Skippy’s No April Fool – SoCS

It’s Saturday. It’s the beginning of the second quarter of 2023. Major league baseball has started, and it’s April Fool’s Day for those who indulge in that sort of thing. It seems appropriate for Skippy to be tending bar today but saying that might get me in trouble with our guest. I’ve been anticipating this visit from renowned author, actor, playwright, and good friend (did I get that right this time, Brad?) Bradley Lewis, for several weeks. Brad’s here from Los Angeles to answer a few questions about his writing and being Brad. Brad is a fan of Skippy, he thinks we pick on him, and he’s not bothered by Skippy’s mistakes and antics. There, as I normally do when we have a guest, I’ve handled Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt in this opening. The post below the line required more thought and a bit of editing, although Brad’s answers are unedited.

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘antic.’ Use it as a word or find a word that contains it. Bonus points if you do both. Enjoy!”

If we were having a beer, we would be trying to be nice.

“Well, Dan, if Brad is joining us at the bar, don’t you think we should find out what he’s drinking?”

“Of course, David. What’s your pleasure, Brad?”

“As you may recall, I am fond of a single malt with a beer. I was thinking of having that today as it is my drink of choice with red meat. However, I’m going against instinct, as well as the sommelier’s recommendation, and starting with a glass of sauvignon blanc. No, I don’t want a cherry in it.”

“I think you’ve met our bartender. Skippy, David and I will have our usual drinks, Brad would like a glass of sauvignon blanc.”

“I’ll get those right away, Dan. Mr. Lewis, it’s a pleasure to see you again. I read one of your books after the last time you were here, and I’ve been doing a little acting.”

“That’s great, Skippy. I think Brad would like it if you did a little bartending.”

“No problem, David. I’ll be right back.”

“You didn’t need to chase him away, David. I kind of like the kid.”

“Really? I seem to recall Dan saying that he met you while you were arguing with an inept bartender. I follow you on Facebook, where you frequently regale us with stories of aggravating encounters with equally inept cashiers, how can you defend Skippy?”

“I’d say the source of your misunderstanding is that ‘Dan was saying.’ It’s important here to know that I was not arguing with the bartender. In fact, his last words were before Dan sat down were, ‘Here come’s that guy I was telling you about.’ As for Skippy, I haven’t been given much of a chance to get to know him, but from the little I’ve seen he is clearly the victim of abuse, both from the patrons as well as the staff at this bar.”

“Skippy, the victim? You have to be kidding, Brad. I try not to be as hard on him as David is, but he’s the worst bartender I’ve ever known.”

“I think he has been set up to fail, Dan. During my corporate years, and I was privy to things I thought only happened in movies, there was always a V.P. who was groomed to fail. That’s what ‘you people’ have been doing to Skippy. He’s never had a chance.”

“Here we go, a glass of our best sauvignon blanc for Mr. Lewis, a John Howell’s Special for David and a glass of Modelo for Dan.”

“Whose sauvignon blanc is that, Skippy?”

“I don’t know, David.”

“Then how do you know it’s your best?”

“It’s in the rack on the left. Cheryl puts the good stuff over there. The higher up in the rack the better. That one was on top.”

“And to think you were worried about offending the sommelier. Cheer’s Brad.”


“Brad, the last time you were here was during the height of the pandemic. You had written a coffee table book about four fifties comedies. You wrote several others after that. The books were interesting and well done. You say you’re done with that kind of writing. Why?”

“To be momentarily serious, which is about all I can muster these days, I kinda feel that it is a lesser work; in the sense that I don’t have to do as much research for the hard text. That, of course, is utter nonsense, as I spent a year teaching myself a completely new discipline, how to design photos, structure a layout, etc. in order to have a pleasing look on each page, especially those that have photos as text.”

“I enjoyed them all. I was kinda hoping there would be more.”

“I wouldn’t put much stock in my being ‘done with that kind of writing’, David. As in every relationship I walked out several times, only to return, but then only to walk out again.”

“So, maybe I’ll get that Marx Brothers book at some point.”

“I’ve told you before, Dan, it’s been done.”

“Like Dan, I enjoyed those coffee table books. I’m curious, did you enjoy them? Can you rank them, or at least pick a favorite?”

“I did get a ton of enjoyment out of doing the research. I suppose it is my favorite decade, although I wasn’t born, at least intellectually, until the mid to late sixties. I found something fascinating in each of the books.”

“You’ve written about comedies and comedians, and whenever we talk, you mention some comedian you remember, or you’ve met. I once accused you of being irreverent, is there a connection?”

“Comedians have always played a large role in my life, as a fan, as a friend, and as a ‘historian’. I once asked Herb Edelman why he stopped being friends with Jerry Lewis. Answer: ‘I wanted to go on living’. And yet my friend, Howard Murray, Jan’s son, has only glowing things to say about Jerry. I thought of Howard because he shares my love of comedians. In his case, they were like a second family. Imagine finding Buddy Hackett, Jerry Lewis, and Jack Carter hanging out at your home. I used to hang out with Richard Lewis during the early evening at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. I almost made him laugh once. He banged the table and said, ‘That’s so funny; my spleen is bleeding.’ Comedians might be irreverent, but they work hard at their craft.”

“I guess I just always thought they were just funny. I didn’t think of what they do as work.”

“Comedians are an unusual breed of entertainer, Dan; one humanity would be lost without – from day one.”

“You have also written – fiction and non-fiction – about Las Vegas. Is that an entertainment connection or something else?”

“The history of Las Vegas was something I had written about in my mob books, David, but as I found out in the coffee table book, I never knew the actual history of the city. I particularly enjoyed digging around archives that had photos of the early city and very first, now unknown, hotels.”

“I am currently reading your recent play, “The Podiatrist Cometh/Zabar’s Too.” You say in the description on Amazon, ‘Life in this Jewish family is full of humor expressed sometimes in overt, colorful language while not shying away from their worries about the future of our country.’ If I had to say something about your writing, it would be that you don’t shy away from anything. Is that just part of being Brad?”

“Dan, when I find out what ‘just being Brad’ is, I will let you know. Brad is sort of not me. It’s the Bradley guy who is behind all the trouble. Bradley was taught to behave, do as he was told, and never make waves. Brad was invented as the guy who would break mother Mazie’s rules – see Mazie Was Crazy; Not Quite a Mother’s Son – but even Brad couldn’t pull it off. So, Bradley crept back in and tried to make peace with the whole thing but a fight eventually erupted in which Bradley accused Brad of being a fraud. He would say, ‘All these years you pretended to be the one taking risks, and what did you accomplish?’”

“So, is Bradley back?”

“More importantly, if Bradley is back, would he like a drink. I know I’d like another round. Skippy.”

“Another round? No problem. Did you like that wine, Mr. Lewis? Another glass?”

“The wine was fine, but I will switch to my regular, single malt with a dark beer. That Macallan Twelve I see on the back shelf will do nicely.”

“No problem.”


“Yes, Mr. Lewis.”

“Let’s make that a double.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“I’ll be surprised if he gets that right. But let’s not pick on Skippy. Brad, you were talking about Bradley…”

“Bradley is back, and yes, he’s not shy. However, as you know from social media, I don’t do politics and religion. Hence the play. I know these people. They are characters I wrote about forty years ago. That play had readings around Manhattan – The American Place Theatre for one. Bill Hickey did some readings. Mike Nichols liked it. And then my father died, suddenly. That seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. My sister died suddenly last year, but this time I wrote the new play after her death and that of my closest friend. Yeah, the people in the play are, like all of us, looking for solutions.”

“It’s interesting that you mention Mike Nichols. I was watching a TCM feature on him. He was noted for his ability to work across a range of genres. You have written fiction, non-fiction, and at least one play that I know of. Is there some form of writing you enjoy more than others?”

“I am quite fond of grocery lists, Dan. But, during the Covid isolation – no, it was not a f’ing quarantine! – I did it less and less because I was ordering all my groceries and sundries online.”

“Well, at least it didn’t leave a scar.”

“OK, guys, here are those drinks.”

“Let’s see if Brad is still a fan of Skippy, Dan. That isn’t even close to what he ordered.”

“Skippy, c’mere baby, I know how David and Dan make you anxious. I get it. Would you mind changing this? I did order just a plain, neat, no ice, double Macallan Twelve. I’m pretty sure this is a martini…Oh, and this is, I’m guessing, one of Dan’s kinda beers. I wanted a dark Modello.”

“Brad, you surprise me. You really do like that kid, don’t you?”

“David, let’s just say I don’t want to be part of the ‘let’s get Skippy’ club. I think you guys contribute to his ineptitude.”

“Brad, as I started reading your play, I thought it was a little weird.”

“The play, Dan? Why would you say it’s weird?”

“No, not the play. The play isn’t weird. I meant reading a play like I would read a book. I looked up ‘plays people read’ and the search results took me back (painfully) to high school. You have done some acting, you’ve written plays, are there plays you enjoyed reading?”

“Yes, I spent years in acting school, and I can easily say I’ve enjoyed reading all of them. While those like Williams and O’Neil were more challenging, I probably got more of a kick out of playwrights like Murray Schisgal, Arthur Kopit, Mark Medoff, and Beth Henley.”

“I see the difference in the written results of a play and a novel. What’s the significant difference in writing a play verses a novel?”

“Here’s your single malt and a dark Modelo, Mr. Lewis. Would you guys mind if I hang around for this answer? I’m curious.”

“Well, I’m the guest of honor, Skippy, and I don’t mind. Is it OK with you David?”

“Sure. What was the question? Oh, writing plays verses writing novels. It’s all yours Brad.”

“I dunno. Structurally, the differences are obvious. When I write, I see the characters doing whatever it is they want to be doing. They usually tell me, and I play along. I’m just the secretary who pounds out the words and describes which way they go next. Sometimes they ask me, ‘Should I plunge the knife? How long should I leave it in? I want to twist it; can I twist it? Oh, I think three stabs should make my point.’ I’m far from an expert on play structure, but there has to be a way to get the basic plot, characters, theme, and rhythm down in a short period of time, and in a way that doesn’t throw off the audience. Those are the things they teach at university, but I’m from the school of write whatever you want and make the spectacle yours. The rest you can figure out during readings of the play – and listen to the actors. They know!”

“Mr. Lewis. Would you have any advice for someone like me? You know, someone thinking about acting.”

“I know you’re asking Brad, Skippy, but I’d say don’t give up your day job. Then again, I seem to be missing some cherries, so maybe that’s not your strong suit. Sorry to interrupt.”

“Skippy, I understand you are a student of Drama. That underscores the difficulties you have with these mere pedestrian mortals who come in here to pick on you. I began my studies with Lee Strasberg and company. When I became tired of crawling around on the floor before class, even with the fondling suggested by the teacher, I went to H.B. Studios – William Hickey in particular – which had a more sensible approach for me. So, if you continue your studies, find someone you like if you want to take ‘lessons’.”

“Where would I find something like that around here?”

“You might be better off with a theatre group in your neighborhood. Read plays, act out plays, and if you are inclined, maybe write sketch work. It’s fun and it’s a very serious endeavor. In Los Angeles, there are places like the Pack Theatre that offer classes and actual performance work. Maybe you can find something like that in New Haven. Just keep doing it, that’s the ticket. And go see shows, at local theatres, universities, etc. You don’t need to spend a fortune on Broadway to have a nice theatre outing.”

“Thanks, I’ll look into that.”

“And when you bring David his drink, just imagine him standing outside the theater asking for you autograph.”

Note: Brad follows my blog on its Facebook page. He and my niece’s husband might be the only two people regularly visiting that page. I’m not sure he will be able to reply to comments here, via WordPress. If necessary, I’ll work as a courier.

If you like magical realism with suspense, action and a bit of family sarcasm, you will enjoy these books:

The Evil You Choose
When Evil Chooses You

Series page on Amazon

My profile page (and books) on Lulu

All available on Kindle Unlimited!


  1. Hi Dan, It’s great to meet Bradley or Brad or Bradley and Brad, depending on how you look at it – smile! He has had an interesting life and journey to writing. The coffee table non-fiction books sounds very interesting. I’m not sure I’m up to reading a play, I prefer to visit plays at the theatre.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Saturday, Robbie. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend. Brad/Bradley has plenty of books and such to choose from. I wasn’t sure about reading a play, but I’m enjoying it. And Skippy had a good day for a change.


  2. Hi Dan it was lively at the bar today! I enjoyed meeting Brad and finding out about him and his books. As I have said before I have a liking for Skippy so Brad is not alone in his defense of the guy!
    I have never read a play….yet?
    Well you and David have had some really interesting guest lately.

    The photos are gorgeous this week.💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read a lot of plays in my younger years because studying plays in high school and college gave me good practice. Now, my preference would be to see them live. Brad/Bradley is a very prolific writer!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Saturday, Dan! I can only comment on April Fools this morning. Sitting here, watching it snow. Again. It’s like the Skippy of bad weather. I would rather be at the bar commiserating with you, David and Brad in what is probably much better weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mr. Lewis is a kind man. I appreciate his patience and wisdom with Skippy. The thing I like about Skippy is his lack of malevolence. He might not be the sharpest tack, but he’s basically a good kid. Mr. Lewis’s last line, “And when you bring David his drink, just imagine him standing outside the theater asking for you autograph,” is perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good morning, guys. Since it’s still early here, maybe I’ll just have a splash of Mozart dark chocolate liqueur in my coffee. Dan, thanks for this lovely introduction to Brad. Lulu is happy that there is someone else to defend Skippy. Maybe she’ll quiet down now, because that flapper is not getting into my Atonement serial, no matter how she protests.
    Wishing Brad continued success. Cheers and hugs to you both.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my–does Brad look like Jean Paul Belmondo? Oui! Oui!
    So many great quotes in today’s post from David telling Skippy to ‘try a little bartending’ to Brad’s ‘you people’ about poor abused Skippy.
    I do like reading plays but I tend to picture them as a round table read (or whatever they call it when the TV characters sit around and say their lines as a group). I have to be one of the characters and that makes it easier for me to read. Do I sound totally nuts? 😆
    Dan, you do pick such great people to visit the bar on Saturdays. Brad was most interesting. Happy weekend to you. And Skippy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re the best, Lois. I’m glad you enjoyed the bar today. Brad always makes it interesting. Keep reading those plays. Brad’s is fun. Skippy had a good day. Don’t look for too many of those in the future.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Leaves and reflections, you made my day Dan. And yes I know I am a day late but not a dollar short. I enjoyed your interview. I must look this man up. I am intrigued. And he is right: people will often live down to our expectations of them. Sad but true. I also believe the best comedians are the ones who make it look easy. Anyone that has ever spent any time inside the business knows that it is far from easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was recently telling me just how much work hood comedians put into those routines they make look easy. It’s not impromptu by any means. I’m glad you like the photos. I hope you’re having a hood weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoyed this interview. Particularly Brad’s attitude and patience with Skippy. We all have different skill sets even if they are not particularly tuned to the ‘trade’ we find ourselves employed. And as long as it is not rocket science or brain surgery a bit of patience and politeness is warranted. Especially in this day and age post covid and mostly just getting by. PS it was a great if not a bit too windy weekend to get all of the granddaughters together. Cheers Dan and Brad. And Skippy too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I read this over two days, because it was that good. And your ending was perfect, imagining David outside the theater asking for Skippy’s autograph. Thank you, Dan. Great photo gallery, especially my favorite tree.

    Liked by 1 person

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