Who Stole the Funny? by Robby Benson
I have to start by saying that I was a fan of Robby Benson when he was an actor, and I really love Harry and Son. When I saw the book, I was grabbed by the title and then once I saw the author I had to read it out of sheer curiosity. The book is written almost as a how-to, with terms defined directly within the text. Not wanting to spoil anything, the book is essentially about a once famous, actor, director who is asked to direct a top TV sitcom for a three week period of time.
From there Robby Benson described the process of putting together a sitcom. With great humor and not-so-subtle references to his own obvious experiences. He illustrates with his quick, witty writing style the bizarre ingredients that go into making a single episode of a hit show. He examines the show-runners, producers, agents, crew, actors and studio heads in a manner that will never let you watch a sitcom in the same way again. If you think it is a vile and vapid world, that is simply an understatement.
Benson clearly uses personal experience in his narrative and he is perhaps the most harsh with his role in the process. There is no holier than though attitude from this accomplished actor and director. He seems to have found his place in that world and for that he is apologetic. At times a cynic and others a hopeful dreamer, the story sends a clear message about what Hollywood means after being part of it since childhood.
A truly funny and quick read that I would recommend to anyone interested in what goes on in making a TV show, laughing a lot, and getting to know a true Hollywood survivor.
Copyright ©2007 Veronica Romm