There’s a popular misconception leading people to believe that studying The Mighty Big Book of Bathroom Humor and Genitalia Jokes will make them a writer. A very, very wealthy writer. A conclusion which is, in fact, false. You will not become a writer, you will become Larry David, a creepy organism indigenous to bathrooms and the activities therein. A writer he is not.
So why is he considered one, if only by Hollywood’s questionable standards? Because Larry David had something your average tasteless schmuck doesn’t: he had Jerry Seinfeld and a vague idea for the show Seinfeld. Those are the qualifications in his pencil-case. Note the difference, if you will, between Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Seinfeld was funny and likable with great characters and plots, Curb Your Enthusiasm was a long, tiresome bathroom joke with implausible and boorish outbursts.
Being funny takes talent and work. Look at the Simpsons, the writers are brilliant and original, even after twenty plus years. Look at The Daily Show with John Stewart, maybe the best writers in the business. And The Late Show with David Letterman is a gas. Lively and unexpected and funny and entertaining. Not one lame reference to ‘a tickle in my anus’ or ‘the dog bit my penis.’ Ho. Hum.
The disheartening aspect of Curb Your Enthusiasm is the fact there was an audience for it. Disheartening, but not surprising. People will watch anything, the test pattern probably earns a Nielsen rating. Humanity just isn’t terribly discerning and, today, the market caters to the lowest common denominator.
In big cities and isolated hamlets alike, writers still struggle to create illuminating, provocative, funny, insightful, entertaining, candid, mysterious, witty, explosive, thoughtful work that may never be seen. It’s what they do, it’s what they’ve always done. For the vast majority it’s a tough, lonely job with no perks and meager earnings and little recognition. Yet, we persist. And good for us.
We are not Larry Davids. And that, my friends, is high praise.
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