Conversations With My Agent
Conversations With My Agent is a book for everyone who’s ever watched a sitcom — Taxi, say, or Seinfeld — and thought, I could do that (write the jokes, not act the parts). The story of the author’s nine-year journey from UCLA film student to industry player, from cell-phone-phobe to cell-phone owner, it is also a witty, self-deprecating look at one man’s emotional and professional adjustment to a world where profits are ”determined by the gross profit statement” as opposed to the net, and where ”a sales call” is not a sales call, but a ”pitch.” Written as half script, half memoir, with the appropriate fade-ins and fade-outs (from studio to home office to power lunch to agent in the Caribbean) and the requisite quick cuts, it’s a speedy read. The only jarring moment occurs at the end, when the writer and his partner perhaps succeed in selling a new comedy to a nascent network. Suddenly all irony is abandoned in favor of mature assessment and a weird kind of personal-growth statement. One of Long’s pet peeves is the tendency of everyone in his business to give him notes on his shows, but the temptation is suddenly irresistible, so here goes: Skip the last page.