Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Notes On Screenwriting


I have the distinction of having been paid to write four screenplays for four very large companies. None were ever made. This gives me the freedom to say the following regarding screenwriting: I'd rather have a barium enema.

Now, some of you may aspire to screenwriting and I say, "bully for you." Enjoy. Perhaps you are made of better stuff than I. Actually, you probably are made of better stuff than I. So go for it. 

The last screenplay I was hired to write was for a very, VERY large company. When I turned in the first draft, I was given various kudos like, "Wonderful!" "It's sooooo good!" Having not written many screenplays I made the mistake of believing them. 

After some notes, I was sent off to do a second draft. Upon turning in that draft I was told, "We're close." "Not really what we had expected." And perhaps my favorite, "It doesn't have that IT yet." I don't know what IT was but it didn't have it. I was ashamed for having written a totally it-less screenplay.

I was sent off to do a third draft. The third draft made me cry. Really. I was sitting there and I just started crying. I wanted to throw the computer out the window. I was following their notes and I had no idea what to write. (Note to aspiring writers: not knowing what to write is a bad sign.)

Anyway, I turned that in. I was told that I had, "Missed it." "Made it worse." I didn't have the guts to tell them it made me cry. Everyone agreed the first draft was the better of all three and they wondered why I didn't just do the first draft again. Which I already had. Two drafts ago.

Anyway the family and I went off to Hawaii a few days later. When we got back, I got a call that the producer wanted me to start in on a fourth draft. A fourth draft.

I went to the meeting. I sat there listening to how the fourth draft could be so much better by being like the first draft. Only it should be better than the first draft and that's why it would be called the Fourth draft.

As I listened, I remembered that the third draft made me cry. I could only imagine what the fourth draft would do. Writing should be fun...or at the very least...challenging. There should be no crying. I'm pretty sure of that. When it came my turn to speak, I said something that stunned even me.

I became very contemplative. I think I started to channel St. Benedict. Rather than directly answer them, I told a story. This was my story:

There's a beautiful woman. Only, you can't really see her. She's wearing a long flowing dress. She's running up a side of a mountain. You start following her. Running after her. The mountain is made of really sharp lava or something. So, you start getting scraped and bruised and bleeding. But it doesn't matter, because you are following this beautiful woman. Anyway, she climbs higher. You climb higher. The rocks dig into your skin. Now, you're really bleeding and hurt...but you follow her.

She's now at the top of the mountain and you finally make it up there. You are a mess. You are bleeding and have broken bones. You walk up to her. She has her back to you. You turn her around. And she's super...SUPER ugly.

That's this script. It's super ugly. And I don't want to bleed anymore.

With that, I said good bye, got in my car and smiled all the way home.


Monday, March 23, 2009

April 21st, 2009 - A Day Of Special Magnificence

Yes, not only is that the date the Second (and final) Season of Freakazoid will be released, but it is also the date I shall announce the winner of the Second Froynlaven Reader Participation Challenge.

What? Paul, are you insane? So soon? It seems the First Reader Participation Challenge was only a week ago.

Yes. That's true. But I'm giving everyone a month on this next one. 

The prize is a nice one, too. The winner of said challenge will receive an autographed copy of Freakazoid Season 2. Surely that's worth at least 25,000 dollars! (Don't tell my wife.)

I shall listen to all the entries and pick the top five and allow all readers to judge. If, as happened last time, we only had two entries, I will let you all decide. If we have no entries, I will keep the autographed copy of the season 2 and gloat.

The due date to put these up at You Tube and send me the link will be 9pm on Sunday, April 19th. Reader voting will be on Monday the 20th. The awards ceremony will be on Tuesday, April 21st.

The Challenge:

What would it sound like if Anthony Newley sang the Themesong to Freakazoid?


There will be extra credit if you can work the word, "Dolittle" into the song. You might want to also hire an orchestra. I realize this can be expensive. Perhaps the government will pay for it.

Here's some reference...

There you are my hearty chums.

Friday, March 20, 2009


In this clip from my interviews with Lord Chittendem in 1979, the gracious member of the Royal Family takes me on a tour of his enormous gardens.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Unfortunately, I couldn't find any pictures of Hero Boy, so the above-pictured Hero Boy-ish girthy homunculus will have to do. Regardless, it's the spirit of what Hero Boy embodies that I wish to present in this post. Namely...I MUST SUCCEED.

No doubt you will notice that it's been some time since I've mentioned my desire to do the color commentary for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics. I still haven't learned what the brooms or mop thingies are for, but I intend to.

Fact is, I've been slightly despondent that I haven't heard from NBC yet. Even with the amazing audition tape I've sent them...I've heard nothing. And, as many of you commented, my audition was one of the best things you've ever heard. So I know I'm not crazy. (Maybe a few of you said it needed some improvement, but I found those comments to be petty.)

The point is, I cannot allow this dream to whither away. I must pursue it. I MUST SUCCEED.

Perhaps some of you have dreams that you think you can't reach. I say, don't give up. Maybe you want to be a clown in the circus. (Which would be stupid. Clowns are creepy. But it's your dream. So go ahead and creep little kids out if that's your deal. Me? No way! I'm normal.)

Perhaps you want to be an astronaut. (Good luck with that! Cuz FIRST you have to be an ace pilot and then be really brilliant at stuff and then be under 6 feet tall. Plus you have to be able to not throw up on demand. And then you have to be good at politics and suck up to like...EVERYONE. You have a better chance at winning the lottery! But go ahead. Dream your little dreams. Frankly, I think wanting to do the color commentary for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics is so much better than wanting to be a stupid astronaut.)

Regardless of our dreams (my normal one and your totally weird ones) we must all succeed. WE MUST SUCCEED.

So, today I again commit myself to doing whatever it takes to be on that ice when the curling players slide those heavy rock thingies toward that target doohiky.

A few weeks ago, young director Troy suggested that I needed a catch phrase. And he's right. Think about all the greatest sportscasters. They all had that one phrase they'd say when something amazing happened on the field. What would Harry Caray have been without his infamous, "HOLY COW!"

So, in case NBC calls, I need to be ready with my catchphrase. That phrase I'll say when I can't believe the curling move I just saw.

I've come up with a few thousand, but have narrowed it down to 10. Let me know which ONE you like.

(NOTE: These phrases are meant to be shouted excitedly, so keep that in mind.)











Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Firstly, tomorrow's blog shall be an awards ceremony for Keeper and Maz's amazing effort at showing us what it would sound like if Ethel Merman sang the theme song to Flipper.

Today, however, I am compelled to write a brief story about Frank Welker.

But, first...I must digress. My pal, John McCann, has updated his blog and added a little snippet from Freakazoid in the sidebar. The clip is from the end of the episode, The Chip, and is perhaps my ultimate favorite thing we ever did on Freakazoid. Yes, it's the man wrestling a bear for no reason.

As you'll recall (or not) The Chip featured a cameo by none other than Jack Valenti. And yes. It really was Jack Valenti. I wrote all kinds of things for Mr. Valenti to say and ended the episode with him saying, "And now, a scene of a man wrestling a bear for no reason."

As I recall, we just assumed we'd find such a scene from a stock footage house. Months went by. When the episode was finally animated, it was now time to find the scene.

I recall Tom Ruegger telling John and I to come down to the editing department. He had something he wanted to show us. Somehow, he had gotten permission to use a clip from Grizzly Adams. It was funny and we all chuckled. But...it wasn't quite funny enough.

Anyway, it was one of those things. Some things work. Some things don't. 

A few weeks later we were doing ADR at the recording studio. ADR is where we add dialogue or change a line if it didn't work. 

Frank Welker happened to be at that session. I don't recall what he was going to do for us, but at the end of the session we asked him to go into the booth and add bear sounds. (Frank is a genuis at animal sounds in case you didn't know.)

Anyway, we recorded the bear. Fine. And then...I think he was just going to do the man grunting or something. But instead, Frank had the guy screaming and crying and yelling. We peed ourselves. Frank did it in one take and we spent the next 15 minutes unable to function. 

That's Freakazoid.

By the way, here's a bit I did as Manny The Uncanny with Frank Welker at the LA ZOO.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Large and weighty kudos to those who entered their songs in the very first Froynlaven Readers Participation Week!

What would it sound like if Ethel Merman sang the theme song to Flipper? 

Well, let's see what Maz did, shall we?

Next, here's what the legendary Keeper has cooked up for us...

Let me just say that if there were more people like Keeper and Maz out there....why, we wouldn't need any stimulus plans at all! Such is their talent!

Let all of us praise them in unison and remember this as an important day of special significance! 

Well done Keeper and Maz! Well done!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


At last, it's here! Ethel Merman sings Flipper! Provide a You Tube link in the comments section and I shall begin . . . coooollating. Oh, there must be hundreds of entries. Where will I find the time? But I will and you'll know the winner real soon. Just like me.

Friday, March 13, 2009


No doubt most of you know how much I hate auditions. And if you don't, here's a recap: Auditions are vile and icky.

However, a few weeks ago, I had an audition that seemed more like a party. There was more laughing in that waiting room than in most comedy clubs on a Saturday night. The reason: these are good folks.  Pound for pound, they are the most talented actors I've ever had the pleasure of playing with. These are puppeteers. These are friends.

A few years ago, I had the chance to learn the basics (basics only mind you) of puppetry at the Jim Henson Company. I was asked to join an improv group that Henson was forming. Improv...combined with puppets. I knew improv. I didn't know puppets.

I showed up for my first rehearsal and sat in the back. The folks in that room were (and still are) the best puppeteers in the world. The Neil Armstrongs of puppetry. Drew Massey. Alan TrautmanVictor Yerrid. Julianne Buescher, Bill Baretta, Brian Henson, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph. 

Now, I've been in enough improv groups to know how it goes. New guy/girl shows up, gets on stage and all the other members of the troupe sit back...ready to judge unmercifully. 

This was in the back of my mind that first rehearsal as it came to be my turn to take the stage. On a table next to me were about 50 puppets. I was told to take any puppet and do a scene with another puppeteer. The equivalent, I suppose, would be if a brick layer was summoned to Washington to crunch numbers with Timothy Geitner. 

I started sweating. I grabbed the easiest puppet I could find. A penguin. There were no arms to move. Just a mouth. The other puppeteer and I took our places at the front of the stage. (Not really a stage....we were in a small screening room.)

Now, here's the way this works. There's a camera right in front of us. It's higher than us. Above our heads. The idea is to lift your puppet into the view of the camera while keeping your head out of the view. Next, on the floor in front is a TV monitor that shows you what the camera is seeing. There's another monitor to the left, right and behind.

When you turn your puppet to the left, it's the opposite on the monitor and the puppet moves to the right. It's flopped. Okay.

So, you hold the puppet above your head, look in a monitor, know that right is left and left is right...oh, and improv a scene while being tremendously clever. It's a real brain buster.

I did my first scene with my penguin and...well, let's just say my dog would have done a better job. 

Like, I said, I've been in a lot of improv groups and if someone had shown as much lack of skill as I did, there would have been a goodly amount of sniggering and self-satisfaction among the other members of the group. 

But that's not what happened. The other puppeteers started showing me the right way to hold the puppet. They were only to happy to work with me. These were folks that wanted to share what they knew. Unheard of. (Unfortunately, I'm still pretty lousy.)

Since that night, I have come to have great respect for puppeteers. They are some of the best actors I've ever been around. They can do things that would amaze you.

A few months ago when Christian Bale had his little rant because the cinematographer was distracting him, I thought about my puppeteer pals. 

Imagine doing a scene with your arm above your head for upwards of ten minutes. You are crammed into a tiny little space under a desk(or the front seat of a car). Another puppeteer has his knee in your face. A script is pasted onto a monitor. It's hot. Now perform and make it good.

Anyway, this all leads me back to that audition two weeks ago. Yes, everyone wanted to get the parts(s). But even given the competition, there was laughter and camaraderie.

Given the choice, I'd be locked in a room with these people any day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I'm pleased to announce it's Froynlaven Reader Participation Week! And you know what THAT means! (If not, keep reading.)

This morning I awoke curious as to what it would sound like if Ethel Merman sang the theme song to Flipper

And this, dear reader is where YOU come in. I can't do Ethel Merman. But, perhaps you can. Give it a try! Tell your friends. Perhaps your Grandma! I will post every submission next Monday. And here's how were going to do it...

Post your attempt on YOUTUBE and send me the link on Sunday night. I will provide a special Sunday Blog at precisely 9PM PDT. On the comments section, leave your name and YOUTUBE link.

Don't post it before then because you'll ruin everything and the world as we know it will cease to exist.

What would it sound like if Ethel Merman sang the theme song to Flipper? Well? 

Here are some clues. Here is Ethel Merman singing There's No Business Like Show Business:

And now, the theme song to FLIPPER.

Here are the lyrics:

They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!
Everyone loves the king of the sea,
Ever so kind and gentle is he,
Tricks he will do when children appear,
And how they laugh when he's near!
They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning,
No-one you see, is smarter than he,
And we know Flipper, lives in a world full of wonder,
Flying there-under, under the sea!

Okay then, that's it. Good luck.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So, I'm exhausted. I spent the morning practicing being a color commentator for the sport of curling. I must say I think I'm improving, but it's still difficult to pretend to be watching a curling game/match while adding interesting comments about imaginary players. Plus, I have to pretend that the guy I'm sitting next to is actually there. That's a lot to keep track of.

Still, like I said, I think I'm actually doing very well and hope to have a demo tap to send off to NBC by the end of the week. Not that they've contacted me or anything. They've haven't. But, maybe they're just waiting to see if I'm any good.

So, I have a favor. Would you all mind listening to this very short demo and let me know what you think? Again, there is no real match. There's nobody doing ply-by-play. It's just me trying to be the best color commentator I can be.

By the way, I'm pretending that the guy I'm working with is named, Chuck. That's why I say "Chuck" a lot. 

Okay. Here goes:

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


A busy day today has precluded me from fulfilling my blogging duties. I am filled with shame. A better blogger would not have been as selfish as I. A better blogger would have mustered up the energy and courage to at least write something. 

It wouldn't have to be much. Just perhaps a small blog about being busy and not having the time.

Alas. I cannot do that. I'm too new to blogging to just sit and  write something like that.

A better blogger would do a quick, little poem. Something like:

I have a fish
His name is Roy
And when he's bad
We feed him poi.

But when he's good
That lucky fish
He gets to eat
His favorite dish.

The dish he eats
That happy boy
Also happens 
To be poi.

Yeah. If I were a good blogger who doesn't have much time to blog I'd do a poem like that. But I'm not.

A better blogger who longs to be hired by NBC to be the color commentator for the sport of curling at the winter Olympics would try to do a little something to move that dream forward. He'd remind everyone to continue calling NBC. He'd say he's still learning what the broom and mop thingies are for. Alas, I may love curling, but I am not that good at off-the-cuff blogging yet.

So forgive me. Tomorrow I shall blog again.

Monday, March 9, 2009


In part two of my conversation with the legendary member of the Royal Family, Lord Chittendem talks about his involvement in the mini war with the Philippines.

Again, sorry about the poor quality of the recordings, but they are over 30 years old...

Friday, March 6, 2009


Some of you may claim to have seen the worst movie ever made. You'd probably say it is Ed Wood's Plan Nine From Outer Space. I would argue, however, that any movie that has survived for over 50 years and only gets more popular with each passing year couldn't possibly be bad. It's just unique. 

I have a soft place in my heart for Plan Nine From Outer Space. I know all the lines by heart. I've parodied it on Freakazoid. If someone told me that we were all going to watch Plan Nine tonight, I'd be giddy with excitement. Yes, the acting is lousy. But it's so lousy, it's brilliant. The script is incomprehensible. But never have such a combinations of words given me more joy. For me, it all boils down to this: Ed Wood was at least trying. In my book, that counts for something.

Alas, I cannot say the same thing for what truly IS the worst movie ever made. A movie I was in. A movie that you will never see. Be thankful. Be grateful. Beware.

The movie is I.F.O. Just typing those three letters gives me something akin to irritable bowel syndrome. Actually, there's nothing akin about it. It is irritable bowel syndrome.

I was 24. I was performing improv at the LA Connection. After the show a German man came up and introduced himself to me. He was making a movie. He also introduced himself to Marc Drotman and Tony Lovett. They were in the group with me and good friends.

He asked us to come to an audition the next day. We did. The audition consisted of us doing...improv. There were no lines to read. We just sorta did silly improv stuff. That should have been our first warning that things weren't quite right. I've since learned that he had us improv because there was no script yet. The movie was going to shoot in two weeks and there was no script. Actually there was a script. But it was in German. A meticulous translation was underway.

We were hired on the spot. Would we like to be in a movie? WHU? YEAAAAAAH!

I remember Marc, Tony and me all rushed to phones to call our parents. We had made it. Stardom. The big time.

Two weeks later we arrived in Tehachapi, California for a week's worth of shooting. Never has such horribleness been put to film.

Our director was from Germany. He was an actor who worked often with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, a German director of considerable reputation. I can't say that any of that rubbed off on him. Still he was pleasant enough. I think, anyway. We could never really understand him. Not only did he have a very thick accent, but he spoke very softly. Truth be told, I still have no idea what he said. This can be a problem when you're making a movie. 

He'd give you direction and before you had time to say, "What?" he'd yell ACTION! Which is why, if you ever see the movie (which I urge you not to do) every scene starts with a puzzled expression on all the actors faces. After about three seconds of puzzlement, we all slowly start doing our lines.

The movie we were about to film was about a small, talking, toy-sized helicopter that was invented by two "brilliant" scientists (Me and Tony Lovett.) The fact that Tony and I were in our early 20's didn't seem to bother anyone. My character also had a teenage daughter, which would have meant I had become a father at the age of 8. But, I was "brilliant" so maybe. I dunno.

Anyway, the CIA steals this obnoxious, talking, toy helicopter from us or something (I've tried to erase it from memory) and it...I dunno. Something happens. But in the end, the helicopter meets a young teenage boy and they become friends. The end. 

The script was....well. Who ever translated it from German did so literally. For instance, a line like, "What are you talking about? That's impossible!", was given to us as, "You are talking about something I am unaware of! That which you refer to is not workable in the realm of possibility."

There was also a large chunk of the script that was simply TBD. (To Be Determined.) We found out that TBD would involve Tony and myself improv-ing our lines. Making it up as we went along.

Another part of the script called for a scene in our high-tech laboratory. We had filmed all week and still not been in this high-tech laboratory. When we asked where the set was we were told it was being built.

Finally, we were driven to the set. It was a barn. A real barn. They had swept out the hay. Inside they had placed an old console television on one end. They had found the TV on the side of the road. That was our high-tech lab. It's really hard to pretend to fiddle with high-tech dials when they're on a console TV that's been placed on its side. Still, we did our best. I remember fiddling with the TV while saying lines like, "The newton flux field is modulating nicely. But I'm getting an arc on the looten tube!"

The helicopter itself was a remote-control gas-powered horror. It had been purchased from a hobby store and modified with all sorts of high-tech gizmos. Unfortunately, that made it too heavy and it could only hover about an inch from the ground. That didn't mean it couldn't hover from side to side and almost cut your legs off.

One scene called for Marc to scream as the helicopter got close. Marc screamed. But his screams were real. The helicopter was about to disembowel him.

About three months after we made the movie we were invited to a screening. Being new to making movies I had thought, "Well, I'm sure they added stuff and it'll be okay." It wasn't. Now, generally I'm pretty optimistic about things and try to see the positive. I have a dog with three legs. But to me, he has four. Understand? However, the movie that unspooled in front of me that afternoon was a dog with NO legs. It just sort of flopped around. It was an ugly dog, too. An ugly, no-legged, flopping dog with anal leakage.

I remember rushing back to work at KABC thankful that I had a job.

How bad was it? Well, about five years later my best man got a hold of a copy and thought it would be funny to show at my bachelor party. His thinking was, "This will be hysterical!" Everyone had been drinking heavily and smoking cigars and there was much mirth and merriment. When the movie started everyone started laughing. "Oh! Oh! This is going to be funny!" 

Know that it's really hard to take 30 drunk, happy, cigar smoking men and immediately turn them into quiet, somber men with thoughts of suicide. And that was only after watching the 1st minute.

Anyway, I need you to trust me on this. You have not, and luckily, will not ever seen the worst movie ever made. Make fun of Plan Nine if you must. But I have seen the true beast. Prithee go not where I hath.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


As you know, I want to be hired to be the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics.

You'll notice that I've made some temporary changes to the site. It occurred to me that NBC is going to want to make sure I really know curling as much as I say I do. So I've added a bunch of curling stuff in the sidebar. I'm not sure what it all is, but check it out and especially visit the links I've provided to other curling sites on the web. That way, others in the curling community will see that I am not only a fan, but helping build the visibility of curling within the general public. That will reflect well on me.

Also, if you wouldn't mind, when you do comment on one of my posts, try to add something about curling. Something like, "Good blog, Paul. By the way, wasn't that game great last night? Henderson brought the rock into the house like nobody's business." You know. Something like that. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a curling match or a game...so just use both like this: "Wemble was great in the match/game last night."

Also, a special thanks to Takineko. She had her friend Maz call NBC. That's a step in the right direction. But we're going to need more steps like that. Remember to use your script. Here's a link.

I'll get back to the regular blog tomorrow with a new clip from my interviews with Lord Chittendem. 

I'm going to stay home today in case NBC calls. So nobody call me. I don't want to tie up the line.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I'm not criticizing, but it's been a whole day and I haven't heard a word from NBC Sports. Maybe some of you called them, maybe some of you didn't. I'm not in your heads, so I'm not going to judge. But I'm running out of time.

If I'm going to be hired to be the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics, I need to know as soon as possible. I'm going to need to buy shoes and prepare and learn what the broom thingies are for.

So, if the problem is you don't know what to say if you call or write NBC, I have a solution. I've provided a script for you to follow. (Note that I've written various responses based on likely questions you may get from the person on the other line. Please read it over carefully before you call so it doesn't sound like you're reading. This sort of thing worked very well for Obama volunteers.)



THEM: "Hello. NBC. How can I help you?"

YOU: "I would like to speak to the person in charge of hiring the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics. Can you connect me post haste?"


THEM: (possible response one) "Excuse me?"

YOU: (possible response one) "Let me speak to you supervisor at once! I am most dissatisfied with the way I am being treated."



THEM: (possible response two) "Of course I will connect you to our Sports Department. They will put you in contact with someone that can help you in your query."

YOU: (possible response two) "Thank you so much. Give me your name so that I may praise you to the people that have hired you." (Note: Don't write their name down. You're just being nice.)



THEM: "This is the supervisor to the receptionist you were just speaking to. Is there a problem?"

YOU: "Not yet. But there will be unless I am treated with respect! I want to speak to the person in charge of hiring the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics."

THEM: "I'm sorry. I don't have that information."

YOU: (long, angry sigh)

THEM: "But I can connect you to NBC Sports."

YOU: "Fine. If that's the best you can do. I am most dissatisfied. Carry on and transfer this call."


THEM: "NBC Sports. How can I help you?"

YOU: "I wish to speak to the person in charge of hiring the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics."

THEM: (possible response one) "I'm sorry. Mr. Thmeling, isn't in. Can I take a message?"

YOU: (possible response one) "Yes. And don't just pretend to take the message. Write it down. I wish that he would hire Paul Rugg to be the color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics. I am a fan of curling and Paul Rugg knows the sport so well. Obviously he knows what the brooms and mops are for. Ha ha ha. Why wouldn't he? My friends and I would watch more coverage of the Olympics if you hired Paul Rugg who has received an Emmy and a Peabody but he doesn't talk a lot about that. Thank you for listening to me. I have to go help the poor now. Good bye."

THEM: (possible response two) "That would be Mr. Thmeling. I'll transfer you."

(Note: Sometimes it takes a while for important people to get their call. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security and use the bathroom or anything. Stay focused and rehearse your lines.)

THEM: "Hank Thmeling. How can I help you."

YOU: "I would like you to hire Paul Rugg as color commentator for the sport of curling at the Winter Olympics."

THEM: "I've already got my color commentator. Chuck Rensling.(Or another name.)"

YOU: Ohhhh. I see. Hmmmm.

THEM: "Is there a problem?"

YOU: "There quite a bit of scandal swirling around that man. My friends and I in the curling fan community are going to boycott. What a pity. We love curling. But how can we watch if THAT man is allowed to be on the air after what he's done. I shall have to alert others in the curling fan community to do so as well. What a shame. Paul Rugg is such a great color commentator when it comes to curling. He's very aware what the brooms or mops are for. Ha ha ha. Why wouldn't he be? Still, if you have made your choice. Paul's Emmy is in the repair shop. It got knocked against the other two Emmys and chipped. What a shame. At least the Peabody is safe."

THEM: "Hhmmm. Give me your number. I'm going to make some calls."

YOU: (give them your number.)


YOU: "Thank you so much for speaking with me. I have not been asked by Paul Rugg to make this call and am acting on my behalf."


So, there's your script. Now do me proud.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


It's not everyday that I am struck with a thought so profound as to render all previous profound thoughts....not. (Profound.)

And yet, such a monumental profound thought was blown into me this past Saturday. 

I was watching TV while waiting for my family to get ready to go somewhere. (Where we were going isn't important, but it is humorous and I shall blog about it on a day where I want to be humorous and not profound.)

I was watching the women's olympic trials for the sport of curling. And then it hit me. 


I had never really watched curling. And if I did, I was always one of "those" cruel, mean-spirited people who made fun of it. (Perhaps you know one of those people. Perhaps you are one of those people. If you are, never visit my blog again. I break with thee. Fie to you! 

Curling...or should I say the AWESOME SPORT OF CURLING is the most captivating sport I have ever seen.

It is played on ice. That is pleasing. 

There is a round, heavy weight that glides across the ice. It goes slow enough so your eyes can follow it. 

Part of the sport involves the use of a mop or broom. So it's a clean sport.

There is a bullseye so you know what they're aiming for. 

There's not a lot of sweating which is much more hygienic. 

The sport...ahhh...is perfection.

A person firmly slides the round, pleasing weight down the ice. It glides down the ice on its own toward the bullseye. Two people walk next to the weight and mop in front of it. (I'm not sure why they do this. I have my theories. But I'm going to research it and get back to you. Of course, before I do the color commentary for NBC, I'm going to need to know because I want to sound informed. Hey, if you know why they use the brooms, let me know. Okay?)

Now, here's the important part in all of this. I need your help to make my dream a reality. If anyone knows anyone at NBC, could you put in a good word? Let them know I'm crazy about the sport and would love to do the color commentary during the Olympics. 

Tell them I know all about curling. Don't tell them I don't know what the brooms or mops are for. I'll do some research. If they ask if I know what the brooms or mops are for, just sort of laugh and say something like, "Are you kidding? Does he know?" You know, say something like that. But make it real. Don't overdo it or they'll be suspicious. 

Also, let them know I'd be willing to make it to Vancouver on my own, but I'll need a hotel room. I don't want to bunk in anyone's house. I need my me time. 

It's important you tell them I'm not doing this for free. I'm not budging on that. I'm not some amateur that just got off the truck from San Diego. If you can, try to mention that I've won an Emmy and a Peabody. But make it genuine. Don't just say I've won and Emmy and a Peabody. Try to work it into the conversation naturally. Something like this, "Oh, Paul loves Bob Costas. He thinks he saw him at the Emmys when he won. He didn't see him at the Peabody awards when he won that one time." 

Okay? Are we clear? Thanks for helping. I really want this. So don't blow it for me.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Stand by for news!

A lot of people (okay, maybe two) have asked where we got the idea to use a parody version of Paul Harvey on Freakazoid.

To commemorate Mr. Harvey's passing yesterday, I've decided that today is as good a time as any to spill the beans. 

First we must journey to those money-soaked days of Warner Brothers Animation in the Spring of 1994. 

Tom Ruegger had called me at home one night to tell me that we had won a Peabody for Animaniacs. I remember saying, "A Peabody? Are you sure? Do they give those to cartoons?"

60 Minutes had gobs of Peabodys so you can understand my confusion. They did stuff. We didn't. (Well, we did stuff, we just didn't do THAT sort of stuff.)

Happily, Tom was correct. We had won a Peabody. And within a month, many of us would be flying to New York to accept this prestigious diddy of all diddies. 

We would all go to New York because Jean MacCurdy (president of Warner Brothers Animation) convinced the big boys at Warners that we all had to go. It was a group award, she argued. And, God Bless that woman, she won.

I might be leaving some folks out, but as I recall the attendees were as follows: Randy Rogel, Tom Minton, Peter Hastings, Tom Ruegger, John McCann, myself and...perhaps someone else that I'll kick myself for not remembering.

Here's a tip: If you ever go to New York to win an award, go with Jean MacCurdy. She planned two days filled with yumminess. 

Having been to the Emmys on a number of occasions, let me just say that winning a Peabody is the best. Why? Because you already know you've won before you show up. There's no nervous tension, just happy little thoughts and limo rides and wine.

As we flew to New York we looked at who else would be at the Peabody Awards and who else was getting an award. The other winners were impressive. Christiane Anampour. 60 Minutes. (I told you.) The Larry Sanders Show. And lots of other smart people.

My eyes widened when I saw that Paul Harvey would win a special life-time achievement award. Paul Harvey. I had been doing an impression of him since I was a teenager. I started doing my (lame) impression and annoying everyone in my group. "Paul Harvey..........Good Day." I also started doing Paul Harvey saying the word, "Peabody." Over and over. Long drawn out, Paul Harvey...."PEA...BODY."

Anyway, we landed and Jean showed us the town. The morning of the award, Jean set up a special breakfast for us at the Regency Hotel...home of the original 'Power Breakfast.' As we ate, Randy Rogel pulled out his small date book in which he had entered that on that day he was going to win a Peabody award....just another chore in a long list of chores. It made us all laugh. 

After breakfast we followed mother MacCurdy like little ducklings until we arrived at the Time Warner Building. She was taking us to meet Gerald Levin, the CEO of the company and VERY IMPORTANT MAN. We we got off the private elevator to his offices and blast of heat hit us. I'm telling you, it must have been 100 degrees. From that day on, we all agreed that Mr. Levin was an alien and could only survive in a climate much like his home planet. (It was also around this time that he was planning his merger with AOL. Too bad he didn't ask us, we'd have told him to forget about it.)

And then, the ducklings followed mom to the Waldorf Astoria for the awards. There was a reception before the actual event. We all had champagne. Then more. Then wine. By the time we were all in the ballroom for the awards, we were all very...happy. This is fun!

The actual awards were very respectable. Christiana Anampour talked about her efforts in the Middle East. I remember us all looking at each other. "What the hell are WE doing here?"

Then we won and Jean went up and said smart things. We had more wine. Happy. Happy.

Then, Paul Harvey was presented with his award. He came to the mic...and I swear this is true...took a long pause and then said...."PEA...BODY. THE PEA....BODY." It sounded like me doing an impression of him. John McCann and I started giggling. Then Ruegger. Then Peter Hastings. It was a church laugh. The laugh that you want to stop but can't. I had to duck my head under the table. Mama MacCurdy was not pleased with her young wards. We all tried our best. We got it under control. And then, Mr. Harvey once again said....'PEA...BODY." We lost it. Every time we got ourselves quiet he would say, "PEA....BODY" again.

I remember thinking, "Oh please. Please. Please, Lord. Make him finish."

He gave a great speech. I wish I would have heard it.

Anyway, when we all got back to LA, John and I would always say, "PEA...BODY." We'd go for walks during lunch and do Paul Harvey impressions.


When we came on board for Freakazoid, John and I were walking one day and started doing impressions of Paul Harvey telling Freakazoid stories. It made us laugh. A lot. We pitched it to Tom Ruegger and he agreed.

And now you know...THE REST OF THE STORY.