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On The Late Show, Thomas Lennon shows clips from his first novel—wait, what?

Thomas Lennon, Stephen Colbert
Screenshot: The Late Show

In the 11-person ranks of the ridiculously prolific and influential comedy troupe The State, it’s tough to say just who has killed it the most. From their fecund minds have come cultural comedy touchstones like Wet Hot American Summer (film and series), Reno 911 (series and film), Stella, the Risk podcast, Burning Love, Wanderlust, Viva Variety, Search Party, and many others people will be mad aren’t included for space reasons. Joe Lo Truglio’s a delight on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Michael Showalter directed The Big Sick. Michael Patrick Jann directed Drop Dead Gorgeous, which some people continue to swear by. It’s all enough to make aspiring comic tastemakers sick, none more so than Thomas Lennon who, in addition to being the highlight of whatever TV show, movie, or, one assumes, cocktail party he’s in, also moonlights as the lucrative co-writer (with The State pal Ben Garant) of Hollywood blockbusters. And, you know, the Martin Lawrence vehicle Rebound.

Appearing on The Late Show on Monday, Lennon further infuriated the haters by adding novelist to his list of accomplishments. Telling Stephen Colbert that his lifelong desire to write a novel waited until just the right, as it turns out, young adult fantasy premise popped into his head, Lennon cited inspirations like Douglas Adams and J.R.R. Tolkien, which sounds promising. He also admitted to Colbert that he and Garant were also pretty busy in their sought-after trade as writers of high-concept multiplex fare. After all, he duo did write the cash-dispensing Night At The Museum films, alongside work on such presumably nice paychecks as Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Pacifier, and the aforementioned Rebound, as well as being very in-demand script doctors. “Sometimes they’ll start makin’ a movie, and they don’t know that it’s already terrible,” explained Lennon of his and Garant’s roles as in-progress movie EMTs.


But Lennon was there to talk about his fledgeling career as a novelist, with the release of the (perhaps itself movie-spawning) Ronan Boyle And The Bridge Of Riddles out now. (If you want more insight into the ins, outs, and always-getting-fireds of being a working Hollywood screenwriter, Lennon and Garant’s informative and hilarious nonfiction book about the screen trade, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too!, makes a fine add-on at checkout.) And Lennon is completely serious about his new career, as evidenced by the fact that he told Colbert to throw to three clips from Ronan Boyle. Which is a book, and not a movie. In the trilogy of short, um, novel clips (featuring Lennon and Late Night writer all-star Brian Stack as a pair of capering, violent leprechauns), Lennon demonstrated that you can become a successful novelist without losing your insatiable hunger to puzzle audiences with conceptual comedy sketches.

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About the author

Dennis Perkins

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.