Specialties: Creative Writing, Parody, Memoir, Humor, Satire
Ellis is a widely published bestselling author and the only person who has written for all three of America’s premier humor publications of the last fifty years. He has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker since 1979 and an editor of National Lampoon—his work can be seen in the current documentary Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead. He was also a columnist for the late, much-lamented, Spy magazine.
As a long-accomplished parodist, Ellis has copied (and mocked) the prose styles of the great and the near-great, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Herman Melville, Joan Didion, Martin Heidegger, Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Updike, John Irving, John Lilly, the Italian Futurist Filippo Marinetti, Ayn Rand, and—who else?—Ernest Hemingway. His parody of Frank Herbert’s Dune has become somewhat of a cult classic. His ability to absorb and replicate another writer’s rhythm, tone, and style make him a particularly effective ghostwriter and developmental editor.
Ellis is author or co-author of numerous books, including the bestselling Yiddish With Dick and Jane, How to Raise a Jewish Dog, How to Profit from the Coming Rapture, Santa Lives! Five Conclusive Arguments for the Existence of Santa Claus, the comic mysteries Drop Dead, My Lovely and The Big Boat to Bye-Bye (NAL), and the middle-grade children’s series, The Templeton Twins Have an Idea and The Templeton Twins Make a Scene. His novelization of the movie Howard the Duck won wide praise, in sharp contrast to the movie itself.
He has taught comic writing at UCLA and published the definitive appreciation for the author Stephen Potter (One-Upmanship) in the Los Angeles Review of Books.