Funny You Should Ask

Oral Histories of Classic Sitcom Storytellers


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About the Book

This oral history of television sitcom writing offers the perspectives of 22 of the best and most prolific early comedy writers. How they broke into the business; how they wrote scripts (and where they got their ideas); what it was like to work on hits—and on flops; what the sitcom actors were like; how they collaborated with other writers and producers; and why they retired are just some of the topics they speak to. The book documents insider knowledge and gives the reader a better understanding of what makes great television comedy. The writers’ observations about the changes that took place during their long careers help explain why television comedy has evolved so greatly in recent years.

About the Author(s)

Scott Lewellen, co-founder of Saturday Mfg., a Des Moines, Iowa marketing company, has more than 25 years of broadcasting and marketing experience. He lives in Des Moines.

Bibliographic Details

Scott Lewellen
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 19 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7148-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0225-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Preface 1

The Writers 3

1. I’m Really a First Baseman: Getting the Job 17

2. Careening Into a Wall: Writing the Script 35

3. We Had to Cut the Laugh: Classic Series 64

4. A Spectacular Idea: Classic Episodes 87

5. This Is Good: More Hits 102

6. I’m Going to Acting School: Flops 132

7. Gold Is What You’re Always Going to Get: Working

    with Actors 166

8. Like a Marriage: Collaborators 187

9. The End of It: Retiring 207

Index 211

Book Reviews & Awards

“A fascinating collection”—