Dispatches from the Head

WTF - Michael Ian Black on the downside of show business

Full episode out 12/22

Fester and Dread.

Merry, happy, folks-

Salt Lake City! Let’s do this. I am returning to Wiseguy’s Comedy Cafe on January 13th and 14th at their Trolley Square club. Looking forward to the show in our nation’s only functioning and established theocracy. Come out if you can, Mormons, non Mormons and not-so-mormony-Mormons.

Here’s another heads-up for the shows in Boston. On January 27th at The Wilbur Theater I will be doing an early show of my standup at 7pm and a late show that will be a live WTF at 10pm. As of now that live WTF will feature some of the great standups I started out opening for. Kenny Rogerson, Tony V, Mike Donovan and Jimmy Tingle have all agreed to do the show. Obviously it is subject to change and there will be more comics announced as we get closer to the date but that is where it stands now.

Thank you all for the gifts and cards that have been coming in. I am really moved by all the love and gratitude coming my way for the show. I’m glad you all dig it and are getting so much out of it. It’s all very humbling in the best way possible. I had no idea what the show would be when I started it and I could never imagine the impact and entertainment it brings to the people that dig it. It is overwhelming for me. I think I may even be experiencing joy which is appropriate for the season. I’ve seen that word bandied about for most of my life but I don’t think I have ever been able to attach my experience to it. Thanks to you people I am a bit. I don’t want to over do it. Too much joy can be dangerous to comedy unless you are doing a ‘joy’ character. Maybe that is what I will evolve into. I’ll be the ‘joy’ guy.

I really wish I were more of a holiday person. I don’t ever seem to find pause in my life and that goes for all sanctioned days of pause and celebration. They generally seem a little lonely and quiet to me. This year I have some crazy love in my life and I am excited to get out of town for a week or so. I’m heading down to Florida to see the mom and then onto the Keys with the girl for some R and R if that is even possible. I think I can do it. R and R for me include some mental festering and dread but if I am on a beach or by a pool or out to dinner no one has to know that. I just have to make sure my face is not in fester and dread mode. It’s a mild adjustment. I’ll put on my vacation face.

Speaking of fester and dread the book is coming along. If I can get the pieces done and not go back and re-read them to the point of hating them we will pull it off. We’ll see.

On the show this week: Monday, one of the biggest draws in the world, Russell Peters is on the show. Russell talks about international comedy and jokes that cross all cultural barriers. On Thursday's show, the snarky and contentious Michael Ian Black. Wait, he's not contentious, I am. Wait, I don't know. Listen and tell me what you think.

Have a great holiday.


WTF - Russell Peters gets punked by the King of Jordan

Full episode out 12/19

WTF - Kevin Pollak brings Christopher Walken on WTF

Full episode out 12/15

I’ve got to cook, in my mind.

Okay, here we go, People-

Could someone please tell me why I didn’t go to culinary school? Seriously. If I had gone right after college I could have been an Iron Chef by now OR a bitter line cook in Albuquerque, NM. Is it too late for me to become a real chef? I am so fucking busy right now. Everything is working out pretty well. I think it may be time to throw it all away and start cooking. Maybe I could open a little restaurant, bottom out in a year and then call Robert Irvine to come help me fix it.

I’d like to believe I have a good feel for the pans but I am clueless about butter, sauces, techniques, layering flavor… pretty much all of it. Everything I know about those things I learn from Chopped and Iron Chef. In my mind I think if applied myself I could learn it. What am I talking about?

I am the same with guitar. I’m a pretty good player but I just let my skills stop. I allow myself to believe that I could be great but that would require… how do you say it? Work. I got handed my ass in my mind the other night. I sat in with a band for three songs. I rehearsed with them for a couple of hours the day before. I thought I was ready but I never really play with people in a rehearsal space let alone in front of a bar full of people. So, I choked. I reverted to the insecure, fall into the shadows, watching my fingers, my guitar is too loud, nervous person that I am. No cock in it at all. Well, maybe a little on the Stones song. I left the stage feeling like I fucked up. No fun. I took something that really should have been easy and a good time and used it as a bat to beat myself over the head with.

Maybe if I didn’t think I could do anything I’d relax. I’m not 5. If I just focused and accepted my limitations out of practicality and awareness of where I am in my life I could have a good time. So what? I fucked up a song in a bar in Santa Monica. Yeah, so what?

I’ve got to practice. Wait, Iron Chef is on. I’ve got to cook, in my mind.

Donald Glover is on the show Monday. We had a great talk. On Thursday Kevin Pollak and I talk about show business like a couple of middle age Jews. Wait, we are middle aged Jews.



WTF - Donald Glover on Chris Rock’s influence

Full episode out 12/12!

WTF Preview with Jillian Lauren

Full Episode comes out 12/8

I better watch my thoughts.

Well, crew-

The shows at The Arlington Drafthouse in VA were great! Thanks you all for coming out and thanks to you all for the cookies, brownies, cat toys, dreidel-shaped chocolate-covered marshmallows, Oreo Truffles, coffee, art and the Kenneth Tynan book. I’m glad it was my cheat day and I hope I don’t get diabetes. At least when I’m obese I'll have more time to read because I won’t be moving around as much.

I really didn’t have time to do anything in DC while I was there. I was put up right across the street from the Pentagon. There is something in me, some paronoia, some old radical wiring that gets activated in DC. When I saw the Pentagon from the hotel I thought, ‘Wow, that’s close. I better watch my thoughts.’ My THOUGHTS! What the fuck? There was some part of me that believed for a second that there was someone in a room, in the Pentagon, culling thoughts out of the air and out of the brains of people within a few mile radius of the world’s largest subverted pentagram. I was amazed at myself. They can't do that. Can they? Aren’t they more concerned with monitoring the emails of everyone around the world for trigger words like BOMB, TERRORIST, EXPLODE and PRESIDENT.

I was a little embarrassed when someone from the audience asked me to comment on the 3rd amendment. In that moment I did not know why they would bring that up and, quite frankly, I did not know what the third amendment was. It’s the one about letting soldiers stay at your house only during war time. The National Defense Authorization Act passed in the senate while I was there. So, I had to do some research. Apparently, from the spin I gleaned, it declares the United States a sort of perpetual battleground/war. This could usurp the amendment’s power to protect us from a police state and all that comes with it. The idea behind the act is to allow the military to deny suspected terrorists a lawyer, due process or any civil rights whenever they deem necessary. I can't pretend to understand the language or the particulars but as a recovering knee-jerk liberal the problem with these slippery slope measures, at least in design, is how the label of ‘Terrorist’ will evolve in the future. Will it one day grow to include a comic using the words BOMB, TERRORIST, EXPLODE and PRESIDENT in an email as a satirical statement and example of how such legislation and fears could backfire.

Please let me know if a member of the military visits you in response to this email. Sorry to drag you into it. Sometimes you really have to fight the good fight to preserve liberty and freedom.

If you are actually experiencing any fear in this moment, isn’t that a problem?

On the show this week: On Monday I talk to Anthony Bourdain about food, drugs, truth and travel while sitting in a hotel in Brooklyn. On Thursday my neighbor and author Jillian Lauren talks about being a member of a harem and her new novel. Good stuff. Hope I am not renditioned to Burbank.

BTW. The signed Coop poster is now available in the merch section at wtfpod.com. They are numbered and there are only 75 of them. So get them while you can.


WTF - Anthony Bourdain Preview

Full episode out 12/5

WTF Henry Phillips Preview

Full ep out 12/1

Swimming upstream to spawn & die.

Okay, whoa, people!

First off, I will be at the Arlington Draft House this Thursday and Friday, Dec. 2nd and 3rd. If you are in the neighborhood, come down.

Now, thank you Seattle! Friday night at the Neptune Theater was awesome. I don’t know if any of you really knew this but it was my first legitimate theater gig. In my mind it was. I have played theaters before but this was the first one-night-only over 500 seat theater show for me. We sold it out. 800 people showed up and it was a blast. I want to thank Mike Drucker for doing the opening business. He was hilarious and did a great job.

I have been to Seattle many times but this was by far the rainiest. I went up for the week with my girlfriend thinking November was a great time to vacation in Seattle. I know it rains there, a lot. I adjusted to it. I thought I adjusted to it but come day 3 of nonstop cold, dark rain my head was getting a little fucked. I now understand why many people in Seattle don’t dress for the rain or use umbrellas. Two reasons. One, what’s the point. Two, denial. With the amount of rain that pours down why not just transcend the chronic dampness of street and spirit by not acknowledging it at all. Stubborn acceptance. It’s not sad to be wet. Then, on top of that denial, let's pour cups and cups of the strongest coffee in the world into that spirit until it hums and sings the rain away. The vibrations buzzing off the bodies of people in Seattle actually repel water. Genius. When the humming and singing is done, how about some fancy artisanal regional beer or ale or cider—maybe something thick and pulpy—something to take the edge off the caffeinated rain repression.

I think everyone in Seattle is swimming upstream to spawn and die on some level. You definitely need coffee for that. I love it up there. I would live there. Maybe someday I will and when I do I will have a very long beard.

Thanksgiving was nice. We did a vegetarian thing at the Café Flora and it was nice. I have a hard time not screaming at veggie restaurants but I managed. We also went to a place called Sutra and did another veg thing and it was even harder not to scream in there. The food was good but they actually ring a small gong-like bell before eating and thank the farmers and the land. It was nice and genuine but I wanted to scream a little. The food at both places was great.

Great shows this week. I talked to Penn Jillette when I was in Vegas and he was a much sweeter guy that I ever imagined. Great talk, great stories. We covered a lot of ground. On Thursday the wonderfully dark, songwriting comic Henry Phillips shares some tales and some tunes. We jam a bit. It was groovy.

Wish I was still away.


Alternate Histories

As heard on Episode 229 - Get the Alternate Histories Holiday Cards in the Etsy Marketplace. Use WTFPOD at the checkout for 20% off your order.
Alternate Histories Holiday Cards

Penn Jillette Preview

Preview of Monday's episode with Penn Jillette, he talks about going to clown college, check it out!

WTF - Dr. Stephen Dansiger

Dr. Stephen Dansiger talks about helping the community heal after the Crown Heights Riots, check it out!

Give thanks.

Okay, People, here we go-

First, there are still few tickets left for the show at The Neptune Theater in Seattle on Nov. 25th and all the shows at The Arlington Draft House in Arlington VA Dec. 2nd and 3rd.

Seattle people. If you want merch bring cash. I am yet to get a phone that enables me to do credit cards. It is on the way but won’t be here for the show. I am hoping to have the hand screened Coop posters at the show and they will be 50 bucks. They are beautiful. I hope they dry in time.

That said, I am happy and nervous to be alive, as usual. I really don’t think I am in a mid-life crisis at all. I’m trying to ease into a mid-life acknowledgement and acceptance. I have been a lot of places and had what seems to be several lives. I have been flat out busted a couple of times. There have been plenty of peaks and valleys. Sometimes I forget what I have been through and where I have been and it all comes rushing back when I see someone from some other life I had. That is, if I recognize and remember them. Those awkward few minutes of trying to place someone into the context of my history: did we fuck, did we fight, do I owe you money? That is sometimes the only way I know I am getting older. There have been so many faces, places and people. My mind has a hard time holding on to them the way it used to. I can't place them. I saw someone last night that I hadn’t seen in a while and she had been through some hard times. It was very moving to hear that she had struggled and made it out of the tunnel. I remember how she was when she was younger and now we’re both older, wiser and a little more beat up. Sharing that weird, raw vulnerability that comes from just surviving and not giving up or dying is one of the most moving exchanges available to us, even if it only lasts a few moments. It makes me realize that getting older is in some ways pretty fucking sweet.

Mary Lynn Rajskub is on Monday’s show. I have some history with her. Well, more with one of her old roommates but it was great to talk to her. I have always felt she was a bit of genius. On Thursday my old friend Dr. Stephen Dansiger talks to me about creativity and his own painful journey from rock stardom, through drugs and alcohol, into mental hospitals, beyond disappointment, heartbreak and ultimately into sobriety, getting his PhD and starting a family. Awesome tale.

Thanksgiving is here. Despite what you may think of the holiday and its inception try to feel a little non-holiday related gratitude. It is a difficult feeling for me to summon up. It doesn’t come naturally. I have to open my heart and let it set in. I have a lot to be grateful for right now. Things are better than okay but things have been tough in the past and I’m sure they will be again for some reason or other. I know a lot of people are struggling right now. Just know you are not alone and it probably isn’t you’re fault. So, try to give yourself a break and find something to be thankful for and spread a little love around if you can. Go ahead, do it. Reach out to a stranger. Do something nice for someone less fortunate. Eat some good food. Hold a baby. Hug an old person. Be present. Be grateful to be fucking alive.