Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Sara Benincasa is a “sex show person.”

Full episode out 7/12

I have Post Vacation Stress Disorder.

Yo, Folks-

So, I’m heading back to Nashville to Zanies on July 20th and 21st. And, yes, I will eat more hot chicken now that I have a system.

It’s been a rough week. I think I have something called Post Vacation Stress Disorder. I definitely had enough of Hawaii. There’s really only so many sunsets I can gawk at and so many days I can spend on a beach. After a point you’re either in or out. Either you throw the life you know away and live off the land or come home. That’s the way I think. I could see myself growing pineapples or passion fruit, just laying back and selling them in my front yard. I would have to learn how to farm and buy land, but I can see myself in that groove… for a week or two, then I get anxious thinking about how anxious I would be and have to leave. I would have a new skill set but it's not practical.

So, being home has been an adjustment. The cats were welcoming for most part. In a completely odd turn when I opened my bag to unpack I went into the kitchen to get a soda and came back to find Monkey perched inside the duffle bag peeing on my clothes. I guess he did miss me. Payback’s a bitch.

I had a strange, cathartic moment watching HBO the other day. I turned on the TV midway into a documentary about performance artist Marina Abramovic. I had absolutely no idea who the fuck she was and I pride myself on at least pretending to have a sense of important artists. I had no clue. She’s been around for years and has done some very provocative pieces. Watching the doc, I realized how easy it is to mock performance art and condescend the ridiculous nature of some of it. Some of Marina’s pieces were nude, some with a dude she worked with for years who she had a relationship with. They did a piece to signify their breaking up by walking towards each other from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China to meet in the middle and part ways. Simple pitch. One line description, but they did it. That kind of commitment to an amazing poetic idea just blew me away for some reason. The act of doing it is what is significant. The intent is almost negating but the power of the intent and following through is ridiculous, beautiful and touching. It is important work to those who allow it in. Which I don't always do. It’s all in the context. Comedy is insulated but has mainstream appeal. Performance art is so specific and esoteric but can run deep if you let it in. I just wonder if they talk about their pieces like we talk about jokes. “I love that bit you did when you sat not speaking at a table for three months in the middle of the MOMA and let random people sit across from you for a few minutes each. Great bit. Killed.”

I’m not sure what I am getting but I am starting a long, open ended performance piece that I will talk about on the show. I’ve already started it actually.

This week, the hilarious and kind JB Smoove blesses the garage with his presence and on Thursday the author and comic Sara Benincasa talks agoraphobia and sex. Good week.

Talk soon.


WTF - JB Smoove on fiddling with things.

Full episode out 7/9

WTF - Tony Millionaire talks about the name Maakies.

Full episode out 7/5

Aloha.. still… help…

Aloha… still… help, people, wait…

I think I am having a great vacation but I think I need to get home. I was anxious at first then after a few days my brain disconnected from social media, phone, email, people other than Jessica, and I was left with the undistracted me. I haven’t seen that guy in a while. He’s a little nuts and he was withdrawing from at least 3 hardcore distractions which are tough monkeys to shake. I mean, fuck, I only tweeted 10 times in 10 days and 6 of those were promotional and one of the promotional tweets had a typo and had to be tweeted again. I impressed even myself with those numbers considering the depth of my problem. Also, Jess and I have never spent this much one-on-one time together, ever, so there was that. I’m not great at holding my anxiety at bay without distractions. So, there were occasional bouts between me and my fear that were fun. All in all, it took about a week for it all to fall away and for me to just really let go and relax.

That happened yesterday.

So, maybe I don’t need to come home. Maybe what I am saying is I need another week or the rest of my life to just to do nothing but eat, hike, sit on beaches and jump in the ocean every few hours.

I’ll tell you about it when I get home, if I come home.

Here are a couple of things for you to know. I will be at The Ice House in Pasadena on Sunday, July 8th for a 7pm show. I will be headlining and Pete Holmes, Chelsea Peretti and Joe Mande will be doing short sets. Should be an amazing show. Really looking forward to watching and working with them. On the show this week, a pre-Dan-Harmon-being-turfed Joel McHale, so don’t expect that talk but do expect to get to know Joel pretty damn well. On Thursday, the long journey of the artist Tony Millionaire from humble, weird beginnings into a humble, weird life.

I’m supposed to be home tomorrow.


WTF - Joel McHale sucks at math.

Full Episode out 7/2

WTF - Mark Duplass talks about his favorite movies.

Full episode out 6/25

WTF - Brian Regan was not a good prop comic.

Full episode out 6/21

I’m strung out.

Hello, All-

Thanks for coming to the shows I did with Sarah Silverman at the Chicago Theater. It’s a beautiful place and it was a fun show to be part of. I’ll be back in Chicago at the Mayne Stage August 2-5 if you want to come out for the long set. I’m also coming to Nashville, Montreal, Utah and doing local LA shows in upcoming months. Look to the left or go to the website to check the calendar.

I’m feeling the need to get healthy. I keep picturing myself at the gym, eating well and not sucking on nicotine lozenges compulsively all day long, even when I’m on stage or in bed. I can see myself back on track and taking care of myself so clearly in my mind that I think I actually believe that is enough and it is working somehow. I can’t seem to make time to just get on with it in the real world because I’m too busy avoiding it. I’ve become very aware that my addictive nature has evolved and adapted. I’m strung out. I can barely last 10 minutes without checking my phone or tweeting unless I’m sleeping. Between coffee, nicotine lozenges, food, phone, internet and Twitter, I only actually have to be present during my monologues, interviews, standup and a couple hours a day with my girlfriend. Occasionally, I will sit with a cat or two and try to connect with conversation that is beyond them. I’m all fucked up.

I’m going to be taking a vacation soon. I need one. I’ve earned one. I don’t really know how to take one. I’m trying to decide whether it will be a complete media blackout vacation or not. I’d like to think I can go without the internet and phone for 10 days, I really would. I honestly don’t know if I can. I’d like to get off the lozenges and read a book. I’m going to Hawaii. I guess I shouldn’t plan to do it all there because then it will just be some kind of irritable, twitchy detox from everything and I would drive my girlfriend crazy, possibly ruining my relationship. That’s what vacations are for though, right? Drama and testing? I could get some good stories for the show and the act. Wait, I really think I’m planning in the wrong direction here. I will just try to relax. Yeah, that’s it.

This week on the show, on Monday I take a drive to Third Man Records in Nashville to talk to Jack White. I think it went well. I was a mess of fan boy nerves and Hot Chicken-related stomach issues, but it was definitely cool to be there, see his operation and talk blues with him. He is one charismatic dude. On Thursday the funniest standup alive is on the show, Brian Regan. If am ever in need of a dependable laugh, Brian has always been the guy I will go to. I’ve never talked to him and it was a pleasure to get to know him. Now you can, too.



WTF - Jack White respects the Blues.

Full episode out 6/18

WTF - Donnell Rawlings speaks Korean.

Full episode out 6/14

Eat Prince’s Chicken, don’t die.

Hey, Ya’ll

I’m in Tennessee right now but I will be at the Just for Laughs Fest in Chicago with Sarah Silverman this Saturday, June 16th. Come by if you can.

Spent the weekend at Bonnaroo! The Roo as it’s called down here, I think. Did some fun comedy shows in the Comedy Tent, saw Radiohead up close, caught the tail end of the Punch Brothers, saw The Roots from far away, and returned and conquered Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville. Oh, and I went over to Third Man Records and hung out and talked to Jack White for an hour. You will hear that talk soon.

As fun as Bonnaroo was, I had three goals when I was in Tennessee: eat Prince's Chicken, don't die, interview Jack White. I got into town on Thursday. Friday, I did a couple of shows at Bonnaroo and at the end of the night, after seeing Radiohead, which kicked ass, tried to get someone to go eat Prince's. No takers. I guess selling it as the place that has chicken that's so hot I almost had to go to the hospital the last time I ate it was not as appealing as I thought it would be. Apparently most people don’t see almost burning your lips off as an exciting culinary possibility. Most people are pussies. They didn’t understand that I had to return to the lair of a dragon, harness it and ride it into the ground. I knew I was going to interview Jack on Sunday and, come Saturday, I had one more chance to beat the chicken. Again, no takers. I actually got pissed off at Joe DeRosa for saying he was going to go and then bailing. You need to go to a place like Prince's with the right people. I couldn’t be responsible for someone’s pain if they didn’t know what they were getting into. I almost bailed on the whole idea because I didn’t really want to go it alone. Sweating and crying while eating is something you want to share. Enter Kyle Kinane, food warrior.

I was about to go up to my room and Kinane walked into the lobby. I said, “You want to go eat some really fucking hot chicken.” He said, “Is it really hot?” I said, “Yeah, I almost died the last time I ate it.” He said, “I’d like to try that.” We headed to Prince's. I told him he’d better get the medium if he wanted to taste something besides pain. He thought, if we were going he’d better get the hot or what’s the point. He then explained his theory about the medicinal effect of really hot food. I held frim to my opinion on the medium. He was skeptical. When we got there I ordered. I got mild like a pussy. I got him the medium. He was pissed but once we got the chicken and started eating it I noticed he was doing the specific sucking-air-breathing of a mouth on fire. He realized it was hot enough. I swore to him that if it wasn’t hot enough I would buy him a hot piece. After we finished I felt bad about getting the mild and he still wanted to take on the hot. So, we got one hot piece and split it. We made it through. It was awesome. We found the trick was eating it with your fingers and not putting your mouth on it so the fire can spread throughout your face. We were victors. Until…

This morning. When I got to Third Man Records to interview Jack White all I was hoping was the chicken, now attacking me from the inside, would not disrupt the talk. It didn’t, not too badly. I rode out a bit of pain but kept it to myself. It was great.

On the show this week, we have a partial Mr. Show reunion on Monday with Dave Cross, Bob Odenkirk and John Ennis live from The Vancouver Comedy Festival. This show also features a peace talk between me and Neal Brennan, and British comic Josie Long. On Thursday, Ashy Larry himself, Donnell Rawlings. Fun week.

Talk later. I have to go to the bathroom.


WTF - Kurt Braunohler talks about his Catholic roots.

Full episode out 6/7

The new Marc & Tom Show is available now!

Surf’s up, People-

Hey! If you are a fan of mine, great. If you are a fan of mine AND Tom Scharpling, it’s your lucky day. The new Marc & Tom Show is available now. This is the second episode. We had such a great talk the first time that we had to do it again. This time it took place in a hotel room in New Jersey. Many things were covered including Kubrick, Pink Floyd, diners and dads. It's available on iTunes here or you can get the link at wtfpod.com. Dig it. We did.

I will be at Bonnaroo this weekend performing standup and doing other things like probably not seeing The Beach Boys again.

I saw them last night. I actually enjoyed the show. I took my girlfriend for her birthday. She loves The Beach Boys unconditionally. The show was good. The songs were all there. There were a lot supporting musicians to fill in any holes and I found the whole thing to be moving even though they seemed to be going through the motions a bit. They are all in their sixties and Brian sat at his piano like a mildly interested Buddha occasionally waving his arms like a conductor but, from what I understand, he’s never been much of a showman. He sounded sweet. Mike Love and the rest of them sort of happily lumbered their way through it all. They played for two hours plus and we stayed until the very end. The longevity, journey and songs of these guys, who I’m not even that invested in, made the night very touching. It was elating and sad simultaneously, just by virtue of their age.

As some of you know they are not really my guys. I like them. Their music is obviously part of my past. I mean, isn’t it somehow part of all of our pasts. I guess for most of my life I just wrote them off as a sound (and a cheesy one at that) but not without merit. The harmonies are great, the sound is uplifting and fun, but cheesy. Then, as I got older, it was slowly and hypnotically droned into my head that Brian Wilson was a genius on par with the Beatles. I did my homework. I learned about Brian and his brain. I learned about the parallels between Sgt. Pepper’s and Pet Sounds. I learned about Smile. I did all of these things, halfheartedly, but I did them. I get that he is an amazing arranger and the vocal and instrumental layering and harmonies are inspired. I have Pet Sounds. I have Smile. I've listened to them many times. I can’t seem to handle being blasted with the beautifully layered pain and sadness of them but that is the genius. I guess I just am not ready. Soon.

A highlight of the show for me last night was that Paul Stanley was sitting right behind us in the same box and I said nothing. He’s definitely not one of my guys.

Rick Shapiro is on the show Monday. He is an old friend and occasional enemy. I love the guy. I really do. He is an unbridled madman of a performer and one of the most visceral, present and inspired comedians I have ever known. It is always amazing watching him. It is never comfortable but always riveting. We try to have a conversation but it is hard keeping Rick locked in so we riffed it out and had some great moments. Rick has been having some health issues lately and could use some support. If you feel like kicking in a bit go to rickshapiro.tv to help out. He is a bit immobilized and not unlike many, a bit broke.

On Thursday, from the new IFC show Bunk, it’s Kurt Braunohler. This was a very surprising talk. He is a sweet, interesting and deep dude. Funny too.


New Marc and Tom Show available NOW!

The Marc and Tom Show

The minds behind The Best Show and WTF have teamed up again for another podcast super-session. It's like The Avengers for your ears!

Get the new episode of The Marc and Tom Show on iTunes by clicking here. It's only $2.99.

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