I have a friend — in fact, someone who used to write for this site — who was at a Coen Brothers party years ago, and ended up in a conversation with Jennifer Jason Leigh. Now, you know how when sometimes, you’re trying so hard to avoid a particular topic that it’s the only topic you can think about? He was so preoccupied by the horrific death of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s father, Vic Morrow, on the set of The Twilight Zone that invariably an unrelated story about a decapitation just bubbled up out of him. (For those who don’t know, Vic Morrow was decapitated by a helicopter blade).
As I recall, she didn’t flinch, but my friend was mortified. Just mortified.
I still think about that story whenever the name of the director of The Twilight Zone movie, John Landis, comes up, or Jennifer Jason Leigh’s. The thought of that story will occasionally even surface when we talk about John’s son, Max Landis.
Which brings me to this joke on this week’s Difficult People:
Oh, God! It burns so much! I don’t want to laugh at that joke — it’s terrible — but also, I can’t not laugh at that joke.
Max Landis wasn’t laughing. He tweeted at Julie Klausner — who made the joke — that it was “creepy and weird to me.”
I can see that.
The writer of the joke, Jake Fogelnset, defended the joke to Max Landis, and his characterization of Max:
Ooof. To have your father gang up with a television writer against you? That smarts.
However, Max Landis, who appears to be attempting to pivot to a less obnoxious version of himself, responded in a fairly civil way, actually.
Hi Jake. I'm sorry I'm in such a bad impression on you when I met you, I went through a period of being pretty obnoxious.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
I don't recall it but it sounds like me being an idiot. I'm not a perfect person, I know that I've rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
I didn't know you wrote the joke, but I appreciate the letter. I'm aware that at times I haven't been the easiest person to deal with.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
That said, the joke, by its nature did turn the twilight zone into a punchline and that really hurt me for reasons you acknowledge.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
We can talk further. Let's not limit it to 140 characters and we don't need an audience. My door's open. No one is perfect. Myself included.— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) September 14, 2017
I appreciate you saying this, but it's worth saying you put out a very long letter publicly to me online. I think we're good.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
Thanks for engaging, though.— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
Actually you know what, let's get coffee. My treat. You around tomorrow?— Max Landis (@Uptomyknees) September 14, 2017
Let me DM you my info.— Jake Fogelnest (@jakefogelnest) September 14, 2017
OK, cool. They’re having coffee today. That was an honest, not obnoxious response, which — credit where credit is due — aligns with Landis’ recent efforts to rehabilitate his public perception. Perhaps he’s finally been humbled.
The new haircut helps, but maybe not the sudden obsession with Carly Rae Jepson songs.
Also, there is something that John Landis and the rest of us can all agree upon: LEAVE AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON ALONE. From Collider:
Truthfully, I’ve not seen his script. I advised him not to do it. I think he’s putting himself in a bad position. My son is brilliant, he really is, and he wants to do it. So what am I going to say? No? I know it won’t be as bad as An American Werewolf In Paris, which was shit. So, I don’t know.
Stay away, Max. Maybe stick with the Carly Rae Jepson songs, after all.