Much later, at Hollywood’s most famous landmark of humor, the Improv comedy club, Kevin Rooney, bald enough for Miller to refer to him as Remulak — after the home planet of the hairless Coneheads — listens to my Hollywood School dream and smiles.
“You know the joke about comedy writers,” he says, “is that you take all the dropouts from high school and they’re making a quarter-million a year out here, because they’re too dumb to get a regular job.”
He has paid his dues with a decade working the stand-up comedy-club circuit, and now, at 43, is regarded as one of the funniest behind-the-scenes comic minds in Hollywood. Still, the guy he envies is a plumber friend in Saratoga Springs, a very funny guy, he says, with a family and a regular circle of steady friends. Roons, as he is known to everyone out here, dreams of breaking free of the Hollywood grind someday, buying a farm in New England or taking an extended trip to Ireland and a crack at some serious writing.
“Because you realize you’re just a joker, the court jester, the guy with bells on,” he says. “It’s a classic thing to be tortured about, that you’re not doing something important. It doesn’t have the gravitas of the guy who is trying to find a cure for cancer or someone who wins the war.”
He takes a hit from a Marlboro Light and sighs one of those who’s-he-kidding sighs.
“Of course, you’d end up going to a local pub in Ireland and hanging out and when it came time to talk about something, the conversation would get to be goofy and after awhile someone would say ‘Hey, you’re pretty funny.’ And you’d be known as the funny guy.”
The curse of comedy.
“I suppose comedy writing is a good thing,” he says. “You don’t hurt anybody. I’m not creating anything that has a poisonous byproduct. It’s just like at the end of that Woody Allen movie where the aliens confront Woody and tell him ‘You want to help mankind? Write funnier jokes.’ ”