Catastrophe! Gene writes a column.
WASHINGTON -- I don't usually interview celebrities in this column but have made an exception today. We are talking to Rob Delaney, co-writer and co-star of the surprise-hit British sitcom "Catastrophe." I had an important question that has been nagging at me.
Me: I first became aware of you a few years ago when, as near as I can tell, your sole talent was being a disgustingly vulgar presence on Twitter, some virtually unknown guy incessantly issuing sexually obsessive, unspeakably filthy, utterly vile observations about life in general and human genitalia in specific. So naturally I immediately followed you. Soon I looked around and saw this revolting sideline of yours had gotten you more than a million followers. Producers took note, and now, a short time later, you are the co-writer and co-star of an internationally acclaimed TV series famous for its sophisticated exploration of complex, eternal verities and whatnot. My question is, how did you pull this off and can any lame potty-mouth like me do it?
Rob: Maybe. I was inspired. I joined Twitter in 2009 from a hotel room in Bloomington, Minnesota, and I was trying to get hired as a writer for late-night comedy shows. I realized, with its 140-character limit, Twitter was a perfect outlet for stupid, ridiculous, puerile, disgusting jokes, with the important added element of surprise. People get on their cellphones looking for information, like the weather from their local meteorologist or the latest update from their kids' middle school science department, and WHAM! Punch 'em right between the eyes!
Me: With filth.
Me: What is your favorite filthy word?
Rob: That would probably be [filthy word].
Me: I can't publish that.
Me: You are an American, born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, which is a stupid name. How is that different from being born in, say, Knucklehead, Vermont?