Life Comes At You Fast. Or In This Case, Very, Very Slowly

pic.twitter.com/zwc1DcNDvZ— Joel Dillis (@Jdill55) April 23, 2016

Confidence is a necessary part of surviving in the modern economy. It is what allows us to believe we are worth something in spite of evidence to the contrary, that we dese…

Confidence is a necessary part of surviving in the modern economy. It is what allows us to believe we are worth something in spite of evidence to the contrary, that we deserve the right to bargain for compensation in exchange for our labor. But the unspoken issue in regards to all things esteem-related in the year 2016 is that confidence is largely a lie, a means by which you can stand up tall in spite of the immense odds against you. Worse still, confidence leads to expectations, and then to egotism. We begin to believe we are not just worth something, but everything. In our most deceitful and self-absorbed moments, we can even convince ourselves we are worth more than others, that our blood, sweat and tears are of greater worth than that of our neighbor. It is this very lie on which we have built the foundation of our world, and it is the reason that so many people have risen up so far, only to fall so fast. Life often comes at you fast, as the modern people around us have been wont to say. But as can be seen in this video of a kid getting smacked in the f**king face by a basketball he assumed had gone in mere seconds before, it can come at you slow, too. Goodnight, cruel world. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

If Politicians Were Gym Memberships

What you buy is a reflection of who you are in America, which is why I only purchase mirrors. This age of America, one’s political identity has become more and more central and there are items to reflect that shift. You’ll see Republicans buying toy gu…

What you buy is a reflection of who you are in America, which is why I only purchase mirrors. This age of America, one’s political identity has become more and more central and there are items to reflect that shift. You’ll see Republicans buying toy guns for their kids while Democrats buy toy drones. Mom may buy dad a red tie if it’s a Republican household and Mom may buy mom a blue tie if it’s a Democratic one.

One area of the economy that has yet to be split economically is the gym. Once universally hated by all, the divorce of the U.S.A has reached the weight room. Below are several gyms tailor made for YOU, regardless of who you support politically.
________________________________________________________________________________________________

Trump Gym: Make That Ass Great Again

No losers (or Muslims) allowed! This gym will get you strong enough to lift your problems and stack them on the backs of immigrants, women, and minorities. Initially opened as a pop-up shop, this gym has expanded much more than anyone has anticipated. . Enjoy amenities like:

Climbing Wall: Visit our famed climbing wall based on Trump’s border policy. How high is it? No one knows!

Weight Room: Custom, gold-plated weights designed for patrons with tiny, tiny hands

Spa Includes:
-Tanning Salon
-Climate Change Steam Room: Currently out of order
-Blackout shades to keep out reality

Payment Method: Find a Mexican to pay for it.
Contract Terms: Must be carried to term or there will be consequences.

Clinton Gym: We’re Whatever You Want Us To Be

Feeling disenfranchised by the limited voting options of government? Join the Clinton gym franchise! So many options in one candidate that we don’t even know what we are. Enjoy amenities like:

Flexibility Training: Stretch yourself to as many positions as you possibly can, even if it feels unnatural and extremely uncomfortable.

New Treadmills: Build your endurance as you attempt to run from your past though no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to get away.

Spa Includes:

-Complimentary pantsuit dry cleaning.
-Seriously, whatever you want we’ll do it. Please.

Payment Method:
Check or cash because our online security isn’t very secure
Contract: Let’s be honest, this is the only real option available.

Bernie Gym: Because You’re Poor

Communally-funded gymnasium, this is a place where you can give 99% effort (that last 1% can go to hell). Young crowd with a lot of passion and opinions who can’t afford Equinox.

Ice Baths:
Sometimes your work out just mathematically has to come to an end, no matter how much you enjoyed it. The ice baths are a great place to #FeelTheBernout.

Yoga Studio: It will help you come to terms that all things end and that’s ok.

Spa Includes
-Spas are for dirty oligarchs and oil companies. We’ll have none of that here.

Payment Method: Method: Sliding scale based on income
Contract: You must have a American, Sexuality, or Gender Studies degree, septum piercing, and/or a copy of Beyonce’s “Lemonade”

Footnotes:
-These gyms will all be obsolete as a giant Chinese-backed gym is being built as we speak.
-Cruz Gym closed due to lack of interest

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Keeping Up With the Gossip

This blog has failed to engage millennials. Retweets, organic pages views and out-of-network page likes are abysmal among this the coveted group. Starting today, I jettison humor and address the only subject that resonates with the 18-34 demographic–gossip about the Kardashians:

  • Splitsville for Kylie Jenner and Athletic Superstar: Ending her affair with American Pharoah, the superstar Triple Crown winner, a tearful Kylie revealed, “He never cared about my feelings. Everything was about him. And his table manners were repulsive.”
  • Kim Kardashian would accept GOP VEEP nod. “It would create a perfectly balanced ticket,” she says. “A publicity addicted, ignorant, narcissistic, egomaniacal, unqualified blowhard paired with a female publicity addicted, ignorant, narcissistic, egomaniacal, unqualified blowhard
  • Khloé threatens lawsuit against Noble Peace prizewinner Malala Yousafzai. “I was Malala before Malala was Malala. It was my idea first.”
  • Trendsetter Kendall Jenner sets fourteen trends in twenty-three minutes. Enters Guinness Book of Records by breaking Jennifer Lopez’s record of eleven trends in a half-hour.
  • Candidates disappoint Kourtney. After a brief stop on the campaign trail, Kourtney tweeted, “Little Marco and Small Hands Donald are no American Pharoah.”
  • Best part of my new life? Hitting from the women’s tees says Caitlin Jenner
  • Kim Kardashian releases her new line of gluten free payday loans. “These loans are captivating, musky, feminine and sensual.” she proclaims. “They make you feel sexy and glamorous.”
  • Kourtney Kardashian ends endorsement discussions with ISIS. “We were too far apart,” her agent says. Kourtney to begins talks with the al-Nusra Front and the Army of Army of Mujahideen. She is asking $20,000 per tweet.
  • Rob Kardashian and fiancée Blac Chyna to auction print, digital and video rights to future divorce. Also accepting bids for rights for child custody litigation.
  • Kylie Jenner not yet feuding with Dali Lama. “I’ll wait until I meet him,” she explains.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

This blog has failed to engage millennials. Retweets, organic pages views and out-of-network page likes are abysmal among this the coveted group. Starting today, I jettison humor and address the only subject that resonates with the 18-34 demographic–gossip about the Kardashians:

  • Splitsville for Kylie Jenner and Athletic Superstar: Ending her affair with American Pharoah, the superstar Triple Crown winner, a tearful Kylie revealed, “He never cared about my feelings. Everything was about him. And his table manners were repulsive.”
  • Kim Kardashian would accept GOP VEEP nod. “It would create a perfectly balanced ticket,” she says. “A publicity addicted, ignorant, narcissistic, egomaniacal, unqualified blowhard paired with a female publicity addicted, ignorant, narcissistic, egomaniacal, unqualified blowhard
  • Khloé threatens lawsuit against Noble Peace prizewinner Malala Yousafzai. “I was Malala before Malala was Malala. It was my idea first.”
  • Trendsetter Kendall Jenner sets fourteen trends in twenty-three minutes. Enters Guinness Book of Records by breaking Jennifer Lopez’s record of eleven trends in a half-hour.
  • Candidates disappoint Kourtney. After a brief stop on the campaign trail, Kourtney tweeted, “Little Marco and Small Hands Donald are no American Pharoah.”
  • Best part of my new life? Hitting from the women’s tees says Caitlin Jenner
  • Kim Kardashian releases her new line of gluten free payday loans. “These loans are captivating, musky, feminine and sensual.” she proclaims. “They make you feel sexy and glamorous.”
  • Kourtney Kardashian ends endorsement discussions with ISIS. “We were too far apart,” her agent says. Kourtney to begins talks with the al-Nusra Front and the Army of Army of Mujahideen. She is asking $20,000 per tweet.
  • Rob Kardashian and fiancée Blac Chyna to auction print, digital and video rights to future divorce. Also accepting bids for rights for child custody litigation.
  • Kylie Jenner not yet feuding with Dali Lama. “I’ll wait until I meet him,” she explains.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Comic to Comic: Derek Sheen

Hey there Huffington Post readers, I’m back with a new column where I chat with fellow comedians that are rising nationally about comedy, life, and whatever they have going on at the moment. I hope to make it a regular thing but don’t hold your breat…

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Hey there Huffington Post readers, I’m back with a new column where I chat with fellow comedians that are rising nationally about comedy, life, and whatever they have going on at the moment. I hope to make it a regular thing but don’t hold your breath. I’m very flaky.

Derek Sheen is my friend and label-mate, but he’s one of the funniest comedians in the country that you might not have heard about. That seems poised to change with the album and video-on-demand release of “Tiny Idiot” on Stand Up! Records. I was able to sit down with Derek and talk shop for a minute.

Johnny Taylor: You’ve just released Tiny Idiot, which if I’m not mistaken is your second album, but your first one with Stand Up! Records. Tell me a little bit about how that partnership came about.

Derek Sheen: I met Dan Schlissel in Seattle, two years ago, while he was recording Alysia Wood’s album. She’s a good friend and she brought me out to the club to introduce us. She was well aware that I was in the middle of shopping a new album and was having some trouble with my label, as they went through a huge transition. Surprisingly, Dan knew all about “Holy Drivel” (Sheen’s first release) and really loved the cover. We sat in the greenroom for most of that night, just talking about bands and music and eventually started talking about the future. I identified with him right away and felt a real kinship. I felt like he got me and I immediately pitched him the album. The title was originally “Idiot”, but thanks to my friend Bryan Cook, it changed to “Tiny Idiot” when he jokingly called me that in an Albuquerque paper and it became the HEADLINE.

JT: Personally I love the album, and think it captures your live performance really well. How’s the feedback been?

DS: I’ll be honest, I was VERY worried about the reception: my voice is a little different, my writing is a darker and the tone was definitely different from my first album. So far, it’s been nothing but positive, which thrills me and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it has some staying power. That people can still enjoy multiple listens as it ages.

JT: I perform in your hometown of Seattle a couple of times a year and that scene is always so good to me when I visit. How is it to be a local?

DS: I have a love-hate relationship with Seattle. I absolutely love the determination of the newer comics to keep performing CPR on this city’s arts scene: it’s not dying, but it’s breathing is labored. I’m watching comedians/musicians/drag performers/actors practically WILL it back to life, despite the best efforts of the local alt-weeklies to completely ignore it. I really hate that live comedy and open mics have been mistaken for the same thing and that lazy writers continue to associate the art of standup with what happens during auditions. It’s like writing off the music scene because someone butchered a song at karaoke.

JT: Any plans to make the move to LA anytime soon?

DS: I WILL be moving to Los Angeles for the entire month of July, but I have no plans to move permanently. I have my wife and my family here and I’m kinda determined to succeed on my own terms and leave ONLY when it’s finally necessary (note to any industry reading this: PLEASE! MAKE IT NECESSARY SOON!! IT GETS DARK HERE AND THERE ARE OWLS!).

JT: You’re on the road a lot regardless, but I imagine you’ll tour in support of the special?

DS: I’ve been doing it on and off and just got home from, basically, four straight months of touring. I’ll definitely be out there more and now I’m starting to buckle down and start working on the next thing, which means non-stop travel until I figure out what that’s going to be? Oh, we just recorded the 3rd album and are starting to talk about that, as well. Pretty excited about getting as much stuff out there before my 47th birthday.

JT: Who are some of your guys and gals as far as comedy goes? Doesn’t have to be stand-ups necessarily.

DS: All I have left are comedian friends. But I have some of the best! The funniest people I know and kinda my best friends are Bryan Cook and Heather Thomson. The.Best. Brian Posehn is a good friend and mentor and has made me laugh so hard it almost killed me. I love watching Keith Lowell Jensen, one of the smartest/funniest writers and man can he NAIL a point. So good. You too, Johnny Taylor! Kate Willet, Natalie Jose, Curtis Cook (out of Portland. Go look him up!), Amy Miller, Andy Miller, Mike Drucker, Phoebe Robinson. Oh, I absolutely love Nariko Ott (also from Portland) too! These are all people I would push my own mother in front of a train to go watch. And I LOVE my mom.

JT: What’s next?

DS: I’m just starting work on the 3rd album and Dan Schlissel and I have just begun talking about cover art and packaging. “Tiny Idiot” is getting a limited vinyl release, so we’re starting to put that together as well as somehow trying to get my dumb face on TV this year. I’m just trying to keep doing this for as long as people will allow me and I’m still learning something new every day. Comedy is the best.

You can find Derek on Twitter here or on his website here.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

A Chat with Veteran Comedy Writer Extraordinaire (The Jerk, Jaws, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) Carl Gottlieb

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Carl Gottlieb

Screenwriter, director, and actor Carl Gottlieb shared an Emmy Award in 1969 for outstanding writing achievement in comedy, variety, or music, for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. For his work writing (with Peter Benchley) the iconic 1975 movie Jaws, he received a Golden Globes Award nomination and British Academy Award nomination. His movie writing credits also include: Which Way is Up? Jaws II, The Jerk, Caveman, Dr. Detroit, and Jaws 3-D. His TV writing work includes episodes of The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, and various Flip Wilson specials. He has directed Ringo Starr in Caveman, been an original member of the iconic comedy improve troupe The Committee, and written the books The Jaws Log, and (with David Crosby), Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby. Carl has served as Vice-President, Treasurer, and member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

What led to your decision to major in drama at Syracuse University?
I was always interested in theater, there was a good Drama Department, it seemed to fit with my dual major (Journalism), in that I was interested in being a theater critic.

What was your plan/career objective for after graduation?
The plan was simple: work ONLY in jobs that involved writing or the theater. No temp work, no bartending, taxi driving, and dog walking– just “show business.” In any capacity.

How did you happened to become a part of the San Francisco improvisational troupe, The Committee?
A close friend joined the company when the theater opened, I visited him in San Francisco while I was still on active duty as a draftee in the U.S. Army. During my visit I helped out on a road gig (in those days I was a stage manager and a lighting/sound tech). I was offered the job of production stage manager when I got out of the army, so I took it.

How long were you with The Committee and what was that experience like?
About six years, first as stage manager, then as director, and finally as a member of the troupe, acting. Happiest, most compelling collaborative creative experience in my life, to this day.

What led to your decision to start writing TV comedy? How challenging did you find it? How long did it take you to get your foot in the door and what were your earliest experiences doing so?
I was performing with The Committee in Los Angeles, appearing nightly on the Sunset Strip; the show was a hit, well-reviewed in all media, and the company in which I worked had a highly talented group of individuals, most of whom found employment in films and television. I was no exception, the Smothers Brothers and their producers saw us, and hired me as a writer. Robert Altman saw me and hired me as an actor. It didn’t seem challenging, it was just a case of one job leading to another, so I got my foot in the door early, and never looked back.

You won an Emmy in 1969 for contributing to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. How did you land that job and what do you remember as the highs and lows of that experience?
See above. All highs, no lows. I was writing with as talented a writers room as ever was (Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Lorenzo Music, John Hartford, Alan Blye, Paul Wayne & others). I was appearing regularly in the show as a sketch player, as well as performing as a member of The Committee, which was a guest act a few times. There is no greater high that writing comedy that gets shot and broadcast weekly to a national audience that is huge, compared to today’s hits. (We had 20-30 million viewers weekly).

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US Army Private E-2 Gottlieb, serving God and Country in Fort Carson, Colorado.

You contributed to other iconic shows such as The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, and The Odd Couple. Of all these shows, did you have a favorite? Why? A least favorite? Why?
No favorites. Each job had its own rewards, and it was an unprecedented era for variety and comedy television, of which I got to be a small part.

In the ’60s and ’70s, was it very competitive for comedy writers? Were you constantly employed or did you have periods of struggle, failure, unemployment, etc.?
It’s always competitive, but a little less so when you’re working steadily on hit shows. There was a year or two of unemployment, but during that time my wife and I produced more than a hundred TV commercials for the Celanese Corporation, that aired on the Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, with an improvisational company of comic actors. It was (at the time) the largest time buy in the history of late-night television, so I survived as creative director and head writer and went trekking in Nepal until my next TV job.

Did you learn the comedy writing craft by doing, or did you supplement that with any books, classes, mentors, etc.?
Comedy can’t be taught; by the time you know what a sense of humor is, it’s too late to acquire one. I learned by doing, and by watching my peers work. Never missed a new comedian, and since I was writing and performing with some regularity, that provided me with all the experience and knowledge I needed. My “mentors” were the head writers and stars for which I worked, and the great acts I witnessed multiple times: Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, George Carlin, and the like.

You wrote David Crosby’s two autobiographies, 1989’s Long Time Gone and 2006’s Since Then. How did you get hooked up with him and what were those experiences like for you?
When I came to San Francisco in 1963, The Byrds were the house band at The Peppermint Tree, a Go-Go lounge up the street from the Committee. We met, and stayed friends forever after. The experiences kept me connected not only to the world of contemporary comedy, but to the world of pop music, rock and roll, and all the exciting musical changes on the West Coast during that era.

How did you become friends with Steven Spielberg, and how did he happen to hire you to write Jaws?
Read my book, THE JAWS LOG. Too long to go into here.

How did you get involved with co-writing the screenplay for The Jerk, and what was that experience like for you?
I had known Steve Martin’s work onstage, and we wrote together on the Glen Campbell and
Smothers Brothers TV shows, so when he got his first movie deal, he asked if I’d collaborate with him, since I knew film writing and had done two movies already. It was, of course, a good experience.

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Director Carl Gottlieb on the set of Caveman with Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach in 1981.

You co-wrote and directed the 1981 low-budget cult film Caveman? How did that job come about?
I got the job the old-fashioned way: I was approached by producers Turman and Foster and asked to write a comedy version of “1,000,000 BC,” which I did, along with partner Rudy DeLuca. The script got a green light, we went and shot it. Simple, really.

You’ve served your union, the Writers Guild of America, in many capacities, including member of the Board of Directors, and Vice-President. What did you enjoy about that service, and do you feel it impacted your writing?
I am personally enriched by the opportunity to be of service to the community of writers. The Guild helped me resolve a dispute with a studio early in my career, and I have always been grateful. Working as an unpaid Board member or Officer in the Guild is my way of giving back. It does nothing to enhance my writing, because Guild service takes time away from pursuing a career.

You have acted in minor roles in such films as MASH, Clueless and Jaws. How did you find those experiences and if you were to relive your life, would you go the acting route?
Remember, I came to town as an actor, so I took whatever acting jobs came my way. I never had a “break-out” role, and when I drifted into writing full-time, there was no time left for the dreary routine of being an unemployed actor in Hollywood, so I left that behind me. If I had achieved any real success as an actor, I would have done more of it. Would I choose acting over writing & directing? Only if I became a well-paid and respected star. Which I didn’t.

Have you ever had any non-entertainment jobs in the regular working world?
Not really. I was a draftee in the US Army, and a few times after that I broke my own rule and took short-term jobs for which I was totally unqualified, in order to get a few paychecks before the employers caught on to me. Then I’d resign, but after a week or two in a “good job,” I had enough money for things like food and rent. But for the most part, I’ve never strayed outside the boundaries of show business.

Any advice or words of wisdom to aspiring comedy writers?
Keep writing, do anything you can to see your work performed, and then watch clearly and objectively to see what works and what doesn’t, and try to figure out why. It helps if you can log a good number of hours as a comic performer, either actor or stand-up.

Any advice or words of wisdom stemming from your own life experience?
It’s a cliché: if you do what you love, it’s not really work. The fact that you can get paid serious money just for being funny on paper is a cosmic gift, enjoy it, even during the occasional stretches when it involves long hours, stressful circumstances, and unpleasant colleagues in the workplace. Keep a notebook, and write down funny shit whenever you see or hear it.

Your desert island choices for one pick in each of these categories:
Book – The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Movie – “Singing in the Rain.”
TV series – “Breaking Bad”
Music – The Mozart Quartets
Food – Lobster with corn on the cob, and lemon merengue pie.
Any conversational partner, living or dead, throughout history – Mark Twain
Any romantic partner, living or dead, throughout history – Queen Elizabeth the First

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

2016-05-17-1463464965-2954133-16cb55b974cb4f4da2fad04e8f0a392a.jpg

Carl Gottlieb

Screenwriter, director, and actor Carl Gottlieb shared an Emmy Award in 1969 for outstanding writing achievement in comedy, variety, or music, for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. For his work writing (with Peter Benchley) the iconic 1975 movie Jaws, he received a Golden Globes Award nomination and British Academy Award nomination. His movie writing credits also include: Which Way is Up? Jaws II, The Jerk, Caveman, Dr. Detroit, and Jaws 3-D. His TV writing work includes episodes of The Odd Couple, The Bob Newhart Show, and various Flip Wilson specials. He has directed Ringo Starr in Caveman, been an original member of the iconic comedy improve troupe The Committee, and written the books The Jaws Log, and (with David Crosby), Long Time Gone: The Autobiography of David Crosby. Carl has served as Vice-President, Treasurer, and member of the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America, and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

What led to your decision to major in drama at Syracuse University?
I was always interested in theater, there was a good Drama Department, it seemed to fit with my dual major (Journalism), in that I was interested in being a theater critic.

What was your plan/career objective for after graduation?
The plan was simple: work ONLY in jobs that involved writing or the theater. No temp work, no bartending, taxi driving, and dog walking– just “show business.” In any capacity.

How did you happened to become a part of the San Francisco improvisational troupe, The Committee?
A close friend joined the company when the theater opened, I visited him in San Francisco while I was still on active duty as a draftee in the U.S. Army. During my visit I helped out on a road gig (in those days I was a stage manager and a lighting/sound tech). I was offered the job of production stage manager when I got out of the army, so I took it.

How long were you with The Committee and what was that experience like?
About six years, first as stage manager, then as director, and finally as a member of the troupe, acting. Happiest, most compelling collaborative creative experience in my life, to this day.

What led to your decision to start writing TV comedy? How challenging did you find it? How long did it take you to get your foot in the door and what were your earliest experiences doing so?
I was performing with The Committee in Los Angeles, appearing nightly on the Sunset Strip; the show was a hit, well-reviewed in all media, and the company in which I worked had a highly talented group of individuals, most of whom found employment in films and television. I was no exception, the Smothers Brothers and their producers saw us, and hired me as a writer. Robert Altman saw me and hired me as an actor. It didn’t seem challenging, it was just a case of one job leading to another, so I got my foot in the door early, and never looked back.

You won an Emmy in 1969 for contributing to The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. How did you land that job and what do you remember as the highs and lows of that experience?
See above. All highs, no lows. I was writing with as talented a writers room as ever was (Rob Reiner, Steve Martin, Lorenzo Music, John Hartford, Alan Blye, Paul Wayne & others). I was appearing regularly in the show as a sketch player, as well as performing as a member of The Committee, which was a guest act a few times. There is no greater high that writing comedy that gets shot and broadcast weekly to a national audience that is huge, compared to today’s hits. (We had 20-30 million viewers weekly).

2016-05-17-1463465122-1187965-922bff46b98642149bbdf36231c469f9.jpg

US Army Private E-2 Gottlieb, serving God and Country in Fort Carson, Colorado.

You contributed to other iconic shows such as The Bob Newhart Show, All in the Family, and The Odd Couple. Of all these shows, did you have a favorite? Why? A least favorite? Why?
No favorites. Each job had its own rewards, and it was an unprecedented era for variety and comedy television, of which I got to be a small part.

In the ’60s and ’70s, was it very competitive for comedy writers? Were you constantly employed or did you have periods of struggle, failure, unemployment, etc.?
It’s always competitive, but a little less so when you’re working steadily on hit shows. There was a year or two of unemployment, but during that time my wife and I produced more than a hundred TV commercials for the Celanese Corporation, that aired on the Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, with an improvisational company of comic actors. It was (at the time) the largest time buy in the history of late-night television, so I survived as creative director and head writer and went trekking in Nepal until my next TV job.

Did you learn the comedy writing craft by doing, or did you supplement that with any books, classes, mentors, etc.?
Comedy can’t be taught; by the time you know what a sense of humor is, it’s too late to acquire one. I learned by doing, and by watching my peers work. Never missed a new comedian, and since I was writing and performing with some regularity, that provided me with all the experience and knowledge I needed. My “mentors” were the head writers and stars for which I worked, and the great acts I witnessed multiple times: Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, George Carlin, and the like.

You wrote David Crosby’s two autobiographies, 1989’s Long Time Gone and 2006’s Since Then. How did you get hooked up with him and what were those experiences like for you?
When I came to San Francisco in 1963, The Byrds were the house band at The Peppermint Tree, a Go-Go lounge up the street from the Committee. We met, and stayed friends forever after. The experiences kept me connected not only to the world of contemporary comedy, but to the world of pop music, rock and roll, and all the exciting musical changes on the West Coast during that era.

How did you become friends with Steven Spielberg, and how did he happen to hire you to write Jaws?
Read my book, THE JAWS LOG. Too long to go into here.

How did you get involved with co-writing the screenplay for The Jerk, and what was that experience like for you?
I had known Steve Martin’s work onstage, and we wrote together on the Glen Campbell and
Smothers Brothers TV shows, so when he got his first movie deal, he asked if I’d collaborate with him, since I knew film writing and had done two movies already. It was, of course, a good experience.

2016-05-17-1463465264-7355003-917415ecd7d44588824c68bb49f7ffa3.jpg

Director Carl Gottlieb on the set of Caveman with Ringo Starr and Barbara Bach in 1981.

You co-wrote and directed the 1981 low-budget cult film Caveman? How did that job come about?
I got the job the old-fashioned way: I was approached by producers Turman and Foster and asked to write a comedy version of “1,000,000 BC,” which I did, along with partner Rudy DeLuca. The script got a green light, we went and shot it. Simple, really.

You’ve served your union, the Writers Guild of America, in many capacities, including member of the Board of Directors, and Vice-President. What did you enjoy about that service, and do you feel it impacted your writing?
I am personally enriched by the opportunity to be of service to the community of writers. The Guild helped me resolve a dispute with a studio early in my career, and I have always been grateful. Working as an unpaid Board member or Officer in the Guild is my way of giving back. It does nothing to enhance my writing, because Guild service takes time away from pursuing a career.

You have acted in minor roles in such films as MASH, Clueless and Jaws. How did you find those experiences and if you were to relive your life, would you go the acting route?
Remember, I came to town as an actor, so I took whatever acting jobs came my way. I never had a “break-out” role, and when I drifted into writing full-time, there was no time left for the dreary routine of being an unemployed actor in Hollywood, so I left that behind me. If I had achieved any real success as an actor, I would have done more of it. Would I choose acting over writing & directing? Only if I became a well-paid and respected star. Which I didn’t.

Have you ever had any non-entertainment jobs in the regular working world?
Not really. I was a draftee in the US Army, and a few times after that I broke my own rule and took short-term jobs for which I was totally unqualified, in order to get a few paychecks before the employers caught on to me. Then I’d resign, but after a week or two in a “good job,” I had enough money for things like food and rent. But for the most part, I’ve never strayed outside the boundaries of show business.

Any advice or words of wisdom to aspiring comedy writers?
Keep writing, do anything you can to see your work performed, and then watch clearly and objectively to see what works and what doesn’t, and try to figure out why. It helps if you can log a good number of hours as a comic performer, either actor or stand-up.

Any advice or words of wisdom stemming from your own life experience?
It’s a cliché: if you do what you love, it’s not really work. The fact that you can get paid serious money just for being funny on paper is a cosmic gift, enjoy it, even during the occasional stretches when it involves long hours, stressful circumstances, and unpleasant colleagues in the workplace. Keep a notebook, and write down funny shit whenever you see or hear it.

Your desert island choices for one pick in each of these categories:
Book – The Complete Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Movie – “Singing in the Rain.”
TV series – “Breaking Bad”
Music – The Mozart Quartets
Food – Lobster with corn on the cob, and lemon merengue pie.
Any conversational partner, living or dead, throughout history – Mark Twain
Any romantic partner, living or dead, throughout history – Queen Elizabeth the First

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Chimera of the Russian Justice and Petr Pavlensky by Lena Hades

Artist Petr Pavlensky and the Chimera of the Russian Justice by Lena Hades — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a …

2016-05-19-1463663895-2331428-Justiceandpavlensky.jpgArtist Petr Pavlensky and the Chimera of the Russian Justice by Lena Hades

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Gentrification Mockumentary Asks You To Please Remember Rich, White Kids

Everyday, thousands of young, white, middle-to-upper class Americans experience the oppressive force of gentrification. Some of them have been living in the same apartments for over 20 months, but can now barely afford the bottomless Bloody Mary brunch…

Everyday, thousands of young, white, middle-to-upper class Americans experience the oppressive force of gentrification. Some of them have been living in the same apartments for over 20 months, but can now barely afford the bottomless Bloody Mary brunches.

Watch as one such man explains to Millennials of New York how difficult life has become since people like him have started to move into the neighborhood.

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A Plea for Help From Donald Trump’s Hair

“What he did to me, he’ll do to America!”
Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Marcus Aurelius said, “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” Of course, that was…

2016-05-19-1463635311-902624-2015080414386539306283156donald_trump_ap_1160_956x519.jpg

“What he did to me, he’ll do to America!”

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

Marcus Aurelius said, “Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart.” Of course, that was easy for Marcus to say — he was a Roman emperor and a philosopher; not a bad fate to which to be resigned. Fate has been somewhat less kind to me. I have the thankless job of being Donald Trump’s hair. By this time, you should be feeling better about your own life. By the way, I have to whisper because he’s sleeping now and would throw a fit if he knew I was saying these things to you.

At the risk of stating the obvious, being The Donald’s hair is not a job I ever applied for or desired. Had anyone asked me, I might have requested being Steve Jobs’ mind, Kobe Bryant’s body, or Oprah Winfrey’s entertainment savvy. But, no. A cosmic roll of the dice resulted in my ending up on this man’s head, in the now-familiar form at which you’ve no doubt gazed in stupefied wonder many times. As a result, I have taken and continue to take what I believe social scientists refer to as a butt-load of abuse. I’m not saying the abuse is undeserved considering the visual results of how The Donald treats me. I just want someone to feel my pain.

  • As brief examples, among the descriptions people have used to degrade and humiliate me:
  • A mound of cotton candy but with less style
  • An aggressive cowlick gone rogue
  • Hair follicles embedded in the scalp at completely random angles
  • The color of an undeveloped baby chick
  • More flyaways than LAX
  • More soft-serve swirl than Dairy Queen
  • Televangelist-style comb-over from Hell
  • Grotesque, exhibitionistic, peacocky mutation

Can you feel my pain? The sad part is, they’re correct. I mean, he’s asking for it, isn’t he? With my wavy slant that seems to defy gravity. I plunge, cover most of his forehead, and just before touching his brows, I ascend to the heavens. It’s nauseating and this is my life.

And, come on, does he think he’s fooling anyone? Is there a person on the planet who doesn’t believe he’s going to desperate, tasteless extents to camouflage the thinning? And my color; don’t get me started. Too late. It’s obviously no color that’s ever been found in nature. To compare my color to burnt Cheetos or nicotine-stained teeth would be offensive to burnt Cheetos and nicotine-stained teeth. For the love of God, I was a natural, pleasant brown when I started!

But even more unbelievable than my physical appearance is the fact that Donald actually thinks it looks good. The man has, I assume, two functioning eyes and still he thinks this looks good. And wants to be the Leader of the Free World. If the man completely misjudges his own appearance, what in heaven’s name will he do with situations of far greater import? Look at me! Hopefully not while you’re eating. Kim Jung Un’s hair is the laughingstock of the world and I swear he has better hair than Donald.

Which brings me to my main point: Help! As I have clearly established, I am being physically, emotionally and psychologically abused on a daily basis. Anything else would be preferable to this farcical follicle humiliation atop this man’s head. I’d pick waterboarding in a second. Solitary confinement. A year of nothing but Celine Dion music. Please, friends! My vital force is on life support. Make him get a haircut for charity. Show him photos of how much better he could look. Shave me off him while he’s sleeping. Find some way to separate me from this egomaniacal exemplar of bad taste and I’ll be in your debt for life. Or else, mark my words, what he did to me, he’ll do to America!

There just has to be more to my life than this. Unless I’m already in hell, which consists of my being reincarnated as one unpleasant person’s body part after another. What’s next, Hitler’s moustache? Mel Gibson’s brain? Charles Manson’s arm? Oh, I think he’s starting to wake up now. I better keep quiet. Hey, thanks for listening.

This has been Donald Trump’s hair begging for your mercy.

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