“I Suck at Girls” By Justin Halpern (It Books, 192 pgs., $17)
Justin Halpern will always be in debt to his father.
In 2009, the aspiring TV writer moved in with his parents after a bad breakup. For fun, he started a Twitter feed — @S---MyDadSays — where he chronicled his father’s expletive-laden life lessons. Halpern became an Internet sensation; a book and a (canceled) sitcom followed.
Halpern mines his personal life for humor again in his second book, “I Suck at Girls.” It traces the ups and (mostly) downs that took him from awkward adolescent to a happily married man.
Q: Your comedic voice really shines through in your essays. Has it been harder for you to get your personality out writing for TV?
A: A little bit, because I haven’t been doing it long enough to be really good at it yet. Or even to be good at. I’m still learning, whereas I’ve been writing essays and stuff for 10 to 12 years, so it’s a little easier to express myself there.
Q: Working on “$..! My Dad Says,” the sitcom, did you feel like everything was falling apart?
A: No, because our ratings were never terrible. I didn’t have that sky-is-falling feeling. I definitely thought creatively it was way different than I had first envisioned, so I knew that.
Q: You’re adaptting “I Suck at Girls” into a sitcom with “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence. It seems like he will fight to keep your vision, considering he was able to keep “Cougar Town” alive.
A: I’m actually writing on “Cougar Town” next season. I’m excited to have a job. I think it’s going to find a big audience on TBS and they’re going to be happy they picked it up. I just hope I don’t screw it up.