Q & A with That Guy's Larry Hankin

  1. What is the difference between your book and all the other books that are being sold today?

No difference.  Mine is about the same as all of them: My book uses the same printing techniques, alphabet, words, same paper of some kind set into a book-page form that contains content or story (many or one), with a beginning, middle, and same “ends well for some but not for others”.  One half of them are called “Fact-Based”.  The other half are called “Fictions”.  Mine is a Memoir.  It means “Neither” in French. It’s based solely on events as I recall them. 

  1. Why did you write this book?

I had to.  I wanted to see who I was, Cumulatively.  Not one story, but many over time.  And each acting job - in the proper order - became a great way to see the big picture of who I was becoming.  I’d been telling of my adventures after each role to my friends at dinner or on stages in one-man shows around Southern California.

I was afraid I’d forget them because time softens memories and it’s the details in my stories of my roles and the people I met, what I did, and what was said that all become funny and true, like the stories Myron Cohen, Lenny Bruce, and Richie Pryor used to tell.

So, Free at Last.  Finally - out as a book.  Out of my system.  It’s like giving away a good, old pair of jeans and all its memories.   Or shedding a skin, like a snake, or a chrysalis like a caterpillar.  It can’t be helped or avoided.

  1. Why should I buy your book: “That Guy”?

Should is a weird word.   That’s not a good reason to buy or do anything.  Buy it ‘cuz you like to laff (sic), buy it because you’re curious, or don’t buy it ‘cuz you’re not.  Buy it because you’re into info on famous people and my interactions on the set.  Or not.  What do you want to do?  Should is a weird word.

  1. How long did it take you to write?

It took me 40-to-50 years to live through it, took me years of honing the stories by telling them to friends, 2 months to record 8 hours-worth, the editing took 2-3 months (a guess: it wasn’t easy), and 3-4 months of my editing, re-editing, writing and re-writing constantly, to final book manuscript form.  Plus, almost a year-&-a-half of incessant, Shopping It Around (which, in Book Years, I’m told, is very fast).

  1. Can you do that “Carl” laugh you do in Billie Madison?

I can, but I won’t (ever again if I have anything to say about it).

  1. What would you tell a writer?

Pick clever & exact names for all your characters and know proper classic structure: the clay modeler’s armature plus, the set-ups, builds, surprises, call-backs, red-herrings, and C&W’s orchestrations of 4 chords and the truth.

Tell me a really good story I can read about that makes me want to turn the page to find out what happens next and then what?  And cross out all the unnecessary, useless or repetitive words. 

  1. Do you write randomly, or do you have a writing schedule?

I write when I can get time alone, so nights are good for that – or first thing in the morning.

  1. What don’t you like about writing?

If I really want to write in the morning I have to plan ahead and get a good night’s sleep.  The fact that I have to fight for time to actually write.  Like reading, I have to have a long, quiet time to write.

  1. What do you like about writing?

Getting my feelings, imagination, and my reality greased and out of my head and down on paper or recorded and unifying it in some meaningful way that exposes myself to myself.  I get great pleasure and catharsis in that kind of closure-and-onto-the-next-adventure.  Reading: the handiest, non-electric, unpowered, ultimate, go-anywhere in any time-machine ever invented.  No re-charging anywhere.   Writing is my freedom.  Having others like it is my joy.  Books are bastions of the free spirit and the passing on of knowledge and debate. 

  1. What’s your next project?

I want to write a book a year.  And in between do a tour with “That Guy” in a One-Man Show telling the stories from the book like David Sedaris, record it, do an HBO special of my one-man show and then do a 4-episode, 15-minute, TV show and sell it to the highest bidder with a TV platform.  I’m just as curious to see what’s next for me as you are.  One of my “next things” might be here in the next room in a box waiting for me to take it out and finish it. 

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