×

Listen: Chuck Lorre on Embracing ‘the Minutia of Getting Old’ in ‘Kominsky Method’

Chuck Lorre wanted to write a show about aging guys with old-guy problems. The streaming revolution allowed him to do so.

Lorre, one of the most successful producers in television history, offers his thoughts on how the dawn of the commercial-free binge-watching age has changed the nature of television storytelling in the latest episode of Strictly Business, Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment.

“I wanted to write about the minutia of getting old. I didn’t want to do two old guys rob a bank,” Lorre says. The ability to pitch such a story to an outlet like Netflix, home to Lorre’s Emmy-nominated “The Kominsky Method,” that is not concerned with drawing advertiser-friendly demographics has been a game-changer for creatives.

“It doesn’t matter if [the episode] is 32 minutes or 28 minutes — just tell the best story you can,” Lorre says. “I’ve never known that kind of freedom. It’s really something.”

The writing process on “Kominsky,” which stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin as two longtime friends grappling with aging in Hollywood, has even changed the way he approaches writing in the form that made him a star, multi-camera broadcast TV comedy shot before a live audience.

“I’d like to think I’d learned something by doing something differently,” he says. “It changes the way you do an audience show. There’s more trust in the moment that isn’t necessarily a big joke.”

At the same time, Lorre observed that even in working solo on scripts for “Kominsky” he still thinks in terms of pacing for a sitcom. “The audience is in my head. I can’t get them out,” he jokes.

Lorre also reflected on the differences between writing solo and writing in a room on shows such as his latest CBS comedy, the well regarded “Bob Hearts Abishola.” And he discusses the common threads he’s observed in his many years in TV among those who turn comedy writing into a vocation.

“As a group, comedy writers are broken. That’s why we need agents,” he says. “From various stages of dysfunction and darkness, you can become a bitter son of a bitch or write about mass murder. Or you channel it into laughing. And if you had a wonderful childhood, you become a network executive.”

Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.

More Biz

  • Sharp Objects

    Entertainment One Commits to Drama: "Hasbro Bought the Business to Expand It"

    “Sharp Objects” and “Run” producer-distributor Entertainment One is reassuring partners of its commitment to drama following its acquisition by toy giant Hasbro. EOne has always cultivated a strong set of procedurals, such as ABC’s Nathan Fillion-starrer “The Rookie” and Fox’s Stephen Dorff-led “Deputy,” but has also gained traction with cable propositions such as HBO’s “Sharp [...]

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    R. Kelly Hit With New Charges Alleging Sexual Abuse Against a Minor

    R. Kelly has been hit with new federal charges in Chicago, alleging that he sexually abused a minor female for four years, beginning in 1997, according to the Chicago Tribune. The superseding indictment, which was made public Friday, alleged Kelly sexually abused a girl who was identified as “Minor 6.” Kelly is already in prison [...]

  • ViacomCBS

    Third Point Adds Stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon

    Investor Dan Loeb has added small stakes in ViacomCBS and Amazon to the portfolio of his Third Point LLC investment firm during the final months of 2019. Third Point disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday its ownership of shares in the newly merged Redstone empire and the high-flying e-commerce behemoth. Loeb [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Denies Accusation That It Is Downplaying Damage in 2008 Archive Fire

    The day after Universal Music Group revealed that it is planning an IPO within three years, an attorney for four artists who have claimed to have lost recordings in a 2008 fire that destroyed thousands of assets in the company’s archives has accused UMG of “gamesmanship” and downplaying and refusing to reveal the extent of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content