Americans care a great deal about what we British-style people think of them. We are the Greeks to their Romans. Or possibly we're Greasy about their Roamings, I get confused.
Any-old-way, Aaron Sorkin, who wrote West Wing and A Few Good Men, apparently gets asked all the time at parties whether he's really one of the writers behind Green Wing, and he probably sighs and stares at his canape, which is odd, because the same thing regularly happens to me, only the other way round, and with chips. I have begun to suspect that Mister Sorkin became drawn into the world of the comedy writer though this repeated mistake. 'Another show with Wing' in the title', he probably thought, 'Hmm', and decided to google it, and if he came across this blog and realised that comedy writing was in itself an highly dramatic and also occasionally humorous subject for a television show, who am I to begrudge him taking my life and turning it into telly for Americans in a 'show' called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip?
I myself have been talking to Channel 4 about developing a televisual showing based on the dramatic and also occasionally humorous events of this blog (true), but so as not to step on Mister Sorkin's toes, I decided that I would keep most of the details accurate, but instead of being a comedy writer, I would make myself a top cool secret agent with guns who also keeps a blog. Which isn't that big a change, because if I ever had the opportunity to run through baddie-filled warehouses in slow-motion whilst holding a gun in each hand I could totally do it.
But I digress, and it is unfair to overshadow Mister Sorkin with my own massive talent and fableous hair (although in photos his hair looks fine, anyway, it's not a competition). Now, I had begun to suspect that Mister Sorkin was trying to contact me discreetly to ascertain my opinion on his American works thus far, through coded references to Bob the Builder made by President Bartlett (and quite a subtle Planet Cook nod in A Few Good Men, but you really had to look for that one).
So, when the first couple of episodes of Studio 60 were mysteriously left in a mysterious location (which rhymes with 'blimternet') for me to 'happen upon', I decided that maybe I should take time out from my schedule of thinking/lying down, and give Mister Sorkin the validation he so clearly needs.
MY THOUGHTS ON STUDIO 60 AND HOW AMERICAN COMEDY WRITING DIFFERS FROM BRITISH COMEDY WRITING AS WORKED OUT FROM THE FIRST TWO EPISODES OF 'STUDIO 60 (ON THE SUNSET STRIP)'.
1. American comedy writers are paid a lot more than british ones. Not just one and a half times as much, either, or two times as much and a free bus ticket. American writers have so much money they can afford to have nice clothes and had problems from eating too much cocaine. I have never been offered drugs whilst I worked in television, which makes me wonder sometimes, in the middle of the night, if I am not actually very important in the grand scheme of Television Things. In fact I have been offered cocaine only once, at a party for some retired music therapists, which made cocaine seem frankly not a very cool drug. I didn't take it anyway. Don't do drugs, kids.
2. When American networks have to announce a big change to a show, American journalists sit round quietly and wait for the important lady to stop talking, before asking insightful and probing, but basically respectful questions. Were similar announcements to be made in Britain, I strongly suspect journalists' questions tend to be along the lines of 'Where the free booze you promised us?' 'Why is your program so shit?' 'Why haven't you resigned yet?' and the more enigmatic 'Your face my arse'. To be honest though, the British way is probably better, and if Brighton was washed away by a big storm in which thousands of people died and the people supposed to be in charge weren't, and the people supposed to help didn't, the authorities would probably not have got away with it. But America is a different country with different traditions, and we should respect that.
3. Some American comedy actresses are Christians. Well that happens here, but it's mostly quite discreet. This lead into the next bit...
4. Before a big live show, all the comedy writers and comedy actors and actresses hold hands and have a big prayer. Now your reaction to this might be, as mine was, ew gross, no way, I'd rather be punched in the face etc, but hang on for a moment. What if before a taping of The Friday Night Project or something with Jimmy Carr in, all the participants had to look each other in the face and think, really think about whether there was an afterlife, and if so, would their actions be accountable in it? I reckon Friday night telly would get a lot better. So, Good One Americans.
5. American writers and actresses sleep together. I thought this was a deliberately surreal streak, but then in America, the line between writers and producers is more blurry, and marked out with million dollar bills, so it sort of makes sense. Note that I am not calling actresses ladyho's. Although some of them get their baps out for cash. And sometimes have sex on camera for more cash, so it's a tricky call. But then I just did some scripts for viral adverts for a mobile phone and internal comedy sketches for a bank a few weeks ago, next to which being a big 'ho seems quite a noble profession. Anyway, actresses are not ladyho's, or if they are, so are actors and writers as well. I might delete this bit later, it got away from me somewhat.
6. American Men Television Executives are shallow, scheming and a bit odd-looking, whilst American Lady Television Executives are principled, honest and beautiful in a dignified way with great fashion sense (viewing companion became somewhat detached from the narrative at this point trying to work out where American Lady Television Executive got her skirt from, ah bless). Fortunately this is exactly how it is in the British Television industry as well, so top marks Mister Sorkin.
7. American Comedy Writers have a board with their ideas on. This is mostly empty, and quite often someone changes their mind and takes down two of the three existing ideas, and everyone sighs. This too is also true over here.
SO IN CONCLUSION: I want more money.
Don't forget: GW assistant producer Patrick's band 7 Seconds of Love playing at the Borderline off Charing Cross Road Saturday 7th October, doors open 7ish.