Monday, March 3, 2008

Robert Benchley by Robert Benchley

Bob Newhart to Judge Writing Contest
Comedic genus BOB NEWHART will serve as finalist judge for the 2008 ROBERT BENCHLEY SOCIETY AWARD FOR HUMOR COMPETITION. Entries of up to 500 words will be accepted through April 1st, 2008. Rules and procedure to enter are at the official Robert Benchley Society Rules and Procedure webpage:

For more information about the competition, about Robert Benchley and about the Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor, visit Lexington Film at:

My 500 words...

Robert Benchley
by Robert Benchley

Faced with the prospect of writing a 500 word piece in the manner of Robert Benchley, Robert Benchley sat there and pondered. Does this mean I must bury my personal style and pretend to be another, or can my own wit and linguistic dexterity fool the judges into thinking I'm as good as Robert Benchley, despite the fact he's had little effect upon my writing in any way? Just what I need right now, thought Robert Benchley, another distraction from my life's work, the world's first annotated biography of Robert Benchley told entirely in cuneiform.

Robert Benchley's career was going nowhere. He could only get published on the internet because his submissions to print publications always came back with the same old rejection, he didn't sound enough like Robert Benchley. Just because he also happened to be influenced by Hunter Thompson, George Carlin, and Monty Python didn't make Robert Benchley's influence upon Robert Benchley any less profound, just one more sidetrack in the infinite fractions of influence buried in Robert Benchley's subconscious. If Robert Benchley had anything to say about Robert Benchley it would be that Robert Benchley should stick to what he does best and butt out of Robert Benchley's business. Perhaps, he thought, if I just type the name Robert Benchley enough, people will think I have something to say about Robert Benchley, whose name I cherish as dearly as my own.

One day, Robert Benchley sat down to write and couldn't think of anything to write about other than his own writing style. He made a list of everyone he was influenced by and burnt it. That'll show 'em.

Robert Benchley #1, for that is what he thought of himself, #1, was overcome with anger at Robert Benchley #2, who seemed to be hogging all the glory of the Robert Benchley name. If only there were no Robert Benchley #2, thought Robert Benchley #1, then I could write any way I wanted to write without Robert Benchley looking over my shoulder. Fuck Robert Benchley ("and the horse he rode in on" - Catherine the Great). Who needs him? he thought. Not me.

Everything is in the public domain, pondered Robert Benchley, and any website like that doesn't let readers cut and paste material from their site to pay it forward is obstructionist and anti-progress. That's the point of the internet, he thought, sharing. Stop the sharing and intellectual progress grinds to a halt.

Hmmm, the more I sound like Robert Benchley, the more I'm committing intellectual thievery myself, but since that's the only thievery of which I whole-heartedly approve, everything's cool. We should all join in on the intellectual roller coaster of conceptual thought, giving no regard whatsoever to the borrowing of ideas, which is nothing but a good thing. If we didn't all borrow each other's ideas, we'd have nothing to respond to.

I will never, ever, try to write something in the manner of Robert Benchley, thought Robert Benchley, and anyone who does should be waterboarded. Who do they think they are? Robert Benchley?



Bravo, Dare,

I love it. Keep this up and we'll need a Michael Dare Society Awards For Pure Thought. We could have people think 500 words or less, in the style of Michael Dare. The winner would be given thorazine, and noninvasive custodial care at some country club rehab center.

Your pal,
Horace J. Digby, winner of the 2005 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor

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