questionmarkWhat the heck is a two-handed comedy? Google turns up lots of two-handed comedies, but no one explains what that means.

— jb

I don’t know if Variety invented it, but it shows up in their slanguage dictionary:

two-hander — a play or movie with two characters; ” ‘Love Letters’ has been one of the most popular two-handers of the ’90s.” (See also: one-hander)

It’s worth looking through Variety’s made-up words list to help figure out what the hell they’re saying. In about 10% the cases, they’ve coined a term for something that probably merited a word (“kudocast,” “lense”). The other 90% are just color (“distribbery,” “ayem”).

The term that gets the most play is “ankle”:

ankle — A classic (and enduring) Variety term meaning to quit or be dismissed from a job, without necessarily specifying which; instead, it suggests walking; “Alan Smithee has ankled his post as production prexy at U.”

This is probably an example of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: in Hollywood, no high-level executive is ever fired. They simply leave their job. By using a deliberately ambiguous term, Variety maintains the illusion that everything happens by choice.

Trivia: It’s hard to believe, but Variety apparently first coined the term “sex appeal.”