I’m honored to welcome Alan Orloff back as he celebrates the release of Killer Routine, the first novel in the Last Laff mystery series. His debut mystery, Diamonds for the Dead, came out last April and was nominated for the Best First Novel Agatha Award.
There’s a good reason for that. Diamonds for the Dead is an excellent mystery. I’m really looking forward to the Last Laff series as well.
Hey, What’s So Funny? by Alan Orloff, Guest Blogger
I was never the class clown. I was the guy who sat in the very back of the classroom, doing crossword puzzles while the instructor lectured. I was a “don’t speak until spoken to” kind of guy. I preferred it that way.
In smaller groups, of people I knew well, I was a little more outgoing. And I usually went for the one-liners. I didn’t always succeed, but my first instinct was (and still is, usually) to try to come up with something funny/witty/clever to say. I tend to shy away from true, raw emotions, I guess.
Which is fine by me.
So how did I end up writing a series featuring a stand-up comic?
I’ve always loved a good laugh. I still remember when I snuck into a midnight comedy show at a Catskills resort (cliché, huh?) and heard a comic named Joey Villa. I laughed until I cried (what? I was about fifteen—everything remotely dirty seemed funny to me). The next day, my ribs ached.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed watching all types of comedians. Had I ever thought about getting up on stage and giving it a try myself? No, not really. The closest I got was delivering a roast-type toast at my brother’s wedding (I killed it, by the way).
However, now that I’ve written about a stand-up comic, I had the harebrained idea that I should get on stage to see what it felt like first-hand. You know, immersion research. So I set out to write a little routine (a KILLER ROUTINE, wink, wink), suitable for an open mic night. At least one where everyone is really, really drunk.
Of course, I don’t know if I’ll have the guts to actually follow through with it. I’m not sure I could bear to stand in front of thirty (or more) people expecting me to make them laugh.
Although I do admire the guts of stand-up comics, my desire to write about them goes deeper than that. I want my protagonist to be more than just a funny face. I want him to have some depth. I believe there’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy, and there always has been, especially for many of the most famous, and influential, comics. Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinison, and many others had their share of flare-ups and flame-outs (literally, in Pryor’s case).
That’s the mother lode I wanted to mine.
Make no mistake, the books in The Last Laff mystery series are not light, funny stories. They are suspenseful mysteries (at least I hope so!) with humor running throughout (at least I hope so!). After all, the books are set in the comedy club world.
Hey, did you hear the one about…?
The first book in Alan Orloff’s Last Laff Mystery series, Killer Routine, is now available at your favorite booksellers and on-line. For more information about Alan and his books, please visit his website. Alan blogs at A Million Blogging Monkeys, tweets as @AlanOrloff, and appears on Facebook, also as Alan Orloff. I think he’s trying to tell us something.
Alan, thanks again for paying us this most welcome return visit. Let’s do it again next year?