THE BLOG

Why I Left Hollywood (Part 1)

10/22/2013 11:01 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

I wrote five novels about my problems and then I ran out of problems. The fact that I strip-mined myself for five fairly good books shows just how deeply screwed up I was. I have always thought a novelist with nothing to say should shut up, so I did, waiting patiently for new problems to appear. In the meantime, I wrote screenplays because you don't have to have anything to say to write a movie. You just have to be able to give good meeting.

In seven years I wrote 11 scripts for hire, which means they paid me to write them, and created hundreds of takes and treatments. Generally, you don't get paid for those. Three of the last projects I worked on in good old L.A. were biopics. This means biographies loosely based on someone strange. My three assignments were Gorgeous George, Ron Popeil, and Brian Zembic.

Gorgeous George was the first true TV star. Or at least he tied with Milton Berle for first. George was a wrestler. The earliest hit TV shows were professional wrestling and it's been going strong ever since. G.G. created the villain as star. He discovered that by pretending to cheat and preen and taunt, he was much more popular than the good guys. He faked the bully, cheating, homosexual, so people would hate him. This concept is foreign to me. While there are people the world over who don't like me much, I've never gone out of my way to foster animosity.

Since then, many TV stars have found love through hatred. My favorite was J.R. Ewing back on Dallas. I guess they do it on that Survivor show all the time. And Bill O'Reilly has adopted all of Gorgeous George's techniques for making people think he's an arrogant ass. I've been told O'Reilly is a regular guy until the camera comes on. He says all those incredibly stupid things so people will believe the opposite. Without him, the Democrats wouldn't have won the last two elections.

Ron Popeil invented that stuff you spray on your head to make it look like you have hair. And the Pocket Fisherman and the In the Shell Egg Scrambler. He created hundreds of products no one knew they needed. Where would civilization be without the Veg-O-Matic? He also coined the phrase "As Seen on TV," as if being on TV makes an object or person legitimate. His dream is to sell people products they don't need.

Brian Zembic is a flaming redneck who underwent a boob job to win a bet. I spent a week running around Vegas while he chased Chi Chi (I believe is how it is spelled), and hustled poker. He'll bet on anything. He's best at Ping Pong and backgammon, not bad at blackjack. He once made a bet that he could watch continuous porn for 10 days straight without abusing himself. He won, but he told me porn has never been the same.

Brian has really big knockers. The other two guys were just treatments but I actually wrote an entire script for Brian. It's called -- get ready -- Stacked. I made him considerably more charming in the screenplay than he is in real life. Anyone with two million bucks should send me a message. There are some good actors attached. And a director.

The point of all this is I'm not like these guys. I would never try to make someone hate me. I would never sell anyone something they don't want more than life itself. And I wouldn't, as a rule, get large knockers to win a bet.

After these three projects --Voila! (how is that spelled? This is harder than Chi Chi) -- I had enough problems to go back to writing novels. I've been doing it ever since.

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