AN OPEN LETTER: I AM YOUR SCAB WRITER
Author's note: I wrote this in November 2007, at the start of the WGA strike. I didn't actually manage to send this to any of the New York-based (at the time) comedy programs I intended it for. At my first stop, I was thrown to the 11th Avenue curb by an irate John Oliver, and my resultant knee injury only worsened my existing case of rickets. I recouperated by the West Side Highway, under the care of the brilliant and self-proclaimed Dr. Fancybrains, and by the time I fully recovered, the shows were back to using old union staff.
Okay, fine. I embellished a little. And by "embellished" I mean "lied." But, anyway, enjoy!
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November 26, 2007
Dear Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live, et al.
I get where you’re coming from. I understand what it’s like to be hemorrhaging money at a rate of thousands of cents a month. We both know what it’s like to struggle. I’m eating in more often, you’re nudging it down to just two lines of coke per hooker’s chest per day – we’re all sacrificing.
And I’m sure that, with the strike and all, you could really use some outside writing talent to get those moneymaker shows off the ground again. After all, you can’t write those shows yourself, can you? Not with your lack of writing expertise, your inability to type well or use a computer, your complete and clinical humorlessness that has a tendency to suck away any and all neighboring sources of joy like a massive black hole in the center of the - I digress. Heyyy, you're alright.
If it's scab writing you're looking for, then a scab you have found. I am your scab writer. I can, will, must, and do scab write for a living. I’ve written for Johnny Carson during the ’88 strike, at which time I was one and a half years old and thus ineligible for legal hire by any employer (though I understand SNL continues to employ seven-year-olds in their writing staff). Still, I churned out the funny, pounding away on my old Smith-Corona from deep inside my abandoned hangar at LAX.
I've been delivering said funny for almost twenty years now, and continue to do today for a number of programs, though for some reason they still deny me health coverage...which is a real shame, since that raging case of scurvy I've come down with has been acting up lately. Among the more prestigious shows on my resume...
1990-92---(REDACTED)---Frequently wet the cage.
1993-95---(REDACTED)---Tore ankle in gears of Xerox machine.
1996-99---(REDACTED)---"Please, Mr. Smigel, can I have some more?"
2000-02---(REDACTED)---Sent to Guantanamo Bay for 7 months for visiting WGA website.
2003-07---(REDACTED)---Three fingers blown off in MS Word mishap.
Between my past writing gigs, I've managed to sustain myself with supplemental jobs, including bridge troll, street urchin, highway drifter, street troll, bridge drifter, highway urchin, street drifter, bridge urchin, and meth dealer. My ability to find supplemental income means there is no need for you to pay me a decent living wage; in any case, a decent living wage for me need not be very much, since on my journeys I have learned to live without extravagant luxuries like running water or clean underwear. Also, I learned how to kill a rat with a pencil.
I will work for minimum wage. I will work for no wage. I will pay to work. I will work below the rates of outsourced labor (an added bonus for you - not having to pay any of those pesky Mandarin-to-English translators!). I have no trouble earning supplemental income; I will accept non-monetary forms of compensation: old yogurt cup scrapings, torn shirts covered in axle grease, an Associate Producer credit, oral sex – anything. I’m very, very hungry/cold/opportunistic/horny.
Please let me know of any possible openings you may have. As I have no official mailing address, please send your reply to the following address: Elliott Christ, Chairman & CEO, Elliott Christ Productions, Behind the Bandshell, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY. I anxiously await your reply, from behind the big sycamore.
Thanking you for your consideration,
Chairman & CEO, Elliott Christ Productions