The Fish
for 27 January 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Suck Staff

Joey Anuff
Joey Anuff
Editor in Chief


[Tim Cavanaugh]
Tim Cavanaugh
Special Guest Editor


Terry Colon
Terry Colon
Art Director


Heather Havrilesky
Senior Editor


[Copy Edit]
Erica Gies
Merrill Gillaspy

Copy Editors


[Phillip Bailey]
Phillip Bailey
Production Editor

Suck Alumni
Suck Alumni Text

Carl Steadman
Carl Steadman


Ana Marie
Ana Marie Cox
Executive Editor


Sean (Duuuuude)
Sean Welch


Owen Thomas
Owen Thomas
Copy Editor


T. Jay Fowler
Production Manager
& Ass Kicker


[yes, it's
a plunger. i'll l
eave the rest up to your imagination ... ]
Erin Coull
Production Manager


Monte Goode
Ghost in the Machine


Matt Beer
Matt Beer
Development Manager


Forsyth, " we're just spanning time "]
Brian Forsyth
Production Editor
& Pool Monitor


[the fixin'
pixie... ]
Emily Hobson
Production Manager
& Rhythm Guitar


Ian Connelly
Marketing Manager

Hit & Run

Thanks for the ideas for
almost-famous comedian bios,
but the Freddy Prinze bio has
officially BEEN DONE! It was
a made-for-TV epic done in
the late seventies called
Can You Hear the Laughter? I
never made myself watch it,
though, as it looked
screamingly unfunny (like
just about every other
comedian bio ever made).

Keep up the good work,

Andrew Bettridge

Screamingly unfunny can be
good, because it shows the
pain and suffering behind
every comedian's lighthearted
laughter. Didn't you see
Punchline? You have to have
real problems to exert a lot
of energy telling jokes for
most of your life. Anyone
who's cracking jokes —
particularly people who're
cracking really good jokes
— is doing a hell of a
lot of hard work to cover up
some more serious issues. And
people who just can't stop
cracking jokes? Whoa. Step
around those motherfuckers,
they are time bombs!

Tick, tick, tick, tick ...

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

A quick question: If I was
not born in America, but then
moved there and became a
citizen, stayed there for
14-plus years and was over 35
years of age, would I be
eligible for the position of
president of the United
States of America?

The reason for this question
will be disclosed if you are
willing to give an answer.

Clue: It has something to do
with the movie titled,
Pumping Iron.

I've checked out
FEDERAL/usconst /art-2.html.

However, I wasn't happy with
the information. I would like
a definitive answer.



If you were not born in the
United States of America, you
can never be president. That
"14-plus years" business is
just a red herring. Only
natural-born citizens can
become president.

Cut from presidential cloth,

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

Vending Machine Shakedown

What's the big deal? When I
worked at a gas station in
the early '80s, it took us
about 30 seconds to jack up
the price on our Coke machine
... and we didn't even wait
for the weather to get hot.
Who the hell needs a computer
to do that?

Warm regards,

Paul Clark
Shandon, California

I should have realized that
even the most advanced
corporate machinery could
never eclipse the cunning of
shrewd, young gas station

Ding, ding.

the Camel
Fish With Letter Icon

Dear Alice the Camel,

Great article. I'd suggest
you've got the business
smarts of an MBA, but then
you might find that

That's the best argument I've
ever seen for keeping a
company techno-stupid. Ever
consider working for General

Unless they're sitting before
computers, customers are
wedged in the corporeal world
of (temporal and spatial)
location, location, location.
I suppose next they'll arm
consumers with wireless
browsers and auction agents,
then put products and
services in vans. So there!


PS Oh yeah? Well my car has
an ejection seat and JATO

PPS I think I'd like your
take on libertarianism.


I lost you somewhere around
the thing about an ejection
seat, but I'm glad you liked
the article. I'd be all about
libertarianism except I have
a severe addiction to
government cheese. As for GM,
I'd rather not relocate to a
heavily polluted, free-trade
zone on the northern rim of
Mexico, thank you very much.


the Camel
Fish With Letter Icon

Filler: Irrelevance

Dear Polly,

Classic Filler! Irrelevance
with flair! I hope that one
day, when I read your bio in
Parade's "Keeping up with
..." column, I will learn
that your life is the
antithesis of the pathetic
and petty persona you
project. Because I do read
your work as a double
espresso of bitter irony with
an underlayer of resilient
mental health.

Faithfully sharing your
obscurity vicariously, as I
reflect on my own,

I. R. Relevant
Mellow planter and former
pants-crapper slave

Oh, ha ha ha. Yes. I exist on
a higher plane of
consciousness than most
mortal folk, and it is from
these great heights that I
can peer down and observe the
pathetic and petty people in
their little ant-farm-type
lives below. Oh, how they
amuse and excite me with
their dippy misunderstandings
and emotional fumblings. As I
sip my double espresso of
bitter irony (oh, but the
espresso itself is never
bitter, I assure you —
naturally I'm proactive and
self-actualized enough to
have learned the tricks of
smooth, tasty espresso
making), I wonder what it's
like to struggle and stumble
and miscalculate and
misinterpret and say stupid
shit. Ah, but I can only

At the peak of mental health,

Fish With Letter Icon

Oh Polly, I feel your pain. I
just don't care. I have to
read my case book now so I
can get a good grade in law
school. That way I can afford
to send my kid to military
school and take vacations in
Hawaii on a regular basis.

Irrelevantly yours,


W-W-What do you mean, you
don't care? I don't get it.
How can you say that? Don't
you know that you're hurting
my feelings? You care more
about your stupid case book
than you do my feelings,
don't you? You always put law
school before me! It's not

OK, now I'm really upset. I'm
gonna sit here and wait until
you send me an apologetic
email. I'm waiting. You'd
better send it, buddy, or you
are in big, big trouble, I'm
serious. I'm waiting. I'm

Still completely mentally
healthy, damn it,

Fish With Letter Icon

Quit whining. At least people
read your crap.


Hey, no one said that I was
irrelevant. I was talking
about you guys.

Mildly delusional, but
overall still relatively

Fish With Letter Icon

Subject: And the beat goes on

Hi there, Polly. Have you
actually ever set Steve up
with a date, or is his
presence in Filler purely a
means for you to belittle his
desperate loneliness? I'm up
for the challenge, if you
will. I'm a little saucy, and
I'm sure I could take Steve
on. I live on Bainbridge
Island, but regularly go to
Seattle to get drunk with my
friends at any establishment
that has a buffalo head
hanging above the bar. I'm
23, attractive enough that
all of my male friends have
tried to pull some stunt or
another with me, and
intelligent enough to read
Celine but not Goethe. Hey,
we could even bring a tape
recorder on the date so that
you could document the
initial fumblings of two
pale-skinned and bitter
alcoholics! You could write a
column about it with minimal
thinking! Hey, all of these
exclamation points makes it
look like I'm shouting!



Hmm. You're young, really
hot, smart, and you drink a

No, I can't set you up with
Steve. He'd be too happy and
that would really, really
annoy me.

Unchartably emotionally
screwed up and pathologically

Fish With Letter Icon

Hit & Run

I'm so glad that Time Warner
and AOL have merged. Now
we've taken one more glorious
step toward a world where
every single thing that we
can see, read, or hear will
be, thank GOD, in-SANITIZED
for our protection. I had one
of those nasty,
almost-original thoughts
creep into my head the other
day, and it made me feel
dirty and un-American.
Decent, sexy, successful,
gigantic, professional-looking,
predigested images and
"ideas" are a heck of a lot
better than the lonely,
ineffective, little, impotent
dribble that you guys put
out. If you come to your
senses, get an attitude
adjustment, get on the fast
track, accept Jesus, and
start dressing for success
and going to the gym more
often and a few of you (you
know who you are) might still
be able to get a real job
with a top-notch "firm" that
has a good chance of being
acquired by a multinational
information-based corporation
that's really going
somewhere! Oops, I gotta go!
Meds-wagon's comin' around!
Later ...

Tucson John

Your email reminds me of that
Chris Farley speech where he
air-quotes all the key
phrases: "So I'm not
'classically handsome.' I
don't have 'washboard abs.'
My breath isn't 'fresh.' I
don't 'shower often.' I can't
'see' my 'penis.'" And so

Yr pal,

Fish With Letter Icon


While I enjoyed your review
of the coming-to- a-mall-
screen-near-you biopics of
misunderstood comedians, I
feel you overlooked an
obvious candidate: Michael
O'Donoghue. True, his
biographer has a vested
interest in seeing his life
dramatized; but I believe
O'Donoghue's story works well
as a post-Man on the Moon

He was the guiding spirit of
the original National
establishing the
cut-and-slash style of humor
that lesser writers milked
for the better part of a
decade. He also set the
early, aggressive tone of
Saturday Night Live before it
became the recurring
character cash cow so derided
by cosmopolitan types like

Basic Story: Small-town boy
comes to New York to write
plays, falls in with a
bohemian crowd, and soon
becomes their Byron. Hooks up
with a few Harvard boys and
teaches them the finer art of
comic assault. Brings this
style of humor to network
television, which leads to a
Hollywood contract, a cameo
in Woody Allen's Manhattan,
and torrid affairs with
Margot Kidder and Carrie

Tragedy: Was edged out of SNL
for being "too dark," a
complaint later echoed by
Hollywood producers who wanted
O'Donoghue's heat but not the
hassle. Other than Scrooged,
a film he disowned,
O'Donoghue's screenplays
gathered dust, and before
long he couldn't even get a
Fox TV pilot off the ground.
He then died of a massive
brain hemorrhage on the floor
of his Manhattan brownstone.

Taxi-style "Look, I'm
Successful" Montage: Playing
the sinister recurring
character Mr. Mike on SNL;
doing drugs with John
Belushi; throwing tantrums in
the Lampoon and SNL offices,
destroying phones, knocking
over file cabinets, kicking
holes in walls; dining at
Reno Sweeney's with
girlfriend Anne Beatts;
falling off a cliff while
tripping on acid in Mexico.

Show Biz Entity Razzed: Lorne
Michaels, for not
appreciating O'Donoghue's
dark genius (although he got
him out of numerous financial
holes); Hollywood types who
O'Donoghue detested; Chevy

Casting: As with Bill Hicks,
either Norton or Spacey would
do, especially Spacey.

Speaking of casting, you
surely know that Campbell
Scott played Robert Benchley
in Mrs. Parker and the
Vicious Circle.
Too soon for
a reprise?

Dennis Perrin

OK, OK, OK, Dennis. Let's
stick to one thing at a time,
here. How do you know so
cotton-pickin' much about
Michael O'Donoghue, anyway?
Is this a pitch? Have you
already plowed through the
first act of this thing? You
know, don't you, that the
second act isn't going to be
nearly as easy? You know that
the scene where O'Donoghue is
dining at Reno Sweeney's with
girlfriend Anne Beatts is
going to have to be cut in
half, right? You're realistic
about these things, right,
man? You also know that in
the file cabinet scenes,
someone, we're not sure who
yet, is going to have to get
seriously injured? You're
aware of the basic
requirements here, correct?
You're not thinking arty,
indie no-stars, are you,
because that's career
suicide, you got it? You got
that? Dennis, baby, we're
losing you. Are you with us?

Your loyal agents until
someone hotter comes along,

the Sucksters
Fish With Letter Icon

 The Shit
Fully Committed, Becky Mode, the Cherry Lane Theater, New York, New York
Paris in the Twentieth Century, Jules Verne, Del Rey, 1997
Chow Yun Fat's haircut in Anna and the King
A Comment on Mini-skirts, Thornton Dial
"Leonardo's Grave," Ian Jacks, Granta #67
The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, directed by Adrian Hoven, 1971
The annual reappearance of cheap clementines in bodegas
The New Meaning of Treason, Rebecca West, Penguin Books, 1985
Five-Card Nancy (a card game played with individual panels of Ernie Bushmiller's comic strip)
The Birthday Party Live 1981-82, Four A.D., 1999
Black Sessions 10/22/98, Belle & Sebastian , (unreleased)
San Lorenzo's Blues, Nuzzle, Troubleman Unlimited, 1999
The Story of Time, exhibition in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, John Michael Vlach, University of North Carolina Press, 1993

Little link
to Suck
Arrow Image
Contacting Us
Contributors Index
Little Barrel Link
Little Gun Link
machine producing Suck
Link To Tech Notes