Sunday, September 24, 2006

ASK JOHN EATS.™: A How-To Guide For Submitters


At the risk of offending my 3 to 7 regular readers and sounding the death knell of one of my favorite features on JohnEats.com, I'm going to break the fourth wall of the Internets in order to reveal what goes on behind the scenes to create one of these here comedy bits.

You may have noticed the suspicious lack of an Ask John Eats™ column this week. Is it because no one has written in? No. Is it because I forgot to write a column? Possibly. Would I have remembered to write the column if any of the letters I'd received were a close approximation of what I was looking for in terms of source material? Almost certainly.

See, in order for this feature to work, the letters themselves need to follow a few guidelines. When I began this column I thought it was obvious what the intent of it was and how it was to be constructed; but as in most things in life, I think I've failed miserably in communicating that. So here, my friends, is a brief guide to submitting letters for Ask John Eats.™

1. The letters should be real. In all honesty, none of the letters I've published so far have been written by me. It may be a fake advice column, but I do have my standards.

2. The letters should ask for advice about a personal issue regarding the letter's author, not be a question about JohnEats.com or my personal history. See, the whole point of this is that it's an advice column where I respond to another person's problem by writing about something totally unrelated that's actually happened to me in real life. I then offer no advice on the original problem because my "advice column persona" is too self-absorbed to actually care about other people. Therein lies the absurdity; therein lies the genesis of the column's comedic premise.

3. The letters should not themselves try too hard to be funny. If the letters are too wacky, there's no contrast between the intention of the letter and the absurdity of my response. You're playing the straight man. Think of it this way: you're Bud Abbott to my Lou Costello. You're Ed McMahon to my Johnny Carson. You're the liberal media to my George W. Bush. Keep in mind this classic caveat of comedy: If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, then it's not funny.

So now that I've laid my conceptually comedic chips on the table so to speak, keep those letters coming! ;-)

2 Comments:

Blogger K. A. Laity said...

Oh sure, YOU wanna be the funny one? Well, Mister Man, maybe the rest of us are tired of being your straight wo/man! Maybe our problems are in short supply -- maybe we live lives of exquisite pleasure and plenty.

Or maybe we're just to damn lazy.

Dear John Eats --

How do I be less lazy?

Signed,
Lazy Straight Woman

6:00 PM  
Blogger K. A. Laity said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:00 PM  

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