John Hodgeman asked John Cleese why jokes are funny. Cleese said that people always confuse humor with laughter. And that there is a difference, but they overlap. Something which I've been stewing on pensively over for the last few months.

- Cleese: "You can make a baby laugh... well it's not really a joke, do you see what I mean?"
- Hodgeman: "Part of that is that babies are stupid."
- Cleese: "Well, I'd say not well educated."

- Hodgeman: "It's true, it's a shame really."
- Cleese: "Yes, it's a shame."
-Hodgeman: "Please donate to our college for babies fund."
-Cleese: "And then we educate them, which makes the problem even worse."

My novel is both a traditional spy novel and a dark comedy. But in the effort to create something so astonishingly unique and alone in genre, my fists have literally bled as I continually pounded them against any surface sturdy enough to take the onslaught of a good, hardy, routine editing.

The struggle is in the jokes. On some days, I'll write an entire chapter just to come out with a cheap gag. On other days, the joke is much more of an existential question with a deeper thought process required. Yet on other days, I just want the thrills of writing about gunshots and explosions, or to touch the deep dark place inside of me that is tapped to write in the mind of a serial killer.

With so many jokes, sometimes I wonder if I can call myself an author, because this is a craft which is extremely enjoyable. And yet I want to write something that is timeless - something that will hold up through these dark times ahead of us. Even as the glaciers melt and the oceans rise, I'd like to make people not only laugh, but leave with a sense that their time was well spent.

Time well spent is what every reader desires - and that's my primary concern. Which is why I'm punching the mirror in this Broadway Starbuck's bathroom right now. WRITE WELL, DAMNIT.

If I haven't mentioned it before, these words are carved into my desk: "A story that's worth telling." I've got the very same words carved into my chest. It's to remind me every day not only to write, or to at least think about writing, but to also write only that which is worth telling. Not only that, but to LIVE as if my life is a story, and to live that story as a story that is WORTH telling.

These words are my only motto. I never really fucked with mantras or mottos or anything of that sort before, but these words are now seared into my flesh forever. I also plan on getting a neon light in the same exact shape as those which are carved into my desk and now into my skin - to hang ABOVE that desk where I am drafting the legends of men and women whose lives will hopefully outlast my own by many years.

When asked about the difference between British and American comedy, Stephen Fry has said of American comedy characters:

"They're not characters at all. They're just brilliant repositories of fantastic one-liners."
I don't want my characters to be shallow. Neither here and now in the drafts, nor when this story is unfortunately adapted to the screen as all stories are. And in my brain, these characters are motivated by deep neurotic desires and fantasies of greater life stations. I will defend the essence of these characters until I am ripped from the Earth - from the bastardizations of which Hollywood studios like to partake in, through the fuck-ugly practice of "notes."

Rick Gervais has said of Americans:

"Americans are more optimistic. Americans are told that they can be the President of the United States. Britons can't. And they carry that with them."

I don't think this is entirely true.

I think that Americans are just as cynical as Britons in their comedy. I just think that Hollywood studios NEVER GAMBLE.

Which is why, now with the advantageous digital playground created in the internet, new studios are popping up which are taking all of the zeal away from tertiary television. Studios like Netflix and Amazon are now creating shows about cynics, and losers who don't carry around the same quick wit as the 90's comedy Joe.

But America was changed after 9/11. Something that the UK witnessed from afar, but they've been a culture for far longer than we. Our shift towards modern imperialism has created a calloused exterior in any American who gives a shit about anything. If you're an American, and you actually care about anything, then most things in this world are generally shit. And as Americans living in this modern world, we have created comedy which reflects this.

Everything can go to hell in a second.

But comedies which are truly reflective of our culture get cut so fast it's sometimes as if their entire existence was only a dream.

Shows like CHAOS, which was cancelled after only one season. THE BRINK, which was cut by HBO only after its second season - although it was perhaps the only HBO comedy that might have genuinely made an impact in the world.

I'll still never forgive HBO for cancelling THE BRINK. If my work ever gets popular enough that HBO approaches me for a Spec, I'll most likely live-stream my middle finger at their faces for cancelling that show. THE BRINK was quite honestly the only HBO comedy worth watching while it was still on the air.

Every day, I live my life, and I consume comedy through buckets and by the bucketload.

And every day, I riff. I riff hard. Mostly in my head, as for the majority of most days, I am the only one around, therefore the only one to talk to. Sometimes I'll leave strange strings of phone messages on podcasts that I enjoy. But for the most part, it's just me.

And I'll come up with these great jokes. And I'll go write them down. And I'll weave them into this draft of my fucking novel, and they mature in the ground, and I'll come along in a few days to turn them up, and they turn out to be absolute shit.

A few weeks later, I'll read that same joke, and I'll laugh. It wasn't the joke that wasn't funny. I just wasn't in the right mood for it.


It's just a very difficult trek to find the right balance. I don't know if anything that I am doing right now is worth a damn, but I at least have to be optimistic enough to think that I am a decent writer.

Or else, I've been pursuing something that will be of no benefit to anyone - ever. For the past two years. That would be two years of my life absolutely wasted. I have to be a good writer. This novel has to be good.

On January 6th, Molly Holzschlag asked a question on twitter:

To which I responded my honest truth:

I am seeking something in this novel. But it is deep. It is deep like the characters that I want to pass onto the world.

But ultimately I want to make people laugh.