His best-known novel, Et Tu, Babe
, was published 20 years ago, but now the writer has returned (with a new book, The Sugar Frosted Nutsack
) to a world that matches the absurdity of his pre-Internet work:
On Charlie Rose [in 1996], Jonathan Franzen, David Foster Wallace and Mark Leyner sat together in the familiar round table, infinite-void-of-nothingness that is the Charlie Rose set. Each responded to Rose’s questions about the state of fiction more or less in character: Franzen, who had a wavy pageboy haircut that frizzed out untempered to nearly chin level, defended the classical novel as an oasis for readers who feel lonely and misunderstood. Leyner, wearing a robust, Mephistophelian goatee — perhaps fitting for the man Wallace once accused of being “a kind of anti-Christ” — said simply: 'My relationship with my readers is somewhat theatrical. One of the main things I try to do in my work is delight my readers.' Wallace looked much as we picture him now, posthumously chiseled into Mount Literature: the ponytail, the bearish features, the rough scruff on his jaw. He played the part of a calming, Midwestern-inflected mediator, saying, 'I feel like I’m, if you put these two guys in a blender. . . . '"
PUBLISHED: March 21, 2012
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3744 words)
Van Veen's question for his deputies: "How do we translate network effects to original programming?" Reich thinks for a moment, then says, "What if we did a show called 'Ransom,' where each week you hold the next episode for ransom until the previous episode hits a certain number of viewers?" Van Veen likes this. "It's not crazy. That could be the basis for something that really works."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 13, 2010
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2297 words)
Nearly two years later, Lorne Michaels still watches every taping of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" and weighs in on small details from set-dressing to individual monologue jokes. "I used to come out at the beginning and jump around and clap, really psyching everyone up," says Fallon. "Lorne told me, 'Too much. Just come out and stand there, plant, be confident, and deliver the joke. You command more authority when you make the audience come to you.' "
PUBLISHED: Nov. 8, 2010
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2643 words)
Reid Stowe spent 1,152 days on the open sea, the longest continuous journey ever undertaken by one person. He came back to a brand-new family, but not exactly a hero's welcome.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 19, 2010
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4546 words)
No one made sketch comedy, that most Canadian of comic forms, like the Kids in the Hall — which makes their return to television a big deal
PUBLISHED: Jan. 1, 2010
LENGTH: 34 minutes (8713 words)