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Hello. This is wonderful. Thank you. Brooklyn. This is a beautiful place. Look at this place. The Murmur Theater in Brooklyn. How beautiful. This is the Chinwag, by the way.




For everybody who listens to the Chinwag. This is my colleague, Professor Stephen Osma of Columbia College in Chicago. A doctor of philosophy. We have a special guest, obviously, here today who needs very little introduction. My friend, Paul Redd. Thank you, sir, for coming.


Thank you, Paul.


So we are here. It's getting to be Spooky season. We figure it's sort of the creepy time. Scorpio season. It's all kind of dark and creepy. So we thought we'd talk about fear and phobias and things like that and things that give us the willies and things. Yeah.


There's a big difference between fear and phobia. And we want to ask Paul sort of what were the things that he was afraid of and what are the things that he has phobias about? And fear, we know, is kind of know you've been bitten by a dog. You're going to be afraid of it. You're afraid of crashing planes and so forth. But phobia is like more irrational and more strange and more debilitating.


I never even thought of the difference. Doctor, thank you.


Do general fears ever morph into phobias? I sometimes think about when I was young, I had really intense fears.


They can start as a normal fear but then it sort of spirals out of control and you can't stop thinking about it. And you used to be able to function in your life but then the clown thing means the clown thing.


Oh, shit, the clown thing. But my question is, if you're that little, how can you tell? You don't know if it's rational. You're not thinking to yourself. It's always irrational when you're that little. Right. I was very afraid of bugs when I was a kid and I mean to the point that anything I even thought looked like a bug made me just shit my pants. And I had to be and actually, one time I didn't shit my pants but I had to be slowly lowered into a warm bath in order to relax my body because I got kind of rich of fear when I saw something at ground. It wasn't even a bug. I don't know what it was, but I thought it was a bug. Okay, but at that point, you don't know. I mean, at that point, it's always irrational, kind of, when you're that the.


First two dreams, I think. I can ever really remember my first memories of nightmares. One involved somebody like a skeleton kind of thing. It was very, very tall right. That was hanging at the edge of my bed which sounds scary as I describe it. Then the other one I had was I was at a grocery store, and my mom was buying a carton of eggs, or there was a carton of eggs going through the aisle. And I knew that I couldn't turn the carton of eggs over because on the underside was Frankenstein's face.


On the underside of the carton of carton of eggs.


So I was like, I'm not touching.


Was this a recurring nightmare?


No, that was not a recurring nightmare. I did have a recurring nightmare. The recurring nightmare always happened in a grocery store, actually.




And I understand why I had that recurring nightmare, which was when I was in first grade, I was invited to a birthday party. This kid, Curtis, and his mom took kind of all the boys from the class to a park, and we were all playing, and I was like, they had an old caboose, like a train I'm playing on. I was looking around like, where is everybody from the party? All my friends. And I realized no one was there.


Oh, wow.


And I don't know anybody. And then I started crying and some nice woman came over to me and said, is everything okay? I said, I was at a birthday party and everyone left. And so she was able to she called my mom. My mom then called the woman who was having the birthday party for Curtis, curtis'mom, who realized they forgot that they just left me there. And so she came back, picked me up, and dad came back. They took me back to the party and I got to have cake. And I was like, okay.


I'm okay.


And all the kids like, how are you doing? That's insane. And then that night at about three in the morning, I woke up panicked, crying that I had been left at a park. And my mom called Curtis's mom at three in the morning, and she said, I just want you to know that my son just woke up crying because he had a dream that he was left in a park. And I just want you to know we obviously woke up. So every time he wakes up crying from this dream, I'm going to call you and let you know because you made this happen.


She did that.


That's my mom in a nutshell. But I used to have a dream then where I would go to the grocery store with my mom and I always got left there and I would see her. I remember looking out the window and seeing the car drive away, and I'm like, great, now I'm going to have to sleep at the grocery store.


Wow, that's intense.


That was a recurring dream.


Why is a grocery store I wonder.


What when you're five, your world is the grocery store.


That's what I mean, everything can be menacing. Even the grocery store can be menacing.


But around that time, I had fears that were so intense that in my room, I mean, I think the first kind of incarnation of it is I had two paintings on my wall. They were black velvet paintings. Really. They weren't super high quality. I would think not. One was of Charlie Brown, and one was of Snoopy. And the one of Snoopy was okay, because it looked like Snoopy.


Oh, no.


But the one of Charlie Brown didn't really look like Charlie Brown.




And I found that terrifying. So that first thing was like, you got to take the picture of Charlie Brown out of my room, give it to my sister, put that one in her room. She's three. She won't like, I know. We're splitting them up, snoopy and Charlie Brown. But then eventually, that was like, okay, now you got to get rid of Snoopy. Now you got to get rid of the desk that's in the corner of my room, because it's making weird shadows. And then it turned into a phase where I had to have every single thing out of my room. And I only had a bed.


Everything was really just empty.


It was like a cell.


And that was better.


Yeah. And then it started me on a tear, truly a tear of really intense fears. And I think know, you talked about the clown fear.


Did you have that as a child?


I had a clown fear. I think I had a fear of toys and just things that didn't look right.


It's the uncanny thing.


It's like that thing of Charlie Brown. It didn't look like and, you know, I loved the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.




And I mean, I really loved it, and I was a little freaked out, but I was okay at the end with the guy, because it's like, I could tell it was a guy.


Right. It wasn't real.


But all of the little Martians that came out and they were all in shadow, I thought that was a little unsettling. I had a book that had about closed encounters, and it had pictures. You could see what all the other ones looked like weird, but a little bit closer, a little bit in more detail. And they were just terrible costumes, like kids in these things. But the eyes were sewn on.


Did that freak you out more?


Really freaked me out.




I got very scared about that. Yes. And then it really culminated, not that long after that, I was at a drive in movie theater seeing a double bill of Smoking the Bandit and Hooper.


Oh, classic.


Excellent, fantastic. Burt Reynolds.




Double whammy. And in between, they showed previews. And I remember watching they had a preview for a movie called Magic with Anthony Hopkins. And it came on. I'm like, OOH, I don't like the way that puppet looks.




And I'm like, oh, God. And then I turned around, I went and again, my mom, who said, It's okay. You don't have to watch. It's fine. I'll tell you when it's over. And I did went back, it was over. I didn't look at it again. And I think I woke up again that night thinking, about it. A couple weeks later, I was in my parents room watching Barney Miller on a small black and white TV. And I'm just on the bed, they're downstairs and all of a sudden it was commercial. And then hocus pocus. And I had the puppet's face. He was talking. And I went I ran downstairs and was so scared that I saw it. And my dad said, well, all right, we'll go up and at least go turn off the TV if you're not going to stay up there. And I'm like, there's no way I'm going back up there. He was mad. I can't calm down. I am crying and crying and I see a magazine of like, Newsweek. And in the corner of Newsweek is a little picture of from Close Encounters of just the boy Barry who opened the door and you could see the orange outside of the lights.


And that just triggered me to remember the things in the magazine. And I got so insane that my mom slapped me across, had to slap me.


Snap out of it.


Snap out of it. And then the next day took me to a therapist.


Holy cow, you were spiraling.






Because then the other one there was another movie around that time a little bit earlier, like a CBS movie of the week called.


Somebody Knows It.


I remember that with Dirk Benedict.


Was it a snake picture?


I think struther.


Margaret Howard or something.


I don't know. It's been a while since I've seen it. But it's like, yeah, this guy is turning people into snakes. He has a thing with snakes. And this girl whose ex boyfriend all of a sudden vanished. She goes to like a freak show or something, and then she sees him in a glass box and he's like and he's crying. She's like and I'm like, this is too much. And I again woke up and I had to sleep with my parents.


Did the shrink help at all? Did it do anything?


I don't know. It lasted a long time, really. And then it turned into diseases and neuro, germs and stuff.


Were you like a germaphobe as a child?


Not so much germs, but like deformity things.




Things that don't look right. Puppet didn't look right. There was something I got very scared by this.


There's a kind of therapy that psychologists will do, which is a kind of exposure therapy. When you're like, afraid, you sort of like you just give little doses. But you were so bound up with all these different like if it's tarantulas or spiders, you can just show somebody a spider across the room for five minutes and you come back next week. You had a lot going on there.


Well, the exposure therapy is fascinating because what do you do with the clown phobia if it's exposure therapy? You lock somebody in a room with like three clowns for 8 hours. You shove them in a clown car, and that's it. They just let them get driven off. But there is something there is something.


You deal with that kind of draws you to it.


Draws you to the thing.


We had HBO. I loved Close Encounters, but I don't want to deal with those things. But we'd have HBO, and it's like, okay, Magic might be a movie this month, and the guide would show up, and I would always look to see in the contents, and I would never, like page 13. I'll never turn to that.


But I won't look away.


But I would always kind of be drawn to it. But I would never look through it.


You're reminding me of something that I have not thought of in ages because of that weird sort of thing. I dream of Jeannie the show. I dream of Jeannie. You ever had that kind of animated the beginning where she was all kind of, like, dancing around? She comes out of the bottle and everything. She would get sucked back into the bottle at the end, and she would kind of go and she would kind of get, like, sucked into the bottle. It scared the shit out of me when she would get sucked into the bottle. But I would wait for it every time. Just like, any second, she's going to get sucked back into the bottle. And it was fucking terrifying to me. But I couldn't not watch it. I had to watch also I loved I dream of mean. You know, it was fantastic. But I would wait for that moment because it scared the crap out of me. But I don't know what was scaring me because she looked distorted because she.


Was getting like there's an experiment that Darwin did in the monkey house. Follow me on this. And he basically brought, like, a fake snake in a bag, and he would put it in the monkey house in the zoo, and the monkeys are terrified. They would go and they would look, and then they would run away. But then they would slowly all come back and keep looking and then running away. So there is something like you're repulsed by it and afraid, but you're also attracted to it. It seems to be part of the.


Do you think it just stems with a desire to conquer our fears?


It might be, yeah. I don't think anyone knows exactly.


Or is it, like, releasing something chemical in our brains?


It's a drill ride for the brain. It basically releases all this. There's a woman who has no fear in California. They call her SM by her initials, and she has damage to her amygdala. And you can take her to a haunted house and she gets aroused. Not wait, hold on.


Wait, hold on.


That's the wrong word.


She gets excited or the wrong haunted house.


But she's not afraid. She's excited, but she's not afraid. So there must be something in the brain that is both drawing you to it and also making you think like, this could kill you. Be aware of it and that it's adaptive so you survive better. If you err on the side of fear, you're going to live longer. And so that may have evolved that way.


She has no fear of anything. Just nothing.


Yeah, she would like, walk down alleys and get in all kinds of trouble because she has no sense that this is going to be dangerous.


That's so weird. I'm always like heights. Recently I just went up I had to go up we were in Italy and we went up in a tower to go look at the top of it. And my girlfriend was getting freaked out. And I thought, is there anybody who is really completely mean? It seems like it's a very small number of people who are generally not afraid of heights because I feel like everybody's a little afraid of them. Right. I mean, who's okay with sharks? Really? Like a small group of people are okay with sharks. It's not like everybody's okay with so it's strange. How are some people not I don't get know.


Did you see that movie? Free solo.


No, I haven't. But that's the guy who can climb those.


Alex connor has. I thought the most interesting part of that film was when they were looking at the study of his brain. He's doing things that no one would ever do. And you think it's so terrifying. But the part of his brain that would light up, that would give him kind of pleasure or feeling is kind.


Of, in these moments, a pleasure from those moments of the most treacherous.


Yeah, it's like you feel calm or like those guys that do the cave diving that save those kids. Yes. They study their brains and then they get a 99% of the population would panic in a certain situation. Is the one part where they actually calm down, where they feel not scared?


It's neurodiversity. I think it's just different kinds of brains. I think that's right.


Well, I'm like the opposite of whatever claustrophobic is. I'm claustrophilic. Like I like it. Just shut me in the closet, I'm fine. Turn the lights out, I'm good. I'll be in the closet. I kind of like being in enclosed spaces. It makes me feel comfortable. And it's obviously setting off some kind of I don't know. Is it like being swaddled like as a baby or something?


You have one of those weighted blankets that make you feel like you're I.


Don'T have the weighted blankets, but I'd like to get a weighted blanket. If anybody wants to get me a weighted blanket, either one of you guys for the holidays, that would be nice. If somebody wants to get me away to Paul.


Now, I know Christmas is right around the corner. Tell me something.


Be honest now. Would you say that you're a good gift giver? You put a lot of time and thought into buying gifts for loved ones.


In my own head, I'm a great.


Gift giver, but in actual practice, yes. You fall short.


Yes, I do.


Yeah. I have a hard time. I get very tied up in knots because I get very worried and very oh, how am I going to find something interesting? But I'll tell you something, steve, that's where uncommon goods comes in. Uncommon Goods makes your holiday shopping stress free, my friend. You can find all kinds of things. Now, I found something really great recently on Uncommon Goods for a friend of mine who's a guy who likes his cocktail hour drink. I got a gourmet smoking closure set on there. You seen these things where you can sort of make the drink kind of smoky, that kind of thing. Cool. You can get one of these things that's awesome from these folks. It's perfect. I never would have thought of it on my own. There it is. Smoking closure sets, steve, to get 15% off of your next gift, go to Chinwag. That's chinwag for 15% off. Don't miss out on this limited time offer. Uncommon Goods. We're all out of the ordinary, my friend.


Have you ever had to do, like, a facial cast?


I love it.


You do? I love it.


When you have to get prosthetics made, I'm like they're just like they're just slapping that stuff on. They stick straws up your nose. And I get relaxed. I get incredibly relaxed.


So interesting. Most people do not like that. I never imagined really myself to be claustrophobic, per se, but I got that thing. What they do is they put kind of plaster on your head and you cover your eyes, and it gets heavier and heavier, and you have to stay there for 30 minutes, and you have a straw so you can breathe. And as it kind of compresses, it warms up.


It gets hotter, too, as it wasn't dry.


What movie was this for you guys?


I had to do it for a movie called The Shape of Things. Shape of things. The cast for my face, it was like, oh, I just want to rip it off. I just want to take and did.


You like wearing them or did you not like wearing them?


Well, they were just like pieces.




So I had no problem with that. But it isn't putting the pieces on or even wearing that.


It's just the molding.


It's putting the cast on your head.


Yeah. I had to do it for a Planet of the Apes movie.


Planet of the Apes.


Planet of the Apes. My whole body was basically done. My feet, my hands, my shoulders, my head.


You were an orangutan.


I was an orangutan, yes. Sadly, I was an. A little Hollywood story here. When they first came to me with this job, I remember my agents were like, do you really want to have your face covered like that people can't see your face, maybe we should tell them you want to be a human being? And I was like, if you tell these fucking people I want to be a human being in the Planet of the Apes, I'll fire all of you. I was like, who wants to be the human being? It wants to be Charlton Heston. Nobody. Who wants to be the human. But that was supposed to be an albino gorilla. But for some reason, that didn't work out, and I had to be an orangutan, which was okay. And they were like, you know, your face actually suits an orangutan. And I was like, thank you very much. And I was the comic orangutan, so that was okay. I got to do the but I loved wearing them, actually. I never wanted to take them off. I was like, there's those days you get called in and they put you in all that shit, and they don't use you.


I was happy as a clam. I didn't give a shit. I just wanted to stay in this stuff. I was like, Could I stay in it all the time? But what's interesting is it's kind of exhausting to wear it's tiring, actually. It's like you feel it on your face.


Well, it's interesting. You said the swaddling or the compression. I just thought of this thing that when I was I think about, like, third or fourth grade, I was riding my bike. I went over to my friend's house to see if he was just there to kind of like, if he was around, he wanted to play. And I rode my bike to his house, and he wasn't there. But his little brother Trayman was in the it was in the Trayman. Trayman Stampley. Sam Stampley was gone, but his little brother Trayman Stampley, who was about this big, was at so I'm like, how's it going, Trayman? He's like it's. Good. What are you doing? Nothing. You want to play? Okay, what should we do? He goes, you want to do this? And they had a couch, like, a pull out couch, like a sofa. And he goes, Sometimes it's fun to get in. And then pulled up the couch and then put the couch back in. You want to do it? And I said, okay. So I got in the bed, and he folded it up, and he put it in. I'm like, mom. And I'm smooshed, and it's, like, really hard to breathe.


I said, okay, take me out now. And he goes, I can't, because he was super small. And he goes, I can't. It's too like, how old were you? I was probably in my third grade.




Old enough to know better get into it. Sofa bed with only Trayman Stampley in the goes I go get somebody. He goes, I'm the only one home. He goes, it's just me. I'm like, Go get a neighbor. So he goes out. He's, like, trying to knock on door. Meanwhile, I'm like, there's a little crack of air in the corner. And I'm going, that's true.


Could you breathe?


Are they trying to get my mouth to the thing? And I'm in it for like five minutes. Draymond's not coming back. He can't find it. And he comes back. He's like nobody's next door. And now I was starting to realize, I don't like this trayvon when's your mom he goes, My mom is home, but she's sleeping. And I said, go wake her up. And he said, she told me not to wake her up. I'm like, Draymond, go wake her up. She's going to get mad. Wake her up. So he goes up, and then I'm waiting there for another 30 seconds and all of a sudden blew out of the thing. And Trayman's mom opened it and started screaming at him. She goes, I have told you so many times like that. Apparently he'd done that before, not to do it.




And maybe that started my fear of being close. Maybe I don't like the mask.


Yeah, I wonder if it has that kind of starting point, some of those things like that. If it's just that kind of shit, it's astonishing we're not dead with all the things that all the crazy shit that happens, it absolutely is absolutely crazy.


No, I remember actually repelling off the back of a football stadium because in the middle of the night, high as a kite, because my friend said, this is going to be fun. This is going to be awesome.


Repelling off the back of a football stadium.


And I had never repelled before. He's like, Just hold the rope here. It'll be fun.


Oh, I know. I had somebody do that to me. I had somebody I was in college. They were like, we're going to go out with the rock climbing club. You want to come? And I was like, yeah, sure. And I've never climbed anything in my life. And so we went out and did this sort of easy little climb. And then easy enough, I was like, okay, I can make it up there like this. And I got to the top, and then they were like, now you got to repel. And I was like, what does that mean, repelling? They were like, you just kind of run the thing up between your legs. I'm like, the rope goes between my legs. And they're like, now you just lean out. And I was like, Fuck this. No way. I'm not doing this. And they were like, no, all you have to do is trust yourself. I was like, I do not trust myself. You don't know me. I don't trust myself at all to let myself down easily. Anyway, they had to kind of tie the thing under me and lower me down, which was humiliating, but much better than me fucking killing myself.


But I hate that kind of thing where people just assume you can do something like that.


But we were talking backstage about the childhoods we had were much more dangerous, we think, than kids nowadays. Does that sound right to you guys?


I wonder if it's actually no seatbelts, no speed bumps. Is that what you said?


No, no seatbelts.


No seatbelts. That's true. Things just didn't have seatbelts, I don't think.


And you wandered around, you were free range and got into all kinds of trouble. Now kids, like, everybody's too afraid. I get it. There's reasons for that. But are parents overly frightened? Are they having a phobia about their kids safety? Are we overly thinking it, or is it a more dangerous time? It's an interesting question.


Or the way we just even kind of I don't know. Yeah, with the whole seatbelt thing. And we would drive in the car and behind the back seat, we used to call it the shelf. And my sister would sleep on the back seat, and I'd get up on the shelf, on the shelf glass, and I'd just go to sleep. And so if anyone's driving behind us, there's just a kid in the back window. But it's like that habit is like, oh, if you slam on the brakes.


The number of times I got catapulted over the front seat, because I'd be hanging over the front seat, yaking at my mother, who's, like, smoking out the window and driving. And I'm like and she would hit the brake, and I would fucking catapult over the front seat and land down in the footwell. I mean, insane. The shit that would go on, absolutely insane.


So that clearly it makes total sense. That is dangerous. My parents smoking cigarettes, like, windows, like, smoking crack, and it's all like, okay, this isn't safe. But then I really wanted to play football, and my mom said, no, you can't. Your bones are growing. And I was not allowed to play football. So certainly she was protective in some ways, but in other ways, it wouldn't even cross your mind that that might be dangerous.


I lived in China for a while, and I would say this is maybe ten years ago, and there it felt like now it's probably different. But ten years ago, it felt like the 1970s. Here everything. There was no sort of government control on anything. And this is not a good way to live because you don't know what's in your food. You don't know whether at that time they were like, is the baby milk safe formula to feed kids? So I get it. We're living in a much better and a safer world. But also, my son, he's never been in a fight, and maybe that's good, but I also worry, like, maybe it's good for your character to sometimes get in a fight when you're little fighting, right?


It wasn't good for my character. I fought a lot, which astonishes me when I think about it, that I fought a lot because I'm. Such a coward now. I mean, I'm a terrible coward.


I think you'd be a scrapper in a fight.


I mean, I wouldn't start the fights, but if somebody wanted to fight, I was fine with it.


I wish I was you. That's so cool.


I guess it was, but it was like I just wasn't afraid to do that. That's what's weird. Like, I was terrified of bugs, but some things I wasn't afraid of at all. Have you ever had stage fright or or that performance anxiety when you're acting?


Well, you know, I think that, like the the recurring the other recurring dream that I have that I will still have, which is I think almost all actors I've talked to have had is it's opening night, you're doing a play, and it's like, oh, my God, I've never even read this script. I have to memorize the entire play.




And I have an hour, but I don't even know what and it's going to happen.


I'm going on, or you get the script, and it's like, huge. It's endless.


And you're like, how am I going to do this? And so there's like that kind of panic. It's funny. When I think back, I really liked the idea of kind of performance a speech class in school. I thought like, oh, that sounds fun. I loved watching stand up comedians, and I thought, oh, that would be so fun. And so that whole thing about public speaking didn't strike me in the same way that I think it did.


A lot of people a lot of people.


And I've done plays and all that, and it doesn't really bother me. But I do get nervous, obviously.


That's interesting. If I have to get up and be like, make a toast, I'm, like, absolutely frozen with fear. If I really do something like that. Yeah, no, something like that. Get up and make, like, a little speech at the you know what. It absolutely scares the hell out of me. But if I have to walk around dressed like an orangutan and get dropped out of a tree and shit like that, I don't have a problem with that. It's very strange, but simple things like that can absolutely terrify me.


That's a universal fear is public speaking is one of the most frightening things for human beings.


It's a general sort of phobia for.


People, fighters, snakes, the dark. And I think public speaking is like public speaking.


It scares the crap out of me. But stage fright is like a really particular thing that I don't think I've ever experienced because I've had that feeling of nervousness or, oh, my God, I don't want to have to do this again. You have to do a big, crazy, long show, and you have to do it twice in the day, and you're like, oh, my God, how am I going to do this? But stage fright is apparently literally you cannot walk out there. You literally cannot stand out there. And that's a really strange thing. And I don't understand what it is either. And some great actors have suffered from it. Lawrence Olivier and shit like that. But he couldn't go out there. But you've never had that kind of thing.


I also think with him, clearly, it probably went in phases where it just kind of kicked in at some point, right? I mean, he didn't have it all the time.


Yeah, it was like didn't it happen like, in the middle of his career?


I think it happened in the middle of something. Yeah. Whereas I always actually kind of found when something went wrong or something, or I went up on a line, it kind of excited me. I got kind of excited that something gone wrong and it suddenly makes the whole thing feel new again or something. You know what I mean? It reinvents it. It's funny you said because I happen to have some research here. I did some research and you just reminded with public speaking, I have a list of different phobias here.


Oh, let's hear them. Wait, Paul, wait.


This one is interesting.


What is your.


Personal phobia right now? Do I have a phobia of any kind? Yeah. I don't really know that. I well, I'm not fond of dogs, but I'm not phobic about dogs. I think you're looking at me. Yeah, you're looking at me.


Everyone in there really is going to.


Be like, that's the most unamerican thing I could say, I realize, and it's controversial, but if there's something I still feel I'm not phobic about them, but I'm not hugely comfortable around dogs.


Did you ever have an experience as a kid?


I had several experiences as a kid and I felt like dogs there were frequently some menacing dog experiences. I remember too, when I was a child on the Jersey Shore, I was telling you guys that we went down there a dog urinated on my leg once, and that was off putting and off putting off dogs for a little while. These kids had a dog, we were over watching Know What's Happening or something on TV and they had this little white dog and I didn't like how yappy it was, didn't like the little ones especially I wasn't terribly fond of. And it just kept jumping up and down on me and eventually it just released on my leg and just urinated all over my leg. So I'm not terribly fond of dogs. They make me nervous. Cats don't I love cats. Again, I couldn't be more unamerican right now than saying, I know there's a.


Lot of cat people here.


Other cat people here. Yeah. If I have anything that feels slightly like that, but I wouldn't call it phobic.


What about rats?


Yes. Again, I'm like, is anybody good with rats? I mean, I suppose there's some well.


I think there's like some people, they're like, whatever, but then really scared of.


Well, I feel like a fear of rats is like you're fucking covered in rats. You know what I mean? If you go somewhere, I feel like that's what would really make one rat is going to not I'm not going to be fond of one rat running around.


Like if you're walking down the street and one just goes right past you.


I mean, it's startling. It's definitely startling. But would I be really afraid of one? If you, like, held one in my face? No, but a whole bunch of COVID rats? That's going to be a problem.


You've seen creep show? You're in a room with cockroaches.


I'm not fun.


Cockroaches are really like people hate them. That was the thing in Creep Show, right? E G. Marshall.


Yes, I think that's right. Cockroaches are disgusting. And I don't like cockroaches. But it's interesting to me. What if I had to, in a movie, be immersed in a tub of cockroaches? And you know what I bet it'd be like? Yeah, you bet.


I think you would.


I think I would.


It's a weird thing because it's a controlled environment. And you know, there's a cockroach wrangler. So, you know there are. You know that it's like these are professional cockroaches. There are.


And what they do to the insects. There's cockroach. I worked with a butterfly wrangler one time, and a fly wrangler just flies. But you know what they do?


Nobody job a fly wranglers.


You know what they do to them, though? And I suppose it's not cruel, but they make them really cold. So they take all the flies and they put them in a little cold thing so they get kind of dopey so they can't fly around. And the butterfly was really like trying to fly, but it couldn't really because they kind of made it a little cold, which I don't think is cruel because it'll warm up eventually. But cockroaches, I imagine they probably get a bunch of cockroaches and put them in a freezer and then dump them all over you.


Yeah, like in in that movie, they had a lot of cockroaches.


A lot of cockroaches. And that they did.


But I think it's interesting.


I do think that you lose that fear once you but also there's a kind of adrenalized thing, and there's this sense of like, yeah, this will be really crazy.


There is something about when it's in a movie. I know that when we were shooting Anchorman, at the end of Anchorman, there were a bunch of bears in the bear pit. We were like, okay, we're going to be working with some bears. And the bear wrangler trainer said they just had strings along the side. It's just like a string, but to the bear that might be electrified so they don't cross the strings. And they're very tame. Like, these bears had worked in lots of movies, more than any of us, probably. And I remember the trader said, like, you guys. They've been in this and it's great. They know exactly they're not going to cross these lines. They're sweet. They understand camera angles.




And we're all like, okay. And then at the end, she goes, however, keep in mind these are real bears. And all of a sudden, it's like, wait a minute. They are. And so we were working in the bear pit and not thinking much of anything, like, wow, this is cool. There are bears, obviously, they know. They work on films. They get it. And there was one moment, and Christina Applegate made a move and one went and all the wrangles ran in and it conjured down, and all of a sudden, all of us shit.




And then they're like, you're not working with the bears anymore. None of us got in the pit with them. And it was all of a sudden what was? Oh, yeah, this is fun. And nothing became terrifying.


Yeah. No, it's crazy, the situation. Then the animals they put in, you in there with do you know, this is an interesting fact. If you've ever seen up until now, when they can CGI them up until that point, if you ever saw a gorilla in a movie, it was a guy in a suit, because you couldn't have a full gorilla.


They were too dangerous, the gorillas to.


Have way too dangerous. You just can't have a gorilla. And there's a whole subset of stuntmen who are ape sort of ape actors. They do all this kind of ape acting and stuff like that.


What about chimps? Chimps are also very dangerous.


I had to work with some chimps one time. And you can have the chimp until they're about I don't know. They can't really past infancy. You just can't use them because they're nuts.


What about orangutans?


Well, I was going to tell you. Well, the chimp I worked with I did work with a little chimp. It was still terrifying. It still comes up and looks you in the eye and it's like, it could eat my face right down to the bone if it wanted to. And it's like concrete. It's so strong. It's like, no, we shouldn't have this here at all. Orangutans are interesting. I worked with an orangutan once, and that was the closest thing to something. It was so humanoid. It was so humanoid. And it was so fucking bored. It was just like and I had to do this thing, putting electrodes on this orangutan. And he would just kind of look at me and he was really like and he got really good at knowing when I had to put it on his wrist. And he would kind of be looking at me and he would just kind of put his wrist out like this, looking at me like, what are you doing to me? Like, they're so human and really remarkable. They're supposed to be the smartest because the orangutans because they imitate people's behavior immediately. They see you do something, and they do it.


I worked with some baboons once. This should give you a measure of this should give you a measure of the films I've been in, the fine motion pictures I've been in, all of the primate films that I've been in. Lot of comedies. A lot of comedies. Because monkeys are funny, Paul. Monkeys are very funny. And so I had to work yes, I had to work with baboons once. And they were intense. And they had two of them, a male and a female. And the female was further away because they're scarier. They're actually more violent, and it's bigger. And that thing got loose one day and the same thing, they were like, that's a wrap for the day. Because it was somewhere in the set running around. But the other one in this film, they had trained this monkey baboon to load and aim a pistol oh, my God. At me. And I remember the first time I was like, that's funny. That's amazing. You trained that baboon to load and aim a fucking pistol at me. I was like, now it knows. And it's not ever going to forget. And if it sees a bunch of bullets in a gun, it's just going to go, oh, yeah, I know how to do that.


I know how to do that. Where's that guy? Where's that two bit character actor guy? It's going to come looking for me someday. It's going to ring my doorbell and just be up there. But I thought that's insane that you've done that.


Do they retire, these chimps? Like on a farm somewhere?


That's so fucked up. And I think it's true, actually. I do think that these things retire.


You know, like SAG has like a working actor's home, the really to the very poorly funded home for retirement.


I do, unfortunately. I think actually it is sort of like and every now and then you'll read about, like, Cheetah, the famous monkey in the Tarzan films has passed know, because somewhere they're being taken care of somewhere.


I was on a plane once with Lassie. Really? I got on a plane once, and Lassie, who was flying first class, sitting on the seat. I was like, what? Whoa. And I was a kid. They're like it's, lassie. Lassie's on this flight. Lassie. And I got to meet Lassie. And they had a card with a paw print on it, like as an autograph, as Lassie. And so I got it.


Wait a minute. What was this, 1954?


What were you like?


Flying Pan Am to like Lassie. What the fuck has Lassie been around? When was the last time anybody saw Lassie?


When I realized I'm walking down and my dad goes like, that's like the 9th Lassie.




That makes sense.


Those dogs actually freaked me out again. It's super UN American. Collie's really freak me out for some reason. They're so strange looking. And those kind of weird, pointy faces. So Lassie makes me smart dogs.


Collies, are they? I think they are my grandparents collie.


And it died and they had it stuffed and put in the living room.


The whole thing is stuffing the pet. Is it's a thing?


The stuffed pet thing? You wouldn't go that far. No, you wouldn't do that.


Didn't Barbara Streisand clone her dogs?


Come on. Really?




Barbara Streisand cloned her dogs a while ago.


Kind of before Cloning became really good.


She had an answer.


She was, like, one of the first, I think. Right?


That's so crazy. Is it really going to be the same dog? It's not really going to be the same.


I think it looks exactly the same.


That's so bizarre. I think I'd be all right with stuffing my cat and putting it on the mantelpiece. It's a beautiful cat.


Well, would you clone yourself so that if you had some kind of problem, you could replace your organs with your cloned self's organ?


Would I clone myself? I might clone myself. I think I'd be interested to clone myself.


You mean just for parts?


Yeah, exactly. For parts.


I think I probably would if it would work.




Would you really keep it in shape, running around the track?


Well, it's just kind of like hooked up in the back. You have a little room that the clone me sits in, kept in a hyperbaric chamber. So I'm cold.


But wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.


Like, I need a kidney or I need something wait a minute, wait a minute. Get it out of clone me.


But your clone has to grow up. Right? I mean, it's not like Invasion of Body Snatchers. Your clone just doesn't come out fully formed. And it's you. Right? So what's the point to getting the clone?


Because what am I going to get?


A tiny kidney?


You'd have one of your own baby kidneys.


Exactly. So you would have I would have to wait for the clone to grow up. What would be the point to that? There's no point to it. It's a stupid idea, Steve. It's a stupid idea.


All right.


Don't do it, Steve. Don't do it. You have to wait years for the.


Kid to grow up. Here a little wisdom here, but fun.


Hang on. I wanted to just read some of these. I'm going back to this because I did research when we were talking about public speaking. It made me think of this, which is hippopotamo Monstero sesquipidalia. Phobia.


Holy shit.


I can't believe you pronounced it hippopotam Monstero. Sesquipidaliaphobia is fear of long words, which I think is essentially fear of public speaking, but it's a fear of long words, which raises the question to me is who is the guy who thought it would be funny to make the phobia such a long word? You can't pronounce it. And I'm like, is that the exposure therapy is right in the word it's right there. I just thought that was very funny. There's a lot of weird phobias here. Emita phobia is a fear of vomiting, which apparently is very rare. And I don't know whether it's a fear of yourself vomiting or watching other people vomit or something like that. I don't know.


Why are you looking at me? You guys are both looking at me in the vomit question.


We just assume you have the answer.


What do you think about ghosts, Paul? Do you think they're likely they're real? What's your sense of it?


You know, I try and be trying to think rational about this. I got I've been asked this kind of thing before. I think that there's a lot of things we don't understand, and that energy never goes away. So if a person was here, the energy from that person is still here.




If you wake up at night and the woman in the Civil War dress comes to the foot of your bed which has never happened to me. But I've had experiences. I've had some crazy experiences in my life. I really I really have. I think I tend to veer more scientific. What's the scientific reasoning behind them? I do think there are many things in the world that we just don't understand and probably won't understand.


That's our whole show is all the.


Shit we don't understand. There's all the shit we don't understand. What you're kind of saying is like, at some level, energy is indestructible. At some level, something always survives. There's something well, yes.


That'S true. That's obviously true. But you could write down to the Ouija board thing too. I've had very strange you've done the.


Ouija board thing a lot.


Not a lot, but I mean, there are certain things that have happened and there are certain things that happen to me that I hesitate to go into because it's really crackpotty weird stuff. But I was like, well, what's the explanation for this? And I don't understand what the explanation could be. And I don't know if anyone could really describe what that is. I think our brains are powerful. We can conjure yeah, we were talking about that.


Your imagination is vast. People's imaginations are vast.


What our brains are capable of when it comes, like channeling or writing things out on paper, what you convince yourself.


That you actually believe. I mean, it's like we were talking how malleable people's minds are. How easily people can convince themselves of things or be convinced of things is vast. Infinite power to mold people's minds. I got very serious paul, this is the most serious you and I have ever been with each other.


We are chin wagging.


Yeah, that's very serious.


Chin wag.


Chinwag is a production of Treefort Media and Touchy feely Films, hosted and executive produced by Paul Giamatti and Stephen Asma. Executive producers for treefort are Kelly Garner and Lisa Ammerman. Dan Carey is executive producer for Touchy Feely. Our series producer is Rachel Whitley Bernstein. Original theme music by Luke Topp with additional music by Via Mardot. Oscar Guido is our executive in charge of production. Tom Monahan is head of audio for Treefort Animation, created by Alex Sokal. Editing and mixing by Jeff Neal. Lastly, for more information, go to Chinwagpod FM and find us on Instagram or TikTok at Chinwagpod or on Twitter at chinwag underscore Pod.