Comedy On Tap


Artwork by Jeff Hause on a variety of topics... like girls... life... and how much life sucked when there weren't any girls...

"I'M TIRED OF BEING JEFF HAUSE - THERE'S NO MONEY IN IT" (1990): I got incredibly lucky when I left high school. I signed up at the closest community college, Palomar College in San Marcos, CA, and it just happened to have an AMAZING art department. The illustration instructor was EVERETT PECK, who had worked for Rolling Stone, Time, Playboy, and countless other magazines, and would go on to create the TV show "DUCKMAN." I got to see first-hand how talented and hard-working you really have to be in order to succeed in illustration... and I therefore became a writer, instead.

Not to toot my own horn (but, since nobody else is), I posted this on Facebook and a hero of mine, the cartoonist JAY LYNCH, compared this drawing to the work of HEINRICH KLEY (or maybe he just meant that I looked like Heinrich Kley -- should've asked)!

"EINSTEIN'S SECOND THEORY OF RELATIVITY" (1982): Everett Peck encouraged all of his students to carry a sketchbook everywhere. It was hard for all thirty of us to hold it at the same time, so I eventually bought my own. My earliest sketchbooks were heavily influenced by, you guessed it, Everett Peck, minus the skill and style. Everett is a pen and ink master, and has an amazing ability to create loose-looking drawings that are INCREDIBLY precise. Everett has that ability, Picasso had that ability... I do NOT have that ability -- mine veer between sloppy and massively overworked. This was one of my first pages, trying mightily to copy Everett's style, and failing, but the joke's kinda' cute...

"PLANES OF THE HEAD" (1981): While at Palomar College I lucked into a semester with another great artist named JOHN ASARO, whose figurative paintings are highly sought after. Asaro broke the human form down into planes (creatively, not literally, thank God). Asaro had just left a teaching gig at Art Center to move south, and taught at my JC for two semesters. I did this drawing of a basic head sculture he created, then added the overlay in Everett's class.

FIGURATIVE SKETCHBOOK DRAWING (1983): Transferring to Long Beach State, I took classes with another great artist, JOHN LINCOLN. Our first meeting was not auspicious. He watched me draw a model for a few seconds, then grabbed my newsprint drawing pad and threw it out of the second floor window. He then made me go to the store and buy better paper. While Asaro had stressed anatomical knowledge, Lincoln made me concentrate on line quality and the idea behind the drawing in its composition. Up to that point, the only idea behind my drawings was the joke I was trying to illustrate, and the quality of the graphics came a distant second. "Distant second" in Lincoln's class got your drawing pad thrown out of the window, again. I did this one in an 11"x14" sketchbook, which he generally didn't throw out of windows for fear of hitting a pedestrian and getting sued. In this drawing I excluded the staff that the model was balancing on, giving the impression that he is off-balance or about to fall. Isn't that interesting? No? Throw your screen out the window -- see if I care... Jerk!

ON THE SET OF "THIS IS SPINAL TAP" (1983): My neighbor in the dormitory at Long Beach State, Jamie Murphy, had a cousin in the film business named Karen Murphy. She was the long-time business partner of Rob Reiner, who was directing his first movie. One day Karen invited her cousin to the set, and he brought me along. We witnessed some amazing things: Reiner directing the sequence in the film at the Air Force base, with Fred Willard improvising an entire tour of the hangar, on the spot. Harry Shearer and Christopher Guest devising an airport scene with a cucumber. Somebody then slipped a comic book I had written to Reiner, and he read it between takes. Finally, he called me over and told me how funny it was. Being a snotty 21-year-old kid I immediately pressed my own screenplay onto him (that I just happened to be carrying -- really) onto him, in a breach of all on-set etiquette and common sense. Sighing, he told me to leave my sophomoric, over-written pirate (!) script in his trailer, he went back to directing a brilliant movie that had no script at all. Reiner went on to direct a fantastic pirate film called "THE PRINCESS PRIDE," and I... went on to watch his fantastic pirate film called "THE PRINCESS PRIDE" that had no relation to the crap I wrote in film class -- and never heard from him again.

ROBIN POLO (1983-84) was a girl living in the next dormitory at Long Beach State. Robin was so gorgeous -- she had been a Princess in the Rose Parade and she literally glowed with vitality and beauty. As for me, the only thing I glowed with was colored ink and paint stains on my clothes, which had all turned pink in the wash, anyway (it was my first time living away from home, and I was laundry-challenged). I developed an intense, unrequited crush on Robin, to the point that when Dave and I wrote "ONCE BITTEN" during my first semester in the dorms, we named the female love interest after her. These two drawings were from a drawing session in my dorm room. She studied art history, and I studied her. (Lincoln thought the first one was overworked -- he liked the second one, though; so he didn't throw this sketchbook out of the window!)

DEATH (1983): Both of my grandfathers died while I was at Long Beach State. One lived much longer than anybody expected, while the other's life was cut much shorter than expected. Both died way too soon for me. My sketchbook drawings grew very dark at this point, both in subject matter and in the amount of ink that I poured onto them. I lasted one more semester in college, then dropped out after selling a screenplay and becoming a professional (heh-heh) writer. I was still able to take one of my grandmothers to see my first film when it was #1 at the box office (the other lived in Michigan, but she sent me newspaper clippings -- no reviews, fortunately). Anyway, these were two of the drawings from my sketchbook from the time of their deaths that still have some white paper visible.

JILTED (1984): So, the relationship with Robin Polo ended as you might expect. I named a character in our script after her, and then Goldwyn made me quit school by threatening to dump us and hire full-time writers. So Dave and I moved to Beverly Hills for a month, I bought non-pink clothes, and I visited her at school in my off-time. I even took her to a production meeting for the movie in Goldwyn's offices (in one of the seedier moments in my career, one of the producers offered me $500 to watch us fool around), but I never stood a chance... the movie I wrote for her went to #1 at the box office, and she still went ahead and married the guy she had been engaged to the whole time she had been at Long Beach. He turned out to be a great guy -- he pitched in the Dodger organization and gave me some good locker room stories to use in a baseball screenplay that I was co-writing for Disney. A handsome baseball pitcher with great stories -- I might have married him if she hadn't. Anyway, they're still married and raised three kids -- and she still hasn't seen the movie!

'ONCE BITTEN' SKETCHBOOKS (1983-86): We negotiated our own deal with Goldwyn for "ONCE BITTEN," so by the time of our second rewrite we were totally broke. Not only had we negotiated an extremely bad deal, but the producer had our checks stopped when they didn't like our first rewrite. I was being treated for ulcers at this time, and ended up in the ER for exploratory surgery... and the "ulcers" that everybody assumed I was developing turned out to be a bursting appendix that exploded on the operating table. When awakened in my hospital room the next morning, barely alive, the phone rang. It was the producer, asking when the next draft would be ready. A year later, the film came out and debuted at #1 in the box office. I drove past it every morning, on my way to work at the video counter of Sam Goody for minimum wage. (Public Service Message: "Stay in school, folks!") Here are a few more drawings from my sketchbooks during the writing, production and release of the film... and then a few more when I had blown through all of my money and I was working at the video store.

WORLD SERIES SKETCH (1988): My family was from Michigan, so I grew up rooting for all of the Detroit sports teams (and I was born on the University of Michigan campus, so I have a soft spot for their teams, too). So when my personal baseball hero Kirk Gibson left the Tigers and signed with the Dodgers, I started rooting for that team, too. Gibson was the MVP that year and led the team to the World Series... and Dave's brother-in-law scored us tickets three rows back from the dugout on the first base side... for the 2nd game. So while I missed Gibson's famous home run in Game #1, I did get to see a standing ovation for him before the game, and watch another Dodger victory (Dave was an A's fan -- sorry, Dave). Anyway, 3 seats away from me, with nobody in between, was Magic Johnson, Laker hero (and Michigan State star, BTW). They kept showing him on the Jumbotron and everybody cheered each time. Unfortunately, I was sitting next to him wearing a Detroit Pistons shirt, and was trying to stay out of frame so I didn't get booed. How he squeezed a 6'9" body into that seat, I still have no idea.

VIRGINIA GIRITLIAN (1988) was a Development Exec for Bud Yorkin when they optioned our script "RIGHT HAND MEN". She was very attractive and funny and she thought I was talented, for a gangly, 25-year-old dork with a bad haircut and very little screenwriting experience who couldn't pitch and still lived with his parents -- so I thought we were an obvious match. (You can tell where this is going, can't you?) She asked to read another script we were writing for Disney, and I thought I would charm her with this attached letter. I was very into being self-deprecating, to such a point that most women eventually went, "I get it, you suck. Anything else?" Anyway, she was very kind and didn't say that (she even had this drawing framed on her desk), and when "RIGHT HAND MEN" couldn't find a studio, helped us prepare a pitch for our next screenplay. Then we went on strike with the WGA for several months, Yorkin's option lapsed, and we never saw her again. Now, looking at this drawing, it's apparent that my self-esteem was pretty low, but wow -- I did not like the look of myself at all!!! (Or Dave. Once again, sorry, Dave.)

DIRTY DAN'S (1990): Hey, I'm not proud of it, but when you work behind a desk in your townhouse writing screenplays and jokes all day with the window shades closed so you don't get distracted, and you finish at 11pm feeling stir-crazy, you end up in places like this. Staring at strippers beats staring at drunk, belligerent people with all their clothes on inside a bar (although if you tipped drunk, belligerent people with dollar bills like strippers, they might smile at you, too). We were getting decent money for our screenwriting, but when those scripts aren't getting shot you aren't hanging around any actresses or cute D-girls (not that they would be going out with me, anyway). I went out with several strippers over the course of the 90's, as well as a couple of barmaids (who actually hated horny guys more than the strippers -- and I should know). This was a drawing done while I was waiting to pick up my date, "Sasha" (stage name). And the guys in front of me saw more of her than I ever did. BTW, this was six years before "PULP FICTION." I wonder if this drawing influenced the way Tarantino shot the open briefcase...

WORKING WITH DISNEY (1988): Dave and I worked with Disney twice over the years (and picketed there once with Richard Lewis and the Professor from "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND" for a Guild march -- until one of the writers got too hot and phoned in an anonymous bomb threat in order to break up the protest. There are two sides to the Disney film division: the creative side and the legal side, and they keep the two sides totally in the dark about what the other is doing. That way, you can have a great relationship with the creative team while a corporate lawyer calls your agent and says that unless you want to wait another six months for your money, you will have to accept only 33% of your agreed price, today. Then they fire the creative team and you are suddenly an unwelcome stranger to everyone in the building, who now hate every albatrossian project that was being developed by their predecessor, like yours. "The Happiest Place On Earth" is definitely the park -- not the studio.

COMMERCIAL WORK FROM THE 90s: I was still doing graphic work occassionally during the early 90's. The drawing on the far left was an ad/window sticker for a local surf wax company that I drew an accompanying comic book for. The owner of the company was an old-school longboard surfer who liked to wear a viking helmet and get into fights. Fortunately he liked me as an artist more than a sparring partner and and gave me this job. He also owned a great record store, where I worked for a couple summers between screenplay jobs. I had a great time making the comic, but struggled to find a decent way to draw black and white waves. (Kinda' violent for a newspaper ad, too.) The second is an ad for a production of the Larry Gelbart play "MASTERGATE," performed at the North Coast Rep in San Diego. The play was funnier than the drawing.

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE (2008): Occasionally I'll still sketch up an idea onto an envelope or doodle onto a napkin in a restaurant, but I got out of the habit of journaling while writing screenplays, because I'm still thinking in pictures when working on a film, and by the time I'm alone and can draw, what's left of my creativity is asking for rest, junk food and a TV show. Anyway, here's one that somebody wanted for a tattoo. I talked them out of it -- making all those little fish would hurt!

TRAVEL SKETCHBOOK (2009): Once I got married, I gave up screenwriting for the most part and started to travel. When I was young my family always traveled to see people, not places. But my wife encouraged me to go for the experience. So in 2009 we went to Spain, Portugal and Morrocco. There was a swine flu epidemic going on in Madrid, so everybody was wearing facemasks. I brought a sketchbook and did some hasty, scratchy drawings, then doctored a few digital photos and pasted them in. Morrocco was magical, but modern culture was seeping in -- I witnessed a solitary Berber riding his donkey out of the hills to sell his hand-made wares at the kasbah -- while screaming into his cellphone like he was a driver stuck in rush hour traffic on the 405 freeway in LA.

COMIC BOOKS (1979-1990): These were printed over the course of a decade. The first was created during my senior year of high school, and was financed by my psychiatrist, George Sargent. (A teacher at my school had seen one of my drawings and it was recommended by the school counselor that I seek therapy. Fortunately, the guy they sent me to realized that I was just a goofy kid trying to shock people into laughing and actually encouraged me to do more cartooning. (Here's an abandoned wrap-around cover.) The second comic book was done in college, and I sent a copy with a fan letter to my hero, cartoonist R. CRUMB, and got a nice response, not counting the part in which he says I look like a girl, and need to get a haircut. The third comic was a job for a surf wax company. For those who care (i.e., me), this comic was illustrated with a brush instead of a pen, so the waves would flow better.

MY FIRST MOVIE (1981) animated; This is humiliating because it's so amateurish (okay, it's not like the rest of this stuff is polished, but this is REALLY amateurish), and the only animation that I ever attempted. It's triply-humiliating because not only was Everett Peck the instructor, but one of my classmate was RON HUGHART, who would go on to direct "REN AND STIMPY," "FAMILY GUY," and a million other things. At the end of the semester, Ron turned in a beautiful, 5-minute film, perfectly syncopated to music. I turned in this mess. On the bright side, while the background for the photo is one I did to frame it a few years later, the real, far-superior background for the actual film is by a brilliant artist named LENNIE MacDONALD, who is now a successful special effects guy in Hollywood, and his work probably got me a far better grade than I deserved from Everett. You can see the whole movie here.

"BEACH BUNNIES IN CHAINS," ILLUSTRATED (1981): This was a series of illustrations that we turned into the producers with our first screenplay assignment. I obviously had no idea that budgeting mattered, or the difference between animation and live action, because this stuff wouldn't have helped the filmmakers at all. "Okay Jeff, we WILL build the 'Terrorist Club' with the massive water fountain out front with statues of gunmen shooting each other and water shooting out of bulletholes like blood! And yes, we WILL have the waitresses inside delivering smoking Molotov cocktails on drink trays with actual fish wriggling around in their fishnet stockings! Thanks for your guidance!"

RODNEY DANGERFIELD: In 1990 Warner Bros. hired us to write a screenplay with Rodney. Meanwhile, I had re-enrolled at Long Beach State to get my illustration degree. I did this watercolor of Rodney for my night class. I wish I could tell you that it was a life study, but the VP at Warner Bros. wouldn't allow us to write with him because, "he's crazy." While we wrote the script, Rodney sued Caesars Palace in Las Vegas when his eyes were burned in a hotel steambath (they claimed he was stoned). Rodney would show up at his office in the studio every day wearing a blue terrycloth bathrobe with nothing on underneath. One producer met with him as he rode an exercise bike and was afraid Rodney's testicles were hanging so low that they were going to get caught and wrapped up in the gears. So this painting is at eye-level. You're welcome.

"BACHELORMAN" SCRIPT COVER (1994): On the day we turned in the script, we had couriers from eight production companies waiting at Steve's for a copy of this script, ready to bid. We had just sold a spec for half a million dollars and we were "hot." By that afternoon, we were no longer "hot" and Steve called us to say he was pulling the script. One producer called it the most offensive script that he had ever read. Ten years later, we finally got the film made and it was actually accused of being too safe and sitcom-like (we had no money, so it was shot on stages like a sitcom). Were we 10 years ahead of our time or 10 years behind? You decide. (FYI: The essential 1994 bachelor supplies in the drawing were: Hair protein, Michael Bolton tickets, condoms, car key fobs for Ferrari, BMW and Lotus, crotch stuffing, and a "Dumb Things I Gotta Do" list with "Eat," "shit," and "sleep.")

LIFE DRAWING STUDIES (1980-2000): I love to draw people in real time -- no photographs, no plaster models, and no artfully-obscuring clothing. You just concentrate on the anatomy -- where the muscles and tendons connect; how they hang on (or off) the bone. John Asaro taught me how the body curves and connects, how flexing one muscle affects another muscle, and why the anatomy works the way it does. John Lincoln pushed me to take what I had learned and apply it to artwork, i.e., convey an idea with a line instead of just copying form. He once said, "That's a virtuoso line," (being kind so I'd listen) then added, "but WHY IS IT THERE?" That question really challenged me to think as I drew instead of just copy, but frankly I'm still not sure why ANY of these lines are here, except they were fun to make. There are also a couple of drawings I made of girlfriends. These are generally unfinished because, well, I had a naked girlfriend in front of me, so the idea I was conveying to her had nothing to do with drawing.

Jeffrey C. Hause

When he hasn't been drawing the crap you see above, Jeff has been written professionally (in a very amateur fashion) for entertainers like Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Rodney Dangerfield, Gabe Kaplan, Rick Dees, Rush Limbaugh (sorry) and other people he'd rather not tell you about. He's also written screenplays for producers like Ivan Reitman, Richard Donner, Ray Stark, Lawrence Turman, and Samuel Goldwyn Jr., at studios like Warner Bros., Disney, Universal, Columbia, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Franchise Pictures, Interscope Communications and The Hallmark Channel. His credits include "ONCE BITTEN", "A LITTLE BODY (OF) WORK", "DESPERATE BUT NOT SERIOUS", "BACHELORMAN", "PIRATE CAMP", and "HOLIDAY BAGGAGE". He is currently working on the book "RING-TAILED ROARER: DAVY CROCKETT FROM STUMP TO SCREEN". In his spare time, he worries that this is all meaningless and stares into a great, dark, gaping abyss as the earth crumbles around him and all hope for the future is lost. E-mail his agent for his comedy rates. Here's his résumé & e-mail.