LOS ANGELES—Andy Kaminowitz, 31, a staff writer for the popular Thursday-night NBC sitcom Just Shoot Me, operates under the assumption that everyone he meets watches the show, sources revealed Monday.
"It's kind of weird how he thinks everybody should be familiar with his work," said Frank Scalia, a bartender at Dublin's, a Sunset Boulevard bar frequented by Kaminowitz. "He'll walk in, strike up a conversation with somebody, and casually bring up that he's a writer for Just Shoot Me. Then, he just sits back with this air of expectation, like people are going to have all these questions for him about specific episodes or whatever."
"I mean, I've seen the show once or twice, and I guess it's all right," Scalia said. "But it's not like I plan my week around it."
According to witnesses, whenever Kaminowitz meets someone unfamiliar with the program, he becomes confused and annoyed, unable to comprehend a world that contains people who are not big Just Shoot Me fans.
"He asked what I thought of the line, 'Man, you pretty uptight—even for a white boy,' that [guest star] Snoop Dogg said when Finch quit working for him in the episode 'Finch In The Dogg House,'" said Ellen Prior, 44, who sat next to Kaminowitz in a dental-office waiting room last Tuesday. "I told him I wasn't sure I'd seen that one, but he just went on, saying, 'That line was mine. I didn't get script credit on that episode, but I contributed the best material during punch-up.'"
"I don't even know what 'punch-up' means," Prior added.
Kaminowitz, a Harvard Lampoon alumnus, has held staff-writer positions at a number of programs, including VH1's Pop-Up Video and The WB's Unhappily Ever After. After a two-year stint at Win Ben Stein's Money, he was hired at Just Shoot Me in September 2000, impressing producers with a spec script he'd written for Suddenly Susan. Ever since, he's held fast to the notion that people are familiar with and interested in his work on the show.
"I couldn't believe it," said Doug Hannisch, 38, a frequent customer at Dublin's, where Kaminowitz is known among regulars as "that fucking Just Shoot Me guy." "I once made the mistake of trying to talk to him about the game, just because I was sitting next to him when Monday Night Football was on. So he says to me, 'You watch TV? What did you think of this week's JSM? The part where Elliott and Finch were razzing Maya about the overpriced imported coffee she bought online? That was pulled straight from real life. That's based on my actual sister, I swear."
"I was like, 'What the hell is this guy talking about?'" Hannisch said. "I mean, 'JSM'? Who refers to Just Shoot Me as 'JSM'?"
Eventually, Kaminowitz got up and moved to another seat near Dan Carter, 41, striking up another Just Shoot Me-based conversation. Upon realizing that Carter was not a regular Just Shoot Me viewer and could not name a cast member besides David Spade, Kaminowitz let out a long, dramatic sigh.
"He looks around the bar in disbelief and says, 'Who doesn't know who Wendy Malick is? Or Laura San Giacomo?'" Carter said. "I was like, 'Sorry. Maybe I'd recognize them if I saw their picture. The names don't really ring a bell, though.'"
According to acquaintances of the oft-incredulous sitcom writer, Kaminowitz's distorted sense of the importance of his work dates back to the early '90s, when he was a personal assistant to Ron Wolotsky, then co-executive producer of the HBO comedy series Dream On.
"When Andy got that job, he'd make all these passing references to 'Ron,' as if he expected us know who Ron Wolotsky was," said Melanie Myers, 32, an L.A.-area obstetrician and longtime friend of Kaminowitz's. "It's not like I walk around casually spouting Latin terms for women's reproductive organs and assume everybody's going to understand me."
Neighbor Greg Tan, who has endured numerous Just Shoot Me-related monologues, said Kaminowitz "doesn't get out much."
"Andy puts in really long hours at the show," Tan said. "He'll generally leave his house around 9 a.m. and not get back until well after midnight. From what Andy's told me, for some reason, they make those guys work, like, 70 hours a week. Apparently, that's just common practice on sitcoms. I can't understand why: It's not like they're working to cure cancer. They're writing Just Shoot Me, for God's sake."