Alan Zweibel has had one amazing career in comedy. From being one of the first writers for Saturday Night Live to co-creating the incomparable It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Zweibel has collaborated with some of the funniest comedic minds of many generations. His latest book, a memoir Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier came out in April. The audiobook was just released. Zweibel talked with Stefani Bishop on the Rocker Morning Show about his past collaborations, how working with some of his best friends has made him funnier, and who is writing now that he would love to collaborate with.
"All that means is that I'm old," he jokes about being called a legend, "and I've had some time to do some stuff."
The book is more than just a collection of Hollywood who's who stories. These truly are personal experiences he's shared with friends. "This book is about the relationships I've had with these people, some of them before they were big names like Gilda Radner and John Belushi when we started SNL, and Dan Aykroyd and Loraine Newman. And then Gary Shandling was on the verge of becoming a star when we created our show. But Larry David is one of my best friends, as is Billy Crystal, and we all started out together. The fun is not only working with them but to call them your friends.
"Gilda Radner," he continued. "We wrote a lot together but she was also Aunt Gilda to our three kids. She's their godmother.
The title Laugh Lines: My Life Helping Funny People Be Funnier
suggests that Zweibel, too, got funnier with the help of his friends. "There's no way you can write a script with Gary Shandling and not get funnier, or Martin Short or Larry David or Billy Crystal. When you write with another person the initial attraction is okay, the same things make you laugh and you make each other laugh. But there's maybe about a 10% difference in your sensibilities, that's really the fun part. Because together you can create something that neither one of you could have created on your own.
Having worked in just about every era of television and nearly every comedy writer in the past 40 years, who is getting his attention now? "(Phoebe Waller-Bridge) I would put her on the list. I would put Kate McKinnon on the list. I think that she's a genius. I've got a couple of friends who I have not worked with but I admire like Mike Birbiglia and John Mulaney." Those would certainly be collaborations worth watching.
Check out the full Rocker Morning Show interview with Alan Zweibel below.