Vanity Cards

Chuck Lorre Vanity Cards from Big Bang Theory

No need to pause the tv just to read the tiny prints on the screen after each episode. Click here for the complete archive of vanity cards from the genius Chuck Lorre.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #389
This may sound silly, but I had to stifle tears when we wrote the last scene of tonight’s episode. The same thing happened when we rehearsed it. And then again when it was performed in front of a studio audience. And yet again when we watched the final version in an editing bay. I don’t know what it is, but there’s something primal, something deeply human being expressed when these characters unconsciously hold hands while watching their friend embark on a monumental journey. Speaking of which, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for watching The Big Bang Theory, for being part of our journey. I hope you’ve laughed a lot and stifled a little. I hope you’re holding someone’s hand. See you next year.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #387
He appeared normal. He spoke and behaved just like anyone else. The fact that he had no heart was very well concealed. Well, that’s not entirely true. He did have one. It was just not in his possession at the moment. And this is where the story gets complicated. The woman who had the darn thing was blithely unaware of the fact. Well, that’s not entirely true either. She knew that she’d left the relationship with more stuff than when she entered it, she just hadn’t bothered to do a proper inventory. (Had she done so, she would have found several other hearts, as well as a few sets of balls.) Regardless, his dilemma remained the same. A woman had absconded with a vital organ and the gnawing emptiness he felt was a direct reflection of that vacancy. Well, that’s not entirely true either. The gnawing thing had actually been with him since he was a child. He just liked to assign blame for the condition.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #386
I like words. I like the way they sound, I like their subtle shades of meaning, their power, and most particularly, their ancient roots, their origins. For example, I recently became fascinated with the rather routine word ‘miscellaneous.’ To begin with, it really sounds great. Miscellaneous. I dare you to say it out loud and not smile. Plus, you can just forget its meaning and have fun with it. “Miscellaneous, miss a lot.” Then consider its long journey from the Latin ‘miscere’ (to mix), to its current form. How did miscere become miscellaneous? Whose idea was it to drop the ‘ere’ and add the ‘ellaneous?’ And why? Were they drunk? Was it some sort of strange speech impediment that caught on with the general populace? Or more likely, did the French get hold of it and decide to do what they do best – unnecessarily fancy it up? Makes you think, right? And speaking of the paths words take to arrive at their current form, how can anyone not be entranced by the rocky road traveled by the old Germanic word ‘ f i c k e n ‘ (to move back and forth)? Was it first used in carpentry? “Grab the other end of this saw and we’ll ficken it across this log.” Or is it the Teutonic ancestor of ‘fickle’? “First you say we should sack Rome, then you say we shouldn’t. Boy, you are one ficken barbarian.” Of course, it could very well be the root of another word that describes a back and forth motion, but if that were the case, this vanity card would probably be censored.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #383
For me, the epiphany came in my second season on Roseanne. At thirty-nine years old I finally woke up to the fact that the principles I was taught as a child, like fairness and justice, have no place in the world of power and money. The rules of the sandbox, strictly enforced by a wise and compassionate adult, are laughable when the sandbox is the television business and there are Mercedes and Bentleys parked alongside it. What’s odd is that twenty years later, despite my belated awakening to the reality of amorality, that old schoolyard programming continues to insist on its rightness. Ideas like “play nice,” “share your toys,” “no name-calling,” “take turns” and “misbehaving gets punished” still resonate inside me as if they were some sort of fundamental truths. Of course, I now know that they are not. At best, they’re ideals. Lofty goals to aspire to. The truisms of the real world are more along the lines of, “my ball, my bat, my rules” and “money talks, bull$#*! walks.” Which brings me to our impending presidential election. A classic showdown between the lessons we all learned as children and, well… reality. Further complicating the situation is our collective, unconscious desire to be supervised by that wise and compassionate adult. But there is no such adult. The truth is, we are alone in the sandbox. The game we play, seemingly forever, is called “Ideals vs. Money and Bats.” For what it’s worth, I’m betting on the latter, but there’s a little boy in me who insists on voting for the former.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #382
Country Songs I Hope to Write Someday But Probably Never Will
The pink and green are making me blue
Last night I dreamed you came back (and I woke up screaming)
Lord, make me the man my dog thinks I am
I love you, I’m stupid
If two of us are the same, one of us is unnecessary
My momma always told me to do what I love (so I joined the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms)
The problem with gettin’ older, is I can’t remember which lie I told her
Your wife don’t love me no more
I came to on you
A good excuse for bad behavior
The tattoo I regret

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #380
As my eyesight dims, I see things more clearly. As my hearing fades, the music becomes more beautiful. As my mind withers, the memories –Hey, whatever happened to Alan Funt? His name always made me giggle.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #186
ZEN NOIR (REDUX)
The hardest journey is the one which leads to the truth. I didn’t know that when I began my little midnight ramble. If I had, I probably would’ve stayed home, drank myself stupid and watched Ferguson until the big nod closed my book for the day. But there I was, standing outside her house, looking up at her bedroom window while a cold rain whipped me in the face like I’d somehow pissed it off. I could see her kissing him. I could see her as she slowly descended beneath the window frame. I could see him too. He just stood there smiling, like the canary who got eaten by the cat. But then a funny thing happened while I was dancing the voyeuristic bebop in my terribly trendy, bright-green plastic shoes. I found myself thinking that the aching loneliness I was feeling had its roots in something much deeper than being eighty-sixed to a one bedroom efficiency in the marina by a dame who digs deep into the degrading bang-bang in order to make up for an emotionally distant father. No, this was the pain of existential separateness. The false sense that one is fundamentally apart from people, things, life, the whole damn universe. In a blinding flash I realized that what I was really experiencing was the result of a life-long indoctrination by a culture which elevates individualism above all else, thus causing a soul-crushing sense of aloneness which demands over and under the counter medication, the constant distraction of sporting events, TV, major motion pictures and a pop-tabloid religion based on celebrity worship/crucifixion. Of course this epiphany did not deter me from pulling the roscoe out of my fanny pack and going into the house to TC of B. As I crossed up the stairs I could feel my wet tube socks squishing through the little round holes of my polyurethane crocs.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #378
I do not interact with Facebook, Twitter or any of the other social networking platforms. My reasoning is simple. Why in the world would I want to share my private thoughts and feelings with the world at large? What good could possibly come from me having a convenient outlet to express myself to millions of people? The more likely outcome is that in a misguided attempt to be funny or cute, I’d say something stupid and wind up getting publicly raked over the proverbial coals. Which is why I think the wiser path is to keep my opinions to myself. For example, if I were to feel moral outrage over an organization riddled with pedophiles expressing their moral outrage over contraception, I certainly wouldn’t tweet about it. And the photographs I’ve taken of myself wearing nothing but oven mitts and a tiara will never be shared on a Facebook page.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #377
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought it might be nice to write a vanity card about the human heart – the organ from whence love comes. While cardiologists might see it as just a simple pumping mechanism, common wisdom knows better. The brain does not love. The lungs do not love. The penis makes a lot of noise about love, but after intercourse its intentions are fairly obvious. In the end, we all know the truth. We’ve all experienced the truth. That swelling feeling in the chest is the universal sensation we have when the heart is expressing love. Conversely, that sinking feeling in the chest is the universal sensation we have when our love is not reciprocated. It is then that the heart is “broken.” We are literally “heartsick” until we learn that our former paramour was inexplicably taken hostage by Somali pirates while dining at a neighborhood pizzeria. News we find “heartening.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #375 (CENSORED)
I’ve long known that due to the FCC’s equal time rules, I cannot use this space to espouse political views. To do so would set in motion a legal action which demands that an opposing opinion be flashed on the screen for a split second at the end of a sitcom (I’m guessing). With that in mind, I worked hard to write what I thought was a very balanced, centrist vanity card; a simple, rational essay that no one could disagree with. CBS disagreed.
CENSORED!

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #374
ONE HUNDRED EPISODES
Babies were born, people got married, people got divorced, people died, people were hired, fired, quit, homes were bought, expensive cars were leased, tears were shed, harsh words were spoken, fear, dread, resentment, jealousy, frustration and rage came and went like clouds in the sky. The only constant was laughter. We laughed a lot. We hope you did too. From everyone at The Big Bang Theory, thank you for watching.
Oh, I almost forgot! Bill Prady went on a food delivery system, lost twenty pounds and started tucking in his shirt.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #373
THE PROPHET by Kahlil Gibran (1st draft)
A young woman stepped forward from the throng and asked, “0′ great prophet, tell us how we might find love that is unconditional, unwavering and unending.” The prophet did not answer right away. He looked off into the distance, gathering his thoughts. Silence descended upon the crowd. Then he turned his gaze upon the young woman and said, “Get a dog.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #372
The voice in his head never stopped for breath,
it spoke of danger,it warned of death.
It shouted, “Hurry, pack up and flee!”
And all before his morning pee.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #369
He was under no illusion that his brain was doing anything other than providing him with illusion. Needless to say, this created a bit of a quandary. If your understanding of your environment is based on a funhouse mirror reflection of what’s really going on, then every single thought has to be viewed with suspicion. Which created yet another quandary – paralysis by analysis. What, if any, is the appropriate action one takes in response to a constant flow of cerebral misinformation? Of course there was always the option to move through the world with great certainty, pretending that his consciousness was hardwired into the absolute truth of existence. The obvious downside in that would be talking and behaving like a presidential candidate. After some time to inaccurately reflect, he devised a scientific solution that he hoped would ease not only his own suffering, but the suffering of all mankind. He called it Apologetics™. The basis for his amazing breakthrough can be seen below in what millions of Apologists around the world call The Mea Culpa Triangle.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #367
Among the team of superheroes, his power was the least envied. As The Human Sponge, he had the ability to absorb the emotions of people nearby and make them his own – to the point of actually forgetting that what he was feeling did not originate with him. While his fellow crime fighters fought evil by hurling bolts of lightning or with amazing displays of strength, The Human Sponge could only sit next to the villain o’ the day and soak up his festering rage. Needless to say, when the weary band of caped crusaders returned to their secret lair, Sponge was not very good company. There were even private discussions of replacing him with Paper Towel Man (who had the same super power, but was disposable). Thankfully, the problem was solved when Jesus joined the team. From that day on, The Human Sponge was just a sweetie… except around money-lenders. Then he could be kind of a dick.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #366
This photograph was my vanity card when I was working on Grace Under Fire and Cybill. I remember deciding on its composition by asking myself what were some of my favorite things. The answer, as you can see in the picture, was tobacco, bourbon and an old Mac computer. Eighteen years later, I still love my Mac. The other two items, despite my eternal affection, have been replaced with a bronchial inhaler and a metal folding chair in a church basement.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #364
On behalf of the producers of The Big Bang Theory I want to take this opportunity to thank our intrepid office staffers: Jen D’Angelo, Anthony Robinson, Jess Ambrosetti, Gary Torvinen, Tara Hernandez, Charlie Back, Robin Green for their tireless efforts and ridiculous devotion to the building of the Lego Death Star seen in tonight’s episode. You are all now part of television history, although that will not be reflected in your paycheck.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #361
Miscellaneous Show Biz Tips
Never forget that taking a bow and ducking are essentially the same thing.
The reason you suffer is because you think your identity and worth as a human being are inextricably tied into your career. Don’t think that.
Success has many parents, and even more lawyers. They’re paying you a lot because they’re killing you. Don’t grow too attached to your agent. Like a beloved spouse, they come and go.
If you want fair, go to Pomona September 8-26. Wear comfy shoes. It’s not true that if you believe the good reviews, you must also believe the bad ones. The bad ones could have been written by mean, stupid people who hate your success.
Act like your job is the most important thing in the world, but never forget that it’s ultimately meaningless. All we are is dust in the wind, yada-yada-yada.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #359
Okay, I’m just gonna say it out loud. There are times when going crazy looks attractive. And I’m not talking about becoming charmingly eccentric. I’ve already got that covered nine ways to Sunday. No, I’m talking about purposely emigrating to the land of lunacy. That special psychological zip code where The Ancient Laws of Behave Yourself no longer apply. My “reasoning” is simple. It takes a great deal of effort to sustain a conservative, trustworthy persona. Surrendering that effort would involve, from a Freudian perspective, a conscious dismantling of the super ego – that part of the psyche entrusted with enforcing parental and socially approved actions. And therein lies the allure of going full frontal wack-a-doodle. The constant energy required to pass as normal would suddenly become available for doing and saying whatever pleases me in the moment. Imagine it. The id and libido completely unbound by any and all moral or cultural restrictions. Hmm… Probably won’t need the shrink anymore… might need a lawyer.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #356
When I started writing vanity cards, way back in 1995, few people noticed them. Most of those who did assumed they were some sort of legal boilerplate. Heck, even if someone got curious and hit ‘pause’ on their VCR, there was no guarantee they’d be able to read the darn things. Now… forget about it. Every card gets parsed and analyzed like it was a Canticle for Leibowitz (great book, check it out). The jokes are taken way too seriously and the stories all have to have a secret meaning. (Sometimes a junkie monkey is just a junkie monkey.) Don’t get me wrong. There’s a part of me that loves to exploit this silliness. What other possible reason would I have to write the following poem?
He knew where the bodies were buried,
’cause they weren’t buried deep.
Always follow the money,
silence don’t come cheap.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #353
I have long believed that we as human beings are genetically inclined to elevate and worship those of us we deem to be very beautiful or very talented. We do this because we are somehow comforted by our adoration. It makes us feel good. As children we sleep beneath the images of movie, TV, music and sports stars and dream about the mystery and grandeur of their lives. As adults, the posters come off the wall, only to be replaced by a steady, noxious stream of tabloid culture. But perhaps most enjoyable of all is watching the fall from grace. Nothing beats a good ol’ public crucifixion. Especially when it’s self-inflicted. My theory for why this is considered entertainment is, again, a genetic one. DNA, even if it’s mediocre, wants to ensure its own survival. The existence of superior DNA is viewed as a threat. When beautiful and talented people screw up, we can’t help but feel that this somehow improves the chances for our mediocre descendants to eat meat. In other words, evolution my ass.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #350
The boy who farted laughing gas,
eschewed pretentious poses.
He thought those who called him vulgar,
had boogers in their noses.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #349
Every night before going to bed, he would brush his teeth and make a preemptive attempt to void his bladder. He then walked into his closet, got on his knees in front of the shoe rack and prayed to a god whose unlikely existence he likened to an ongoing quantum event. In his mind, the act of kneeling mattered not at all to this supposed god. He could just as well pray standing naked on his head with his ass serving as a fleshy vase for a bouquet of flowers. The penitential pose was only useful as a demonstration of his humility in the face of the infinite (although when things were going his way, it was more of a feigned humility). The prayers themselves mostly consisted of thanking his sub-atomic almighty verb for assembling an infrastructure that allowed for life to exist. This included, in no particular order, the various laws of physics, gravity, organic chemistry and thermodynamics. And, since it was his belief that sentient life was created by an insentient universe in order for the insentient universe to be admired, he made an effort in his prayers to tell the insentience, “nice work” or “way to go”. Finally, he would close with a plea for this nameless everything to look after the less fortunate. “Please god, despite the clear evidence that it’s not in your nature to care, bring love and happiness to all the souls who suffer.” Then, his heart filled with grace, he would climb into bed and sleep peacefully until he dreamed he was standing in his closet and peeing on his shoes – god’s clever way of telling him he had to wake up and go to the bathroom.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #345
What doesn’t kill us makes us bitter. I used to believe that to be both funny and true. Years later I learned that pain could also be the touchstone for personal growth, which of course points back to the original saying, “what doesn’t kill us makes us better.” Not funny, but perhaps closer to the truth. Or at least the truth I choose to believe in these days. So, having recently experienced a bit of pain, am I better? Well, let’s review: I think I’m fairly immune to name-calling now. I’m not sure I could have made that claim a few months ago. I’ve also come to see that the things I used to think were big deals, are not. Problems appear to be relative. If you have a big one, it makes all the others seem almost charming in comparison. And finally, when your life takes a path you could never have foreseen, it’s humbling. In a good way. It’s kind of like a friendly reminder from the universe that while you may think you have the starring role in the movie of your life, you’re actually just a bit player trying to grab a quesadilla off the craft services table when no one’s looking.
So, to sum up: I now have a thicker skin, I’m less likely to sweat the small stuff, and, perhaps most importantly, I have a renewed sense of humility. All in all, better. That being said, I still try to stay reasonably bitter in order to maintain my eligibility in the Writers Guild of America.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #343
I’ve been studying up on the psychological phenomenon known as projection. Sigmund Freud explained it as the mental mechanism by which a person attributes to others the very qualities he or she despises, and cannot confront, in themselves. I’ve also been learning about passive-aggressive behavior. This is language and actions that are abusive but cleverly hidden behind a thin veil of civility. For example, the first two sentences of this vanity card.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #341
Dear Concerned Viewers,
Thanks to the magic of computer graphics, the monkey in tonight’s episode was not actually smoking a cigarette, nor was he ever exposed to secondhand smoke. At all times, every effort was made to make the monkey feel happy and safe. Nevertheless, he proved impossible to work with. During the week of production his behavior became increasingly erratic, to the point of refusing to come out of his trailer to rehearse. It wasn’t until after we finished filming his scenes that we learned why. The monkey is a heroin addict. Yes, hard as it may be to believe, the monkey had a monkey on his back. Thankfully, an intervention was staged by the Geico lizard and he is now going through detox and a twelve step program at the Bonzo Center in Palm Springs. Everyone at The Big Bang Theory wishes him well.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #338
My lawyer ate my vanity card.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #337
Whenever I’ve gone through tough times, well-meaning people have told me that God/the universe does not give us more than we can handle. Well, I’ve been going through a tough time recently, and sure enough, that old saying has been tossed my way on several morose occasions. After some careful consideration, I’ve decided it’s bull$#*!. As an aphorism, it only makes sense in hindsight – after you’ve managed to crawl from the wreckage of whatever calamity that God/the universe decided to toss your way. No one ever uses it to comfort someone who’s been hit by a bus or turned into a puddle of goo by flesh-eating bacteria (although in the right circumstance, that could be a hoot). Another thing I hear a lot is, “this too shall pass.” Again, I know these are words meant to reassure, but somehow they always leave me feeling that heartbreak, rage and grief are going to come shooting out of me like kidney stones through an inflamed urethra. For someone in crisis, I think a more accurate and helpful assessment of reality would be, “Love, sex, food, friendship, art, play, beauty and the simple pleasure of a cup of tea are all well and good, but never forget that God/the universe is determined to kill you by whatever means necessary.” Consider trying that next time you’re called on to do some consoling. If you’re feeling impish, you might also try, “According to the rules of comedy, your suffering will be funny after an undetermined length of time. Maybe not while you’re having your gangrenous leg sawed off, watching your home burn down or learning how to be intimate with your cellmate, but, in the big scheme of things, soon.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #335
We tell ourselves stories. We weave together different plot lines, wondering if the outcome of the story might be different were we to have done or said something other than what we had done or said, all the while knowing that the various alternative outcomes are just more stories – fictions meant to distract us from what’s actually happening. And so we pause from weaving and commence breathing, gently and non-judgmentally saying hello to what is…
Oy vey.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #331
Random Things I’ve Learned in TV
Never ask a question when you know the answer is going to be a lie.
Silence is always bad news.
Strong Nielson ratings guarantee employment, not self-esteem.
Actors can smoke cigarettes because they’re immune to carcinogens.
It’s safe to talk openly and honestly with people because they’re not really listening.
The two major groups in TV show biz are, naturally enough, show people and biz people. Telling them apart is simple. No matter how old they are, ‘show’ people (usually creative types like writers, actors, directors and musicians) dress like teenagers. Again, regardless of age, ‘biz’ people (agents, managers, lawyers, company executives) dress like adults. When ‘biz’ people start dressing like ‘show’ people it means they’ve made too much money off the backs of the aforementioned ‘show’ people. When ‘show’ people (usually directors) start dressing like ‘biz’ people, it means they’re insecure about their creative involvement and need a hug.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #328
They weren’t not in love. It’s just that the subject, as such, never really came up. It kind of loomed over them like a blissfully stupid cloud. The love cloud.
Guaranteed to rain on your brain, ’til you’re moanin’ with seratonin.
Maybe what was happening was that they were in love with the idea of being in love. But that’s still love, right? Instead of loving each other, they loved an idea. An aspiration. A wish. The other person was more or less of an afterthought. Somewhat expendable, or at the very least, interchangeable.
I love that you make me feel like I’m in love. You, on the other hand, I can take or leave.
Of course, it was just a matter of time before the truth of each other, the hard fact of their unique selfness, their one-of-a-kind snow-flakiness, became unavoidable.
I may be a broken toy, but you are a Chinese crib factory that uses lead paint.
Saying goodbye in these circumstances is always very awkward.
“I just had your car towed.”
“That’s okay, those Flip videos I
said I erased are now on the internet.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #326
In the near future, we will see brain scan technology that can determine, without fail, if someone is telling the truth. Shortly thereafter, we will be able to buy mobile devices that perform the same task on the fly. In other words, we are on the verge of having all of our conversations constantly and instantly monitored for veracity. This would then spawn a counter-technology comprised of personal mind shields that keep oneself from being scanned (the use of which would, of course, imply that one is keeping secrets). The end result? Universal honesty, initially as a result of the duress of surveillance, will become the norm. Then, over time, this mode of thinking, communicating and behaving will become second nature. This will usher in the dawn of a new civilization. After thousands of years of human suffering, world peace and the long-fabled ‘good will towards all men’ will have finally arrived. The end of lying and cheating will also mark the end of scripted entertainment. So, you know, there’ll be a downside.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #325
I have a recurring dream that I’ve been drafted to play on an NBA team. This is a very upsetting dream because I can’t really play basketball. I mean, I play pretty much how you’d expect a middle-aged Jewish comedy writer to play. The words clumsy, hesitant, clueless, short and frightened come to mind. During the dream I’m well aware of my grotesque lack of talent. I run up and down the court hoping the ball doesn’t come my way, all the while wondering why the coach doesn’t take me out. Even me executing an uncontested lay-up or free throw seems like an impossible, or at least unlikely, event. Assuming dreams work as metaphor and I’m not really subconsciously afraid of having to go mano a mano with Kobe or LeBron, the question I find myself asking is, what in my life do I feel fully engaged in and yet completely unqualified for? The answer is simple: intimate relationships. Once again, the words clumsy, hesitant, clueless, short and frightened come to mind. Well, not short… average.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #323
The Mask of Undoogoo
Before Undoogoo would venture into the jungle to begin his daily hunt, he would don a mask to confuse his prey. Not a mask meant to frighten. No, Undoogoo’s mask was pleasant to look at, designed to trick his quarry into thinking that he was harmless. In this way, Undoogoo was able to get close and strike a lethal blow. Which is exactly what he had in mind the day he spied a beautiful creature drinking at a watering hole. Hiding behind his benign facade, he positioned himself alongside his intended victim and prepared to attack. But what Undoogoo didn’t know was that this “beautiful creature” was also wearing a mask. A mask that successfully camouflaged a fierce and merciless predator. And so it was that Undoogoo suddenly found himself being devoured, torn apart, eviscerated! His screams echoed through the jungle. But the jungle was accustomed to the sounds of agony, and no one came to his aid. Bloodied and barely alive, he managed to escape and crawl back to his village where, to his horror, he discovered that his tormentor had taken possession of his hut. Now helpless and homeless, he was forced to live the rest of his days in the wild, feeding on what dung beetles feed on.
The moral of the story:
Mask or not, if you hunt without a prenup, pack some ketchup for the dung.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #319
As I Get Older (a poem under construction)
As I get older, I see more clearly, but not with my eyes.
I hear more sharply, but not with my ears.
I smell more ripely, but not with my nose…
As I get older, I see more clearly, but not with my eyes.
I hear more sharply, but not with my ears.
I touch more intimately, but not with my finger…
As I get older, I see more clearly, but not with my eyes.
I hear more sharply, but not with my ears.
I love more deeply, but not with my penis…
As I get older, I see more clearly, but not with my eyes.
I hear more sharply, but not with my ears.
I think more better, but not with my brain… my head… noggin…
As I get older, I see more clearly,

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #314
Mornings are the worst. The mind seems undefended, easy prey for both memories and imagination. What happened. What should’ve happened. What might happen someday. Your fault, my fault, no one’s fault. The only way to relieve the torment is to get up, empty the bladder, drink the coffee, read the paper, run the treadmill, perform the animal sacrifice, paint the chicken blood on the groin and call upon the demonic spirits to bring you back.
Nights are bad too. Once again, exhaustion makes the mind vulnerable to obsessing over woulda, shoulda, coulda. The only thing to do is sit alone and eat the chicken which was senselessly murdered in the morning.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #311
When I’m not working on The Big Bang Theory, I work on other TV shows. One of those shows gets a lot of bad press. Sometimes, when I read the very unkind things written about that show, I’ll remember the words of a sleazy music manager I was briefly associated with back in my rock ‘n’ roll days. The guy was right out of central casting. Bald, middle-aged, pot-bellied and sucking on a cheap cigar, he would sit behind his metal desk in his ratty little office and pontificate to dumbass musicians hungry for career guidance. One of his speeches has remained vivid in my memory for thirty-five years. He said, to a soon-to- be-nonexistent, dumbass power trio I was then a part of, “Boyz, if halfs da peoples loves ya, and halfs da peoples hates ya, you’re a star!” At the time I had no idea what he was talking about. It wasn’t until fifteen years later when I was writing for a TV show called Roseanne that I figured it out. I was once again reminded of all this when the star of the show I was talking about earlier came out for a curtain call in front of a packed studio audience. They went wild with applause. I looked at the man taking the bow and thought, “there is a big star.” Then I looked up at the screaming, cheering audience and thought, “there are halfs da peoples.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #309
Following Kaley Cuoco’s horseback riding injury, I’ve instituted new rules governing acceptable leisure activities for the cast of The Big Bang Theory.
1. No friggin’ horses. This includes those found on merry-go-rounds and in front of supermarkets.
2. The only motorcycle you can get on is the one you’re accidentally crushing in your big-ass, air-bagged SUV.
3. All cast member motor vehicles must adhere to U.S. Army guidelines for attacking Kandahar. (Galecki’s Tesla is a terrifically fuel efficient vehicle but is essentially a hundred thousand dollar go-cart. From now on it is only to be used for backing down his driveway and retrieving mail.)
4. The only permissible boating activity at Comic-Con is in your hotel room bathtub.
5. Alcohol should only be ingested at home, and while seated in a big comfy chair. Wild and carefree dancing that celebrates your incredible and well-deserved success is only allowed on New Year’s Eve, and only with a sober celebrity parasitic flunky to lean on.
6. And finally, sexual acts must be performed while horizontal. Certain high-risk Kama Sutra positions might be allowed, but only after consultation with Chuck Lorre. Like with dancing, a spotter might be required.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #306
Zen and the Art of Sitcom
I have been writing sitcoms for twenty-five years. During this time, I have learned a few things. Practical things. Do’s and don’t’s if you will. For instance, do hire actors based on talent not looks. Somewhere between take eight and take fifteen, you will be hating both yourself and the gorgeous, but clueless ingenue who got the job because she looks exactly like what you imagined the character looks like… or worse, like the kind of woman you could live happily ever after with. Don’t waste time with a marginal joke that forces the actor to twist him or herself into a pretzel in order to make funny. It’s much better to work a little harder and write a great joke that the actor can do in their sleep. This also allows the actor to be well-rested when it comes time to renegotiate his or her contract. Do try to be kind to the power players. The movers and shakers. The people who tell you how to do your job. After they fail in network TV, they will remember you fondly while they’re busy tanking fledgling internet companies. But perhaps more important than do’s and don’ts is learning to trust in the mysterious power of intuition. The soft inner voice that guides you to a better outcome than experience and logic could ever provide. This is what I call the Zen of Sitcom. The willingness to allow transcendence to play a part in the making of a TV show. Try it sometime in your own job. It can be the source of great inspiration. A word of warning though: it’s not foolproof. If your business collapses or you wind up getting fired, you’re probably hearing the same voice I listened to when I created Grace Under Fire, Cybill and four or five TV pilots that now function as landfill. If it’s possible, try not to listen to that one. As inner voices go, it’s kind of a douche.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #303
FAMOUS QUOTES
“Sometimes my life seems to be a never-ending succession of unhappy women.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
“Restaurant bathroom doors should be identified with the words, “men” and “women.” Silhouettes and cartoon drawings of sombreros, bowler hats, puffy skirts and pretty mouths do not provide enough information for drunks.”
Teddy Roosevelt
“Jesus” Last Supper was clearly not organized to encourage conversation.”
Catfish Hunter
“My memory of you is better than you.”
Lao Tzu
“Erectile dysfunction commercials cause erectile dysfunction.”
Words of a prophet,
written on a subway wall and tenement hall

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #300
300. An auspicious card. To me. At the very least it represents my having had a hand in writing and producing three hundred episodes of television. Some of which were pretty good. Some of which were… in color. Additionally, it means that on three hundred separate occasions I tried to turn my one second of network time into a form of entertainment. Or, if you prefer, a form of inflammation. Some of the vanity cards were, like the TV shows preceding them, pretty good. Others were… grammatically correct. But still. 300. That has to count for something, right? That’s gotta be worth some kind of attaboy. I’m certainly not being paid to write these things. In fact, there are several people at CBS and Warners who’d probably pay me to not write them. (Mental note: Look into setting up a blind auction predicated on the idea that, for the right price, I would permanently change my written vanity card to a cute picture. Maybe a photo from my most recent colonoscopy. Let’s see what the market fetches.) Anyway, this is my three hundredth vanity card. I really wanted to write something that was as important as the number seemed to imply. I’m pretty sure I’ve failed. Attaboy!

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #297
Everywhere I look I see Ned Beatty. Not literally Ned Beatty. What I keep seeing appears to be his doppelgänger, or his evil twin, or a Ned Beatty wannabe, or simply some paunchy, red-faced, middle-aged sonuvabitch who has either the great misfortune or great good luck to look just like Ned Beatty. I would also venture to say that if you were to casually glance over your shoulder, you too would see — not now, wait until it’s cool… okay, now. See it? There are a suspicious number of Ned Beattys wandering around this country. If one were conspiratorially- inclined, one might even think that someone is growing a secret army of the rotund little bastards. Why? To what end? Retribution on an apocalyptic scale for the lifelong mocking the real Ned Beatty endured after appearing in the sodomy scene in Deliverance? Whatever the purpose, there’s ample reason to be afraid. The only reassurance we can have is the knowledge that it’s not nearly as scary as a whole bunch of Warren Beattys running around.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #294
“We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
Pema Chödrön
“Blink already, dammit!”
Chuck Lörre

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #291
I didn’t go to my 40th high school reunion. I agonized over the decision. Part of me wanted to go simply to take a victory lap. Part of me thought that to be a most unworthy motivation for traveling across the country in a private jet with a full head of hair, a 32 inch waistline and a beautiful woman almost half my age. Part of me wanted to see how my classmates turned out after decades of life. Part of me was simply frightened by the mortality issues implied by “decades of life.” Part of me did not want to revisit memories of that sad, alienated kid whose best idea for attending the Sadie Hawkins Day Dance was sitting on the handball court swilling Southern Comfort and then blundering into the gym until a teacher threw him out on his ass, after which he threw up on his shoes. Part of me was simply worn out from work and feared the reunion would culminate with a debilitating, schadenfreude-enducing stroke near the punch bowl. Part of me truly wanted to enjoy the company of the people I grew up with. Part of me feared being judged by them, even if the judgment was positive. Well, it’s too late now. The reunion is over. Now there’s a part of me that has quietly begun to agonize over going to the 50th. And a part of me that regrets not going to the 40th in case I’m dead by the 50th. And a part of me which is thoroughly exhausted by the part of me that worries and thinks too much. But that part of me writes sitcoms and vanity cards so the exhausted part of me just has to suck it up. And yet there’s still another part of me that merely watches all the other parts with tender, paternal amusement. Part of me thinks that’s my spiritual part – the loving, non-judgmental, ever-present witness. Part of me thinks that if I’m still alive for my 50th, that part would have a good time at the party. Re-reading this card now, part of me thinks I should be heavily medicated.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #288
Over the years, CBS executives have always been very generous when it comes to sharing their ideas as to how I might better do my job. I have never returned the favor regarding how they might run their network. Until now. Now I have a really good idea. Step One: Create an internal division with workers who do nothing but check out the claims of prospective advertisers. And I mean really check them out. If it’s a car, have somebody drive it around to see if it accelerates into walls or slow-moving pedestrians for no particular reason. If it’s beer, have someone drink it and report back if it gets them laid. If it’s a pill, have someone take it for awhile, then wait to see if they grow a tail, get anal leakage, or commit suicide. Step Two: Quality control. All commercials must be aesthetically pleasing, seriously funny, poignant, or dramatic. Any commercials deemed loud, stupid and/or obnoxious are not aired. Period. No exceptions. Step Three: Tell the world that CBS only airs the coolest and most honest commercials. It’s always Superbowl Sunday at CBS! Step Four: Watch the money roll in. A Final Thought: Don’t worry about the initial loss of income created by dropping the dumb stuff (e.g. Cockney lizards who sell insurance). You’ll more than make that money back by demanding that your high-quality advertisers cut you in for a piece of their action. You have, after all, earned it by giving them the CBS seal of approval. Another Final Thought: If you adopt my idea, my consulting fee is one million shares of CBS stock. Or better yet, one hundred shares of Apple stock.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #287
CENSORED!!!
Apparently, it’s okay to show brutal violence in graphic, vomit- your-Jenny Craig dinner-up-into-your-mouth detail on a forensic cop show, but it’s unacceptable to write about it with a little whimsy. As always, you can read the offending material on my web site, Chucklorre.com. Frankly, I think you’ll be disappointed.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #286
In public bathrooms I will sometimes use the “children’s urinal” in order to feel like a giant.
If no one’s around, I’m likely to sing along with Aretha Franklin’s version of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, but not the Carole King version.
I’ve never understood why anyone would bother making a porn movie that lasts longer than ten minutes.
I often pretend that the person standing next to me in an elevator is an unwitting carrier of a deadly airborne disease unleashed by terrorists who hate our freedom. This, of course, forces me to hold my breath until the doors open.
Forty years ago I measured my penis with a wood ruler. The irony was lost on me.
Sometimes sex just seems like a lot of work.
There are mornings when, for no perceivable reason, I turn into a teenage girl and repeatedly change my outfit.
I floss so that my dentist will be proud of me.
Even when asked, I have never been able to “talk dirty” to a woman without feeling like a complete idiot.
My one attempt at manscaping ended in bloodshed.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #285
The Sitcom Writers’ Prayer
Lord, if it be thy will, give unto us a story that has lots of comic potential while simultaneously exploring and defining our characters and their relationships (preferably something that hasn’t been done on Dick Van Dyke or Friends). If, in thine infinite wisdom, the story you provideth is over-the-top, please help us convince ourselves that we are creating a classic farce so we can look our actors in the eye and explain, with face straight, that jumping the shark is how we demonstrate our love for you. Also make us into a channel through which true and honestly funny dialogue flows to our principal, supporting and guest characters. If, on the day of judgement, thy heavenly words elicit silence from the studio audience, relieve us of our suffering, O’ Divine Master, by giving us the strength to tell our friends and family that we are doing a “dramedy.” Finally Lord, we call on your infinite mercy, praying that you forgiveth our many network sins, most notably Lenny and Squiggy-style smash cut jokes, and that after we are brought low by the Nielsonites, you lift us up and lead us into the valley of high-concept, vaguely sentimental feature films like thou didst with thine exalted emissary, Judd of Apatow. Amen.Oh, couple more things: May our directors someday figure out a way to start a restaurant scene that does not require a waiter to walk across the room, and may all those internet residuals we fought for during the last strike start rolling in. Amen redux.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #280
You know you’re getting old when… You throw your back out on the toilet. You shave your ears. Your second wife calls your first wife “ma’am.” You’re genuinely excited when your prescriptions arrive in the mail. You read the obits in the newspaper to check the ages of the dead people. You read a newspaper. You’re bummed out that the smokin’ hot chick from Body Heat now looks like William Shatner in drag. You say “bummed out.” Women your age have real breasts and artificial hips. Masturbation leaves you winded. You try to amuse the kid hooking up your Blu-ray player by telling him about Betamax. You pee in morse code — dots and dashes — and have to look down to see when you’re done. Your car radio is set to “classic rock” so you have something to switch to during NPR pledge drives. Your doctor says things like, “that’s normal for a man your age” and “consider yourself lucky.” Beneath your chin is what appears to be a neck skin hammock. Beneath your penis is what appears to be two ping pong balls hanging from a flesh-colored bolo tie. You choose your new car because it offers great lumbar support and convenient cup holders. Watching “The Who” perform at the Superbowl made you inconsolably sad. You wonder if the orgasm you’re about to have will actually end your life. Your doctor tells you a new medication will reduce the amount of semen in your body and your only response is, “so what.” Your car radio is set to “classic rock” so you have something to… oh, wait, I already did that one.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #279
I worked for Stan Lee twenty-five years ago at Marvel Animation in Los Angeles. My favorite memory is sitting in his office with the legendary Johnny Carson writer, Bob Smith. We were discussing an animated series featuring Rodney Dangerfield as “a dog that got no respect.” (Bob was the actual brains behind the project, I was just hanging around hoping to be included.) Anyway, the meeting was going along nicely, the idea of creating an unloved mutt modeled on Rodney seemed both poignant and hilarious. Then Stan rose from the throne-like seat behind his desk and said, “what this project needs is a real comedy writer.” I looked over at Bob, one of the whitest guys you’ve ever seen, and watched him get even whiter. I glanced down and saw his fists curl into bloodless mallets. A cold, eerie silence filled the room. It felt as if time had stopped. I remember thinking I’m about to see a legendary Johnny Carson writer kill the guy who invented Spider- Man. And then the oddest thing happened. Bob smiled and said, “Yeah, Stan, that’s what it needs, a real comedy writer.” Stan was happy to be agreed with. The clock started ticking again, the atmosphere returned to normal. Bob and I left the office. Stan never had a clue. When I told him this story on the set of The Big Bang Theory, he jokingly said, “So? You’re still not a real comedy writer.” We both laughed. It was funny. But I’m still gonna sic Bob Smith on his wrinkled old ass.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #277
Belarus is a small, land-locked country next door to Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. According to Wikipedia, one of its major exports is cattle by-products. Which begs the question, what horrible shape are the cattle in, if all they’re good for is felt hats and wallpaper paste? But Belarus does have a bustling TV production industry. One of their most recent hits is a sitcom about four nerdy scientists who live next door to a beautiful blonde waitress. The characters are named Sheldon, Leo, Hovard, Raj and Natasha, and the show is entitled, The Theorists. Each episode begins with a rapid-fire montage of images which takes us from the dawn of time to the present moment. Keeping with that theme, the montage is scored with what is probably the worst piece of recorded pop music since the dawn of time. And finally, each episode appears to be a Russian translation of a Big Bang Theory episode. When we brought this to the attention of the Warner Brothers legal department, we were told that it’s next to impossible to sue for copyright infringement in Belarus because the TV production company that is ripping us off is owned and operated by the government of Belarus. Having no other recourse, I’m hoping that this vanity card will be read by the fine folks making The Theorists, and, wracked with guilt, they break down and send us some felt hats. The Kyrgyzstan version of Dharma & Greg already sent me some wallpaper paste.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #275
ASK CHUCK!
Dear Chuck,
At a recent dinner party, I found myself in an awkward situation when the host, a devout atheist, sneezed between spoonfuls of his gazpacho. Without thinking, I said, “God bless you.” He gave me a withering look and said, as if to a child, “Golly gee, I sure hope he does.” The other guests exploded with laughter, while I imploded with humiliation. To avoid future embarrassment, what is the correct response when an atheist sneezes?
Troubled with ahchoo
Dear Troubled,
First, a little background information. Saying “God bless you” following a sneeze is thought by some to have originated in the sixth century in order to protect the sneezer from falling ill to the bubonic plague. Another possible origin is that people once believed that the devil entered the body during a sneeze and saying “God bless you” could help ward him off. Since the plague has killed something like two hundred million people and the words “God bless you” have, in all likelihood, been said countless times to Glenn Beck, we can safely assume the phrase has no real power against germs or demonic possession. What it does contain is simple human courtesy — a means by which we express concern for one another. As to how to respond to a sneezing atheist, well, that’s easy. Simply say, “Sounds like you’re coming down with something, I hope you don’t die and rot in a box.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #274
I have coined a new word which I’m hoping will catch on. The word is “fuv.” Fuv came about due to my frustration with the phrase, “making love,” specifically its inability to capture the wonderfully lusty, grunting nature of the act. I was also unsatisfied with the mono-syllabic Anglo-Saxon word commonly used to describe intercourse. That word failed miserably at describing the deep spiritual and emotional bonding that can occur during sex. But now with my new word, couples engaged in that most intimate of human activities can look into one another’s eyes (assuming they’re facing one another) and whisper the simple, all-encapsulating phrase, “I fuv you.” And yes, they can do all that while listening to my new album of remakes of classic pop hits, including, “If Fuving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right,” “I Feel Like Making Fuv,” and the immortal, “Come Rain or Come Shine” featuring the lyric, “I’m gonna fuv you, like nobody’s fuved you.”

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #273
I am writing this vanity card from deep in the jungles of Borneo. The heat is oppressive. The mosquitos are relentless. And the natives…. the natives are hungry for meat. American meat. Specifically, ground chuck. What was I thinking coming here for my Xmas break? What insanity led me to this godforsaken hell?! Oh, how I wish I were back in Burbank. Oh, Burbank, Burbank, Burbank! Forgive me for not seeing your beauty when you thrust it in my face. But now that matters not. Or, that matters not now. Either way, my time is running short. Funny how your perspective changes when the end is near. Being overlooked by the Golden Globes, yet again, seems so unimportant to me now. The fact that one of the natives about to eat me is a freelance show biz reporter for the Kota Kinabalu Daily Bugle and a voting member of the Hollywood Foreign Press even provides me with some comfort. For as I close my eyes on this world I’ll at least know that while I may not be to everyone’s taste as television, if sauteed with butter and lemon, I will be to everyone’s taste as lunch.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #270
Jillian had a urinary tract infection… again.
That sentence appeared in my head a few days ago, just as you see it above. I have no idea what it means, other than the obvious, and I don’t know anyone named Jillian. Regardless, I thought it’d be interesting to begin a vanity card with it and just see where it goes.
Jillian had a urinary tract infection… again. Her doctor liked to abbreviate the condition to UTI. She liked to abbreviate it to TMH – Too Much Humping. Regardless, the road back to vaginal happiness was always the same: cranberry juice and abstinence. Thankfully, her boyfriend, Dudley, was always very understanding. He’d just smile, hold her in his arms and say, “Well, babe, when one door closes, another one opens up.” She’d always giggle and blush when he’d say that, but deep down she wished she had the courage to cover his mouth and nose with a chloroform-soaked rag, and then, while he was unconscious, snip off his testicles with the little scissors she uses to groom her schnauzer.
All of which explains why the next sentence popped into my head recently.
Nobody sang Bee Gees songs on karaoke night like Dudley.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #269
I have long believed that part of our problem with resolving race issues in America is our inability to accurately name what we are. Aside from the occasional Johnny and Edgar Winter, there are no white people. Any child with a box of crayons can tell you that white people are, in fact, beige. The sickly ones are gray. Following this crayon logic, one can easily see that there are really no black people. They are brown. Or perhaps raw umber. Or maybe burnt sienna. Frankly, every time I hear someone comment on America’s first black president, I can’t help thinking, “No, he’s not. He’s more like caramel.” Which is why I think we should all get in the habit of calling each other what we really are. How can you racially slur a man by calling him “beigey” or “umber?” The answer is you can’t. Because that’s exactly what he is. The melanin doesn’t lie. Buy a box of Crayolas and see for yourself. We are all members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Can I hear a kumbaya?

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #267
Last weekend I went on a movie date with a very nice lady. During the coming attractions I managed to get a piece of popcorn down the wrong pipe. I started coughing. People nearby glanced at me nervously. Then, as the movie was about to begin, I got a tickle in my nose and sneezed. Twice. The young couple sitting to my left immediately got up and moved across the aisle. The old lady directly in front of me leapt to her feet and literally vaulted over her husband in order to sit further away from me. For some reason, I was a little miffed. But then I realized the newfound power I had. I got up, crossed closer to the old lady and young couple and coughed again. They all glared at me and once again moved their seats. The game was on! Maneuvering like a knight on a chess board, I countered their move by moving two rows down and one seat over. I looked at them. I smiled. I coughed. They were stunned. How could this be happening? How had their simple movie outing turned into an Edgar Allan Poe short story? But it had! In a matter of minutes, they had become Prince Prospero and his noble cohorts, while I, I had become the Red Death! The old woman covered her mouth and nose with her hand and cried out, “Why are you doing this to us?!” I laughed and said, “Why? You want to know why? Because death, my dear woman, is the inevitable end for us all! And there is no hiding from it. Even at the AMC!” A horrible silence hung over the theater, no one moved, no one breathed. Then the movie started and we all settled down to enjoy the whacky, 3-D antics of Jim Carrey. Oh, and I’m hoping to go out with the nice lady again, but she has not returned my calls.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #111*
This is the official “I have nothing worth writing about” vanity card. It will run whenever I have nothing worth writing about. Don’t be surprised to see it quite a bit. From now on, when our schedule requires me to deliver a new card and I’m empty, I’ll simply say, “Run one-eleven.” A check of the one hundred and ten cards I’ve already written will quickly demonstrate that I should have written this card a long time ago. Why didn’t I? Vanity. I had become vain about my vanity cards. I was determined to write a new one each week because, well… I’m just that kind of guy. But I’m older and wiser now. I know when I have nothing to say. And that knowledge is freedom. Freedom from the constant need to win your approval. And more importantly, freedom from the obsessive and relentless need to end each vanity card on a joke. Glenn Beck is sober.*

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #263
ME: I believe that watching tonight’s show might constitute a spiritual experience.
YOU: That’s a pretty bold statement. How do you figure?
ME: Glad you asked. Since the concept of past and future is entirely man-made (ask any other living creature about past and future and all you’ll get is a dumb, non-comprehending stare), then it follows that if there is a god, a unifying spirit of the universe, be it “intelligent” or simply a pervasively unifying quantum particle sort of deal, then the present, “the constantly unfolding now,” is the only possible place it can exist. Which brings me to my bold assertion: If you laughed at any time during tonight’s show, you had to be paying attention. If you were paying attention it means you were, for that moment, in “the now” — the same place as the previously mentioned pervasive, unifying quantum particle we, as a species, enjoy worshipping and committing genocide over. Ergo, you had a spiritual experience.
YOU: Assuming you’re right, so what?
ME: So what?! This is huge! If a simple sitcom can lead to communion with the eternal, then I can make a case for my work having religious significance. Next step… The Church of Chuckology and a tax break! Ooh, maybe even a sleepy little burg in Florida I can call my own.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #262
As best as I can tell, life is intolerable. Oh, not always of course. A case can be made for all the big wonders and little blessings and blah, blah, blah. But when you really boil it down, our entire existence rests on a few really ugly premises. First, life, and by that I mean the big life, life with a capital L, must ingest other life in order for it to remain life. Or, put another way, in order to witness the miracle of creation, we must continually eat, and then poop out, a little bit of that miracle. Second, one of the charming side effects of sentient life is emotional pain. The fact that dead and fermenting plant life creates alcohol – a terrific anesthetic for emotional pain – might cause one to think that this is, by nature, a compassionate universe. Think again. Keep dulling that pain with booze and you wind up, if you’re lucky, in a church basement sharing your tears with complete strangers. If you’re not lucky, you wind up on a waiting list for a motorcyclist’s liver. And finally, there is the ever-present knowledge of death. In order to “more fully appreciate the gift of life,” we all get to ponder a violently sudden or slow and agonizingly painful descent into oblivion — after which our beloved bodies turn into the stuff of nightmares. Which brings me back to my original premise: life is intolerable. But rather than go gently into that creepy night, I’ve decided to start a petition to protest the fundamental conditions of existence. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start. And damnit, I’m just the guy to do it! The petition is available at chucklorre.com. Sign on now and make your voice heard before you’re dead and your vocal chords are being eaten by a swarm of disgusting bugs.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #260
FASHION TRENDS
Dead is the new unambiguous. Bipolar is the new undecided. Heavily armed is the new born again. Bald is the new head… and the new crotch. Hairy is the new face. Sheepishly admitting to having an STD is the new flirting. Purell is the new face of fear. Finding the time that’s right for you is the new impotence. The smiley-face emoticon is the new “sincerely yours.” Smoking is the new outdoorsy lifestyle. Looking forward to insanely expensive private schooling, thousand dollar a week nannies and soccer is the new yuppie birth control. Misinformed is the new patriotic. Veganism is the new “tastes like chicken.” Serotonin uptake inhibiting is the new crowd control. Texting is the new talking. Talking is the new singing. Singing is the new hubris. Gay marriage is the new “be careful what you wish for.” And finally, and only because I really need this to catch on, fifty-seven years old is the new forty-five.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #258
CARL THE ROOSTER
The day Carl was made henhouse rooster had to be the proudest day of his life. Oh, how he strutted and preened outside the little hut where all the chickens lived. From the corner of his eye he could see them nervously peeking out to see the new cock of the walk. You could hardly blame him for smiling so smugly. He knew that from that moment on, if a chicken wanted extra feed, well, she had to ask Carl. Same thing for pecking privileges in the yard. And of course, when it came time to lay eggs, the premium spots nearest the warming lamps were handed out by you-know-who. Yep, life was good for ol’ Carl. Up at dawn, a loud clearing of the throat, a largely ceremonial patrol of the perimeter, and then, an afternoon and evening of doling out favors to the chickens. And the best part about it was he never had to actually ask for anything in return. He would simply tell each chicken to decide for herself what, if anything, she should give him to ensure his continued friendship. But let me tell you, it’s no accident he named his rooster hut “Casa Quid Pro Quo.” Yep, Carl had it knocked. At least until he was forced out of his job by a class-action paternity suit that was entirely without merit and probably politically motivated by bitter, eggless chickens.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #252
The following is an excerpt from my keynote speech at the 2009 SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY WRITERS OF AMERICA NEBULA AWARDS.
When I was 12 years old, my teenage sister had a boyfriend whom my parents lovingly named “Cross-Eyed Larry.” In my official capacity as the “obnoxious little brother,” I took it upon myself to annoy and harass poor Larry at every opportunity. In fact, I specifically learned to cross my eyes so I could welcome him to our home with the appropriately juvenile comedic flair. (My mother constantly warned me that if I didn’t stop doing that my eyes would stay crossed. In hindsight it appears as if she was lying or, at best, misinformed.) Anyway, my speech tonight is a long overdue attempt to make amends for my childish pestering and cruelty towards this polite young man whose only discernible character flaw was a poorly-aimed libido (no way he was getting over on my sister). But even more than an amends, I needed to find some way to thank him. And here’s why: way back in 1964, Larry did something that would change my life forever. In order to get rid of me so he could stick his tongue down my sister’s throat, Larry gave me a dog-eared copy of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. His plan worked brilliantly. The book not only turned my prepubescent, Hardy Boys world upside down, it would begin my lifelong love affair with science fiction. Unfortunately, Cross-Eyed Larry was not so lucky. Ultimately rejected by my sister, he descended into a life of drugs and crime that ended tragically when he was murdered in Attica State Prison because another inmate thought he was looking at him funny.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #250
For months I’ve woken up to a mysterious, intermittent banging sound coming from somewhere in my home. I can’t tell you how many mornings I groggily walked around in my pajamas searching for its cause. Frustrated by my inability to locate the source of the banging, I falsely accused my ancient refrigerator and began seeking a replacement. But then I caught a break. Rising early one morning for reasons urinary, I stumbled across the real source of the strange noise — a small, yellow-breasted bird living in a tree next to the kitchen window. Periodically, he would fly to the window, furiously peck at it with his beak, then quickly retreat to a nearby branch. At first I assumed that the morning light caused him to see his reflection and, being of limited intelligence, or filled with self-loathing, attack it. But once again, my initial instinct proved to be wrong. After a long conversation with the bird, I learned that he was banging on the window because he had it in for my refrigerator. I have since apologized to the fridge, but it has been, not surprisingly, cool towards me.
Sorry, that really wasn’t worth the journey.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #249
More and more, it seems like people are yelling at me. This is especially noticeable on local and cable news, TV and radio ads, morning, afternoon and late night talk shows, religious channels, entertainment tabloid shows, and, NPR aside, radio. It’s almost as if all the news anchors, reporters, product pitchmen, talk show hosts, politicians, sportscasters, DJ’s and preachers have forgotten how good modern microphones are. Regardless, the purpose of vanity cards is not just to point out the problem, it’s also to propose the solution. And here’s one: The Whisper Channel. A cable news channel where everyone, including advertisers, speaks in gentle, dulcet tones. Our marketing tag line will be one word, “shhh.” Instead of grinning, shouting, overly-coiffed failed actors, our news anchors will be regular folks with beautiful speaking voices who, just to be on the safe side, have been heavily sedated. Think of it. You’ve had a brutal day at work. Traffic on the way home was a righteous bitch. You crawl into your home which is worth far less than you paid for it, and, because you want to stay informed, you turn on The Whisper Channel where a pleasant-looking woman with real hair, real nose, real wrinkles, real breasts and teeth the color of teeth, soothingly tells you about the latest terrorist attack, stock market fiasco, school shooting and, just to keep it interesting, emergency recall of the anti-anxiety meds you’ve been taking because they might cause impotence, blindness and insanity. But because of the way she says it, you are hunky dory. ALTERNATE MARKETING TAG LINE:
the whisper channel…
where human civilization sliding into the abyss
is nothing to shout about.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #248
I believe that Newton’s first law of motion is the reason we will emerge from our current economic woes. That law states that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. How does that relate to the financial #$%*storm we’re now cowering under? Allow me to explain. There are slightly less than seven billion people on this planet. Assuming that roughly half that number are either too young, too old, too lazy, or too loaded to work, that still leaves almost three and a half billion people getting up in the morning to chase the almighty dollar, the transcendent rupee, the zen yen,the dear ol’ euro, the what’s goin’ on yuan, the… well, you get the idea. Now, call me crazy (and many have called me far worse), but I happen to think that three and a half billion motivated people is one big damn object in motion. And the only thing acting against that object is the friction caused by a small bunch of greedy, dumbass, screw-the-pooch, Ivy League pot stickers (the unbalanced force). I therefore assert that the unbalanced force (you know who you are, shame on you), will eventually be overwhelmed by the object in motion (three and a half billion people with pluck, aka pluckers), thus allowing the object in motion to continue its relentless journey forward, thriving and conniving until it is once again slowed down by other unbalanced forces, or a very large meteorite. Or a plague. Or fundamentalists with nukes. Or atmosphere-eating nanobots. Or a super volcano. Or Skynet. Or Cylons.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #247
The quantum physics joke Penny tells the guys in tonight’s episode was told to us by Nobel award-winning physicist, Dr. George Smoot. Penny tells it in about twenty seconds. Dr. Smoot’s version probably took about three minutes, although it felt a lot longer. No one had the heart to tell him to get to the punch line, proving my hypothesis that in addition to time slowing down as you accelerate, it also grinds to a halt when you’re being courteous to a genius.
Thanks for the joke, Doc!

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #245
More of “Not Funny Then”
I decide getting on staff at Roseanne would be a great opportunity for me, even though every writer who had ever worked on the show had been fired. Four weeks into the job I deliver my first script and I’m almost fired.
Not funny then, funny now.
I create Grace Under Fire, realize what I’m in for and try to quit after pilot is picked up to series. I try to quit again during Christmas. A few weeks later the Northridge earthquake hits. During a large aftershock I drop to my knees and pray for the sound stage to collapse and kill me.
Not funny then, funny now.
I think developing a new series starring Cybill Shepherd is a swell idea. The show is an instant hit. Cybill wants me to fire Lee Aronsohn because he’s a misogynist. She’s not wrong, but I jokingly tell her, “Why do you care? You’re not a woman.” She fires us both. I get the call not to come back to work on Yom Kippur from a Carsey-Werner exec named Dirk Van De Bunt.
Not funny then, still not funny.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #243
Trying to get a break as a song writer I find out where Harry Nilsson lives and bring him a box of reel-to-reel tapes of my original songs. He threatens to kill me if I ever come to his house again.
Not funny then, funny now.
While working at Marvel Animation I’m told I don’t have what it takes to write for the Muppet Babies. Sadly, it’s true.
Not funny then, funny now.
Write French Kissin’ in the USA which is covered by Debbie Harry and released as the first single for her debut solo album. It effectively ends her solo career.
Not funny then, funny now.
Co-write theme song for new animated series called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The show is a massive international success. The music publisher tells my partner and I that we will not be paid music royalties for the millions of video games and video cassettes being sold. The reason we are given is that they’d rather not pay us.
Not funny then, still not funny.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #242
A NOTE TO MY COLLEAGUES
After writing and producing TV for twenty years, I have developed a survival mechanism I like to call “show biz peripheral vision.” What this means is that I can set my attention on the work at hand and still be able to see what’s going on around me. The huddled confabs, the whispered asides, the sideways glances, the roll of the eyes, the smirks of disdain, the sulking pouts, the exhalations of disgust, the looks of admiration (few and far between), and the endless variations of body language that reveal impatience, rejection, jealousy, and simple disbelief that I’m in charge and you’re not. I see it all. And I don’t comment. I just make note of it. Occasionally I will respond in a roundabout fashion that might make you think I’m clairvoyant. I am not. I am simply watching. Just thought you might like to know.
Carry on.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #240
A wise man once told me that we are all God in drag. I like that. Sometimes when I’m in a public place or sitting at a stop light, I’ll watch people walking by and I’ll silently say to myself, “He’s God. She’s God. He’s God. She’s God.” Before long I always find myself feeling a warm sense of affinity for these strangers. The experience is even more powerful when I do this while observing a person who is clearly suffering. On occasion I’ll test my little spiritual practice by turning on Fox News. Within minutes I become an atheist.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #239
TO DO LIST
Live to see a highly educated, deeply thoughtful, articulate, cool, biracial President who is not overly crippled by childhood wounds and capable, in no particular order, of freeing the nation of its oil dependence, restoring its international standing, creating universal health care, resurrecting the economy, ending two wars, rebuilding the public education system, finally bringing about an end to the mindlessness of racism, encouraging science and technology, firmly addressing environmental issues and global warming, and uniting the nation – and the world – in a giant cultural, tipping point leap forward.
Meet super-intelligent aliens who disarm the entire planet, cure every disease and take us all for rides across the galaxy.
Play a round of par golf.
Trade solos with Eric Clapton.
Win an Emmy.
Get married, stay married.
One down, five to go.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #237
There’s a funny moment in tonight’s episode where Sheldon gets stuck on a rock-climbing wall and remarks, “What part of an inverse tangent function approaching an asymptote don’t you understand?” I thought it’d be helpful to take a moment and examine that joke. A linear asymptote is essentially a straight line to which a graphed curve moves closer and closer but does not reach. In other words, given a function y=fn(x) with asymptote A, A represents a number that, no matter how big (or, given the function, small) you make x, y will never make it to A. The particular example Sheldon quotes is the inverse Tangent function, or Arctangent, which has two asymptotes. If you graph it, it sort of looks like a horizontal S:
No matter how big you make x (that is, how far you move to the right), the function is never going to hit that top line (π/2), and no matter how small x gets (moving to the left), y is never going to be smaller than – π/2.
The more you know, the funnier it gets.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #235
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (spoiler alert)
It’s that time of the year when movie studios seeking Oscar nominations for their films start asking for my consideration. Every trade ad and mailing begins with the words, “For your consideration.” It’s kind of a Hollywood tradition. Anyway, this is what I’ve considered so far: Milk (a well-meaning gay guy is shot to death by a homophobe), Doubt (A really mean nun accuses a really terrific priest of being a pedophile), Revolutionary Road (a married couple fight a lot, cheat on each other, then the wife bleeds to death following a botched abortion), Slumdog Millionaire (incredibly poor kids subjected to unthinkable evil, but with a happy ending), Defiance (starving Jews fight Nazis in the woods), The Wrestler (a broken-down, over-the-hill wrestler on steroids has a tough life), Changeling (a woman’s son is abducted and the police put her in an insane asylum), Gran Torino (a dying widower commits suicide to help his neighbor), Benjamin Button (a guy grows old in reverse and then dies), Rachel Getting Married (a drug addict kills her baby brother and then pisses off her family during a wedding), and The Reader (Nazi atrocities, under-age sex and illiteracy prove to be a lethal combo). So, what am I considering? Well, for a moment or two I actually considered hanging myself. But then I thought, if I do that, the movies win.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #233
Recently the magazine Entertainment Weekly had an article entitled the “The 25 Smartest People in Television.” Yours truly was ranked at number twenty. If the article is to be taken seriously, and God knows, why wouldn’t any sensible person take it seriously, that means there are currently nineteen people in the TV biz who are smarter than me. Now I’m just thinking out loud here, but if something were to happen to those nineteen people… if say, they were to, one by one, have horrible accidents, or mysteriously disappear, then that would make me, ipso facto, the number one smartest person in television. Then I’d just have to keep an eye on number twenty-one. Christina Wayne, Senior VP of original programming at AMC, looks like the kind of woman who would stop at nothing to move up a spot.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #231
I believe that inherent within the God-given right to the pursuit of happiness, is the equally God-given right to the pursuit of unhappiness. That is why I support gay marriage.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #229
NOVEMBER 16, 2008
As I sit by my window and watch the leaves on the trees turn from green to brown, and from brown to fire, I can’t help but reflect on the two seasons of Southern California. Inferno and flood. Soon the stinging smoke, raging wildfires and inevitable pyromaniacs will give way to months and months of biblical rain. And with that rain will come the memories… a home perched on a hilltop becoming garbage nestled in a valley, an idiot falling into the L.A. River and trying unsuccessfully to crawl up its cement banks, another genius being lifted off the roof of his car by a helicopter in Encino, the cliffs above Pacific Coast Highway collapsing yet again and causing Malibu residents so much inconvenience, Bob Myer reassuring me that writing the second act of a Roseanne episode at two in the morning is more in my self-interest than trying to drive home and move my stuff to the second floor (but more likely becoming one of the knuckleheads standing on the roof of his car praying for a chopper). But I, as is my nature, whataya gonna do, I yam what I yam, digress. Eventually the rains will stop, the underbrush will grow, the drought will come, the drought will linger — maybe for years, until the mountains and hillsides once again explode with “Live At Five”, “Film at Eleven” hellfire, and thus continue the cycle of seasons of Southern California… if you don’t count earthquakes and riots. And strikes. And award season. No insurance policy protects against the damage done by award season. Oops, I digressed again.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #227
Dear George Lucas,
May I call you Mr. Lucas? On behalf of the writers of The Big Bang Theory, I would like to thank you for your astounding body of work, which has awakened the child within us and unleashed our dreams. That being said, we hope you don’t take offense at our good-natured jest regarding your most recent animated efforts. Yes they were cheap shots, but we can’t help but hold you to a higher standard — a standard of your own making. In closing, we are all looking forward to Indiana Jones 5 – The Curse of the Golden Catheter. Oops, sorry again.
Very truly yours,
The Writers
P.S. To William Shatner, director of Star Trek 5. Go ahead, sue us.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #225
We exist to bear witness.
We had to be.
The infinite needs us to see it.
Without the perceiver,
the perceived does not exist.
That gives us leverage.
Don’t look until you get what you want.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #223
CENSORED
Once again, my efforts at comedy
have been rebuked by the powers
that be. As always, you know
where to look.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #221
We have once again arrived at a moment in history where the truth can be defined as “that which you can make other people believe.” The methodology for creating that belief is repetition. Say something enough times and it becomes, for millions of people, the truth. I am endowed like a stallion. This is why control of the media equals control of the populace. I am endowed like a stallion. And also why a state run television news channel is so very dangerous. I am endowed like a stallion. Now there are those who would argue this has already happened and that a certain cable news channel is actually a covert extension of our government. I am endowed like a stallion. The fact that the channel is run by a high-ranking party official, an anchor person from the channel became a White House spokesman, and another top-ranking party official became an on-air news commentator is often used to make this argument. I am endowed like a stallion. Of course, this fact would be entirely inconsequential if the oft-repeated falsehoods they attempt to imbed into the Zeitgeist were simply amusing, or at worst, inane. I am endowed like a stallion. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. I am endowed like a stallion. The heavy repetition of lies and smears for political gain are by no means inconsequential. I am endowed like a stallion. Which is why each and every one of us must use whatever resources we have at our disposal to disseminate the actual truth. I am endowed like a pony.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #220
Friday morning, October 10, 2008
Watching the market fall as precipitously as the hopes and dreams of NBC and ABC executives, I can’t help but think that there are two bets I can make right now. One is on the simple inertia of a world economy created by hundreds of millions of people creating and servicing stuff that other people need and want. The other bet is on canned goods and guns. Since I’ve never actually fired a weapon and I’m not sure where my can opener is, I’ve decided to go with bet number one. If I’m wrong and the market continues to descend like a drug-addled hooker with vertigo, it’s reasonable to assume that any new world order created by the complete collapse of the free market system will have little use for a comedy writer. For that reason I think it only prudent to hedge my bet. This weekend I plan on learning a few new survival skills, beginning with foraging for berries and hiding from people whose skill set includes shooting wildlife from helicopters.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #219
On a recent trip to Las Vegas I watched a grim, beer-bellied man row a gondola filled with tourists through the “canals of Venice.” This was his job. At some point he had to have filled out an application and undergone an interview process to determine if he had the necessary skills to be a pretend gondolier eight hours a day, five days a week. As he glided past me I found myself imagining him walking into his house at the end of a long day, tossing his keys into the cheap ceramic bowl by the front door and sadly calling out to his wife, “I’m home.” To which she would cheerfully respond, “How was work today, sweetie?” But instead of saying “fine,” which was how he answered that question every other day, he paused and considered the days’ events, and all the events that had led him to this point in his life. Then he crossed to the hall closet, took down a shoe box from the hat shelf, removed a small caliber pistol that he’d bought for home protection, and immediately blew his brains out all over the badly framed photograph of him rowing Barry Manilow. Waking from my brief reverie, I found myself suddenly filled with compassion and respect for this stranger of the inland sea. Compassion for his quiet desperation. And respect that he chose not to take his cheerful wife with him.
I don’t know about you, but Vegas always does this to me.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #217
CENSORED
Tonight’s vanity card is about censorship. It was censored.
As always, you know where to look.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #212
I believe that the voices of fear, both from without and within, can only be dispelled by trusting the voice that comes from the heart. Be still and listen to it. If it speaks of love and compassion for others, for the world itself, it just might be the voice of God — or a reasonable facsimile. If, however, it snarls with fear of the unknown, fear of losing what you have or of not getting what you want, then it just might be the voice of Rupert Murdoch — or a reasonable facsimile.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #210
I believe that in order to walk through grief, fear, loneliness, despair, confusion and anger without recourse to drugs, alcohol, over-eating, over-sexing, or the endless mind-numbing distractions provided by Western culture, one must become a spiritual warrior. I further believe that the pay-off for enduring suffering, for soberly embracing the inevitable bouts of emotional pain that life brings, is wisdom and serenity in the face of calamity. But make no mistake here, the path of the warrior is treacherous and cannot be walked alone. To survive, he must have brothers and sisters-in-arms to carry him when he buckles. When we lived and died in small tribes, this principle of mutually supporting one another through the trials of life was deeply woven into the fabric of the group mind. With the advent of towns and cities we were forced to live with the daily dilemma of being desperately alone and yet desperately needing one another. Which is why we are, by design, always seeking new tribes. With that in mind, I humbly offer a simple guideline to evaluate the efficacy of any tribe you might encounter on your path to becoming a spiritual warrior: if they ask for your money or access to your crotch, run away. If they ask for your money, smile unceasingly, never blink, and guarantee to make you a demi-god, running away will not suffice. Change your mailing address and briefly reconsider drugs, alcohol, food, sex and TV.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #210
I believe that in order to walk through grief, fear, loneliness, despair, confusion and anger without recourse to drugs, alcohol, over-eating, over-sexing, or the endless mind-numbing distractions provided by Western culture, one must become a spiritual warrior. I further believe that the pay-off for enduring suffering, for soberly embracing the inevitable bouts of emotional pain that life brings, is wisdom and serenity in the face of calamity. But make no mistake here, the path of the warrior is treacherous and cannot be walked alone. To survive, he must have brothers and sisters-in-arms to carry him when he buckles. When we lived and died in small tribes, this principle of mutually supporting one another through the trials of life was deeply woven into the fabric of the group mind. With the advent of towns and cities we were forced to live with the daily dilemma of being desperately alone and yet desperately needing one another. Which is why we are, by design, always seeking new tribes. With that in mind, I humbly offer a simple guideline to evaluate the efficacy of any tribe you might encounter on your path to becoming a spiritual warrior: if they ask for your money or access to your crotch, run away. If they ask for your money, smile unceasingly, never blink, and guarantee to make you a demi-god, running away will not suffice. Change your mailing address and briefly reconsider drugs, alcohol, food, sex and TV.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #206
I think we can all agree that the cliche, “no pain, no gain,” is a fundamental truth. When we experience physical pain in the gym, we gain muscles and stamina. When we endure hardship and sacrifice in order to succeed, we gain a feeling of satisfaction and achievement, not to mention financial rewards. When we truly embrace emotional pain, we gain compassion for the suffering of others, an appreciation for the fleeting nature of things, as well as wisdom and spiritual humility. Every act of birth is an act of pain. Our very lives are sustained by the suffering and death of plants and animals, who in turn are sustained by other organisms having a very bad day. That being said, I think we can also agree that this system sucks and needs to be seriously re-jiggered. Now I’m not saying I have a better approach than this pain/gain thing that’s been in place for millions of years — but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t start tossing around some ideas. For instance, why couldn’t an infrastructure for life be developed around the theme, “no dream, no gain?” Sounds like heaven, right? Or is dreaming too easy? Would life quickly become complacent and cease to gain? But then, is gain really that critical? Or is gain the whole point? Is the fact that life exists at all proof that God or the universe hates complacency? It certainly explains why aboriginal people are constantly being murdered for the sake of “progress.” It even explains why HBO went down the toilet.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #202
Tonight’s story about Sheldon’s ego being crushed following his encounter with a young prodigy has its roots in my own life. Around 1974 I was playing guitar for a living in Miami Beach. I was twenty-two years old and thought I was really something. In the parlance of musicians, I felt I had some “serious chops.” Nights I played clubs, hotels, and private parties. For a few months I worked in a lounge band on a cruise ship. I even landed a day gig playing acoustic solo stuff at a coffee house in South Beach. That was where a professor from the University of Miami saw me play, dug what I was doing, and invited me to audit his jazz guitar class at the university. I happily accepted, thinking I might be able to teach the kids a thing or two. I still remember the first class, me sitting in the back proudly holding my beat-up ’64 Fender Strat, while the college students all cradled expensive Gibsons. Of course, this only made me feel more smug. I was a working musician. These were rich kids in a rich school with instruments that daddy bought ’em. But then something happened that would change my life forever. A painfully shy, sixteen year old boy walked into the room. He could barely speak nor make eye contact with anyone, seemed dwarfed by his big jazz guitar, and was ludicrously introduced as a visiting professor to the university. His name was Pat Metheny. I’ll never forget how I felt when he began to play. It was an imploding feeling, like the kind you get when your ego is being demolished like an old Vegas casino. Thankfully, the feeling was accompanied by a soft, reassuring voice in my head that whispered, “Find work in television, nobody’s a prodigy there.” Thirteen years later I listened to that voice (I may have been deluded, but I was no quitter). Oh, and Pat, if you happen to read this… thank you.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #200
Two hundred vanity cards. I have now amassed a body of work that can safely be called “pointlessly unique.” In the history of literary efforts, there has never been a literary effort quite like this one. Okay, literary might be pushing it, but I don’t think I’m engaging in hyperbole when I say that it’s highly unlikely my achievement will ever be duplicated, let alone surpassed. Why? Well, most show creators who are awarded the hallowed, second-and-a-half, end-of-episode “hey everybody, look at me!” card, have better things to do. Those that have no life (a goodly number), are simply not compelled to vomit up weekly offerings of painfully personal, petty, mock-metaphysical, self-congratulatory, rage-filled, and regretfully sarcastic essays that occasionally haunt them forever. Sure, non-showrunners can write a weekly essay of no particular value. But for it to be considered a true vanity card, it must be attached to the ass end of a television show. And let’s keep in mind I’ve made a lot more shows than vanity cards. There were many weeks on Dharma & Greg and Two and a Half Men when I was too wasted (mostly in the literary sense) to write something coherent. Anyway, I wanted to use this momentous card to celebrate my accomplishment because, well… no one else was jumping up to do it. Two hundred cards! Boy, oh boy, that is really something… Oh God, I’m so lonely.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #198
Censored!
Well, wouldn’t ya’ know it. Just two episodes back from the strike and I’ve already managed to write a vanity card that is completely unacceptable to the good folks at CBS. I wasn’t trying to offend. Honest. I just saw an opportunity to poke some proverbial fun, to knosh on the hand that feeds, if you will. They were not amused. If you would like to read my latest exercise in poor judgement, I’m sure you can find it somewhere on that thing we writers were striking to claim dominion over. Just to be on the safe side, I apologize in advance. Please know that my aim was only to provoke a bit of gaiety through the judicious use of a little thing I like to call “the truth.” Unfortunately, in the television business, the truth rarely sets anyone free. More often than not, it just pisses them off.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #196
my soul’s journey
To let go of the fear and anger which imprisons my heart,
To relinquish all childish expectations and live joyfully in the world as it is —
not as I wish or imagine it to be,
To be free of the always craven and ever-craving ego,
To be released from the endless hungers of the body,
To see God in others,
To see God in everything,
To die without death and merge my consciousness into the
cosmic sea of bliss from which I came,
To crank out two sitcoms a week that can compete
with a deaf chick dancing her ass off…
This is my soul’s journey.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #193
Show of hands, during the climactic, face-scrunching moment of the sex act, how many of you out there sometimes find yourself thinking, “Gee, I must look pretty silly right about now”? C’mon, be honest… Okay, I understand. This is a little too intimate for a public conversation. How about if we do it this way: If you’re alone right now, just nod. If you’re reading this with your sexual partner, simply look at them, smile sheepishly, then, when they smile back, suddenly twist your face into your freakiest orgasm position. If they laugh, know you’re in good company. Give them a hug, hit the play button on your DVR and watch Two and a Half Men. If they don’t laugh, hit the play button on your DVR, watch Two and a Half Men, then go out and find a new partner.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #191
I’m writing this vanity card at six o’clock in the morning on October 18, 2007. It’s my birthday. I am fifty-five years old. I have long ago become invisible to young women. They actually do not see me. But I am not writing this to complain. I am at peace with my circumstances. The blessing of fifty-five is a libido in decline. The curse of it is that major pharmaceutical companies are successfully exploiting my insecurities. Suddenly that surreal commercial of a silver-haired guy sitting naked in an outdoor bath tub and holding hands with a naked, slightly younger woman in an adjacent tub makes perfect sense (if I had produced that spot I would’ve have given him a small plasma screen TV so he could watch ESPN during his hang time). I’m also mesmerized by the commercial featuring middle-aged men gleefully celebrating their ability to drink water and drive long distances (I particularly enjoy that the slightly younger women in that one are turned on knowing that their geezers don’t have to urinate frequently). Anyway, it’s my birthday today. If you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go suck on my bronchitis inhaler so that later today I can blow out the candles without hacking up a lung.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #187
Awright, shut up, siddown and listen. I am da immortal spirit Sheldon Leonard and for da last few years I’ve been using da body of Chuck Lorre to channel my ideas for new sitcoms. For da record, he’s a stinkin’ lousy channel and my ideas are much better than what he’s puttin’ on television. Dis is why I am breaking my anonymity. No matter how specifical I tell da kid what to write, he still manages to cock it up. Dharma & Greg? What da hell was dat? I specifically said “do a show about a queer guy who loves a straight chick, and she loves him back, but they can’t, you know, bump uglies.” But does Lorre listen? No way Jose. The putz turns it inside out, winds up with hippie chick loves uptight lawyer and then wonders why he can’t buy an Emmy. (I did find a writing team to act as a channel for dat pitch, which worked out pretty good, Emmy and cash-wise.) Anyway, back to Lorre. Couple years later while he’s sleepin’, I whisper to him, “Two brudders inherit a midget.” Funny, right? What’s Lorre do? You got it. Two and a Half Men. Gimme a break! Anyway, I decide to give the mook one last chance. While he’s under da gas at the dentist, I tell him to do a show about four wise guys and a sexy dame what knows da score. So what does da knucklehead do? Scientists and a waitress! It just breaks my heart. But at least the dope managed to slip my name in dis one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta schlep over to Milton Berle’s crypt for a little pinochle with the boys.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #187
Awright, shut up, siddown and listen. I am da immortal spirit Sheldon Leonard and for da last few years I’ve been using da body of Chuck Lorre to channel my ideas for new sitcoms. For da record, he’s a stinkin’ lousy channel and my ideas are much better than what he’s puttin’ on television. Dis is why I am breaking my anonymity. No matter how specifical I tell da kid what to write, he still manages to cock it up. Dharma & Greg? What da hell was dat? I specifically said “do a show about a queer guy who loves a straight chick, and she loves him back, but they can’t, you know, bump uglies.” But does Lorre listen? No way Jose. The putz turns it inside out, winds up with hippie chick loves uptight lawyer and then wonders why he can’t buy an Emmy. (I did find a writing team to act as a channel for dat pitch, which worked out pretty good, Emmy and cash-wise.) Anyway, back to Lorre. Couple years later while he’s sleepin’, I whisper to him, “Two brudders inherit a midget.” Funny, right? What’s Lorre do? You got it. Two and a Half Men. Gimme a break! Anyway, I decide to give the mook one last chance. While he’s under da gas at the dentist, I tell him to do a show about four wise guys and a sexy dame what knows da score. So what does da knucklehead do? Scientists and a waitress! It just breaks my heart. But at least the dope managed to slip my name in dis one. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta schlep over to Milton Berle’s crypt for a little pinochle with the boys.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #186
ZEN NOIR
The hardest journey is the one which leads to the truth. I didn’t know that when I began my little midnight ramble. If I had, I probably would’ve stayed home, drank myself stupid and watched Ferguson until the big nod closed my book for the day. But there I was, standing outside her house, looking up at her bedroom window while a cold rain whipped me in the face like I’d somehow pissed it off. I could see her kissing him. I could see her as she slowly descended beneath the window frame. I could see him too. He just stood there smiling, like the canary who got eaten by the cat. But then a funny thing happened while I was dancing the voyeuristic bebop in my terribly trendy, bright-green plastic shoes. I found myself thinking that the aching loneliness I was feeling had its roots in something much deeper than being eighty-sixed to a one bedroom efficiency in the marina by a dame who digs deep into the degrading bang-bang in order to make up for an emotionally distant father. No, this was the pain of existential separateness. The false sense that one is fundamentally apart from people, things, life, the whole damn universe. In a blinding flash I realized that what I was really experiencing was the result of a life-long indoctrination by a culture which elevates individualism above all else, thus causing a soul-crushing sense of aloneness which demands over and under the counter medication, the constant distraction of sporting events, TV, major motion pictures and a pop-tabloid religion based on celebrity worship/crucifixion. Of course this epiphany did not deter me from pulling the roscoe out of my fanny pack and going into the house to TC of B. As I crossed up the stairs I could feel my wet tube socks squishing through the little round holes of my polyurethane crocs.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #184
Don’t fall for a woman who has had sex with one of your rock n’roll heroes. No matter how emotionally evolved you think you are, you will never enjoy listening to Eric Clapton again.
Don’t lurk around web sites where people comment about your work unless you’re drunk.
Don’t use emoticons. You’re too old to communicate like a twelve-year old girl.
Don’t forget that you are the product of a culture that went stark raving mad about ten thousand years ago. Adjust your thinking accordingly.
Don’t answer TV critics questions about the state of TV comedy. It’s a trap.
Don’t eat anything bigger than your head. True in the sixties, true today.
Don’t believe that crap that you’re as young as you feel. Your feelings lie.
Don’t hug men while shaking their hand. Enough already with that. The shake/hug (shug?) is probably something Roman guys did when their empire was in decline.

CHUCK LORRE PRODUCTIONS, #182
Back when I was writing and producing Dharma and Greg, the only way to read my cards was to record each episode on a VCR and hit the “pause” button. This was not an easy task. The image wobbled like crazy making the tiny words of my weekly tomes very hard to see. Then it hit me. What about building a device that records video images digitally? Wouldn’t this allow for a much more precise “pause” function? I took my little notion to an impoverished computer whiz by the name of Schlomo Tivowitz. At the time of our meeting Schlomo was feverishly trying to invent an improved version of the George Foreman Grill. Schlomo’s grill would contain a hard drive that remembered all the details of your last barbecue, as well as an address book. I didn’t really see the point of it, but, not being a tech guy, I held my tongue and presented him with my idea. I will never forget his reaction. With hamburger-flecked spittle flying from his blubbery lips, he laughed, called me some very unkind names and demanded that I leave his mother’s basement immediately. My hopes dashed, I went back to work on Dharma and forgot about my silly idea. Well, I’m sure you can figure out what happened next. The fact that you’re reading this card right now should tell you. Thankfully, it’s not in my nature to be bitter. But there are times when I feel a little used — usually when I’ve forgotten how to effectively grill a fatty piece of chicken.

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