As a humor writer, Mike Sacks has selfishly hogged print space away from other aspiring humor writers with supremely hilarious articles in such prestigious mags as Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, The New Yorker, Time, McSweeney's, Maxim, Premiere, Salon, Vice — see where we're going here? The author of Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk and Here's the Kicker: Conversations With 21 Humor Writers About Their Craft has just published Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason, 54 brillantly deadpan and somewhat pathological pieces, some written in collaboration with fellow humor writers Todd Levin, Scott Jacobson, Bob Powers, Jason Roeder, Scott Rothman, Will Tracy, Ted Travelstead and Teddy Wayne.
L.A. WEEKLY: I love the book. A couple of my favorites are “Dear Mister Don DeLillo,” where the narrator is cajoling the famous writer into taking him and “Ars Poetica” on in the voice of a serious novelist who's interviewing to write for the porn industry. I wanted to imagine that you often crack yourself up. Do you laugh while you're writing?
SACKS: I only laugh when making love or when mocking the less fortunate. I never laugh when I write, or even smile. Sometimes I'll gag or retch, though. But again, only while making love.
How would you describe the book to the uninitiated?
Have you read the Bible? It's like that but with more references to penis tattoos.
Do you have a “Margaritaville” — a story that your fans demand you read?
No, but they do request that I sing “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen. Not sure why. Based on an Internet rumor, is my hunch.
Some of the pieces, such as “Things You Must Do Before You Grow Up” feel like they were assembled from Post-its or scraps of paper — or are your lists straight stream-of-consciousness? What does your desk look like? If Vanity Fair did a “My Desk” feature on you, what would we learn?
Those were done with friends, so we just shot emails back and forth. They were off the top of our heads, so maybe that's why they appear random. As for my desk, it's totally empty except for a pencil sharpener, a framed photo of myself and a bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Also, some drug paraphernalia, the remains of a dead guinea pig, and a mound of fake money.
What will you do while in L.A.? Will you take meetings with those people?
I have a lunch date with Tommy Lasorda, somewhere in East L.A. A taco truck or something. Other than that, my schedule's pretty open.
Can you tell those Vanity Fair editors to stop it with the articles on dead old ladies?
Agreed. Too many articles on dead old ladies, dead old Kennedys and dead old royal family members. I prefer the articles on those who are alive, preferably in trouble with the law, or the criminally insane. Truthfully, and this isn't a joke, the insane are easier to deal with than publicists and celebrities. Yes, they're insane, too, but in more of an annoying, cloying way.
Mike Sacks discusses and signs at Diesel, A Book Store in Brentwood, Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th St., Santa Monica; Sun., May 1, 3 p.m.; free, book is $13.95. (310) 576-9960. Also at Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd.; Tues., May 3, 7 p.m. (310) 659-3110.
Sun., May 1, 3 p.m., 2011