ABOUT THE PLAY
LAUGHTER ON THE 23RD FLOOR
By Neil Simon
Max Prince is the star of The Max Prince Show, a popular comedy-variety series that is a major hit on the East Coast, but network executives insist that it’s too sophisticated for the Midwest, and urge Prince to dumb down his act. The tensions of producing an hour of top-quality comedy and being pestered about his ratings, sees Max begin to unravel. His last line of defence against both the network and the ratings is one of the greatest writing staffs in all of television and Max knows it, but the network doesn’t care.
Each of the writers in the room has their own foibles and idiosyncrasies that hide the larger issues happening in their lives. As a backdrop, there’s the fear of McCarthyism that is spreading across the nation that even affects what happens in the writers’ room on the 23rd Floor. They spend their working days coming up with business for the show while hurling humorous invective at each other and anyone else within earshot.