Sometimes, you gotta give thanks in this world for comedy writers. As far as I’m concerned, Chuck Lorre is fast on his way to national-treasure status.
Lorre, exec producer and co-creator of CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” livened up the Brandon Tartikoff Awards ceremony at the NATPE confab on Monday evening with a few well-placed jabs as he accepted his kudo from the NATPE org and Tartikoff’s widow, Lily Tartikoff.
Lorre (pictured left) recalled his salad days as a staff writer on the NBC sitcom “My Two Dads.” One of the highlights of his time on the show were the occasions when Peacock programming chief Tartikoff would come in to the writers room to listen to jokes and scenarios from the scribes. Those moments always sent Lorre, who had only recently graduated from writing low-rent kidvid cartoons, into flop-sweats, until one day he got up the nerve to throw out a joke. Tartikoff laughed and told the “Dads” showrunner to make sure it went into the script. That didn’t win Lorre any points with said showrunner, but it did wonders for his self-esteem as a writer.
Of course, Lorre didn’t toil on the lower rungs for long. His experiences as a top writer and then showrunner on sitcoms fronted by high-maintenance femmes (“Cybill,” “Grace Under Fire,” “Roseanne”) is now the stuff of biz legend. Lorre got in a barb at Cybill Shepherd and “Grace’s” Brett Butler, but he admitted to still being too intimated by Roseanne to take aim at her.
The material that really got the aud in Ballroom F of the South Convention Center at the Mandalay Bay Resort going was Lorre’s call-out to fellow Tartikoff award honoree, NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chairman Ben Silverman. Lorre took the big boss at NBC Entertainment to task for a remark that he made this time last year, at the height of the management-vs.-labor animus during the writers strike.