Read an interview with Lunatics co-author Alan Zweibel
Pardon the backstory, but it’s necessary to explain how this interview came about and why the first question in this Q-and-A is about Alan Zweibel’s prosthetic tooth.
I launched The Humor Columnist on Nov. 25, 2011. I didn’t tell anyone because I wanted to spend at least a month working out all of the bugs, of which there have been many. If I have learned anything in the last 30 days it is that I am not a WordPress designer. In fact, if WordPress had any brains at all it would send armed men to keep me away from its content management system for fear of destroying the company’s reputation.
To test the site I began posting stories, specifically the types of stories I plan to run when the site officially launches. These would include my columns, links to other humor columns and news about humor writers. On December 12 I posted a story called Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel are and have written Lunatics. Zweibel read the post and left a comment, thus becoming the first non-Russian-spam-bot to leave a comment on this site. I emailed Zweibel to see if he would do an interview and he agreed. The interview took a few weeks to set up. At one point Zweibel emailed me to say he had thrown his back out while looking for his tooth implant, which had fallen out of his mouth. Yes, you read that all correctly. He wrote about it here.
Zweibel and I spoke over the phone. He took the call at the Friars Club, where he has been a member since he left Saturday Night Live, where he was one of the show’s original writers. We talked about Lunatics, the book he and Dave Barry wrote about two New Jersey soccer dads who do not get along.
The story is told in alternating chapters by its protagonists, mild-mannered Philip Horkman (written by Zweibel) and Grade-A jerk Jeffrey Peckerman (written by Barry). Their adventure begins when Horkman, a youth soccer ref, calls Peckerman’s daughter off-sides during a key play in the championship game. I don’t want to spoil what happens next, other than to say the rest of the story involves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Republican National Convention, a monkey that shoots a helicopter pilot in the groin and Charo.
The book is very funny. You can sense how much fun Zweibel and Barry had sending these chapters to each other as they played a friendly game of “Yes, that’s good, and then this ridiculous thing involving a lemur should happen.”
Universal Pictures has acquired Lunatics. Steve Carell is attached to star as Philip.
Thank you, Katie Clay at G.P. Putnam’s Sons, for sending me an advance copy of the book.
Joe Donatelli: Have you been back to the dentist to have your tooth put back in?
Alan Zweibel: Yeah. It’s intact at the moment.
Joe Donatelli: Did you ask the dentist why your tooth fell out of your mouth?
Alan Zweibel: You know something, he gave some lame excuse. Somehow he blamed it on me.
Joe Donatelli: What?
Alan Zweibel: Yeah. It didn’t really jive. I’ve since switched dentists and now it’s taken care of.
Joe Donatelli: I’m glad to hear your teeth can now withstand the force of a small sneeze.
Alan Zweibel: Absolutely.
Continue reading “‘Deranged pen pals’ Zweibel and Barry team up for Lunatics”