Justin Halpern may very well be the first successful example of a digital era writer. Halpern’s Twitter feed @s–tmydadsays brought the San Diego comedian unprecedented social media success, and most impressively a major CBS sitcom deal (which turned into the erstwhile William Shatner vehicle, $#*! My Dad Says). Now, Halpern is giving readers another taste of his father’s wisdom in I Suck At Girls, his new novel that’s part memoir, part romantic comedy and all side-splitting confessional.
EW caught up with Halpern before the May 15 release of his brave compendium of unfortunate interactions with girls (leading up to his eventual marriage) and pressed him about what it took to admit to the world: I Suck at Girls.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So you got the opportunity to choose any movie to lose your virginity to, and you chose A Few Good Men?
JUSTIN HALPERN: [laughs] Yeah, that just sort of goes along with the theme of the book, that I never really made the right choice when it comes to girls. I do love that movie. I don’t know why. I guess I thought that it was slow enough at the start. I expected more out of myself, like I would start a little earlier, and then by the time I worked up the courage to start, it was already into the “Who ordered the code red!?” Basically the movie got way more interesting than I did.
Confessing how bad you are with girls is a pretty brave thing to do. What inspired you to write it all down?
I just felt like there were a lot of books for people that score with the ladies all the time, and then there are a lot of books for people that were total social outcasts who really went through a lot just to live a normal life. And I didn’t feel like there was a lot of that in between, where I felt most people fell, including myself, and I was like, you know what? People share way more embarrassing stories than these. Maybe I can just give them something that makes the common person feel like they have a kindred spirit.
It falls in that in between area for sure. There are some wins, there are some losses.
There are not a ton of them, but yeah. I kind of came to the conclusion after I did finally get married that love and relationships are just a series of horrific losses with hopefully one win. The best you can hope for is at the end of the day you get one win, so it’s kind of the opposite of everything else we do in our lives, and I thought that that was kind of interesting.
It’s also interesting that the book essentially plays out like a romantic comedy mystery. Will he propose? Will she say yes? Will he ever lose his virginity?
I’m glad that it did. That’s what I was going for. I’m really glad that that came through, you saying that.
And it also plays like a love letter to your wife Amanda, in a sense.
Yeah, definitely. I structured the first book kind of as a love letter to my father. I really wanted to do that. And then this book, I really wanted that for her, too, but in a different way. You know, the first book’s about my dad, and he’s such a larger than life kind of character, and Amanda’s… not that. [laughs] I also know that nobody, ultimately, gives a s–t about me as I tell these sort of universal stories. So I tried to make it as subtly as possible a love letter to her so that there was something that the reader could kind of grasp on to.
What did Amanda say about it? Has she read it?
Oh yeah. I have everybody who’s in the book read it, and usually I sit with them and go over the story while I’m writing. She didn’t love the chapter where I had sex with a cocktail waitress that I was working with. She did not love that chapter. She did what I do when I eat seafood (I don’t eat seafood), where you say, “I can appreciate this, it’s a good piece of fish, but I don’t like eating it.” But she ended up enjoying the book, and she was really worried. She’s pretty private. She was mostly just shocked at how clueless I was several times in the book. She was like, “God, why were you so bad with women?”
NEXT: Justin’s famous dad’s thoughts on I Suck At Girls