Writing with Michael Schur

Michael and I met a few years ago at some awesome old-school Hollywood restaurant he picked out, the sort of place where you would expect Bogart to be sitting in the corner and saying, “The drinks here used to be better.” The main thing I remember from that dinner was that Michael was FUNNY. I’m lucky enough to know a lot of funny people -- funny as in they make me laugh -- but there’s a difference between funny and FUNNY, if you know what I mean.

Maybe you don’t know. Maybe I don’t know either. Let’s try again.

Michael’s job -- as a writer at Saturday Night Live, as a writer for The Office, as the creator of Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn 99 -- puts him in a position where he has to think about the very core of funny. There’s a science to being funny on a mass scale, a science and an art, and it involves big themes and treasure hunting and unexpected discoveries. It’s a science and art and also serious business. I asked Michael that first evening if there was laughter in the Saturday Night Live writing room. He looked at me as if I had lost my mind.

When you are FUNNY the way Michael is, of course, then being funny is like nothing, it’s like taking the doughnut off the bat, it’s like a surgeon taking a little splinter out of someone’s hand. So obviously Michael cracks me up continuously. We’ve been doing the PosCast together now for years and my wife stopped listening some time ago because, as she says, “It’s just you two guys giggling.” Well, yeah. In truth every time we talk we kind of always do the PosCast whether there’s a microphone or not (or, as often happens, there IS a microphone but I haven’t hooked it up properly). We went to a spring training game together once a while ago and the only thing I really remember from it was that we got into an argument about strawberries.

When the Blue Jays-Rangers game went nutty in the seventh inning -- the nuttiest inning I’ve ever seen -- I thought to myself: This is too weird for me to write by myself.

So I asked Michael.

This is what we came up with. One of my favorite ever writing experiences.

Flipping Out