Comic Titans of Television

Richard Kramer and Peter Mehlman Talk About Writing Comedy for Television

A lively audience packed into Book Soup in Hollywood recently to meet and listen to two of Hollywood’s big names in television comedy. Richard Kramer and Peter Mehlman not only read from their new books, but took turns in a wide-ranging discussion of television, comedy, and writing, engaging the audience in a marathon session that could serve as a self-contained college course on the subjects covered. If you missed the event, no problem, just click on the window below to view the unedited presentation, over 2 hours long. Also, follow the links below to get signed copies of their books and visit their websites.

Click Here to watch directly on youtube.

TheseThingsHappen-cvr-thumbClick Here to buy their books from Book Soup .Please support this great Independent Book Store. The internet discounters do not ever give the authors the love and kindness that they get from Book Soup. These educational and fun events allow you to personally meet up with the great authors of today and interact with them. Plus, get a signed copy as a gift for a friend!


Click Here to go to Richard Kramer’s website.

MANDELA-WAS-LATE-front-coverClick Here to go to Peter Mehlman’s website.

Summer Fun

Have a Chuckle and Forget That Heat Rash

Summer Jokes from R.J. Johnson


– People in New York are paying $180 for a bird poop facial. Or they can just stand under a statue in Central Park for free.

– MTV is producing a reality show about a group of virgins who may or may not have sex. Or as we used to call that, Prom Night.

– Paula Dean turned down “Dancing With the Stars.” But she has a new show, “How I Met Yo Mama.”

In London they found a 15 ton blob of congealed fat in a sewer pipe. Or as English cooks call that, the all-you-can-eat buffet.

– The guy and girl from the popular country group The Civil Wars broke up and they are so angry The Civil Wars aren’t even talking to each other. The really bad news? They’re starting a new group. The Vietnam.

– A man in South Africa saved his dog first before swimming back to save his wife after their yacht sank in the ocean. Actually, they have a name for married men who do that: Celibate.

– Mexico has gone ahead of the U.S. when it comes to having the most obese people in the world. And they’ve already declared a day of celebration: Sinko de Fatso

– Netflix has a new TV series called “Orange is the New Black.” Sounds more like a John Boehner rap album, doesn’t it?

– According to Variety, Apple is coming out with a device that will skip over TV commercials. Don’t we already have that? It’s called a bathroom, right?

– Liz Cheney is running for the Senate in Wyoming against another Republican named Sen. Michael Enzi. They’ve agreed to three debates, two press conferences and one hunting trip.

And finally…

A man in Tennessee is suing Apple Computers.  He said the company causes a porn addiction, sexual arousal and drives men to prostitution. The good news for the guy? He’s now legally eligible to run for any office he wants in New York City.


Templar The Graphic Novel

Jordan Mechner at Skylight Books for Reading and Discussion

Jordan_MechnerA hot topic for the last decade or so has been the times and events surrounding the legendary group of knights from the days of the Crusades, called the Knights Templar.  This religious and military order first started as guardians to those going to the Holy Land during the Crusades.  Over the years it evolved into a much larger and more powerful organization.  The Templars spread over Europe, and became the first “bankers”, transferring money, safeguarding gold and silver, and loaning money, something that only Jews and Lombards could do at the time.  Since the Templars were authorized by the Church and the Pope, they operated in many lands and crossed the borders of all European states.  Its members were from the noble families of Europe, men who took a vow of poverty to serve Christ and Christians as Knights of the Temple.

Templar book coverMany fascinating books have come from exploring this era, including “Holy Blood, Holy Grail”, and many others from authors including best-selling author Dan Brown.  Spinning a story based on the real Templars, Jordan Mechner has brought the era to the graphic novel with his two artist co-authors LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland in a 480 page color book.  Here’s the story synopsis:

Martin is one of a handful of Templar Knights to escape when the King of France and the Pope conspire to destroy the noble order. The King aims to frame the Templars for heresy, execute all of them, and make off with their legendary treasure. That’s the plan, anyway, but Martin and several other surviving knights mount a counter-campaign to regain the lost treasure of the Knights Templar.

To watch the video of the Discussion on youtube directly click here.

Or click on the window below to see the video:

For a signed copy of Templar, go to, or better yet, stop by the store in person.

Lift the June Gloom with jokes from R.J. Johnson

June Gloom Be Gone

by R.J. Johnson

– There are now dating sites for Star Trek fans. Their favorite pick-up line? “Your parent’s basement or mine?”

– On the news, they said prisoners ask O.J. Simpson to negotiate problems between the prison gangs. And if there’s one guy who knows how to talk to a bunch of cut throats, it’s O.J. Simpson.

– Pres. Obama warned Americans that materials on the Internet can influence people to commit terrorist acts. And people on Craig’s List were shocked. “All the STDs aren’t bad enough? Now this?”

– ABC has a new series called “Mistresses.” I like the original title better: “Hawaii Five-Ho.”


– Scientists say they’ve found the plant disease that caused the great potato famine in Ireland in 1845. And just in time.

Those people have got to be really hungry.




Gravity Wins Over Little Dozer

Little Dozer Gets Stuck in a Hole and……

hey, the fence is supposed to stay!  Watch the little dozer take out about 20 feet of wooden fencing before flipping and crashing on it’s side.  The driver was a lucky guy.  And since it landed in someone else’s parking lot, the boys had to flip it back right-side up.  Building a swimming pool is sure a lot of fun!

Gilbert Hernandez – “How I Got Started In Comics”

Gilbert Hernandez Discusses the Comics and Artists Who Influenced Him

Love and Rockets Brothers At Skylight Book Shop in Hollywood!


DSC_1035 Gil and Marble bookBeloved cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez (LOVE & ROCKETS) launched his new D+Q graphic novel MARBLE SEASON, at Skylight Bookshop in Hollywood to a packed room of his fans and comic readers. Hernandez presented a fascinating slide show “From Funnybooks to Graphic Novels” featuring the comics of his childhood.  In addition, there was a question and answer session with fans and a book signing. (Some signed copies may still be available at Skylight).  The silver age comics he read as a child not only influenced MARBLE SEASON, but also set the course for Gilbert, as well as his brothers Jaime and Mario, to become the legendary comics creators they are today.

Marble Season is his first graphic novel for Drawn & Quarterly

MARBLE SEASON is the first ever semi-autobiographical novel by acclaimed cartoonist 200px-LoveAndRockets31Gilbert Hernandez of Love & Rockets, and is also his first graphic novel for Drawn & Quarterly. Meet Huey. He’s the middle child of a big family, growing up in a California suburb in the 1960s. He stages Captain America plays in the backyard and treasures his older brother’s comic-book collection almost as much as his approval. Set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics, MARBLE SEASON is a subtle and deft rumination on the redemptive and timeless power of storytelling and world-building in childhood.

“Perhaps no other current creators of comics recognize (or vividly remember) the ways actual kids think, talk, or even stand and walk as accurately as the Hernandez brothers, and no other comics artists so delicately intertwine moments of childhood trauma with the goofy logic that otherwise sustains kids when they begin to sense that they live in an irrational world.”—from the afterword by Corey Creekmur

“Gilbert Hernandez is one of the great craftsmen of modern comics.”—New York Times

Praise for Palomar: “These deeply influential tales, a sort of Archie-comics-meets-Marquez melange of complicated pan-American inter-relationships, are a comix epic.”—Time

Praise for Gilbert Hernandez: “He…[should]…be considered one of the greatest American storytellers. It’s so hard to do funny, tragic, local and epic, and he does all simultaneously, and with great aplomb.”—Junot Diaz, Los Angeles TIMES

Click here to see video on youtube.

Click here to go to Skylight Books to get a signed copy.

Or watch the embedded video below:


Mandela Was Late – Laugh Therapy

Book Review by Five

MANDELA-WAS-LATE-front-coverEver wonder what it would be like to take an exploratory peek into the mind of a former Seinfeld writer, if nothing more, than just for the hell of it? Ever imagine what it would be like to casually traverse the experiential terrain and clustered thought forms inside such a mind? Geez, ever just wish you could curl up with a quick read and LOL repeatedly (which some studies have shown can possibly combat cancer as well as various emotional maladies, i.e. Laugh Therapy)?

Well, scream out Hallelujah because you’re in luck! Feel free to count this as a blessing or, at the very least, a gift from the gods of publishing. Mandela Was Late is former Seinfeld scribe Peter Mehlman’s new book of odd things, wit-filled essays, and multi-colored doodle art… And it’s guaranteed to make you pee your pants should you have a full bladder and be miles away from a restroom and have to go! All joking aside, there are a great number of downright hilarious moments and obliquely satirical insights which jump out at the reader like Big League, spring-loaded, funny business.

Who else do you know marks time by the amount of moving violation tickets received? Believe or not, being pulled over six times is how the former New Yorker encapsulates his twenty two years and roughly 350,000 miles of L.A. living… And each time is a hoot! In another segment, he shares his innermost feelings about being nominated for an Emmy and the ensuing eight weeks leading up to losing to Ellen DeGeneres in front of a worldwide TV audience of 600 million people (… I envision friends at my memorial service saying: “He was never the same after losing that Emmy.”)

Also extremely hilarious is the escapist story called BLANK—about a guy named Eugene Brusca, a man who literally has no opinions on anything, who eventually lands a job as an op-ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times, in which his fourteen column inches of blank space published several times a week leads to a soaring readership and a Pulitzer Prize.

In case you were wondering, the book’s title, Mandela Was Late is a piece that was MANDELA-WAS-LATE-front-cover originally published in Esquire magazine in August,Peter Mehlman 2003. It also serves as the book’s final chapter—An irreverently funny invention which is written from the point of view of Nelson Mandela’s parole officer, a screwball, hare-brained character who is pissed off that the formerly jailed civil rights leader is three minutes late for his final parole meeting. Like I said lots and lots of Big League funny business… So there! Take that, cancer!

Click here to buy “Mandela Was Late” from Book Soup

Click here to see Peter Mehlman video

Jokes To Take Your Mind Off The IRS

by R.J. Johnson


This is true. There’s a plan to open a restaurant in Somerville, Massachusetts where the meat, fish and all the other ingredients come from the nearby dumpsters.

1) We’ve had this cooking process for years. They’re called Hot Dogs, right?

2) It’s like day 6 on a Carnival Cruise ship.

3) It’s for those who think Home Town Buffet is way too ritzy

4) Instead of a doggy bag, you get a barf bag.


A guy in Pennsylvania was arrested for shooting a deer with a rifle in a Walmart parking lot. But he had a good excuse. He was broke and he needed a little dough so he could eat.

The Associated Press will no longer use the phrase, “illegal immigrants.” Their new phrase? Walmart employees.

And finally….

 It was 40 years ago this week when a person made the first cell phone call. And you know the callers first words on the cell phone, don’t you? “Hi, I’m in a movie theatre! The other people won’t mind! Let’s chat.”




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Where The Funnymen Performed in Old Hollywood



TUESDAY, APRIL 23rd @ 7:30 pm @ the Larry Edmunds Bookshop-STOOGES!

A few years back I attended an evening at Hollywood Heritage w/ a Stoogephile from Philly named Jim Pauley doing a presentation on the film locations of the 3 Stooges. It was fantastic, and I began to bug Jim about why all his research and photos were not a book. Now they are! Behold, “The Three Stooges-Hollywood Film Locations”, a beautiful coffee book to take you to from the Columbia Ranch to the “Stooges steps” and all points in between. If that is not enough to entice you, we’ll have special guest Beverly Warren, who appears in the short, “Three Loan Wolves” which we’ll show and she’ll talk about working w/ the boys and she’ll be signing photos too! Slowly you should turn, step by step, and make your way to Larry Edmunds Bookshop next Tuesday for a night of Stooges.

Jeff, Larry Edmunds Bookshop

Watch “Three Loan Wolves” on youtube, click here.