrieking at her dogs, "Ajax, no!No, Ajax!" and then, "Stop it!Just stop it!"
I pulled Corwin back by his haunches to get him clear of danger and wrapped my arms around him, hugging him, scratching his chest and saying, "It's okay, Buddy.Settle down."
But the golden retrievers had become an aggressive pack and the woman didn't know how to control her dogs.She still thought that screaming commands was going to solve the problem.While she yelled, the dogs came in at Corwin, snarling and snapping.I wasn't going to hold him still and let him be mauled so I released him, at least allowing him to defend himself.He didn't want the fight.He ran.But as I said before, he's not a runner.The three angry goldens stayed right behind him as he tore around in a big circle.He tucked his butt under him for speed and raced to the one place he thought he could be safe.He ran back to me and tucked himself between my legs.Again I bent down to hold him and protect him.I pushed away the three dogs with my right hand, shouting, "Lady, get control of your damn dogs!Stop yelling and just put 'em on a leash!"Apparently specific instruction was what she needed.My hand got bitten up badly enough that, had I gone to a hospital there would have been an animal control form to fill out, but after a few moments she got her dogs leashed and I took Corwin to a picnic table where I checked him for injuries before calling it a short day and taking him home.
I put the harness on him that allows me to seat belt him into the back of the car for safety and I drove up the five freeway lost in the dreamy world that comes after adrenaline action.I found myself reviewing an experience from my youth.
I was fourteen or fifteen years old and I was home on vacation from my first year at prep school.My father took me out for pizza. We sat together in a booth.I know it was my freshman year because I was wearing a greek fisherman's cap that my grandfather had bought me and it was during my freshman year that I wore it all the time as a personal fashion statement.
At another table, three young men – all in their early or mid-twenties – talked loudly.They cursed a lot and made demeaning comments to the waitress.My father asked the waitress to send out the manager, another young man in his twenties, and asked him to have the boys keep it down.The manager spoke briefly with them and then went back to the kitchen.After a few minutes, the three young men came to stand threateningly over our table.One of them took up a position of leadership.The others stood near him, looming.
"What'samatter?" He said to my father."You can't come tell us to be quiet yourself?You gotta go call the manager?"
My father said, "Alright, boys."He did not stand up.
I imagined driving my fork into the guy's leg and then throwing a shoulder into the first one of his friend's to move toward me.
"You got a problem with us but you're too much of a coward to come talk to us?That it?Well now you're talkin' to us.Whattayou gotta say?"
I imagined my father dressed as Captain America and me as Bucky, the young sidekick, striking powerful, comic-book blows side by side.I looked down at my plate and smirked a little bit, so as not to seem frightened.
My father said, "Alright, boys."
The bullying young man turned his attention on me.He said, "What are you laughing about?You think this is funny?"He pushed my hat down over my eyes.
"Alright, boys," my father said.
One of the other young men started getting impatient and the trio snorted a few more derisive words at us and left the restaurant.My father and I didn't talk much as we finished our pizza.When we left, he was nervous walking to the car and I knew he was afraid they were waiting in the parking lot.
The whole event played through several times in my head as I drove Sir Corwin home from the park. Then, with his beautiful beastiness lying on the floor near me, I soaked my retriever-bitten hand in a sink full of stinging, burning hydrogen peroxide until bubbles stopped rising from the small puncture wounds.
The following night I had an opportunity to see my father.He was on his way home to Boston from Singapore and he had a four-hour layover at Los Angeles International Airport.We met at the Daily Grill in the Tom Bradley International Terminal and drank scotch.He told me about his trip.I told him about his grand-dog and explained why my hand was lightly bandaged.Then we discussed the event at the pizzeria.We remembered the event almost identically, which is rare when it comes to shared family memories, though we had slightly different takes on it.I tried to tell him my end of the experience without including how disappointed in him I had felt at the time.I had wanted to feel protected but instead felt as though, like me, he was just waiting to find out how badly we were going to be victimized.Then he said, "You were going into your usual, self-protective smart-ass routine and I just wanted to diffuse things before you made them worse."I flushed at his words.I remembered the smirk, my last grasp at dignity that evening long ago.But I rankled at the thought that somehow he had been thinking of me as a liability as I had been imagining us fighting our oppressors as a team.
I said, "Uh-huh.But...at what point would you have done something?Diffusing things is fine but isn't there a point where you have to do something?"
In the comfort and safety of a bar at LAX, my father said with absolute certainty and confidence, "Oh, if they'd laid a hand on you, I would've been on them in a heartbeat."
I sipped my scotch and remembered the guy pushing the hat down over my eyes.I nodded and hated myself for still being angry about it.I was pretty sure I saw a flicker of awareness in my father's sad, communicative eyes, the moment when he remembered that a hand had been laid on me.In that moment, I suspect he hated himself for his current revision and for his past cowardice just as much as I did.But we didn't discuss that.We discussed other things.And then he flew to Boston.
Corwin hates the fourth of July.It's not a philosophical thing. He just doesn't like fireworks.He doesn't know what they are, but they're very loud and scary.
As our neighbors celebrated with M-80s and Jack Blasters, Sir Corwin the Beautiful Dog-faced Dog curled closer and closer against me on the couch until all sixty-nine pounds of him were huddled in my lap, his sad eyes looking up at me, pleading with me to make it stop.I warded off the snarling, slathering pack of retrievers.Surely I could silence the explosions outside our town-house.I petted him lovingly, hugged him, and sang Sondheim's "Nothin's gonna harm you" over and over again into his velvety ear.I couldn't make the threat go away, but at least I could offer him comfort.I felt very strong and heroic and filled to overflowing with love.In the end I brought him to my fairly well sound-proofed home-office and put on some classical music to drown the outside bleed-through and calm Corwin’s nerves.
I called my father to follow up on our conversation at the airport.I said, "You know, I think it bears mentioning that regardless of how we felt about ourselves and each other that night in 1978, you made a good call.We both wound up safe at home, unharmed."
"Yeah," he said."Yeah.That's probably the important thing.Huh?"
And I said, "yeah, Dad.You done good."
We all live with our own fears and weaknesses, our regrets and resentments.We look back on our mistakes and our failures and we all seek comfort where we can get it.Now and then, when the opportunity arises, it feels good to offer a bit of comfort to someone else.It’s good to let someone feel forgiven if when you don’t feel entirely forgiving.
That night – or maybe the next -- I noticed, as I was about to plunge my healing hand into the stinging peroxide, an odd expression crossing my face.I pretended to smile, feeling strong and heroic and powerful.But as I studied my reflection, dipped my hand and waited for the wounds to stop stinging and bubbling, I realized it was just a habitual smirk that I adopted so I wouldn’t seem frightened.
I must, dear reader of my blog, begin with a confession.There lies, in my character, an inherent flaw, a disingenuous tendency to make myself more than I am, to publicly overvalue my accomplishments while privately dismissing them, to spin my failures into fraudulent gold and more, still.I pretend to great intellect and depth of education, implying my own superiority in these areas through a fussy insistence on grammatical precision and near constant demonstrations of my own master of the language.
Even as I hate myself for these behaviours (and I assure you that each of them brings up in me that self-same loathing which drove the bullies of my childhood to beat me on the playgrounds and sidewalks of Schuylerville, New York) I hate myself more for my awareness of their deceptive nature.In truth, while I do have a facility for language – my own, that is, I have had neither the patience nor the talent to master even the most rudimentary conversational skills in any other – I rely heavily on that natural ability and demonstrate barely the least bit of discipline in my work.I write when I am inspired, haphazardly applying myself now to poetry, now to blogging, now to a spec script and so on.My published works, two novels for the young adult market, a novella and an e-book, have not made the best-known best-seller lists (as my father is quick to point out) and so I speak of their publication as though that alone is a mark of greatness.An award I won for playwriting some few years ago was so small in nature that the prize barely covered the expense necessary to travel to the ceremony at which the award was presented and yet I speak of that award as if it were of value as great as a Tony or an Oscar which, as my father is quick to point out, it is not.The litany of minor accomplishments which I inflate to bolster my public image could carry me well into the night, pen in hand, as I reveal them one by one but let me make short this paragraph by saying this: I speak of my five CDs and do not speak of the minute advance I negotiated for the contract or the meager sums I receive in royalties; I speak of my work on radio and do not mention the miniscule listenership or the stipends I receive for my writings and recordings; I speak, in short, to the aggrandizement of a career that stumbles in its faltering way toward a legacy of obscurity.The best consolation I offer myself, as I huddle in bed beside my beautiful wife who works hard to support us despite the expense of my unprofitable efforts is that after my death, perhaps, some person or persons among those few who have become aware of my efforts might in passing, at a some party or other, make mention of me and say that I was under appreciated in my time.
Now, in an attempt to make good on the promise of the man I claim to be, the man I pretend to be, I have taken it upon myself to read those books that I skimmed or failed entirely to read when I was assigned them in prep school and in college.Admittedly, I do still alternate, reading first a novel from the adventure fantasy rack at the local book store, pure self-indulgence and delight for me and then one of those classics with which I have, for all these years, only pretended to have been acquainted.
As each line passes beneath my eyes, as I become at last educated to the masterful writings that I had dismissed in adolescent arrogance as unworthy of my time and find the treasures I had so long denied myself, the hatred I feel for my own moronic pretense of erudition grows until it burns like a candle’s flame within my very soul.The self-recrimination as I realize the extent to which I have unmanned myself with ignorance while trumpeting my intellect troubles my sleep.I lie in bed at night, asthmatically gasping, suffocated by the pressure of my own detestation, my own failure even to be even a shadow of what I have claimed.
I sit, now perhaps in a park during the day, now at a coffee house in the evening, reading and am aware of the eyes of those about me, their judgment apparent in their sneering, hostile faces as I take in texts I would have been expected to have read long ago and huddle down.I hope to be invisible behind my book but still, I know they stare at me and I know their angry and superior thoughts as they watch me read.
As you may by now have surmised, as I assume you to be better read than I, my current literary endeavor has taken me, at long last, into the works of Dostoyevsky.I was supposed to have read him years ago.Damn, he’s good.
My wife and I don’t like to travel.She hates flying.I hate being away from my desk.Also, frequently when we travel it involves seeing our families and that’s no fun for anyone.
A few years ago when we had to go east for the Holidays it dawned on us that almost everybody we encountered was in much the same state of disoriented discomfort .Airports are really just food courts full of the under slept and the disgruntled. We made it our mission to be better natured, more patient, more charming and more generally cheerful than any luggage-dragging, flight-delayed traveler has any right to be. Whenever we travel, we strive to project a sense of joy and ease so that we do not add to the general level of stressed negativity in the world around us. We call this ‘wearing our travel faces,’ and the moment we adopted the habit, travelling became significantly less miserable, our families significantly less intolerable and the moving walkways more like a goofy amusement park ride than a series of conveyor belts for human cattle gliding through the shopping mall of the damned.
Recently, a paycheck I had been eagerly awaiting came with a note suggesting that I wait ten days before depositing it on the same day that new loud renters moved into the condo next door to our home.On my way home from a gig at which the producer had asked me if I could cut my prepared story from twelve minutes down to seven – and then five – I sent my wife a text from the shoulder of the 405. “Triple A is coming to help me with a flat tire,” I typed with my thumbs.
She responded, “Call me when you’re rolling again. The garage door opener burned out so I’ll come open it by hand.”
I thought about how much garage door repair was likely to cost. I thought about the check I couldn’t deposit for a week and a half. I put my hands in my pockets against a chill, freewayside drizzle. My phone made its little “you’ve got a text” noise and I pulled it out to look at it. My wife had typed at me, “Breathe and smile when the tire guy gets there. Travel faces for everyone.” I thought about the guy who had to drive around in the rain all night changing other people’s tires and how amazing my wife is to think of such things when she’d just learned that she would be covering all the dog-walking responsibilities alone in the rain while I waited for the repair truck.
I made friendly conversation when the guy arrived and chatted with him while he worked. The Auto Club covered the cost of the service, so I tipped the guy twenty bucks and he smiled in a way that made me think the he had not felt valued and appreciated in quite a while.
People talk a lot about how life is a journey, not a destination as though that holds the key to happiness. I don’t think that’s really it at all. I don’t think it’s about the journey or the destination. I think it’s all about the travelers. It’s easy to let ourselves turn into angry passengers, helpless in a world of air currents and weather patterns, moving sidewalks and unmoving doors. But with just a little bit of conscious effort, we can smile, chuckle at the delays and make sure that through the vagaries of the voyage we remain, all of us, good traveling companions.
Out of respect for the children
let us not speak of gun control.
Let us grieve in silent outrage
lest one of those small figures
carrying memories of fearful
moments, cupboard cuddled,
waiting with a teacher for an
end to either deadly shootings
or themselves think this horror
might have been averted
had we all been willing, even once
to dream beyond heroic violence
to the far more challenging, more
courageous, more inspiring vision
of heroic peace.
Out of respect for the victims
let us not speak of mental health
but rather, soothe the conscience
of a country with simplistic categories,
good guys, bad guys, innocent and
guilty, lest we lose to shades of gray
our mindfulness that a culture closed
to those who most need help,
who least are able to afford much-
needed meds, who cry and stamp and
tantrum, is not to blame, but only those
who once cast out and told they can’t
be saved return in blazing rage inhabit shadow
and all the rest the pious light.
Out of respect for the soldiers
let us not speak of peace.
For if a world of diplomatic, thoughtful
problem solving is a possibility, why then
how dare we send our loved ones out
to die, to strive in terror and privation,
to sacrifice their bodies and their minds,
their limbs and senses to explosive conflict
far away, outside the rules of civil conduct
where to kill is just as much a job as filing,
cleaning rooms or sliding cans
past bar-code scanners.
Out of respect for our history,
speak not of genocides committed,
of infected blankets given out,
of trails of tears and wounded knees,
of treaties broken, promises abandoned,
reservations cordoned off and redefined
as minerals emerged and unexpected
resources came to light and seemed
more valuable than earth or sky
or human beings.
Out of respect for tradition
let us not speak of change.
Out of respect for the dead
let us all still our tongues.
Out of respect for the past
let us never speak of the future.
Out of respect for the wealthy
let us not speak of the poor.
Out of respect for the poor
let us not speak of the economy.
Out of respect for the worker
let us not speak of unions.
I am out of respect.
Let us now observe
not a single moment of silence.
My calendar said, “7:30. Santa Monica Playhouse. YOU PROMISED.” I had typed that note myself but had failed to make any mention of what I was to see or to whom I had made this promise. I had vague recollection of a Facebook exchange. I try to keep my promises. So I went to Santa Monica to find out what I had promised to see at the Playhouse.
It turns out it was Ann Randolph’s solo show Loveland and it turns out I am very glad to have promised, very glad to have kept my promise, very glad to be aware of a performer of her caliber. The show is funny and dark and moving. Ms. Randolph’s performance shows a kind of courage rarely seen in solo shows. Unlike the self-congratulatory, first person narrative that dominates the solo-show scene in L.A. these days (my own More Arts/Less Martial included in that category, for the record), Ms. Randolph presents in the character of Franny Potts, an adorably flawed oddball with a slight speech impediment, inappropriate body language and enthusiasms that bubble out in childish delight.
As more characters enter the story – her disabled mother, a controlled and controlling stewardess, a meditation instructor, a woman selling urns in a funeral home – she inhabits each of those characters as completely and committedly as she does Franny, leaving us with very little sense of the actress behind them. We do not realize until she begins to transform from one persona to another that what we have witnessed is brilliant character work, not mere shameless self-revelation; she’s that good.
Once we realize that Franny is a developed character and not, in fact, Ann Randolph herself, we have just a moment of suspension in the belief that we are caught up in a character-sketch comedy. We are fooled again. Turning on an emotional dime, Ms. Randolph, who wrote the piece as well as performing it, presents a story that is by turns, vulgar, dark, hilarious, moving and ultimately – and this is what one really doesn’t see coming – tremendously theatrically satisfying.
If you have an opportunity, get to Loveland. And stop in the gift shop for a souvenir. You’ll want to remember it.
Lisa Bouchard tweeted that she wanted volunteers to participate in a thing.If it had been a sing-along or a self-help seminar I would have scoffed snortingly at the very thought of it.It wasn’t one of those things.This was to be a sort of chain interview in which I would get to talk about my writing.So . . .that couldn’t be a bad thing.I like talking about my writing.I said I was in.
Originally this was a screenplay about the nature of memory. It didn’t sell as a script and it sat on a shelf in my office for more than a decade.As a novel, it works far better.I wanted to do two things right from the beginning: tell a really sweet, really funny story and express as much as I could about my knowledge of the craft and art of comedy without writing a how-to book to get there.
What genre does your book fall under?
This is pure comedic fiction set in the world of standup comedy.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I would want Carl Reiner to play the grandfather and Josh Malina to play the comic.I think Malina has that odd sort of look that can easily go from young to old with very little makeup to take him in either direction.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A structure of nested flashbacks tells several stories of a standup comic in his relationships and career as the present whizzes by in a disjointed frenzy, given structure and cohesion only when it is informed by the past.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I am represented by the lovely Lynn Robnett and the marginally less lovely Eric Gardner at Panacea Entertainment
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Three and a half weeks
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The Sirens of Titan and Slaughterhouse Five use the same sort of time-play that I do . . .sort of.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
The sadness of not getting the screenplay turned into a movie hung with me for years and through many other projects. Several early readers of the script said they thought it would work better as a novel and, after letting it sit for a long time, I suddenly found an in to how I would make that adjustment.Once I started imagining the grandfather as Carl Reiner it all came fluidly and easily.Apparently my muse is an old, bald Jewish man.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How about some advance praise to do that?
“Standup comedy is an art...writing a fascinating, entertaining and thoughtful book about it is a miracle. Dylan has done just that with LAUGHS LAST. Read it!” -- Budd Friedman Founder of the Improv comedy clubs
"Unlike other stand-up comics whose books consist entirely of their stage schtick in printed form, Dylan Brody actually tells a story in Laughs Last, cleverly intertwining personal and performance, capturing in that process the hopes and fears of a professional comedian." --Paul Krassner,
Pollitical satirist, co-founder of the Yippies, and author of WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S OBSCENE: Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today
" It reads like a love letter to stand-up comedy."
-- Jackie Kashian
Comedian and actress, host of The Dork Forest podcast
“Laughs Last is a very original work. Not only is it an entertaining book, it has a wonderful punchline!”