I’ve written over 1,000 articles in the past decade+. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. New York Magazine
When the movie “Bridesmaids” came out, I wanted to do a piece on Rose Byrne, who was making an intriguing segue from drama, on FX’s “Damages,” to comedy – first with Judd Apatow’s “Get Him to the Greek,” and then with “Bridesmaids.” In order to delve into her affinity for comedy, I thought it would be fun to accompany Ms. Byrne to the library at the Paley Center, and watch some of her favorite sitcoms with her. The results were not only entertaining, but revealing as well.
Charlie Sheen’s comeback with FX’s “Anger Management” raised many questions, including how a network known for smart programming choices could throw in with the most disgraced, seemingly out-of-control celebrity of the past few years. In this cover story for Adweek, I examined the question, “what on earth were they thinking – and could this be a potentially wise move?”
Much-admired comedian Greg Giraldo was getting considerably closer to stardom when he died in 2010, after years of battling drug and alcohol addiction. I revealed, for the first time, the inside story of this battle, and how Giraldo’s ferocious intelligence fueled the addiction that ultimately took his life.
4. Mirth Magazine
In early 2012, the comedy booker of the David Letterman show gave an interview to the New York Times in which he denigrated female comics. At the time, I was the Editor-in-Chief of Mirth Magazine, an admired, if sadly short-lived, comedy magazine. I wrote an essay for our website about how ridiculous the constant drumbeat of “are women funny?” articles were, making the case that the evidence of the existence of funny women was simply far too plentiful to be denied, and that the influence of Letterman’s show was considerably smaller than many people thought. The essay ignited a firestorm of public discussion and controversy. Letterman’s booker commented at length in the comments section of our site, as did the Times reporter. Five days after I posted my essay, Letterman’s comedy booker was dismissed from his position – an exclusive that I broke on the Mirth website.
5. Esquire Magazine
I spoke to George Carlin for five hours over three separate interviews. Many people have asked me about his language during these conversations. While it was little surprise to me that George was one of the most intelligent and thoughtful interview subjects I’ve ever had, it did surprise even me when over the course of five hours, he only cursed once.
I met Al Green in a hotel suite where for three hours he spoke alternately directly to me, and to a spirit hovering somewhere above my head. Over time, it became clear that as we spoke, Al was also having a conversation with God. What wasn’t clear was whether God was talking back. In the end, though, it didn’t matter, because at one point, he serenaded me with “Love and Happiness,” and if Al Green wants to give me a private concert, then he can talk to whoever he wants as he does so.
6. Radar Magazine
An investigative piece about joke stealing in the stand-up comedy world. While comedy blogs and others now regularly tackle joke-stealing-related topics, the subject had long been comedy’s dirty little secret until I brought it out in the open in this feature for Radar Magazine.
In early 2007, Radar Magazine flew me to Britney Spears’ hometown of Kentwood, LA, to learn what effect Britney’s then-downfall had on the town, including on its morale and its economy. What I found was an oft-disillusioned populace, in more ways than one.
7. New York Post
A longtime regular contributor to the New York Post, I’ve written over 1,000 articles for the paper over the past eight years. Here are a few I particularly enjoyed.
On the heels of Pope Benedict XVI’s shocking resignation announcement, I examined his papacy, including how Benedict fit into the role of pope (especially as compared to his predecessor), and how Benedict’s Vatican was run about as well as the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company.
Just before the first season premiere of her HBO sensation “Girls,” Lena Dunham shared with me how Judd Apatow helped her get through those oh-so-revealing sex scenes.
I took on the age old question, is Lady Gaga overexposed?
I revealed how rapper Common pulled a fast one on his mentor, Maya Angelou.
The creators of The Book of Mormon shared with me how they used blasphemy to produce the funniest, most heartwarming musical in years.
For a movie about warplanes, the making of Top Gun was surprisingly deadly. I detailed how not only did one stunt pilot lose his life on the shoot, but the film’s star, Tom Cruise, almost met his end as well.
I chatted about comedy, family, funerals and more with the great Bill Murray
A look at the perilous, trying creation of Platoon, back when star Charlie Sheen really was winning – as one of the most admired young actors in Hollywood.
Stevie Wonder told me why music still excites him so.
I spoke with the inspiring Kevin Michael Connolly, who was born without legs, yet regularly accomplishes amazing physical feats, about his new adventure show on the Travel Channel.
Think Led Zeppelin was debauched and out of control? In my write-up on the sensational book about the band from British journalist Barney Hoskyns, I showed that no matter how crazy you think these rock gods were, you don’t even know the half of it.
Shortly after taking over one of the toughest jobs in show business, Jimmy Fallon spoke to me about the good and the bad of his performance thus far.
SNL’s Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island mates talked with me about dicks, boxes, and their debut CD.
I examined exactly what went wrong with John Travolta.
I watched Keri Russell film a dangerous sex scene on the set of her new FX hit, “The Americans.”
John Legend told me why he worries for President Obama.
I reported for Page Six on director Steven Soderbergh’s porn surprises.
Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour told me about the band’s bonding years.
Katey Sagal, one of the stars of “Sons of Anarchy,” shared with me how they filmed – and how she handled – her character’s horrific gang rape at the hands of white supremacists.
TV’s most lovable nerd – Jim Parsons, better known as Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” – talked to me about all things nerdly.
Neil Patrick Harris shared with me his favorite New York City hangouts.
The Monkees’ Davy Jones (RIP) explained why he thought The Beatles were the fake ones.
Carrie Fisher talked Star Wars fetishists, scary Bill Murray, and pervy Groucho Marx.
6. The Black Table
Many stories were written about competitive eating when it first came to light, but most fell into one of two categories – the “look what these crazy people are doing!” or the “watch the wacky reporter bravely try to eat six hot dogs in 20 minutes!” In 2005, I decided to take a different approach, and treat the activity as seriously as those who spent all their free time training to excel at the art of wolfing it down. The result was an 8,000-word piece, “The Champions of Consumption,” that my friends at the popular web site The Black Table (whose founders and editors later landed at New York, Esquire, and within Nick Denton’s Gawker empire) published in its entirety, eventually naming it one of their Top 10 stories of 2005.
7. Wesleyan Magazine
A story about the intersection of DNA and the criminal justice system.
Forensic DNA: The Telltale Art: Forensic DNA has become a powerful tool for determining who is implicated in a crime, but its rapidly growing use poses numerous and thorny issues pertaining to privacy.