And Here’s the Kicker
Conversations With 21 Top Humor Writers on Their Craft
by Mike Sacks
Writer’s Digest Books, 2009
$17.99 paperback, 352 pages
Read an Excerpt!
Check out a conversation with The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant where he talks about where the idea for the show first came from and how it got onto the air.
Read an exclusive interview with the author!
Mike Sacks discusses his inspiration for creating And Here’s the Kicker, sage humor writing advice, and much more.
About the Book
Every great joke has a punch line, and every great humor writer has an arsenal of experiences, anecdotes, and obsessions that were the inspiration for that humor. In fact, those who make a career out of entertaining strangers with words are a notoriously intelligent and quirky lot. And boy, do they have some stories.
In this entertaining and inspirational book, you’ll hear from 21 top humor writers as they discuss the comedy-writing process, their influences, their likes and dislikes, and their experiences in the industry. You’ll also learn some less useful but equally amusing things, such as:
• How screenwriter Buck Henry came up with the famous “plastics” line for The Graduate.
• How many times the cops were called on co-writers Sacha Baron Cohen and Dan Mazer during the shooting of Borat.
• What David Sedaris thinks of his critics.
• What creator Paul Feig thinks would have happened to the Freaks and Geeks crew if the show had had another season.
• What Jack Handey considers his favorite “Deep Thoughts.”
• How Todd Hanson and the staff of The Onion managed to face the aftermath of 9/11 with the perfect dose of humor.
• How Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais created the original version of The Office.
• What it’s really like in the writers’ room at SNL.
Funny and informative, And Here’s the Kicker is a must-have resource—whether you’re an aspiring humor writer, a fan of the genre, or someone who just likes to laugh.
About the Author
Mike Sacks has written for such publications as The Believer, Esquire, GQ, Maxim, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, Premiere, Radar, Salon, Time, Time Out New York, Vanity Fair, Vice, and Women’s Health. He has worked at The Washington Post and is currently on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. Additional interviews can be found at www.andheresthekicker.com.
Table of Contents
Foreword, by Adam McKay
Buck Henry (Get Smart, The Graduate, Catch-22, To Die For)
Stephen Merchant (The Office, Extras)
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part One: Getting Hired as a Sitcom Writer
Harold Ramis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day)
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part Two: Getting Humor Published in Magazines
Dan Mazer (Da Ali G Show, Borat, Bruno)
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part Three: Finding a Literary Agent for Your Humor Book Idea
Merrill Markoe (Late Night with David Letterman)
Paul Feig (Freaks and Geeks, Kick Me, Superstud)
Irving Brecher (The Wizard of Oz, At the Circus, Go West, Meet Me in St. Louis)
Bob Odenkirk (The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show with Bob and David)
Todd Hanson (The Onion)
Marshall Brickman (The Tonight Show, Annie Hall, Manhattan, The Muppet Show)
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part Four: Getting Your Humor Piece Published in The New Yorker
Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part Five: Acquiring an Agent or Manager for Your Script
David Sedaris (Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day)
George Meyer (Army Man, The Simpsons)
Al Jaffee (Mad’s Fold-In, “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions”)
Allison Silverman (The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Colbert Report)
Quick and Painless Advice for the Aspiring Humor Writer, Part Six: Getting a Job as a Writer for Late-Night Television
Robert Smigel (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, “TV Funhouse”)
Dave Barry (Dave Barry’s Guide to Marriage and/or Sex)
Dick Cavett (The Tonight Show, The Dick Cavett Show)
Larry Wilmore (In Living Color, The Bernie Mac Show, The Daily Show, The Office)
Jack Handey (Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker)
Larry Gelbart (Caesar’s Hour, M*A*S*H, Tootsie)