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JUN
29
2 YEARS

'Ted' Scribe Alec Sulkin Touts his New Book of Tweets, Talks About the Movie

The writer on collecting the tweets of "Family Guy" staff in "Robots Feel Nothing When They Hold Hands," writing the movie's "thunderbuddy" song and why people from Massachusetts are funny.

Robots feel nothing when they hold hands Cover - P 2012

Family Guy writers Alec Sulkin, Artie Johann and Michael Desilets have joined together for Robots Feel Nothing When They Hold Hands, a collection of their best tweets over the last few years.  

Rounding out the volume are illustrations by Joe Vausx and Dominic Bianchi, who draw for Family Guy. Seth MacFarlane wrote a foreword for the book.

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The book is really funny. Family Guy fans will love the humor and the book does have a great throwback feel to the great kid’s joke books of the 70s and 80s – the kind of thing that is perfect to pick up for a quick laugh.

Sulkin had the initial idea for the book (and he has the largest twitter presence with about 360,000 followers) and then he convinced his fellow Family Guy writers to pool their best tweets together.

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Sulkin says the key to a good tweet is brevity, because even at 140 characters people get “reading fatigue.” But the real standard is if it makes him laugh.  Whereas in real life, Sulkin curses and uses foul language all the time (who doesn’t?) on twitter he tries to be funny without cussing.

Sometimes his Family Guy writing and his tweeting intersected. “There are things that I’ve tweeted way back when I didn’t have many followers and then I would pitch them to family guy knowing full well that they’ve already gotten a good response on twitter,” he told the THR. Occasionally, the writer uses stuff that gets cut from the show on twitter.

He says the hardest job went to the artists, who had to figure out a way to illustrate the tweets on the basis of just the suggestion to just illustrate the ones they really liked.  Sulkin calls the resulting illustrations like an “R-rated Far Side.”

Sulkin is also the co-writer of the new comedy Ted (along with MacFarlane and another Family Guy writer Wellesley Wild), which opens June 29.  The movie stars Mark Wahlberg as John, a guy who has a teddy bear that walks and talks (voiced by MacFarlane).

He talked about writing the scene in which Mark Walhberg’s character and the bear gets scared by a thunderstorm so they sing their “thunderbuddy song.”

Sulkin says,  “its literally just this gobbledygook thing that I wrote in probably 2 minutes that people totally love, and I think its because its just so childish and it incorporates the swears and its just a funny moment in and of itself. You know what I’ve noticed the most from screenings and such is that people just love Ted the bear, its like almost like an R rated ET type thing. They really care about him, he’s cute but totally R rated and it just feels like a new type of thing, I can’t think of a character like that from a movie.”

Since we’re both from the Boston suburbs, I jokingly point out that the Wahlberg and the teddy bear both seem to embody a certain kind of “masshole” humor.

Sulkin laughs at the idea. “Boston comedy is kind of like taking over. Threes so many people that I meet out in LA that are from the Boston area and we’ve all shared common experiences and find the same kind of stuff pretty funny, and I think that you’re right about the “global massholization” of comedy. I mean with Family Guy, you get some of that with Peter Griffin, but this movie is totally immersed in it. It relies on that Boston cadence and Boston wise-ass kind of thing, and it really carries the film. Reactions to the trailer has been really positive, so I have faith that we are starting to see a globalization of this masshole style comedy.