Albert Brooks is a regular on Twitter, but he says his continued presence there depends on sales of his first book, "2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America."
The comedian began tweeting about six weeks ago under the username (at)AlbertBrooks to promote the novel, which was released Monday. The book is Brooks' vision of the nation's not-too-distant future. In it, the young and old are at odds, the country has its first half-Jewish president and health care costs are astronomical.
He says he wrote it in part because he thinks most futuristic novels are too unrealistic.
"Everything that talks about what's going to happen is always about Armageddon," Brooks said. "Everyone's dead. Will Smith is walking around trying to find a bird to eat."
In his novel, people are still alive but, "we're not in the world's best shape," he said. "But we're not in the world's best shape now."
Brooks acknowledges his tweets are "like a commercial" for the book but says he at least "tries to be amusing." After news broke of Osama bin Laden's death, for example, he tweeted: "Bin Laden buried at sea. Sharks thrilled. Herring, not so much."
He also has an ongoing Twitter dialogue with fellow comedian Steve Martin. In one exchange Martin wrote, "Hey Albert. I'm on second case of Chianti!" Brooks wrote back, "What are you wearing?"
Brooks says, "I never talk to Steve in real life so it was fun to sort of talk to him occasionally on Twitter. ... It's like someone who I've never really run into much in my whole life."
Brooks follows 12 people _ mostly comedians _ but already has more than 80,000 followers.
As for his future on Twitter, Brooks says it depends on whether followers actually buy the book.
"If they buy it, I'm going to reward them with more comedy tweeting," he said. "If they don't buy it, I am so gone."