By Henry Johnson AB '18
Michael Colton '97 is a humorist and screenwriter, most recently of A Futile and Stupid Gesture, which tells the story of National Lampoon’s founding. The film will be released on Netflix on January 26 following a premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. With writing partner John Aboud ’95, Colton also scripted Penguins of Madagascar and The Comebacks, as well as episodes of Childrens Hospital and Newsreaders. He has appeared as a commentator on several VH1 shows, including Best Week Ever and I Love the ‘90s.
Q. When did you realize you wanted to go into comedy?
A. Like almost every comedy writer I know, I wrote a humor column in my high school newspaper. (Our faculty adviser, paranoid about lawsuits, insisted the column be called “Just Kidding,” which is a horrible name for a column.) I fell in love with crafting jokes and getting a reaction from people. But it was a long time before I thought I could be a screenwriter. I interned at newspapers all through college and wrote for the Washington Post for a couple years after graduation. It was a fantastic job and I was lucky to have it. And I will always be a newspaper addict (print subscriber for life!). But I realized that what I loved about journalism was the writing aspect, not the reporting. I wasn’t a great investigator and didn’t care about landing scoops. I wanted to tell stories and make people laugh. So being a screenwriter was ultimately a better fit.Read more