“One of the funnest parts of writing my novel about a fictive famed standup comic was the creation of a parallel pop culture that mirrored and coexisted with the pop culture we knew and loved from the decade of the aughts. My protagonist Sirius Lee, a Chinese American, attends a predominantly white high school in Los Angeles that’s featured on a reality show similar to MTV’s Laguna Beach, which ran from 2004 to 2006 and was later spun off into The Hills, which would run for the rest of the decade. In this high school in “Guernica Beach,” Sirius meets the daughter of his eventual comedy mentor Johnny Razzmatazz, who I imagine as a cross between Andrew “Dice” Clay and Ozzy Osbourne. The show Johnny’s on is entitled The Family Razzmatazz, an obvious allusion to The Osbournes, which was a hit on MTV from 2002 to 2005.
Looking back on Laguna Beach and The Osbournes, it’s hard to believe that we watched these silly shows in large numbers.”