"Dave King, Steve Hely, and Kevin Etten, Our Close Friends" is the fifty-eighth episode of Hollywood Handbook.

Official Earwolf Page

Earwolf Synopsis Edit

Hayes and Sean start the show by critiquing segment theme song submissions from fans. Then, on the first Hollywood Handbook writer’s panel, DAVE KING, STEVE HELY, and KEVIN ETTEN join the boys to talk about TV writing, real writing, the creative process, conflict, and alt and main jokes. Then, the Popcorn Gallery is back to ask the panel about their A/V Club GPAs, cams, and the writer’s room boys club.

Notes & Memorable Quotes Edit

Pre-Guest Segment Edit

  • Sean over there theme: "So I uh turn to, Echols, and I go 'Hey did you ever see that, um, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?' He's like 'Yeah! I did.' I was like 'That's kind of funny, right? Because your whole.. thing?' Roger Rabbit had to uh fight a bunch of weasels and Damien got beat by a weasel on his foot!"
  • Sean: "Speakin' of which, I'm kind of, probably gonna sound a little off this show, because as it turns out, and if Engineer Cody could get a shot of this: my feets is haunted! And my feets is actually haunted!" Cody does not have the camera with him and he has to go get it. "So when uh, Mebra was dressing me this morning, she got very scared!" Hayes explains that Sean is wearing socks with spirits on them, haunted spirits. "And, these, when I went to bed last night, was normal black socks. And when she put them on my feet, initially, they was normal black socks. And then what she told me is that the, because my feets is hanted, and has so much super natural energies.. transforms the sock." Hayes "But what a satisfying feeling it must be, to be stomping on ghosts and spirits all day." Sean is going to a pyschic later today to have an exorcism on his feet, and he will stomp around in the holy water
  • Hayes and Sean have to be in a bit of a hurry today, because Jensen Carp (whose name must be some kind of a play on a fish) was recording in the studio before they got it and no one had told them it was reserved for Hayes and Sean after him. Was this his fault? No! It was Engineer Cody's fault. Jensen made a comment to Sean that was so interesting on his way out of the studio "I'm so sorry, we didn't know there was someone else coming in." Hayes would normally assume that Cody didn't realize that the boys were present! But Cody left the studio three or four times, and Sean saw him outside, milling about the studio, prompting Sean to think "Oh they must be recording in there!"
  • All of this preceded the 'exciting intro' with the Handbook mission statement and 'Whatup Whatup'
  • Today the boys will review a number of theme song submissions they have received, and play them having never heard them before! Sean discusses how neuroscience tells us how music causes different lights to turn on in our brain as a response to it.
    • Teaser Freezer Theme by Matt Bogdanow (a professional drummer)
      • Hayes has two notes right off the bat: it sounds like the Cryptkeeper is speaking in the beginning, someone with a very scary voice, who is, maybe scared themselves. Keep the Cryptkeeper as far away from this process as possible. Sean also mentions how it doesn't mention any of the aspects of what the segment is (funny, nice, cool, smart). Hayes also doesn't like the language (as the lyrics feature a.. pretty bad swear). Hayes also expected some drums right at the beginning, some extra fanfare rather than ethereal spookiness
    • Gmail Roulette by Charlie Murphy-Brown
      • Mm-kay. Sean asks to go first. He suggests one think about what Gmail Roulette is, it's very vulnerable, and funny smartness. They also have trouble with the 'Gmail collette' part. Hayes suggests, compositionally, to try the circle of fifths. Hayes gives some tones to demonstrate, sparking Sean to finish with the hook from Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothin'." Sean explains fifths on a piano with the reference from the C-scale. The "g-g-g-" portion of the song might be ripping off 50 Cent, who is one of the toughest guys in Hollywood and Sean does not want to be punched by him. He's unkillable, and almost always wears a bullet proof vest
    • G Mail Roulette Theme by DorkyButCool
      • Sean again gives his great all-purpose note, of how does he feel when he's playing Gmail Roulette? It's an emotional rollercoaster, culminating with funny-niceness. The boys share some tones from "Sloop John B" in order to demonstrate again the circle of fifths, Sean is still waiting to get his money right à la Kanye.
    • That's Wheely Interesting Theme by Thinkofthechildren
      • This isn't music to Hayes, and Sean thinks the musician might be on drugs, even though we've all experimented. Hayes took a hit off a joint when he was hanging on with Lynyrd Skynyrd, who actually do use fifths.
    • Teaser Freezer Theme by Thinkofthechildren
      • Sean wants to ask a question - When they are doing the Teaser Freezer segment and you're hearing it, are they being robots? If No, then the song shouldn't be a robot bullying Sean! It's a confusion of where a freezer is a machine, but it isn't living. It's a 'pass' from Hayes
    • Gmail Roulette Theme by Thinkofthechildren
      • Sean "Get! Help!" Hayes likes the lyrics though. The voice is horrific, get a Karen Carpenter type to sing it, it should be a nice song. Sean brings up how "Love Fool" by the Cardigans uses a pretty simple formula, it just follows fifths! He reiterates how this might work on a piano.
  • The boys hype the guest segment, their first writer's panel

Guest Segment Edit

  • Hayes over the theme: "So, I'm with uh S. .. Epatha Merkerson, and her housewarming, she has kind of like a new Spanish craftsman kind of ensuiser (this last word hard to hear??), and it's getting kind of late, so I say, like 'I gotta head out,' and she goes 'No, you're not going anywhere.' And I'm like 'What? It's late, I have to leave.' And her eyes start kind of like.. glowing red.. and then I hear 'Time's up!' I was in an Oculus Rift. And you forget, when you're in it, you actually, it's so immersive, that it's actually a virtual experience." Sean "Mmmmmm... and that's why I won't put anything in front of my eyes. Because I'm afraid of getting tricked."
  • Hayes starts the conversation by relaying how 'The Writer's Room' is so shrouded in mystery, it's not something that people really talk 'about.' No one has ever tried to take a look inside of it.
  • Sean says that writers are like Masked Magicians, showing how the tricks are done.
  • Dave mentions on the show Shipmates how he would do funny icons and 'lower thirds' on the show. Not like stink lines, a little more high brow than this. They'd like to give people on the dates a little character, give him a little computer graphic
  • Steve has extensive credits. They choose to discuss how he wrote on Carson Daly-- a person who seems like he is kind of wound up and let go. Do you build playgrounds for him to go play in? You almost have to build fences for him. He's the whirling dervish of comedy, a real Taz / tasmanian devil type. Carson Daly show was like the Your Show of Shows of our time. Sean doesn't know what this is.
  • Kevin writes on this show Workofholics at the time of recording with Sean, in kind of a mentor position. Sean says he thought he looked familiar! Hayes fires off a demi-loud laugh, but not quite loud enough to qualify for the Recurring Bit designation. They discuss writing for Tom Cavanagh on Ed. He's the best. A real wind 'im up, let him go, see what happens guy. The editing was difficult
  • Story Monsters and Joke Beasts, and they ask each of the writers what their superpower is. Dave says he is a story beast, he doesn't have time for joke monsters. If you don't have the balls, the good, to write a story, what the hell are you doing there. Sean says it's cowards and pussies who can't write a story. It takes a certain masculinity to hew a story out of a handsome oak. You can't be afraid or shy.
  • The discussion of masculine energy leads Sean to point out how their writer's panel is mostly white men. Hayes wonders why no women didn't earn their way onto this panel. Sean speculates this could have something to do with.. periods. Sean doesn't have to have his all the time, Dave brings the room down by asking how often he has to have it!
  • Steve wonders if the whole conversation is going to deal with TV-- he has written books. This allows Steve to play the role of the 'disapproving dad' in the room. Steve won the James Thurber Prize-- James Thurber, the famous humorist who drew the dogs. They're very funny dogs! Turn off your TV and look at some of these dogs. Kevin agrees, Thurber and Billy Wegman are two of America's greatest humorists.
  • Kevin calls himself a doula, he is giving birth to ideas. He's a vessel through which stories, jokes appear, coming out. Hayes asks if everyone has seen that episode of Mulaney, but no one wants if to be spoiled. Steve saw it, but it was in a hotel room but he didn't know how to turn the sound up.
  • Dave starts taking the listener through the story archetype. Read your Campbell, read your McKee, then get in the room. Dave worries that the listener isn't going to have any of this knowledge with which to understand how this all works.
  • Kevin is prompted to discuss 'conflict.' There are six or seven stories that are constantly retold.
  • Sean "And yes, that's how many stories there are, and it does remind me, when you talk about the kind of jokes.. Have we done anything were somebody farts on a dick?" Stay tuned.
  • Steve says the favorite show he's ever worked on was American Dad. The character of Roger is one of the greatest characters of all time. He's a Loki or coyote figure. You don't see that many people in disguise on television anymore. If you recall Some Like It Hot, disguises used to be a big part of comedy.
  • They discuss how funny Billy is, not Wegman... let's get wild. There was a Wilder before Van Wilder, and they're both funny, but in different ways.
  • Steve finds he can't turn off his writer's brain, and Sean encourages everyone to answer at the same time. Kevin and Dave oblige, but Steve lets the others wear themselves out so he can jump in. Although.. they start worrying if something is wrong with him. He explains that the other guys are chatter boxes.
  • They suggest that its good to contact the showrunner after watching their episode with notes, ADR stuff for syndication or DVD edits. They love this.
  • They talked about giving birth, but now they discuss "killing babies" in order to make time, the page count. And writing 'Alts' that never make it to air. Hayes is surprised that Sean mentioned 'alts' as he talks about how he writes the main jokes all day. And Sean is at monitor sometimes... although only for web stuff. Hayes is startled by this reveal. Models are changing! Also sometimes they play the web stuff in the first commercial break
  • When Kevin watches a show, he can tell if it was an alt or a main. As a showrunner, there is a also a temptation every day since he has so many people working for him, to bring the stresses of his home life into work.
  • A Popcorn Gallery questions leads the room into discussing the rise of critical superstars like Nussbaum. The N Baum! Sean says "E-nuss already," Kevin almost imperceptibly awards this comment points. They worry about the whole Nussbaum hysteria.
  • Dave never takes a Saturday off, he's always 'on.' He knows people want to crack open a beer with him. Kevin encourages him to rank everyone in the room, friendship-wise
    • Dave
      1. Kevin
      2. Healy
      3. Sean
      4. Hayes
    • Hayes
      1. Sean
      2. Steve
      3. Kevin
      4. Engineer Cody
      5. Dave
  • The show ends with more Steve vs. Sean conflict as Hayes nervously whispers the end-of-show wrap up maintenance (rate on iTunes, forums, etc.). Kevin and Hayes also have a side conversation about how writers are sometimes assigned to write for one character. They go around the room and say which character they write for. Kevin writes for Blake, Hayes wrote for the Family Guy baby, Steve wrote for Ben on Parks and Rec, Al Pacino on FrankTV, and Alice on Workaholics, Sean wrote for Julie on Alan Gregory and he writes for a character called "Ghost Man" on Workaholics. Steve also wrote for Carson Daly on Last Call with Carson Daly, Kevin wrote for Paul Schaffer on Letterman

Recurring Segments Edit

  • Popcorn Gallery
    1. brgrho - "Guys, if you could talk about your AV Club GPAs. Is it on your resumes, something that you kind of compare with each other?"
      • Dave thinks this is such a good question. Why don't they have your AV Club GPAs on your Wikipedia page!? Kevin says it's question number one when hiring writers. Steve assumes his representation would mention this first. His is a 92 numerically. Hayes wishes that the grades would be weighted in some way: is it a VanDerWerff B+? A Scott Tobias B+?
    2. A.J. - "Throughout the 80s and 90s multi-cam sitcoms were the standard, then in the late 90s and 2000s, single cam sitcoms started to increase in number. What do you think the next trend will be, an increase in cams or another reduction?"
      • A 5- or a 6-cam. It's a stage play. With 4 cameras you're not catching maybe the funniest angles. You're missing entrances and exits. All of this comes out of French farce and comeddia dell'arte. The Goldbergs used a camera sphere, a Zorb with cameras all along the outside. Dave comes back to the great question, and says that drone comedy is being whispered across sets. You can hear the drone's engine on About a Boy. Cameras are getting so small you can actually fit them on a bug. Would that be funny, to see what they eat or whatever? Pollen, Sean guesses. The writers love this idea, and want to try and crack it.
    3. Asteck - "I've heard the writers' room can be a difficult place for female writers because it's a bit of a boys' club. Is that a 'gay' thing?"
      • Homoeroticism is definitely part of it. Sometimes admiration for another writer expresses itself sexually.
  • Pro Version - Squoopy doops - as a prize he gets a writing job. If any time one of these guys sells a show, squoopy just needs to hit 'em with an email!

Recurring Jokes Edit

  • Too Scary - Even though he knows they can't hurt him, Sean gets very scared seeing the ghosts and spirits on his socks
  • Talking to the Engineer - Cody gets chided for not having the camera ready when Sean wants a pic snapped of his haunted socks. And for not telling Jensen Carp that another show was recording after his
  • Wife and Kids - Could Sean play Matt Bogdanow's Teaser Freezer Theme in front of his 10-day-old daughter without fear of her first word being .. something like the 'f-word'?
  • Sean's Little Cousin - Sam showed Hayes the Quality Slug website
  • Workofholics - Kevin wrote on this show at the time of recording with Sean, in kind of a mentor position
  • Scoop Troop - Sean implores that we write down an exchange between he and Steve as an object lesson on 'conflict', maybe it will wind up in a movie one day
Sean: And Kevin, I know, has some good movie ideas, and I bet that Dave King 
might too.  Steven.. I don't really know what he seems to.. not really..
 get.. what we're even doing
Steve: (interrupting) I'm sorry?
Sean: I wrong? It seems like he doesn't get what we're doing.
Steve: Oh, maybe you could tell me, what we're doing? 
Sean: Well, we're trying to do podcast about Writers' Rooms. 
Steve: Is it not going as you planned?
Sean: Uhhhh... two thirds of it are!?
Steve: What would you say.. is missing?
Sean: mmmmm
Steve: Don't let me get you off track, if you need to do Popcorn Gallery 
or whatever..
Sean: No no no, we uh could always edit it out, uh... what's missing?
  • Points! - Sean gets points for saying "E-nuss already" after critic Emily Nussbaum is mentioned. Points has made its way into every Writers' Room across America, At Midnight is the most influential show in the last 50 years, except maybe for MASH or Chocolate News
  • Mark - His first sound drop makes Kevin go like "What!?" but he was trying to pull out a writerly device, they told him ahead of time to make these sound drops
  • Speak on That - Hayes asks Kevin to speak on double camera comedy.
  • Homoeroticism - Asteck's PCG question prompts a discussion of expressing one male's admiration for another male writer sexually. Kevin has had sex with a few of the men that he works with. It wouldn't be couth for him to say. Joe Mande is always giving off a kind of.. it's like he's presenting. Like how a baboon would show of its bulbous, engorged anus with the colors. It's a target for the weiner

Ads Edit

  • Quality Slug - a website by known film critic Laremy Legal. Hayes walks Sean through how to access the website very deliberately. Sean has sticky candy all over his fingers, so Hayes suggests that he use the eraser part of pencils to type. The pencils go really far into Sean's hands, and he tries not to think about it. Sean is pissed that 'qu' isn't one key on the keyboard. They have a lot of difficulty moving past this phase, and ultimately abandon their efforts for now.

Episode Photos Edit

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