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A couple weeks back the first annual Food Republic Comedy Week went down, which featured interviews, LOL videos and dispatches from televison writing rooms. As in, we found out how televison writing rooms eat lunch right. Here’s an extra serving.

Writing for a TV show is one of the greatest jobs in the world. You get to sit around all day trying to make your friends laugh. You get to tell attractive people what to say and do. And, look at that, you make a ton of money in the process. Not bad, right?

Well, it’s also an incredibly stressful job where you’re only as good as your last idea and you’re constantly trying to prove yourself to everyone around you. That’s why lunch in the writers’ room is so vital. It’s the first break in the day and a chance to recharge your batteries before you go back into the joke trenches and mine for comedy gold.

Andy Gordon made his mark in the halcyon days of network sitcoms on shows like Mad About You and Just Shoot Me. More recently, he created True Jackson as VP for Nickelodeon and last year, he served as a co-executive producer on ABC’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen. Here’s what he had to say about lunch:

One of the great things about working on a network TV show (particularly a large-budgeted one, like Last Man Standing) is that lunches are paid for. Dinners, too, when working late. You’d think ordering anywhere and having it paid for would be heaven, but the truth is it adds between 15 and 30 minutes to the workday, as writers argue about where to order from. On Last Man Standing, one writer hated Indian food, but she didn’t work on Thursdays, so we usually ordered Indian on Thursdays. It got to be habit, and none of us realized until almost the end of the season that we were all sick of it. Another writer so furiously objected to ever ordering deli that we accused him of anti-semitism. It started as a joke, but now I’m convinced he hates Jews. 

At the beginning of each day, we would discuss where to order from, often leading to an argument.  “Kings Road?! We ate there three days ago, you idiot!!” These arguments would fester and linger all day, often until after we’d forgotten what we were fighting about. Once the restaurant of the day was chosen, a sheet would go around with all the writers’ names on it, and we would place our order next to our name. Early in the season, two writers were let go, but their names continued to appear on the sheet, so we got in the habit of ordering food under their names, which the rest of us would eat as either appetizers or snacks during the day. This practice contributed generously to my 20-pound weight gain during the season, as well as a vicious addiction to calamari.

For dinner, there was always a general feeling that if the show was going to prevent us from being home with our families, then the show could buy us the biggest fucking steak on the menu. The UPM, the man responsible for the budget, would gently suggest we curtailed our nighttime ordering, but that didn’t go over well, so he had to find savings somewhere else. One time I ate a Porterhouse so big I was too dizzy to drive home.

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