Hoboken resident David Fagin has advice for aspiring writers: “Go to law school instead.”
He was joking. He jokes for a living.
Fagin is a featured comedy writer for the Huffington Post who is also on the verge of having his own television show called “Rock in a Hard Place.”
“It’s about a famous Jewish punk rocker who leaves rehab and has to live with his mother,” Fagin said. “We have the project written with interest from a few production houses. We’re just waiting for the right time.”
He categorizes the show as a “dramedy,” or a combination of a drama and a comedy.
“It’s about a family living in the public eye trying to keep the wagons from falling off,” he said.
The main character, who is a father and is divorced, comes out of rehabilitation and realizes his ex-wife is turning his daughter into the female version of him.
“He wants to be there for her before she becomes the next Lindsay Lohan,” he said.
Fagin isn’t a stranger to writing comedy, and some of his work in the past was deemed too hot for television.
“A friend of mine who was a director came to me [about six years ago] and said Comedy Central was looking for an idea. I realized we had one shot at this, so even if they don’t pick up my show I wanted them to notice me,” Fagin said.
So, he thought of the show “Jihad Joe: The Gaza Strip’s Most Lovable Suicide Bomber.”
“The project ended up being the most offensive thing you can think of,” he said, laughing. But Fagin said in the future there might be a spot for his wildly offensive show.
“When the timing is right, I’ll bring it back,” he said.
This time, Fagin said his new show is a bit toned down.
“[Rock in a Hard Place], even though it’s scripted, has characters inspired by real life people,” he said, naming reality television show characters.
He said deep down, the family in the show loves each other and doesn’t want to lose touch.
Fagin’s career, though, spreads beyond just television.
He was a columnist for Billboard Magazine for eight years, wrote for Spike Television, the Muppets, Sesame Street, and last year he wrote a song for CBS.
For the last four months, he’s written for the Huffington Post, mostly about pop culture.
“I call myself a professor of blogology,” he said.
He’s also written a clip for Sesame Street called “Small Clams Court,” an undersea Judge Judy parody.
Fagin’s also been a contributing writer for New York Magazine, The Onion, Comedy Central, Blender Magazine, Asian Food Journal, and Salon City Magazine.
Originally from Fair Lawn, Fagin has lived in Hoboken for the last four years.
“Hoboken is a great place for a writer if you don’t want to deal with the headaches of New York City,” he said. “My friends who live on the Upper East Side in Manhattan are farther away from TriBeca than I am.”
But Fagin, who calls himself a food snob, said he wishes the restaurants were a little better in Hoboken.
“You can’t do this part time.” – David Fagin
Besides “go to law school,” his real advice for those considering a career in the arts is to dedicate oneself fully to the job.
“You can’t do this part time,” he said. “There are too many people that are really good for anyone to do this part time.”
Fagin also said one has to be able to deal with bad news on a constant basis.
“You have expected nothing for 363 days of the year,” he said. “If you can deal with bad news and rejections then maybe you’ll be all right. Two days a year you might get good news. You need to be objective and ask yourself, ‘Am I good enough? Am I better than what’s out there?’ If the answer is yes, then go for it.”
For more about Fagin and his career, as well as his new show, visit DavidFagin.com.
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