Local Funny Man Turns To The Funnies?

TV comedy writer and area resident Jeff Corriveau has turned to print media. This week, he's making his debut in the Valley Sun with his comic strip, "Deflocked."

"Ever since I was a kid, I'd always liked comic strips," said Corriveau.

The strip chronicles the adventures and mishaps of four outcasts: Mamet, Cobb, Rupert, and Tucker. Every week, readers will see just what happens when you mix up a cynical sheep, two dogs, and an 8-year old boy as they all tackle the absurdities of daily life.

Corriveau moved to La Crescenta ten years ago, answering Hollywood's call to be an actor but soon found himself writing for late night television.

"I just remember watching some of these late night talk shows and I thought to myself, 'I can do better than that.'"

He gathered the best of his material into promotional packets and sent them out to all the late night comedy shows. Within a few weeks he got calls back from the "Tonight Show," "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn," and "Saturday Night Live."

"I remember the producer for 'Weekend Update' called me on my home phone," said Corriveau. "It was so bizarre."

The work continued as he found himself a co-head writer on "Talk Soup." But when the work turned into writing shows like "100 Biggest Celebrity Oops," and "What Hollywood Taught us About Sex," he started to wonder about the value of his work.

"The money was very, very good. But I started to feel like holes were being popped in my soul every time I sat at the keyboard." Corriveau laughed. "I just couldn't write another Paris Hilton sex joke."

He took a sabbatical, retreating to his house in Sparr Heights for some soul searching. He found inspiration in a memory he shared with his cousin as a child. Corriveau described a moment he shared with his cousin, when the two of them spent an entire day reading Charles Shultz's "Peanuts." Having always been a fan of strips like "Peanuts," "The Far Side" and "Calvin and Hobbes," he wondered what it would be like to create his own strip. The only problem was he couldn't draw.

"If you took a dog and you put his paws in an ink pad he would do better than what I do."

He taught himself to draw and then wrote, and wrote, and wrote. After filling three sketchbooks and 600 pages, the strip was done. He sent them out with high hopes … and they were all rejected.

"I thought it was tough trying to get into television writing, but when it comes to comic strips … ," Jeff said.

Daunted, but not down, he retooled the idea, this time making Mamet (the cynical sheep) the central character. Six months and several incarnations later, "Deflocked" is making its debut in the La Cañada and Crescenta Valley Suns.

"I'm really excited about being in the Valley Suns this week. I hope readers will take to the strip and it creates bigger publicity for the paper."

Jeff Corriveau can be reached at deflocked@att.net. His comic strip appears on page A18 of today's paper.

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