Jonathan Kesselman wrote and directed The Hebrew Hammer, a comedy about an Orthodox Jewish Blaxploitation hero (Adam Goldberg) who saves Hanukkah from the evil offspring of Santa Claus (Andy Dick). The film has become a cult favorite, and you should add it to your holiday viewing list this year. In addition to being a successful screenwriter, Jonathan teaches Writing Comedy for Film and Television at Yale University. He has some great tips for aspiring comedy writers.
Cinematical: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Jonathan Kesselman: I always loved writing. When I was in the 5th grade, I was pulled out of my class and put onto the 12th grade yearbook staff writing copy. For a while, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. In college, I majored in Psychology -- neuroscience was my field. I realized that I didn't like slicing rat brains. I remember really searching for what it was that I wanted to do with my life. And I had always been obsessed with movies. I remember having this existential crisis pre-graduation, and then seeing a documentary on Your Show of Shows, and it hit me that I was put on this earth to make fun of people.
Cinematical: So you threw the rat in the air triumphantly...
JK: I ate the rat -- tasty! Yeah, I graduated, and decided I wanted to go to film school. I eventually went to graduate school at USC for film production.