If you visit The Morning News today, you can read something new I wrote for them. It's called "Television: How Novel," a round-up of selections from some of my favorite television novelizations over the last several decades. There are just a few there, because my word-count was limited.
However, as a tremble.com reader bonus, here's a novelization that didn't make the cut. Last season, HBO Publishing (their tag line: "They're not books—they're HBOOKS") released a series of short, one-act plays based on their hit show Entourage. The plays are sort of Cliff's Notes versions of the show, distilling the plot of each episode into a single, essential scene. Here's one, from the third volume of these published plays, called, "The Phone Call."
The guys are sitting around their kitchen island, as Drama dishes out portions of his high-protein spirulina scramble.
VINCE (smiling) Guys...
Vince holds up and jangles a set of keys to the new 2008 Mercedes Hovercraft.
Vince's iPhone rings. It is Ari.
In a darkened section of the stage, a lone spotlight illuminates Ari, dressed in a Helmut Lang suit, walking on a treadmill. He is squeezing a hand-strengthener with his free hand.
ARI Have you seen the numbers?
ARI Yeah...if this was OPPOSITE DAY! We're rich, bitch! Meet me at the Malibu Tit-Off in 30 minutes. We're celebrating, boys!
Blackout. During scene change, we hear the latest hyphy song.
I'm sorry, Gawker. You have had some lovely moments, but the Internet doesn't need you anymore. Same thing goes for you, TMZ. And you, PerezHilton. (Actually, the Internet never really needed you.) And every other half-catty, half-fawning media monument to celebrity gossip. Whatever void in popular culture into which you were heaping your 1,000-word posts and two-page layouts dedicated to showing how celebrities are "just like us" has been filled, permanently and perfectly, by this: Planethiltron.com.
I am not overstating a fact when I say that the best of this site is by far more elegant and nuanced and gracefully to-the-point than anything I've seen in any other celebrity-obsessed publication, broadcast or work of art. (Nice try, Jeffrey Koons!) Nice work, Planethiltron. And everyone else, your work here is done.
I wonder if Ted Nugent ever had to have this conversation with his web site designer:
I like what you've done here. I really love how you call headquarters "tedquarters." That is fucking excellent right there.
Um, thanks, Mr. Nugent.
Anyhow, yeah, I was wondering if we could do something like that with the news section, too. Someting spicier, you know? More rock'n'roll.
OK. Well, I think "news" is pretty straight-forward and you might not want to confuse that needlessly so--
Yeah, I hear you. I hear you, little guy. It's just that, I don't know. It doesn't jump out at me. It's just not as spicey as I'd like. I'm a bigger than life kinda guy and this has to be bigger than life news. Quid pro quo, you know what I mean?
Yes? I feel like you have something specific in mind.
Actually I do.
OK...what were you thinking?
How about "Newsge?"
I don't follow.
Newsge. Like news and Nuge together. Newsge.
No, I don't think so.
You're right. That was stupid. OK, great job. (throws crossbow in jeep, and takes off)
(to himself) Oh, I cannot wait to blog about this!! (cranks up the volume on his ipod) I FREAKIN' LOVE CHROMEO!
That's where I've earned my first byline in Esquire Magazine. It's in the August 2007 issue—the one with John Edwards on the cover, that fascist!
It's a small humor piece based on something I'd previously published in The Morning News, about choosing wine. I co-wrote the Esquire piece with a very funny writer and friend, Mike Sacks. (Mike is the author of one of my favorite McSweeney's pieces of all time, "Whoops!")
It was neat to see my name in Esquire. I'm not sure exactly why that sort of thing still makes me really giddy, but it does. And I'm not sure exactly why I've been sending photocopies of the article to all my English teachers from high school and college with a Post-It attached that just says, "IN YOUR FACE!" but I have. I'm not even sure how many of those teachers are dead. (Not by my hand, FYI.)
So anyway, yes, page 42. Sitting right there on the right side, like a shy teenage girl. It's a start.
THE FIRST MEETING OF 'TV BOOK CLUB' - MONDAY, JULY 16.
Do you live in safe driving distance of New York City? If so, you're welcome. Here's a show I'm hosting this upcoming Monday, produced by the professional people of CBS/NYC, a NYC comedy lab for CBS-TV. It's an evening of very funny live readings by very funny writers for some of television's very funny comedy shows. You may have seen it as oh, I don't know, TimeOut magazine's comedy PICK OF THE DAY for Monday, July 16th. Just saying, is all.
Here are the details:
CBS/NYC presents TODD LEVIN'S TV BOOK CLUB
Featuring readings by these gifted and employed TV comedy writers:
Charlie Grandy & Colin Jost ("Saturday Night Live")
Tami Sagher ("30 Rock", "MadTV")
Rob Kutner ("The Daily Show")
Monday, July 16 @ 8:30pm
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction - 34 Avenue A (b/w 2nd and 3rd Streets)
Tickets: $6 (for more information or to purchase advance tickets, please go here)
I'm not talking about the highly-rated television show, for which I think the ratings are right on the money. I mean the new Simpsons Avatar Creator, designed to promote the upcoming Simpsons Movie. Many of my friends have createdSimpsonsdoppelgangers and the avatars look absolutely nothing like their flesh and blood counterparts, with perhaps one notable exception.
It seems like the designers of this tool weren't even trying, honestly. I attempted to create my own Simpsons avatar and the results seem suspiciously templated. What the hell? I look NOTHING like that, jerks.
The results were even worse when I tried to make one for my cat, Coleman. This is what she looks like when she's hanging around in her own skin, just chilling, patiently posing for Lisa's camera:
And the closest likeness I could achieve with the Simpsons Avatar Creator is THIS. Am I just using this thing wrong?