Episode 1146 - Joe ListWTF with Marc Maron
- 723 views
- 6 Aug 2020
Joe List shot his new standup special a week before everything shut down, but that doesn’t mean he’s given up on comedy. He’s been performing in parks, at drive-ins and even on Zoom. Marc talks with Joe about pandemic comedy. They also explore Joe’s roots as a standup, from his first viewing of a George Carlin special to his training in Boston to his experience bottoming out with alcohol while on the road. Marc and Joe compare notes on getting sober as comics.
Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you, what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? STRs, what's happening? Your list is on the show. He's a comedian out of Boston at the Boston area. I didn't know much about him. I was happy to talk to him. I didn't I watched his new special. I didn't realize, you know, who he was.
I'd seen him around, but I thought he was some old guy, some lanky little old comic. But he says he's a joke swinger. He's a killer. Old school got his training in the old method. Talked about that. I was sort of like, wow, this this guy's got some he's got some weight, he's got some heft to his his joke delivery, so.
I talked to you Sunday, and let's try to keep it together here, but I. A monkey is monkeys gone. Long live monkey monkey is dead. Long live monkey, great cat, great friend. Very consistent companion. Sixteen years almost to the day. My cab monkey was with me. Through it all. Back and forth from New York a couple of times, I mean, the monk Monklands. And from all the way from a garbage can in Queens.
Back alley. To. To a house on the Hill, Highland Park, now to the big house here. The monkey was with me. It was time, though, man. We had talked about it. Me and monkey. As many of you know. I've been in grief. For the past couple of months and, you know, I've been worrying about monkies health probably close to a year, you know, they get old.
I put his sister down a while back. LaFonta That was rough.
Terrible. It's terrible trying to figure out when, but it was very clear with Lafond is she had lost her mind. She lost a lot of weight.
She's having trouble balancing. She was trying to climb into the toilet, into the bathtub. And then she started howling. And then I took her in and they rigged her up with a catheter and I held her and the doc sedated her and then asked me, are you ready? And I was ready. And then that was at. Lynne was with me for that. I was holding the cat, Lynn was holding me. So outside of worrying about this cat constantly.
Constantly. For months and months, I would get up, is he right, is this today, is he sick? Where is he? What's going on? Is he going to eat his medicine? What are we doing? Does he have the flu? Does he have asthma? I mean, there's a whole portion of my brain that was committed on a daily basis, even when I was out of town, to worrying about my cat monkey so connected to this cat.
I projected a lot of misery on him, but he was OK. His quality of life was alright. But then he gets to a point where what is it exactly? And we had a long discussion about it.
You know, he knew I was sad and I told him, I said, look, I'm going to be OK.
You can go. If you need to go, you can go. This is like a week or so ago.
And he was still jumping up on my bed and sweeping by my head and, you know, I was crying on my bed and, you know, he looked at me so, you know, I get it, man. I get it, I know this has been hard and I've been through a lot with you, and this is certainly the hardest thing we've been through. But I'm here, but I'm I'm almost done, buddy. I'm almost done.
And I said, OK, man. All right, I get it. You're like 80, so like, yeah. Yeah, and it's been good and I'm like, well, you let me know when you want when you want to go, when it's time to let go. So Monday in the morning, it's weird what you hang on to like, I'm like, I'm going to try one more time. I'm going to give him subcu fluids.
I held him down. I gave him the fluids. He ate his medicine. And that was that was the other thing that was making me happy. It's like if he would eat his medicine, I would get relieved. But what is that quality of life? He sat on the couch for five minutes. And he ate his medicine. It's going to be OK. It's not. After a certain point, they're just old and they're ready to go and it's on you.
They don't know when to die because you've made their life good, it's on you. So I got him in the box, I brought him in the afternoon. I texted Doc from the parking lot. He got he got him in there right away.
And it was so weird because Monkey was is usually crying in the car. He was just looking at me, was just peaceful, almost like baby faced. Kind of like, OK, thank you. I'm sorry. But when they took him out of the car, the the guy the tech knew, and I'm like, Oh, man. And I had Modesto, I had doc, you know, I had him do a panel, do a blood panel, man, let's just check it out.
And he does the blood panel. I waited an hour and he's like, you know, he looks great. Everything looks great, kidneys look great, and like I gave subcu fluids, he's like, oh, that's why. But then he said he was at another point, three down one point three pounds in five weeks. That's a lot of his body weights. Not good. And I'm like, but his kidneys are all right, so like, what can we do?
He's like, we can give him an appetite stimulant. I'm like, Yeah, let's do that. Let's give him an appetite stimulant. That would be great, but try that. And I was about to take him home. And I just sat there and I'm like, wait a minute, he can't breathe, he's whimpering, he's lost a pound in three, you know, it's like the medicine's not working for the asthma anymore. You know, the subcu foods, am I going to get him an inhaler and do subcu foods three times a week for what?
So we can sit on the couch for five minutes and eat his medicine? So I text you back and my doc, I don't know, man, it don't feel right and I wanted my vet to tell me.
He helped me with a fanda. He said it's time. And my vet, because he's a great vet over a gateway in Los Feliz, Modesto, Dr. Modesto. He texted me back, yes, I would honestly euthanize monkey if it was my cat. I said, OK, let me know when to come in. So I went in there, they brought me and they walked me back, I put the mask on. And he was sweeping, he was out, but his eyes were open, he was sedated, breathing monkey, my cat, my old guy.
And. There were two techs in there and the doctor, I said, how many people are going to be in here? And I'm fucking crying and it's just me and you. And I'm like, OK, let's do it.
And I just put my hand on monkies. Just in, you know, in the stomach and on its head, and I said, go ahead, do it. And they just held them. And he shot it in and then just stopped the breath stopped almost immediately and I walked out. I cried a lot on the way home, but I just. The hardest thing is just knowing that you did the right thing, and of course it was the right thing to do and of course, it was the right time to do it.
And I now just realizing just how worried I was about him all the time, all the time. And I'm so sad that he's gone, but, God, what a great cat, what a great life, and he really fucking hung in there.
So I'm relieved but sad because I can remember my whole life with that cat. I can remember all six years, you know, like he's been the constant him and the other one's woolfenden original crew.
And you got to realize, I don't know many of you know this story, but it's I don't need to tell the whole story.
But it was because of those cats. That I found my voice on radio, it was the adventures of those cats in my adventure with those cats when I trapped them in Astoria in 2004 when they were a couple months old, the night before the Republican convention. And I was doing Daily Morning Radio and I brought four feral kittens into my house. That's and I began talking about that. On the air, that's where I developed my ability. To be on these mikes.
My voice on the radio and on this podcast was built on the backs of the fanda and monkey for sure, they were the inspiration, they were the muses, they were the beginning of freeing my voice on radio. Godspeed, monkey. Maggie is dead, long live monkey. Thank you for all your support and fan art and everything else, and for you listening to me talk about Monkey, he's made his way into at least two of my specials in the fucking Munger's.
Oh, yes. Oh, yeah, I should mention this. On Sunday, August 9th, I will have 21 years sober if I make it to Sunday, I think I'm going to make it. I got a pretty strong feeling that I can tell you this now and probably I'll probably bring it up Monday, but August 9th, 21 years sober. If that inspires anybody, it fucking should. It's it's an amazing thing. I don't even think about that as a solution anymore, drugs or alcohol, and I'm off of.
Nicotine for almost a year. I think that's like on the 24th or something. So not bragging. Because God knows, being wide awake at this particular juncture in history is not particularly terrific or a great gift, but it is happening. And I'm not hiding from it. So. Try to if you need to stay sober, if you need to. If you have a problem, you think you have a problem, there's always help.
Can find help. There's always a meeting somewhere online now you can go to a meeting any place in the world right from your house now. OK, enough of that. Boston Joe list comes from Boston. And he did his training in a similar way that I did. You know, with some of the dudes that I knew that I came up with. And it was kind of a great it was a great talk because I didn't know him and, you know, and, you know, I started in Boston really.
And he's got a new comedy special, Joe Does, it's called I Hate Myself, Joe List I Hate Myself premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on YouTube as part of Comedy Central stand up channel. Joe financed it himself and then he taped it a week before everything shut down.
He also has a weekly podcast that he hosts with Mark Normand called Tuesday Stories. Get that wherever you get podcasts. And this is me and Joe list coming up.
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So wtf to make sure they know that our show sent you.
How are you man.
I'm pretty good. I'm nervous. This makes me nervous. Why does it make me nervous. I mean I guess we don't really know each other.
I don't know you.
Yeah we don't even know each other at all. But I know you through the show. I'm a big fan of the show. We chatted in Montreal last year a little bit almost a year ago, right? Probably. That's right.
And so, you know me through this show and maybe you've seen my stand up or.
No. Yeah, quite a bit. Yeah. So I was on a Bringers show with you in two hours, bringing in twenty two. Twenty one. Stand up New York maybe it might have been been 2000.
I was a kid and it must have been a rare night because I fucking hated that place and never went there.
Yeah I was definitely you seemed unhappy and I did the thing where I was like Hey I'm opening for Marc Maron. I like I said that to you. Which of many people have said to me since. Yeah, yeah. And it makes me think, boy, this guy must have hated me.
Yeah, I well, I mean, fortunately, if there was any sort of hate, it's gone away.
I don't recall it. You're probably right in that moment. It was probably not great, but wow. Yeah. It's so weird when people say certain clubs like that one. I'm like I hated going in there. I hated working at that place.
I hated every everyone who ran it, you know, over the years that it went on.
But I know that a lot of people who came to New York went through there because they did so many of those bringers shows.
Yeah, that was like, well, I started in Boston, so like I would do, I found out about bring a show so I would drive down with my bring it like my family. I drive down with like four people and drive to New York, do a set and then drive back. Really? Yeah.
That was like my and I thought, you know, in the time I thought I was like, here we go, baby.
New York, New York City.
My mom, who was like, who is in the car with you?
I drove down a couple of times. Well, with like my mother, father and sister and yeah, my uncle one time that was a car. So it was and it was like a regular sedan.
So there'd be like four of us in the car and the. And you'd go and you'd see where you were on the line up and he'd wait, sometimes I was there ever one of those nights where you didn't go on until everyone was gone?
It wasn't too bad like that. No, I mean, like, I feel like I don't remember that I'd have, like, a decent spot because I actually brought my people. But I remember there was a lot of people that would sign up and they weren't able to get there people. And so that I didn't have to squabble and try to get people. And that happened to me once where I went all the way to New York and I was like, I'll just figure it out.
And I was like barking for myself. Like I was trying to get people off the street to go to the club. Yeah. And say that they came to see me. Really? Did it work one time?
I did get a couple of people to do it. They were like, OK. And it was because I did a tour at NBC. I did like the the NBC studios tour and we went to 8H or whatever and looked at Conan's set or whatever.
And we actually were just a tourist at the tour. Yeah, I was a tourist at NBC. Right. It was like two British ladies and I was like, if you like comedy, you could go to stand up New York tonight and tell them you're there to see me. And they like. Sure. And they did it.
Well, you know, I think I'd seen you once before somewhere. And then I watched the whole special the other night.
Oh, God. What's it called again? The special.
It's called I Hate Myself. Good, so I said, well, hey, hey, hey. But like, I watched it and I've been watching the specials lately because I've been kind of sad and I enjoyed it because, like, I it's weird. You're sort of an unassuming guy. You seem like a wiry little guy, but you certainly you certainly know how to fucking, you know, hit those jokes with a bat.
Oh, thank you. I appreciate that. I was worried about where that was going. And thanks for watching it. I mean, it makes me nervous. You're the first person to see it. I mean, literally outside of my, I guess, manager and agent, whoever did the editing.
No, it was it was great. It's what's interesting is how much of it, you know, sadly kind of plays is nostalgia already like flying, flying on planes. You know, you're doing this whole bit about planes, which is, you know, that's something we talk about because we spend so much of our life on planes.
But now, like six months into this fucking shit show, it's kind of like, oh, I remember.
Yeah, you could just lay down on planes. And it was a nice thing to do and fly, you know.
Yeah, it's strange. I've done a couple sets here in New York like outdoor shows, and you naturally set up jokes by being like I was on the subway the other day and you have to be like I was on the subway six months ago and boy, were they.
So they're having outdoor shows like who's doing that?
So there's a bunch of shows now. It's pretty wild. Like the other day, like my friend of mine had like three sets. So stand up. New York aforementioned Stennett New York has shows in Central Park, Battery Park in Astoria Park, no microphone. They're just like essentially picnicking and no microphone. No. And you just stand there and kind of yell at people that are picnicking, basically.
But they didn't come for the show. You just sort of imposing. No, no.
They did come for the show. So they're aware of the show and standup. New York has little like almost like political science. You know, those little you stick them in the grass. Yeah. But instead of saying Biden, it says, stand up New York. Right. They will kick people out if they're in that space. Like there was a guy the first show I did there, there was a guy like laying on a blanket napping. And they were like, excuse me, this is the stage right for our show.
So he had to move.
But the people are actually coming like they have a big email list. And I guess people are aware of it and they're, you know, entertainment starved. So there's actually there was like fifty people there. And I heard one show had like ninety people, no mic, no mikes.
You got to just project out to the folks. It's a little strange.
No, I mean it seems nice, seems intimate, seems like theater.
But you know, might but my thinking is like are they still that fucking cheap. They can't find a little set up that you can have outdoors.
So you guys can talk to a microphone.
I don't know, maybe there's noise ordinances or something. I don't know what's going on. But then there's a couple like drive in shows to at Bel Air Diner that used to live in Astoria. I live here and it's like a couple of blocks from here. And they're all in their cars and they flash their lights. If they like a joke.
It's not. See that I. Did you do that one?
I've done it a couple of times now. I did the first one. I was on the first. So you can hear you can't hear laughter.
Well, now they have some outdoor tables set up, like under a little tent sort of or whatever you call it, like a canopy or something. So you can hear those people. So you can hear about fifteen people and then you could see people smiling through their windshield.
Oh, now that that doesn't sound satisfying to me. I mean, maybe, you know, you're sort of like, you know, nuts and bolts joke guy.
So you can just kind of plow through your shit, you know, and just take the hit without, you know, addressing it.
But I would feel that it would be difficult to pace yourself and sort of an odd exercise.
It's really strange and the nice thing the other night. So I've done a few now. Yeah. Of just outdoor or whatever, and I've done a bunch of Zoome shows which are very strange also. And now these for money.
Some of them are money like Comedy Cellar did their first Zoome show and they pay because they're the Comedy Cellar. Yeah. And Standup New York did pay a spot pay for the Central Park thing. Right. And so did the Bel Air Diner actually. Yeah. I guess all of them are. Some of the zoom shows are not.
But so the zoom shows. Like what? How is that? Do you tell people to take their mutes off so you can hear them laughing or how does it work?
It's really strange, but oddly getting used to it. Well, that's what I was going to say were just real quick was at the Bel Air this past weekend was the first time I've done like seven or eight sets outside or on. Zoome That was the first time that I was like, oh, that fucking joke about it that sucked. You know, I was the first time having a feeling of like shit. And for the most part, though, you're like, there's no judgment.
I can't judge this set or whatever. I'm right. Getting up and saying things were. Numbering them, but I mean, are you doing it because you're you're starved to be on stage or like used to a feeling of obligation?
Is it the money? What?
You know, that's a good question that I haven't really put that much thought into. I guess it was the outdoor. Some of it's just to see, like, oh, let's see what this is like. I guess it's another form of stand up. And yeah, I guess just to the same reasons. Yeah.
That we go out and we did shows every night at 1:00 in the morning for nobody. Yeah. If you, if you're born with the compulsion and it's inside of you, you don't ask those questions, you just do it. It's like, oh there's a show, I'll do it. Where is it. OK, yeah basically that's it.
I mean and some of them have paid and I'm like, right I'll make a few bucks and um the the one in the story is down the street from my house and the one in Central Park. My, my wife was on, she's a comic and I was like, I'll go with you. And then they threw me up there.
So yeah. You did a guest in Central Park at no show. Yeah. So it's I'm not doing an indoor shows yet of canceled all those or postpone those for now because I'm trying to do the right thing.
So where's this special going to be on YouTube. That's the new, that's the new thing. It's a YouTube.
And how does that work. So you shot it over at the Comedy Cellar's outlet. Yeah, the village shout at the village underground.
Yeah, the village underground. And who produced it? Was it a Comedy Central or a Comedy Cellar joint? What is it?
No, it's just me. I just I just hired a guy to shoot at the Comedy Cellar, gave me the room and the door because they're extremely generous.
And I just hired my own film crew to edit it and make it. And that was it.
And you had Bobby Kelly bring you up and now Sean Donnelly was the host and Sean Donnelly. Yeah. And it was just a regular old night at the cellar. I mean, that's what I wanted it to be, was initially was like, let's just do a night at the cellar, because that's. Those are fun. Do you find I find sometimes if you have fans there, comedy fans are are tricky sometimes because they listen to all the podcasts and they begin to want inside jokes and they know you and they have heard stuff.
And they I don't know. I like I like a random audience members. But it was a Tuesday night and like the day of they're like, hey, we got 40 reservations. So we had to kind of push to fill it out. And then we did. And it was great. Yeah.
I mean, I don't know. I mean, it's I think it's bold to you. I mean, you must be pretty used to that room. I don't think either of those rooms are that particularly easy. And they feel like challenging rooms to me, and especially if it's just their fucking people that come in there, it's hit or miss. So you were able to bring in half a house of people that know you?
Yeah, there ended up being a bunch of people that knew me and everyone tweeted and did the thing and pushed it. So there was a lot of like comedy fans. And I got enough fans in New York to do.
We did two shows that the first show was like, yeah, like enough probably half the room was fan fans. And then maybe the second show was like a fifth of the room. Yeah, but I think that's a good mixture of people that are really rooting for. But sometimes, you know, you get in your head, I'm like, if they're fans, they've probably seen me, they've heard it. They need something where they're comedy nerds. They're not going to laugh.
And then I've misjudged and realized that they're actually fans because they love you and they want you to do well. And so they're going to end up making a great audience.
Yeah, that's the worst thing that we do with our heads, is that we just make these weird assumptions because we're so hard on ourselves. So, you know, we're tired of our own shit. And if we're doing old shit, there's you know, you're pretty sure that, like, off without saying I'm tired of it. You just put it on them and they're like, they got to hate this one. They they heard when I came up with this on the podcast and they're going to judge, you know, but they're they don't that, you know, no one's thinking about us as much as we are.
And, you know, they're happy to be part of the event. Yeah, of course.
And but I think if anyone here is a joke for a second time, they're like, he's doing the thing. He's setting it up like it just happened. He's full of shit. And that's my own projection.
You know, like the comedy fan is not all of a sudden you're the revelation that they realize, like they're not making this up.
I mean, but that's how you I mean, you get in your head and you start to create. Well, yeah.
I mean, it's just sort of like, you know, it's like how do I feel about hearing a joke a second time?
I don't know, you know? And then a lot of times people oddly, you know, if you think about people like Gaffigan, but this is how we judge ourselves. I mean, yeah, all people want to hear him do his Hot Pockets, you know, for a decade.
And and it was the bane of his existence. But but that's not how we think about it.
I mean, I've thrown away so much material that nine people heard on a show that no one fucking watched that I worked a half a year on. Yeah, totally.
I mean, I've had that with, like, can I do this on Conan? Because I did it on live at Gotham.
And you're like nobody nobody memorized your live at Gotham.
Nobody. I think you said it at one point on on this podcast. I think I remember it was you saying it about like, hey, could you guys I know some of you have been around for a years, but could you let the rest of these folks just catch up like you might have to hear another bit. You heard right from some YouTube video that you guys watched, but let everyone else catch up to this. Well, that's the thing, man.
If you think about the time I'm older than you, when I think about, like, you know, I've done like six, seven hour, hour and a half, you know, between five CDs and four or five specials or whatever.
But nobody listened to some, you know, to the first, you know, eight, you know, there's like eight there's like eight hours worth of my material, some of it pretty good that most people have never fucking heard before. And it's just they're on the fucking garbage heap, right?
Yeah. People want to hear that stuff and they want to hear it over and over again. Maybe.
I mean, it's like, have you ever thought about like, you know, I'm just going to cover my first album, I'm going to go out and cover my 2002 release?
Well, sometimes comics like I not like Gary Gellman's, a friend of mine and one of my favorite comedians, he had that great bit about abbreviations. And yeah, he made it into this documentary. He watched about abbreviations. And it's like a nine minute bits, one of the best bits I've ever heard. Yeah, but I remember seeing him do like a forty second version of that in 2003. Right. Where he just had the first couple things and it was whatever.
And I was like, that's clever. And then so obviously he circled back to a notebook or something. I was like, oh this never became anything. And then with more skill made it a great thing. So I'm sure we have premises from twenty years ago that could be gold. Now, that's probably true.
I used to go on Conan all the time with half baked shit because I do I always do panel and they get stuck for guests and they'd call me up on a days. No. Listen, go, can you do it and be like I got some stuff and I and there's so much stuff that I did on Conan that later became actual jokes.
It's embarrassing. Well, that's not embarrassing. That's terrific. I know. But that but by the time you do the final joke, it's like, you know, I don't know. Oh, I see. You know, I you know, it wasn't as funny as it could have been when I did it originally.
But when you do, panel, you can get away with a premise.
You know, you can't when you're doing a standup, but you can kind of throw the funny thing out there in conversation.
Right. I remember Hedberg did that on his second album where he did an entire joke again just to add a tag. And he was like, I didn't want to deprive you guys of that line that I came up with after. And it's great. It works. And nobody I'm sure I don't think Twitter was around then, but I don't think anyone was mad at them.
I don't think anybody really does get mad. And I think the people that get mad are just trolls or they're just, you know, mildly disappointed, obsessive fans.
And, you know, that's their lot in life. They like those people that are like, I know everything you do.
It's like, well, I'm sorry. I don't I'm probably going to disappoint you eventually, right?
Yeah. They're unhappy people. I'm trying to remind myself that anyone on social media that's taking the time to write something negative is probably unhappy. And I should, you know, pray for them or something.
I don't know. I mean, I've been that guy, haven't you, that's writing mean stuff to people. Yeah. Um, maybe in response, if somebody was mean for I would justify my anger. I just had it a couple of weeks ago. Yeah. I mean, yeah, I've been that guy. But would you.
I've never initiated I've never had I've never watched a movie that I hated and tried to find the address of the director to let them know that I thought it sucked, took me I mean to leave to keep his house or something.
I've never, you know, written discourse. There's even been like this one wasn't quite as strong as Goodfellas. What was up with The Departed, you know.
So you're from Boston? Yeah, I started in Boston, you know. But you grew up in Boston. I grew up south of Boston. Whittman, Massachusetts.
You like how is how do I not know that I fucking played every dumb bar in the God in New England and I don't know where Witman is.
It's a small town. I mean, there's probably only been a couple a handful of comedy shows there. It's next to Brocton, if you know. Oh, sure. Ross comedy stop.
Sure I know. Brocton Yeah. Yeah. Is there is there still a Nixon? Brocton No, I don't.
I don't think so. No, I think that's gone. But there might have been in January. I mean, certainly there's not right now, but there might have been in February.
So you're coming. So you grew up in Whittman near Brockton. Like, how big is that town?
Just tiny, small, small town. It is. It does have the claim as the place that the chocolate chip cookie was invented.
Aha. So we have that going and also people actually stopping by for that.
I mean, is that a draw or.
No, just a no. I don't think anybody knows about it or cares there. Is there a place that makes cookies.
Are there used to be tollhouse like the tollhouse factory or something was there but it burned down before I was before I moved there.
Tollhouse is not a keyboard thing or. No, it's a separate thing.
Maybe I've got to be honest, I'm regretting the chocolate chip cookie thing now. I got nothing. I got no information. I can no info at like one sentence I say.
And usually people go, oh wow, that's cool. So what?
So like what kind of what kind of town is it. Like I'm trying to picture it. Is it like that's not near Fall River, right. No, it's a little ways.
I mean it's relatively it's near there. I think it's probably a half hour from Fall River. Maybe Wittman's like a real small town. It's it it's also it's other claim to fame is it's the used car capital of Massachusetts that'll give you a Springsteen, an image of the town, what it's like, why used car dealerships kind of deal.
Yeah, I think there's like 12 or 14 used car dealerships in a town that's I think like four and a half square miles. I feel like people are going to people from Whitman are going to really nail me on Twitter for not having my facts straight.
But yeah, it's like a real small you know, my parents always say they they grew up in closer to the city and they just drove south until they could afford a house. That's basically how they ended up there.
Oh, so what was your folks business? My dad worked at a hospital. He's like in charge of purchasing, like, you know, buys the gowns and whatnot, like a administrative job at a hospital. And my mother was sort of a secretary at an insurance company.
So your dad's still in that that racket? He is, yeah. So he's still working.
It can be busy trying to get that ppy for the covid people.
I think he is. Yeah, I think so. I don't know. You know, you don't talk to him anymore.
I talked to him. We don't not talk. We didn't get in a fight and stop talking. But he's a real quiet kind of Boston Irish Catholic kind of guy. Just real, very stoic, really.
There's not a lot of Irish joke. Even if you asked him direct informational questions, it would be tough to get an answer. Exactly. Yeah, it's. My mother always jokes, she goes when we go in a car ride, I bring a book is a tough the tough nut, great guy, funny guy. But you're not he's not he's not a giver. I always joke. I did Letterman and people said, wow, man, your dad, what would your dad say?
And I was like, nothing like, I know, but what did he say? I'm like, no, actually nothing.
He said zero things, but they come to the shows and laugh. I mean, they're good people. They laugh.
So you have like nine brothers and sisters or.
No, no small. It's just one older sister. But my mother has four siblings and they all have kids.
So it was always a big family, was always twenty or thirty people around Irish are Irish. Scottish, yeah. Wow.
But like was it were they into the Irish thing. Not too much. My dad was Irish, but his family wasn't around as much. It was always my mother's family, the Campbells, so more and more Scottish.
But definitely everyone gets together. We drink and we drink hard and heavy and is always together, like the idea of people talk about family reunions. I'm like, that's always been mind blowing to me. Like we were together every Saturday and Sunday, every weekend of my life.
No need for a reunion there. Just here is the six days between reunions. Yeah, exactly.
Everyone lives ten miles apart. Everyone was together. And it's still very insular.
It's still like that. Oh, definitely. I'm the only one that left and moved. And I come back and it's a lot of like, how's New York?
Yeah, there is.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And they're looking at you like they're like you're different somehow.
And then they tell you you're not different. And then you've got to humble yourself or be humbled.
It's a lot of that kind of feeling and it's yeah, it's definitely shaped a lot of my.
So are they Boston Irish. Would you say your your your dad's four people.
Yeah, I suppose so. Yeah, I think so, yeah. They have a definite New England vibe. It's a very New England but not hard.
They're not hard. Boston Irish. No, no. There's an accent like you would notice an accent but they don't sound like they're not like yeah yeah fuck yeah yeah yeah. It's a little more subtle. They definitely would be, someone would say, what's up, why are you guys talking like that. But they're not, they're certainly not intimidating. They're not like good will hunting. Right.
You know, Boston got like that character that Casey Affleck, Dunkin Donuts guy have you seen. Yeah. That bit is so fucking funny, dude. Cut your nails, kid.
Yeah, I love that. That's great. He really gets it doesn't he. It's great. No, yeah. We don't have that but it's definitely not far that that vibe. Yeah. It's a lot of a lot of drinking and yelling and joking. Right.
So when he started, when did you start knowing that you were going to do that.
You wanted to do the comedy. Always I always feel like it feels like try to be as long as I can remember Mark, I wanted to be, but it really was like I think as early as like third grade. And the story always sounds so cheesy and like made up to me or maybe I'm just self-conscious, but I watched I think it was doing it again or jammin in New York. One of those, George Carlin's on HBO. Waiter George Carlin.
Yeah, 1990. And so I was eight and like third grade. And I remember they played like the intro. They played clips from all of his thing. And I remember the ratshit shit, dirty old twat.
And it was just the idea of what you say in this crazy shit.
I mean, that was my idea of comedy was like saying and saying shit. And I remember him talking about Dan Quayle and Margaret Thatcher, and I didn't know who any of the people were, but I was like, oh, I can tell this is great.
Right, right. Right. Yeah, no. Yeah. That feeling of excitement. Why are we allowed to do this? Yeah, it was insane. How can a grown up be talking like this.
Yeah, it was cool and fun and insane. And then I was a kid late 80s, early 90s when it was really booming. So it was VH1. I would watch in the morning and an evening at the Improv and Comedy Central started to come around and HBO. So it was like comedy everywhere. I was just obsessed with that. And then Bill Cosby to like we got together like I remember my family and this is still so cool to me, would go and like rent like a Louie Anderson or a Cosby.
And then we would eat dinner and like the VHS would sit on top of the TV, like, we're going to fucking take that out as soon as we're done eat and we're taking it out and we're thinking that was like amazing that this dude there was like pink circles like that neon writing.
And I'm like, oh, man, we're going to pop it in. And again, like, not knowing the jokes. But it was like my family was. Loved it, and I thought, like, oh, that's the way to get attention from my family is the deeper meaning I guess is like this is the way to stand out. But they they were comedy fans.
Oh, yeah. They just they were very like they loved it. They loved Louie Anderson, Boosler, Cosby and Carlin. A little younger ones. A little bit. I know my parents were as into Carlin, but my uncle I got an uncle who was like four years older than me and he really showed me a lot of the stuff. Oh yeah. It was like that classic thing of like as early as you understand that that could be a job, you're like, well, obviously I want that job.
I don't know if that I understood if it could be. Well I mean, I knew that the yeah.
Clearly they were entertaining people like I don't know if I ever thought in terms of the job part, I was just sort of like that looks like the best thing to do, whatever that guy's doing, you know. Yeah, it seemed fun.
And I like, again, like through therapy and that stuff, I see that it was like, OK, that's how you get attention, because you know that growing up for me, everybody was very serious in my family and work sucked and raising kids was a lot of work and everything was shitty except the weekends you drink and watch comedy. And then it was fun and we'd go back to life being shitty again. So I think I thought, oh, I could be that guy.
That's makes it fun.
Right. But but shitty how just like, you know, not much passion in the work. Everybody just sort of like you do it to get by so you can enjoy yourself on Saturday.
Yeah. That kind of shit is like just commute and just work and write. You know, driving the kids to school didn't seem to be very pleasurable to anybody that I was around.
No one seemed to be doing anything they actually wanted to be doing.
And that that was built into me of like even as a really young kid being like, well, that sucks.
Yeah, I'm not going to do that.
Why are they not happy with what they're doing. Yeah. Why don't they do the why don't they do something about this.
It's how I felt when I was young and then I might as a recording this I'm sitting in front of a Bruce Springsteen poster. Then I got to an age where Bruce Springsteen basically made a career out of writing about that. About your family, about. Yeah, about my family, about the idea of people getting stuck in things that they don't want to do. And then that combination made me really like the company. We got to get out of this town, man.
I was like one of those guys, you know, combination of stand up. And Bruce, you're like, this is why we only live once. This is it. Yeah, exactly.
We got to get out. And that was the feeling basically.
So your childhood, it wasn't like abusive or. We're emotionally detached and slightly miserable. Yeah, I don't I would say like it was a good, good childhood, it's weird, I'm some of the deals with that thing where I have severe anxiety and panic disorder and alcoholism and depression and all these things. And I don't have for a long time, I beat myself up because I didn't have the right thing to point to for it where I was like, I was never molested.
My parents were together. We had enough money. Now, as an adult, I realized we didn't have very much money, but we had certainly enough. We weren't whatever starving. So I've always had that feeling of like I'm a piece of shit for being anxious and and struggling because I had great parents and a great upbringing. So I still don't know what's going on there.
I think I could help. Please.
Well, here's the thing, I don't know the nuances or the particulars, but just from what you were saying about your old man, you know, if there's emotional detachment where, you know, you're not getting the input or the nurturing or the sort of affirmation of of your parent, that that's the sort of it's a slightly it's a mild emotional abuse.
Right. So what happens when you're younger? And this is just the theory I walked into is that, you know, whatever shortcomings your parents have, however they're fucking you up because they're not paying attention correctly.
You know, you're not going to blame them for what you just did. You didn't do it again. Like you're going to blame yourself, right. So you think, like, I must be fucked up because they're my parents. They're perfect. I must be the fucked up one. So in in the gap between their whatever their detachment is or however they're emotionally not treating you correctly, you install a parent of your own in your own head that calls you an asshole your entire life, right?
Yes. That's what my therapist been telling me for quite a while. Yeah, very similarly.
And I do do that a lot where I'll go. Yeah, but this and he's like that. You're doing it again. I'm like shit. And and also my mother is also a very, very anxious person, OCD. And so that's a lot of learning.
So you got the detached guy and the panic guy. Yes, exactly. The detached father and the like.
Oh, where are you going? Don't wait. Don't. Oh, my God. That yeah.
A lot of not so bad is that but a lot of definite anxiety. And I think now and I've talked to my family about this now with young kids in the family, there's not a lot of separation between talking really serious matters about car wrecks and disease and people breaking into the house hearing that as a kid, being like someone's going to break in our house or whatever. So that's a lifelong fear and all those kind of things.
Oh, so she was just freaked out about everything. And that's not sort of antithetical to nurturing panic.
Yeah, exactly. So a lot of a lot of panic, anxiety and certainly longing for that attention, love and feeling of being protected. That's what my therapist always says, is you feel unprotected in the world, which I do.
Yeah, I have. I wish I had the longing for love more like I think my parents were so manipulative that that's how I sort of process love. So like now like the idea of love, it's like you're fucking with me. There's not. Yeah. It's like with an audience. A girlfriend doesn't matter. Yeah. I don't buy it. You don't really like me, right.
Yeah. That's, that's my cross to bear.
I never believe the love. Yeah. I think I deal with that a little bit. Yeah. To my therapist has to go. Well your wife married you.
She did commit to being with you for life and you're like yeah but I think I don't know, she's, she's, she's running a con of some kind.
I mean I. Yeah, yeah.
Something's up but yeah that's that's a lot of the. Yeah.
The feeling for sure.
So did comedy. Yeah. I often wonder that like you know because I was compelled early to like, you know, when I was eleven or twelve and I didn't certainly didn't know how to pursue it as a job.
And you know, even when I was in college, it still didn't make sense to me. Yeah. I remember approaching Paul Reiser when I went to see a comedy show at this stand up or at the comic strip. And I think it was in college and I was like, I want to do comedy. How do you do it? And he's like, well, he's just got to do it. And I'm like, how the fuck does that mean?
You know, there is no but by the time you got in there, there was actually there were there was a path there was a whole community of people trying to do it that you could go find fairly easily in Boston.
Yeah, it was weird. So I feel like now the way people talk was that was sort of I started in 2000 and it sounds like that was sort of like a a dip spot because obviously it's been sort of booming in the last few years.
And then to the dip, like, you know, depending on what city you're in, the dip has been going on since the late 80s. You know, like you know, like I was in Boston in.
Eighty eight, so that's when I started working, doing standup, but the thing was in Boston, it didn't matter that there was a dip because you were doing one nighters.
So there was three companies have booked, you know, million one nighters all over and there was nicks in town. So it wasn't like it was a comedy boom.
But you could go to Brocton and fucking play, you know, a hotel lobby, you know what I mean? So that was the way it was then. Yeah.
So, yeah, I started in 2000 and I similarly didn't know where to go really. And then I was walking like I had just graduated high school and didn't had no plans to go to college or anything.
And you had never done it before. Never done it.
And all I should say, one time I opened for my friend's band because I knew I wanted to be a comedian and it was a little different. I went up and this is like embarrassing but hilarious.
I had a bag of tricks. I was a prop act. Right. And I had a I had a raw hamburger bun. And I asked a guy in the crowd, what's your name? And he said, Whatever, Steve. And I said, Nice to meet you. And I threw a raw burger patty at him, not at him, but like to his feet, you know. Wow.
And then I had a I had a go over that didn't hit, but I had some I had some high school buddies there that thought it was funny because it was ridiculous.
I didn't hear maybe I did. Did you. Because you would have had to hold the meat up and then throw it right there. Yeah. Yeah. But you probably didn't do that.
I just panicked. It's funny.
It's funny you say that because I do remember now after the show, people saying, like, we didn't know what that was. Yeah, right.
Yeah. They were just watching what was happening. You know, you got a big plan in your head and then you rushed through it and it doesn't land. And, you know, it's it's a weird moment. Right.
And yeah, it's it's just completely weird. And then I ripped off George Carlin had that old poem about his hair. Yeah. You know, and I wrote one about the word fuck. It was like, fuck is a word often heard, often slurred. It was like this, you know, Carlin rip off. And it was I mean, I probably did like two and a half minutes or something and then brought out my friend's band.
Yeah. Probably too fast and just sort of. Yeah, but I mean, it's weird. That's that's what we got to do.
I don't you know, there's no way there's no way to be good at it at the beginning. It's it's just terrifying and stupid, you know, you just want to get through that three minutes and like fuck man. I did. I just if I really put my mind back there, it was just nothing but panic.
And he'd spend the entire day or week just like I got to do three minutes on Saturday. You know, it's a nightmare. Yeah.
It didn't make any sense, but you had to do it. It was strange. And I was a kid. I was like eight. I just graduated high school a few weeks ago. So they just set up the the commuter rail, which is like the train directly from Whittman to Boston. So I was like walking around Boston just aimlessly. And I happened to walk by over by Fenway. There was like a Howard Johnson's and it said Open Mike Wednesday.
It was like a Chinese restaurant. Yeah. And I've called in like the Yellow Pages. And they were it was like an Asian guy. I won't do the voice to spare everybody, but he was like, you know, come in Wednesday. I could barely understand him. And I was like, great. And then I thought, like, I got a gig. This is going to be better. This is like an adult. This is a real comedy.
Yeah. And it was called Chops Lounge. And that's where I actually start, like October 2000. Shops Lounge, Chops Lounge.
I was like, yeah, right next to Fenway by the Howard Johnson's next to Fenway.
Yes. I can't I can't picture that Xana old Howard Johnson's.
Well now it's gone. Now it's like a really hip hipster like bar that whole neighborhood. I don't know when the last time you were in the Fenway area, but it's completely changed like the last three years.
Oh, yeah. Yeah, there's like high rise buildings and like really cool burger joints and all kinds of bars and rooftops, it's like it looks. Unrecognizable and I've only been gone for I guess I've been gone 13 years now. So this is the bar at Howard Johnson's near Fenway. And who was hosting that fucking nightmare?
Black guy named Larry Lee Lewis. I know who he probably came around after you, but he did like old vaudevillian jokes and played the piano like a boogie woogie piano. He was a combination of. I guess Jerry Lewis and the old vaudeville jokes, he would do a lot of, like, you know, any old guy, he was I mean, he was old to me.
Now, looking back, he was like fifty two because he did a joke. He'd say, I'm a 52 year old pothead. But to me, I was 18. He was like an antique. I thought he was an old man.
Larry Lewis, it sounds like he might have been around when I was there. I think he was I think he had just kind of started late, late in life.
But it was like a true open mic. Whoever showed up went on. And there was some good comics there. Dan Mintz, you probably know. Yeah, he was always there. And some other people.
That's where he started. That's where Dan started, I believe. So he was around. I think he was a Harvard guy. So he was always there. And then Dan is another L.A. guy that was always there. Yeah, I know.
Dan Levites. Yeah. The other Dan Levy, right? Yes. Eugene Levy kid. And Dan Levy, who's a TV writer. Yeah, I like I like Dan. I like both of them, but I know Dan. Sure. So he would be there.
And then there was a lot of like just crazy people, like actual crazy people that would go up. And I was like a kid with jokes who spent my day trying to write jokes. And then there was some old Cycos and then there was some Boston veterans would show up. Teddy Bergeron would show up.
Teddy. Teddy. Hello, Teddy. Yeah.
And he had a boombox. He would record a set with like a boombox with a tape. That guy.
That's my son. He'll drop it. Yeah, I'm had he had some of the best fucking jokes. Oh yeah. I mean, like what a saddle fucker. But I'll tell you, man, did you listen to that live one.
I did with him like it was kind of astounding because, you know, Teddy story, I'm sure you've heard some version of it is just horrifying.
And, you know, it's just it's astounding that he's alive and he's a very sort of like a sad it's a sad story.
But what was really interesting is I found him I tracked him down to do a live WTF, and he wasn't easy to find. He doesn't like have a phone.
I had to call somebody that knew him or a relative. I don't remember how I got him right.
And I hadn't seen him forever. And he's in the dressing room for WTF, you know, and. He was in sweats and he's like, you know, I'm doing I'm working on a new thing about the about Mother Teresa and the pope and, you know, maybe I'll try that. And I'm like, I don't know.
You're already sucked into this nightmare codependent teddy world in seconds. And I hadn't seen him in 20 years.
And we get out there on stage, though, dude.
And, you know, people don't know him anymore, really, you know, and a lot of my audience would know him at all.
And he's trying his new stuff. And I see him, you know, sweating it out. And I know there's no way he could have tested it or anything. And then he's got all those I knew he had all those great jokes about, you know, his father, you know. So I go like.
So when you grew up, your father, what was he like? My father. And he just he like he just went into those bits, dude, and they killed. And it was like it was like almost moving, you know, like these bits that have been around for decades. And they and they were so well honed and so well-written and so personal and perfect. And they just he just started doing them and they just were like it was like no one had ever heard them before.
It was beautiful moment. Yeah.
No, he's he's amazing. I've tried hard to find old footage of him. I think there's a set of him on the old Letterman show. Yeah. That looks real. Where it's not great. Yeah. Whatever quality. Right. Yeah.
When he would get it together and do the I'm sure the same bits that he did in 1982 that I saw in 2001, there's no star cause that she's on a wire.
Exactly. Yeah. That bit was like magical. I mean it was great. Now he had one of my favorite jokes ever was the you know, hockey players are tough. You know, that joke. He's hockey players are tough. They get, you know, hit in the face of the puck. They'll get fifteen stitches, come out and play the third period. Baseball players, those guys are tough. It goes you always watch the game. They go, here's Ozzy Taylor steps to the plate.
He missed the first half of the season. He was frightened by a small child last Halloween.
Yeah, it's beautiful.
So they were some of the other veterans that were dropped by that was like, Tony, maybe occasionally. But most of those guys didn't touch that plate because it was like this was like low level, open mike, open mike. But then I started doing Dick Doherty's comedy vault on Sunday nights. Then you'd see Tony Vee and all those guys. Kevin Knox was a big part of the the scene then and then he ran the Monday at the Comedy Connection.
And that was like the big time. There was a time in my career where Monday night, if you could get to the comedy connection, which was there like New Talent Night, that was like The Tonight Show at that point in my career. And Kevin Knox hosted it.
Oh, so Knoxy.
So you were there before he died and before Lauletta got sick, like those guys started with me, you know, like they were kind of around my generation. I remember, you know, when Knoxy started and those guys because I was in Boston. I guess I was there in 88 and I was you know, I moved to New York in 89, but I had to go up there every weekend to work. So I was I was in Boston 89 to 91, 92, you know, working all those one nighters and nicks and everything else.
So all those guys were around that generation, you know?
Yeah. It was great to be around those guys because, like, I didn't know I didn't know any of those guys. And like, I was one of the people that thought that the comedians were, you know, Bill Cosby and George Carlin and Rosie O'Donnell.
That's a good point about Boston, where you get this whole working class bunch that, you know, you wouldn't know and he still wouldn't know him.
Like I started with Joe Giannetti, like I did open mikes when I was in college with Gianetti.
And who else that Kevin or Brian Kiley.
And yeah, like I mean, the guys who were doing open mikes, Fred, you remember simply Fred, was he around when you were. Here's what we know. He just went by the name Fred.
It was like, yeah, there were some other ones. I don't know what happened to him.
Yeah. I was a big comedy connection guy. And doing all those one liner indictors you talked about, that was VFW and firehouses and KFC and a KFC, I should say. That was my comedy. And I still I'm still nostalgic, nostalgic about those gigs. Those are some of my best sets I've ever had, were in like firehouses and VFW.
Well, it's interesting that you you know, when you pay your dues like that, you know, you really you really are coming in cold.
Like, there's no I mean, it's like guerilla comedy, like, you know. Yeah. They only have comedy night there once a week or once a month or whatever the fuck it is. It's not a comedy club. And if you're opening, it's like you just walk up to nothing. You can make something of it.
And all the headliner guys would grab you and be like, don't do anything about the room because you couldn't do any material. I couldn't be like, look at the chandelier because they're like, I'm taking that first 20 minutes. Yeah. Because they're going to be all trashed.
And yeah, they're doing 45 and they want to get out as easy as possible.
Yeah, exactly. So it was definitely going up cold and you had to have jokes and you had to have them fast because they were just, you know, red faced firemen being like, who is this fucking queer. Yeah. You had to really fight for it.
And but it was it was great. I mean, I loved it. I mean, to me, I was like, I'm in I'm in showbiz. That's all I ever wanted was to be a comic.
It was a hell of a way to pay your dues to do those kind of rooms. I mean, like because I that's how I started on those two man shows.
And, you know, you really get tough. I mean, it's like by the time you get to a comedy club, you're like, oh, my God, this is easy.
This is great. Yeah.
And a lot of those shows, they would go up and there'd be a picture of like a nine year old girl and they'd be like, this is for Susan who got hit by a van and she passed away and then like her friends would come up and they would do that, like literally do that stuff and then they would be like his comedy. It's like a cliche, but that would happen all the time. It was.
It was I didn't do so many of those as I did like Pancho Villa and Lemon Stir, you know, where you drive out to a restaurant and like Monster. And it was and that was one of the good ones or the Taunton Regency Hotel.
You know, they'd had a full weekend gig, you know, in the conference room. And those were good ones. You know, it's crazy.
Yeah, some of them were fun, but yeah, there was a lot of crazy gigs and hell gigs that I now I look back and I'm like, oh, that was really fun.
It's a yeah, it's a very specific way to pay your dues. I look back and I literally cannot understand how I managed it. I was a neurotic, angry, uncomfortable Jewish guy driving around the New England countryside performing for fucking Irish townies. You know, I remember when Nixon Saugus opened, you know. Oh, my God. It was yeah.
I don't have nostalgia for that. I have, I think PTSD.
That's my experience. That's funny. Nixon saw August at the Kowloon. Yeah. That I would always joke. That's one of the few rooms that has a detailed police officer in the showroom. This is the uniform cop with a handgun that he's assigned to be in the room, which is always comforting.
Nixon was kind of rough. The original nix was still very much alive and intact and dug in when I started there. And it was really something to see. You know, you could kind of feel the whole, you know, dark history of Boston in that place.
Yeah, it's a tough those are tough rooms. But it was fun. I mean, to me, it was like I saw a lot of I learned a lot of things to do and not to do a lot of ways not to pursue a career. And you start to slowly see like, oh, there's a lot of anger and bitterness in the middle of that. While I was up there, they made the movie, wouldn't stand up, stood out, which I'm sure.
Did you see that movie?
Was that the one with what? Franscell Amita in it? Yes.
Yeah, he made it. Yeah. And they did like a documentary about all these guys and how they all had. Fun and it was great, but they did too much booze and drugs and they ended up fucking up their careers and then I watched it while I was doing the same thing and didn't even heed the warning.
I was like, I'm always great to see you were white. You're sober. I'm sober now. Yeah. So you were a boozy fucking kid.
Yeah, I was a big booze kid. Yeah. For through through my 20s. Yeah. Really. Yeah. I really got after it.
It was bad and and then you. So yeah. You copped to being an alcoholic. You did. Did you, are you, do you do the thing.
I do, yes. Oh so went. Oh shit. So yeah. What had to happen for that to go. So like early on when you're driving, when you're doing the gigs in Boston you just getting fucked up.
Yes, so like I mean, a lot of the driving gigs were early, early on, like first like year or two, I would be like, I don't drink before a show. I thought I'd have this. I wanted to be like this disciplined, you know? And then after a while you're like, well, I'll have a beer during the show. I was underage for a lot of that, too. I started when I was 18.
Yeah. So it'd be more like get fucked up after. And I still had like high school friends that were all the age where you get crazy drunk and stuff and then eventually you drink a drink during the show. And then it became a thing of like, let me see how drunk I can get during the show. It doesn't take too long to get to get there. And then.
Yeah, I mean, then I started doing the road and then the road of course that was like this is like heavenly because I'm in a hotel or a condo across the street.
You don't have to drive and you drink for free and you could just crawl back to your hotel. Yeah. And then and then it became that thing.
And I also had that romanticism of it of like that's what you do. I'm like an artist, man. You fucking you get fucked up like you're I'm a drunk. Yeah. You did that. No. Yeah. I fancy myself like an IRA. I'm like I'm like, you know.
Sure. Dylan Thomas. Exactly. Yeah. So I thought I was one of those guys except I wasn't writing any jokes and. Yeah. Wasn't going anywhere. Right.
So what, what that, what did your bottom look like. There was a like I had things that should have been a bottom like I mean I've told this story in a lot of podcasts, but one night in New York I blacked out. I was a blackout guy and I ended up shitting in a girl's bedroom, like on her floor and urinating also. Oh, that's great. Like in the middle of the night. Yeah.
Like she was actually like in the morning, which is strange.
So you thought you were in a bathroom? Probably.
I thought I was in the bathroom. I think I mean, I have to presume because that wasn't my sense of humor.
So no, I remember when I was drinking, I once peed on the floor in the bedroom and I'm pretty sure I was in the bathroom, but I wasn't.
Yeah, it was that kind of deal. And the women, it was two girls that were living there. They had already left for work, which I didn't realize because when I woke up and realized what I had done, I texted them and I was like, oh my God, I'm so sorry. And they were like, no problem. You were fine. It was funny. And I was like, man, these fucking girls party. And I was like, Jesus.
Yeah. And then I happened to be going to Seattle the next day. It's a crazy story. I was going to Seattle the next day for the Seattle Comedy Festival, which is a month long. Yeah. And I ended up missing my flight because I was so fucked up and I flew across the country with, like, shit on my pant leg and the whole thing. And when I landed and turned my phone back on, I had a text being like, we had no idea what you were talking about.
This is crazy. You're a piece of shit. And then I was like, oh, that's more like it.
That seems like a more of a set of response. You didn't even clean it up.
I cleaned up what I could, but I was like, I had to run. So, like, the big the main pieces I got. But there was still like a urine and some traces of it. Sure. Sure.
And that was. Yeah, that no, that's what's crazy. That still didn't end. Did I remember landing in Seattle and I was like I got to take a break from drinking. And I was like, well I'm not going to stop drinking so I might as well drink tonight. And I kind of kept going. So it was kind of one of those bottoms. You just kind of I'll just hang out down here for a while. Yeah, sure.
And then and then I took a couple swings at it. When I first moved to New York, I had some days. Twenty days.
And then you're going to meetings that. Yeah, I did a couple of times.
So you moved to New York and but you were going at it in Boston. When did you move to New York? How far in like when did that start?
I moved in April 2007, so I was about seven years into comedy when I moved to New York. To Astoria. Yeah. I just kept going and getting, you know, and I would drive back all the time because I showed up to New York. I had opened I was opening for a DePaulo on the road. And I was I had opened for Dane Cook in these big spaces. And I knew I was friends with Colin Quinn and I knew Dave Attell.
And so when I showed up, I thought people were going to be really excited that this guy who knows Nick DePaulo and Colin Quinn just came to town.
You know, how do you know Colin? I knew Colin just through a I opened for DePaolo and the two of them had a gig and I met him through that. And then somehow I. I knew he was similar to me in that fashion, so he's been very helpful to me in my sobriety.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. It's interesting because I did the I like when I watch guys, especially guys I don't really know from New York, because New York is so like, you know, incestuous and insulated comedically that, you know, like any generation, I can kind of see some of the influences. So.
So for me, it's always fun to play like who got into this guy's head. Right. And and I definitely identified Colin in in, you know.
Oh, well, that makes me feel good. I mean, hopefully not to the point that I smell like, oh, but no, no, no.
There's just there's like a slight on a couple of jokes, there's a slight turn that I'm like, what is that like? That's sort of a colony thing, you know, and which is no, it's not bad.
No, there's definitely moments. I mean, I don't know if you still have that or maybe not, but I'll write a joke and be like, you know, you write in your voice and you do it. And I'm like, there's a moment where I'm like, how did I come to that? And I'm like, that's that's this Colin joke, right? Or that's this DePaolo. Sure, sure. This is that Carlin thing, one of the first one of the first gigs I ever did.
I open for Nick DiPaolo. And he's really he's like my age. He was just added a little like it was a Captain Nix in a Goncourt main.
Well, I started up for Nick in 06. This is a funny story. My I couldn't at the comedy connection. I was there guy. I would just open for all the people that were coming through and I was supposed to open for Nick and I couldn't do the Thursday because I had some private gig. And so this other guy filled in that night and evidently that guy was in the green room with Nick and he said, Hey, how long you been doing comedy?
And Nick said, shut up. We're not girls, we're not the force. The conversation. He's like, you can just sit there. And so that guy called me and he's like, Hey, man, this week, don't try to talk to this guy. He's crazy. Yeah. So I said, OK, and I just sat back in silence for like three nights, you know, six shows, never said a word. And at the end DePaolo goes, I like you.
You keep to yourself and you got some jokes. You want to go on the road. And I said, sure. And so for like a year, I just would travel all over with Nick just silently.
And eventually we started, you know, having arguments and fights and, you know, in love. But yeah, but yeah, that was like extremely helpful that the guy was like, don't don't beat yourself with them.
Don't don't talk to the monster.
Yeah. But yeah. So yeah. I mean he was like a big influence comedically. Yeah. As well. Sure.
But like I can definitely see that. So then you like so you got sober for good. It's stuck when. How many times. When.
2012. So what happened that time was just the same thing lingering around knowing like I knew very early in my drinking that I was like this is I don't think I'm supposed to be.
This isn't how people other people are drinking, you know? Yeah. And I always kept friends that were older and married, so I always had that thing. I'm not as bad as that guy. Right. I was one of those guys. And then. Yeah, I was I tried a couple times, and so I knew about the thing and everything, and I started dating my now wife and she's she's 11 years sober today. As a matter of fact, she had a couple of years and she was willing to date me.
And so I kind of got closer to it that way and but kept drinking the way I was. And it wasn't till like Christmas 2012. And my brother in law, his father had just passed and like days earlier and I was making jokes about it to him. And I just remember him being like, what are you what are you doing, dude? And having that that same kind of drunk, I was drunk and kind of.
Yeah, because you something you know, you think you're being funny or whatever. Yeah. Yeah, sure. And I remember him being like, what are you doing. I was like, I don't know man. I don't know. And worse than like shitting in a girl's shoe and fucking hating myself and getting herpes was just somebody I love being like, dude, what do you what is this? And just being like, fuck. Yeah, I don't know.
That was the insensitivity. Yeah. That kind of moment of I mean a lot of other things. My career, I, I really hated myself. I was still featuring and I had never, I couldn't get on any TV or anything and I had the same material and just all that kind of shit self-hatred and. Yeah. So December twenty eight. Twenty twelve was my last drink.
Wow. That's great man. Yes.
It's nice. And I like all the I mean every bit of success I've had in relationships and comedy has come since then.
But it's nice that you were able to be with a sober person who you were dating and still be a fuckup and she kind of stuck with you that long. So at least you didn't just jump in right at the beginning like she she was she kind of flop around for a while.
It was about a year and a half. And she didn't give me like an ultimatum or anything, but she I mean, she knew I mean, we had drank together when she was still out and she kind of knew. And I was I was pretty good about keeping it away from her. And you think. Yeah, yeah. So and then she was like, great. And she didn't you know, I was like, I'm sober. I was like doing that.
And she was like, OK, like she wasn't like, yeah, she didn't get too excited about it. But, you know, I got in there and fucking got it done. It was great.
So now you got like eight years and change or something.
Uh, seven and it'll be eight in December and that's great man. That's so fucking good. Better, right. Yeah that's I see.
That's why I like you know, for some reason like because like, you know, I watched you and like I know I know the difference between, you know, a guy that came up the right way in stand up comedy club. He's doing the real deal. And like all the people and, you know, you kind of look a little after your first and then I'm listening to you.
I'm like, this guy's got teeth, man. What the fuck is he about?
And this is now it's you know, it all comes to me. It all comes to into it comes into clarity here, you know.
Oh, I came up you came up with the old timers are old monsters in. There you go. You were a little monster yourself and look at you.
Yeah. I mean. Well that's a thank you. I appreciate it. But that's that's if that was to me was comedy in Boston when I started was killing. I mean that to me that was what people in Boston valued more than anything. I mean, sometimes to a fault.
But that was the most valued thing for the first six or seven years I was doing comedy was crushing. Yeah.
And so I was like, Jesus, I better be one of those.
And now I've backed off of that a little bit of like, all right, there can be some space to breathe.
And, you know, and then you tour with Louie to Utah with Nick and Louie. It's so funny because Nick, Nick and Louie, Louie used to live with each other and this fucking apartment Barry Cats owned, you know.
Yeah. Oh, my God. Back in the day. What a fucking disaster those days were.
So you but you toured with him and you played the big rooms, huh?
Yeah, I got to do that. So then I met Louie. I was at the cellar and he was sitting on the steps, fortunately not like downstairs. So I couldn't see him because if I had seen that he was there, I would have been like, oh gee. And tried to run. I was just kind of fucking around. And he liked what I was doing. And then. Yeah, we ended up chatting and having the Boston thing and all that stuff, so you got to play Madison Square Garden.
Yeah, I did the Garden a couple of times and did all the whole Europe thing and the private jet and stuff. It was pretty amazing.
And back then he had the great audience. Yeah, it was huge. I mean, it was like the shows were all killer and we were flying private and it was like a dream. It was insane. I got a funny garden story, though, is one show that just wasn't great or they weren't loving me and I'm just struggling. I'm doing like 20 minutes. It's like fifteen thousand people. A lot of them are trying to find their seats.
And, you know, you have you know, when you do a joke, sometimes some one guy will laugh and you're like, oh, this fucking guy gets it way right. I almost did that at Madison Square Garden. I had one guy, one guy and like two, 14 just he goes, ha ha. And there was a brief moment where I was like, this fucking thing. I can't do that in front of fifteen thousand people.
This guy gets it over here.
But yeah, I did the whole the whole thing. I mean, it was like it was it was wild. It was quite an experience.
So what do you do like. So in general, where were you at, you know, before the the lockdown where you're just out there headlining and you and Mark Norman do a podcast?
Yeah. So I do the podcast with Mark Norman Tuesdays with stories which have been doing it for years. And we do that and that does real well, I mean relatively well to me. And I started another podcast, which is I don't know if this is good or bad, but it's very much based on this one. I wanted to have the conversation you were having, but it's called Mindful Metal Jacket and it's about, you know, anxiety therapy, all that kind of stuff, and and started doing that.
And that's been really fun and meaningful to people that they've emailed me and stuff, which is nice. And then I'm just like kind of a road dog. I'm doing about 40 weeks, all the, you know, funny bones and Madison and all those doctor grins and side splitters and all those gigs, any of that stuff back on the docket or.
No, not yet.
They all just keep getting moved right now. Like I got a baby. Do you have a baby? No, sorry.
My wife just came in on our door is very squeaky, OK, but I was hoping I didn't pick up everything moved.
Everything just keeps getting pushed and so to next year. So now my twenty twenty one looks is starting to look, you know, decent, but I'm just trying not to do the indoor shit right now. I don't want to. Yeah. Get out of that. Yeah.
So and do you ever tour with your wife.
Yeah she's I bring her on the road when I can and yeah. When I can. It's nice.
It's working out. You guys are doing good. Yeah. I love it. I mean it's great because it's you know, you get to feel like home on the road and I got to get laid on the road. It's nice. That's great.
And clearly this was like the wrong time to have this conversation. What else are you going to say.
No, even if she was not here, I would say it's great.
And yeah, I wish your happy anniversary for me. I will I will do that on her sobriety and to you, too. Congratulations. And the special was very funny.
I got some solid laughs. And what are you doing for your anxiety?
Do you do you have tools? What do you do? Well, so now I do. I mean, uh, the thing you mentioned helps a lot. And I got really into meditation, really. I've been meditating for a while, but I just got really into the Sam Harris has an app waking up, you know that.
I said, yes, I heard of him. Yeah, he's great.
He has an app called Waking Up, and there is like I highly recommend it. There's a ton of shit on there, like long interviews with meditation people. But he has an introduction course. He does a lot of guided meditation, lovingkindness, meditations, half hour meditations. And I've gotten really, really into that. And that's helps a lot. And, um, yeah, just a lot of reaching out and talking to friends and like minded people has really helped.
And therapy. I got a therapist that I love and it's it's a full time job. I mean, it's it's a constant combination of all those things to be even sane.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I might do. I've been dancing around the meditation idea for a while and I just recently, since my girlfriend died, I got into that. Yeah. I'm not really a God person, but I from being sober I would you know, I would pray because I was told to do it. And I find that, you know, in times of crisis, I'll do it and it makes me feel better.
Yeah, that stuff is really, really helpful. And it's funny because all of these things, but especially that stuff to me is easy to forget. And then you hear it again, you're like, fucking right. It's right here. Like, Colin Quinn is a guy I talked to a lot. And he'll just say things that he said to me a million times. And I'm like, Jesus, fuck, how did I. Yeah, well, that's why I forget that.
Well, that's why we you know, we have to stay engaged with the fucking program. Right. Because, like, all of a sudden you feel like shit and they ask you, you know, whoever you're you're. Guys, are they ask you, are you doing this right now, are you doing this? I'm not. Did you go to a thing? I did. So we think it's going to happen. Thanks. Oh, yeah.
Right, right, right. I heard someone say something great the other day. He said, you know, he talks to people and they'll say, how are you doing? They said, good. And he goes, well, how are the people around you doing?
This is a great thing, a great tool to remember. Like, I'm fine. And then you're like, everyone behind you is just fucking bleeding and crying. Yeah. Who's the crying lady?
Oh, are you. I forgot about her. A good boy. Yeah. All right. Well, keep at it, man. It was great talking to you. Yeah. Thanks a lot, Mark.
I appreciate it. Good talk. I like that guy Joe special. I Hate Myself will be available starting tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on YouTube and to play a little guitar to the original crew Monkey and LaFonta Boomer, the unsung heroes, meanie Hisey Moxey Butch Def Black Cat, Scaredy cat. My original crew monkey will find it. So now I will dump all of my love and attention into Buster Keaton, who is going to be overwhelmed by it. But I think ready for it because Buster Keaton was certainly neglected because of my old senior cats.
And now it is Buster Kitten's time. I hope he stays healthy for a while. I'm going to bring him in to be checked because he had problems. He almost died from kidney failure when he was like two. But now it's Buster's time. The time of Buster Keaton begins. Shout out to the original crew. Blumer. Monkey Lafond. The. Don't forget people Ben and Jerry's three new nondairy frozen desserts are a new twist on vegan euphoria. The Ben and Jerry's flavor gurus have taken a big leap.
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