Filmmaking is hard. No, that's not quite right. It's nearly impossible. "Movies aren't made," said Spielberg, "they are forced into existence." Even a small, zero-budget, short film made with friends and family is a huge effort.

I know, I've made shitty short films. I have poured myself into my own projects, having expended massive efforts and my own resources, so when I criticize or make fun of Hollywood I am in no way denigrating the efforts of the people involved.

But too often the level of effort and the desire of the filmmakers is held up as a shield to deflect harsh judgments. You've heard it a thousand times. One of the actors or the director will say, "Everyone involved worked really hard. We all wanted to create the best film possible."

I don't fucking care.

Effort is not the goal. Everybody works hard on their film projects, at every level, from the lowest budgets to blockbusters dwarfing the GDP of Spain.

Results are the goal. Hollywood has been generating fucking awful results for decades and they know it. You can tell because they consistently blame everyone and everything except themselves.

One of the things I had to admit to myself was I had no clue how to tell a good story using moving images. Film schools can teach you how to shoot, and the basics of editing (the single most important job on a film) (after the writer) (of course), and how to format a screenplay, but almost nobody is teaching storytelling.

When the opportunity arose to sit in a class and learn at the knees of the great Stewart (Rebel Without A Cause) Stern and the eternally-pleasant Tom Skerritt, I jumped. It was a brilliant, intense, exhausting education which can be summarized thusly:

Screenwriting is the hardest writing in the world, and vanishingly few people understand how to do it well.

Telling a story through visual media is unbelievably difficult, and more delicate than your ex's ego. Which is not at all news to anyone who writes for a living. Kudos to you, if you can pay the bills from such a horrible, demeaning, and thankless profession. I would rather clean sewers with a plastic spork.

As if that wasn't enough, let's go one giant leap beyond, because comedy is the hardest screenwriting of all. By which I mean, intentional comedy and not the "so bad it's funny" comedies.

First, you're writing a screenplay, which is enough to make the pope swear in the woods. The next problem can best be explained by the Venn diagram below, which I generated from 33.714 petabytes of data.

You might be able to write a tolerable script but you are simply not funny, except to the people who feel obligated to laugh at your stupid shit. OK, not even them, hence the term "obligated."

The final wrench in the machinery of a comedy film is this: people are very particular about what they find funny and what they [Mrs. Howell voice] certainly do not find funny.

Making a movie some people will laugh at is monstrously difficult. Making a film everybody finds funny is mathematically impossible.

Take a look at the trailer for the upcoming Long Dumb Road embedded below.

The one guarantee of a supremely unfunny film: when the trailer has to tell you it's a comedy. I mean, come on! If you have to tell me it's a comedy then your stupid movie is just a stupid movie with an extra helping of moronic content.

I'm a big fan of Jason Mantzoukas. Few people can do scarily charming insane quite like him but you know that shit will get old after, say, five minutes. Garlic is a delicious seasoning but don't ask me to eat just garlic, knowwhatImean?

The next sign of a terrible not-funny comedy are the potty and genital jokes. Nobody got kicked in the balls during Groundhog Day. Not literally, anyway.

The final deal-killer for a comedy trailer is whether it makes me laugh. Can't remember the last time I laughed at a comedy teaser but I know it used to happen. Back then, though, too often the trailer contained all the funny parts, so you already knew the jokes when you saw the movie.

Tell me that never happened to you.

These days, when I see a trailer with a pull quote saying "Hilarious!" I know of all the things the film might be, hilarious is definitely not one of them.

We don't know the context of that single word endorsement. For all we know, it could be, "Know the best joke? The director thinks he's funny. Hilarious!"

Fear not, dear readers, comedy hasn’t been completely murdered by the Humorless Scolds of the KGB, I mean the PC police. Yet. (Ever notice that the initials spell PCP? Coincidence? You decide.) I wouldn't leave you on such a downer note. Well, not without a really good reason, which I don't have, so I won't.

Check out the trailer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel below.

Oh, that's right. This trailer made me laugh. The people behind this series found a very clever way to work comedy into a story: tell jokes. Genius! And they are great jokes, too.

The show is a jab in the eye of the people who try to shut down speech they don't like in the name of freedom. They set it in just the right era: 1954. It wouldn't surprise me if they selected that year specifically to bring in a real-life character who is well known to readers of The 405, most recently through an interview with his daughter in these very pages.

Look, far be it from me to tell you what you will or won't find funny. All I can say is I can't wait for season 2. And if you don't like it, you're an idiot. With no humor. And probably scabies. Or hair plugs. Very likely a protester. Possibly all of the above.

So go watch it, already.