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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2


Wit off the old block

The divinely witty David Benjamin Tomlinson has been amusing me for years now. I had always enjoyed his work as an actor in various Sky Gilbert plays, and on Global’s short-lived but hilarious nighttime soap opera Train 48. And when it comes to Liar Liar – the game night I host every month at the Flying Beaver– he is the king!

He’s so talented, it makes me envious. His new venture is a web series called The Writers’ Block (www.thewritersblockseries.com). It is about a group of television comedy writers. Now, I know this world well, having worked as a writer on The Kids in the Hall and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. The web series stars David and co-creator Matt Watts and Aurora Browne. They sit around complaining about everything and trying to make each other laugh. The Writers’ Block certainly captures this ambiance. It is both heaven and hell, usually at the same time.  In the first episode, the three writers are freaked out because Watts’ character pitched a horrible idea that the network loves. It’s about a town full of mummies. Now they have to spend weeks developing this terrible premise. Can the three geniuses dig their way out of this one? Speaking from experience, the only thing you can do is just make the process fun, so I was not surprised when at the end, David’s character whips out a bottle of tequila.

Writing horrible shit you would never ever watch, is why television writers get paid so much. It’s an act of creative prostitution, but it is also a rare pleasure. I long for my days as a television comedy writer, not just for the money but also being in the company of so many funny and intelligent people. In the meantime, I’ll just keep my eye on The Writers’ Block and live vicariously through them.

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