Was there anything in my life — my actual life, the part not lived on the carpet in front of a TV set — to contradict this? Not yet, but my world was changing. The great cratering of New York City was now at its most dire — it was the era of overflowing trash cans, of sidewalks full of dog turds, of garbage men on strike and blaring horns and headlines about financial default (“New York City Is Now Dead” stories are not an invention of 2020), of graffiti-covered subway cars and mimeographed notes sent home from school about how to teach your children to protect themselves against muggers. I was still too young for some of the movies — The French Connection, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three — that reinforced the national image of New York as an ill-tempered hell where everyone was sweating just to get through the day. But my father took me to a couple of long-forgotten cut-rate versions of those films — Cops and Robbers and Law & … [Read more...] about Real-Life Cops, and Me
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To contrast, I think of Dane Cook, a comedian who was unprecedentedly popular with young fans in the aughts. He sold out college-basketball arena after college-basketball arena and then NBA arenas, at a time when barely anyone was even playing theaters. And he did so doing young-guy comedy — being brash and squiggly around the stage, making noises. My college hosted two of these shows, and I’m not going to pretend I didn’t have a good time, but it definitely had a clown at a kid’s birthday party feel. Then he turned 40 in 2012, he started talking more seriously, specifically about relationships and losing his parents, and it all sort of slowed down. Cook said around this time that he wanted his comedy to age with his audience, but that’s not exactly how it’s worked for him. This is not to say Cook is washed up — I’m sure he still draws a crowd wherever he goes — but he isn’t the comedian he once was. … [Read more...] about What Is the Ideal Age for a Comedian’s Persona?
But he’s not getting too focused. This is Max Landis we’re talking about, after all — another key to his success is the simple fact that he has so many pies cooking at any given time. He works with astounding quickness, claiming to have written the first draft of Mr. Right in a day and Deeper in five hours total. When I ask him if that means sleepless nights, he swiftly replies, “No, no” — the trick is how quickly he can write. Recently, he’s been spending most of his days co-showrunning Dirk Gently and writing other projects during down time. “I feel like he’s almost a victim of his own brain’s ability to generate ideas,” says Robert C. Cooper, co-showrunner for Dirk Gently. “If one thing doesn’t work, he’s already on to the next three, anyway.” That said, lots of people are prolific, and many are good in a room. Cooper — a 25-year veteran of the screenwriting game — says you … [Read more...] about Who’s Afraid of Max Landis?