How’s it going, People?
You all hanging in? As of this writing, in this moment, now, I am ok. Wait. No, I’m fine.
Big news out of the gate here… The WTF book ‘Waiting for the Punch’ is now available for preorder. It’s great. I had no idea about some of the amazing things people told me until I saw them in print. This isn't just a collection of interviews. It's a running narrative of about 200 people working through all the messiness that is life. It's big, it's funny, it's heartbreaking, it's really something special. We are so proud of it. Get it here!
I’m always amazed at my commitment and preoccupation, obsession, with little bullshit aggravations. I know what is going on. I know why my brain does it. It’s sort of like the opposite of spirituality but seeks to serve the same ends. When things are terrifying and out of your control, which is most things, why not get completely preoccupied for a few hours with a scuff on your new boots and obsess about what an asshole you are for not paying more attention to walking and what you do with your feet? Then, over time wrestle that attack on self and events that are natural and out of your control into some kind of acceptance. Boots get scuffed. They’re boots. Stupid.
This pattern of panic and anger at little things is exacerbated by me having actual big things happening as well. I am taping my Netflix special in Minneapolis on Saturday. I’m playing it off like it’s not a big deal but in terms of what I do, it’s a big deal. There are cameras, lighting, a crew and a theater involved. I have to have my act together, be aware of what I’m doing, not dick around too much, tighten shit up and commit to a shirt. Instead of thinking about all that, I’d rather totally focus on the scuff on my boot. Actually, I’ve let that go and moved on to the need to clean out my closet at home. Pressing stuff.
Also, the ever-present possibility and reality of the world coming unhinged or destroyed seems to be pervasive and a boot and/or cluttered closet isn’t really an effective stop gap against it permeating my being every few minutes. Acceptance. Courage. Be present. Do what you do. We all get scuffed up.
That all being said I did three sold out shows at the Aladdin in Portland, Oregon over the weekend and they were great. Really great. I love the crowds there. I love the city. Even though every time I’m there I feel the presence of some kind of old timey darkness that seems to come up through the ground. I’ve grown to believe that there is a détente between the groovy, progressive, odd human trip of Portland and the disgruntled ghosts beneath it that creates a loaded but energetic vibe to the place. And there’s really good food and coffee there. I don’t know if bizarre facial hair and artisanal products will prove to be an effective defense in the long run against the sucking darkness of the Earth Spirits but it is holding for the time being.
The show is the work. I am honing an hour and half down to about 70 minutes which is a task. I don’t like honing that much. I don’t like having a time limit. I don’t like polishing and trimming a set. It makes it feel like work and can suck the impulsive spontaneity out of the creative juice of the thing BUT it is part of the craft of artisanal standup comedy. It ultimately is very satisfying and even professional to reign it in and pull it together. Also, I’ve never done a set for an hour long anything, i.e. a special or CD, that didn’t get thrown off track by some unseen, unexpected moment or event on the night of. I welcome it. I work with the ghosts and impulses of structures, humans, wires and currents in the moment. We’ll see what happens next Saturday. Come to the taping if you are in or around Minneapolis. Don’t take this as an invitation to throw a fun wrench into the works.
Today I talk to veteran director Walter Hill who made some great movies. I love talking to directors. It was a great chat. A bit of a rock and roll show on Thursday. I recently got turned on to the music of this guy Mac DeMarco and found myself sort of mesmerized by it so I had to have him over to figure out why. Also, singer/songwriter Mark Lanegan, who has one of the greatest voices ever, will be in the garage.