A comedy writer has revealed the harsh reality that working on an acclaimed show doesn’t necessarily translate to living the Hollywood high life. In fact, Alex O’Keefe, one of seven writers for a comedy starring Jeremy Allen White, has said that it’s more of a “regular-regular, working-class existence.”
Apparently, O’Keefe lived in a tiny Brooklyn apartment without heat and had to write at a public library when the power went out. And, despite being a writer on a hit show, he wasn’t even flown to the set! Talk about living the dream.
But wait, it gets better! When the show was nominated for Best Comedy Series at the Writers Guild of America Awards, O’Keefe attended the ceremony with a negative bank account and was dressed in a bowtie he bought on credit. Ouch.
But don’t worry, folks. It’s not all doom and gloom. After all, O’Keefe and the rest of the writers ended up winning the Best Comedy Series award that evening, beating out the likes of “Abbott Elementary” and “Barry.” Unfortunately, as O’Keefe pointed out, “not all that glitters is gold.”
Hollywood Dream or Working-Class Reality? Insights from a Comedy Writer
It’s not just O’Keefe who’s struggling, though. About 98% of eligible WGA members — representing thousands of TV and film writers — voted to authorize a strike if they don’t reach a deal with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers by their contract’s May 1 expiration date. They’re demanding better compensation and residual rates, as well as addressing concerns about “mini rooms” and the use of artificial intelligence.
But what about O’Keefe’s compensation, you ask? Well, after accounting for representative fees and taxes, it doesn’t add up to much. And, according to WGA’s compensation guide, first-time and newer writers could make around $40,000 to $60,000 for ten weeks of work. Not exactly living the high life.
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Despite all of this, O’Keefe has learned a valuable lesson from his time working on the show: “if you are given a shit sandwich, you can dress that up and make it a Michelin-star-level dish.” So, there’s that.
So there you have it, folks. If life gives you a shit sandwich, just add some fancy ingredients and turn it into a Michelin-starred meal.
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