To Poop On!

TV's reigning comedy writer branches out

In Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors, a successful TV producer claims there is one inviolable rule of comedy: "If it bends, it's funny," he says. "If it breaks, it's not funny." It is precisely such mundane thinking that brought us Suddenly Susan, but there's a bit of truth in there too. Comedy that breaks--rules, conventions, boundaries of taste--is a tricky business. Break too much, and the audience hates you. (No one has asked Roseanne to sing the National Anthem or invited Andrew Dice Clay to a NOW dinner in a long time.) But break just right, and you get the deep-from-the-gut,...

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