I learned to read at an early age. In fact, my kindergarten teacher made me read to the class at storytime so they could see that anyone could learn to read. It was a real honor, and I went home with a lot of badges of honor called black eyes.
Despite that early start — or maybe even because of it — I was not a big fan of reading and books as a kid. Why spend all that energy turning pages when a television could beam stories directly into my head like a conspiracy theorist watching OAN today?
Then I discovered Spider-Man. Well, I guess Stan Lee discovered him. I became a huge fan of the comic books and couldn’t wait until the next month’s issue magically appeared in the rack at the Suwanne Swifty. While other kids learned popcorn words like “the,” “and” and “who,” my popcorn words in the 1970s were “kapow!” “thwack!” and “bazinga!” Actually, that last one might be from some other nerd, not Peter Parker.
Then Hollywood discovered Spider-Man … again and again and again. That’s why I’ve come to Hollywood with my pitch — a Spider-Man reboot starring Steve Buscemi.
“We can’t afford Steve Buscemi.”
“How about Scott Baio?”
“Chachi? Isn’t he, um, like 60-something years old?”
Spider-Man turned 60 years old this year. We need a film that reflects his superhero life at 60 — real issues instead of the usual teen-angst Spidey of recent flicks. Better yet, this would be a great series for Disney+. I’ve already written the first eight episodes, and all I ask is 10 percent of the profits and an autographed picture of Scott Baio.
Episode 1: Crime soars in The Big Apple as The Daily Bugle cuts staff, leaving Peter Parker as its lone photographer. The Green Goblin (played by Morgan Freeman) ransacks the Metropolitan Museum of Art while Peter is stuck shooting a ribbon-cutting for Manhattan’s newest Starbucks.
Episode 2: After an epic battle with an also aging Sandman (John Goodman), Peter Parker goes to see an ophthalmologist only to find out that his vision insurance doesn’t cover sand in the eye, forcing him to get a referral from his primary care physician, which he does by threatening to break his arm.
Episode 3: Battling the Green Goblin at the Museum of Natural History, Spider-Man recalls his days on “The Electric Company” and beats the Goblin by telling him to “st … op, st—op, stop.”
Episode 4: Spider-Man takes the stand when he is accused of molesting Nicole Eggert (poorly played by Amber Heard) during a 1980s TV show. “You were supposedly in charge!” yells the plaintiff’s attorney. “I plead the 5th, zzzaappp!” Spider-Man yells back.
Episode 5: Complaining that his webs aren’t shooting as far these days, Spider-Man is told by his primary care physician (Alan Alda, wearing an arm cast) to eat more dark leafy greens and try some kegel exercises.
Episode 6: Spider-Man rescues Aunt May when she is trapped by Jimmie Walker (played by Jimmie Walker), who threatens to blow her up with dyn-o-mite unless she checks her zip code to see if she’s eligible for more Medicare Advantage benefits.
Episode 7: Peter Parker surprisingly teams up with anti-hero Doctor Octopus (Anthony Fauci) to cure Covid by milking the fangs of archenemy Venom (Tucker Carlson) and selling the antidote through Alex Jones’ InfoWars network.
Episode 8: In a controversial finale already dominating talk shows at Fox News, Peter Parker tells Aunt May that he’s going to propose marriage to M.J. “Oh, I just love Mary Jane!” Aunt May exclaims. “No, Aunt May. I love Michael Jordan.” Guest-starring Justice Clarence Thomas. (Episode not available in Florida by order of the governor.)
Tune in next year for Season 2, which I’ll also write and produce, assuming I get my autographed picture of Chachi.