Why Chuck Lorre Took Two Years to Finish His Vanity Card Book

Jon Parsons Chuck Lorre - H 2012

Jon Parsons Chuck Lorre - H 2012

At the launch party for his new volume, the showrunner tells THR about the inspiration for its cover and why he's more morose than bitter -- but stayed silent on Charlie Sheen.

This story first appeared in the Nov. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

For those who always thought Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory creator-producer Chuck Lorre's end-of-show vanity cards were priceless poetic rants that should be a book – well, now they are. He celebrated the release of the coffee-table book What Doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Bitter with a party at Mixology at the Grove – where Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Jon Cryer, Angus T. Jones and Warner execs gathered to toast him.

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Along with the well-known cryptic vanity cards are illustrations and pictures, and it's a real collectible for Lorre fans and fans of his shows. The cover of the book is pretty interesting, too -– a goldfish in a plastic bag that's tied at the top. What's this about?

"I really can't say," deadpanned Lorre to THR.

"It just spoke to me. He looks like his chances aren't good. It's not concrete why I picked it. I just thought it was eerie." It actually took the TV-prolific Lorre two years to get the book published. "Books about vanity cards are not by nature a very profitable thing," he noted. "When I get done with one paragraph, I'm in awe of how guys like Michael Chabon write novels. I'm a real fan of good writing in any form."

We wondered whether Lorre actually might pen a book, since the cards read like chapters anyway.

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Can he do it without a battle with Charlie Sheen inspiring him? (The response: silence.) After the Mixology party -- "It was a real honor to have members of my casts come out and support me," said Lorre – he did a somewhat (for him) jovial book signing at Barnes & Noble.

Now, how can a man this successful actually be bitter? "Oh, that's from when I started, 15 years ago," laughed Lorre. "Bitter was just a reflection of the times. I'm probably more 'morose' now."