“Gleefully wacky and irreverent.”

–The New York Times

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”

–The New York Times

“Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.”

–Steve Martin

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet.”

–The New York Times

“Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril.”

–David Sedaris

“Quips fall with the regularity of the autumn leaves.”

–Associated Press

July 31, 2015

How To Make a List

list1. Congratulate yourself on deciding to make a list.
2. Find a scrap of paper – I like to steal the notepads from hotel rooms for just this purpose. I will also sometimes use notepads which I inherited from my mother, with the letterheads from companies she worked at thirty years ago. The backs of envelopes are also good, especially tiny little envelopes.
3. Find a non-working ballpoint pen. Scribble furiously, trying to make the ink flow. Throw the pen away, wondering if pens should be recycled in some way. Find a working pen.
4. Title the list in capital letters. Underline the title many times. You’re on your way!
5. List the first item. For a moment, be unable to think of any additional items (this counts for lists of party guests, office supplies, books you want to read, or a To-Do list for activities like renewing your passport, getting a haircut and buying toilet paper.) Ponder if a list with a single item even counts as a list.
6. Making a list is like writing a novel – just plunge in, and ideas will start to flow. No, I’m wrong – making a list is much more practical and satisfying than writing a novel. Although of course, nowadays many film and cable companies are happy to option the lists compiled by celebrities, or their ghost-listers.
7. Rank the items on your list in terms of importance, using an improvised, incoherent system of stars and checkmarks.
8. Because your list is handwritten, you realize that you can’t read your own handwriting. Go over the list and spell out the most important items in big block letters.
9. By this point, your list should look so haphazard that it could be used as evidence at a competency hearing, and not in your favor.
10. Stare at your list, especially if it’s written on a paper napkin, and decide that if you were Picasso, that napkin would be worth millions at auction.
11. Fold your list into a tiny, grimy little square.
12. Lose your list.
13. Find your list months or years later, and feel good because either A) You’d accomplished everything on the list or B) You accomplished nothing on the list and it’s too late to do anything about it now.
14. Turn the list over and start making a new list on the back.