This "blog" or "webblog" or "internetwebblog" or "interwebblognetwebblog"
will feature the thoughts and observations of Late Show writers Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel, Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt
Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden regarding the current writers strike.
There is a lot at stake with this strike and these are serious issues. The Late
Show writers are on the picket lines every day they are scheduled. We are not making light of this situation. One way to get
people to pay attention to the strike and its issues is through humor. Best, THE LATE SHOW WRITERS
As you may know, the writers and producers were back at the negotiating table this week. While
the talks were shrouded in secrecy, a friend of mine on the inside agreed to give me a snippet of what went on.
WGA REPRESENTATIVE: All we're asking for is a small percentage of the billions our work has made for
you . STUDIO REPRESENTATIVE: Go fuck yourself.
My longtime personal trainer, Rob Castillo (www.absolutefitnessnyc.com) was kind enough
to send me this list of suggestions to decrease lower back, feet and overall physical discomfort while on a picket line. I
pass these suggestions, and some of my own, along to help my fellow union brethren, and anyone else considering a job
action, or holiday travel.
** Keep feet apart when walking or standing to ease pressure on lower
back. ** Slightly squeeze your butt together for lower back support ** I said "slightly." ** Replace your shoe insole with a a softer sole, available at any Foot Locker. ** Make side deal with
Foot Locker to publicize chain on lateshowwritersonstrike.com website and get a little personal strike fund going to
ease pressure and increase support. None of the other guys have to know. You're the strike captain. Is anybody looking
out for you? ** Hydrate with mineral water or, for more energy and fewer trips to the toilet, fruit. ** Okay, first of all, I tried the fruit thing. The other day, I pulled out a couple of tangerines on the
line, and one of my own men, I think it was Lee Ellenberg, says, "Hey, Dr. Oz, have a donut like the rest of
us." No, wait. Tommy Ruprecht said that. Lee called me "Nana" because I couldn't remind the name
of the movie "The Flamingo Kid." I kept calling it, "Those Flamingo Boys." So forget the fruit. And
that fewer trips to the toilet thing is crap. ** Loose footwear, headwear and light warm clothes increases circulation. ** Loose footwear available at any Foot Locker. ** Chin up and stomach in. Improved posture increases
circulation. ** Heat patch on lower back or neck to keep warm and increase circulation. ** Speaking
of increased circulation, I heard Joe Grossman's a big star in Austria because of that silly 8-second video on this site.
He got $50,000 to show up at a mall in Innsbruck and wave this weekend. Does the strike captain get a taste? ** Relaxed,
light breathing increases energy. ** How am I supposed to relax when I know Joe Grossman is getting fifty frigging
grand for eight friggin' seconds? ** At the end of your picketing shift, elevate feet for 10 minutes to increase
circulation, ice your lower back or shoulder if sore, but if stiff, use heat. ** Cancel appointment
with personal trainer because lower back and shoulders too sore and stiff. ** Start being much nicer to Joe Grossman.
BILL SCHEFT'S STRIKE-RELATED DAVE-TYPE MONOLOGUE JOKE OF THE DAY:
Big news. Today, the AMPTP made a huge concession to the Writers Guild over the new media. Starting January 1, in
any online video featuring David Hasselhoff, writers will be entitled to 3.5 percent of all food on the floor.
As our blog has evolved, a few themes have established themselves
as central to our strike experience. Richard Belzer and his sandwiches…Strikey, the loveable WGA mascot…Alan
Zweibel and his Thurber Award….and of course the giant inflatable pig and rat.
fascinated by the picket line’s big inflatable animals. Yesterday an examination of the label on the greedy pig
determined that it came from Big Sky Balloons and Searchlights of Chicago. Here’s their web page featuring strike-related giant animals:
Beware, AMPTP! Give us the fair deal we demand, or we’ll
be forced to deploy the Cockroach, Skunk, or Corporate Fat Cat!
And if those don’t convince you, we won’t
hesitate to use Big Sky’s other fine inflatables such as the giant Birthday Cake, Einstein, Panda Bear, or Golf Ball.
Don't think the Guild is limited to those choices. One click here and we are on our way to acquiring a 25ft. Blue Gorilla with Yellow Boxer Shorts.
So one disturbing thing about being on strike is, umm, you don't get paid. I've been
out of work for a month, and I have a mortgage. But am I panicked? No. You know why? Shortly before she died, I befriended
105-year-old heiress Brooke Astor. It turns out Lady Astor was what you might call a "cougar." In return for my
"services" Lady Astor presented me with a Faberge egg and an original Monet. So I'm doing okay.
one other thing-- if Ivanka Trump happens to be reading this, give me a call.
Since the strike was called, we have been picketing different sites around New York City.
In Los Angeles, our WGA brothers and sisters picket almost every day. Unfortunately, back east we don’t do it as often.
When Late Show was in production, we would work more than fourteen hours a day. When we are not picketing, my day is very
Late Show Production Day 9 am- 10 am- Read paper, work on topical comedy 10 am- 11 am- Read
writers’ work, assign daily scripts, Pick Top Ten Topic 11 am- 12 pm- Work on Top Ten list 12 pm- 2 pm- General
work on day’s show 2 pm- 3 pm- Rehearsal 3:30 pm- 4:30 Dave’s dressing room 4:30 pm- 5:30- Tape
show 5:30 pm- 10 pm- Work on next day’s show
My day at home (a non picketing day) 9 am- 10 am-
Play with baby (Ashley)- Dress daughter (Emily) and bring to school 10 am- 11 am- Clean basement because wife says, “it’s
a good idea” 11 am- 12 pm- Clean garage because wife says, “it’s a good idea” 12 pm- 2 pm-
General cleaning like picking up food kids threw on floor, cleaning dirty diapers, removing dirty diaper bag to garage. 2 pm-3 pm- Errands for wife, food shopping 3:30 pm- 4:30 reorganize my study because wife says, “it’s a
good idea” 4:30 pm- 5:30- pick up toys thrown around the house because wife says, “it’s a good idea” 5:30 pm- 10 pm- Put both kids to bed, Try and watch some TV. Wife already there watching her dancing shows. Wait for her
to be done. Fall asleep on couch.
Couple of days to recap here. Tuesday a rally was held in Washington Square Park. Many unions came
together. I would say there were at least 2 million people there.
Who was there you ask? Well, it was Tinseltown East for an afternoon! Who's that glamorous lady? Why it's
And that leading man? Mr. Tim Robbins.
Who's that below? Stand back ladies, GIlbert Gottfried is taken!
Hope you brought your autograph books- it's Danny Glover!
John Edwards gave a campaign speech- for some reason he thought he was talking to striking bus drivers in Akron. Close
enough, John. We appreciate the support!
And is that Curtis Sliwa? No! It's our own Guardian Angel, Late Show Strike Captain Bill Scheft
Wednesday brought our first repeat picketing site- the Time Warner Center. Many many Late Show folks came by
to lend their support. We are proud to call them our friends
Thanks to the news outlets who have been mentioning our site. Today we appeared on the websites of USA Today and Entertainment
Also listen for some strike reports on Howard 100 news who was there to cover The Howard Stern Show's Artie
Lang's appearance on the picket line.
A few fun facts from today's picketing.
The first time we marched at Time Warner Center two
weeks ago, we walked in a counterclockwise direction. Today we walked in a clockwise direction. A WGA official who requested
anonymity said "This is just the thing that'll bring those bastards at the studios to their knees."
the writers strike mascot was there. 85% of children polled said they like Strikey better than Santa Claus and 96 percent
of adults say they like Strikey better than Ben Affleck.
Strikey was featured in a piece on the Hollywood Reporter blog today. Check it out here
Grabby the AMPTP mascot was also on hand at today's picket at Time Warner. An ugly incident occurred in front
of one of Time Warner's high end stores as Grabby beat a Tourneau employee out cold with a picket sign reading "No
Money, No Funny." Keep it together, Grabby.
Finally, thanks to out other friends who came by- like Gregg "Opie" Hughes from the wildly popular
"Opie and Anthony Show"
And our pal Chris Elliott from the situation comedy "Fannies On Parade"
BILL SCHEFT'S STRIKE-RELATED DAVE-TYPE MONOLOGUE JOKE OF THE DAY:
The networks are furiously retooling their primetime schedules in case the writers strike continues through the holidays.
Over at NBC, Carson Daly will be hosting his own three-hour special December 31, "Scabbin' New Year's Eve."
"Solidarity Rally Phrase That Pays" contest winner
Congratulations to Alisha Benchley of Cincinnati, Ohio for winning the lateshowwritersonstrike.com "Solidarity
Rally Phrase That Pays" contest. Alisha came closest to guessing the number of times speakers at Tuesday's
rally in Washington Square Park would use the phrase "greedy bastards" to describe the AMPTP. She guessed 192.
The correct answer was 16. Alisha, you've won a picket line-worn WGAE strike jersey by your choice of Late Show writer
(Sorry, Joe Grossman's already went for $10,000 at an online auction on eBayAustria) and two tickets to "Jersey
Boys" whenever our stagehand brethen get a fair deal.
Thanks for playing. Keep an eye
out for more contests on lateshowwritersonstrike.com. Remember, you gotta refresh it to win it!
Week four of the strike, and
both my morale and my bank account were starting to sag.Then I discovered the magic of 2X Ultra Tide Liquid.
A long day of picketing can leave my clothes filthy.2X Ultra Tide Liquid makes my whites brilliantly white and my colors vibrant.It’s concentrated,
so one small capful gets my whole wash Tide clean.Hey hey, ho ho, dirt and stains have got to go!
And other than the tantalizing scent of new media residuals,
there’s no fragrance more alluring than Original Scent, Clean Breeze, or Mountain Spring.
Whether you’re WGA or AMPTP, I recommend 2X Ultra Tide Liquid
for all your laundry detergent needs.And for you striking writers starting to feel the financial strain,
I recommend selling out and getting a lucrative product endorsement deal like I did.
On a recent drive from Ohio to New Jersey, I was able
to experience something I always wanted to do. I stopped in Roadside America (122 miles west of New York City).
Roadside America is the world's greatest indoor miniature
village. Model trains, waterfalls, etc. The whole exhibit measures well over 1500 feet. It was truly amazing.
While I was walking around the models, I couldn't believe what I saw:
Isn't that great?! Everybody supports the WGA! Roadside
America is located between Allentown and Harrisburg on RT. 22 & I-78 at Shartlesville, PA.
On behalf of all writers, I wish to thank delegates from Israel, Palestine, Syria and Saudi Arabia
for coming to Annapolis today to resume talks with the WGA. We treasure our relationship with Hamas and Hezbollah, but we
demand fair compensation for our work. Do you realize when a Hezbollah rant gets shown on the Internet, the writer responsible
for the hate-fueled diatribe gets nothing? Imagine what your favorite jihadist screed would be without a writer to pen colorful
phrases like "the streets will flow with the blood of the infidel". C'mon Middle East, the pie is big enough
for everybody. Just treat us fairly!
Mel Tolkin, Lead Writer for ‘Show of Shows,’ Dies at 94
-New York Times, November 27, 2007
All right, AMPTP, now you’ve gone too far.
Over the course of this strike, you’ve been duplicitous and insincere. You’ve said one
thing in the negotiating room, and stated the exact opposite in the press. You’ve been greedy and bullying.
You’ve failed to bargain in good faith.
Clearly, none of that behavior has worked. A vast
majority of the American public is aligned with the WGA. You’re losing the fight. So now, what has been
your final, desperate recourse?
You went and killed Mel Tolkin.
If you think taking out writers one by one will destroy our morale or scare us
into submission, I invite you to come to Columbus Circle today – between 10am and 2pm, near the inflated cartoon pig.
We’ll see who’s scared then, you disgusting, bloodthirsty tyrants.
following conversation took place between myself and an anonymous family member.To protect the innocent,
the person’s real name has been omitted and will be referred to as “Carl” in the piece that follows.
Hint: He is one of my parents.
you should check out the Late Show writers’ strike website.
As the members of the Writers Guild of America continue to strike, television networks have fast-tracked a number
of new reality shows to fill holes in their programming schedules. Here are just a few of the new reality shows coming
soon to a television near you:
RASH – Mondays at 8pm on
10 hip, diverse twentysomethings with ringworm compete
to see who can be the first to get rid of the mild fungal infection.
UNACCEPTABLE DEAL OR NO DEAL – Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC
One WGA member must choose whether to accept a laughable new contract proposal from the AMPTP or continue striking.
Hosted by Howie Mandel’s cousin, Lou Mandel.
NOTHING BUT THE TOOTH – Fridays at 10pm on CBS
From the producers of Fear Factor comes this riveting new series in which teams receive root canals from
TARKENTON NIGHTS – Saturdays
at 8:30 pm on CW
Highlights from Fran Tarkenton’s
previous night’s sleep.
Just got back from the spirited rally in Washington Square Park. I have to say, the number one question
asked to me was "What's the deal with Grabby?"
Let me back up. For those who don't know, there is an
adorable mascot looking to entertain children (and kids at heart), educate the masses and try to end this strike. His name
is "Strikey." See below.
Thanks for the smile, Strikey. You make a tough situation just a little bit better.
The AMPTP has a mascot
of its own who appeared at the rally this afternoon in New York. his name is "Grabby." See below.
A can of Bud and a lit match seem like a lethal combination, Grabby!
Here are some quick facts about Grabby:
is not a nice fellow.
Grabby likes to hurt people.
Grabby loves new media- but is not interested in sharing the
Grabby once dated the lovely Carol Channing. Sadly, it didn't work out.
Grabby is one of those people
who won't shut up about High School Musical.
Grabby was the last person to see Jimmy Stewart alive.
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA LABOR COMMUNITY SOLIDARITY RALLY
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27
In a major show
of support by the city's labor community, the WGAE is holding a massive SOLIDARITY RALLY on TUESDAY, NOV. 27TH.
The rally message is “We're all in this together, and we demand a fair deal!”
WHERE AND WHEN: Tuesday, November 27th - WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK, southeast of the fountain.
12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM
Senator John Edwards Tim Robbins Joe Pantoliano Sam Freed (SAG NY President) The WGAE Dancers A Guy Who Looks Like WGA West Executive David Young Larry Rondo (Chairman of Washington Square
Park Dope Dealers Local 203) Leona Helmsley's Dog Gilbert Gottfried Ben Vereen (Not The Dancer) Jimmy
Finkelstein and Phil Pento ('Jimmy and Bonkerz In The Morning' on WFXX 99 The Fox FM) One Of The Guys From That
Soap Opera Leonard Nimoy ('s cousin) Strikey The WGA Mascot Grabby The AMPTP Mascot And More!!
BREAKING NEWS- EXCLUSIVE- THE AMPTP'S CONTRACT PROPOSAL
BY JOE GROSSMAN
Today, the WGA and AMPTP resumed negotiations, and inside sources say the producers finally offered
the writers a contract that would pay us using a simple, straightforward formula. Here's how it works.
$0.00 for every use of the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, R,
S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z.
Thanksgiving dinner I found myself seated next to one of those sketchy "relatives"—a
person you've never met before yet somehow insists you're bound by blood. And this woman was absolutely crazy (which
actually increases the likelihood that she's related to me). Anyway, here's a snippet of our conversation—
Crazy Lady: So my father tells me your show is on strike?
Me: Yes, it is.
Crazy Lady: I had
no idea. I don't watch your show.
Me: Yeah, it's on pretty late.
Crazy Lady: Seems kinda stupid
to go on strike if no one knows you're on strike. I mean, I hadn't heard anything about it.
Crazy Lady: It doesn't seem like anybody cares. (Inexplicable laugh) I'll tell you what would make people
care. If "Grey's Anatomy" went on strike. Then people would care.
When I talk to any of my friends about the strike, they all ask the same question- “Where
do you get the inflatable rat?” I have no idea. Where do we get the inflatable rat and the lesser-used inflatable pig?
When I got to the picket site the other day I asked many of the WGA people in charge. They pointed to a man sitting
on the generator inflating the giant rat. He was smoking a pack of Marlboro reds and reading the Daily News. His name is Danny
Brown, owner of “Inflatable Menagerie”- located in Queens, New York. I decided to interview him
Hey, where does the inflatable rat go after it leaves us?
DANNY- Listen up funny man. Get the hell away from me
before I beat you in front of everyone.
Potentially a big week here as the two sides have agreed to go back to the bargaining table. What
will be different this time? Well, rumor has it a few things. The backchannel efforts have possibly let each side establish
some framework of what needs to be discussed- and i understand now that the weather has cooled off, Mallomars will be available
on the snack cart.
It doesn't matter which side you're on, everybody loves the delicious taste of Mallomars cookies- available
for a limited time only. If you're a kid or a kid at heart nothing beats Mallomars cookies. Ask your grocer for Mallomars.
in the late night comedy variety show business were the first off the air and that means film studios have not had the usual
outlet to advertise their films. Well, we're about to change that tonight because with us now is the star of the upcoming
film National Treasure: Book Of Secrets Nicolas Cage.
LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com: Welcome Nicolas.
LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com: Tell us about the film.
NICOLAS CAGE: I play a treasure hunter
looking for hidden meaning in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com: Did you bring
NICOLAS CAGE: Yes, this is the pivotal chase scene.
(Roll compelling clip)
That was something. All the money was right there on the screen. Thanks for joining us.
NICOLAS CAGE: I had fun.
I think that sold a lot of tickets. Look forward to more celebrity blog guest segments in the near future.
We have gotten literally billions of emails about the LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com strike mascot Strikey.
Let me address a few of the common questions
Q: What is Strikey?
A: A ball of some sort... with teeth.
Q: Where can I meet Strikey?
A: Strikey will be making many public appearances around the nation to help
get the word out about the writers strike. Yesterday we reported that Strikey would be appearing at Best Buy in Woodbridge,
New Jersey. We apologize. Best Buy double booked the appearance. Former Mets shortstop Rafael Santana was slated to appear
so they ultimately asked Strikey to leave. Future appearances will be announced here
Q: Is Strikey a guy in a costume?
Q: Is Strikey single?
A: Yes and available. Look for him on JDate.
Q:Where did Strikey come from?
According to legend, as talks between the WGA and AMPTP were breaking down, Strikey's spacecraft crash landed on Earth.
If he can get the two sides to end the strike, news of Strikey will fill the airwaves and people on his home planet will know
to come get him, and hopefully not take the Earth and enslave all humans when they arrive.
The Strikey action figure
and spacecraft will be available in toy stores for the holidays.
Every Monday at noon, 20-25 strike captains, volunteers responsible for informing fellow Writers
Guild East members of that week's picket sites and strike-related events, meet with Guild officials at the WGAE office
on West 57th Street to discuss upcoming activities and potential strategies. The meeting lasts two hours. A light lunch is
Basically, there are three types of strike captains and at each meeting they offer three characteristic
suggestions. (See if you can guess which category I fall into):
STRIKE CAPTAIN TYPE A: "What about something
like 'Bring You Mom to the Picket Line Day?'" STRIKE CAPTAIN TYPE B: "Sure, there's a little jail
time, but what if we get a bunch of guys with airhorns down to the 'Sex and the City' movie set and shut those motherf*****s
down?" STRIKE CAPTAIN TYPE C: "Is there someone we can call next Monday to get the fruit salad without honeydew?"
I’m not a TONY staffer, but I used to be, before I was lucky enough to get hired as a writer for Late Show
with David Letterman in 2004. And since the writers’ strike has thrown the entertainment industry into a tailspin
(and also since I have nothing to do with my time), TONY asked me to enlighten its readers about the issues. So
here are a few myths, facts and clarifications.
Claim: Nobody wants to see a bunch of spoiled
millionaires picketing for more money.
Fact: True, some writers are extremely
well paid, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (representatives of the megacorporations we’re
going up against) claims the average Writers Guild of America member earns a six-figure salary. But averages can be misleading.
(As someone pointed out at a recent WGA meeting, you could put Bill Gates and a penniless guy in a room and accurately say
the average net worth of people in that room is $28 billion.) The fact is that 48% of WGA members make less than the $31,000
a year necessary to qualify for health insurance—which they’ll need, after catching pneumonia from marching around
with a giant inflatable rat in the cold and rain.
Claim: The writers
want to double their share of DVD revenue.
Fact: Let’s say you buy
a DVD of your favorite hit movie for $30. The writer—the person who created what you’re watching—gets four
cents. We’re asking for an astronomical eight cents, leaving only 2,992 cents left for the studio. Clearly, we’ve
gone mad with greed.
Claim: The writers are demanding a 700% increase for paid downloads
of their work.
Fact: Yes, we want a substantial increase, but only because
we’re starting from practically nothing. (Imagine someone offered you a grain of rice for dinner, and you had the gall
to request six more grains.) For every dollar you pay to download a TV show, the writer receives three tenths of a penny.
We’re asking for about two pennies, leaving the likes of Rupert Murdoch to scrape by on a mere 98% of the revenue.
Claim: The writers are demanding a gazillion-percent increase for streamed content online.
Fact: Okay, the AMPTP hasn’t claimed this, but it’s only a matter of time,
since it’s statistically true if you use the same logic as above. The studios pay us exactly 0% for shows that are streamed
online, even though they’re collecting money from advertising inserted into the programming. For some crazy reason,
we think a penny or two on the dollar might be reasonable.
Claim: Dude, for a bunch of so-called
"writers," your picket signs suck.
Fact: Sadly, I have no argument
there. But they don’t suck nearly as badly as our chants, some of which are almost awful enough to make me join the
other side (I’m still cringing after hearing one woman repeatedly shout, "No McDreamy, no McSteamy till the writers
get our greeny").
I could go on, but I’m not as knowledgeable, insightful or entertaining
as many other people who are covering the strike on the Web (which, by the way, the studios claim isn’t profitable,
hence the reason they don’t want to give us a percentage of the zero dollars they’re making online). So check
out "Why We Fight" for a primer on the writers’ demands, "Voices of Uncertainty" to watch guys like Sumner Redstone brag about the killing they’re making on the alleged fiscal wasteland that is the
Internet, and "Same Old Story" to hear an industry veteran talk about how badly writers have been getting screwed since he started his career, writing for
the Marx Brothers in the 1930s.
And, of course, go to lateshowwritersonstrike.com to see what my colleagues and I have been writing since the strike began. It’s all the fun of the Late Show
without the sharp-witted host, celebrity guests, millions of viewers, network production values or budget to pay anyone. Enjoy!
Because of the writers strike, many of you are hunrgry for some political humor. I thought I'd
help fill the void by giving you an excerpt from my book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History." Here's
When George stood in front of Justice Rehnquist to take the oath of office, he saw the black
robe and out of habit immediately pled "Guilty" to drunken driving.--
Jeb Bush, Former Florida
Tom's book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History" is available
on http://www.amazon.com/ and other quality bookstores
My father, Peter Young, is a retired aircraft mechanic who worked for many years for USAir
in Boston. In 1992, his union, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, went on strike against
USAir for several days. I asked him about his strike experiences.
“What was it like on your picket
line?” “We just walked up and down on the sidewalk outside the USAir terminal at Logan Airport.
We chatted with sympathetic old ladies, and looked over the fence and laughed at the ramp workers struggling to hook up the
towbar to the planes’ nosegears.”
“Did your picket line have any giant inflatable animals?” “No. Those may still have been in the future at that point.”
“Would you rather
have had a giant inflatable rat or a giant inflatable pig?” “Hmm, I’ve never really thought about it.
I guess probably the pig.”
“Did your union give you a free hat?” “No.
The union didn’t give out a lot of free stuff.”
“A whistle?” “No.”
“Did you have chants?” “No. I think we may have had signs.”
“I’ll start one of our chants and you see if you can complete it. Hey hey, ho ho…” “Uhh…I
could probably figure something out eventually, but why don’t you just tell me how it goes.”
do “Hey hey, ho ho, corporate greed has got to go.” Also “Hey hey, ho ho, management can’t write
that show.” “Okay.”
“Did Richard Belzer ever visit your picket line?” “If he did, I’m totally unaware of it.”
BY JEREMY WEINER My two-year-old daughter loves cartoons.
Yesterday morning, we
sat down on the couch together and I began flipping through the channels to find one for her to watch.
the Explorer?” I asked.
“I don’t want to watch Dora.” she said.
I switched over to the Cartoon Network. Tom and Jerry was on. She had
never seen Tom and Jerry before.
“How about this, daddy?” she asked, sweetly.
why not?” I said.
Her gaze was transfixed on the screen - Tom antagonizing Jerry, Jerry antagonizing Tom,
you know how it goes. She smiled with delight. I used to watch Tom and Jerry all the time as a kid and it
really made me happy to see how thoroughly entertained she was.
Until Jerry lit Tom on fire with a cigarette.
Not good. Tom yelped in agony and leapt high into the air, his fur singed off and his flesh now beet red. Jerry
“Daddy, turn it off! I don't like this show!” my daughter screamed, horrified.
I fumbled for the remote, pressed the power button and immediately attempted some damage
“Don’t worry, sweetie, the silly mouse was just pretending.”
kitty cat isn’t hurt, honey. I promise.”
“We never light people on fire with cigarettes,
“Right.” she said. Then she leapt off the couch and bounded into her play room.
Clearly, I was more traumatized than she was.
Anyway, how does this unfortunate incident relate to the writers
Tomorrow, leaders from the AMPTP and the WGA have mutually agreed to resume formal contract negotiations
. It’d be great if all involved can set aside their differences and work together to craft a contract that is
fair for everyone. I say to both sides: Keep the needless antagonizing to a minimum. And, please, no lighting
each other on fire with cigarettes.
I have never been involved in a strike before. For the last three weeks I’ve spent most
of my time picketing. You show up, someone gives you a sign, you walk around in a circle, and chant. A group of young people,
not sure who the hell they are, will march back and forth inside of our circle, yelling various chants.
“What do we want? Contracts!” “When do we want it? Now!”
they get paid,” “We get paid”
Some are just ok, like:
"No money? No downloads!” “No downloads? No peace!"
“More Money,” “Les Moonves”
money, No funny”
Some are terrible, like:
“No subtext” “Until we get our
The problem is, when I am walking around in my non-picketing life, and I have a problem I now feel
the need to chant.
Last night, I went into Blockbuster to rent a movie. They didn’t have what I was looking
for. I started screaming like an idiot:
“Why do you have 40 dvd copies of Pearl Harbor by Michael Bay” “But no copies Live Free or Die Hard on Blu-ray”
I went to the gas station this morning. I filled
the tank, and the credit card part of the pump didn’t work. I had to talk to the foreign guy behind the glass. I couldn’t
understand a word he was saying through that little speaker. I yelled:
“2-4-6-8” “Why can’t
I went to the Gap:
“What do we want? New Gap khaki without the pleat.” “When do we want it? Later today, please. I’m having dinner with some friends.”
ago, in front of my neighbor’s house:
“Fuck you! Why do you have to run your leaf blower at 7am- asshole!”
What’s the point here? I don’t know. I really don’t know.
We here at LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com are looking to do anything we can to help end the writers
strike. After many hours of discussion, most of it heated, some of it lukewarm we have decided how we can help.
help get the word out about the strike and its issues, we have designed an adorable character, who market research has determined
children love and adults are not creeped out by.
Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you Strikey The Writers Strike
Let's see what Strikey has to say today
STRIKEY SEZ: "THE WRITERS JUST WANT 2.5% OF NEW MEDIA. LET'S GET A DEAL DONE!"
Thanks a lot Strikey.
Hopefully a deal gets done soon. Kids, tell your friends about Strikey and you adults, continue to not be creeped out by him.
Like us, he's just trying to help.
STRIKEY WILL BE APPEARING AT BEST BUY IN WOODBRIDGE, NEW JERSEY TODAY FROM
3 TO 5 PM.
Renowned writer and winner of the 2006 Thurber Prize for American Humor, Alan Zweibel, shares
this lovely stuffing recipe which he swears was a huge hit yesterday with the whole family.
THANKSGIVING STUFFING RECIPE
INGREDIENTS: several loaves of bread-toasted and torn into bite sizes chicken
broth or canned chicken broth 1-2 eggs sage poultry seasoning onions and celery chopped and lightly fried
in butter salt and pepper
PREPARATION: Combine all ingredients. Mold into shape of Thurber Award.
I was one of the last people in the United States not to
own a cellphone.I’m just not that chatty, and ordinarily I’m at the office or at home or somewhere
with my family.My wife and teenage daughter have cellphones I could borrow on the rare occasion I needed
The strike upended my predictable
routine.Suddenly I was wandering around the city, marching on picket lines and attending meetings, feeding
quarters into payphones to tell my wife where I was and what was going on.And she couldn’t reach
me.So I decided to take the plunge.
This morning before the picketing started, I browsed at the Verizon Wireless store on 57th
Street.I picked up a phone and saw it was displaying a menu that listed “David Letterman.”I pressed the button, and holy crap, literally a second later I was watching a comedy piece I’d written a couple
I’d vaguely heard about TV shows on cellphones, but to see it for myself, well,
it got my attention.Is CBS making money from this?I’m guessing they are.Are the Late Show writers?I’m certain we’re not.
So we continue to fight for our piece of that pie.And now I’m the proud owner of a shiny new cellphone that plays “promotional” videos of television
shows.I hope I can eventually make enough money to pay the phone bill.
1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the tomato sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat
to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
2. Preheat the broiler and line a broiler pan with foil.
a large nonstick skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the turkey, the oregano, the salt and the pepper.
Saute for two minutes per side. Transfer the turkey to the prepared broiler pan..
each turkey slice evenly with one-fourth the sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 of the Parmesan cheese. Top each with one slice of
Mozzarella cheese. Broil 4 inches from the heat until the cheese is melted, 10 to 20 seconds.
two turkey slices in each roll. Garnish with fresh oregano, if desired, and serve immediately.
Mangia!See you on
the picket line.
Thanks, Richard!Keep those
parmigiana sandwich recipes coming!
BILL SCHEFT'S STRIKE-RELATED DAVE-TYPE MONOLOGUE JOKE OF THE DAY:
Earlier today, representatives of the AMPTP and the Writers Guild got together for Thanksgiving dinner. It was cordial
at first, but then both sides walked away from the table after they started arguing over the reuse of gravy.
For many years, the Late Show’s Thanksgiving episode has featured a parade
quiz, with clips of parade footage and multiple choice questions.The joke is always in the third choice,
the “C,” but the straight A’s and B’s have an odd charm all their own. Sadly, this year
we're not writing the quiz, but here are a few choice Thanksgiving Parade Quiz A’s and B’s from years
“Do the elderly enjoy the parade?”
A city employee inspecting a balloon
annual Thanksgiving favorite
Kermit the Frog has a timeless appeal
“I hope the crowds enjoy this float”
A high-spirited balloon handler
parade volunteers have a spirit of camaraderie?”
hours to inflate
These characters are part of the harvest theme
Clowns are popular parade marchers
Steer the inflated characters
weather for Thanksgiving this year”
Contains over 40 cubic yards
The parade assembly area was humming with activity
Bonus!Here are a few A’s and B’s from our Boat Show Quizzes:
Because of the writers strike, many of you are hunrgry for some political humor. I thought I'd
help fill the void by giving you an excerpt from my book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History." Here's
I'll never forget the first time I saw George. A mutual friend hosted a barbecue and wanted
to introduce us. I immediately noticed his beautiful Armani slacks.
Not only because they were so nice,
but also because he was wearing them on his head.
Tom's book "George W. Bush:
An Unauthorized Oral History" is available on http://www.amazon.com/ and other quality bookstores
The book has become very popular on the picket line. Take a look
The Writers Guild of America East, Inc. is governed by a Constitution and a comprehensive
set of by-laws. On This Thanksgiving Eve, I'd like to take a moment to share with you the WGA by-laws I'm
most thankful for.
Article V, Section 1 - Nomination Procedure for Officers and Council Members
c) Not later than eleven (11) weeks after the mailing in (b) above, or eighteen (18) weeks after the mailing in (a) above,
a mailing shall go out to all Current members with a ballot that shall include the names of those candidates who received
the highest number of votes in either (b) or (a) above. The list of candidates for Council shall be no greater than three
(3) times the number of vacant Council seats. The list of candidates for each office shall be no greater than three (3) names
for each office.
Article VI, Section 3 - Council Meetings
A majority of the members (including
officers) shall constitute a quorum for the meeting. Acts of a majority of Council members at any duly called meeting of the
Council at which a quorum is present shall constitute the act of the Council, except as otherwise specified herein. A
majority of the members and officers present at any meeting, whether a quorum shall be present or not, may adjourn the
meeting to a fixed date without further notice to those present except the announcement at such meeting of the time and place
of holding the adjourned meeting, provided that the time so fixed shall not extend beyond the next regular meeting of the
Council. There shall be no voting of proxies at any Council meeting. In the event a full quorum is not present, all business
shall be considered validly enacted unless the quorum is challenged.
Fellow writers, have you taken a moment to
reflect upon the WGA by-laws you're thankful for?
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at LateShowWritersOnStrike.com
Everyone in the entertainment industry is affected by this strike. There are many questions, and very few answers. One
thing is known- you have to read DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com several times a day to try and see what is going on. People view
Nikki Finke as a saint… everyone but me.
This piece is called, “I THINK NIKKI FINKE IS TRYING TO KILL
ME” BY JUSTIN STANGEL
You may think I'm crazy, but hear me out.
Nikki Finke is a great reporter.
Great reporters know how to get information- like what time I leave my house in the morning. Like what my route is. Like where
I buy my coffee.
This morning when I was leaving my house, I got into my car and pulled down my driveway. Just
then a red pick up truck came very close to nearly driving into my lane. Crazy- maybe if it ended there. Unfortunately it
Every day I take the same route into the city, like you don't this Nikki Finke. Today several
detour signs stood in my way. Several road workers picked today of all days to pave the road. Really? Today, when I'm
trying to get into the city. If those signs were not bright orange, and placed a good half mile in front of me, I could have
driven into them causing minor damage to my Toyota Highlander. I don't even want to think about what might have happened
to my tires if I had driven through that rocky paving… stuff. What is that- gravel? You know, they dump it in front
of the truck with the big thing on it.
Two bullets dodged. What's next?
I stopped at Starbucks,
ordered a Venti Skim Latte… as I do everyday. Today the milk was bad. Attempted poisoning!
So now you see
the facts. Two questions come to mind:
1. WHY would she try and kill me? 2.
How does the Toyota Highlander drive?
Nikki Finke has broken every major strike story over the last few weeks.
That just raises expectations. People are thinking, “What's next Nikki?” “I want more, Nikki,”
“Where is the next big story Nikki?” I believe with this pressure on her, she has been forced to a place where
instead of reporting the news, she has to create the news. News like “David Letterman's Head Writer MURDERED!”
The Toyota Highlander delivers an agreeable combination of comfort and control. The four-cylinder engine delivers
tolerable acceleration. Most buyers will prefer the V6, which offers smooth, strong acceleration in all situations.
As with everyone in Hollywood, I will continue to read DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com. But know this Nikki Finke, I will not
go down with out a fight.
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR LateShowWritersOnStrike.com READERS
AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR LateShowWritersOnStrike.com READERS By Jeremy Weiner
has come to my attention that the domain name LateShowWritersOnStrike.net was recently registered by a well-known purveyor
of adult content. My fellow writers and I would like to assure you that this adult site is in no way affiliated with
or endorsed by LateShowWritersoOnStrike.com. We have obtained legal counsel to aggressively pursue a trademark
infringement lawsuit against the cybersquatter, in hopes of fully disassociating ourselves from this inappropriate material.
Once again, the purpose of this site is to provide an outlet for the “Late Show” writers to comment on the
current writers strike, not to offer hot webcam chat with naughty amateurs. We apologize for any confusion. Thank
Last week, I was interviewed on the picket line by a reporter from Austria, which, according to
Wikipedia, is a country in Europe. His article (http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=3116832) was published on Sunday, and it describes
me thusly: "His face is white like a cheesecake."
Many other international journalists have also interviewed
me since the strike began. Maybe certain idioms are getting lost in translation, but here are some other peculiar descriptions
"We spoke with Late Show writer Joe Grossman, who has the dainty shoulders of an adolescent
"Despite hours of marching in circles, his muscles are soft and tender like a slow-cooked
ropa vieja." (Cuba)
"Should the strike cost him his job, Mr. Grossman's small, nimble hands would
make him ideal for any factory's staff of child laborers." (China)
"The strike is an unfortunate
circumstance for all involved, according to Joe Grossman, whose jaws unhinge wide enough to engulf an entire caribou, should
it be so unfortunate as to encounter him in the wild." (Greece)
"The distance from the point of shoulder
to the hip bone is slightly shorter than from the highest point of the withers to the ground. He is medium-boned, and the
length of his legs is in proportion to a well-balanced frame. His muzzle is rather short, straight, fine, free of lippiness
and never snipey. When examined, he feels sturdy." (Norway)
"He looks like a young Gene Wilder"
(technically not from the foreign media, but a backhanded compliment from the mother of a woman I've been dating)
An Austrian newspaper Der Standard wrote a piece and included the LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com Late Show Writers On
Here is the link
Here is the translation of
what they wrote about us.
" Bush stupidly, Al Gore a lot of fat "
The US-author's strike has
the first results: Popular Late Night shows like those of David Letterman stand before the compulsive break. Meanwhile, ORF
also gets the dependence on the American standard market to feel.
One looks at Joe Grossman that he spends his
time mostly at the desk. His face is white like a cheesecake. Long days and half a night crouch he on the computer, until
they are ready, the witty sayings which David Letterman strews under the television people as if they have spontaneously occurred
to him. Now the pale curly hairstyle has exchanged the office fug for fresh air. Joe Grossman strikes.
he runs in the circle as it is usual with a strike in America. On a drafty corner of the Battery of park, acoustically accompanies
from rattling pneumatic hammers, he turns small rounds. " On of strike ", stands on his transparency. This is not
original, it should also not be at all. " In addition the thing is too serious ", says Grossman.
it meets the ironic niche of the television nation, the Late Night shows where stars rub themselves like Jay Leno, Jon Stewart
and Dave Letterman viciously against the political everyday life.
They everything let for a long time sent run
once again what is about in such a way as if only announcements of the last month came in the news. " Is sorry us ",
regret both Stangel brothers, Eric and Justin, the bosses of Lettermans to 10-headed author's team. With anxious looks
they tell about the last strike, that of 1988. It lasted 22 weeks, the shows lost ten percent of her spectators, most which
switched off, did not come again."
You get the dollars, we the peanuts
Still, here they want to get
through. " Did you know that half of the writers earns not enough to be able to afford a health insurance? ", asks
Joe Grossman has Letterman, quite humorously, another ten tips leave with which jokes he could fill the
break. With all nice stereotypes: " Bush stupidly, Al Gore a lot of fat, Paris Hilton slovenly. " If in the studios
the lights go out, he notes sarcastically, " has also a good side. The lack of fresh programs gives us the chance to
indulge, finally, sometimes in our dearest hobby: not to read. "
BILL SCHEFT'S STRIKE-RELATED DAVE-TYPE MONOLOGUE JOKE OF THE DAY:
The big issue of the writers strike is the New Media. Everybody is making money off the Internet except the people who
create the content. It's criminal. The only thing Paris Hilton got from her last sex video was an STD.
On the Late Show, we regularly feature actual clips from news shows in which public figures unintentionally
say something ridiculous, a technical mishap occurs or things go wrong in some other amusing way. And wouldn't you know
it, in the two weeks we've been on strike, there have been many such instances that we have not been able to show you.
A few examples:
November 11, This Week with George Stephanopoulos A pesky fly disrupts George Stephanopoulos's
interview with Condoleezza Rice
November 4, Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace sneezes while introducing the "Power
Player of the Week" segment.
November 12, Good Morning America Diane Sawyer giggles uncontrollably throughout
the Norman Mailer obituary.
November 18, Meet the Press During a satellite interview with Senator Chris
Dodd, the director clearly has a hard time fitting both Dodd and Tim Russert's giant fat heads into the split-screen.
November 15, Charlie Rose While interviewing Fred Thompson, Charlie Rose repeatedly calls him "Mommy."
November 18, Face the Nation For three awkward minutes, Bob Schieffer tells John Edwards how pretty his eyes
November 6, The Today Show Ann Curry does something stupid and/or irritating (I didn't see the show
that day, but it seems like a safe bet).
November 13, Larry King Live Instead of asking his guest a question,
a disoriented Larry King recites the complete lyrics to the 1978 C.W. McCall classic "Convoy."
18, Late Edition Wolf Blitzer does the entire show with a beard full of dried barbecue sauce.
Right now we can share with you inside information we have received from sources at the Writers Guild of America. We have
been asked to keep the name of the source anonymous. If he or she was associated with this information he or she could lose
his or her job.
As you know the writers strike picket lines first featured a giant inflatable rat
By the end of the week, a large pig watched over the march.
We have it on good authority that this will be unveiled Thursday.
BY ERIC STANGEL, JUSTIN STANGEL, AND OUR MOM LOIS STANGEL
Hoping for a speedy outcome to the strike, but planning for the worst, many of us are cutting back
on our spending. With a little ingenuity, though, even on a tight budget, life can be very rich.
rather than spend $19 on a 750ml bottle of Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, here’s a recipe for a tasty alternative that costs
a fraction as much.
1. Brew a pot of Chock Full of Nuts ‘French
Roast’ coffee – doubling the number of suggested scoops. 2. Stir
in 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar until dissolved. 3. Combine
sweetened coffee mixture with 2 cups of any kerosene or paraffin-based lamp oil. 4.
Allow to cool. Serve over ice.
LateShowWritersOnStrike.com reminds you to enjoy tastefully and drink responsibly.
HERE'S WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PICKET LINE
BY TOM RUPRECHT
The media has made much of all the big stars (Eva Longoria, Robin Williams, Ray Romano) who've
come out to support the writers on the picket line. The studios are understandably upset that the media hasn't
reported all the celebrities who've come out in support of them. So in the interest of equal time, here's who's
on their side--
--Last week Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought doughnuts to the board of GE.
--On Monday Venezuela's dictator Hugo Chavez was photographed giving a "thumbs up" with the executive
directors at Disney.
--Pakistan strongman Pervez Musharrah met recently with the board of Universal and urged
them to "stay strong." The General also generously offered to donate three tanks to the producers should they
need help keeping the writers in line.
--Richard Belzer was spotted passing out chicken parmigiana sandwiches to executives at Viacom. Now this was strange, because Belzer recently brought chicken parmigiana sandwiches to the
writers. When confronted, Belzer admitted, "I really hate chicken parm. I don't know why my wife keeps
LateShowWritersOnStrike.com received an email
this morning from an overseas reader named John Max which deserved a response.
Here's Mr. Max's email...
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- To: Writers@LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com
From: Mr. John Max
FOR YOUR ATTENTION.We wish to notify you again that you were listed as a beneficiary tothe
total sum of £10,600,000.00 GBP (Ten Million Six Hundred ThousandBritish Pounds) in the codicil and last
testament of the deceased.(Name now withheld since this is our second letter to you).
Wecontacted you because you bear the surname identity and therefore canpresent you as the beneficiary to
the inheritance.We therefore reckoned that you could receive these funds as you arequalified
by your name identity. All the legal papers will beprocessed in your acceptance. In your acceptance of this
deal, werequest that you kindly forward to us your letter of acceptance; yourcurrent
telephone and fax numbers and a forwarding address to enableus to file necessary documents at our high
court probate division forthe release of this sum of money.Please contact me via my
private email so that we can get this doneimmediately. Kind regards, Mr.
JOHNMAX. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Well Mr. Max let me tell you something. The Late Show writers are not interested in your 10.6 million pounds. We are here
because we want 2.5% of the re-use of our material on new media such as internet, cell phones and iPods. Currently we are
paid nothing for such re-use and it's time rules are put in place for the future.
This is a marathon, not a
sprint, Mr. Max. We officially turn down your offer.
We, as writers were specifically told by the WGA not
to negotiate privately with anyone. There is an official negotiating committee for that kind of thing. Please contact
the guild with all of your future offers when you are willing to discuss the real issues.
(Also, you say this
is the second time you have notified us. We did not get the first email. Therefore we apologize if you thought we were ignoring
High-ranking Mossad sources have provided the following translation of the mysterious Hebrew language shout-out:
"The strike of the screenwriters, the eighth and the ninth days"
"More striking television writers are writing a blog, because there's no other place for them to write. Because
anyway they do not get money for writing for the internet. This time it's the writers of David Letterman."
(NOTE: the mysterious "My Sled!" appears to be a reference to a discussion elsewhere in the blog about how
classic movie lines like "Rosebud" would be lame if not for the artistry of great screenwriters.)
will post additional information as it becomes available -STEVE YOUNG
Over the course of our picketing, I was fortunate enough
to strike up a friendship with the wonderfully talented Alan Zweibel.Talking to Alan is a treat.It’s fascinating to hear about his experiences working on Saturday Night Live, The Garry Shandling Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Billy Crystal’s Broadway show, 700 Sundays.Last year, Alan won the James Thurber Prize for American Humor for his novel, The Other Shulman.What I find most amusing is Alan will never miss an opportunity to shoehorn
this fact into any conversation.To illustrate this point, I’ve enclosed a recent email I received
Wonderful seeing you on the
picket line yesterday.Though not nearly as wonderful as when I won the Thurber Award for my novel The
Other Shulman.The story you told about your weekend was quite amusing.Perhaps you can turn that anecdote into a book and then win the Thurber Award, as I did for my novel The
Other Shulman.I must say you are looking quite well.Your skin looked glowing and radiant, not unlike the dazzling sheen of my gold-plated Thurber Award, which I won for
my novel The Other Shulman.Incidentally, small world
story—I was thinking about how you’re from Brooklyn.Well, it just dawned on me that Brooklyn
is only 477 miles away from Columbus, Ohio, the birthplace of James Thurber, who is the namesake of the award I won for my
novel, The Other Shulman.I mean, isn’t that just
nuts?Anyway, gotta run.Asked my wife to dress up as the Thurber Award last night and
there’s gold paint all over the bed linens.
Looking forward to seeing you
on the picket lines tomorrow with all the other non-Thurber winners…unlike me, who won the Thurber Award for my novel,
The Other Shulman.
(Winner of the 2006 Thurber Award )
P.S. I won the Thurber Award.
P.S.S. Thurber Award.
(Kidding aside, Alan’s book is truly
brilliant.And I am proud to add that the year Alan won the Thurber Award, Late Show’s very own Bill Scheft was a finalist for his phenomenal novel, Time Won’t Let Me.This is why the strike is so sad.These
guys should be writing.)
By now you’ve heard the news that the WGA and the AMPTP have mutually agreed to resume formal negotiations on
Monday, November 26th. We would like to take a moment to remind the WGA leadership of a very important point: negotiating
is an art. There are nuances and finely honed techniques and rules to be aware of. Here are a few of them:
Know what you’re doing. Sounds simple,
but we’ve seen a lot of instances where we couldn’t believe how much the other side didn’t know. And these
are producers you’re dealing with. There is a distinct possibility they don’t know anything.
Keep the opposition off balance. What they don’t know won’t hurt you, and
that may help you down the line. Knowledge is power, so keep as much of it to yourself as possible. Also,
consider wearing a musky cologne to distract them.
Trust your instincts.
There are a lot of situations that will not be black and white in negotiating, so go with your gut…unless your gut
tells you to accept a crappy deal. Don’t do that.
be confined by expectations. Remain flexible and open to new ideas. For example, bring a large tub of cole slaw
to the negotiations - it’s a great way to break the ice!
be an ordinary negotiator when you can be an extraordinary one. Devote time to this art and it can bring you enormous rewards.
Now go get ‘em!
By Sunday, it had been several days since I’d picketed.There’s
no picketing on weekends, nothing was scheduled for Friday, and I missed Thursday due to personal reasons (my solid gold Rolls-Royce
needed new engine diamonds).So I decided to try some solo picketing.
Without access to the Guild’s four foot cardboard tubes and large placards,
I improvised my own sign with a ruler and a couple sheets of copy paper.I wrote “On Strike,”
but it wasn’t centered properly since my ruler was now unavailable.This was already harder than
10:00 a.m.: Marched around my apartment
building’s laundry room chanting “Hey, hey, ho, ho, corporate greed has got to go.”The
surly woman from the 4th floor showed up to do a load of towels.She asked me what the hell
I was doing.I ignored her and continued chanting until the super told me to leave.The
super and the towel woman are stooges of the AMPTP.
10:38 a.m.: Chanted “What do we want?A contract!When do we want it?Now!” in front of the corner deli.The guy in charge of the flowers turned the hose on me.Couldn’t put my wet clothes in the dryer because I’d been banned from the laundry room.
11:02 a.m.: Waved my damp, drooping sign at passing cars on Lexington
Avenue.Eventually a truck driver honked, probably at the delivery guy on the bike, but I like to believe
he also supports the Guild.
a.m.: Tried the WGAE plastic whistle.Several cabs stopped. The drivers were annoyed
that I wasn’t hailing them, and refused to listen to a lecture about new media residuals.
11:50 a.m.: Retreated to the safe confines of my apartment.Picketed
in front of the full-length mirror in my bedroom to make it seem like there were two picketers in bathrobes.Whispered
chants to myself.
2:00 p.m.: My shift ended.
The lesson I learned?One writer, however passionate,
can’t turn the tide alone.Working together is the key.After all, there is no
“I” in “union”!
In the Sunday New York Times Magazine, former Disney chief Michael Eisner says the writers
were foolish to strike over the use of content on the Internet, which he described as "neither profitable nor is it clear
in exactly what direction it's going to go."
And then he suddenly cut the interview short because he had
to pick up some Pokemon cards and a SEGA Dreamcast for his daughter on their way to the Ricky Martin concert.
Ron Howard was on the picket line on Thursday. When I approached him for a picture, he took
my camera (a gift from my late grandfather) and smashed it to the ground. Displaying some ninja wizardry he surely learned on the set of "Gung Ho," Ron Howard then spun in the air and gave me a devastating kick to the stomach.
As I fell to the pavement, the insulin I use to regulate my diabetes rolled out of my pocket.
Seeing the syringe,
Howard's eyes lit up the way they used to light up for Jenny Piccolo. He stomped on the syringe and gave a menacing
laugh as one of the shards of glass flew into my eye.
Some might see this encounter as an example of the disappointment
that can follow when you meet your idols. But honestly, I was always more of a Potsie guy growing up, so this wasn't
that big a deal.
We here at LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com would like to take a moment to the people at the hundreds of websites who have posted
about us all across the Internet, and even to those few people who have access to the Extranet.
like to give a special shout out to the folks at a site called Cinemascope who posted this about us.
I have no idea what it says. All I know is, those hyperlinks take you to our site. And the exclamation point in
the title makes me think it's something good. If anyone can tell us, shoot us an email at Writers@LateShowWritersOnStrike.com
As you know, by midnight last night, no agreement had been
made as to where the WGA would picket Monday. Therefore, we will not be picketing.
It’s a failure of
all parties involved that it has come to this. We love picketing, and we love those with whom we picket. Let’s
all try to get this thing resolved as quickly as possible so we can get back to work out there, doing what we do best: chanting,
blowing whistles, and eating.
In the meantime, it will not be looked upon kindly if any of you picket independently.
QUESTIONS THE LATE SHOW WRITERS GET ASKED REPEATEDLY ON THE PICKET LINES
BY LEE ELLENBERG
walking by us on the picket lines tend to ask the Late Show writers the same questions. As much as we appreciate
their curiosity, it can get a little tedious spouting off the same answers, day in and day out. To put an
end to this, I am going to, once and for all, answer all those questions that we're asked repeatedly.Here
Uh…once, when I was in San Carlos, but I’m not sure why that’s pertinent.
Well, I was pretty drunk at the time.
No, not pretty in the traditional sense.
Kind of like Lou Dobbs in rouge and a sarape.
12 pesos and a taquito.
Tequila and ointment.
No, I’m not interested in buying a black market
Yes, that IS an unfortunate place to have a boil.
it does look inflamed.
Yes, Oliver Platt is quite handsome in person.
I will not call Jerry Stiller over here so you can offer to buy his pants.
No, I don't lick
my picket sign when no one's looking.
Because of the writers' strike, many of you are hungry for some political humor. I
thought I'd help fill the void by giving you a excerpt from my book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History." Here's today's joke:
A few days after he took office, I came to Washington to brief the President about a possible smallpox pandemic. I gave him the various contingency plans the CDC had prepared in the
event a strain of smallpox fell into the hands of terrorists. President Bush didn't seem to be paying much attention
to me, however. He was more concerned with the kung fu magazine he was reading. When I finished, the only question
Bush asked was, "Hey, are albinos contagious?"--Craig Finn, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Tom's book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History" is available on http://www.amazon.com/ and other quality bookstores
EXCLUSIVE: THE MYSTERY MEN BEHIND THE BACKCHANNEL TALKS
BY ROB BURNETT AND ERIC STANGEL
The WGA and AMPTP have agreed to go back to the bargaining table on November
26th. It had been reported for days in such places as Nikki Finke’s DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com that backchannel discussions
had been taking place between the Writers Guild and Studio Executives brokered by a small group of mystery men.
mystery men can now be revealed. It was us.
The members of LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com (Eric Stangel, Justin Stangel,
Bill Scheft, Steve Young, Matt Roberts, Tom Ruprecht, Jeremy Weiner, Lee Ellenberg, Joe Grossman and Bob Borden) have
been working for some time to get the two sides to meet, and we’re proud to say they have agreed.
we do it? It was just this easy.
The postcard pictured below was mailed to high-ranking members of the AMPTP and
WGA including Writers Guild president Patric Verrone and chief WGA negotiator Dave Young, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger and News
Corp (Fox) No. 2 Peter Chernin.
It was the perfect plan.
The ten of us dashed to LaGuardia Airport, ran to the counter and said,
“Give us ten tickets on your next flight to Los Angeles. We’re going to get the AMPTP and WGA to meet again after
Once they heard that, no tickets were needed. The kind lady had us escorted in those crazy electric
carts used to transport fat people through security, down the jetway to the plane door. (Note: A few of us had hair gel which
was confiscated. Good catch security!)
4 hours and 48 minutes later more crazy electric carts used to transport
fat people waited for us at Los Angeles International Airport and took us to Santa Monica. (In retrospect a taxi would have
been a better idea)
It was 7:45pm. We went to the Mickey Rooney ballroom and did 15 minutes of the most important
waiting of our lives.
Then it happened.
One by one they showed up. Verrone, Young, Iger, and Chernin
all looking for their major prize. But the only thing they got was a stare down from ten unhappy, pasty, fairly bloated writers.
“You win,” said Iger. “We’ll go back to the table.”
it right here, and right now,” answered Verrone.
“No,” we said. “A week from Monday is
better. It’ll give everyone a chance to get a jump on their holiday shopping. Now who’s driving us back to LAX?”
While I was picketing in the rain Thursday afternoon, I looked up and saw Jerry Stiller.
I am a big fan of Mr. Stiller. He joined our circle in front of Viacom. I watched him as he marched, and chanted, and all
I thought was, “I have to talk to him.” Unfortunately I never found the time. Before I knew it, the picketing
was over and he was gone.
Here is a transcript of how I believe our conversation WOULD have gone.
JUSTIN Hello, Mr.
JERRY STILLER Please call me Jerry.
JUSTIN Thank you Jerry. I am the head writer
of Late Show with David Letterman.
JERRY STILLER I am a huge fan of that show.
JERRY STILLER Really! I think you do a great job!
JUSTIN Thank you Jerry Stiller.
JERRY STILLER I’m not kidding. I think you are the best!
JUSTIN Please, Jerry Stiller…
JERRY STILLER Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are a very handsome man.
JUSTIN Please, Jerry Stiller, you are making me blush.
JERRY STILLER I also read LateShowWritersOnStrike.com.
JUSTIN Really Jerry Stiller?
JERRY STILLER Yes. How do you guys think of such funny stuff…
day after day…. It’s amazing.
JUSTIN We try very hard... Look, Mr. Stiller.
STILLER I SAID CALL ME JERRY!
JUSTIN Ok, easy. Jerry I’ve always wanted to ask you a question.
JERRY STILLER Shoot kid-o.
JUSTIN Can I give you a hug?
JERRY AND I EMBRACE. THE HUNDREDS
OF WGAE MEMBERS PICKETING AND MARCHING AROUND US IN A CIRCLE, STOP AND APPLAUD.
IT WAS TO BE THE BEST SINGLE MOMENT
IN MY LIFE, SURPASSING THE BIRTH OF MY TWO KIDS, MY WEDDING AND THE TIME I MET WILLIAM SHATNER.
If you try to check online for information about the Writers Guild of America strike, be careful.
Typing in wga.com rather than wga.org will bring you to the other WGA: the Western Growers Association, an organization representing
growers of fresh produce in California and Arizona.
A confused and desperate AMPTP has published the following
open letter to the WGA in several agricultural trade magazines.
To The Leadership And Members Of The WGA:
We’d like to clarify our position on DVD’s and new media as they relate to your organization.
We maintain that while fruits, vegetables, and nuts may someday be distributed by digital streaming or downloads,
such technology is extremely speculative. Likewise, the current market for lettuce, almonds, plums, etc on DVD is practically
We thank you for not demanding even 1/100th of 1% of any fresh produce-related revenue we
may eventually generate through DVD’s or new media. In fact, our records show that you’ve never contacted
us in any way. However, we must warn you: never, ever to try to get any money from us on this, even though you grew
the delicious fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Many of our executives routinely send fruit baskets to friends
and clients. It would be a shame if the contents of those baskets had to be sourced from New Mexico, Oregon, or who
knows where else. It doesn’t have to happen—as long as you keep your roughened, dirty hands out of our pockets.
Sincerely, The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
LateShowWritersOnStrike.Com Football Picks of The Week
By Eric Stangel
Some interesting matchups this weekend in the nfl
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis
Indianapolis is a 14 point favorite at home versus the Chiefs. The Colts are banged up, but still almost
managed to beat the Chargers last Sunday in San Diego. They will breeze to a victory at home this week against an inconsistent
Kansas City team. If I was not on strike and currently had an income, I would take the Colts and give the points.
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Dallas has had a solid season, but the Redskins will hang around
and keep it close. If the studios hadn’t screwed the WGA on internet residuals I would have taken the Redskins and the
Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles
I would bet all 4 cents I currently would receive
on a dvd sold of my work on the Eagles minus the 10 points.
Yesterday, Barry Bonds was indicted for lying to investigators about using steroids.
I don’t ever want to see that happen to one of us.
As this strike moves into its third week and picketing
begins to take its toll on our bodies, I implore you all not to succumb to temptation and take steroids to improve your performance
on the line.
Sure HGH might allow you to hold your picket sign higher and straighter than the average writer.
Sure “The Cream” and “The Clear” might allow you to march faster and longer than the average writer.
But, it would all be a lie.
And, don’t try to tell me your strike captain told you what you were taking was
flaxseed oil. That’s no excuse.
We’re asking the producers to play fair with us at the
negotiating table. In order for that to happen, we first need to play fair amongst ourselves.
damage the integrity of the strike by taking performance-enhancing drugs.
The guy through whom I place my NFL bets doesn't consider "Work Stoppage" an
adequate excuse to get out of paying one's gambling losses. On a similar note, in a misguided show of solidarity
for their WGA brothers, the Minnesota Vikings offense decided to go on strike last Sunday against the Packers. 34-0.
(In order to get a better handle
on the complexities of the negotiating process, Late Show Strike Captain Bill Scheft conducted a recent phone interview with
sports uberagent Scott Boras.)
Thank you for taking the time to talk with us….
SB: Let’s move this along. I’ve got an eyebrow threading at noon with Victor Conte.
BS: The guy from BALCO?
SB: What are you, a cop?
BS: Okay, the writers maintain the position that all they want is $11 million
a year in new media profits from each of the major production companies. This represents a fraction –
SB: What are you, friggin’ soft? Never ever ever EVER
mention a specific dollar figure in the middle of a negotiation. Unless you’re me. Now, I have a firm offer of $350
million out there for your boys.
SB: Hold on, I’ve got Chris Meyers
on the blower. He’s going to break into the World Series with the announcement. Only cost me a c-note.
BS: But the World Series has been over for almost three
SB: No problem. I’ve got the Beezer
Brothers ready to build condos. And we can sell off the hangars and planes to the Mexicans –
BS: Isn’t that a line from “Wall Street?”
SB: Look, Chico. First, you get the money. Then, you get
the power. Then, you get the woman.
There is no firm offer, is there?
You wanna know what second prize is? Set of steak knives.
Because of the writers' strike, many of you are hungry for some political humor. I thought
I'd help fill the void by giving you a excerpt from my book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History."
Here's today's joke:
I'll never forget coming out of the delivery room and informing George he
had twins. He got a very worried look on his face and asked, "Are they the stuck-together kind?"-- Craig
Tom's book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History" is available on http://www.amazon.com/ and other quality bookstores
None of us in the business would be anywhere without you guys.
Thank you for this blog too and for keeping us informed.
Wayne Martin Puppets™est. 1966
www.WayneMartinPuppets.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks for the
kind words Wayne. And let me tell our readers- If you're looking for the best in puppets, use Wayne Martin puppets- for
all your puppet needs. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The recipe for Kathy Mavrikakis' WGA strike cookies is identical to the recipe for the Original Nestle Toll
House Chocolate Chip Cookies. I know this because I was an unhealthy kid who memorized said recipe and baked these cookies
maybe once a week. Go WGA! Siri Pinter ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Siri- This is
startling information to us. It's going to make me have to re-think every homemade dish Kathy has made for the staff over
the years, including the delicious Chicken recipe passed down from her grandmother where she "Shakes" the chicken
in a bag of spices and then "Bakes" it. You haven't lived until you've tried it. She also
devised a method where she makes homemade popcorn by cooking it in a special skillet she forms and it pops in a Jiffy! -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TO: WRITERS@LATESHOWWRITERSONSTRIKE.COM I just wanted to say that I had one of those Richard Belzer sandwiches and mine
was definitely meatball, not chick parm. ANNE D. BERNSTEIN ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeremy Weiner
was responsible for the original piece about Richard Belzer serving him a hot chicken parmigiana sandwich, and he has something
he'd like to say- Jeremy?
In my recent LateShowWritersOnStrike.com
entry, entitled “Strike Bites,” I stated that Richard Belzer handed out "hot, fresh chicken parmigiana sandwiches"
on the WGA picket line last week. It has now come to my attention that this is only partially true. While Richard DID
hand out sandwiches on the picket line last week and I was, without question, the recipient of a chicken parmigiana sandwich
[I suppose it could have been another type of poultry like Cornish game
hen, but who makes Cornish game hen parmigiana?], he did not hand out ONLY chicken parmigiana sandwiches.
Anne and those of you who received something other than a chicken parmigiana sandwich from Richard - whether it was meatball,
sausage, eggplant, or some other variety of parmigiana deliciousness – I apologize for the error. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Keep those emails coming everyone! -Eric Stangel
The picket line at Viacom brought with it falling temperatures and rain. But that didn't stop the writers from coming
Why does that guy in the orange jacket have a sign reading "Grandmas For Writers"?
handed out clear plastic slickers to protect us from the elements, which leads us to a new game, "Who Looks Least
Awkward In The Clear Plastic Slicker?"
Tonight's Contestants are
A) Justin Stangel
B) Tom Ruprecht C)
We will announce the winner in a future blog entry.
The Late Show staff once again came out to support
us. Thanks to Lorraine Galler and Sheryl Zelikson who brought hot chocolate and Jill Goodwin, Daniel Fetter and George the
intern (no idea what his last name is- we didn't bother to learn) who bought gumballs. You're the best.
Lorraine Galler and Sheryl Zelikson
Jill Goodwin, Daniel Fetter and George
Odd observation- For some reason, the inflatable pig reeked of gasoline
today. If it exploded, how much would that have hurt our cause?
Here Rob Burnett takes his life into his own hands. Thank goodness nothin' 'sploded.
Each day on the picket line, we’ve been carrying our signs around a large, inflated,
animal figure, meant to attract attention, improve morale, and ward off evil spirits (according to Feng Shui advocates.)
During Week One of the strike, our inflatable, nylon neighbor was an angry rat, complete with blood-soaked claws and
menacing fangs. The implication, as I interpreted it, was that the AMPTP, in their disingenuous negotiation efforts,
have been rat-like – in other words, ruthless, parasitic, and prone to disease and inbreeding.
Two, we’ve marched in the shadow of a giant, inflatable, top-hat-wearing pig, sporting dollar signs in his eyes.
He chomps a cigar, exuding selfishness and greed. The implication here, as I interpret it, is that the AMPTP, in their
disingenuous negotiation efforts, have been selfish, greedy, and decadently foppish to the point of wearing top hats.
Why has the Writer’s Guild chosen a rat and a pig to represent the other side, you ask? Actually, we’re
just following rules.
In 1935, Congress founded the U.S. Labor Relations Board, which created a list of appropriate
inflatable animals for disgruntled parties to display during each week of a strike action.
Next, although it’s
unclear why, each inflatable animal was named according to an alphabetical list provided by the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Then, in 1957, the American Greetings company assigned ‘Modern’ alternatives to the traditional inflatable
Below, you’ll find the complete list for the first 6 weeks (although we hope it doesn’t last
Be sure to support the WGA by decorating your office, carving festive gourd ‘strike animals’
with your kids, and otherwise bringing the protest home!
Labor Protest / Strike Action Inflatable Animals
(Courtesy of the U.S. Labor Relations Board)
Week 1 Bloodthirsty Rat
Week 2 Greedy Pig
Lascivious Warthog Bernard
3 Heartless Snake Self-Centered
Week 4 Cutthroat Shark
Goldfish Suffering from Ick Doris
It has come to my attention while on the picket line; people don’t have a whole lot to say
to each other. For the most part, various people walking behind me seem to be upset because their “amazing”
show ideas were rejected. But every now and then, if you keep your ears open, you hear a gem like this:
#1: You know what expression I heard for the very first time a few weeks ago?
Picketer #2: No, what?
Picketer #1: T.M.I. (Too much information), it really comes in handy. My boss started talking about his
hernia operation, I said, “T.M.I.” and walked out of the room.
If you're currently on strike, considering going on strike or just a fan of strikes in general,
here's a must-have playlist for your iPod.
World Strike" - Gogol Bordello
2. "In the Midnight Hour" - Wilson Pickett
3. "Lady Willpower" - Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
"She Works Hard for the Money" - Donna Summer
5. "Work It
Out" - Beyoncé
6. "I Walk the Line" - Johnny Cash
[Too obvious? Try Leonard Nimoy's terrific Spoken Word version of "I Walk the Line" from the 1997 album"
7. "Hold On" - Wilson Phillips
"Copacabana" - Barry Manilow [Workers at The Copa went on strike for 11 weeks in 1968]
9. Theme from "Let's Make a Deal"
10. "Who Let
the Dogs Out" - Baha Men [not specifically strike-related, just a great song for any occasion]
the iTunes Store to download these wonderful songs today! While you're there, be sure to click on "TV Shows"
to see the huge selection of downloadable programs for which the producers refuse to properly compensate writers.
The Writers Guild of America is not alone on the picket lines during this difficult time. The writers are thrilled
that the following labor organizations have joined us in an inspiring show of solidarity:
Screen Actors Guild
American Federation of Radio & Television Artists
International Union of Teamsters
of Soup and Chowder Workers
United Pedestrians of America
Union of Movers & Shakers
American Federation of Library Shushers
The Gum and Chewy Candy Makers Guild
International Union of
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Amalgamated Union of Dairy Workers and Tattoo
International Association of Renaissance Faire Workers
American Union of Organized Crime Associates
United Brotherhood of Bent Nail & Tack Straighteners
American Guild Of Dilettantes
Federation of Gossips and Busybodies
Association of Nude Letter Carriers
Union of Industrial Employees
American Association of Bitchy Male Flight Attendants
American Union of Corrupt Basketball Referees
Chinese Alliance of Lead-Paint Technicians
Vendors Guild of New York
Sweaty Fat Guys Who Walk Around Shirtless United
Global Sisterhood of Former
Rudy Giuliani Wives -BY STEVE YOUNG AND JOE GROSSMAN
The WGAE picketed (along with supporting
unions) in front of the Disney Store on 55th Street and 5th Avenue. Disney owns ABC and other cable networks. The picket line
also happened to stretch in front of a Coca-Cola retail store, which I'm sure led them to think "What the hell do
we have to do with this thing?" --------------------------------------------------------------------- The picket
sign of the day comes from Guild member Scott Brown. Take that, Disney!
(Technically all of
Walt Disney is frozen- not just his head. This is really a Ted Williams reference, since the Splendid Splinter's
head only was cryogenically preserved, but we'll let it slide. And also, I'm not sure why Mr. Disney's frozen
head would be crying. Is the sign suggesting the late Mr. Disney is hurting from the writers striking in front of
When we picket, usually there are
a few hundred people marching in a gated area. There are union people with clipboards walking around, an area where you can
get a picket sign, and a table with food for everyone involved. The table is covered with containers of coffee, donuts, sandwiches,
and water. I have noticed many New Yorker gather to watch us march and chant out carefully written protests. They also see
a table of food, which for some reason they think, “This must be for everyone” and they help themselves to whatever
they want. I don’t know why they would think this because they have to open up a large, heavy section of metal gate,
and push through dozens and dozens of chanting, marching protesters to get to the powered sugar donut.
--------------------------------------------------------------------- It was a very strong and energetic showing today. We were touched to be joined all day by Director Jerry Foley and retired
Late Show writer Gerard Mulligan.
Late Show Executive Producer Barbara Gaines brought pastries courtesy of Patisserie
Executive Producer Maria Pope and Production Coordinator Mike McIntee also
brought tons of food
A large number of Late Show staff and crew came to show their support. We
cannot begin to tell you how important these people are to us.
Kathy Mavrikakis brought a giant jar of home made WGA Strike Cookies.
We know what you’re thinking. “Kathy Mavrikakis’ Homemade WGA Strike
Cookies look delicious. How can I make Kathy Mavrikakis’ Homemade WGA Strike Cookies?” It’s just this easy!
WGA STRIKE COOKIES
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-ounce package) Chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped nuts
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each
addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE in preheated
375-degree [Fahrenheit] oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool
Thanks Kathy. If Kathy, or any other Late Show staff member brings homemade baked goods, we will be sure to include
the recipe to give you that WGA Strike feeling in your own home!
--------------------------------------------------------------------- People ask "What's it like on the picket line?" Here's a story from head writer Justin
This happened on Tuesday.
I walked off the line to put my sweatshirt in my
bag. I was standing next to one of the many girls with clipboards taking the names of the WGA members protesting. Not to sound
mean at all, but a giant, fat, disgusting, hulk of a woman pushed her way up to one of the clipboard girls. Here is what happened.
Where do you sign if you are against the writers?
Where do you sign if you are against the writers?
Against the writers?
Yes! Where do you sign if you are against the writers?
Why are you against the writers?
TV writers are ruining literacy in this country.
I LEANED IN
Look lady. You’re not helping. Why don’t you just
Leave? Why should I leave? What
are you doing here?
for my job!
HULK WOMAN (yelling)
Maybe it’s time you try another
Maybe it’s time you try a
HULK WOMAN LEAVES IN A HUFF
--------------------------------------------------------------------- Couple of Random Thoughts
The Late Show is on strike Many Broadway shows just south of us are also on
strike now that the stagehands have walked out. Some good might come of this, if it keeps making its way downtown, maybe this
whole thing will put the Knicks out of their misery.
By the way- I feel like I am having an affair with Nikki
Finke. I am spending much more time with her than my wife
Sadly, the AMPTP's refusal to offer writers a fair contract has driven the late-night shows
off the air, and unless a resolution is reached soon, prime-time shows will follow. On the bright side, the lack of fresh
television programming will give Americans more time than ever to pursue one of their favorite pastimes: not reading. As someone
who has diligently avoided reading for more than three decades, I compiled a list of books that I look forward to not reading
in the coming weeks. Some recommendations:
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Kite Runner, by
Wizard's First Rule (Sword Of Truth), by Terry Goodkind
You On a Diet, by Dr. Mehmet
Oz and Michael Roizen
Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
Toxic Bachelors, by Danielle Steel
Become a Better You, by Joel Osteen
The Universe in a Single Atom, by the Dalai Lama
Slash, by Slash
with Anthony Bozza
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky (already didn't read it in high school, but
it seemed worth re-not-reading)
As stated before on this blog, Richard Belzer was kind and warm-hearted enough
to show up at the picket line last week to hand out delicious chicken parm sandwiches. Well, Mr. Belzer's concern
for the writers knows no end. Last night, at around 3am, I woke up to find Richard Belzer standing in my bedroom.
I asked what he was doing. He replied he was concerned that the stress and anxiety of the strike may prevent me from
getting a good night's sleep. He then proceeded to climb into bed with me and give me an eyebrow massage until I
drifted off into lovely, sugar-coated slumber. Thanks "The Belz!"
Because of the writers' strike, many of you are hungry for some political humor. I thought
I'd help fill the void by giving you a daily excerpt from my book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History."
Here's today's joke:
In 2003 President Bush came to England for a state visit. He seemed to enjoy being
here. He told me that driving on the left side of the road reminded him of his drinking days.--Tony Blair, Former British
Tom's book "George W. Bush: An Unauthorized Oral History" is available on http://www.amazon.com/ and other quality bookstores
The writers’ strike can be stressful and
confusing for children as well as adults.Kids often have questions about the situation that need to be
handled delicately.Here are a few sample questions and non-judgmental answers.
“Why are the writers and the big media companies fighting?”
“Sometimes two parts
of the entertainment business love each other, but have trouble getting along.The details of the argument
aren’t important.All you need to know is that the producers are trying to bludgeon the writers with
bats, take their last few pennies, and leave them bleeding in the street.”
“Is the fight because of something I’ve done?”
“Yes, of course.All trouble is due to your bad behavior.”
“Will the writers and the producers ever get back together?”
“We hope so.The writers
are ready to sit down and talk whenever the big companies are willing to have a real discussion about DVD income and digital
revenue sharing.That’s just a fancy way of saying you know who to blame if this thing drags on.
“Do you still love me?”
“The Writers Guild will
always love you very, very much.The media companies would sell you to the Gypsies in a second if they
thought it would boost their share price.”
The New York Daily News recently printed a letter from Eric M. Norcross which stated "Tina Fey has absolutely no business
picketing in front of the headquarters of the company that has treated her so dearly. She makes more money in a day than most
men and women make in a month. The writers who have "put down their pens" should be happy about their success and
that they are better off than a good number of struggling writers who would give anything for a break."
Show writer Steve Young had this letter in response which appears in today's New York Daily News
all rich - or employed
Manhattan: To Voicer Eric M. Norcross: I'm sure Tina Fey is thankful for
her success, but she's also aware that in any given year about half of all Writers Guild members are unemployed. The majority
don't earn six-figure salaries. The residuals we're fighting for are crucial for allowing thousands to survive between
Each day spent on the picket line has introduced me to a wealth of first-time
experiences and opportunities. Yesterday? Leafleting!
Tuesday morning, I was handpicked to leaflet
outside the New York Stock Exchange, illustrating that it’s in the financial interest of the market for Hollywood to
be strong, and that the industry’s strength can only be maintained with a quick resolution to the strike.
Although it sounded exotic, as it turns out, ‘leafleting’ is just handing out photocopies of the same sheet
of paper to reluctant, and sometimes frightened, strangers.
I was criticized by my fellow leafleteers for being
too passive in my approach. Rather than force a leaflet on someone, I’d pretend to accidentally drop it in front
of her. When she’d pick up the page for me, I’d say, ‘No, that’s all right – you keep
Often my ‘soft sell’ meant waiting for passersby to come to me – usually those approaching
were friendly, foreign tourists, looking for the nearest Starbucks. I produced a pen, jotted directions on a leaflet,
and sent them off, well equipped to support the WGA upon returning to their homeland.
My greatest weakness, though,
was my tendency to identify with those passing by on the street. When one corporate type declined my leaflet, saying,
‘I already have too many papers to read,’ instead of insistently replying, ‘But, none this important!’
I said, ‘I understand completely.’
Clearly, I have room to improve.
Hopefully the strike
won’t last long enough for me to get good at this.
Guild representatives have been giving these whistles out to picketers so we can make an annoying
racket. An annoying racket is fine, but after trooping around for a couple hours this morning I’ve developed a
dazzling repertoire of more subtle effects:
The Wacky Snore. Like in a cartoon, or maybe like Curly in “The Three Stooges.”
I’m not enough of a Stooge-ologist to be sure. (Note to self: use free time during the strike to get up to speed
on the Stooges.)
The Sad Dog. Whining piteously, possibly in outrage at the unreasonable
negotiating stance taken by the big media companies.
The Seagull. Majestic, soaring
free, circling a garbage barge that’s being towed out to sea.
The One-Note “Jingle
Bells.” If we can subject the media moguls to just fifteen minutes of this, we’ll break their wills and
end the strike immediately.
The One-And-A-Half Note “Jingle Bells.”
Skillful variations in tonguing and air pressure can produce slight variations in pitch. Extremely festive.
This is a work in progress! Depending on the length of the strike, I may be adding hundreds more!
A strong day of picketing today. The Writers Guild of America East gathered in the Wall Street area.
The big addition
on the lines today- Nametags.
Global warming made it a less uncomfortable day outside. No one wants to be on strike,
but at least it wasn't 35 degrees and windy. So thanks to those who disrespected Mother Earth for so long. We're now
reaping the benefits.
My brother Justin and I were swarmed by the German media. Correspondents from the Rheinische
Post and Frankfurter Rundschau were kind enough to ask us our thoughts on what we were fighting for. We currently don't
subscribe to either publication. If anyone out there does, let us know. We'd like to show our parents.
website has gotten a lot of attention and support in the last 24 hours. We have been featured in Variety.com New York Magazine
Online, Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily and Defamer.
We have also received a ton of supportive emails.
Some of them are now featured in the mailbag section located on the top toolbar. The ones by crazy people have been discarded.
We have also gotten tremendous support from the Late Show staff and crew. We miss all of them very much and hope this
is resolved soon so we can all get back to work. They are the best in the business.
If you like what you're
reading here, tell your friends and keep checking in. The writers will be submitting material to this site throughout the
Tomorrow the WGA is picketing in front of the Disney store on 55th Street and 5th Avenue from 10am to 2pm.
Time to open up some whoopass on Winnie The Pooh...
IT'S STARTING TO OCCUR TO ME THAT THIS MAY ALL BE MY FAULT
The reason there's a strike is a handful
of studio muckety-mucks don't want to give the writers their well-deserved money for Internet usage. Why would these tycoons
exhibit such hostility towards friendly writers? What did we ever do to them?
Well, let me take you back to June
2000. I'm standing on the floor of the Staples Center minutes before the Lakers-Pacers NBA Finals. I'm desperately
trying to shoot a few jokes with Biff Henderson before tip-off. As we're shooting a (hilarious) joke, the bit is ruined
when someone from behind me yells "Hey Biff! How's it going?!"
Now when you shoot with Biff at a
sporting event, your shot is interrupted approximately every 20 seconds by some drunken loudmouth screaming "Hey, Biff!!!"
So, I must admit, I was a little frustrated. I angrily spun around and screamed, "Quiet! We're trying to
shoot here!" Instead of being greeted by a drunken lout, however, I found myself staring at CBS President/CEO/Muckety-Muck
Les Moonves wearing a suit whose value is more than what the WGA is asking for in this strike.
He shot me a look
of pure hate that I normally only get from women I'm dating. It was a look that said, "Mark my words, someday you'll
pay for this!"
Mr. Moonves, I'm sorry for getting angry. I thought you were a drunken loudmouth. Wait,
that didn't come out right at all. But I'm sorry. Very, very sorry. Very, very, very sorry. It's just I was so
focused on creating top-notch comedy for your fine network, I didn't realize who you were. Let's just forget it, sir.
I want to get back to creating top-notch comedy for your fine network. Thank you.
Last week, while picketing in the bitter cold outside of the Chelsea Piers studio where “Law
& Order: Special Victims Unit” is produced, I bumped into Richard Belzer a.k.a. Detective Munch. Richard was
graciously handing out hot, fresh chicken parmigiana sandwiches to striking writers. I took one and, I have to say,
it was arguably the finest sandwich I’ve ever enjoyed as a participant in a temporary work stoppage. It also got
me thinking. If the AMPTP forces this strike to continue, might I encounter other celebrities with free food on future
picket lines? If that's the case, here is my wish list [in no particular order]:
Greta Van Susteren
[no shellfish, I’m allergic]
NOTES FOR DAY 8 OF THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA STRIKE
BY ERIC STANGEL AND JUSTIN STANGEL
• THERE WAS NO WGAE PICKETING SCHEDULED FOR TODAY
• THE WGAE WILL BE PICKETING TUESDAY FROM 10:00 AM TO 2:00 PM AT THE NORTHEAST CORNER OF BATTERY
PARK, CORNER OF STATE STREET AND BOWLING GREEN
• NO WORD YET IF RICHARD BELZER WILL ONCE
AGAIN BE SERVING HOT SANDWICHES
RUMORS OF THE DAY:
• HOLLYWOOD AGENTS
ARE TRYING TO BROKER BACKCHANNEL DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN WRITERS AND PRODUCERS
• BEFORE TALKS
BROKE DOWN IN LAST WEEK’S 11TH HOUR DISCUSSIONS, BOTH SIDES BRIEFLY AGREED MARIE OSMOND IS FABULOUS IN THIS SEASON’S
“DANCING WITH THE STARS”
• DISCOVERED AT LAST WEDNESDAY’S PICKET LINES
WAS “MIAMI VICE” STAR PHILIP MICHAEL THOMAS. HE HAS BEEN PICKETING SINCE THE LAST STRIKE IN 1988. SEEMS NO ONE
TOLD HIM THE STRIKE ENDED.
• EDDIE ZICK, A WRITER FOR SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, AND BETH ANDERSON,
A WRITER FOR “PENN AND TELLER: BULLSHIT” MET AT MONDAY’S PICKET LINE AT 30 ROCKEFELLER PLAZA AND FELL IN
LOVE. WE HEAR THEY ARE ENGAGED. CONGRATULATIONS. NO DATE HAS BEEN SET. HE PROPOSED BY WRITING “2,4,6,8 LET’S GET
HITCHED AND PROCREATE” ON HIS SIGN
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN TELL YOU'RE READING TOO MUCH STRIKE
• IF YOU NO LONGER CRINGE WHEN YOU SEE AGENTS REFERRED TO AS “TEN PERCENTERS,”
YOU'RE READING TOO MUCH STRIKE COVERAGE
• IF YOU DON'T MAKE ANY DECISIONS WITHOUT
FIRST CHECKING WITH NIKKI FINKE, YOU'RE READING TOO MUCH STRIKE COVERAGE
• IF YOUR FAMILY
TREE IS A STRAIGHT LINE, YOU MIGHT BE A REDNECK
I just returned from some meetings about the writers strike and was looking forward to a quiet evening at home. I
don't know who's responsible, my coworkers or the AMPTP, but look at what was in my living room!
Seriously, this strike is no laughing matter. Check out www.wgaeast.org to see what we're fighting for.
This has been a very rough time for the Late Show writers. We are away from the job we
love and from the people with whom we love working. But one small positive aspect of this otherwise awful time has been
the privilege to meet on the picket lines some of the greatest minds ever to have sat in front of a legal pad, typewriter
or word processor.
Last week, I was fortunate to meet the great Andrew Bergman. Here is a verbatim transcript
of our encounter:
MR. BERGMAN: Hi, I'm Andrew Bergman.
ME: Wow, what an honor to meet you!
You wrote "The Jerk"!
MR. BERGMAN: I wrote "The Jerk"?
ME: Yeah, you did!
MR. BERGMAN: No, I didn't.
Note: Andrew Bergman is the award-winning screenwriter
of several classic films, including The In-Laws, Fletch and Blazing Saddles. Lee Ellenberg is an ass.
The purpose of the strike is for writers to withhold
their written work and force the companies and networks to realize their success is dependent upon returning to the bargaining
table and negotiating a fair contract. It is also intended to help writers get a jump on their holiday shopping.
Q: How long will the strike last?
Until the writers achieve a fair contract and/or Lou Ferrigno is elected
Q: Why did negotiations with the AMPTP break down?
Negotiations broke down when the AMPTP
was unwilling to put “real” proposals on the table that compensate writers for work in new media. Also,
AMPTP lead negotiator Nick Counter insisted on bargaining in his underpants.
Q: What is life like on the picket
It’s actually far more dangerous than the media is reporting. Careless handling of picket signs
has resulted in several mild corneal abrasions. For more informaiton visit http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/corneal-abrasions.
Q: Will the networks attempt to use the writers' strike, particularly if it is an extended strike, to cancel
“Airwolf” was cancelled in 1987.
Q: What does FAQ stand
I have no idea.
Q: I still have questions. What should I do?
Call the Vatican switchboard
at +39.06.6982. Ask for Benedict.
This letter originally was posted on the
late show newsgroup and the late show website.
I am the union rep for the show, and felt
compelled to bring you up to date on the writers strike. Day Four on the picket line. Our guys have been so much better represented
out there than all the other NY shows. I am really proud of them.
Quickly, lest you think we are a bunch of spoiled brats just looking for a raise, the big issue, money
from original content shown on the Internet and other new media, is our way of replacing the money we are losing over the
disappearing residuals. Residuals are not a bonus. They are the way writers live when they are between jobs. The standard
writers contact is up for renewal every 13 weeks. You can have a five- year contract, but they can let you go every 13 weeks
without paying you any more as long as they give you a month's notice. That is the deal we all enter into. There are 12,000
writers in the guild. You need to make $30,000 a year in guild earnings to keep your health insurance. Last year, 6000 didn't
reach that figure. Half.
I have been lucky
enough to have a job for 16 years. That simply does not happen. So this is what we are fighting for. Believe me, we would
love to be in the office, writing fun facts, actives with Rupert, illegally doctoring footage or downloading porn, but this
is the frontline fight for all the other union contracts that come after us. The late night writers are the first ones affected
by a strike, and the ONLY ones who will never recoup the money we lose because we do 10 times as many new shows per year as
any drama or sitcom. But we go out in support of our fellow union members and pray this thing ends soon.
One more thing. To a man, all of the writers are deeply
concerned about the collateral damage if we stay out too long. We think of the 150 people who work at the Late Show whose
fight this is not and believe they will be taken care of. They are all embarrassingly supportive of us. No one any more so
than Dave. It is quite humbling.
to be so serious, but this is serious business. I wanted to write you people because this site has loyally and relentlessly
followed the show since we came to CBS. I felt you were owed as much of an explanation as anyone outside the negotiation room
Feel free to ask any questions
and I will try to respond. Thanks.
ENJOY OUR SUPER COOL LATESHOWWRITERSONSTRIKE.COM VIDEOS
A message from Late Show writer Bill Scheft....
This letter originally was posted on the late show newsgroup
and the late show website.
I am the union rep for the show, and felt compelled to
bring you up to date on the writers strike. Our guys have been so much better represented on the picket line than all the
other NY shows. I am really proud of them.
lest you think we are a bunch of spoiled brats just looking for a raise, the big issue, money from original content shown
on the Internet and other new media, is our way of replacing the money we are losing over the disappearing residuals. Residuals
are not a bonus. They are the way writers live when they are between jobs. The standard writers contact is up for renewal
every 13 weeks. You can have a five- year contract, but they can let you go every 13 weeks without paying you any more as
long as they give you a month's notice. That is the deal we all enter into. There are 12,000 writers in the guild. You
need to make $30,000 a year in guild earnings to keep your health insurance. Last year, 6000 didn't reach that figure.
I have been lucky enough
to have a job for 16 years. That simply does not happen. So this is what we are fighting for. Believe me, we would love to
be in the office, writing fun facts, actives with Rupert, illegally doctoring footage or downloading porn, but this is the
frontline fight for all the other union contracts that come after us. The late night writers are the first ones affected by
a strike, and the ONLY ones who will never recoup the money we lose because we do 10 times as many new shows per year as any
drama or sitcom. But we go out in support of our fellow union members and pray this thing ends soon.
One more thing. To a man, all of the writers are deeply concerned
about the collateral damage if we stay out too long. We think of the 150 people who work at the Late Show whose fight this
is not and believe they will be taken care of. They are all embarrassingly supportive of us. No one any more so than Dave.
It is quite humbling.
Sorry to be so serious,
but this is serious business. I wanted to write you people because this site has loyally and relentlessly followed the show
since we came to CBS. I felt you were owed as much of an explanation as anyone outside the negotiation room can give.
Feel free to ask any questions and I will try to respond.
Be sure to get in touch so we know you're out there!
Strike Observations By The Late Show With David Letterman Writers