Dispatches from the Head

I have work to do on myself.

The truth, people-

Hello. How are you? If you are in the Bay Area this week I will be at the Nourse Theater in conversation with Adam Savage from Mythbusters on Wednesday, October 16th. It’s a City Arts and Lectures event. Should be cool. I assume I will be sitting in a comfortable chair next to Adam, chatting. It’s always weird sitting in a big comfy chair next to someone in the same kind of chair and we’ll be the only things on stage. Two people, two chairs, cozy and isolated in a big space in front of people. Should be good.

I’m glad everyone is digging the new special, "Thinky Pain." As the days go by I become more proud of it. By the time I finished overseeing editing and waiting, I never wanted to watch it again . I don’t really need to. The positive response has been overwhelming. I think it’s the best standup work I’ve done. It looks like my life’s work. Every set I do feels that way. It becomes less about the material and more about the ongoing conversation of my life. So, more to be revealed as time goes on.

On the show this week, I'll fill you in a bit on what has been a couple of the most difficult weeks of my life. It’s weird to have the relationship with you that I do. I can’t keep things hidden because I would feel like I was being disingenuous or dishonest. I don’t think most entertainers have the same problem.

The reason that it has been awful is that my relationship with Jessica has ended. I ended it. We had big plans and hopes and it’s over and I am heartbroken and very sad. As you know I am not the easiest man to live with and we had a very lively and passionate and difficult relationship at times. We have been trying to make things work and move forward but it just became too hard and too toxic. It takes two to toxic. I love her very much and I care for her more than anyone I’ve ever been with and I couldn’t make it work. Ending a relationship with someone I still love and care about is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and there’s guilt, sadness, disappointment, heartache, loneliness and anger that I am dealing with and will deal with for a while. I know it was the right thing to do. I want her to be happy and have the life that she wants to have. It just can't be with me. She is a great person with a big heart. I have work to do on myself and I want to be happy as well. I just couldn’t do it in the relationship we had.

I’m not sure I’m cut out for relationships. I keep screwing them up. Maybe someday. Harry Nilsson has been helping me through it.

This week, I talk to Natasha Lyonne about one of the most harrowing drug phases I have ever heard or talked about on the show. The talk was recorded before the release and success of "Orange is the New Black." We talked just before it came out. I’m thrilled for her success and thankful that she shared her story with me. On Thursday I talk to the food critic, Simon Majumdar. I didn’t know what to expect. When I saw him on Iron Chef he always sort of annoyed me but I wanted to know what a food critic’s brain was like and it turns out he’s a sweet smart guy with a nice story. Hope you dig.

Thanks for being there for me.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Natasha Lyonne won’t say her name.

Full episode out 10/14


WTF - Josh Homme talks about opening for Firehose.

Full episode out 10/10


WTF - Laura Dern’s Dad is Bruce Dern

Full episode out 10/7/13

I made it to 50.

Fifty, Folks-

I made it to 50 and I am doing okay. Thanks you for all the birthday greetings and congrats dispatches.

Before I start rambling I just want to invite everyone to come to the LA Podcast Festival. I’ll be doing a live WTF there on October 4th with Dana Gould, Jimmy Pardo, Dave Anthony, Paul Gilmartin and Aisha Tyler. Come if you can.

On the other front, yeah, I made it to 50. I believe I am in good health and I am succeeding in many ways. I am not freaking out. I am doing better than okay. I am doing well. Yet I can’t seem do relationships right. I am trying. Hard. My heart is heavy and I appreciate the fact that you all have had to hear it in my voice over the last few episodes. Thank you for bearing with me if you have actually been listening. I will get through whatever is going on. I am just trying to be a better human. It is a struggle to grow—at 50. I believe it is possible but it can be just fucking awful.

My little Jewy brother told me that my birthday fell on Simchat Torah this year. I am not a god person nor am I a spiritual person but if I am feeling a little emotionally battered I will bend toward the mystic on occasion. I was born on Kol Nidre. I am either a child of collective semitic shame or atonement. I guess that is up to me to decide on any given day. Either way given that it is such a holy day there must have been some mystical significance to that being the night I was born. Again, I only believe that when things are weighing heavy on my heart. The fact that my 50th birthday fell on Simchat Torah, which is the day that the Torah readings for the year end and begin at the beginning again had importance because I am going through some stuff. So, I will look for meaning. Clearly the god that I am unclear about has a plan. I’m not sure what that is but it has something to do with growing through shame and trying to behave differently. Or it has nothing to do with me and I’m just being grandiose and narcissistic and projecting self importance onto serendipity and mythology to feel meaning in my life and find strength and hope. In other words—I believe when it is convenient.

I came to the Meat Puppets late. I guess it’s never too late for music but when I first heard The Meat Puppets II in the late eighties it was a pretty mind blowing bit of business. When I had the opportunity to interview Curt Kirkwood in Austin I jumped at it. He’s a real straight forward guy for a psychedelic genius. I hope you dig the talk. One of the great livers of the wild life will be on the show Thursday. The devilish raconteur that is Joey Diaz laid it out in the garage. Strap in your brain to dig his tales. Great talk.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Monty Hall & Marc talk twitter.

Full episode out 9/26


I love the Fall.

It’s grey, people-

Not my hair. Not all of it. Yet. Outside. I am sitting at the Rochester airport and it seems that fall fell on the world up here just last night. It’s crisp and clear and overcast. This is just the kind of weather that gets me into that melancholic/sad-ish zone that I find poetic and powerful. I love the Fall. It’s one of the things I miss most about living on the West Coast.

It was an amazing experience performing at the George Eastman Theater in Rochester last night. It was definitely the most regal venue I had ever been in. The space was perfect acoustically. The stage was overwhelming in how much of it there was. It’s very challenging to make a venue like that intimate. I think I pulled it off. I filled it with me and than pulled it down to my level. I’m a professional. If you were there thanks for coming out. It was a good one.

I was sitting in my garage on Friday. It wasn’t a good day. Things have been stressful at home and I was just trying to pull my thoughts together and get some peace of mind. I know that everything should be great and many things are, but relationships are hard. There is no way around that. So, I was drained and feeling a bit hopeless. Then, outside, I heard the sound of some animal eating out of the cat dish. In my neighborhood it could be one of many animals. I peaked around the corner and sure enough it was Deaf Black Cat. I hadn’t seen him since I released him back into the wild on Monday and I wasn’t sure he was going to make it out there with new stitches and his lack of balls but there he was. Eating. Tenously, quickly, gulping. Looking at me like he always does with intense defiance and fear simultaneously. I watched him eat. He looked good. He looked like he was healing. It was good to see him. That guy gives me strength. We can make it.

This week on the show from Arliss, The Hollywood Knights, Good Morning Vietnam, Batman and his show Assume the Position, the boisterous Robert Wuhl joins me in the garage to talk about comedy, sports and his relationship with Rodney Dangerfield. Great stuff. On Thursday, on the request of his grandson who emailed me, I went to the home of Monte Hall and talked to him for a while about his career as a broadcaster in Canada leading up to his creation of Lets Make a Deal. Pretty great story.


Boomer lives!


WTF - Robert Wuhl doesn’t live for sports.

Full episode out 9/23


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!