Bob Dylan once pitched a Bob Dylan-starring slapstick comedy to HBO
Larry Charles shared a fascinating story about the one time Bob Dylan got so obsessed with Jerry Lewis comedies that he decided to pitch his own slapstick comedy show for HBO, starring himself.
On a recent episode of the You Made It Weird podcast with Pete Holmes, Charles talked about the time in the ’90s when Dylan binge-watched Jerry Lewis movies (legendary musicians—they’re just like us) and became inspired to write his own starring vehicle for television. In the segment, as pointed out by Vanity Fair, Charles talks about meeting Dylan and how he dumped an “ornate box” full of scraps of paper that contained lines scribbled with the ideas for the comedy.
“We would take scraps of paper, put them together, try to make them make sense, try to find the story points within it, and we finally wrote it. We would a very elaborate treatment for the slapstick comedy, which is filled with surrealism and all these kinds of things from his songs and stuff,” Charles told Holmes.
Charles told Dylan to go to HBO, since it would be impossible for them to say no to Dylan, and revealed that during the pitch, then-President of HBO Chris Albrecht made the crucial mistake of showing off his original ticket to Woodstock—an event that Dylan did not play in. Listen to the podcast to see how that turned out—and to hear Charles talk about showing up for the HBO pitch in pajamas while Dylan pretty much looked like “a cowboy in a movie.”