The Screenwriter Starlet Joke In Mr. Harrigan’s Phone: Explained

Screenwriter Starlet Vulgar Joke – Welcome to an exploration of Hollywood’s “Screenwriter Starlet” joke and its relevance within the film industry. Here, we delve into its origins and effects through both real-life circumstances and from John Lee Hancock’s Netflix horror film ‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,’ where it plays out against Mr. John Harrigan (portrayed by John Lee Hancock himself), an isolated businessman who forms an endearing friendship with Craig (portrayed by Jon Davison), an aspirant screenwriter in Hollywood who eventually becomes his protegee.

As the story unfolds, Harrigan, who leads an isolated life, becomes increasingly concerned about Craig’s prospects in the film industry. Although including him in his will and providing ample funds for education and career goals, he clearly disapproves of Craig becoming a screenwriter; therefore, he assigns Craig a unique task: find an internet joke about screenwriters to demonstrate its perceived worthlessness.

To fully comprehend this joke and its influence on Craig’s journey, we must explore its origins and why it remains part of Hollywood lore.

The Origins of the Screenwriter Starlet Vulgar Joke

The Origins of the “Screenwriter Starlet” Vulgar Joke

The “Screenwriter Starlet” joke has its origins deep within Hollywood history. It can be traced to its early days of film production in the 1920s and 30s when Hollywood was still a predominantly male-dominated industry, often placing women into supporting roles both onscreen and off. This joke originated as part of that culture’s legacy; at its root lies this term used for all female screenwriters (or “screenwriter starlets” as it was called back then).

At that time, young women came to Hollywood hoping to become actresses – hoping to capture all the glamour and glitz that Hollywood offered – only a select few were fortunate enough to achieve stardom, and many struggled against obstacles that stood in their way of success as actors. After experiencing rejection in their attempts at acting careers, some turned instead to screenwriting as an alternative route towards success.

But their journey was not without difficulty. Entering into an industry dominated by men was fraught with discrimination and harassment from male colleagues, often seen as easy targets for sexual advances by their counterparts. This created the “Screenwriter Starlet” joke – symbolic of women striving to break into the industry.

Over time, this joke developed into one that depicted these women as shallow opportunists using their looks to gain an advantage in Hollywood rather than developing their writing skills. It reinforced the stereotype that female screenwriters held little power or influence within Hollywood and were only used as conduits to sell scripts without holding any significant authority or real power over anything but script sales.

At its core, this joke highlighted the stark disparity between the power wielded by studio heads and executives – who controlled casting decisions and star-making – and that held by screenwriters who seemed powerless compared to studio executives and studio heads. For individuals like Mr. Harrigan, who prioritized authority and control above all else, professions lacking these characteristics were seen as undesirable careers.

However, it’s essential to recognize that this perception of screenwriters is outdated and no longer reflective of modern film industry realities. Screenwriters have since become key figures in creating films with great creative influence – yet the ongoing joke about “Screenwriter Starlets” serves as an alarming reminder of historical biases within the industry and the need for change.

What is the Screenwriters' Joke in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

What is the Screenwriters’ Joke in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone?

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” is an iconic comedy with this famous joke as its centerpiece. After Mr. Harrigan passes, Craig, his young protege, receives a letter from him containing all the humor behind the “Screenwriter Starlet” gag.

Harrigan strongly disapproves of Craig’s career goal to become a screenwriter. To demonstrate why Harrigan finds this occupation undesirable and why Craig should reconsider their choice as an individual, Harrigan suggests searching online for jokes featuring these keywords: screenwriter and starlet. According to Harrigan’s theory, such humor would better illustrate why Harrigan considers the profession unfavorable – in turn leading Craig back down an alternative career path.

Harrigan describes one of the oldest inside jokes as follows: “One of the oldest inside jokes out there involves an actress so stupid she slept with a screenwriter to advance her career – an anecdote likely originated during early 20th-century’s limited influence of screenwriters during that period.

Hollywood was then dominated by powerful studio heads and executives who made casting decisions and established stars; even directors had less power than these titans of the industry. Screenwriters played relatively minor roles in filmmaking – their primary function was selling screenplays rather than having any direct control over what ended up onscreen.

Harrigan was known to value authority and influence over all else; thus, his distain for this profession was palpable.

Harrigan shared this joke with Craig to dissuade him from pursuing an ineffectual profession; Harrigan cared deeply about Craig and wished he chose one with some authority – however, Harrigan was stuck in an outdated paradigm that did not account for how screenwriters have changed in modern film industries.

Screenwriters play an invaluable role in shaping cinematic narratives and characters, wielding great creative power. However, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’s lasting joke is a poignant reminder that historical biases and misperceptions persist in modern society.


To conclude, the “Screenwriter Starlet” joke originating in early Hollywood indicates historical biases against women trying to enter the film industry. While initially intended as an ironic commentary on the limited power of screenwriters, this gag has come to symbolize shallow opportunism within filmmaking circles.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” employs humor as a strategy used by an older character from another time and place to dissuade a young protégé from becoming a screenwriter. While Mr. Harrigan had good intentions at that point, they failed to grasp the current reality of the screenwriting industry.

Today’s screenwriters are undoubtedly invaluable contributors to filmmaking’s creative process, yet their “Screenwriter Starlet” stereotype remains an indicator of Hollywood’s past biases and shows why diversity, inclusivity and empowerment for all individuals, regardless of gender, are so essential in today’s Hollywood.

As we navigate the ever-evolving film industry, we must challenge outdated stereotypes and recognize screenwriters’ contributions, giving them the credit and respect they deserve. By doing this, we can promote an inclusive and equitable industry that acknowledges all voices shaping cinema.

Also Read: What Does C C C aa, a a. C C C x, and C C C s T Mean in “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”?