What happens when you take a French film, get Andy Borowitz to adapt a contemporary American screenplay for it, have Jay Roach direct it, and cast Paul Rudd and Steve Carell as the leads, with Rudd playing that "Paul Rudd" character and Carell playing that shades of "Michael Scott" character? It's called Dinner for Schmucks, and it hits a cinema near you this July.
The plot is pretty straightforward, if you read the title and know what a schmuck is. Do you know what a schmuck is? Do Zach Galifianakis and Jeff Dunham both count equally as schmucks? This trailer also features Kristen Schaal, Andrea Savage, Larry Wilmore and Ron Livingston. That should be more than a satisfactory amount of information before you watch the darned clip. So watch the darned clip!
Though his comedy career spans over a quarter-century as an actor, writer and producer, and he's got a Peabody Award on his mantle (or wherever he keeps it), Larry Wilmore is recognized in the literal sense most by people for his recent work as a correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Perhaps Wilmore's new book, I'd Rather We Got Casinos (and Other Black Thoughts), will jog people's memories a bit. Or at least get them laughing. I had the chance to speak to him over the telephone this weekend, just before he headed out on his book tour.
You started out in stand-up comdedy and have been a writer and a performer. Do you have a preference? "I was writing out of necessity. I was a writer, but I never viewed myself as a writer. It's funny. I actually prefer being viewed as a writer now. Because as a writer, I get to complain about things. Writers like to complain."
You've explained already that the title of the book comes from a quote you delivered to Jon Stewart during a Daily Show segment. But what was the first "black thought" you had that inspired the rest of the thoughts in the book?
"How can a brother get paid during the writers strike? It was really that pragmatic. I should probably do a book because there's going to be a writers strike. And then I came up with the line…I'd rather we got casinos," he said. "That's how I work a lot. I think of the title and it will give me the impetus to write something. I used to write a lot of sketch. And coming up with a good title would get you thinking and would really drive the writing."
He first thought he'd play off of the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. "And then I thought I'd do a parody of hope," Wilmore said. But he would dismiss that. "It just seemed too one note to me. I thought if I were reading that, I'd be bored by the end of the first chapter."
"It's like writing a lot of different sketches. But I almost called it 'Give us the Superdome.' But that was only after I started. I don't know what this book is, but it's a great effing title."
Have you given any thought to a joint book tour with the guys from Stuff White People Like? (Their book tour ends Feb. 10, coincidentally) Wilmore asks me who they are, and I explain that like him, they came up with a title first, then a blog, then converted it into a book mocking things that, well, white people like.
"Like polka. You'd never see polka at the top of a brother's list," Wilmore said.