Monday, October 18, 2004

What will NOT be on the DVD.

A writer’s assistant in Los Angeles, who had been fired from the writing staff of FRIENDS, has sued its producers and writers for sexual harassment, because (according to the New York Times), she was subjected to “crude language, naughty doodles, [and] sexual fantasies” of the writing staff.

The defense, and it makes sense to me, is basically, what did you expect? We’re comedy writers!

Comedy writers, when the juices are flowing, will say or try anything for a laugh. And when the juices aren’t flowing, well, keep Grandma out of the room, that's all. Her ears might explode.

The assistant deposed “conceded that none of the remarks were directed at her but said that the constant banter was both an offense and an imposition.” She deposed, "'I can recall sitting around waiting to go home while writers were sitting around pretending to masturbate,' and continually talking about their penises."

Well now, having been in a comedy group, an all-male comedy group, I can certainly testify on behalf of comedy writers everywhere that we are indeed a scurvy foul-mouthed lot, male and female, who love nothing better than to go to that place called “Don’t go there.”

I would like to tell you that the Ducks would get all tongue-tied and shy should womenfolk come into the room, like soldiers in a John Ford movie, limiting our banter to “knock-knock” jokes, but without exception, I would say that all the women who came into the room would either match us individually and collectively in the gross-out department, or they'd just roll their eyes and go back to reading Jane Austen and packing their bags, knowing full well that our emotional age had stopped around the age of 13, and understanding that. Giving us our space.

This leads me to wonder about the writer’s assistant herself. Perhaps she was a Mormon, or a Baptist. Such people do not belong in a show business environment outside of Branson, Missouri. Even there, I suspect, the air turns blue from time to time.

(If you are a Mormon, or a Baptist, by the way, please do not be offended. There are many career opportunities available to you that do not involve being trapped in windowless rooms with egocentric needy neurotics with foul mouths and self-esteem issues. Avail yourself of them.)

Duck’s Breath’s humor onstage, by the way, does not reflect our taste lapses among ourselves. We are, at most, at worst, PG-13.

However, I remember once, on tour, after hours of driving in the van, Jim Turner came up with a riff that was so ridiculous, foul, and offensive, that we had to pull over to the side of the road, get out and walk it off, laughing helplessly, and groaning, until the image he had planted in our brains was replaced by puppy dogs, kitty cats, and world peace visualizations.

I would like to share with you what Jim said, but frankly, it’s bad enough that we’re all going to hell for hearing him in the first place. We’re just trying to save your soul really. It’s too late for us.


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