Netflix humor that makes me smile

Everybody’s different, but these shows work for me:

Dave Chappelle’s specials – I’ve watched many of the standup specials on Netflix. These days, for me, Chappelle is king.

Toast of London – Silly and addictive.

The Detectorists – The driest Brit humor. Could you find anything like this produced in the U.S.?

Big Mouth – The facts of life for tweens. Does it cross a line? Definitely out there on an industry frontier.

The Good Place – A good place.

Schitt$ Creek – Levy family legacy.

Dropping the Soap – Just to include an Amazon Prime entry…

Children’s Hospital – …and one to find on Adult Swim or at your local library. 5-minute episodes, 7 seasons.

Shows that I revisit regularly: Lady Dynamite, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Futurama (ageless), Archer, Bojack Horseman, Lovesick (formerly, yes, Scrotal Recall).

Netflix Gore Awards

Netflix has reached new heights this season in the gore department.

I’m no expert, but here are a number of likely candidates for nomination for the annual industry gore awards:

I, Zombie – Every episode includes at least one scene where the heroine eats the brains of a murder victim (to recover memories of the crime). Recipe suggestions are sometimes included. Oh to have been a fly on the wall when this series was pitched.

Santa Clarita Diet – Drew Barrymore, zombie, requires human flesh to persist. No problem. The Santa Clarita suburbs are thriving and her family fully supports her.

The Punisher – Each episode rougher than the one before. The serie’s first season culminates in a fight that wins my vote for most violent ever filmed.

Ash vs. Evil Dead – The writers begin planning each new episode by asking the question, “How can we top the gorefest we dreamed up for that last episode.” In Episode 202, they produce a scene that may never be equaled (available on YouTube; definitely NSFW).

Some shows that used to seem gory: Spartacus (Andy Whitfield,  RIP), Banshee, Game of Thrones, Dexter, True Blood, The Walking Dead.

Haven’t seen: Hemlock Grove, The Knick, Hannibal, American Horror Story, etc.

Other shows I should champion?

Reality Show: Tea Party!

There is a lot of Tea-Party interest and energy out there. This show is designed to draw in viewers who want to learn more about the phenomenon. I’ve been shopping the idea around Hollywood and there is quite a nice little bidding war going on for it between the major reality-show players.

The show recruits three teams of thirteen rabid Tea-Party members each – thirteen,  or however many states there were at the beginning of the country. Twelve? Eleven? Whatever.

Or thirteen teams of three members each. I forget which I decided upon.

Every week for five weeks, the teams go out and throw a major protest on a given theme. Best protest wins the week.

Protest themes:

Child Care – We’re not talking about child-care programs for normal people, like the one down at Messiah Lutheran. We’re talking about those crazy programs like Head Start, where the government pays somebody to take care of the kids of welfare mothers, who can then go home and collect their checks from the state while eating chocolates and drinking beer on the couch. Protest hint: put super glue on the rocking-horse rockers.

Emergency Room – Have you ever got an ouchie and headed down to the emergency room at your local hospital for some TLC? You walk through the doors and WTF?!? The place is overflowing with gunshot and stab victims, drug addicts, and those same welfare mothers with their sick kids (germs caught at Head Start, no doubt). Your earnings are taxed right out of your wallet and sent to the hospital to pay for care for these losers with no health benefits of their own. Protest hint: bring a mean clown.

Soup Kitchen – What a great place for a protest. You probably won’t see much soup. I don’t know where they get it, but these places often serve actual meat, in the form of hot dogs or whatever. I’m sure that the governmentkeeps these soup kitchens open for business (who knows why), using the money that you’ve been saving to pass on to your own children. The death tax sweeps it up, right out of your family’s hands. Protest hint: bring a big truck and give everybody in the building a lift out of town.

Jail – These locations are loaded with the worst of the worst, and the government taxes you to put them up there. Most jails are little more than criminal hotels. Why should you even be working when Obama has already spent the money you hope to earn? Protest hint: to win this one, you have to end up in jail yourself.

Grand Finale:  Starbucks – Do you have any conception of the number of liberal hare-brained schemes that are dreamed up in these lairs. And every one of those schemes depends upon your savings for its funding. Protest hint: bring a gallon of gas and a match.

After watching this show, will you go out and hold a protest of your own? If you love America you will.

Reality Show: When Nuns Marry Nuns

I’ve already sold this one, so don’t bother trying to rip it off.

The studio searches the nation, the world if necessary, to find five nun couples who secretly want to get married. A ten-week competition is held. Each week the viewers vote. The winning couple is awarded ten million dollars.

Week 1 – Get married. Viewers will vote on the best wedding. Extra points for lavish. Vegas weddings are always popular, although one of you will have to pretend to be a guy. Hopefully you’re already doing that. Extra points for getting a priest to marry you in a Catholic church, or, failing that, a Catholic bingo hall.

Week 2 – Go on a honeymoon. Extra points for Cancun, if you know what I mean. Extra points for bikinis, but only if you were meant to wear a bikini. Loss of points for public sobriety. Extra points for public fun with your old habits. Flying Nun jokes while drunk are encouraged, but don’t jump off anything higher than two stories.

Week 3 – Buy a house. You’re married. Get out to suburbia and fit in with your neighbors. Extra points for doing this in the Deep South. Develop responses such as “It’s ok, kids. We’re nuns.” Extra points for noisy choppers that set the neighborhood on its ear.

Week 4 – Get a job. You’ve got to live. Points for best resume filled with lies. Watch “The Riches.” Watch “Catch Me If You Can.”

Week 5 – Adopt. The obvious next step. The more kids you adopt, the more points you get. Comedy endears you to the viewers: try dressing all your little boys as girls, and vice versa.

Week 6 – Fix your car. You’re driving down the freeway and you blow a gasket. Pull over and fix it. Full set of tools and instruction manuals in the trunk. Bang your knuckles and swear like a sailor.

Week 7 – Fight off an intruder in your home. This guy is here not only to rob you but to despoil you, and your kids, and your lovable spaniel, and your cats. Blow him away. Points for largest caliber used and highest number of intruder pieces scattered around after you cease firing. Points for blowing the smoke out of your muzzle when you’re done.

Week 8 – Cheat on your mate. At least one, and perhaps both, of you newlyweds must cheat, preferably in a sordid lesbian dive over in the poor part of town. Fiery arguments follow, featuring expressions not often heard in the convent, such as “cheap whore.”

Week 9 – Negotiate a successful divorce. Your marriage irreparably damaged, you must find a couple of legal eagles to prey upon you and dissolve your union in such a way that no worldly goods remain to either of you.

Week 10 – Return to the cloister. The two of you must find an order that will accept you back and you must return to the convent with your tails between your legs.

The winning couple is determined from the accumulated votes of the viewers. Regardless of the total, the couple must have completed all ten tasks successfully. Hence, the ten-million dollar prize will be turned over to the Church, as the nuns won’t be allowed to accept it themselves due to the rules of their order.

Reality Show: Sports Wives

Screenwriters: Write up your reality-show sports ideas and they will make you some money, irregardless of their stupidity and questionable value to the human race on our warming planet. Write them up, buy new cars, and spew carbon while you still can, before the government takes away our cars and makes us ride bicycles. In fact, you could… Aw, forget it.

Sample idea: Sports Wives

You find five wives whose husbands are sports nuts. The guys watch anything and everything. They tailgate. They buy merchandise. So forth. The wives have had it up to here. If they have to pick up one more empty beer can in the living room, they’re going to scream.

Pick a sport for the five women to take up, say, boxing.

Don’t pick women who can’t take a punch.

Don’t pick women who are all hat and no saddle. Or is it, all saddle and no spurs? Or all assless chaps and no garters? Whatever.

They can have a mouth on them.

If they have a lot of brothers, that’s a plus.

Not too butch, though. Sure, butch might help our contestants in the ring but we’re not selling this show to the gay demo.

If they smoke, it helps. They’re in their corner during a sparring session, taking a last drag on a butt and then flipping it into the mouthwash bucket, while on a split screen we see the husband howling for his f-ing dinner while the children cower behind a KFC Family Box of chicken legs.

Pick  five different colors for the trunks, with matching halters. Each contestant should need a lot of halter, if you know what I mean.

Each week, these women beat the hell out of each other. Wait! Make that six  women, not five. Six different racial ethnicities, although all the husbands should be white. Six different heights, from awesomely tall and leggy to ultra petite but perfectly formed. No fatties, needless to say. Three passive, three aggressive would probably work the best.

After each week’s bouts, we see the women partying with their trainers. The women are all banged up with bandaids and shiners, but in a sexy way, while on the split screen, the husbands are calling the kids’ grandmas to come over and give them baths and put them to bed, because there’s a game on, but we’ve bought off the grandmas so they won’t go.

In the final episode, the women come home and when their husbands try to bust their balls, the women smack the hell out of them.

Reality Show: An Election

Election time is coming, screenwriters. Time to throw your script into the ring. You can include a scene in it where men throw their hats into the ring. I haven’t seen that in a while. I don’t even know what it means.

Anyway. Here’s an idea that I’ve been selling on my professional scriptwriting site. I’m making it available to you for free, for only $9.99.

You go to Mississippi, if you don’t already live there, and find an uncontested state congressional district out in the sticks somewhere. The voters in the district are  white and only white. The district will be Republican. The incumbent should be a very old man. You will encourage him not to run again. I am not using the words “bribe” or “threaten.” If he doesn’t go along with you, I’m not using the words “get rid of him.”

With the incumbent out of the way, it’s time for you to line up your reality list of candidates. Any “real” candidates from the area should be dealt with in the same manner as the incumbent. Dollars are best but if your budget is limited, go watch the original Walking Tall a couple of times.

Since this is an all-white district in the Deep South, none of your candidates will be white. Remember the key to any good reality show: conflict, conflict, conflict.

Your contestents:

Confidence man – This guy will be almost identical to an actual politician.

Housewife – Large family. Never had a job. Never been out of the house. Husband doesn’t believe in it. You’ll be dressing her sexy for those outings where she presses the flesh. There will be viewer chuckles every time her husband goes apoplectic.

Mexican – Dresses like a migrant worker. Very limited English. The other candidates keep challenging him to produce proof that he’s a citizen but he just smiles, not caving in like Obama did. But then, Obama managed to come up with that “long-form” birth certificate somewhere.

Preacher man – Find a guy who can’t control his religious rants.

Sixties civil-rights activist – Even today, fifty years later, these fellows can raise hackles.

Ensure all the contestants, in case of an unplanned Klan lynching.

Plan for lots of campaigning in the WalMart parking lot. The look on those crackers’ faces when the candidates ask for their votes will make the show.

Each episode will end with a straw vote. The candidate who garners the most votes wins for the week. Most likely, no votes will be cast for any of them, but the confidence man may manage to buy one or two and the activist might sneak in a voter who can “pass.”

Finally, election night. Throw a party at which all the candidates become immoderately drunk. The townsfolk will have planned a party of their own. Film it. They still use hot tar and feathers down there.

Five Favorite TV Shows 2011

I don’t have a television set that is hooked up to anything and don’t use streaming much, so anything that I know about TV shows comes from seasons boxed on DVD.

Ruling out all the canceled and concluded shows and miniseries that I’ve liked, my current favorites:

Top 5

5. Sons of Anarchy

4. Breaking Bad

3. Curb Your Enthusiasm

2. Big Love – I haven’t seen the final season. I’ll be sad to see it go.

1. In Treatment

Five more, some of which could be in my top five

5. Entourage

4. Fringe – Always entertaining but frustrating because the through story is so slow to emerge.

3. Spartacus: Blood and Sand – Poor Spartacus got sick. Hope the show comes back.

2. Community- So far I’ve only seen Season 1.

1. I’m probably forgetting one.

Honorable mention

True Blood – Liked Season 1. Started Season 2 but bailed.

Haven’t seen



Boardwalk Empire


Modern Family, Parks and Recreation, The Killing, The Walking Dead, Nurse Jackie, etc., etc.,…

Haven’t engaged me


30 Rock

The Office

All animation

Bored to Death – Almost. If it had more through story.



Reality Show: Funerals

You may have been to one or more funerals (though I hope not). You’ve seen a million of them on TV and in the movies, and they’re all the same. Whereas weddings are all over the place, themewise.

This reality show, which I wrote, is now in pre-production. It’s called “Design a Funeral.”

There are five contestants:

– An interior designer

– A birthday clown/magician

– A wedding planner’s assistant

– An embalmer

– A lounge singer

Each week the contestants are provided with a funeral theme, venue, and budget and must each stage their own version of a funeral. An actor’s corpse is provided in the interest of verisimilitude There are five themes and the shows air every other week.

The themes/venues:

1. Public Pool – The pool is rented as for a big birthday party. The guests assemble at the bottom of the deep end, breathing via scuba equipment. The coffin is secured to the bottom of the pool. All oration is performed with the mouth uncovered to the water, so that it just sounds like burbling talk sounds, thus eliminating the most annoying aspect of funerals. When that’s finished, the coffin is loosed and floats up to the surface, symbolizing ascension to heaven, as all look up through their goggles. Later in the year, the mourners return and throw flower bouquets into the lanes during lap swimming.

2. The 101 – The hearse, and limos abreast, and more limos ranked in three rows behind, cruise down the 101 at the height of rush hour, at the four miles per hour typical at that time. The fleet brakes to a stop, creating instant gridlock behind and a maddeningly clear freeway ahead. The mourners jump out and the pallbearers extract the coffin from the hearse. A few quick words are spoken, hard to hear over the blare of hours and the shouts and curses of hundreds of frustrated drivers, crazy in the L.A. heat. The coffin is bourne over to the concrete divider to the left, and quickly shoved/tossed into the HOV lane heading in the opposite direction. The coffin is easily manipulated because it is made of paper and contains only the ashes of the deceased. Vechicles in the HOV lane quickly reduce the coffin to paper fragments and the ashes of the deceased are ground into the asphalt for a mile down the road. Later in the year, the mourners return and, car-pooling so that they qualify, cruise down the HOV lane scattering flowers through their open windows as they go.

3. Rock Concert – The deceased is brought to the concert, with a mourner on each side supporting him or her under the armpits. He/she isn’t too heavy, as his/her internal organs and so forth have been removed. He/she is going goth. He/she, at the proper time, will be projected into the mosh pit to surf. The mourners will return later, after the drugs have worn off, and try to find the body.

4. La Brea Tar Pits – The mourners will assemble behind the back wall of the tar-pit attraction at 2 A.M. on a weekday, with ladders and grappling equipment. They will scale the wall with the body of the deceased and gather inside at the edge of the hottest, deepest tar pit. After a few words have been spoken, about the  origin of the tar pits and the animals that have been trapped and perished in them, a metaphor for modern life, if I may presume, delivered by a bribed young employee who does the tours there, the deceased will be weighed down, if necessary, and consigned to the tar, there to be entombed until excavated and put on display at some future time. The mourners will return on the weekend to enjoy the pits as paying customers.

5. Wedding – The corpse in its coffin will be conveyed to the largest, most traditional wedding being held during prime time in the L.A. area. When questioned at the door by the wedding planner and the father of the bride, the mourners will claim that they have in fact reserved the church and that the Catholics have double-booked the chapel just to make an extra buck. Or the Jews, if this is a temple or synagogue. An argument will ensue. The bride will emerge. There will be tears. She will ask why the groom isn’t out there sticking up for their marriage. She will go in search of the groom, who will be discovered with the maid of honor. Meanwhile, the coffin will have been bourne in to the apse, if that’s the word I want. Bourne in to wherever the priest or rabbi is waiting, and put down. The cleric will be told to deliver a eulogy, at gunpoint if necessary. All the bridal floral wreaths and other flowers will be confiscated and bourne away with the coffin, which will be fit somehow into the trunk of the Just Married car, half of it sticking out in back. A red handkerchief will be tacked onto it for safety. The car will drive away (rice, no; tin cans on strings, yes) and once it’s out in some neighborhood, the coffin and its contents will be ditched on a front lawn and the mourners will all go to the beach to party. They will return to the church at some later date to sit listening to the sermon and then will put buttons in the collection basket.

Is this really a golden age of television — and a Silly Putty age for film?

I want to do this real scientific.

First, I pick three random viewers out of my mom’s colander: 12-year-old boy, 14-year-old boy, 16-year-old boy.


No, wait. To be scientifc, I’ve got to have a fleamale, haha.

Ok. And a 94-year-old lady, Esther Goldstein from next door.

Ok, guys. Hi, Mrs. Goldstein, would you please sit over there between Aaron and Isaac? Abe, move please.

Now I’m gonna name three movies and you tell me if they’re like gold or like Silly Putty.

It’s this stuff you take out of a can and you can squeeze it and if you press it on the paper, it’ll pick up the comics.

It’s a toy.

Ok, forget it. Let’s just say, are movies gold or are they stupid?

Now, I pick three movies. Say, “Sucker Punch,” “Battle: Los Angeles,” and “I Am Number Four.” How do you vote, gold or stupid?

Gold, gold, gold. Mrs. Goldstein? Mrs. Goldstein?

She’s ok. She just gets like that sometimes. Aaron, prop her up.

Ok, now I’m going to name three TV shows: “Mad Men,” “In Treatment,” “The Good Wife.”

Gold or stupid?

I can’t say that.

No, forget about “True Blood,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead.” I didn’t pick those.

I’m not stupid. You’re stupid.

Ok, ok. Let’s just say TV is stupid if it’s like the ones I named or gold if it’s like the ones you named, with vampires, meth, and zombies.

Thank you, Lily, for the topic. I think you have your answer.

Best Doughnuts for Adults

My agent signed me up to write a script for a doughnut commercial aimed at adults in New York City. The draft below can be tweaked for use with many other products. Feel free to use it as a template if you want to.

[We see two doughnuts talking. Subliminal physical clues around their respective holes allow us to infer that one is male and the other, female. In addition, the male is voiced by an individual who sounds like Stallone and the female by a Britney Spears clone.

He: Quit nagging me about my fat and sugar.

She: I know you. You’re gonna let some kid eat you.

He: So what? I’m sterile.

She: That’s not what Phobe says. [Phobe is a very chocolate eclair.]

He: Kids love doughnuts. What are you gonna do?

She: You get yourself  into a kid’s mouth and you aren’t going to roll hole-to-hole with me anymore, buster.

He: Hey, baby, I’ve got plenty of dough. [I know that seems weak, but you’re writing for an audience of semi-idiots here. I’m sorry, but I’ve spent a lot of time in New York.]

She: If grownups want to eat a doughnut, it’s their choice. They’re sitting there drinking coffee with cheap brandy in it, smoking cigarettes, they’ve probably just had unprotected sex, they’re sweating through their underwear out on their fire-escape “balconies,”  and now they want a doughnut to top off their evening. That’s what you were made for.

He: Jeez, I’m competing with alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, post-coital depression, and a muggy night in the big city…

She: Fat and sugar, sugar and fat, it don’t get any better than that. But please, adults only!