March 3, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Make 'Em Laugh

This month marks a proud professional milestone for a good friend of mine, author Scott Petri: the release of his first book, "Make 'Em Laugh: Writing the Comedy Film." Currently ranked #1,353,455 on, this book is destined for greatness, as is Mr. Petri himself. Born to an emaciated Sudanese woman in the late 1960s, Scott had a hard upbringing. He suffered constant belittling from the local children, who made fun of him on a daily basis. "It was hard being known as the White Pygmy of the Congo," said Petri in a recent interview, "but this early hardship fueled my future creative energies, and made me who I am today." After emigrating to the United States, he was adopted by an American family in New Hampshire, where his new father taught him the family business of bovine artificial insemination. He found he had a remarkable natural talent for this new vocation, but he still endured the same callous teasing at the hands of his American classmates. Nevertheless, this short, angry man had the last laugh.

"Make 'Em Laugh" dissects the art and craft of comedy writing, and teaches you how to write better comedy. As the previous passage illustrates, I have a lot to learn from Petri and co-writer Stuart Voytilla. But I am proud to say that I contributed some editing notes for an early draft of the Introduction, which I believe, according to the Writers' Guild scale, entitles me to approximately 0.00387% of the (net) royalties. So I've got that going for me.

If you have even the slightest interest in screenwriting (or writing in general), enjoy comedy films, or are simply looking for some colorful coasters for your coffee table, run—don't walk—to your local bookstore (or to buy several copies of this book. And if you want, I can have them personally autographed for you. After all, I know the author.

Way to go, Petri!


Development note: I've noticed that this site doesn't look like it should in Netscape Navigator. Rather than waste time jury-rigging it to look right in a soon-to-be-obsolete browser, I'll just add the cliché "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer."
Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Daily Chuckle:

"A Christmas present is like a hand job." (Scott Petri, "A Long-Haired Christmas Carol")

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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