In case you missed it, I reviewed Eric Lax’s Conversations with Woody Allen in the November 18 edition of the New York Times Book Review, as well as two collections of Woody’s prose. The Book Review also Q&A’d me for its Up Front section, and included a curious caricature of me in which I look 55 and have acquired Hanna-Barbera-style facial stubble.
There’s a young(-ish) comic writer, performer, and director I like who sometimes draws comparisons to Woody. His name is David Wain, and comedy cultists know him from his stints in the troupes The State and Stella. (He also directed the movie Wet Hot American Summer, a sendup of Meatballs-style teen-hormone comedies, and has another feature coming up, Little Big Men.) But he’s truly found his metier with the Webisode format, having launched a delightful running series of five-minute episodes this fall called Wainy Days. I can see why people detect some Woody influence in Wain–he’s Jewish, wears glasses, likes to portray himself as romantically hapless, and offers up an explicit Hannah and Her Sisters homage in Episode 10 of Wainy Days–but Wain is ultimately more surrealist and outre than Allen, more Monty Python-ish. Since his days with The State, Wain has combined a sweet upper-middle-class amiability with a depraved-sicko fearlessness that often entails multiple self-humiliations and, er, rubber phalluses. All of these elements are on wondrous display in Wainy Days.