Sorkin & Friends crack us up

  • Thursday, July 20, 2006 9:00pm
  • Life

For a guy whose scripts are so crisp and witty, Aaron Sorkin sure did step on a landmine Friday while talking about his new NBC show, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

The pilot episode starts with a rant by a sketch comedy show executive played by Judd Hirsch. He goes off on the state of television, pointing out “people eating worms” and shows in which people see how much they can be like Donald Trump. Sorkin was asked whether the rant is a reflection of his own feelings on TV.

“I do think that television is a terribly influential part of this country and that when things that are very mean-spirited and voyeuristic go on TV, I think it’s bad crack in the school yard,” said Sorkin, who has something of a storied history with drugs, including crack cocaine.

“Why did I use that word?,” he quickly wondered, aloud.

“I have no clue,” said “Studio 60” star Bradley Whitford, who was on the panel with him.

“Everything was fine,” Sorkin said.

“That opens up a new line of questioning,” Whitford said.

It certainly opened a new line of joke opportunities.

Later, when Whitford and co-star Matthew Perry were asked what it’s like to play their bosses — their characters are loosely based on Sorkin and his writing partner Tom Schlamme — he said, “I think it’s mostly like bad Vicodin in the school yard.”

Perry also had a run-in with that drug.

“Brad?” Perry said, prompting roars of laughter.

“Great,” Whitford said. “Thanks. I’ll follow that. I’ve never wished I had had a drug problem.”

We took a few more trips to the school yard.

D.L. Hughley, who also stars in the show, talked about his short-lived show on Comedy Central.

“Me and (Dave) Chappelle loved Comedy Central,” Hughley said, referring to their shared time at the network, although not on the same show. “It was like bad crack in the school yard.”

Then Steven Weber (of “Wings” and other stuff) finally piped up, for no apparent reason, and said, “It’s like Excedrin and old-fashioned cloth diapers in the school yard.”

Sorkin finally gave in.

“First of all, Steven, welcome to the panel,” he said. “And second of all, seriously, I will go person to person, giving each $100 if we can just get the crack quote out of the papers tomorrow.”

Well, Aaron, I kept it out of the paper.

But I think this is one crack that’ll just keep getting bigger.

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