When I was a boy growing up in the Bronx I never thought of myself as a funny person. Oh sure, I liked making my older brother laugh with a well-timed arm fart, but my early writing was dramatic, almost melodramatic. As an undergrad I’d read Hubert Selby Jr.’s Last Exit To Brooklyn, an epithet-filled tale about the horrors of living in 1950s Brooklyn. I decided these were the kind of stories I wanted to tell. The difference was I wanted to tell my stories about growing up in the hard-scrabble streets of the South Bronx.
I set out writing humorless tales about the underbelly of society. I gave one of my gut-wrenching tales to my brother, and as he read it he started to laugh. ”Hey, what’s so funny?” I demanded. “This,” he said pointing to the pages in his hand. I loved making my brother laugh. However, I did not like making him laugh when I wasn’t trying. I was insulted. “Why is it funny?” I asked. “Because this doesn’t sound like you. This isn’t your life.” I admit I had taken a few liberties, like my father holding up a liquor store at gunpoint and getting thrown in jail for trying to support his family. My father was a cook. And let’s face it, a cook isn’t nearly as exciting as a gun toting papa.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was on the road to writing humor.
Humor has served me well. I’ve written for award winning sitcoms The Cosby Show and Even Stevens. With the first novel in my Hollyweird series: The Zombie Always Knocks Twice, there’s a good dose of humor, but is blended with exciting action scenes and drama. This time I am not trying to prove anything to myself. I am just trying to tell a good story. I hope you enjoy it.
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