February 22, 2011
New Ed Anger: not as good as I was, but not bad either
How that came about was pretty odd. I was glad to see the defunct tabloid resurrected online, and said so. The nice lady editor thanked me, we emailed back and forth — with me telling her that when I was in horrible chronic pain years earlier, the Weekly World News was one of the only things that could make me laugh out loud.
After a few more emails, she asked me if I wanted to write the soon to be revived “Ed Anger” column. Of course, I said yes. The money was crap, and I already had a big work load, but the thrill was too good to pass up.
A few months in, the big guy in charge and that same editor called me to talk about taking Ed “to the next level.” They wanted to put together a dedicated site called EdAnger360, set up a Twitter account, put out a book of collected columns and try — somehow — to get “Ed Anger” on shows like Red Eye.
I never thought that would really happen, given the sheer logistics of getting a 60-something male actor to somehow “do” Ed while I wrote the material, or something.
The thing about being 45 and not 25 is that (ideally) you don’t take other people’s big plans for you too seriously.
In “show biz” (for lack of a better term), there are 100,000 ideas pitched for every singular success. It doesn’t matter who you are, and I was a nobody.
So I was very enthusiastic and encouraging on the phone, but didn’t start dreaming about getting rich off book royalties (har har.) I sensed, through personal experience, that I was just few months away from the getting the inevitable “we’re taking this in a different direction” speech.
(Otherwise known as the “Kathy, we hired you to be you! To be out there and provocative and offensive! So… can you tone it down just a tad…?” meeting.)
I was sending the Weekly World News site steady traffic every time I linked back to “Ed’s” new column from my blog and Twitter feed. At their end, the EdAnger360 page went up. Everything was going according to plan, i.e., me heading straight towards the cliff.
Sure enough, the editor who’d originally hired me left the company, and — you guessed it — “Ed Anger” was going to “go in a different direction.”
Truth be told, I bore easily. It usually takes me about two years to get sick of a job; with “Ed” the strain was starting to show at about the nine month mark, if not sooner. I dreaded Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, even though writing “Ed” was (needless to say) pretty easy for me, and — more importantly — they didn’t edit my stuff more than once or twice.
I expected they’d chop “the Kennedy die-nasty,” for instance — come on, it may be the Weekly World News, but they’re headquartered in the heart of New York City — but nope. I got paid (albeit not much) to write “heeb” and “retarded” in the year 2009. It could have been worse.
But three days a week for nine months is “two years” in Writer Years. I wasn’t getting paid enough to give it my all, and I write for money. When they finally let me/”Ed” go, I was relieved.
I see now that, about a year after I stopped being “Ed Anger,” they’ve got a new person doing it. I was prepared to hate it (because every writer hates every other writer’s writing, sight unseen) but I give them credit. The two new columns aren’t that bad. They’re too long, but they’re OK.
I don’t really understand the “third person” voice, but “take Norma Rae out back and beat her with a broom” sufficiently nasty, if not terribly funny.
And they’re sticking with “my” nickname for Obama, “the Teleprompter Kid.” So I’m flattered.
However, the EdAnger360 domain name now redirects to some “agriculture” thing. The best laid plans of aliens and Bat Boys, I guess…
So good luck, new “Ed”! You’ll hear no “I’m madder than…s” from me.
Next to check off on my Writers’ Dream Job Check List? Working on “Do’s and Don’ts”.