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“Yada Yada,” Peter Mehlman came up with that episode of
“Seinfeld,” with Jill Franklyn. He reintroduced the
word, “shrinkage,” to everyday use and gave new life to, “sponge worthy.” In
nine years, on “Seinfeld,” Mehlman helped alter sitcom sensibility.
True satire is unusual ,
spreading thin, across time and space. “I don’t get why major league baseball
teams need a utility infielder,” says Mehlman. “Isn't it hard enough to be a
baseball player without having to deal with the gas and electric?” Howard
Lapides, who handles Mike MacDonald
and Dr Drew Pinsky, says, “Mehlman is the real deal.”
Any hit on satirical centre , a papal resignation, say, calls for
direct comments, alleged schemes and
wrathful wit. “It turns out,” says Mehlman, “that Pope Benedict
resigned because someone revealed the underside of his red skullcap read
Josh Merkowitz Bar Mitzvah, 17 May 1969.” The piercing
insight of a satirist is quick to skewer.
“Mehlman is profound ,” says Dick Summer, the author,
podcaster and radio legend. “For updates on the American Dream,” says the
usually laconic Mehlman, “it's tough to beat poolside in Los Angeles.
Somehow, after 237 years under spacious skies, Americans have reached a
place where having it all only accents what we lack. We discount our
blessings. Beyond poolside, this never-enough-ness turns up anywhere good
fortune ravages a US citizen.” Dick Summer says, “Such clever insight comes from looking through the other end of a telescope.”
Mehlman wonders if atheists can have gawd-given talent. Does Gas-X relieve
Sarin? Why does gawd have only one child? He’s also baffled: although
having spoken to only 210 people in his life, he has 379 Facebook Friends.
A graduate in journalism from the University of Maryland, Mehlman wanted
to write for the Washington “Post.” He signed his application letter as Faith
Michelle Kates because the “Post” claimed it was
no longer hiring White men. The “Post” hired Mehlman as Faith Kates. In a
follow up letter, he recanted, admitting he was Peter Mehlman. The “Post”
wisely hired him, nevertheless.
At ABC Sports, Howard Cosell hired Mehlman as a writer. “Cosell and
Seinfeld,” says Mehlman, “tie for the funniest boss.” Seinfeld is obvious.
Howard Cosell begs explanation.
From his resentment of questions asked by reporters on ESPN
came, “The Narrow World of Sports.” Mehlman asked Kobe Bryant, “When
you score 55 points and the Lakers lose, why should you feel bad?” He asked
Olympic Gymnast, Shawn Johnson, which of her many medals she usually
wore on a first date.
Mehlman just finished a novel, his first. It deals with the betrayal
of the individual by the group. To paraphrase Nathan Zuckerman, a hero of
Mehlman, this novel is a vigorous defence against the relentless demands
satirists suffer, especially from nosy interviewers.
In this interview, Peter Mehlman shrewdly avoids commenting on his wellspoken
belief that manic consumerism is a futile attempt to fill emotional
potholes on the streets of our lives. He talks about many topics
you haven’t mostly read elsewhere. He does talk about writing on “Seinfeld.”
Click to read more.
Peter Mehlman, left, is a satirist cut from the same fabric as Fred Allen,
Groucho Marx and Bill Hicks. “Malaria would be a nice name for a girl,” he
says. Out of university, the Washington “Post” hired Mehlman, thinking he
was a woman. “Seinfeld” hired him based on a writing sample, “Star
Trekking,” not the usual spec script. On “Seinfeld,” Mehlman
wrote the “Yada Yada” episode, with Jill Franklyn, and made “sponge
worthy” a stirring compliment. “Mandela was Late,” his
collection of funny essays, explains why the quality of “Seinfeld”
dropped after Mehlman left the show, in 1998. [Click to read more]
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