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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sacrifice, Making It, Hard Work & Honesty

I've been following this guy Bob Lefsetz for awhile now and he never ceases to inspire me.

Perhaps if you need some extra wind in your sails today this particular article will inspire you too!

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I don't like to write after midnight anymore, I end up so jazzed-up, so laden with adrenaline that I can't fall asleep for hours. But standing in the kitchen eating pineapple I realized that Howard Stern does what Johnny Carson used to, before David Letterman reinvented late night TV as scripted comedy bits and the informational interview bit the dust.

I couldn't leave the car. I wanted to hear what Lewis had to say.

They were talking about the Tonys. Lewis blew a gasket. Thought the whole show was an advertisement not to come. Was he bitter? You betcha. He wrote forty plays and made no headway. Even now that he's a famous comedian they won't produce his plays. He's written three books, but Broadway just doesn't give a shit.

He didn't turn to comedy until he was forty. Well, he didn't go professional until then, he worked stand-up on an amateur level. Now he's 61 and he headlines theatres, goes on the road in a bus with a road manager and a merch guy and a sound guy...he can't get over the fact that 2,500 people a night come to see him, he's thrilled.

Making it...

Howard asked Lewis if he resented the low brow comics. I figured Howard was referencing Dane Cook, but Lewis talked about Larry the Cable Guy, from twenty years before, when he was working under his real name. Lewis said he couldn't resent the guy, even though he was horrific then and funny in an horrific way today, because Larry did the work. Every morning he woke up and called radio stations.

And then there were the great comedians, like Dom Irrera, who never got their due, never broke through.

Howard put it to Lewis directly. Did he sacrifice his whole life, not get married, not have kids in pursuit of his dream of being a playwright.


He was a schmuck in his parents' eyes. He borrowed money from his more successful brother. Girls thought it was cool he was a playwright for three dates, and then dumped him.

Making it is so hard. You've got to do the work. And then sometimes it still doesn't happen.

And it sustains only when you're honest. Lewis gave shit to the baby boomers, said we should invade BP like we invaded Iraq. He was testing the limits, intellectually, and it was stimulating.

I get it, I get it, Howard Stern can be juvenile, talking about farts and doodies, but if you don't think he's good, just look at all the people who tried to follow in his footsteps and failed, like Diamond Dave and Adam Carolla.

Howard's a pro. His show is as well-oiled as Letterman's. But instead of poking fun at life, Howard Stern's show is life itself.

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