Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Baratunde Thurston on the name.

Full episode out 9/19

I hope he is okay.


I got him. More on that in a minute.

I will be in Rochester, NY at the Rochester Fringe Festival this Saturday and then in Toronto at JFL42 on Tuesday. Please come if you’d like to hang out with me.

So, I got the deaf black cat. For those of you who haven’t been following or need to be brought into the fold I’ve been feeding a feral deaf black cat for over a year. I love the guy. The fact that he can’t hear and lives in the wild just floors me. I think I look up to him. He’s a tough little guy. He usually shows up every few days to eat. I see him sitting on my deck and if he isn’t looking my way I can open the door and almost walk right up to him because he can't hear. I don’t do that because it freaks him out pretty bad.

A week or so ago he showed up on my deck with one of his eyes swollen shut and fluid all over his face which seemed to be coming from the eye. I can only get so close to him and looked to me like his eye had been punctured. I felt awful. This little guy has no ears and now his down to one eye. I felt helpless. I knew I had to trap him. Part of me thought about just letting him ride it out. He’s tough. He can heal. If he doesn’t he lived the life the wild gave him. Then I thought that was ridiculous. He’s an animal in pain and I'm romanticizing him like he’s a pirate or a cowboy. So, I got a trap, the right kind of trap. I put the bait in it when I saw him out there. I watched him smell the food from the outside of the trap and then just sit down and wait for me to bring a real meal. I thought he was onto me. I gave him his food. This happened twice. Again, I was projecting because I thought this cat was a genius. No. He just couldn’t figure out how to get in. So, the third time I put a few tabs of food leading up the food near the trigger of the trap. I got him. I had never seen him up close. I was thrilled to see his eye was still in his head and that he was just abscessed and swollen from something. It was a relief because I knew there was a very real possibility that the right thing to do with him if he had no eye might have been to put him down.

The vet said he would clean him, drain his face, give him some morphine and a fluid drip. He said he would cut his balls off if they were there and I should leave him over the weekend. So, I’m hoping Deaf Black Cat is having as close to a spa/recovery weekend as he can. Obviously if his balls have to go that’s not to too relaxing but I imagine with the meds and the painkillers he might have the best rest he’s ever had in his life. I hope he is okay. I will find out today.

Harris Wittels, a very funny man and writer on Parks and Recreation as well as the creator of the Humblebrag hashtag will be on the show. Great talk. On Thursday author, thinker and humorist Baratunde Thurston sets me straight on race a bit as well as other things.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Harris Wittels is allergic to cats & coke.

Full episode out 9/16

WTF - Hunt Sales on the Iggy Pop riff.

Full episode out 9/12


Glad it wasn’t just me.

Here we go, People-

I’m trying to get a jump on this update thing. It’s Saturday. It seems I can’t really write these unless I’m under pressure.

I will be in Rochester with Nate Bargatze for the Rochester Fringe on Sept. 21st and Toronto for JFL42 on Sept. 24th. Dig it. Get tickets. ALSO, come to the LA Podfest Oct. 4-6. Check out the line up. I'll be there. Crazy.

I may not be as fucked up as I think I am. There is definitely progress. I don’t really like when people say, "Everything is going well for you now. What will you have to complain about?" This is a misunderstanding. Things may be going well but along with things going well there are more responsibilities, more work and the fact that I still have the same fucking brain in my head. It is wired to worry and complain. It is doing it a bit less but it is still trained to do that. I didn’t train it that way. That’s either the way it came or the manufacturers built it that way. The truth is that sometimes worry and complaining become like mental phantom limbs. There is nothing to worry or complain about but the brain still thinks it has to. I have some of those happening. No pills yet, fyi.

The real progress occurred on Wednesday night. I don’t like to admit this but when I don’t do well on stage it kills me. It’s like a punch in the soul's guts. It is pure, unfiltered rejection. You feel. It is palpable. Part of the skill of a comic is to pretend like it doesn’t bother your or address it while it’s happening and try to make that funny. Though the old timers think that’s a big no no.

I went to The Comedy Store. I’m going to be in town more and I have to stay in funny shape. It was a small crowd but not nobody. I went up there third and just couldn’t get over. JOKES I KNEW WORKED! Got nothing. I felt part of me shut down on stage. That part would be my heart. After a certain point I took my heart out of the equation and just let my brain get us through the show. It was only a 15 minute set but it was bad. I hadn’t felt that in a while.

The feeling that I get when I bomb is shame. It’s not like a bad day at work. It’s fucking embarrassing. In the past I would compulsively revisit that shame for days, maybe weeks after it happened. Today is 3 days after it happened and it doesn’t bother me at all. Even if I try to feel it right now it’s just one of those psychic phantom limbs. It’s there but it doesn’t hurt me and I can’t use the feeling foot on that limb to kick the shit out of my heart. It was just a bad night. This amazing growth was also helped along by the fact that I went to The Comedy Store the night after and the dude that works there said that every comic got off stage that night saying it was one of the worst crowds they’ve ever had. Maybe I haven’t grown at all. There is a lot to be said for being able to say, "Glad it wasn’t just me."

Author and podcaster Dan Savage is on the show today. We talk about some gay stuff, some political stuff, some family stuff, some sex stuff. We mix it up.

Years ago when I found out that Hunt and Tony Sales were the rhythm section on Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life it blew my mind. Not because they were so fucking good, which they are, but because they were Soupy Sales' kids. I thought that was amazing. They also played on the first couple of Todd Rundgren’s albums and were in Bowie’s Tin Machine. I’ve been a bit obsessed with Hunt Sales for years. I talked to him in Austin. You can hear that Thursday. Also on Thursday me and Brendon Small have a classic guitar nerd off in the garage.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Dan Savage took a bullet for Marc.

Full episode out 9/9


WTF - Kathryn Hahn needs therapy.

Full episode out 9/5

I am writing this in a panic.

Short and sweet, folks-

It’s late and I spaced out. I am writing this in a panic. I want to stay in touch but the three day weekend screwed me up. So, now I am sitting in a hotel room writing to you, quickly.

I’m in Seattle. I just got finished doing shows at the Bumbershoot Festival and they were awesome as they always are. This is by far the best festival to do comedy at. All the venues are indoors in theaters and the crowds are spectacular. I have to say that I don’t like festivals. I’d like to believe its because I’m getting old but I don’t think I have ever liked them. They are very exhausting. There’s too much humanity all at once. I get emotionally drained. I love seeing bands I like but sometimes it’s hard to focus because there are just too many people doing weird shit everywhere. I zoned in on these 70 year old hippy guys doing the trippy dance nonstop. I was actually concerned for them. I thought if they kept molding the music into trails and orbs only they could see and bouncing around like children that their organs might start falling out of them. Then I thought that they might be the source of the energy of the entire festival. They were the arcane battery of groovy freedom that keeps it all alive. Then I questioned who was being trippy. Jesus, I was getting a contact psychic high from their frenzy. Then I realized that’s a good thing. Why fight it. It wasn’t even a jam band. We were listening to Bob Mould just beat the shit out of his guitar in the most beautiful way possible. That was all I could take. An hour of Bob Mould and I was content.

On Monday I will share one of the best conversations I have had on my show. I interview Ben Sidran. I know. I didn’t know who he was either. His son kept emailing me and telling me I had to talk to his dad because we were a lot alike and we would have a great talk. I googled him and it turns out he is a real deal veteran jazz man with a ton of records and a few books under his belt. I was embarrassed I didn’t know him. I filled my mind up with his stuff and we had an amazing talk about creativity, improvisation and spirituality. Really dug it. On Thursday I talk to Kathryn Hahn about her career and her role in the new Jill Soloway film, Afternoon Delight. Jill is going to join us as well. I went to the premier of the film and it blew me away. It was raw, real, surprising and it addressed women, sexuality and relationship in a way I had not seen. It was a risky balance of emotion, humor and sex that was engaging and moving.

Dig it.

Boomer lives!


It wasn’t horrible but it was close.

Hey, Folks-

I will be at Bumbershoot in Seattle this weekend doing a bit of standup and a live WTF if you are in the Seattle area or if you are already planning on being at the festival I just wanted to let you know I will be there.

Denver, oh Denver, you drunky city. I want to thank everyone who came out the shows at Comedy Works in Denver. It really is one of the best clubs in the world to see and do comedy in. I don’t know if I am getting old or I just never really went out much but Denver is by far the drunkest city I have ever been in. The downtown area specifically is bordering on inebriated on a weekend night, rivaled only by Glasgow in my experience. On both nights I saw drunken couples arguing about nothing on street corners, shirtless men yelling at no one in particular and women hopelessly hobbled by high heels and wasted. That being said I was surprised that I only had one show that was derailed by drunks and it turned out okay. It was a bachelor party. Which is weird because they rarely go to comedy shows because comedians don’t do lap dances and there really is no VIP treatment other than abuse if you’re being idiots, which they were. They weren’t completely out of hand, just a little. In a room as intimate as the Works their stupid drunken neediness for attention, as subtle as it was, was completely distracting and had to be dealt with. Man-babysitting is part of the job of a club comic but it is a skill you hope to not have to use because it can get ugly. It wasn’t horrible but it was close. I did end up showing them my tits and doing a quick pole dance on the mic stand but that only placated them for a few minutes so then I moved into abuse mode and that was draining. I think it was all entertaining but it does make me want to close the doors to all who have no idea who I am and are just there to serve their own dumb drunk needs. But dumb drunk needs are what keep the night clubs in business.

I ate Tres Leches Pancakes at Jelly. I bought a few records at a place called Wax Trax next door. Then I wandered and realized that someone had told me there was a Rothko exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. It was his early stuff showing the transition from form to formless. There were a couple of great pieces in there. I also saw the work of a sculptor named Nick Cave (not that one) and it was astounding and wild. I love when I make myself go see art. I always get something out of it. I was actually moved to sit down at the museum and compulsively write this on my record bag: ‘The courage it takes to commit to a unique vision that requires follow-through, exploration and construction is profound in and of itself. The fact that it can be condescended to quickly and dismissed by minds that demand context is sad. It is sad to be dragged down to their context which is rarely theirs. It is culturally assumed. Lazy.’ I guess I’m working on an ongoing term paper in my mind.

This is a big week for the show as far as I’m concerned. I talked to two of the greatest comedy actors and improvisers ever. On Monday Michael McKean joins me and on Thursday Catherine O’Hara talks to me. It was a true honor to chat with both. I love them. There was a bit of panic around the O’Hara episode. I had been trying to talk to her for years. We had a great conversation. After she left I listened to a bit of the file and there was an annoying static in the recording. It hadn’t come through the headphones which mean it was some kind of computer glitch. It happened once before during Lucinda Williams's songs and I almost lost my mind which I did again with the O’Hara file. Is there some kind of electricity that comes off of me when I talk to women I respect profoundly that fucks up the file? Who knows? The talk sounded fine there was just some annoying intermittent noise. I figured we live in a world where technology can fix everything. I didn’t know what to do so I reached out on Twitter for help and several people volunteered to clean it up and we got a usable file out of it. Declan Quinn, who is a sound engineer for the Smodcast network gave us a fixed file as did Brock McFarlane from CPS Mastering. I appreciate the effort of everyone involved. We saved Catherine O’Hara.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Michael McKean is not a fighter.

Full episode out 8/26


WTF - Tom Segura & Marc Maron talk Fasttrak

Full episode out 8/22

It’s an American Business.

Greetings, good and bad people!

If you live anywhere near Denver, Colorado I will be at the Comedy Works this Friday and Saturday, Aug. 23rd and 24th. It’s one of the great clubs so come down even if you’re not a comedy club person. This place is the real deal.

I’m on a plane coming flying back to LA from Salt Lake City. I did one night at Wiseguys, West Valley. It’s always weird in Utah. I don’t think I am projecting that. There is a very distinct feeling of being someplace remote and odd. I am not trying to be condescending. I may be projecting but one gets the feeling that everyone there has a secret of some kind and the people that aren’t part of it are outsiders.

That secret is to what degree are you Mormon. If you aren’t Mormon you are completely out of the loop, but I talked to different Mormons there. Most of the comics are Mormon. Most of the people are Mormon. For the most part Mormons are all supposed to be on the same page but clearly some are drifting and from what I hear the church isn’t quite sure what to do about that. I really don’t have too much issue with what people believe or how they do it if it is what they want to do. We all have the right to choose how we want our minds fucked and how much that is going to cost us, financially and emotionally and psychologically. Religious affiliation and spiritual community comes with a price. Sometimes it is negotiable, most of the time not so much. There is a literal price with the Mormons. How to keep that money coming in and how to keep track of who owes what is a complicated business that is done through a very organized hierarchy. It’s a big business. It’s an American business. Mormonism: Made in America. I don’t know why they don’t use that slogan.

The reason I love performing in SLC is that there is a real feeling that some people are stranded there. Physically stranded or stranded because they are struggling with the church and trying to figure out how to keep what they like about it in their lives and adjust or defy what they don’t like about it. It’s a deep issue for some people. I think because the religion is so new and so homespun that they haven’t really had to deal with the upheavals that shattered and fragmented the other religions of the world that have been around for centuries into different, more practical branches that are a bit more forgiving. There are also people that are just living there for work.

The fact is that it is a church town through and through. That raises the stakes as a performer in that if you make it real and provocative it means something. There’s an electricity to being on stage in a church town because you feel like you are doing something bad. I love that feeling. I like the people in SLC. I’ve had nothing short of great and truly weird shows there.

This week, on Monday the elusive and mysterious Maynard James Keenan from the bands Tool, Puscifer, A Perfect Circle and others is in the garage. He’s a level-headed dude with a past in pet projects. On Thursday I talk to the hilarious Tom Segura about life and being a comic who is married to comic. Tough stuff. Dig it.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Maynard James Keenan talks wine.

Full episode out 8/19

WTF - Simon Pegg didn’t fly until he was 19.

Full episode out 8/15