Alan Zweibel and Dave Barry’s Long-Distance Writing Relationship


Did you know that Lunatics, the book that an upcoming Steve Carell movie is based on, was co-written by original SNL writer Alan Zweibel and columnist Dave Barry while living many states apart from each other? This interview with Zweibel describes the writing process as a very slow, very long improv scene which is only now concluding with the book’s release on Jan. 10.

Since we started writing this we have seen each other twice. Once was when Dave was up here promoting something and we had dinner. We went to dinner with the thought of ‘OK, maybe we would plot out the next hundred pages.’ That never happened. We had no idea where it would go and we never outlined it. We never plotted it. We just went, ‘Let’s see what happens, OK?’ So that dinner was fruitless, very fruitless. And then the next time we were in the same room, Putnam flew me down to Miami when Dave and I took the picture for the back cover. And we went out to dinner afterwards, with every intention of working on the book, and that didn’t happen, either. I think the only thing we spoke about, book-wise, at that dinner was, ‘Oh God, we are handing this fucking thing in, in October.’ You know, ‘Shit, we better start heading for the barn.’ It was no specifics. It was not which barn or how we’re going to get to that barn, it was just like, ‘All right we’ve got to rev up a little bit here.’