Ben Karlin: Bad Neighbor

Former Daily Show executive producer Ben Karlin seems like a decent fellow, right? He was responsible for some of the smartest comedy to air on American TV since basically ever, that Daily Show book was pretty funny, Deborah Solomon couldn't make him seem like as much of an asshole as she does most of her interviewees. And, as he said last August, when announcing his HBO production deal, he is a man of ideas. Hundreds of ideas. "At least initially, he said, he planned to revisit some of the half-formed notions in his notebook, which he likened to the aging Russian nuclear arsenal. “'Many of the weapons I have may still be good,'” he said. “'Others may not go off.'”" Apparently the idea which did go off was the one he borrowed from a guy in his building!


The Billionaire's Vinegar, New York writer Benjamin Wallace's forthcoming book has already been optioned for a film by Escape Artists. It's the story of "Hardy Rodenstock, who tricked a really rich man into paying him half a million dollars in 1985 for a case of 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux wine that was purportedly, but not actually, once stored in the wine cellar of Thomas Jefferson." When Wallace moved into Karlin's building last summer, they talked all about it. Karlin decided he wanted to make it into a movie! But "dicussions fell apart" and then Wallave sold the book to someone else. So Karlin optioned a related New Yorker article and went to work!

Wallace refused to comment about how much of a dick he must think his neighbor is, but his agent cracked a joke about it. A joke we will steal:

The living situation sounds like the makings of a great sitcom.

(As always, we would love to hear arguments with compelling anecdotal evidence for or against the basic "Ben Karlin is a dick" thesis laid out here. Comment below or send them here.)

Oenophile Row: Brooklyn Stoopmates Race to Produce Wine-Fraud Flick [NYO]