Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Craig Finn talks Divorce

Full Episode out 5/31

I related to the Hulk.

Okay, People-


It’s Memorial Day and I don’t usually think about it much. I am today. First off, before I get too self-involved and offend anyone for trivializing an important day, for those of you out there grieving or remembering family or friends who were lost in the line of duty in any of the many wars, for right or wrong, my heart goes out to you. Loss is a horrible, powerful reality of being alive. We are equipped to process it no matter how horrible.

Now, to make it about me and my loss at the moment.

There’s been this stray cat hanging around my house for a couple of years. I thought it was a girl and honestly I thought it was somewhat of a bitch. She always seemed very entitled and had an attitude. Obviously I had anthropomorphized the cat and created a codependent relationship. I had a thing, a dynamic, with the cat. I liked having it around. I hadn’t seen it in a week or so and she showed up a couple of weeks ago looking bad. She was skinny, losing her hair in clumps, not moving much, not grooming herself, convulsing a bit, having a hard time breathing, just a mess. She was howling for no reason. This is a feral cat. I couldn’t just pick her up and take her to the vet. I haven’t even touched her in two years. I got a trap, the nice kind, trapped her with some food and brought her to the vet. He said she was a he and that he had been neutered and he had a horrible upper respiratory infection. They did tests and I left him there until morning for the results because if I hadn’t and he needed treatment of some kind I would have had to trap him again. He’s not falling for that twice.

The blood test came back FIV positive. He could have been beginning his slow decline. I didn’t know what to do. I tend to deny death at all costs and would’ve taken the little guy home in hopes that he got better and had some more years in him. There was no way I could consistently give him medicine or care for him. I couldn’t even touch him. The vet said he recommended euthanizing him but I couldn’t quite handle that until he told me that the cat would eventually crawl away somewhere and die a slow painful death alone. So I made the difficult choice to have him put down. It was awful to bring an empty cage home but I think I did the right thing for the cat. It was a horrible mature decision that I hated.

I am haunted by that cat. I guess it’s grief.

I saw The Avengers. I liked it. I related to the Hulk.

On the show Monday is the young and harshly judged Bo Burnham. I judged him. Turns out he’s a thoughtful, tormented professional entertainer. It was a great talk. On Thursday, the lead singer of The Hold Steady, Craig Finn, hangs out, talks, plays and sings. Also on Thursday, I tracked down Tony Clifton at a rehearsal for some upcoming shows at The Comedy Store. I had never met him. It was just what you would expect.


Love,
Maron

WTF - Bo Burnham is an internet sensation.

Full episode out 5/28

WTF - Killer Beaz on hillbillies and comedy.

Full episode out 5/24

When did I lose my love of NYC?

People-

I’d like to start by sharing some bad news. On May 17th the great Ron Shock passed away. He fought hard against the cancer and shared that process with his fans. It’s a brutal disease but he lived at least 8 lives and was a profound influence on comedy. We are re-releasing my chat with Ron from March 2010 in memory of this wizard and guru to the likes of Bill Hicks and others. Vaya con Dios, Shock.

I’m a bit reflective sitting here in my Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn. When did I lose my love of NYC? Because it is gone. All the things that I thought were great and gritty and real and raw are now just grimy and annoying. There’s something about personal space that is appealing to me now. I can’t seem to handle the constant onslaught of people that I am confronted with on a second-to-second basis in the City. I used be excited by the intensity and chaos and energy but now it’s draining. I don’t have the shield I used to have to protect myself from all the psychic shrapnel that is flying around. I would walk down almost any street and feel mentally and emotionally molested by parades of multi-ethnic, multi-class, multi-bad fashion choices and attitude problems. I’m exhausted. I feel dirty.

It’s not so much that I love LA, I don’t. I do have my own space there. I would hate LA, too, if I woke up and my living room was filled with dudes in tank tops wearing shorts and Yankees hats on my couch listening to iPods and there was a guy screaming at my sink in the kitchen and four guys in suits and a loud obese woman talking to her friend about her nails in my bathroom. That’s every day, give or take a character, in NYC.

Brooklyn has been okay. That’s another stage entirely. Lots of beards, dogs, strollers and yoga mats all converging on one coffee shop. I’m a little more use to that. I had some good sets here and I had a blast shooting a scene with Louie CK for the upcoming season of his show. I did spend some time with old friends and it’s nice to see people getting older and still fighting the fight and even winning a bit.

This week on the show, I had a long talk with the odd, charming and brilliant Paula Poundstone. I hope you dig that on Monday. On Thursday, I talk to a guy who I used to see headshots of my entire career and had never seen or met until I ran into him in Montreal last year. Killer Beaz is a comedian who has played primarily the South for his entire career and I was excited and curious to talk with him because he was ever-present in pictures and more of an idea than a person to me. It was fun. I hope you like Skynyrd.


Love,
Maron

WTF - Paula Poundstone on staying in comedy.

Full episode out 5/21

WTF - Danny McBride can memorize lines.

Full episode out 5/17

Too Jewy?

Shalom-

I will be doing a live WTF at The Googa Mooga Festival in Brooklyn this weekend. It is a special engagement. I had no control over the ticket prices or venue situation. I am sorry if you feel left out. The good news is I will share the show with you soon. I will also be performing at the Bonnaroo Festival in June. This week I am appearing on Piers Morgan on Monday and Conan this Wednesday.

I’ll be slowing down on my performance schedule a bit in the summer to start writing the IFC show and work on a second draft of my book. I will keep you all abreast of what goes on and where I will be appearing.

I’m sorry about the greeting. Too Jewy? I spent the weekend at my niece’s Bat Mitzvah in Phoenix and I feel like I’ve had my fill of Jewish for the year. Outside of what emits from my being involuntarily on a day to day basis, I’m all filled up. While I was sitting there at the temple I realized Bat and Bar Mitzvahs are a unique opportunity to observe the full life cycle of the Jewish person. In most cases it seems to end up with complaining—from my observations. I’m not complaining, yet, right now.

As I write this I am sitting poolside at a resort in Phoenix with my mother, my brother and his wife, his 3 kids, her 4 kids and my girlfriend Jessica. I can’t remember the last time I have been with my mother on Mother’s Day. She’s thrilled that my brother and I are both here as well as all her grandkids. I don’t always acknowledge these occasions but they seem to be important. I’m trying to realize that life doesn’t last forever and I should experience these family moments and appreciate them. That usually lasts about 20 minutes, half-hour max, then I’ve had enough. I hope you connected with your moms just enough to not have had enough. Either way, they are why we’re here, for better or for worse, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that (depending on the day). I know my mother reads this so I just want to say, “Thanks, mom. You did the best you could, so you claim, and we ended up okay. Happy Mother’s Day.”

Great shows this week. On Monday is the Live from San Francisco Sketchfest show with Laraine Newman, Will Durst, Pete Holmes, Geoff Bolt and Arden Myrin. I remember it as being big laughs and big fun. On Thursday I’m happy to post a rare and hilarious interview with Danny McBride. Hope you dig it.


Love,
Maron

WTF - Craig Ferguson does not have a fragile ego.

Full episode out 5/10

5

I can turn just about anything into a smoothie.

Yes, Folks!

First off, thank you Phoenix! I had a great time at Stand Up Live. Thanks for coming out! It’s a beautiful club and it was great to see everyone.

It was a little weird being back in Phoenix. I have a lot of history there. My first wife was from there and my brother currently lives there. On top of that some very old family friends were visiting town. They read that I was performing and reached out to me. This was a family that lived next to my Grandma Goldy in NJ. I knew them all of my life. There were two boys and two girls and one of the girls, Jodi, told me that I was the first diaper she’d ever changed. That tells me a couple of things. I helped someone learn a valuable skill and my mother wanted nothing to do with me. She also told me that my grandfather taught her everything she knew about sports. I remember my Grandpa Jack would sit for hours watching sports on TV. Any sport. It didn’t matter. I always felt like I had disappointed him because I wasn’t into to sports. Jodi told me that she would go over to the house when she was a kid and watch sports with Jack. He would have two TVs going and she said he had two phones going, too, so his bookies could get through. I had no idea that he was a compulsive sports bettor. Maybe it was better off I didn’t get into sports with him or I would’ve become a compulsive gambler and, as most of you know, my plate was pretty full just being an addict. I think I dodged a bullet there.

Well, I bought a Vitamix blender. I know they’re expensive. I’ve been thinking about getting one for years and I just buckled. I bought one. Needless two say in the two days that I have owned it I’ve made no less that 4 smoothies. I’m in the middle of making one now. I really hope it holds my obsessive focus long enough to justify the expenditure. We’ll see. It might go the way of the Sodastream that was the center of my life for a few months. Though that was significantly cheaper and really not as exciting. I can turn just about anything into a smoothie. There’s no end to it. That’s a lot more compelling than making things bubbly.

On the show this week: On Monday, from The Hangover and her new film, Natural Selection, Rachael Harris. It turns she’s not really a bitch. She just plays one a lot. I loved talking to her. On Thursday, Craig Ferguson talks about his original stage character and his long, weird-luck journey to The Late Show. Good guy.

Enjoy.


Love,
Maron

WTF - Rachael Harris’s presidential crushes

Full episode out 5/7

BBQ.

Howdy, Folks-

Let’s do this Phoenix thing. If you are in the area come out to Stand Up Live on May 3rd. I’m doing one show and I’ll bring some stuff. It will be great. I haven’t done standup in that area in a long time. Love Arizona. I have family there. I’m looking forward to the desert.

Thank you, Austin! The Moontower Comedy Festival was a tremendous success. It was their first year and they did a hell of job. All the shows were great. They treated me good and I really appreciate you all coming out. I also had a great time hanging out with all the other comics, some I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was able to see Steven Wright live for the first time and that was really fucking special. Love that guy. It was really the most organized and well-run festival I have ever been involved with. Congrats, Moontower! I hope I see you next year.

Let get to the meat of the matter -- BBQ. When I go to Austin the challenge for me seems to be how much slow-cooked meat can I load into my being before I leave either Austin or this mortal coil. The shameless shoving of cooked pig into my face is something I only do in BBQ towns. Austin is a big one. I usually go to a place called Sam’s but the last few times I was there they were shut down for stolen meat, which is better than bad meat. They were open again and I went there my first day out. It wasn’t the same. There was no love in the place, the brisket was tough and the guy working there complained for about 10 minutes about being unable to keep flies out of the joint. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that has BBQ mutton which was great but not enough to get back in there. I kept hearing about this place Franklin's as being the best in town but the rest of description involved waiting in line for hours and they may run out of meat. Fuck that. I heard the same about the guy who taught the guy who owns Franklin's so I thought fuck that, too. I had driven out to Salt Lick on another trip—didn’t love their sauce. I didn’t want to go to Lockhart because it was another mythic joint that was played out. There is part of the BBQ thing that makes you want to find the secret best place that no one really talks about or knows. I found it, for me anyway.

I was rambling on about Sam’s to some locals and some large woman in a wheelchair that looked like she might be in it because of eating too much BBQ suggested Opie’s in Spicewood.

opies

It already sounded amazing—just the name. Me and my buddy Josh drove out on Highway 71 about 40 minutes and came upon this place and I just knew it was the shit. We walked in and a guy rushed up to us and asked, “Do you want to see your meat?” He opened this large cylindrical tank next to the door and said, “Pick it out.” There were Pork Chops, Links, Brisket, Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs and Pulled Pork. I had never been to an open casket BBQ joint before. It was amazing. Here are some food pics.

bbq

Opie

On the show this week, a poolside chat with Chelsea Handler on Monday and my hotel room chat in OKC with Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips on Thursday. Hope you dig it all.



Love,
Maron