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Hey, people, documentary filmmaker and self-described anxious New Yorker John Wilson serves as writer, director, cameraman, producer and narrator of the all new HBO docu comedy series, How to Watch John Wilson. In a uniquely hilarious odyssey of self discovery and cultural observation, Wilson films the lives of his fellow New Yorkers while attempting to give everyday advice on relatable topics. How to a John Wilson, an HBO original, is now streaming on HBO Max. All right. OK, let's do the show.


Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck nix? What the fuck tablets there? Any of those and what the fuck up? What's out there? I choose to obsess on the little things. That's how I ground myself spiritually. The relief was short lived. It's still there. I think there's a bedrock of relief about what transpired in the national election here in the United States of America.


But now, not surprisingly, we have to deal with whatever the fuck this goddamn manic, narcissistic, compulsive, delusional fuck is is going to put out there in the next couple of months. I'm eating crappy.


I'm festering. I'm I'm getting obsessed with the little things the cast iron obsession has reignited.


And that's not great, I'm not excited about that, but this is the way I've always been. What is your spiritual discipline? I'll tell you. I find something to get obsessed with, something specific, whether it be learning how to do something on a guitar, a particular band whose records I need know cast iron, another one fucked up, a cast iron pan. So now that like that's a whole rabbit hole that I've been down, I don't know if I need it.


I can just buy another pan. We have this time invested like look at the seasoning I put on it, but it's like it's fucking gunk and it's fucked up, you got to start over. How do I get the gunk off? I don't know. I scraped it off and it didn't all come off. And then I received and it's I sealed some of the gunk in. Now it's got this texture to it.


So now I'm trying to decide, you know, do I commit to this pan, this twenty five dollar large cast iron pan to fucking break my brain caused me frustration. Give me a goal. Are there bigger goals? Yes, I'd like to help out.


Did I mention that Racey Horn is on the show? Racey Horn, the lovely Racey Horn. She plays Kim Wexler on Better call Saul. We talked before the election.


It was a lovely talk, I'm just trying to say I'm trying not to get too obsessed with my fucking cat, you guys, you know, it's like I got one cat I'm alone here in the house.


So that poor guy, he gets too much attention. And I'm constantly like, Are you OK? Is everything all right? Why are you sleeping all day? Why are you sleeping on the couch? Don't usually sleep in the chair. You all right? Are you sick? Why are you sleeping on the couch? Do you want something? Do you want a snack? No matter what your cat is like, giving them dry treats actually is a great way to show affection.


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OK, I'm trying not to freak out. It's got it's got to focus on that pan.


But is it cognitive dissonance if I know the reality? Yeah, I'm choosing to focus on my life and choosing to focus on what I can do within that life. And all lives are limited now because reality is limited because there's a fucking plague. Running rampant on the planet, but insanely rampant in this country. No one seems to give a fuck, really. We've got a president quickly eating himself to death and feeding a fucking delusion.


To sort of 80, 90 percent of his followers that somehow the election was rigged with no proof whatsoever, believe what we believe is real, despite evidence to the contrary. Break your fuckin brains forever by taking big heaping shitty spoonfuls of cognitive dissonance provided for you by this administration. Fuck it, man, I get up, I put my shoes on, I put my pants on, I dress like a day is happening and I do shit, I do this.


Got Racey horns going to talk to you. I'm going to talk to her today. I got the Bowie movie coming out. That's the other thing to fucking eat me a little bit. So I made this Bowie movie Stardust. It's called With Johnny When I Play Music publicist named Ron Obermann. Johnny plays David.


It's not a biopic. It's a it's a small slice of David Bowie's life. But this weird pushback.


That this idea. That this movie has to be garbage without seeing it or knowing anything about it. Because the family didn't sign off on providing or allowing songs to be used, then it was against David Bowie's wishes. David Bowie was an artist. He created art for the public sphere. For decades and decades, David Bowie has had, has sought and has been and made himself available to be reckoned with as a fucking artist of the highest degree on many levels.


You know, you can write books about Bowie, you can criticize or appreciate his his music, his acting, all of it.


There's oodles and oodles of articles, written, pictures drawn, books written.


It's open for interpretation. So the idea that the they didn't want to sign off on the rights. To music for the film, fine, it gave our director, Gabriel Range more freedom, but the truth is every artist seeks interpretation. This is an interpretation of a story based on a true story that happened to David Bowie that was done with nothing but love for the guy.


Yet the weird sort of contempt prior to investigation. You know, holding this line that you can't make an interpretive piece of art about one of the biggest artists of the 20th century.


Fucking grow up, don't go see the movie, then Jesus Christ. Why is the man angry, I'm not angry. I've just had enough of some things. All right, it's different. Maybe you haven't always thought of Sox as the perfect gift or the perfect way to give back, but Bambas socks were made to give literally when you give a pair of super comfortable Bambas socks, you're not only giving someone a gift, the love, you're also donating a specially designed pair to someone in need, because for every pair of socks Bamboozles sells, they donate a pair to someone experiencing homelessness across the U.S. Bambas are specially engineered to be the most comfortable pair of socks you and everyone on your gift list has ever worn.


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They are good socks. I'm excited to get some more bumba socks. Tracy Horne is here, you can watch episodes of Better Call Saul on AMC Dotcom or at the AMC app. And again, I need to preface this by saying we talked before the election. This is me and Racey Horn, who I love. You holding up OK, you at home? I'm in my garage where I hide and make things.


What do you make in the garage? Well, I can't show you.


I, I designed a massive piece of furniture with built in shelves and a desk to hold all of my different supplies to do things, whether it's pretend that I'm going to write a script one day or a ton of art supplies, a lot of art supplies here. I sculpt and paint. Just got back to oil painting thanks to the pandemic. Thanks. Really.


So is this is this structure for the garage? This structure was I have only rented in Los Angeles and this structure was built for my last place. And actually it comes apart. Yeah.


Coming from New York and D.C. and being only a renter my whole life, everything I do has to make minimal wall damage. So I built it to interlocks in pieces.


Wow. So I mean, you have a future in furniture design and time doing it.


Yeah. I mean first day jobs in D.C. I flat out lied to someone when I was asked to help. I went to school for art and understand color design and composition and stuff, but had not done any carpentry or craftsman stuff.


And I was dating this guy who was looking for someone to decorate his his new basement apartment in D.C. And I didn't know that I had done it before.


I spent so many days at Home Depot in the front where they have all the books. And it was like it was like early Barnes and Noble style just sitting down and reading all of them and not paying anything.


And did you do you successful in pulling off your scam as a phony decorator?


Yeah, I took like two and a half weeks to do something that I'm pretty sure supposed to take today. So did you grow up in D.C.?


No, no. But I was there for a huge chunk of my budding adult life. I was born in Norfolk. I moved to Japan immediately, then Arizona, then Virginia Beach. And then I went to school at George Mason. And I did theater for 12 years in Washington, D.C. before moving to New York.


Do you remember Japan?


I do. Even though I was young, I would do you. Some people act like they have crystal clear memories and other people have none. I have a couple memories from like two to five.


I have one of being hit in the in the face with a can and I don't know.


Well, go. But I think the next thing you going to say and then I've never remembered anything again, but I was, I was, I was very young for that.


I think I have a couple of memories, but nothing there, just like bits and pieces. Why were you why did you go to Japan?


My we were civilian, but my dad was a naval intelligence agent. What is that? And I asked and I guess I mean that like the TV show.


Yeah. Now it's NCIS. But at that time it was NCIS. Yes. OK, he was an agent for thirty three years.


I think the last five, he was a superior advisor, not in the field, but he was in the field when I was younger.


But that's that's a civilian gig.


I guess so. I mean he was, he was interesting and then he was a he was ROTC for Army and.




And went to Virginia Tech and then was recruited as a ranger and wound to Vietnam, really.


And switched to by the time he was in Vietnam, he was doing intelligence work and he was in the Tet Offensive wholely. And after that there's not a lot of stories that I would hear, but we definitely moved like we moved to Virginia, which of course, my family.


You remember that nineteen eighties crazy cuckoo case.


Yeah. Kind of do. What was that about. Right. Right.


Yeah, they were, it was like two brothers and the one of the brothers, one was Navy, one was CIA. The wife was kind of involved. They sold schematics to Navy Ship and Light all the way to prison, said like I didn't get anybody killed. This is you know, but they were selling schematics that show where the weak points are on the ships. Like if you were to bomb them, here's how to take it down to where?


To Russia. Yeah, yeah, I kind of do remember that. So your dad was on that case. Yeah, but like in terms of like his like he was an Army Ranger that went into intelligence and I mean, he sounds like a pretty. So he was in the forces, an impressive guy. He was in the army.


He was but he was not enlisted. And I know you've got to get some of the terminology right. He was not enlist in the Navy and we were civilian by the time he was an agent. So no.


So you're telling me that all the information you have about his experience in Vietnam you just gave me?


I have a few more things, but they're as secretive as my animated show. You mean like I mean, can you tell me that you might have to kill me, that kind of thing?


You know, he died. He died when I was 18. Oh, he passed away when you were eight. He passed away. And so all I was going to say is I am aware now.


I'm hyper aware now that I that we mythologize the dad and sometimes and so some of my memories are probably conflated was the lure of him and other people's tales and other to say stuff about him movies?


Probably not so much. His own stories were weird and. Yeah, yeah.


And at the end he was pretty, pretty paranoid and unfortunately he died from alcoholism, so I'm not entirely sure of the story's towards the end.


What were true and what were muddied.


Oh he had gotten himself, his brain started to go. Yeah.


But he was only 52 so it wasn't dementia. Oh. Now that said. Yeah but and your mom, she's awesome. She's super funny. Both my both my parents are very, very funny, great storytellers. But she in the end what did she do.


She was a paralegal and different high level assistant and secretarial and administrative quality control stuff for the government also as a civilian for many, many years and retired recently. But she's still an active Avon lady and she's.


Oh, good. That's important. That's America needs them. And I thank her for her service.


Listen, she's seventy seven and still loves to get her little lipstick samples out and I love it.


Oh that's that's hilarious. Where is she. Like where she live. Like four isn't Chesapeake. Oh OK. So I stepped up.


Oh so when your old man died were they together.


They were not and there was no love lost. There was not a lot. There was not. Let's hear from her at the funeral. Yeah they were. That were your parents. Are your were are your parents around. Where are your parents.


They are, they are. They're around. They're not together. No they're not together. And my mother's with a lunatic down in Florida. My father's with a saint in Albuquerque and my mom's like seventy something and my dad's like eighty one or eighty two and they're, they're kind of hanging in.


Are they being good about quarantine. Yes.


I mean I don't know if my dad's wife is persay. It seems that she may be going to church, but my mom and her boyfriend are definitely being good. My dad doesn't go out anyways.


Oh, they're being safe. They're OK right now, you know. But how about your mom?


My mom is very similar to the moms I'm hearing about from a couple of friends and some dads that, yeah, they're not really it's not just assigned to her age bracket either.


There's some adults, my peers in my life, people people have a different definition for what they think it is playing safe.


And it's a pretty big range, I find like a lot of leeway. Yeah.


Like my mom says stuff like, I'm not I'm not even I'm not even going out. I'm complete. I, I literally go to like Walmart twice a week and maybe three or four grocery stores and that's it. Like, why are you going to five shopping?


She lives with just her husband and as many people from that generation, she is a full like bunker of food.


The second freezer. The second fridge. Right. Right. She could live and she does this on purpose for sixty days out of her garage, second kitchen.


So I'm like, well, why do you you're only cooking for you and can you know, what do you what's going on there. Well right. If I have coupons and let's say one grocery store has beans on sale and the other grocery store has bread on sale and the other one has green beans, have to go to all three. I'm just like, can you please save 13 cents?


And your lungs, she she still needs to have her hobbies and, you know, chasing coupons. That is when it is not willing to give it up.


Yes. Yes. And she also she talks. Everyone she knows, everybody at Wal-Mart, so I think it's partially that she just needs to go see what Fran's doing. Yeah, I mean, I don't know, like I know that's why it's dangerous to some degree that she wearing a mask.


She is she is sweaty and she wears one glove to grocery shop and keeps the other one behind your back.


She's like, so I don't waste two gloves. My gloves are going to last twice as long.


I, I think you got it. I think you have to do calculated risks to maintain your sanity.


Do you know what I mean? Yes, I do. I do.


Honestly to admit though, I mean like I'll go to three supermarkets basically I'll go to I go to Ralph's down the street, I go to Whole Foods and I now go to Fish King.


You know what you mean? Why?


Well, I mean, just because it's like, helpful. Because if you if if I have a coupon. Yeah.


If I have a coupon, I know enough.


I go to Ralph's for the watermelon and and if I need some organic veggies, I'll go there quickly in and out. Quick Whole Foods. There's a couple of things that I stock up and I'm going there less and less because there's just a tornado of fucking activity with the people that buy shit for other people at Whole Foods. So you never know what day you're going to be caught up in this whirlwind of weirdos with these tinfoil bags running around and that you're talking about that are working for like Postmus and Stuckart, not the people that like I don't know who they want.


They work for Amazon or what. No, no. Right.


It's a service, but it's and I've also gotten now I've got like an ninety five mask and a face shield that I will wear.


Yeah. Wow. Sure, sure. That's the guy. Yeah. That's who I am. So like in order for me to you know, go out and use my coupons, I will wear a space helmet because I don't want to change my life.


I've, I only recently had this couple that are best friends of mine and my fiance is over and we did the whole but it was just four of us total at a picnic table that's eight feet long and one couple on one end and we're on the other end and socially distance and the whole thing.


And we ordered food and and ate outside and it was nice. That's not it was really nice to see someone in person, but then someone else had a going away party for somebody and has a huge, enormous backyard. Mine's like a postage stamp size. But this person had a huge, huge yard and there were like. Eight adults all sitting at a very large outside table and I freaked out, I thought I would be fine and I went and I and I freaked out to the point where I had to apologize that I had a text and called people to apologize the next day because I didn't understand what was going on and instead kept just drifting away to other areas where there were it was like a bad game.


As soon as three people started to talk to me, I would move to the cluster of two and then move to the cluster. It's horrible.


It was really yeah. I was just wildly uncomfortable, but I was so curious as to why I couldn't just say it, like why I felt embarrassed to just say, you know, I think I made a mistake.


I think I think I'm not coming and I'm going to go. Yeah, right. Because I can't handle it. I think a part of me wanted to be OK.


Yeah, me too. There is a part of you there. It's weird that there's this moment where where it's like, why am I the one feeling shame? I'm the one scared and doing the right thing.


Mhm. Yeah. I don't know what I mean. Everybody was lovely when I, you know said sorry you got to do to do exactly only what you're comfortable with. And the other thing is I'm so terrified I don't want to be a hypocrite, but I'm also terrified of looking. I have like massive imposter syndrome anyway my whole life.


That's just like I'm always not sure, like, is this who I really am? I secretly, like, awful.


And it's all a sham that I pretend that I'm not an absolute terrible person. And so I'll see pictures on the news of people having massive parties or clustering on the beach. I'm like, God dammit, don't they realize?


And then the second I even have two people in my backyard, I'm like, oh, I'm one of those people.


One of those people I have. So I'm on the news. Yeah, we should all be in water.


Is everybody an above ground pool with twenty other people.


Exactly. I act like the helicopters are going to break up my party with three people. So like what do you like.


Is that a real thing. What is imposter syndrome. Do I have it. You have to know.


I remember listening to you and our great you had a great NPR interview where you were talking about that. You're sort of regular. Like idling place is his discomfort, right?


No, no, I do know where to live, but like the imposter syndrome, it's not it's not just about being a fraud in what you do creatively or for a job. It's literally like no one sees that I'm a monster. By that, I mean, I'm sure some people have it just in their job, but yeah, I like the idea of you don't match your outsides, what's really inside you is this this fragile, awful thing.


But everybody thinks you're something else but you especially if you get to a place where people perceive you as added value in the room, your skill as an actor or writer or interviewer or God help you as a human, then it makes me back up even further and go half who fooled them where we got them for.


Yeah, it's good. I am one season away from being found out. I'm glad that that for most of my life I was never considered added value.


I would say, I would say for about 40 years of my life, added value was not on my resume. It was the opposite.


Like, let's rethink the Meryn invitation.


So let's see, that's where my head is. But people will tell you otherwise. And the the more intelligent, a more lovely the the people watch you at this point in your life than for four years now are surrounded by and have been surrounded by very intelligent, lovely people who seem to really know what they're doing.


So are they idiots that they've invited you to join the project?


No dialogue in your head. I get it. I get it.


But you know what that I've also realized, though, like in terms of like why I wasn't successful for a long time or whatever, is that, you know, they're only going to understand the part of you that you're making available that they can use. So on some level, I mean, there's a truth to it, like because for years people would try to box me in, like, you know, you're the cranky guy. You're the this guy did this.


And I'm like, I'm much broader than this.


And, you know, and a lot of it I have a lot of levels of cranky. Right. A lot of it's completely out of control and unattractive and polite.


But you behave in relation to your expectation that their expectations of you, these particular people.


But a lot of them don't know you really. Right. Right. Right.


And it's a certain amount of ego to even think that they care. Why do they they don't need right now you cry in the corner late at night, and yet it's our job to be professional.


We can't lean on them as if there are lost parent.


Right, exactly. And don't get me wrong, I am not someone that shows up to acting work. And I don't get that you are either. And treating it like therapy. That is that's that's not me. No, I mean for me it's a freakin break from.


Yeah, I thought I do what we're doing right now for therapy. I do, I do stand up for therapy, acting. I'm just surprised anyone buys it. I mean it's like I wasn't an actor.


It came so much later. I just like, you know, I learned to listen and I can show up and turn things off in my personality. But, you know, acting is like it's definitely not therapy.


And you start when's the first time you did acting like that you would not consider your standup.


Oh, you didn't like you weren't doing like a shtick. You were actually acting in a scene, I guess.


I guess almost famous was probably that little bit I did in there. But I never even had an agent forever. I didn't know I don't even know if I was represented.


I just realized early on that in terms of what comics were available for, which was like one or two line parts in movies or sitcom roles, you know, there's really people that, you know, I didn't give a fuck about one or two line parts.


It was just silly. Do you go in for these things and you're like, it's coming from the sky, you know, like, what is that?


Thank you.


You know, so but then I get that part.


I know I should have. Thank you.


But but then there's the sitcom parts where it's just right there, guys better than me at this. I don't want to do this. Like I just I was cast in a movie recently to play this sort of beat up like, you know, cheesy lawyer guy.


And it was in two scenes and it was in New York. I'm like, you could hire a guy that's really this guy. So I just, you know what I mean?


So, like and I felt bad to take you even going, you know, making myself available to take work away from from actors on that level, because I was really fundamentally comic. I always wanted to act, but I didn't pursue it. I just I just didn't because I was not confident enough. And I just always assumed that in the TV world, there were people better than me doing it, which is true.


I can't that's not an immovable object.


No, no, no, no, no. I mean, I've gotten better. Obviously, I'm OK now, but I'm still. But now it's because I got nothing to lose and I don't give a fuck, you know, I haven't seen Glau.


My apologies, but they have seen you and sort of trust and you're amazing. Oh yeah. They're amazing. And I love the film. Thank you. That you Annalyn, for the first time together at the Spirit Awards.


She loved you. I mean, she would like you know, she would like, you know, we'd watch PSol and she'd be like, I got to. Somewhere it was like she really wanted to do something. I love it, I know. So my my my condolences to you. Thank you. Thank you.


Yeah, I wrote her after I saw I was very late to your sister's sister and I watched it and sort of trust was just coming out.


And I and I followed her on Twitter and she was tweeting something about sort of trust coming out. And I wrote, Oh, my God, works amazing. I'm so excited. I can't wait to see it. And she ended up I forget if it was the DM right away or.


Yeah, it was a regular tweet, but she she started talking about PSol.


And I was so excited that she watches it because her her proclivity for finding the smallest intimacies in scenes and coming at storytelling from the character, from a character based instead of a plot based.


Not that there isn't plot in her movies, but like that's the end always was so beautiful.


And it's something that I strive for in the show I'm doing now. And then we like we have to do something together.


We have to. We have to. We have to. Then the pandemic.


And yeah, I have some I have some lovely messages from her when she would watch episodes of Saul shoot me, when she was like I just burst into tears.


Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think I said I think I was sitting there when that happened.


So but like, you know, in terms of acting with you, like it seems like you have a lot of other interests. You're painting, you're doing things, you're building.


You're right. I have to because of what's going on right now. I'm I'm quite I'm quite restless playing myself. Right.


But but you like it. Did you come out like was acting always the thing or were you just like a generally expressive person that ended up, you know, doing the acting? I mean, was there another plan?


Yeah, well, my my much to my parents chagrin, my backup plan was to be a painter, which is not a very lucrative pursuit either.


But at one point it was flipped growing up and mostly in Virginia Beach by the time I started to think about what I wanted to do. Oh, I forgot to ask you real quick.


I forgot to ask you about Japan. What do you remember?


Oh, I remember. I remember being in a Quonset hut at first. And my mom. Really getting aggravated that my dad wasn't pushing we were supposed to get a house in a regular civilian neighborhood instead of stay in a Quonset hut, and and I think he was dragging his feet.


And I remember playing Barbies in my room and my mom coming in extremely costly and saying, girls, I have I have one sister, girls pick up all your stuff because the house is on fire.


We're going to we're going to wait outside.


I was like, what? And she was super calm. And we waited in the street and she had a bag packed already and stuff.


And I've never asked her about it, but I'm pretty sure it was a pizza box that was in the oven and the oven got turned on. Anyway, we moved to our house immediately.


And what else? I remember feeling my first earthquake, huge earthquake.


I remember feeling that in Alaska when I was like I was probably seven. How old were you in Japan, really?


Two to five. But I totally remember what a bizarre sensation the worst is.


But still a business still is. Absolutely. Yeah.


It's like it's it's it's literally your world shaking.


And the only time that that's not a figurative statement. Yes. Like what.


It's like, yeah. It's a real brain fucker. You're like there's no stability anywhere. Exactly.


And the moment before you register that that's what's happening is also super weird, which is happening now in California, too, where you're like, am I did something happen to my friend? Oh, it's an earthquake like that little second before.


So it's so I lost it. What's going on? I also remember hating there was there's a thing in traditional Japanese cultures that when you go to visit a man and house and you're trying to pay respects to his position, and in this situation, it would be my dad and businessmen were coming over.


You are supposed to give the most lavish gift you can to only the eldest daughter. I am the youngest of two, and I used to scream bloody murder my sisters. Beautiful.


You got nothing? No knock on a door at festivals. And that's about it. It's a beautiful place. Yeah, I'd like to go there.


So, like, how did you you got out from under the curse of having an alcoholic parent without getting alcoholism?


Well, I, i that's a deep question. I don't consider myself an alcoholic, but I do pay a lot of attention to when I drink and why. And it's trying to make sure I am trying to make sure I pay attention to that because I've never drank like my dad in my life. And he wasn't falling down. My dad was high, high functioning alcohol. Sure.


Sure can wait till the second you're off work and all of this, but definitely drank every day. Definitely his most irritable is, you know, five to seven before he can get the first drink. Right. And all of that stuff in. I have never drank like that, but I pay more attention to I have had depression problems and anxiety problems most of my whole life and.


Have been on and off medications for those, and when I'm not on them, I try to be very acutely aware of, like self medicate, having three drinks instead of two.


You don't need that one.


Right. Right. So you have to kind of self self police yourself because.


Yeah, I yeah, I have anxiety issues myself and I have I don't know if I, you know, I really thought about it a lot, but I don't think that what I've had is depression.


I think it's more it's a higher level of anxiety that manifests itself in dread.


So, like, I'm not I'm not like I can't get out of bed guy, you know, I don't I don't get no, I know probably only very short periods of my life that were always attached to an actual thing that happened like, you know, a death or something.


Sure. That's appropriate behavior for a while until you have to put the pants on.


But, you know. Yeah, that's me either. No, but but, you know, depression, anxiety and dread and catastrophic thinking. Oh yeah.


And all that. That is. I've been told I don't know, like a type of depression, depending on like how really fast in your life. So, yes, I'm with you. There's not there hasn't been a lot of like and if I have a job, I will. I don't think biz's good.


There has never been. Yeah, but that's a little bit of the problem. It's like as soon as stuff is still like right now.


Right. I don't take that stuff to work yet. Right. That's why I am painting and I'm trying to write and. Oh yeah.


You're writing sculpt. Yeah. Yeah. Are you writing a lot now? No, I'm not fucking writing anything.


Everything went like, it's just like there's like this weird thing where like when Lyn passed away, I mean it's been almost four months where like I don't know.


I know but I know but it shattered everything. But the thing is, it's like there's a party.


So like I actually keep a journal about this and I'm like, I can't do it. And then I was like sort of wondering why should I pressure myself to write? And I don't do fucking anything, dude, just fucking do it.


If you got a huge deal, like what do you. So I haven't really been in because there's no standup really.


I'm not really making notes compulsively, but it's starting to come back a little bit, you know, like in terms of like you're having a little freedom from the, you know, daily, you know, quicksand of grief.


But like but like, you know, I'm starting to be OK. Yeah. And maybe I'll start writing. What are you writing? And trying to write a script that's good, yeah, yeah, I'm I'm so hemming and hawing because I am surrounded by so many brilliant writers in my life that I get very nauseous trying to say, like, I'm writing a script.


I've been asked to help people with scripts and and take a look at my character voice or repeated beats and a lot of that stuff for a really, really long time, because I in theatre, I was doing almost all new play development, or you work with the writer to flesh out the play or work on early drafts. And so. Yeah, and so I really, really love writers and I really love the relationship of interpreting their words and figuring out how to how to highlight their voice instead of making my voice interesting.


So that is kind of making me think I wrote a short that I co directed that was part of a trilogy that was all about in praise of quitting that I think people should embrace quitting things more.


Yeah, absolutely. And then, yeah, I'm just trying to write another one. And I'm also trying to write down just some essays like short essays. Yeah, it's good.


You know what's interesting about writing, which I because I hate writing. I fucking hate it. Do you. Yeah. And I've written books. I hate it.


But the one thing I know about it is that when you get going you will learn things about yourself, like you will put things together differently than you would have thought you would like.


There is an element of discovery to even writing about like an essay or about yourself and a memoir.


Like all of a sudden it's like, wow, that's exactly what I what it is.


But I never knew it that, you know, there is I like that part of it, but it takes too long to get there. I can't fucking deal.


Were you writing more prose before you started writing standup or were you writing your stand up act for.


I mean, I usually work through most of my stuff on stage first to improvisation and then kind of it becomes something over time. I hammer it, I write outlines, I write ideas. I write like a lot of different one-line things that aren't necessarily stand up. Poetic things, little things like I write.


I used to write that kind of stuff constantly, but it's just an active brain and eventually things that would make it in would just make it in over repetition. It was not and not going.


Did you always feel like what you were writing when you started writing? Were you did it immediately feel like. Oh, I think I have I think I'm value added or I mean, did it all feel like I think this is a niche where where I can contribute.


This is it is worthwhile for me to write?


No, I always think that, like, this is like this is a waste of time. No one's going to read this. There's no real money in it and it'll change nothing.


OK. All right, you should you should do one of those commencement speeches that was beautiful. I have done that. I did I did that at this podcast festival where I was a keynote speaker and it was such it was all a racket. And once I realized that it was a festival put together by old radio hacks who were just trying to sell people on an entrepreneurial fucking, you know, teaching weekend to bilk people out of money, you know, to think that they that podcast is some great business idea.


I got up in front of all these people. I said, look, man, it's probably not going to work out.


So really, it's very hard to get people to listen to your thing like it was hilarious. So anyways, so it's not untrue.


The Times, of course, has to mentor or coach or actors, young actors, actor, wannabes, whatever, the majority of the time, or even if I just coach a single person an audition, which I write from time to time, the majority of the time when someone once asked me something about the business, they actually want to know how to get a TV show, how to work with Vince Gilligan and Peter Cool.


Before this, it was, you know, how to get in a sitcom. And they are. And I know this is.


Yeah, they want to. They want to. They want what are the steps do you ever want to be they want to be famous.


And even if it's not about fame and their idea of success is extremely narrow definition of it, because people and you'll hear it even when people say phrases like when you made it or is this the big thing that you like when you knew you made it?


Well, I mean, the first time I did a play at a small theater in Adams Morgan, which was my first theater production that had zero to do with college, it was not an academic thing. It was not a teacher making a phone call. I showed up, put it in my backpack and I read lines and I got a part five dollars, no pay for rehearsal, five dollars a show as a non-equity performance and multiple times we could not get it.


What was an equity house. But I was I was a non-union performer performing there. And there's an equity rule that if there are more people on stage than in the audience, the cast can elect to not go on, to not do the play. It was only a two hander and we still had to have that vote many nights.


And I, I performed not well. It was very, very early on in my career, but I performed my heart out for solo people all the time.


And I bring all that up to say, like to me that was that was, that was making it. And even if there hadn't been a play to decide that I want to not go to the party that everyone's going to because I love reading and rereading and rereading and rereading a script and a scene and breaking it down and trying to figure out why this person behaves the way they do. And everything that everything that's going on internally while the external is happening is endlessly fascinating to me and still is.


And I try to tell these actors that is actually the majority of what being an actress, much like being a writer. It's not book signings. Even if you're wildly famous, you're mostly alone. Right, right. Right. And I love to be on set. And I'm I'm I couldn't be more grateful for the best part of my career and some of the best people I've ever met working with right now. But I still spend.


Ninety percent of the time alone, reading and memorizing and trying to figure out the umpteenth different version of that line and how to say it, and then and then how to, as you well know, how to then let all of that homework go and just be present when you get to somehow just write you there.


You love the craft, right? So I could we would stand up like there was no choice in my mind or in my heart as to what I was going to do and had nothing to do with making a living. Really. You know, it was like that this was my you know, this chose me to this is how I was chosen to do this. I don't know what chose me, but but there is a generation of people and I guess there always has been that just think like, well, I just need to apply my ambition to this set of steps that will enable me to be a success monetarily and fame wise.


So help me with my ambition, please.


Right. Right. You know. Yeah. And that's creativity.


That's not passion. That's not it's just there. And I see it all the time in, you know, some people it's just sort of like they some people are better at hiding it than others. And there's nothing wrong with some ambition. But if that's all that's driving you, it's a little disconcerting. I think so. I think so.


Now, are you do you feel like you're ambitious enough? No, I don't.


I don't either. But I'm good. I just want to make a living and have health insurance. I'm you know, I just, you know, and like I it happened so late in the game for me. Like, I'm happy that I can save some money. I have health insurance for what it's worth, until the health insurance that we have goes broke because no one's working.


And, you know, but like in you know, I can kind of eat at any restaurant that I want to when there's places to eat.


So that's good, you know. Yeah. I mean, I wasn't like I'm not a guy that sort of like I need more. I need to win. I need another house.


And just when you haven't had a day job and how long I mean that's my since nineteen eighty eight.


I'm like yeah, yeah mine's ninety four.


But there were some lean fucking times man. I mean I didn't have a day job but I was living large.


Yeah. No believe me everybody's just like when I first got a sitcom and I came out here and it was ABC and you know, you make good money. But I also had spent all I had no savings and I was broke by the time I got here.


So I wanted to save it all. No.


One, because you hear all the stories like, well, what if the pilot doesn't get picked up? Don't be that person that goes and buys a car. Right. I saw that happen so many times.


So today it's a real story. And I also, you know, and this is it's a version of the imposter syndrome, but it's actually more the catastrophic thinking that we're talking about.


There's always a part of me that thinks any Monday you might be in a cardboard box, this might all go up in smoke. And so it's about constantly saving money. But in reality, it really is, because I don't want I had some lean times, too.


And I was like, oh, yeah, I don't want to wait tables and Godlove, anybody that can do that. But I'm purposely saving every penny and belaboring whether I should get new shoes at Martial's because the old ones are fine, because I don't want to have to take a day job, not because I'm above it, but because I want to spend that time always constantly towards the next acting job. And the next creative thing.


I've got the same brain. It takes me a lot to, like, spend money, but like I'm getting a little better at it because, like, the world is ending.


So I'm like, fuck you.


I'm trying because I'm kind of like I think it's weird that I don't own anything like I used to be this, like, romantic idea.


I didn't have credit cards for a really long time because I watched people in debt coming straight out of college. And my dad's life insurance is what my dad didn't leave me money. He didn't have money. And now I'm not saying they're poor, but there was no like here's a bunch of money to now take care of yourself. So I used his life insurance policy to pay for my college in cash and was done that.


No. So no student loans or any of that.


Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, huge, massive gift. I would have rather had him, but I think he'd be happy that that's what I spent it on.


And so I'm coming on to college and I was like, I'm not having any debt. I keep watching all these people sink. If I had to actually figure out how to have three job at the time to day jobs and rehearsing theater at night, and then I had massive debt, my head would explode.


And I know millions of people are dealing with that. So I was like, I'm not going to have any credit cards.


I'm never going to owe anybody. If I can't afford the thing right now, I don't get it. And that's why I lived all the way to and I constantly sublet it apartments. And I finally got to a place where I was the sole renter and had to sign paperwork.


And I remember it was Dupont Circle in DC and the guy said for this like Hovell little studio efficiency apartment. And he said, well, I have to run your. I've run a credit check and I said, oh, go ahead, I couldn't wait. I thought it was going to be like that would go off and they'd be like, this is literally the only person in the world who doesn't owe a single cent to anyone, not lunch money from sixth grade like nothing.


Yeah. And now he comes back and he's like, I can't rent to you and I have no you have no credit. I go, no, I don't have any debt.


Right. You have no credit.


And I am embarrassed to say I think I was and I think I was twenty eight to twenty eight years old.


But that's how they get you. That's the fucking game is bullshit.


You're supposed to carry a little bit of debt just to show that you can pay off, thinks this superintendence gentleman who had no time for me and also had to be like the janitor in this apartment building. Yeah. SAT me down on the curb in August in D.C. and explained credit and to me and said, you've got to get a credit card and you're going to, you know, just don't pay off like two dollars a month. Just always leave this slight running balance until you have credit.


And then just out of the good of his heart, rented me the apartment because I had I had nowhere to go.


Oh, that's nice. So.


So going back there, so after you, you were going to be a painter, but then at some point you decided acting, was it?


You grew up in Albuquerque, right? I did. So did you have and this isn't a facetious question or a mocking question. Did you have any outlets where you were like, oh, that's a viable career to be a stand up comedian or to act? I didn't have anything like that anywhere near me.


No, I didn't think about that stuff. I just like at some point because I was somewhat, you know, entitled and my heroes were all, you know, intellectuals and artists and everything else.


I just knew that I wanted to be, you know, you know, educated, like I did photography for a while. And I, you know, I kind of wanted to act in college, but no, I didn't. I never saw any. Making money was not part of my big plan for some reason. I just wanted to be educated and creative.


No, I just wanted to like I just wanted there to be salons with Gertrude Stein and Dorothy Parker that would be going in and people's dining rooms read and do the whole thing.


Yeah, I just wanted to be in the arts and I grew up with Southerners as parents that were really great storytellers. My dad, if he tells you that he got stuck in traffic on the way to 7-Eleven or my mom wants to tell you about picking up eggs, it's a great like they could win the moth.


They should they my mom should try. And so I was just used to that, like being taken on a journey. And I remember my dad very long, thin, lanky guy, and he would very slowly shift his way left or right and cross your legs and switch the other one to the other side. And that was this pause. And it was literally about, you know, like so I drama in the 7-Eleven parking lot.


And it would be like a big shift. And nothing nothing happened. It didn't matter. I was riveted.


But it's a good it's a good building device, you know. Yeah. Drawing it out. Right.


My sister is hysterical. So my dad. Did, as far as I can tell, I mean, there's just no way around it. My sister agrees had to have had massive undiagnosed depression and he had this job where he couldn't tell people, including us in any close friends, mostly what he was doing at any given time and never talked about Vietnam. I know he said that his hearing was bad in one ear because of someone trying to shoot him in the head.


And the gunshot was so close that it damaged his hearing and maybe he had the PTSD, right?


He could have I don't know.


There was also stuff where I mean, his main job was finding out that one of our own, including in his own office, had turned turned the other side, you know, and and was spying for the other side.


So I can imagine you could maintain friends, although he was very he was very well liked, but he was extremely private, very funny, very wry, super dry sense of humor that to this day, love when people are good at that, like the kind of thing where you don't even care if the person ever gets that.


You're acting like he'd drive home snickering, knowing that you did not get super dry and what he would do when he would come home. Sometimes after doing we don't know what for a couple of days is. Yeah, definitely drink bourbon.


But he would go to his what was supposed to be his office, but it was not filled with a bunch of, like, government stuff that was all on base where you had that stuff. It was filled with drawing supplies. His his mom was an expert drawer and oil painter and taught it and he painted and drew with her. And that is what he did to self soothe to get his feelings out. And it was all escapist art. It was all very Americana, Wild West stuff.


I have pieces from when he was in Vietnam. They wouldn't let him take his sketchbooks and everything because it was extra baggage that's not necessary. So he stuffed charcoal in any pockets. So any of the uniforms and little charcoal nibs. And then when stuff when there were bombs and stuff in the street, he would take the pieces of cardboard and paper that would go flying and drew from memory.


These like cowboys on horses like very like old West Americana stuff. And then he framed them in these irregular shapes. He kept them that way.


And so I grew up watching him. And that was a very normal thing to do. When my sister and I were being out of control, we were told to go draw all the time. And so we did.


And then he would correct our drawings and he even shaded by like he would do like anatomical shading on my hollyhock coloring books.


My sister and I were always horrified, really.


It made her look old and weird, but it was extremely normal. And I and he also he and my mother expected my sister and I to be well-spoken and articulate. And when some. Very powerful people. I'm sure they're intellectual people were coming over, not as much like you're talking about. It wasn't like artists and musicians were coming over. There were more government people, but they were very worldly and having these very adult conversations. My sister and I were always expected to participate.


And as my fiance says, his dad used to say that they needed. Yes, it's good to be interesting, but you need to be interested just as much and. This whole swirl of things made me think, oh, I want to be in the arts, I need to be an artist, I don't want to have to be able to just, like, discuss ideas. And then I'm going to go into my studio and paint. And I loved painting.


And I was good enough at it that I started getting sent to a gifted school for painting after regular school from a pretty young age and went all the way up to going to college.


And the whole time I was obsessed with TV and movies. I fully own that.


I was raised by the television, snuck the television, got on restriction for watching television. And Nick at night at the time was old old sitcoms. It wasn't children's stuff. So I'd watch old black and white stuff. And later it was the art house movie theaters and watching French films.


And I wanted to I was like, oh, that's that's actually how I want to tell stories. It's that.


But American television at the time and films, everybody either seemed to already have parents or in the business or they live in Hollywood or they look like models.


There was just not a lot of room. And I didn't. I was. I mean, at the time, quite chunky, and it just seemed I felt sure that I would be laughed at in my face if I said, like, I think I'll be an actor.


Right. So I went to school and I was going to major in painting and I was majoring painting. And you had to take an elective that was not in your chosen major. So there was an acting class and I took it. And Lenny Raybuck was my teacher.


And I'm very, very lucky that that first class was not a feel good sort of emotional non discipline, the kind of class it was. It was practical aesthetic handbook, which is the Atlantic Theater's craft and and and techniques and all described it all in the script. Yes. And objectives, motivations, tactics, super objective, the given circumstance, all of these things.


And to me, I was in love instantly because I thought, oh, taking away it, being just like an ethereal magic thing that you may or may not possess. Right. Wasn't so some people that's like d romanticizing it as an art form. To me it made it an art form. I was like, oh, I get that.


I know how to sit down and work is a practical system tools. Yes. Right. Yes.


The fact that you and it was so relieving to me coming from a lot of chaos in my house and it wasn't just my dad like it.


A lot of stuff going on surrounding my sister and I and.


It almost was like psychiatrically a really big gift to me to start actually thinking about why people behave the way they behave and what's going on internally, even though they're saying something else.


We had people with anger issues around us.


We had, of course, the alcoholic. That's not making sense sometimes, and then other times not remembering what they said and the other times apologizing for what they said.


I had a lot of Southern relatives that smiled through their teeth, but they would stab you in the back in a heartbeat. But it's all very, very polite.


And so it was my sister and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the hell anybody actually meant at all times. Right.


And so the acting thing, I was just like, oh, that is how you make a character.


Feel human that even when you're one, when you're watching somebody and they have decided some internal choices and some internal motivations, even the ones that you'll never see that are not script related to an obvious objective, they will come alive more real to you. There is something you will feel tactile about it that it's like that's more real.


And so it was that. And then I fell in love with and I just couldn't there was no chance I would do anything else. And I did the same as you did not had no idea if I could make a living on it, but it didn't matter. That's right.


And so after college, you just started doing the small theater stuff.


I started getting involved with professional theaters before I even left college. I noticed a lot of kids, you know, and it's just like you got to take you take the the the hand you're dealt. Of course. And I wasn't looking for the silver lining at the time, but I look back on it and I think, wow, I was really kind of on my own when I was in college and.


Paying all my bills myself and trying to figure out everything, and that made me keenly aware that there were a lot of kids there who thought they'd wait till they got out of college to kind of figure it out and then.


Right, maybe you'll go in turn. And and there seemed to be this gap between academic and professional. And I and because my school had a lot of adjunct teachers, we had almost all professional there was a professional painter teaching painting who had a show that night at a gallery and professional actors who were working this weekend in a play. And they didn't have a lot of time to coddle anybody. It was very matter of fact, a lot of a lot of speeches like you gave to the podcast.


People like, listen, you'll probably never make it, but here's how you can actually learn how to act. I don't give a shit if you figure out how to make a career out of it.


And so they I pushed myself to volunteer to read stage directions for new plays down to I started going taking the Metro into Washington, D.C., where there's some, I think, the best theater in the world, just like the most amazing theater happening there. And I would volunteer to read the stage directions in a basement for a new play or volunteer ushering, volunteered backstage props, food props, anything just to be around people professionally doing it. So by the time I was auditioning, it was a much smoother transition because people already knew me.


Wow. Yeah. Who talk to someone whose mom used to run a theater. Jason Zinnemann. Mom, I don't know which theater she ran though in D.C., but it feels like it was like Zinnemann mom and she ran studio theater.


There you go. How do you like that? I had a class with her. How interesting. What were you talking to Jason about? Well, he's the comedy critic for The New York Times. Get out. I didn't know that. Yeah, I never I mean, I've read articles by, but I never even connected that like that.


Joy is funny. Yeah. Yeah, I acted in her theater. Yeah. Yeah.


So it was all about theater and that was the thing. And you had no idea how you were going to get out here or do that. I didn't really care.


I mean I wanted to do because I first fell in love with acting, watching things on camera. I knew that I wanted to try that as well. But it was not like theatre was a stepping stone to get to that. I love them both equally.


Yeah, a lot of the plays that I was doing, especially the ones that were new play development, would then go to New York. And part of the reason that I loved DC Theatre as the playwrights would sometimes take really big risks doing the DC opening. Right, because it matters and The Washington Post matters and they're very savvy theater audiences there. But if you fail, your career isn't over like it is if the New York Times like your place sucks.


So they would try a lot of stuff and it was really cool.


And then those plays were transferred in New York and sometimes they transfer. And I wanted to go and they didn't a lot of the theaters there. Then now they have to they have to sell tickets, so they either do New York, Juilliard people or they do New York named people. So I started traveling up and trying to audition and little by little ended up just saying, you know what, I'm just going to I'm going to move up there for a bit to try some theater there.


And I did and got cast in a couple of things. And then I was doing a play for Playwrights Horizons when I auditioned on videotape for a sitcom that brought me here to L.A. and people were saying all the time, you know, if you want if you ever want to start TV, you have to go off.


You have to file for pilot season. But. Right. I'm way too thin skinned. Did you do it?


Yeah, they used to send me out for pilot season, but it was a joke. It was just a fucking joke.


I mean, I've had TV deals over my career, but you know what I mean? But the goal for the standup really was like, you want to get a show, you want to get a deal and hook up with a writer who will create a show around you. That was always the big thing because the models were like Roseanne Ray, Brett Butler, you know, that was the model. Your comedic persona was so honed that, you know, it was just a no brainer to make you the center of a show.


And I don't know why at that age I ever thought that I would be that. I mean, I eventually did one on IFC that, you know, no one watched, but but it was a good show for four seasons.


But it was almost a lot of what I've done lately in my life is just sort of like, well, I always wanted to do this and now I can. So I'm just going to do it to check it off the list. I don't give a fuck, but, you know, let's let's get it done.


Yeah, well, that's pretty amazing that you can. No, no. And I and I was able to do it on my terms and everything, like everything worked out good. I'm good.


But like for you, like I would go out there but it would just be like I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't understand how show business worked, you know, like, you know, I just didn't either.


I did not I didn't know how angry when you came out here. Thirty to plan and like twenty two in most things I looked a lot younger.


So you were doing theater for like a decade before you. Oh yeah. Like twelve, like twelve years before you even came out here and I am thankful for it. I, I, I firmly understood what I was doing and what I loved about what I was doing. And so yeah I wanted to, you know, do television and, and films but.


It was it because I thought that's what I will finally make me think that I'm that I love this or that I'm any good at this, I mean, I'm still evolving. And, you know, I always think, like, shame, shame on you if you don't get better with every single scene, you do. But right. But I knew at the time I was like, well, I know I know what I'm doing enough that I will show people this snapshot of a character that I came up with.


And either I fit the way they're telling the story or or I don't. Now, that doesn't mean to say that I didn't go in and have my heart broken a couple of times where I was like, they are wrong.


I definitely was the right person to tell a story, you know? And like a lot of people just I have a way. It goes back to what I told you that I fell in love with when I was studying acting. And that's to have an internal life, to have a full life. And I've done sitcoms that I'm totally proud of. I get a bad rap and they shouldn't especially multicam as far as like the quality of acting or whatever.


And it's like which ones? You ask anybody what their favorite sitcom has and they're going to tell you that cheers, all of the family, all these ones that are actual multichannels.


It's just about how smartly they're written in and how smart people to who watch your favorite sitcom from when you were growing up growing up, Maude or I've modeled two characters in my life completely after Bea Arthur, and I'm not sad which one's my first one and I'm with her.


There is so much Bea Arthur in that it's like Bea Arthur in a trapped in a punk naysaying butthole little sister.


That's what I was like.


Well, that's funny because there was an aggravated Jewish man trapped in Bea Arthur.


Exactly. I love her timing.


Anything she did or Madeline Kahn or Gilda Radner did, I was just like, that's it. That's it. I got to learn how to do that. That that.


Yeah. Great timing. Great comedic timing. Yeah. So great.


And so yeah I they, I was working in Brooklyn, living and working in Brooklyn at the time, doing a play and I did this videotape and like I said, a lot of people didn't want much to do with.


My acting, because even though I started chunky and crewcut, shaved black hair, by that time, I was had long blonde hair and was thinner and fit and that shouldn't matter. But I started getting called in four parts that were girlfriends that do nothing.


And I would and they would make up whole lives for them. Like, well, clearly there's a reason why you're just standing here quietly.


So I'll be a crack addict or but like, I always had to like have it. And it wasn't about I promise you, I wasn't trying to steal the scene. I just wanted to be active in the scene. And people did not care for that a lot.


And then all of a sudden I got this call about this part and I had made up this character, Sherri, that I loved would have done in my driveway for no one. I would have done it on the subway.


And my agent called and said, they want to they want you to come out to L.A. to screen test for this.


I was like, Really? That's amazing.


And she said, well, listen, the only thing so I just need to tell you something, and it's not going to be fun to hear, but they're telling me.


So I'm just going to tell you, it's it's they kind of need in the studio and network ties.


They kind of need to have some people for people to say no to so that they look so that the network feels like they chose the person themselves. So there's basically some filler around them. But you have to be good. They don't want to embarrass themselves, but there's basically no way you can get this job. The network wants a star because it was definitely it was like the Megan Mullally part. It was the joke part, like all the zingers, you know, like so they want they want to get a big name and they've got some people on hold and some people interested.


And then also the so-and-so has a friend that he wants to do it. La, la, la. And I went on and on.


I was like, OK.


She was like, but you'll be in front of L.A. casting people and ABC people and you've never been to L.A. All of these things are great. And I was like, yeah. And then I asked if we had to stay overnight. I said, even if I don't even if I don't move forward, do I get to stay overnight? And the reason was because everyone at the time was watching Sopranos and I didn't have cable.


I just want to know she was like, yeah, I was like, OK, so like there would be cable in the hotel. So yeah, I was like, yeah, let's do it.


And I went and they brought me in and they flew in at like.


I want to say I got it 10:00 at night, the duty tax was supposed to be the next day around 9:00 and you put me up at the Sheraton over in CityWalk.


Yeah. Yeah. Know that one. Yeah. And I remember waking up around 5:00.


I didn't even get to say I was very nervous and I was like, OK, I got I got to get some sleep. It's like two o'clock in the morning, two thirty in the morning and I'm trying to make myself go to sleep and I thought, OK, OK, I'll just. And I was still in my clothes trying to calm down. And I thought, well, I'll just even though I was told I couldn't get the job, I was still very nervous.


I thought everyone would see me as not belonging, which is right now I feel everywhere.


And so I was like, I'll just get up the morning, I'll take a shower and I'll review my site.


And so I set my alarm and then around like a little after 5:00 a.m. at the hotel phone was ringing and the woman said, maybe it's like five thirty. She said, your cab is waiting downstairs. And I said, OK, well, OK, that's great. I have like three and a half hours still. Right. And this woman starts yelling behind her, I forgot to put the fax under her door.


So that was what they had had something where they needed to Fast-Track this.


So they made the network test that was supposed to be a day later, the nine. And it meant the studio test now had to be at seven, which meant the work through with the writer had to be at six. So they needed to make it in a cab now.


And I'm in like three hours of sleep, deep trench mark sheet marks on my face, which apparently are on camera in the audition because Mark OpenNet told me that he has tape of it and I am greasy and haven't eaten and trying to make I call my age and it's like, wow, this is not fair.


I was like, OK, she finds out from them that they're basically like, look, sorry. I mean, she you know, she was kind of just the filler anyway. Like, we can't change the studio, the network test for her. And so my agent said, I'm so sorry, but what do you want to do? And I said, well, how much time can they get?


And she said, You got to be downstairs in ten minutes.


So I decided I will brush my teeth. That's all I got. I was like, you can't take a shower, get ready. At that point it'll be worse. Yeah, it'll be just look like this instead.


I want I was like, I'm just gonna brush my teeth and try to be calm.


And I'm just going to go to this little part and there's nothing I can do about it, and I went and I was so tired and so hungry. And so not understanding what a studio or a network test was, I just didn't understand the process that you were going to be in a room in front of 30 people. No, no idea. And as a matter of fact, I now know that this is a normal they told us right then and there they had to go so fast from studio to network that they told us right in the hallway, like, you can stay, you're going.


You stay, you go, you go. Wow.


And and so for me, it was pretty bad. So, I mean, and I don't and they were by the way, the people there were so nice.


I don't think it was ABC's fault. I think it was timing or something went wrong or whatever. So I kept asking apparently, and I barely remember that it was Chris Henchy and Marco Peanut's story. It was Chris Hedges sitcom based around his real life of him dating Brooke Shields. And Teri Polo was playing the famous celebrity, the Brooke Shields part and. I apparently kept asking people when we would be allowed to eat because I was so hungry and falling asleep and they were like, I'm not sure, but you just made it to the network.


Tessa's like, that's so great. Do they have food there? They did not understand at all.


And I realized, like, wow, there was like 20 people in another four, OK? And then we were in the holding room and then they told us to go in this other room. They said, Ray, can you go in that room? And the room was the ABC testing one where it's a theater, but you're entering from like the back of the house and you're right down the stairs, right.


And the part where people just found it. But I didn't know that meant I'm going to stage. I thought, like, oh, the next room we now wait in is this theater. Like, I'll sit in the audience. But they had a tape wall set up with, I guess, the networks like breakfast. It was like bagels and lox and a bunch of stuff. So I just went to the table and started making.


Yeah. And I was literally supposed to be the person who comes in and goes straight to the stage. So I just started making like a big on some cream cheese. And Kelly, ABC casting her last name. So nice. She's sitting right there right next to me in the aisle.


And I just remember her whispering and she goes, oh, that's not for you. You're supposed to be on stage.


Was it, Kelly? Was it like. Yes, yes, yes. And I turn around. I go, what?


And she goes, that's it's your turn to be on the stage.


And I said, Oh, can I can I keep this?


And I put like, my bagel on the edge on a little plate. And I remember thinking, like, I'm getting it on the way fucking out. I don't fucking care what anybody says.


And I go down and I still look, it's the same as what you're saying. Like, I didn't understand the business. I did give a shit. There's no way I could say I don't give a shit. I just didn't know the game right. And I started to read and I realized I looked up and I realized like, oh shit. There's like thirty people in here with the house lights up. And it made me very nervous. And I was like, I did not come all this way to not do this little portrait that I like.


And I don't care if you like it, but I like it and I'm going to do the one I want to do.


So I stop and I go, whoa, that was weird. I got weird there. We got to start over. And everyone was like when I was like, yeah, hang on.


And I just like sat and then calm down. And then I went again and I did it and I laughed and I went back to my hotel room and about a half an hour later it was very fast.


My agent called and said, she's like crying. She was like, what? What happened?


I was like, why? It was like, I know I ate the bagel and I didn't know what I was going to stay. She was like, no, they're all calling and saying, like, she have nerves of steel. They're like, nothing affects her.


She blew everyone away and she got the job and the show got picked up and they flew me there like a month later. I didn't know anybody. I stayed at the Oakwood, the Oakwood Apartments.


That's a great story. And that started you rolling, but like, good. Yeah, but it looks like when I look at the resume with the other stuff you did, I mean, after you did.


I'm with her. I mean, that was nice. You got your health insurance, you got your cards, you got your marshals' shoes, you got your money.


But then, like, you were just kind of like kicking around doing like things here and there.


Right after that, a lot of I did a lot of pilots that weren't picked up and some of them. Right. OK, things I was working there was I want to say the following over the following ten years, you know, a couple of them went for a while, Franklin and Bash. I did for a long time, Whitney.


But there was a lot you did that there was a lot. Yeah, there was a lot of pilots. I mean, some were just heartbreakers. I did Mitch Hurwitz and Christopher Guest, the thick of it, which was the original American interpretation of In the Loop that later, later, later became VEP. Right. And thank God it did, because Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a genius and I'm so happy that all of that happened. But but at the time, that was a heartbreaker for me.


That's where I first worked with Michael McKean.


It was Christopher Guest and all his people and me and I felt like I was like a Make a Wish Foundation kid. I couldn't believe, wow, that's great.


So I thought, you know, it's interesting looking at all the stuff you have done. I forget that people do those things that you get. You shoot a bunch of stuff that doesn't. Yeah. Just doesn't go.


But if you do a lot of pilots now but you get paid. No, I didn't do what I was.


I you know, I was you idealise over time to create shows for me with writers and none of them ever even made it to pilot. You know, over the decades that I was doing that kind of stuff, it was, do you ever want to create would you would you ever create work for someone else?


No, no, no.


I didn't know. I you know, I did my thing and I was never really in the market to be a writer. But but I did have several sort of deals in development deals. And, you know, I worked with writers over the course of my life before we did Maron on IFC, I probably generated four or five pilot scripts for me that didn't go with, you know, different, you know, networks. So I was around, but not as an actor.


You know, I was always sort of like, you're a comic, you know, what's your idea for you? What's your persona going to be doing? What are you going to be doing in this show and be like, all right, so here it is. He's a chef, you know?


So you do this you do this performance of like we love it. Let's give him a deal and have him meet some of the writers and let's do a script, and then what do you owe them for the deal, the script and like five rewrites or what do you not?


Usually you do like you do the script and then, you know, once they decide whether it's going to go or it's not done.


How many of them did you actually shoot? None. None. Zero.


So but you do all this stuff and then how does how this all happened?


I got pigeonholed as a sitcom actress and I was very aware with with and Bash and that stuff.




All the pilots that didn't go to. Yeah. Were all sitcoms. And I mean Franklin Bash was a one hour, but still it was a comedy and.


I was thrilled I had a ton of friends that weren't getting called for anything, and I was consistently called in for stuff, so I knew I knew that I had a lot of gratitude for that. But I was also very confused because that was not a thing in theatre. You did not say somebody is a comedic or dramatic actress. Sometimes people split up whose classical and who is contemporary, sometimes unfairly. But I had not really seen people split comedy and drama except to the degree.


And I don't know the science behind this, but yes, I didn't know any comedic actors who couldn't do drama, but I did know some dramatic actors who could not do comedy. Right.


It doesn't always go both ways, but I just wasn't prepared for you know, I would read a dramatic script or hear something that was going to be on and knew that I was right for it and they just wouldn't see me. Sometimes they would see me and get to a callback stage. And the producers are just get nervous because they'd seen me in a sitcom.


And I was like, no, no, no, no, no. We need like a dramatic actress.


Right? But the whole time there was a number of casting directors and Sharon Bialek, Cherie Thomas and Russell Scott were among those that do not see actors that way. And they I owe them a lot of gratitude for it because they they have seen a body of my work that's larger than has actually ever been on screen because she called me for tons of stuff that I never got.


I don't think I actually booked anything for Sharon Bialy and Cherie Thomas in the 10 years I auditioned for them before nine years before I saw.


And I was just like, they're clearly going to stop calling in. And they did not.


And they would call me in for a huge part and like deep, dark monologue, difficult, challenging endi role edit like and then abroad, all of it.


Yeah. And they would.


And so by the time I auditioned for Sol better call, Saul did a wide casting that it was not just calling people.


Thankfully, you know, if they had just done some offer only thing for five actresses I would have never met them.


So I went and I auditioned and they were able to talk to Vince and Peter about a decade of a body of work of mine that no one else had seen. And how I did this and how I did that and how I adapt to this and this, that and the other.


And it really like it. I still get goosebumps.


It meant so much to me, not just because it is part of how I got this part. It is because all those auditions that I prepared for that I didn't have a chance of hell chance of getting. I still I still went in with my A game because I like to because I liked the character that I made up. And you think they're just going out to the ether and they don't matter. But collectively. Collectively they do. And they did.


It's great.


It's a good story. I mean, and and then working with Bob, I've known Bob, you know, since we were you know, I've known Bob for years, like probably 30 to 33 years, you know, and he's always been a collaborative worker.


Yes. And, you know, and I knew him before. He was like a serious actor. Like, I've watched him sort of evolve into this acting. And I imagine you have as well over the arc of the show. He's actually gotten better as time goes on.


It's sort of fascinating because I read and I think part of that is the writers they're seeing like there's nothing he can't do. So they keep giving him more and then he challenges himself and he rises above that challenge, you know what I mean? To just keep giving it more and more layers because he can do it.


He's very hard on himself. Very, very, very, very our first season. And I know he wouldn't mind me saying. He would say all the time because I would ask we have scenes together and I would say we would rehearse. We rehearse ad nauseum. And I would talk about this, that or the other like in the scene, like, do you want to try it that way or that way? And he would constantly say, like, well, you're the you're a real actor.


So you tell me.


I'm like, so are you. And I would say if you ask him how he breaks down a scene, it's exactly like mine. But yeah, you're right, he's very hard on himself and in his head has this idea of like I'm a sketch comedy guy. Yeah. Yeah, whatever.


I don't think he feels that way now, but he has.


Yeah. He learned on the job. Yeah, but, yeah, he's you know, very well, he's got a self-deprecating side for sure. Right. And I think that the relationship and the sort of depth of it over time between you guys on the show has been really kind of amazing because, like, there's this weird tension to it where, you know, as you learn more about Kim Wexler and her sort of like kind of weird side, you know, not self sabotaging, but the sort of danger seeking, you know, pushing, you know, that you start to understand how they fit together, but you don't really know, you know, what she comes from.


You sort of know where he comes from. So you must have put together some inner life for that character. I did.


I did from the very beginning, even when I was like, oh, I don't know if I'm going to be dead in the next episode. Like, I mean, I did that every episode of Season one. And still you had to like I mean, literally, I just. And Patrick Fabián and I both were just flip flip on that. We text each other. I'm not Dad. And so everything was everything was a gift. But yeah, they're so smart at writing.


And they hired me and they know the way they knew how I was going to approach it. So when when the pilot had me having. Two lines, I think I say we got it, Brendon or something to the receptionist when he breaks in doing the Ned Beatty you will atone speech and there's the the garage smoking scene and we share one sentence, he says.


But now you just and I say, you know, I you know, I can't. And then it says she fixes the trash can that he kicked without looking, which I thought was very important. I was like, oh, he does this a lot. And she always cleans up after him. Right.


But, you know, from the very beginning, yeah, I put together a whole back story.


I didn't want to hand myself in too tightly because I wanted to be able to take in information.


But there had to be a reason. All of her physicality for me came from, wow, she's very specific about when she speaks and what she says. And I don't think it's a position of weakness. I think it's a position of power. So if you're somebody who is that specific, I didn't have contractions in the first like eight episodes. And there was a part of me that wanted to ask them, like, you don't mind if I say want to instead of want to or going to write.


And I was like, now let's see if maybe this will unlock something. And it did.


I was like, this person is so controlled about what she wants you to see and what she doesn't want you to see, that maybe she also doesn't really let people see what she's thinking on her face. Maybe she's also extremely still in her body, which is 180 degrees opposite of me. I would never win at poker and I'm in an utter space.


And so that was fun and that was cool to try to figure out how tight I could get it and then fill those starts to constantly have a reason why she's not speaking. And a lot of times it's because she's waiting for people in the room to hang themselves.


Right. Their own words. So I just kept going down that road and and the relationship with Jimmy made sense to me. They are both outsiders. They are both misanthropes in a way and socially very awkward. And they both put on masks.


His is a very flamboyant, clownish mask and hers is this armor, this suit and curled ponytail. But they have no friends, right? Like only honest with each other. Right.


But they but they have this weird vulnerability with each other to that, that that has to be unpacked every time that it's going to be expressed almost.


Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly.


The most frustrating thing about this pandemic outside of the world possibly ending is that, you know, I have to I have to wait so long for like, you know, because at the end of last season, we thought you were a goner and you weren't.


Yeah, I know.


I don't know if I was either, although I was like, well, they would tell me.


I've have always said they would come back to come tell me.


But now it's like set up for, like, holy fuck. Now what's going to happen? I don't know.


I don't know. I don't know. They're in the writers room.


I think they've broken episode five, I want to say, or six season.


Oh, wow. You know, I just interviewed Giancarlo Esposito. Such an interesting man, isn't he? Yeah, he is. Yeah.


Yeah, he had great time. I just wish there wasn't this fucking plague because I was just out there. I drove to Taos. I could have probably had lunch with him and just been like kind of hung out. But like now you can't like you want to ask anybody, it's like too weird. And, you know, sometimes.


Yeah, well maybe, maybe we'll get through it. Maybe we'll all be ok. OK, just be thankful. Be thankful you're painting and you. The great thing about you painting is that you know how to paint. So it must be nice. Do you know what it is.


It's nice. It's like this isn't it. It's nice to have something like that where you like. I'm going to learn how to paint during this like I play guitar and I played OK. And I have it, you know, when I'm sitting around I can do it.


So it's nice to have a skill that's creative and meditative that you actually know how to do. So you can get some pleasure out of it.


Yes, I wrote it. Great. You can just sort of meditate. Yeah, it was great talking to you.


Finally. You too.


I hope. I hope we do it in person one day soon.


Yeah, I'm in some day when we don't have to wear masks.


Exactly. But thank you for having me on. All right. Take it easy. OK, you too.


That was right, see, watch, much better call Saul on AMC, Dotcom or the AMC app. What a lovely lady. And don't forget, if you want to do more for your cat, give them delectables. Lockable treats the best tasting wet treats the cat seriously can't get enough of. They come in a variety of textures and flavors and your cat will lick the bowl clean every time. Treat them the best with delectables lockable treats, find delectables online at Chewy Amazon or shop at your local Wal-Mart and other stores that sell cat treats.


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