When I first heard that Vanity Fair's Mike Sacks was coming out with a book full of interviews with comedy writers both legendary and should-be legendary, I overcame any initial sense of jealousy with a worry: Would this endeavor prove too insidery, and appeal only to the nerdiest of comedy nerds? No worries. "And Here's The Kicker" — or at least the portions I've devoured from his online site for the book, only make me want to find a spot in the summer sun, kick back and read the whole thing. Sacks tracked down and got many greats to talk openly, not just about their own childhoods and writing careers, but also into areas where we see who influenced them and why. Along the way, of course, these conversations help turn up all sorts of other writers and performers who you'll certainly want to look up and find out more about.
In the few full interviews on the site, Sacks gets Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler talking about the Marx Brothers, Roald Dahl, Mr. Show, Stephen Leacock and more. Sacks also interviewed Buck Henry, Stephen Merchant, Todd Hanson, Merrill Markoe, Dick Cavett, Larry Wilmore, Paul Feig, Irving Brecher, Bob Odenkirk, Robert Smigel, Dan Mazer, Bruce Jay Friedman, Daniel Clowes, Marshall Brickman, David Sedaris, George Meyer, Al Jaffee, Allison Silverman, Harold Ramis, Larry Gelbart, Mitch Hurwitz, Jack Handey, Dave Barry, Daniel Handler and Roz Chast. Some of the excerpts are more of a tease than others — the bit with Dan Mazer (who worked on the screenplays for Bruno and Borat) almost questions the whole enterprise by describing comedy writers as "complete disasters." Of course, that just makes you want to read the book more, doesn't it?