Thursday, March 3, 2011

What they're saying in writing rooms all over town about Charlie Sheen

DISCLAIMER: What I am illustrating in this post is the type of thing that goes on in writers rooms.  If this is a sensitive subject to you I completely understand.  Don't read this.  Come back tomorrow.  Commenters are making it seem I'm personally attacking Charlie Sheen.  No.  I'm letting you inside the process.  One of my objectives with this blog is to do just that.  There are not many that do.  But sometimes that can shine a light on a darker side of the business.  If you're offended I'm truly sorry.  But trust me, the type of jokes I spell out in this post are precisely the kind (or much worse) that are currently swirling around writing rooms.  Along with horribly distasteful sex jokes.  If you have hopes of someday being on a writing staff, be forewarned that this is what you can expect.   And if you find it offensive I truly respect that but then this is not the line of work for you.  Which is fine.  If you have no desire to ever be in a writing room, then also fine, and again -- come back tomorrow. 

But remember -- comedy is subversive, comedy is dark, comedy is taking chances.  As Larry Gelbart (a man who won Peabody Awards) once said, "If you write a comedy that offends nobody than you've failed".  

I'm sorry if I may lose a few readers, but I feel it's more important and instructive to offer a real glance into the world of show business, warts and all. 


It’s the end of a long season. Every writing staff is now working on fumes. Flailing, gasping, anything to get to that wrap party. They’ve worked nights, they’ve worked weekends. They’re fried, burned out, walking zombies. They’ve hit the wall and seriously worry that they’re not going to make it till the end, even if that end is only two weeks away.

And then, just when all hope seems to be lost, a miracle. A gift from God.

Charlie Sheen.

If there was ever a topic to jumpstart a group of brain dead comedy writers, it is an insane celebrity going off the rails. Guys who only days before couldn’t write a grocery list are firing off hundreds of Charlie Sheen jokes in a single hour. It’s a beautiful thing.

They’re imagining new shows. Charlie’s Angels starring Charlie Sheen and three whores. The Cosby Show starring Charlie Sheen. Trust me, in minutes they’d pitch out the whole Charlie “Huxtable” beats the crap out of Claire episode. And I can’t even tell you the scenario they’ll cook up for the very special daddy-daughter, Charlie-Denise episode. Picture the sickest most appalling, depraved thing ever. Then use that as a starting point.

And every writing staff is doing it. Even the dramas.  Even the shows that win Humanitas and Peabody Awards.  Family Channel shows, Disney Channel shows -- it makes no difference. 

They’re also imagining what the Charlie Sheen obit will sound like. Whether the chapel where they hold the service will be trashed because “that’s the way Charlie would have wanted it”. Who will deliver the eulogies, and just what those eulogies will be. “Chuck Lorre couldn’t be here but asked us to read this vanity card instead.” “Hi, my name is Dee Dee Mounds, I only have a few minutes because I’m due back on the set for a gangbang scene but I just wanted to say Charlie always paid in full, never left bruises, and everytime I see a butt plug I will think of you, Charlie”. Priest: “Thank you, Ms Mounds. Now let’s hear from his father”. That sort of stuff only much much worse.

They’re also organizing pools. Who will Charlie kill first? And when?

They’ll do impressions of his lawyers, his ex-wives, his hookers, Charlie as Gaddafi, Charlie getting advice from O.J., Charlie on Oprah, Charlie on THE VIEW, Charlie on Dr. Drew, Charlie as contestant on DANCING WITH THE STARS.

They’ll be jokes on Paula Abdul marrying the wrong Estevez. There’ll be fix-ups with Bret Butler, Sarah Palin, and Amy Winehouse.

There will also be some writers that are taking his side. Those are the writers who have been fired by Chuck Lorre somewhere during their career.

The end result is that it will get the comedy juices flowing again and the writers will get that much needed second wind (although at this point in the season it’s more like their seventh wind) and will make it to the coveted finish line.

So on behalf of all working writers – thank you Charlie Sheen – not only for your colorful public unraveling, but for waiting until the end of February to have it. You may be a fucking loon and possible serial killer but at least you’re a considerate one. Actors always say they appreciate writers, but very few, like you, really show it.  I salute you, you psychopath knucklehead.

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