Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy: Mike Sacks – Respects Nabokov As A Fellow Comedy Writer

Mike Sacks is a comedy writer of the first order. Seriously. Read More

By / June 7, 2011

Mike Sacks is a comedy writer of the first order. Currently an editor for Vanity Fair, Mike’s absurdist short pieces have been featured in Esquire, The New Yorker, GQ, Vice, McSweeney’s and more. His first book, And Here’s The Kicker: Conversations with 21 Humor Writers About Their Craft is a must-read for any aspiring silly person, and last summer, Mike and a few esteemed colleagues – Todd Levin, Scott Jacobson, Jason Roeder and Ted Travelstead – published Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk, a veritable bible for those interested in hanky panky. And most recently, Mike had a collection of his work published in a book called Your Wildest Dreams, Within Reason (Tin House), which includes stories that have literally woke me up laughing.

I got the chance to ask Mike some first-rate questions and he answered them all. In English, no less.

What writers did you admire growing up and who are your favorite contemporary comedy writers?

Growing Up: National Lampoon’s Doug Kenney and Michael O’Donoghue; Al Jaffee of MAD; Stephen Leacock; Stephen King; Richard Matheson; Robert Bloch; David Sedaris; Mark Leyner; Woody Allen; Vladimir Nabokov; Richard Yates; Jerzy Kosinski; Dennis Potter; George Carlin; Merrill Markoe; Chris Elliott; Jean Shepherd; the Onion; Gary Larson; Steve Martin; Daniel Clowes.

Now: Still all of the above. As for particular favorites, I love David Sedaris. He’s brilliant. Also, I’m on sort of a Patricia Highsmith jag now, although I guess that really isn’t comedy, per se, what with the killings, beheadings and suicides and all. Maybe it is. Who knows.

Are you right or left handed? Why?

I’m neither. I learned from a very young age to draw with my feet. Never did learn to type with them, however.

What’s the last DVD you watched?

The American version of “Let Me In.” I really enjoyed it, but still don’t fully understand what the vampire sub-plot was all about.

Who’s the smartest person you’ve ever interviewed? Smelliest?

Smartest: The guy who invented the cheese-in-the-crust pizza.
Smelliest: The guy who lives in my attic. Nice guy.

Do you wish you had a different name? If so, what? If not, are you sure?

Always wanted to have the name of “Dr. Pump.” Parents didn’t think it sounded Jewish enough.

Have you read your own book? Do you like it?

No, just don’t have the time to read anymore. Mostly just watch TV and microwave hot-pockets. Heard it’s good, though.

What are your 5 favorite websites?

What web domain name do you wish you owned?

What size fitted hat are you?

Ever see the Darby O’Gill movie about the leprechaun who wears a shamrock-encrusted fedora? That size.

Favorite comedy TV show on right now?

Well, I like all the usual suspects, such as “Parks and Rec,” “30 Rock,” and “Modern Family.” Love Letterman, but I have to say that the following bit on Jimmy Fallon made me laugh harder than anything I’ve seen in the past few months:

Are your parents writers and/or comedians? What did they want you to be?

No, neither of my parents ever wrote comedy, but they’re funny. For some reason, and I don’t know why, they always wanted me to work as a social director on a cruise. It just fit my winning, vivacious personality. I love to mingle with strangers in bathing suits, too—especially the above-55 crowd.

How has your sex life changed since publishing your sex book?

Hasn’t changed much, truthfully. Still sleeping with the above-55 crowd.

How much cash do you have on you right now?

I got a stack of ones that are thicker than a Big Mac. Do you understand what I’m saying? I’m saying that I’m very, very rich. Now (apropos of nothing) here is a clip from one of my favorite Jewish-themed movies, A Stranger Among Us.

Everybody. Dance. NOW!