Baum says, “I’m half of Ted L. Nancy!”

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on November 5th, 2010

There’s a book that’s been selling briskly for a decade or so called “Letters from a Nut”. It’s authored by “Ted L. Nancy,” a nom de plume long thought to be Jerry Seinfeld in disguise. (The Seinfeld rumor was fed by the fact that the multi-millionaire comedian, actor and TV and movie producer wrote the introduction to the book.)

Here’s a description of LFAN, from the book’s page:

What if you wrote to the Baseball Hall of Fame offering to donate a full set of Mickey Mantle’s toenail clippings? Why, they’d be glad to have ’em–even if you are “a Level 4 bed-wetter.” Cooperstown is only one of many institutions terrorized in Letters from a Nut, a collection of crazed correspondence by Ted L. Nancy. The name is a pseudonym, perhaps for Jerry Seinfeld, who wrote the introduction. Seinfeld never comes clean…

But Seinfeld does come clean… sort of.

He’s been making the rounds lately, promoting the book on shows like Larry King Live, And he’s towing the “real author” of the book along with him for the dramatic, on-the-air “reveal.” Ted L. Nancy, we learn, is none other than Barry Marder. (Seinfeld also revealed Marder as the author on NBC’s TODAY.)

There’s only one problem: There’s a co-author to the series of best-selling books– comedian Bruce Baum.

Baum is understandably perplexed by the omission of his name from any talk of the book. He’s taken to YouTube to plead his case, to take it to the court of public opinion.

In his video, Baum delivers his plea to the camera while showing the viewer copies of the original book and its sequels, “More Letters from a Nut” and “Even More Letters from a Nut.” He’s far more calm than we would be! He sets up the controversy by showing clips of Seinfeld and Marder on King’s show and on the NBC morning show, then bolsters his argument by displaying copies of contracts– signed contracts– from Avon Books and signed documents from the U.S. Patent Office!

Back in 2007 or so, according to Ted L. Nancy’s Wikipedia entry, the book was optioned by one television production company then sold to another (Lionsgate, then Fox TV), but the book was never made into a television show. We suspect that Seinfeld is looking to jumpstart interest in making a TV show out of the books again, thus the press tour.

What we don’t quite understand is just how Seinfeld and Marder expect to get away with representing Marder as the sole author.

(And we’re doubly puzzled that Baum hasn’t retained an attorney to take this fight where it belongs– to the courts. Perhaps he has… we have a query or two into Baum– Do you have an attorney on this? Did you see any of the development money? Are you on good terms with Marder? We’ll run his answers in the comments if/when they come in.)