Novelist/Other Jokes


True story:
Sinclair Lewis arrived at Harvard - drunk, as usual - to talk about his craft.
"Hands up, all those who want to be writers!" he yelled. Everyone's hand went up.
"Then why the hell aren't you at home writing?" he asked, and staggered off the platform.
A so-called 'friend' lovingly, diabolically transcribed the CD track below from "The Monty Python Instant Record Collection."
<generic radio theme music>
Studio Anchor: And now it's time for "Novel Writing," which today comes from the West Country, from Dorset.
Field Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Dorchester, where a very good crowd has turned out to watch local boy Thomas Hardy write his new novel - "The Return of The Native" - on this very pleasant July morning. This will be his eleventh novel, and the fifth of the very popular Wessex novels... and here he comes! Here comes Hardy, walking out toward his desk. He looks confident, he looks relaxed, very much the man in form, as he acknowledges this very good-natured bank holiday crowd. And the crowd goes quiet now, as Hardy settles himself down at the desk, body straight, shoulders relaxed, pen held lightly but firmly in the right hand. He dips the pen in the ink... and he's off! It's the first word... but it's not a word... oh, no! It's a doodle, way up on the top of the left-hand margin. It's a piece of meaningless scribble... and he's signed his name underneath it! Oh, dear, what a disappointing start! But he's off again, and here he goes, the first word of Thomas Hardy's new novel, at 10:35 on this very lovely morning. It's three letters, it's the definite article, and it's "The". Dennis?
Dennis: Well, this is true to form. No surprises there. He started five of his eleven novels to date with a definite article. We've had two of them with "It", there's been one "But", two "At"s, one "On", and a "Delores". Well that, of course, was never published.
Announcer: I'm sorry to interrupt you there, Dennis, but he's crossed it out! Thomas Hardy, here on the first day of his new novel, has crossed out the only word he's written so far, and he's gazing off into space. Oh... oh, dear, he's signed his name again.
Dennis: It looks like "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" all over again...
Announcer: But he's... no, he's down again, and writing, Dennis! He's written "The" again... he's crossed it out again, and he's written "A"! And there's a second word coming up straightaway, and it's "Sat". "A Sat" - doesn't make sense. "A Satur"... "A SaturDAY"! It's "A Saturday", and the crowd are loving it! They're really enjoying this novel. And it's "afternoon", "A Saturday afternoon" - it's a competent beginning. And he's straight on to the next word... it's "in"... "A Saturday afternoon in"... "in"... "in"... "No"... "NoVEMBER"... "November"'s spelt wrong - he's left out the second "e". But he's not going back! It looks as though he's going for the sentence! And it's the first verb coming up, it's the first verb of the novel... and it's "was"! And the crowd are going wild!! "A Saturday afternoon in November was"... and a long word here... "appro"... "appro"... is it "approval"? No, it's "approaching"... "approaching"... "A Saturday afternoon in November was approaching"... and he's done the definite article "the" again. And he's writing fluently, easily, with flowing strokes of the pen, as he comes up to the middle of this first sentence. And with this eleventh novel well under way, and the prospects of a good day's writing ahead, back to the studio.
INTERVIEWER: Why don't you write like you talk?
GERTRUDE STEIN: Why don't you read like I write?
Author John Steinbeck (The Grapes Of Wrath) was once told by his editor, "John, this isn't a word." The novelist looked over his shoulder at the manuscript in question, and replied, "It is now."
Quote from Julia Phillips (Oscar-winning producer of The Sting and Close Encounters), concerning a bit of advice which she received from her mom:
"Some day your prince will come. Don't swallow."
Two male babies are born in the same hospital, at exactly the same time, and are placed in adjoining bassinets in the nursery. Their heads turn to face each other, and their eyes meet, just for a moment.
Then they're taken away, and never see each other again.
Until... 96 years later. By an extraordinary coincidence, the same two guys are simultaneously brought to the same hospital, and wind up in the same room. Both of 'em are well aware that they're on their deathbeds. Their heads turn to face each other, and their eyes meet, just for a moment.
One says to the other, "So... what'd ya think?"
Bob Hill, and his new wife, Betty, are vacationing in Transylvania, and they're driving a rental car along a rather deserted road. It's late at night, and rain is pelting down; Bob can see barely ten feet in front of his windshield. Suddenly, the car skids out of control, smashing into a tree and knocking Bob unconscious.
When he comes to, his new wife is lying in a pool of her own blood... so he carefully picks her up and begins trudging down the road. Pretty soon, he sees a light shining out of a huge, Gothic castle. After several minutes of frantic knocking, an ugly hunchback opens the door. Bob immediately blurts, "My name is Bob Hill, and this is my wife, Betty. We've been in a terrible accident, and she's been seriously hurt. Can I please use your phone?"
"I'm sorry," replies the hunchback. "We don't have a phone, but my master is a doctor. Come in, and I will get him."
A few minutes later, an elegant, intense man with burning eyes effortlessly floats down the stairs. "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you. I'm not a medical doctor; I am a scientist. However, it is many kilometers to the nearest clinic, and I have had basic medical training, so I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory."
So Igor picks up Betty, and carries her downstairs, with Bob limping close behind. After Igor arranges Betty on a lab table, Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places him on the adjoining table.
During a brief examination, the intense scientist looks worried. "Things are very serious. Prepare the mechanism." However, even though Igor and his master work feverishly, it's too late. Bob and Betty Hill have slipped away.
The deaths are quite upsetting to the scientist, and he climbs the steps to his conservatory, where he finds solace by playing the huge pipe organ. Dramatic, haunting melodies fill the castle.
Meanwhile, Igor is still tidying up, downstairs in the laboratory. As the strain of a mournful tune wafts through the lab, Igor notices that Betty Hill's fingers are twitching. And there, Bob's arm is beginning to rise. Amazingly, Betty sits straight up! Unable to contain himself, Igor dashes up to the conservatory. He bursts in, and shouts:
"Master, Master! The Hills are alive, with the sound of music!"
Quote from producer Robert Evans (Chinatown, Sliver):
"A movie is like a parachute; if it doesn't open, you're f*cked."
Satan visits a film producer and offers her a deal: "I'll insure that your next film is a billion-dollar-grossing, sequel-spawning, blockbuster hit. All I require in return is that your husband's soul, your children's souls, and THEIR children's souls must rot in Hell for eternity."
The producer thinks for a moment and says, "What's the catch?"
A certain notorious White House intern is driving through Washington, when a dashboard warning light appears. After getting out and observing a small pool of oil underneath the motor, she pulls into the first gas station. While waiting for a repair estimate, she visits the zoo across the street, buys an ice cream, and watches the animals, while licking absentmindedly at her vanilla cone. Unfortunately, she doesn't see the large puddle of ice cream which drips onto the front of her dress.
She finishes off her cone, returns to the gas station, and asks the mechanic if he's found any serious problems. He glances up from the motor and says, "It looks like you blew a seal."
Glancing down at her dress, she replies, "No, no, it's just ice cream."
A behavioral scientist is investigating whether dogs take on the personalities of their owners, so she puts an architect's dog, a mathematician's dog, and an actor's dog into a room with a pile of bones. Observing from another room a few minutes later, she notices that the architect's dog has built a tower with his bones. The mathematician's dog has arranged his bones in geometric shapes. When the actor's dog finally notices these things, he eats all the bones, humps the other two dogs, and starts whining to go home early.
to schmooze = befriend scum to pitch = grovel shamelessly to brainstorm = feign preparedness to research = procrastinate indefinitely to network = spread disinformation to collaborate = argue incessantly to freelance = collect unemployment
agent = frustrated lawyer lawyer = frustrated producer producer = frustrated writer writer = frustrated director director = frustrated actor actor = frustrated human being
high concept = lowbrow production value = gore entry level = pays nothing highly qualified = knows the producer network approved = has made money for them
net = something that apparently doesn't exist gross = Michael Eisner's salary back-end = you, if you think you'll ever see it residuals = braces for the kids deferral = don't hold your breath points = see "net" or "back-end"
You can trust me = You must be new It needs some polishing = Change everything It shows promise = It stinks rotten It needs some fine tuning = Change everything I'd like some input = I want total control It needs some honing = Change everything Call me back next week = Stay out of my life It needs some tightening = Change everything Try and punch it up = I have no idea what I want It needs some streamlining = Change everything You'll never work in this town again = I have no power whatsoever
We've been told that this is the actual name of a movie stunt company, run by women: "Cunning Stunts"...
This feghoot recently surfaced on a listserv, and it's too... something... to pass up:
Many years ago, Ari Onassis and his new bride, Jackie Kennedy, were photographed on the French Riviera as they viewed Buster Keaton's old digs. The tag line on the picture read: "Aristotle Contemplating The Home Of Buster."
After the beverage which I had been drinking exited through my nose, I was seized by an overwhelming compulsion to dig up the best example I could remember, and in the process of searching, discovered this URL:
"Tarzan's Tripes Forever, and Other Feghoots - The Web's First Shaggy Dog Story Archive"
They maintain a comprehensive site which contained the story I was looking for, but it had been sadly bastardized. Fortunately, someone else seems to have appreciated Asimov's twisted genius as much as I did, and lovingly typed it out, below.
Death of a Foy
by Isaac Asimov
It was extremely unusual for a Foy to be dying on Earth. They were the highest social class on their planet (with a name which was pronounced -- as nearly as Earthly throats could make the sounds -- Sortibackenstrete) and were virtually immortal.
Every Foy, of course, came to voluntary death eventually, and this one had given up because of an ill-starred love affair, if you can call it a love affair where five individuals, in order to reproduce, must indulge in a year-long mental contact. Apparently, he himself had not fit into the contact after several months of trying, and it had broken his heart -- or hearts, for he had five.
All Foys had five large hearts and there was speculation that it was this that made them virtually immortal.
Maude Briscoe, Earth's most renowned surgeon, wanted those hearts. "It can't be just their number and size, Dwayne," she said to her chief assistant. "It has to be something physiological or biochemical. I must have them."
"I don't know if we can manage that," said Dwayne Johnson. "I've been speaking to him earnestly, trying to overcome the Foy taboo against dismemberment after death. I've had to play on the feeling of tragedy any Foy would have over death away from home. And I've had to lie to him, Maude."
"I told him that after death, there would be a dirge sung for him by the world-famous choir led by Harold J. Gassenbaum. I told him that by Earthly belief this would mean that his astral essence would be instantaneously wafted back, through hyperspace, to his home planet of Sortib-what's its name -- provided he would sign a release allowing you, Maude, to have his hearts for scientific investigation."
"Don't tell me he believed that horse excrement!" said Maude.
"Well, you know this modern attitude about accepting the myths and beliefs of intelligent aliens. It wouldn't have been polite for him not to believe me. Besides, the Foys have a profound admiration for terrestrial science and I think this one is a little flattered that we should want his hearts. He promised to consider the suggestion, and I hope he decides soon, because he can't live more than another day or so, and we must have his permission by interstellar law, and the hearts must be fresh and -- Ah, his signal."
Dwayne Johnson moved in with smooth and noiseless speed.
"Yes?" he whispered, unobtrusively turning on the holographic recording device, in case the Foy wished to grant permission.
The Foy's large, gnarled, rather tree-like body lay motionless on the bed. The bulging eyes palpitated (all five of them) as they rose, each on its stalk, and turned toward Dwayne. The Foy's voice had a strange tone and the lipless edges of his open, round mouth did not move, but the words formed perfectly. His eyes were making the Foyan gesture of assent as he said:
"Give my big hearts to Maude, Dwayne. Dismember me for Harold's choir. Tell all the Foys on Sortibackenstrete that I will soon be there --"
It's always difficult to be the bearer of sad news, but you'll probably want to know about the great loss today in the entertainment world. The man who wrote the song "Hokey Pokey" has died. The horrible part is that they had trouble keeping his body in the casket. They'd put his right foot in, and... well, you know the rest.
WHY WE'RE SO TIRED: for a couple of years, I've been blaming it on iron-deficient blood, lack of vitamins, dieting, and a dozen other maladies. But now, I've found out the real reason - I'm tired because I'm overworked.
The population of this country is 237 million. 104 million are retired. That leaves 133 million to do the work. There are 85 million in school, which leaves 48 million to do the work. Of these, there are 29 million employed by the federal government. This leaves 19 million to do the work. Four million are in the armed forces, which leaves 15 million to do the work. Take from that total the 14,800,000 people who work for state and city governments, and that leaves 200,000 to do the work. There are 188,000 ill and in hospitals, so that leaves 12,000 to do the work. Finally, there are 11,998 people in prison.
That leaves only two people to do the work.
It's just you and me, bub, and you're sitting there, scr*wing around on the Internet...
The trades are reporting that Michael Jackson became very disappointed when he learned that BOYS II MEN was *not* a delivery service.
For $500,000, the hot young movie producer buys himself a brand-new 1999 Ferrari GTO. It's the most expensive car in the world, and he wants to show it off, so he takes it out for a spin. At the first light, an ancient Moped pulls up next to him. The elderly cyclist stares at the sleek, shiny surface of the automobile and asks, "What kinda wheels ya got there, sonny?"
The young man replies, "A Ferrari. They go for about a half-million bucks."
The old guy is shocked: "That's a lot of moolah. Why do they cost so much?"
The cool young dude says proudly, "Because these babies can do 320 miles an hour!"
The gent on the Moped asks, "Can I take a look inside?"
"Sure," responds the owner. So the old man pokes his head in the window, and peers around.
Leaning back on his Moped, the old guy says, "That's a pretty nice car!"
Just then, the red light turns green, so the young producer decides to floor it. Within 30 seconds, the speedometer reads 320. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear-view mirror, which seems to be getting closer. He slows down to see what it might be, and whoooooosh! Something whips by him, at an incredible velocity.
The young guy is nonplussed: "What on earth could be faster than my car?!" Then, ahead of him, he sees the same dot, coming back. Whoooooosh! It goes by again, heading in the opposite direction. It almost looks like the old man on the Moped.
"Couldn't be," mumbles the producer to himself. "How could a Moped outrun my Ferrari?!" Again, the blasted dot appears in his mirror. Whoooooosh! Ka-boooom! It plows into the back of his car, demolishing the rear end. The young guy jumps out, and it IS the old fellow!
Of course, the Moped and its driver are hurtin' bad, so the Hollywood producer kneels down by him and says, "You're seriously injured - is there anything I can do for you?"
The old guy moans, "Yes... unhook my suspenders from your side-view mirror."
A low-budget producer visits the bank to obtain some financing for a new film, and the bank manager asks, "Do you have a director?"
"Yes," replies the producer, "Spielberg."
"Steven Spielberg?"
"No," says the producer. "Morty Spielberg from Buffalo."
"Do you have a leading lady?" asks the banker.
"Streisand," the producer responds confidently.
"Barbra Streisand?!"
"Well... er, no," the producer admits. "Loretta Streisand from Kentucky."
"Okay, do you have a leading man?" inquires the banker.
"Chamberlain," replies the producer.
"Richard Chamberlain?" asks the banker.

Editor: Alan C. Baird · return to synopses