Dispatches from the Head

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.


WTF - Mary Lynn Rajskub on her kiss with Rush Limbaugh

Full episode available Monday, 11/21. Do it!

Clean Shaven at the Philharmonic.

Clean Shaven at the Philharmonic.

Okay, Pals-

First off, heads up! Me, Neptune Theater, Seattle, Nov. 25th, still some tickets left. Me, Arlington Draft House, Arlington, VA, Dec. 2nd and 3rd, still some tickets left. Come out if you are in those areas.

How is everyone? I am a bit weirded out. I took a stealth trip into NYC to shoot a couple of scenes in an indy movie. I play a corporate consultant. The film is called ‘Wifed Out.' They asked me to be clean shaven. I don’t think I have seen my face in I-don’t-even-know-how-many years. I buzzed off my stache and soul patch. It was like amputating an identity limb. It wasn’t painful but it is interesting to realize how much of your image is hanging from facial hair. It feels good. I don’t think I will keep it smooth. I like the face configuration I’ve settled on but I just wanted you all to see what’s under there.

Clean Shaven

Be nice. I’m very vulnerable right now.

I got into NYC on Friday night. I had very little sleep. I was staying at a hotel directly across from Lincoln Center. My plan was to go out and grab something to eat and then crash because I had an early call time, 5:30am. I walked out of the Empire Hotel. The weather was perfect, crisp, fall, New York. It had just gotten dark. I looked over at Lincoln Center and it was buzzing with people. Lincoln Center houses the Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Ballet and The New York Philharmonic. There are three different buildings. I decided to go see what was going on. I thought this is what New York is all about. Spontaneously immersing yourself in real deal culture and art. There was no ballet going on at the NYC Ballet. There was an opera happening at The Met, the Philip Glass Gandhi opera. I asked if the guy in the window if there were seats.

He said, “Sure”.

I asked how long it ran.

He said, “about four hours.”

I said, “I can’t do four hours. Is there someone I can talk to about tightening it up?”

I walked over to The New York Philharmonic. They were doing Strauss Don Quixote and Beethoven’s Pastoral. “Do you have seats?’ I asked. The woman in the window said yes.

“How much for the best seats?” I asked.

“129.50. Center seat, Orchestra, ten rows from the stage.”

“How long is the thing?” I asked, trying not to let on that it was the most important question.

“About two hours.”

“Perfect. I’m in.”

So, I sat, alone, center orchestra, covered in cat hair, surrounded by people who look like they were cast in a later Woody Allen film and took in the jams. It was fascinating and beautiful. I know nothing about classical music but I do know how to listen and all I can say is the Beethoven was definitely a good choice to close with. It rocked.

On the show Monday, from Party Down and Parks and Recreation, the mysterious Adam Scott talks about his path as an actor and how he ended up funny. On Thursday writer and humorist Merril Markoe talks about being one of the original writers on the Letterman show, her new book and stuff. Enjoy.


WTF Live with Molly Shannon & More

Preview of Thursday's Live WTF from the Steve Allen Theater with Molly Shannon, Neil Hamburger and Andy Kindler.

Writing and cured pig.

Thank you, San Francisco! Hello to the rest of ya!

Just got back from an amazing bunch of shows in SF. We sold out all 6 shows and every audience was great! A quick thanks to the folks that brought me the slow carb diet friendly muffins. That was very thoughtful. I know you would’ve made something richer and more decadent but it was very sweet and I ate 6 of them... in 12 minutes. I’m not sure that is the way they are supposed to be used but I am so carb starved it felt like I had no choice.

I’ve been getting a lot of writing done and frankly I am not having a good time. Revisiting things that I have put behind me is not the greatest way to spend an afternoon, whether you are doing it nostalgically with sadness or trying to write it out to process it in a different way. I’m trying to make myself the good guy in the story but I just didn’t act like one all the time. I guess that is what writing reveals if you want to do it honestly. I know I am changing so hopefully by the time I finish writing it will have a bit of a heroic ending. Minor heroics. I’ll settle for a little bit of change for the better.

I stocked up a bit on cured pig while I was up in SF. I love Boccalone. I also bought some Salami and something called Cotechino. I think it’s encased in pig skin and has rinds in the sausage itself. I have no idea what the fuck to do with it. So that will be a side project this week. I don’t know about all this freedom to eat meat. I may be lean but my heart is clogging. Vanity over health. God bless America.

I’ve had a couple of guests lately that have been pretty thoughtful about faith and belief and the desire for both. I’m speaking of Norm MacDonald last week and Rainn Wilson this Monday. As I get older it is getting less frightening in terms of who I am in the world and in my body but more frightening in terms of when I leave this world and my body. Can’t catch a break from a fear of some kind.

Thursday is a live WTF from The Steve Allen Theater in LA featuring Molly Shannon, Neil Hamburger, Harris Wittels, Andy Kindler, Eddie Pepitone and Jim Earl. It was an amazing show. Hope you dig it.

Quick reminder: Seattle, Neptune Theater. Nov. 25th. Love to see you there.

Tickets here: http://stgpresents.org/artists/?artist=1665


WTF - Rainn Wilson talks about his faith

http://www.youtube.com/wtfpodchannel Subscribe!

Full episode out 11/7

WTF - Chris Rock talks about his early days with Eddie Murphy

A preview is up now for my WTF interview with Chris Rock, do it!

The Ugly Angry Lady.

What’s up, people-

Again with the dates? Yes. I will be at The Punchline in San Francisco Nov. 2nd through 5th and at The Neptune Theater in Seattle Nov. 25th. Also, if you are in the Chicago area, a screening of Jodi Lennon’s short documentary featuring me, ‘A Voice of Something’, will be screening at The Annoyance Theater Nov. 8th and 9th. Go to http://jodilennon.com for ticket info.

Writing on a plane right now. I’m tired and a little aggravated. I got to the airport very early and I had something to eat at an upscale airport restaurant. Meaning you could sit down and someone would take your order. When I sat down there was a women at the table beside me angrily and verbally waiting for her change. The dialogue I gleaned was something along these lines:

Ugly Angry Lady: (to server) Where is my waitress with my change? It doesn’t take that long to get change.

Not Her Server Guy: We don’t have a lot change this early. She’s going to find some.

Ugly Angry Lady: Well, I have a flight to catch. This is ridiculous.

Not Her Server Guy: I’ll see if I can find her.

Her server shows up with her change.

Her Server: Sorry about the wait. Thank you.

Ugly Angry Lady: Well, the eggs were cold and I asked for my bacon well done and it wasn’t.

Her Server: Sorry.

I had neither of those problems. My breakfast was good. Ugly Angry Lady chose to shit on her server’s day. It upset me. I have been guilty of the same, but I apologize and am trying to be a better person.

I went to the American Airlines lounge to sit down and the Ugly Angry Lady was there. She wasn’t in a hurry. As it turns out she’s on my flight. I was trying to figure out a way to shit on her day because she’s awful. There is some mild scheming going on right now but I haven’t figured anything out yet. Just employed a bit of the old maximum stinkeye filled with judgment. I think she got it. Maybe I’ll write on her face while she is sleeping, ‘Mean Cunt.' Just an idea.

New York, New York, it’s a helluva town. I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. I love it in small doses now. It was fucking snowing and cold. When did the time difference between NYC and LA become a month ahead? I had great sets at The Comedy Cellar and got to spend some time with old friends like Dave Attell, Jim Norton, Keith Robinson, Colin Quinn, Amy Schumer, Ted Alexandro and Neal Brennan, with whom I got into a loud argument which ended in a peaceful resolution and possibly a WTF episode idea. Turns out it wasn’t me he was really mad at, it was his dad… and me.

Great shows this week. Thursday we have a Live from The Bell House episode with Seth Meyers, Scott Adsit, Julian McCullough, Gabe Leidman, Rachel Feinstein and Jody Lennon. It was a hilarious show. On Thursday you can spend an hour or so with Chris Rock. We had a great talk about comedy with some serious esoteric name-dropping.



WTF Live with Seth Meyers Preview

Episode 223 preview - WTF Live with Seth Meyers & more

Full episode will be available Monday 10/31/11

Comedy Clubs and the Carrot Top Compound.

Okay, people-

I’m going to put this out there again. I will be in San Francisco at The Punchline November 2nd through 5th. I love that club. I love SF. They should be fun shows. I will be in Seattle at the Neptune Theater on November 25th. This is my first solo theater show so please come if you are around. I believe the Live WTF at The Steve Allen Theater tomorrow night, Oct. 25th is sold out. Sorry. On Saturday October 28th I will be part of WFMU’s Radiovision Festival in NYC. I will be doing a panel with Ira Glass and Tom Scharpling. Here is the link for tickets. It’s in the morning. I have no idea whether or not there are tickets left.

I never work at this certain club in Hollywood. I never really tried or cared to work there. It’s always been sort of a zoo. The owner has never helped me or been anything but a jerk to me for as far back as I remember. For some reason, in my mind, I thought I needed to work there. I thought I had earned that. I have this weird spite thing that forces me to take work places that I don’t want to work because I think I deserve it. Let’s do the logic on that. I deserve to work at a place I don’t want to work. The reason is they wouldn’t let me work there when I was younger and/or they treated me badly. So, now it’s important that I work there. I got a spot there last Friday and it was really the first legitimate spot I have ever done there. It was mostly kids. It was okay but I found myself regressing to keep their attention. I was doing old bits and pushing too hard. In the middle of the set I looked out at the audience and realized I don’t need to work there. It was an amazing feeling to know that something that was so important at another point in my life was basically meaningless and my desire to do it was like a phantom limb. If I don’t work there it changes nothing. Lesson learned. Do the clubs that I like.

I went to Las Vegas a while back and interviewed Scott Thompson, a.k.a. Carrot Top. I didn’t know what to expect. I was picked up at my hotel by his driver. His opener was in the car, Charlie Viracola. I’ve know Charlie for years, from back before he was Carrot Top’s opening act. It was a little weird being driven to the Carrot Top compound. There were a few guys around and his girlfriend was cooking pasta. It was as homey as you’d think Carrot Top’s house would be. I wish we were alone. I think he would talked more candidly but that wasn’t an option. Listen to that episode today. On Thursday the author Steve Almond talks music, writing and a bit of politics. He is intense. I love his book Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life and his new book of stories, God Bless America, comes out this week.



WTF Episode 221 with Carrot Top Preview

Carrot Top talks about Bill Hicks and George Carlin.