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All right, OK, let's do the show. Let's do it. Let's do it. Lock the.


All right, let's do this, how are you, what the fuckers, what the fuck buddies, what the fuck? Nix what the fuck? STRs, what is happening? Mandy Patinkin is here today. You know him from his movies and TV shows The Princess Bride Homeland, his Broadway shows like Evita and Sunday in the Park with George. His albums, his concerts. And we talk about almost none of that, and I don't we just didn't go that way.


We got on the horn, we got on the video horn, and I'm like, all right, so this guy's about a decade older than me. So it's one older dude talking to an older Jew than him. I'm like, let's see, an aging Jewish man with a depressive slash manic personality. I'm wired to have this conversation. This might as well be family. It was it was great. Yeah. Mandy Patinkin coming up.


What have you been doing? What have we been doing? I'm trying to get organized, trying to get my room organized, I'm trying to get my books together. I had all the books from my old garage, which was just a packed sort of collage of life, of mine, my life, a museum of me and fan art, but books.


And I just start going through all of my old books out the basement. There are moments where I'm like, what do I need all these books for? And I've been carrying a lot of them around for years. But just to sit with them occasionally now that I'm reorganizing them like, oh yeah, this one. And even if you pick up a book you've been carrying around for 20 years and look at three paragraphs and it reinvigorates your interests, it dumps something new into your head that you can add to the stuff that's already there and and turn it around a bit or make you see it differently or blow your mind even for a fucking second or two.


God bless. Right. Or whatever. That's what books are for. That's what hundreds of books are for at all. The Willhelm Wright books. I don't know why I was fascinated with the guy. The guy was this fucking renegade, this outlier, this outcast, this psychoanalytical prodigy of Freud. And and then he comes here and he just fucking turns it out. Man pops his brain open, blows his own mind, maybe a little bipolar, maybe a little nuts, decided that, you know, I mean, I guess he was coming one day and he was like this all here, man.


All the power is emitting from my balls. All the power is emitting from the vulva, from the clitoris. All the power is coming out of the orgasm. All this power, the organ is the quantity is the photon of the biological energy that surrounds everything in all of us and is racing through everything and all of us all the time. And you can tap into it right in your pants.


The guy was a wizard. The Reichian Institute main organ therapy Reichian therapy got a little out there, though, man, he got a little out there. He set up a big cannon to shoot organ into the sky and change the weather.


So that seemed a little farfetched.


But he was pursuing it and they ran him down like an outlaw dog.


He built the organ boxes. I guess that's how I got into it. First, maybe Burrows was talking about the organ box, which is this box constructed of organic matter. You sit in it, it collects orgone energy recharge.


But they busted him to the point where they burned all his books, shut him down, threw him in jail. In the late 50s, he died in jail. The FDA shut him down. Now, I'm speculating a little bit and I don't know the true history of it, but I was fascinated with the guy because basically what he was dealing with, I think, was the idea that most of our problems come from sexual repression or sexuality repressed on purpose in order to control people.


So it seems that the core of his idea was to unleash the cock, unleashed the badge, unleash the orgone energy. No shame about the sex sex economy, he called it. And that's where love and everybody could come together, eradicate the shame around orgasm and sex.


And he built an entire science out of it and they burned his fucking books.


Then later in the 60s, people resurrected him. It was like, this is the time for this. For the Oregon nonetheless fascinating character, now here's where this story goes, so I just I'm poking around in the book.


And I know I think I don't know the history of him, I don't know what, you know, transgressions he's committed. I know he's thought of as a lunatic, but there is stuff here like I just open this book.


Apparently, he wrote a couple of books about psychology that were very, you know, that still hold character analysis in the mass psychology of fascism.


But this one's called Ether God and Devil. And it's two books and cosmic superimposition. And I turn this to page 16. I'm just browsing. I'm browsing. And I find we observe that I'm quoting right here. We observe that human thought systems show tolerance.


As long as they adhere to reality, the more the thought process is removed from reality, the more intolerance and cruelty are needed to guarantee its continued existence.


Holy shit, was that the opening of a new show? Is that, you know, should that be on the front page of what we're living through right now? I wonder, feels like it should to me, and I found another quote from Reich, Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples. Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples. The army of unflexible hate nerds, among others. Sexually crippled does not mean that you don't come sexually crippled can mean that you're paralyzed by porn, sexually crippled this broad.


What does it mean? What does that repression mean, what does that mean? What does that self-hate mean? What are you looking for, love, or are you looking for love or are you afraid to surrender? Are you enabled to open your heart? Are you broken? Are you broken by your creator's fascism? Is the frenzy of sexual cripples. So this takes me to another place, it takes me to E.L. Doctorow, the writer. Hold on.


Hold on. I'm not losing it, I'm not losing it, I'm terrified, but I'm not losing it now, the new year can be a good time for a mental health check in, right? I think I'm doing that now. And be honest with yourself, when you do that, check in. I know a lot of us think, hey, whatever's going on right now, I can handle it. I can handle it. But think about it.


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E.L. Doctorow, here's the deal. Going through my books, I have this book. Called Wilhelm Reich in the USA, and it's about the trial of Wilhelm Reich, and oddly, it's got a diagram for how to build an organ box in the back. That was the pretext they nailed him on interstate commerce, selling the boxes. Hey, man, it might have been hustle, but a hustle to hustle. You can judge a guy for hustle an organ boxes.


Well, then I've gotten orgone box I want to sell you. I have this book now, the reason this is trippy. They tried to shut a genius down, they shut a genius down, they put a massive mind, a provocative and interesting possessed thinker that threatened the establish order.


With his thinking, which could have spread and fed the fire of socialism. Free love. Libération. It was a threat to capitalism, aside from hacking the Oregon boxes, but they put him in jail. He died in jail. Not saying he was a saint, don't know a lot about him. This is just a story I'm obsessed with and I've given you some of the tidbits. But I have this book, Wilhelm Reich in the USA, which belonged to E.L. Doctorow, the writer of Ragtime and many other books.


People love Yale. How did that happen, Marin?


Well, it's got E.L. Doctorow's notes in it and new doodles, not really doodles and things he marked as important.


Maybe E.L. Doctorow was thinking about writing a novel that involved a or he wrote historical novels, maybe a character like Reich.


But wait, Mark, why do you have E.L. Doctorow's book? The first deal I had in show business, I believe, was at NBC.


And when you get a deal, you meet a bunch of writers and they assign you a writer or you choose a writer who they have under contract to create a sitcom with. Now, the picture was I was this aggravated, neurotic chef who was working in a basically a corporate kitchen. But I had a vision man. So it was basically me instead of a comic. I'm a chef. And the guy I was writing with, who I was told the selling point was he was on single guy.


This guy was on single guy. Richard Doctorow, the son. Yes. Of E.L. Doctorow. Fine.


One day we met in New York at his father's apartment and his father was teaching Rest in peace, was teaching at NYU. We met at an apartment in the Washington Mews, which is this beautiful gated community from the eighteen hundreds right in the middle of fucking downtown Manhattan. And I saw this book and at the time I was sort of getting into trying to understand Reich and I said, Can I borrow this book? And I did.


I took it right off of Doctorow's shelf and it never got back to him. Not only that, the pilot went nowhere.


I don't think Richard Doctorow liked me at all. I didn't get the sense I was just this coked up, sweaty, neurotic Jew with this idea. And I never shut up. We wrote a script. It went nowhere. And then I did not ever see him again. And then as I was sitting there the other day in a mountain of fucking books reading his father's property, I said, What happened to that guy?


And I tried to find him and it just like his show business career goes away. By in the late 90s, no sign, nothing. Do a little deeper Google search, looking at pictures, trying to find him, then he turns up. Now, I'm afraid I don't want to. Maybe he's hiding, but I found him in an article. As the curator of an exhibit.


At the SAG Harbor Whaling Museum, yeah, now I don't like I literally haven't even thought about this guy in decades and I track him down and that's where he's at now, like, look, man, I respect anybody who makes a decision to get the fuck out of show business. All right, get out. Get out. And find another way for yourself, you know, but wow. He at the whaling museum and I found this book. In his father's library about the FDA and the U.S. government.


Harpooning a big thinker, a whale of a fucking thinker and taking him down, locking them up, letting him die in jail, Wilhelm Reich. Wailing that horrible age-Old business of killing the big cosmic monsters, the beautiful cosmic monsters, the whales, the geniuses of the ocean, Reich, the genius of the orgasm. I don't know, man. Sometimes life is like a novel. Do you know what I mean? Sometimes if you just connect the dots, the stories go beyond the go beyond.


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Originally it just never happened. I don't know what happened, but we just wound up talking about whatever, just kind of did it. And it turned into a pretty deep talk about life and what it all means. And and it's I think basically it's a good way to start the new year as we head into the unknown. This is me talking to Mandy Patinkin.


How's it going? How's it going? Well, well, as can be expected, I hope, you know, the day is good so far, the dog dinner business and my wife is not totally furious with me.


That's good. You took the dog out. What do you walk every day? Oh, we walk several times, because right now she's being treated for heartworm. So part of it is to give her prednisone, which makes her a lot. Yeah, the day was her very last prednisone pills. So for eight weeks she usually runs free. We live out in the country. So for eight weeks she had to be on a leash, which we thought would be a quite a shocking thing.


But it's actually worked out great. And she's a dear heart and and we're very. Happy that in two weeks you'll be able to be off the leash and how old is a dog? I love this dog. Yeah, can't even put it into words. She we got her on March 13th right after New York shut down. Oh, OK. And we didn't get her as a Koven dog. The kids kept saying that you need a dog. We always.


Why? Why did they think they were worried about me? Well, what was going on? Rightfully so.


I was I was alive. So so they thought they thought to get Dad a dog. And and so Kath and I started talking about it when we we've been talking about it. And the problem always was my life. You know, I travel and. Right. Yeah. You put the dog right. What do you do? And but I wanted to take six months. When I finished, I finished doing a lot of work. I finished like ten years on this television series.


And then I finished 30 cities and a concert touring and I said, I need to stop.


I was going to stop for six months to a year and just see what life was like. And I used to I used to say to everyone, you know, what about all the things that I didn't consider when I was a kid?


Oh, yeah. Like what? Like anything everything else that I. I didn't. All everything else at life that you didn't do 60 years ago.


Like, what are you going to build, build model planes. Exactly.


Those planes out of paper. And so, so, so anyway but but it's very you know because I had a lot of friends that were retiring and they had asked them and they would all say, you know, I'm busier than I ever was. Right. You know, doing that. And I thought, OK, but but you can't see what that's like when the whole world retires with you, you know, by force.


True. But you know what, though? You know what I realized, Mandy, when that happened, like I realized that there's nobody to resent me for doing something you're not. So there is a piece to it. Did they like you know, it's like, well, what's that guy doing? Nothing. No one's doing anything. Well, that's relaxing.


I mean, that's that's one of the perks. Yeah.


Yeah. Or Yeah. Yeah, exactly right. Martin. And and you're never testing yourself if something tempting comes along, whatever it might.


No there's nothing, there's not been coming. People like why don't you use your voice for something or do one of these things and that's it. That's all you get. You keep it. This is the highlight of my life. Exactly. Yeah. Like you can't you can't call your energy to pressure you. I don't mean to pressure you, but don't fuck it up. No, it's all right.


It's already been great. So but there's no there's no you can't call your agent. Go. What the fuck is happening. What I mean, I didn't really want to retire. Nothing. Yeah. You got to learn how to enjoy your family and your dog.


Well, and that's you know, it's really been interesting. My my son was on the way working and and he was my younger one, my older ones away with his then fiancee, now wife, because they were going to have a wedding in October and now it became a Kofod wedding. So they actually had a wedding on a mountaintop by themselves, which I always which I thought a lot of people all over the world had those kinds of unions. Yeah.


And and in some ways I thought, my God, it's so pure. There's no commercialism involved.


No, believe me, believe me, you know. And, you know, if things don't work out, you don't disappoint one hundred and fifty people by your presence. That's right.


And you can go at parties, you know, to come in when the time is right. And so, so but my younger one was worried about us. And so he wanted to get here to take care of us and not go. We shouldn't go shopping like, you know, like. Right. Let's yeah. In his mind and and once he got here, he calmed down and we had a way of, you know, living with safety and distance and.


Yeah, no worries. And so but the joy has been having him here.


Well that's nice. Yeah. Yes. How old is he. He is thirty four, the younger one. And so he's busy working, you know, his stuff. You know, he's an artist so he's in you know, in the in the, in the room making up whatever he's going to do when he gets the green light to be free again.


Will you have like it seems like everybody around you. It seems like you come from an artistic family.


Well. Did you grow up like that? Where'd you grow up? No, no. I mean, when you when you said that I immediately thought of my family's south side of Chicago and no artistic nature there. But I did hear that my grandfathers were carpenters and Moyles and that's for sure.


Oh, really? So they were actually you come from the Jews that were engaged with the community on that? I come from tailers. Yeah.


Yeah. Well, we were actually I think we were shoemakers because in Polish the name Katinka means women's slipper. So when I think I think therefore we probably had something to do with making shoes.


So you go back to Poland. Is that where it is? Yeah, I actually found that also connected to Belarus recently. Yeah.


So Eastern European pale of settlement. Yeah. Yeah. And so I found this out because I did the the PBS show. Finding Your Roomie too. Yeah. Has yours been aired. Yeah. Yeah. Mine wasn't aired yet. So you know, Henry was incredible and what they uncovered was just earth shaking. I don't want to share what it was at this point because I don't want to say what their show is.


No spoilers for the for the genealogy line. Yes.


No spoilers for the pathology. I'm conditioned to not saying anything about anything I've done. It's a big thing, the big finish. You don't want to ruin that for anybody there. Maybe, although I spoke to them for about five hours. Yeah. God knows what. They'll let it down.


You know, you get a very nice book and a big you get a book and a poster. You got that. But it was my son, Gideon. He said, Dad, I'd love it if you would call these guys, because I think they do it with you. And I'd love to have it for the family to pass on, you know, to everyone. And they do amazing work. And and so I did it for him. But he called them and they're going to send us all five hours.


So he'll have that for his archives.


And whatever he wants to do with it, he'll have the slow build to the.


How have you been, Mark? How how have you been doing the last couple of days have been difficult.


I don't know why it comes and goes, you know. You know, like I was full of dread and anxiety before, you know, and then I had the tragic loss of a loved one and then, you know, this whole thing. And but for some reason, there are moments where, you know, I wake up and I'm like, you know, what the fuck happens now?




And and I'm so I'm sorry for your loss. I I found out about it this morning. I listened to the whole podcast of of you introducing the old one.


You met her. Yeah. Yeah. When you met Linda. Yeah. Yeah.


Listen to to that and. And what happens now, you know, I mean, for whatever it's worth, I think if we're lucky enough to live long enough, we're all going to go through this.


But I don't want to go through it with loved ones that are in the prime of their life and. Right.


And and you can't I don't know how to process it. And I've been through it too many times, really. And and I have no understanding of it. You know, of all the places I always tell friends, my favorite line in all of literature was written by Oscar Hammerstein from all things but a musical called Carousel. Right. And the line that I love, that I say to myself and all friends is as long as there's one person on Earth who remembers you, it isn't over.


And and I love it.


And the other thing that I do, because of that line every day in my meditations or my prayers or walking the dog or whatever, sometimes two or three times a day before I go on stage, before I go in front of a microphone, I say this meditation and inclusive in that, as I say, the names of everyone I knew who who have passed on. And I do it for comfort and for the possibility that if if Einstein's theory of relativity was right and energy doesn't die no matter what energy inhabited before, it's no form.


Right, then maybe I can talk to Moses or Jesus or Buddha or Abe Lincoln or my dad or. Sure. Or my best friend Bob.


They're all still they're all still around in some form. I hope so.


It's you know, I live in my imagination, but that's you know, that's a song is it's a moral universe.


That's I think that's what we all do. Yeah. Yeah. So that's the world I'm comfortable in. And it's a game, no doubt about it. But it's a game I like. I think it's all a game. I think religion is a great game invented by incredible.


Well how were you brought up conservative Jew in Chicago, which I always say is a is an Orthodox Jew if you're from L.A. and a reformed Jew if you're from New York.


Right. I was brought up conservative Jew in New Mexico. I come from New Jersey Jews. So so basically, I don't know. What did you find? Like when I look back on it, as I get older and spirituality becomes a question or, you know, I've never been that much of a seeker of divinity, but but I mean, I found that as a Jew, I was taught nothing about building a relationship with God.


I you know, we read the books, we went to the Hebrew school, but I never was taught how to use God. I was told he was there, but there was no practical way I could do it every day. I'm not going to do tefillin. I'm not going to you know, I'm not going to Darvin every day. So as a conservative, you know, middle class Jew, you know, it was just the idea of God was never put into function for me.


Yeah, me too.


I'm all religion. People would say to me, we're your parents, Republicans or Democrats. And they were only men's club sisterhood. The synagogue was the center of the life. I went to Hebrew school every day after three o'clock public. Right. And I was there till five thirty or six when you go home for dinner. And but I never believed in God and I, I, you know, my ultra-Orthodox Holocaust survivor friends, et cetera, would, would refer to it's necessary for you to breathe the fear of God into the fetus while it's in the mother's womb.


OK, so if that's what does it gives you the belief of God, God bless you and I hope you have a good, wonderful, peaceful life. That didn't happen for me, nor is it ever going to happen. But when I met my wife. Yeah, forty two years ago, I had a feeling that I couldn't explain. We didn't want to get engaged or met. She didn't want to get married. She was very 60s feminist person and I didn't know what that meant.


And do you do you now? I just I better not talk about that.


So so I have a whole list of things that I should pronounce out put on the walls. Then my children have said, Dad, don't talk about that, don't talk about that. Don't mention this, don't mention this. So it's and now there's no escape.


So you can't even you can't even go away for two days. But we got married because I wanted to do something that was beyond my understanding of what I felt. And that definition of what's more than I understand is the word religious religion. And I don't even know what it means. But as I got older and I'd say probably within the past ten years. Yeah, yeah. Certainly when children came along, you know, I wanted to ask for other help to make sure they're OK.


Right. And but but but at some point, I think within the past ten years, my ultra-Orthodox friends. Would constantly refer to them instead of God or hyphen D and I started Husham and and I started using this word when I say my prayers every day. And so even though I don't believe in a literal God, I believe in energy, like I said from Einstein.


Right. Everything lives on in that way. But I'm nothing but a hypocrite like most human beings. Yeah. And and I speak to this person I've labeled Husham that I heard the name from others and and I and I literally say, help me help you in any way I can in any way imaginable.


Right. I mean, I, I've reengaged with prayer and I say I pray, I pray to the big nothing.


And, you know, I think there is something about the act of it that puts you into a a groove that has been carved for centuries.


You know, that there is a frequency there that you can tap into that is grounding. I started to meditate recently, which I never did before, and I can see how that that helps out a bit. But it's interesting to me. You speak of these ultra-Orthodox friends, of many ultra-Orthodox people you hanging out with.


Well, there was mainly Mr. Sedney, who was the landlord in my apartment in New York, and he was a survivor of the Holocaust from Auschwitz. And we became dear friends and I became dear friends with his family members. And I remember he told me about making Mozza in Auschwitz with just some little flower that he finagles from the guards on a rock on a hot rock that he found. And one day I was in Colorado and we were in the Passover.


So we were looking for Mozza to make the Seder. And everybody would say, what? What the hell, let's Mozza, what's wrong?


And that was a Jewish prayer and we couldn't find it. And so I made Mr. Sidneys matzo on our water, on a rock outside that I put a fire on real.


And it was it was really meaningful because I guess at the end of the day, the whole ballgame for me is about connecting, connecting to the unknown. My friend, Mr. Sidney, when when I sing, particularly the Yiddish concerts, is when I formed it in my as as a literal imaginary friend.


When I look into the darkness, when I'm on stage, you can always put whoever you want out there.


Yeah, but but I at one point I just put all the survivors of all the Holocaust, not just Jews, but Native Americans and African-Americans who were killed on ships and people who were continually suffering to this day. And and all those people, I put them all in the seats in the audience. Right.


And and therefore, I'm I'm very comforted and not alone. And I know it's crazy, but I don't give a shit and it's not crazy.


It's you know, it's being of service. It's connecting to, you know, this universal idea that you have.


And it's also honoring the memory, like you said initially, that if there's one person out there that remembers you, you know, that honoring the memory of of of the lost is a is an important thing.


I mean, that's the most important thing. That's I mean, that goes back to the carousel idea is that, you know, the biggest threat to to civilization is, is the trivialization or forgetting the past.


I think so. I don't I am not a believer that, you know, I'm on the couch or let's go over what happened in life. And it will it will free me and unlock me and let me be peaceful. I don't think so.


Have you tried, though? It doesn't do it. Yeah, because it's very difficult, because you get into that dynamic where you get into that sort of repetitious victim mode where you're not really doing anything but circling around a thing forever.


Yeah. And, you know, I you can play that game and say, well, this is your mother, this is your father. This is the DNA of suffering of your people, etc.. You know, great. If that's what rocks your boat, I don't buy it. I believe that this is my life. This is your life. It's my job to do whatever I need to do to get through the next five minutes.


Yeah, I think it's a cognitive exercise. You make choices. I think so. I think so.


But the next five minutes. So you're on a five minute clock sometimes that's.


Yeah, I actually have a clock in front of me and I it's a chess clock and and I, I, I see how long you go and see how long I go.


Sometimes maybe we'll do a speed every five minutes, a five minute clock on your well-being. So when, when did you start singing.


I started singing in the choir at seven years old, the choir nights, Jewish choir, Jewish choir and the synagogue, the boys choir and on Saturday morning in the synagogue and on Friday night with the family choir at seven years old. And and that's where I heard music, I heard all the old guys singing and shuffling and and the cry a voice, you know, and and that's where I heard it and that's where I just became home with it.


But he it's all in Hebrew, you know.


So you really so you so you see those primitive melodies, those old Sonia.


Yeah, and do that, a guy just sent me the some sort of a 20 minute piece on Havana Guilloux, which I'm not very interested in these things, that people saw me on my phone. No, watch this.


I want too much. You just if you have if you have enough people in your phone, it's like a full time job.


I know. So, but but this one, I wanted to be able to say something nice back. So I looked at it in the first four or five minutes, Guy was talking about prayer and there were no words to Havana. Guillen talking. It was USA's celebration, the origins of the melody, et cetera. And then the guy says that in Judaism, whether this is true or not, I like that. And he said in Judaism, you know, the prayer and they come from the Talmud and the and you know, these various areas.




But the most holy prayer of all, the most holy sound of all is music. And I love that. I think I do feel I feel it's universal magic.


I feel it connects us in ways that we can't even express. I have you know, I can't help but be so.


Affected by learning about your loss and and feeling connected to all of us who are dealing with loss in such insane numbers, but none of that, whether it's historical, immediate, what's happened in our in our lives across the world or personally to you or what's happened to me, when it happens to you directly, you have to live it. And and and it is it is it is it is a mystery to me that I'm certain at this point. I know everybody deals with it.


I know everybody comes to that. And whether you're awake or not, conscious or not, but I'm certain at this point I will never understand it. When I lost my best friend, who we grew up with in February, and I went and sat with him and we had horrible thing happen and kissing his head and and then and every day I'm just lost. And another dearest friend of mine who died a number of years ago named Debbie Friedman. Did you know that name?


Debbie. Debbie Friedman was of our generation, probably the foremost reform Jewish composer of reformed music, reformed Jewish liturgy. But her gift wasn't she just took the words from liturgy. But she would say to me, I don't know where the melodies come from. I don't know where they come from. And and we used to have in common because of our just our common struggle of dealing with depression and and, you know, just trying to be peaceful.


We would have a conversation where we would both say to each other at times, sorry, my wife's gone out the door.


We both say to each other at times, you know, at our best, you get these notes, as I'm sure you've gotten from people saying thank you so much, your comedy or your work. The music got me through this time, got me through my father, my mother, my. Yeah, that and you're very grateful for this unknown connection that what we do because we're not sitting with everybody when when our work is being received. And and we used to say to each other that she was at her best.


She feels like this hose goes through her and just comes out. Yeah. Kind of clean and uncorrupted. And I used to say to her, you know, Debbie, I understand that so well, only it's the wrong kind of holds.


It doesn't have those little holes in it.


Yeah. Like that garden hose that. So none of it seeps into me. Right. And a good day it comes through and and there's not too much Mandy going out so clean and available for you. But I wish it had holes so that it would get in.


I understand that. I understand it. So. So you know that eh. So the idea is that you give and there's a reward to that moment of giving, but you know, you walk away depleted instead of full.


I wouldn't say totally depleted. I would just say maybe life would be better if some leaks would occur.


No, I get it. I get it. Well the grief thing, like I don't like it's insurmountable. And I can identify with what you're saying because like, you know, just yesterday I really tried to limit you know, she got sick in the house here and, you know, and then, you know, they took her away and then never saw her again. And I didn't know. I didn't know. We didn't know, you know, so and it's impossible to understand.


How can I be talking to you right now?


And one of us might not be here in an hour or whatever. And the friends that we've lost that way, and I, I not all the people that have experienced this or what's going on now, it's I just want to share, you know, because.


I just want to share something to just say that, you know, don't feel funny or battered, like you have a problem, maybe because every day you open up your phone and you read about numbers that are insane, about who's dying all over the world. And so you're just overwhelmed or you're having dreams that people are coming to get you or it's over or whatever, whatever is going on. But I'll find myself just convulsed in sobs, weeping profusely.


And thank God for Catherine, my wife, because she will literally oh, she just sits on the couch with me and holds me. And sometimes I can't stop crying for an hour. And I can't tell you the trigger of the tears or the emotion or what brought it on. I just get overwhelmed and she just holds me. And the other day it was so clear to me and I just want to say this. I knew what I'm about to say to you.


You've probably thought of said to others or hurt yourself. But I'm listening to Debbie Friedman's music because I would sing with her and and I'm exercising. Listen to music. And all of a sudden the floodgates go and I'm gone for don't know. I can't stop because I missed her so bright. And it took me six years to have dreams about my till I had the first dream about my father when he died when I was 18. And I was ecstatic when that dream.


Yeah. And every time where we're, you know, we're all in a my father in a dream or I'll be overwhelmed that he's missed the kids or I miss Debbie from hearing her music or I take a walk with the dog and where's my buddy Bob? And I just sometimes I cry and sometimes I'm just fucking lost in the woods. I'm ecstatic that I'm having those thoughts. Yeah. Yeah, I'm with them. Yeah. In in a sad way, but it's better than nothing.


Oh yeah. I have dreams about her and I wake up and in all that every time I have a dream about her it's really nothing more than that. She's here that, that we're here that know we're together and I'm like, oh my God, it was so you're OK. And then you wake up and it's terrible.


But but let me just let me off for this and call me crazy if I don't care what we're I see you on a zoom screen. You see me. I'm looking at the room. I see my dog. This is all supposed to be what's called reality.


Yeah. I have a dream where I see my father. You see Lynn or or my buddy Bob visits me. And that's a dream. That's your subconscious. Fuck you is what I say. That's my brain having these thoughts, these images, these memories. Yeah. Don't tell me that they're any real or or not is as meaningful as looking at a photograph or having this conversation. That's reality. And the others just a dream.


It's not for me. Yeah. Yeah. They're both real for me. Yeah. Why not. Mine did it in whatever way my brain works. I'm good with it.


Why not. Why not look at it like that. Why not. You know what I mean. That's you're being visited, you're spending time. I mean, you know, this is what life is and that thing you're saying is true. Is that the horrible thing about grief and about everybody having to deal with it is it's as common as birth, as eating. As you know, dying is as common as anything else we do is people shitting, eating, being born, you know, whatever it is.


But, you know, the fact that we're conscious of our own mortality and the sort of weight of it and the feeling of loss and missing and then your own mortality and like it's like it it it's like I feel like it was the final kind of rite of passage to being, you know, alive and grounded and in touch with the world with this loss, you know, and I'd never experienced it before. And I mean, it's devastating. Like I watch the video.


I try not to do it, but I watched a video of her yesterday and like, you know, just to sort of check in, you know, you have these weird pieces of film with her, you know, singing or dancing or whatever.


And it was just I can't I just it's just terrible, the loss. It's just it's just terrible. And and I'm so happy that you're able to to stay in this crying because I can't stay in it very long.


Yeah, yeah. No, I, I stopped myself.


You know, you spoke a lot. I read what you had to say about this period. I read about your trying to stay with the brief. And I wanted to chat with you a moment because I listened to long time ago when my friend Robin Williams died and you had done an interview with him and you played it and I went to school together.


Yeah. And and I loved Robin. Yeah. And and I knew him before he was Robin Williams. Where? Juilliard.


At Juilliard. Yeah. And he was the kindest student in a place that was cutthroat. Yeah. You know, the way people can be in those places. You know, I want the part. I want the attention I want I want. And he left the right.


He didn't finish. Right. He didn't finish, but but, Robin, you would be insulated, you'd be had like twenty twenty five kids in your group, so you would do that, but you could go see the other groups work, right? Right. Yeah. People in there and Robin would come in and he was just such a cheerleader. Yeah. And he was just so supportive. And it was only unusual because no one else did that.


No one else did. And and then we would go to Central Park and be on the promenade near 70 second he put on his pantomime gear and he'd walk around following people like you did in San Francisco.


And and then and then we would see each other. And I think it was called Lingam Columbus. That sushi restaurant bumped each other at the sushi bar every now and then. And then I was doing a concert years later and I was doing a play at Berkeley. And I went backstage because he was going to do a benefit there. And I went to say hi. Yeah. And and he was terrified. Just terrified. He had on his colorful shoes that he was going to put on.


And we were backstage. We were each going to go on and and he was just so frightened. And I'd run into him a couple of times, like at Letterman or whatever, backstage, and I would just see how frightened he was. And and one day we we had a dinner with my kids when they were little and my son Isaac had memorized, you know, the Good Morning Vietnam monologue at the beginning. That was not to come out of the mouths of a of a of a seven year old.


But Robin sitting at the table and Isaac unloads the entire speech on Robin. Yeah. And Robin's mouth was dropped.


And it would be very quiet if you knew Robin. Yeah. You don't see unless it was on and.


And when I was in Cape Town, South Africa, and I turned the corner on my way home from work and I heard the news on the radio. I couldn't understand how that happened. I couldn't understand how Rob and whose talent and gifts were meteoric and left me not even in the dust. I didn't even exist compared to what Robin's abilities in nature were. And yet we had somewhat of a similar life. We both performed he in comedy me with music.


We both were actors in plays and films and television. And so we'd be on the road and you finished your performance and and people would lead to their feet and say thank you. And before you get off stage and the lights go back to black, you are in a it's over, you're gone. Then you usually go back to the hotel where the hooker gave you the fucking presidential suite. You're all alone, right?


And you're just trying to get get to the morning where you get back on the plane in candy from the minibar.


And that's right. And my teacher that I met in 2006 worked hard with me and I worked when that news came of and I could understand and but the work that he's done with me since 2006 and has changed my life is is to stay with our discomfort. Period. Whatever it is, oh, I like to when I'm in discomfort, not only do I stay with it, I make it worse generally. Yeah, yeah.


And yeah, you fuel the fuel, the flames. But but but I believe deeply that it is a a global epidemic of people not knowing how to do it. And by that I mean this. And I use the two examples of one who was an acquaintance, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and one who is somebody that I was connected to was. Yeah. And yet those are just famous people. This happens to people every day because I couldn't understand how in those moments when he was trying to set up a chair and an ability to take his life all the seconds to go in between that that balancing act, how do you not have that one second catch yourself that we've so many of us have been in so many times in our life and and for over 30 years, and we get through it.


Oh, did you not get through it that one time? And and and so what do you want to use the word alcohol or drugs or. It's an illness. None of that matters to me, really, because what I believe is the missing thing for all of our lives and people all over the world is is we're not taught how to be uncomfortable, meaning a little kid who falls and scrapes their knee. Mommy and daddy say kiss it and make it go away.


Don't make it go away. Kiss. It's fine. Don't tell them it has to go away. So we spent our lives trying to fix everything. We fix it with a literal fix. We fix with food. We fuck it away. We quit it away. We run it away. We are a nation. States kill it away. And and if Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams, two of our greatest contributions to our humanity, to this life that we know if they've been, you can't have that kind of mind and not be aware.


But even if you're overwhelmingly successful, it's can be just as uncomfortable. And still, you've got a anomic.


Yeah, right. I mean, I get that.


But like the weird I think like, look, man, I mean, you know, I am fortunate in that I don't believe that I am, you know, clinically depressed. I suffer from profound dread and anxiety. Right. So, you know, so when I have suicidal thoughts, it's really not because things are so miserable. It's just it's just I need I need a break. Right. So I'm able to to move through that. Generally, it's anxiety based.


So but I think these people who are overly, you know, in tune in overly sensitive and can't sort of find their way out from under it.


I mean, with Philip, it was a horrible addiction.


But with Robin, you know, it was, you know, a choice, from what I understand, around not wanting to live with a with a crippling disease. But still, the choice that you're talking about is a profound one. And what and it sounds like you have talked yourself out of this before.


Yeah. I mean, I've been dark. I've but I'm certainly one person who said, you know, I don't I don't want to go through this, you know, and the thing you don't want to go through is, is it feeling pain? You want peace. Anybody who does anything at all they want is peace of mind, peace. They just want peace and who doesn't want peace. So we've all had a version of that. And and I just say to myself and and to anybody that I talked to on occasion when when the subject comes up and forgive me for going into territory, that may be inappropriate.


But, you know, this is how I knew you. You know, this this connection to Robin from before and. Yeah. And then and then a friend said, you know, about what happened in your life. Yeah.


And I just I don't know. I just feel it's common ground that we share as humanity and. Yeah. And it's a learning curve, you know.


Yeah. It's profoundly sad, you know. And I try to, you know, my choice to sort of be public about it was, you know, to honour some some some some of the stuff that you're saying, you know, like I don't you know, my comedy in my work has always been from me engaged in the life I'm living. So I chose to sort of, you know, share it.


And and in that in of itself, it's sort of what you're talking about when about those, you know, is that, you know, when you when you're giving your heart or you're expressing your true feelings, there's a tremendous risk there.


And the risk is not so much that you're going to be hurt.


The risk is that, you know, there's no what's the return on it? And then you have to ask, you know, well, why am I doing it? Am I looking for that? Am I doing it to to to experience people going like, oh, we love you, we love you. But even that's not enough generally. So what is it really? I mean, what have you come up with? I mean, if you're not I'm not one of those people that needs the love of an audience.


That was never why I got into it. But I mean, when you say that the hose doesn't work.


Inside, I mean, what if what if your conclusions around that, around your impetus to do this stuff, it's not the the adulation is its own drug that is as poisonous as drugs that kill you. It's a bottomless pit. If you go you go surfing, you'll never you'll never get enough. And you'll only find things that hurt you because you went looking and you'll find things. Are you?


So what I've come to think is why I do what I do and have done what I've done is for the structure of of it, for the for what we've really just experienced in these past nine months, a life without distraction. And the test of that existence without distraction is pretty profound to relationships, to to our own selves. And and I think I'm not so in love with singing or acting or what it takes. I love the craft of the research, of the structure of the of the taking the walks and coming up with possibilities that I'm looking for, connective tissue that I can connect to and and and and how it just wastes my time in in a way that John Lewis would say is good waste, good trouble, you know, and uses up my energy and makes me feel like I've lived the day and when when I've now been through nine months without it, I've come full circle to those nine months to go and go.


I don't need a break. I don't want to retire. I want to find a way to be in a room with my friends and make what new music we're going to do. How do we rebirth community getting together in the theatre where people are? It's the last thing on the list of going to an environment where you can sit in a room with other people and audience. And so how can I be a part of. Is it a halfway house?


Is it other spaces? People have all kinds of ways. They're trying to come up with this. But but that world gave me my life and right now it's decimated. The article in Saturday's New York Times about I think, ah, I forget the young lady's name was the violinist, the 52 percent of the arts community that isn't working at all that lost everything. She had a good career with a whole year's bookings gone along with millions of other people, you know, in different forms of work and living on food stamps.


And the and it's stunning that the restaurant industry have versus fifty two percent is only 12 percent effective, 12 and a half percent effective, meaning they can still sustain the lifestyle, but they've sort of design.


But the arts is just devastated that people got to eat, people got to eat and and what can we do who were given such such gifts by you know, look, in talking about this recent I realise what is it that I'm missing? I'm missing being with my piano player and making the music. But that's not what I'm missing. I'm missing. Just I just need one person in the room. No, absolutely.


Just one person to laugh or remember the music to remember. And that one person makes what was a boring rehearsal into just a life. No, absolutely. So how do we get those one persons? I just did.


I just did a movie. I was on a movie for for twelve days with strict protocols, masks and everything, but it felt so good like it was good.


But it was like I chose to take it. I'm alone. I'm sad. You know, I was they convinced me that it was going to be safe enough. And once I surrendered to and I was so fucking grateful, Mandy, to be around people. Yeah. Be doing the work. Just, you know, and, you know, it's the acting work is it's relatively new to me in terms of, you know, figuring out how to do it and making choices and and getting better at it.


So I was. You're right. You're absolutely right. How do we get back to that? Because it was scary. Everyone's a mask. It's not the fun kind of like collaborative community that it once was. Everyone's terrified, but you're making the shit. But like, let me ask you something.


When you were starting out, I mean, how did you balance this idea of, like, you know, acting or singing? Like were you always going to end in the musical theatre? Was that always that or was it was there a time where you like, I'm going to make a choice?


Yeah. The singing thing's a no brainer. You didn't have to do anything. You didn't have to go to Juilliard to learn how to sing. You just write because everybody sang in the synagogue. Every little kid sing, every old man sing. So that wasn't anything you had to work at, right. You just got to show and nothing to do. But I wanted to become a classical actor and somehow that evolved into folk. Go to a school that teaches you to become a classical actor.


So so I did that. But ironically, Juilliard, the famous music school and the drama department were there was no singing. Not a fucking note was sung.


You know, it's just all all tearing people apart and putting your heart on the table and some teacher not knowing how to put it back in your body and zip up your skin again.


What does that mean? You were there? Did you went you went through the whole program. You didn't get going, but you didn't get cut and. You were in the competition of that environment, did it was it devastating? I mean, did you were there any positive lessons learned from that competitive nature of that place?


Not the competitive nature of the competitive nature to this day, I feel is unnecessary. I do not feel that a school where you were either on scholarship or paying as a young person that you should taste what real life has to offer down the road and it's cutthroat and get used to it. You know, we're going to throw you out of the program where you don't make the mark with a bullshit. This is a time to be safe and cared for and and kindness applied.


The real world comes long enough to everybody and we'll all get a taste of it. But I had the gift of Bill Hurt, William Hurt, whose name will always be Bill to me, and the work we did together, and Gerald Friedman, my teacher, and Marian Seldes, and then also my two friends who were cut from the program. And one of them had they each had a quality that I wanted. One at 18 years old spoke his mind to grown ups and I'd never seen a person with a youth full person speak whatever he had to say without concern.


And the other one had a kindness that I desperately wanted and a vulnerability that he just was so beautiful. And I left the program after two and a half years. We had twenty six kids. I think in our class. I think there was one guy left at the end of the four year program and I think six or seven women, all the rest of us left in my group in my.


On your own volition. Yeah, yeah.


I left. I wanted to leave after I was there for five minutes and I waited because I didn't want to leave until I'd gotten whatever it was that I went for and I didn't know what that was. And then I got to be with Gerald Friedman, who was my teacher of a we did the Duchess of and he cast Bill in myself as Boesel and Ferdinand. We sat around a table and he tried to teach us what an action was. And Bill was much smarter than he could.


He could nail it right away. And I would write long, long paragraphs instead of a single word and and Jerry would crumble them up. I had a mountain held up paper and and then later on in life, I would be at Sondheim's house and look on his piano and there were postcards there, postcards or scraps of paper, backs of envelopes with just lists of words, looking for rhyme and going out to just find that one word. The the vocabulary, the dialogue, the the script of your life that is connective tissue to connecting, just connecting.


And then my brother in law, who's a Zen Buddhist monk, has a phrase in his monastery that is part of our family's belief system, which is our actions are the ground we walk on.


Yes. And so that that craft of learning to see if I could figure out an action.


Wait, let me see you.


You say you're the one thing that you put so much stock in your imagination, and the idea that it might all be imagination is actually the one thing that you have to constantly negotiate with and slow down because you overthink everything, everything and overcomplicate overcomplicate too much malmedy, too much candy, too much Mandy.


That's your gift, Mandy, is that you have to untangle your own fucking thoughts at every turn. Every fucking turn.


And I work. I mean, Richard Harris, I did I did a thing with Richard Harris years ago and and I was so excited to be with him. And he said that he was no longer drinking. And I'm sitting there in a hotel with him for hours while he's telling me he's no longer drinking. He has a glass of wine in each arm and a cigarette. So it's so great that you're not drinking anymore. And he's just in the midst of this.


You know, you don't need to work so hard. Yeah.


And he was trying to give me everything he had to offer, which was just just show up, you know, just maybe just shut up and show up.


But like but like what I'm feeling and what I'm seeing because I relate to you is that isn't it just fundamental I don't even want to say is Jewish and I don't even want to say specifically insecurity. But it's this idea that whatever I'm doing cannot be enough. It cannot be good enough. It cannot be right. It is not correct. Someone else knows how to do it better than me. Who's got the answer? Please give it to me now.


That's right. That's right. Now, the clearly some of the key ones you said is not good enough. So the the mantra. Not good enough. Not enough. Not good enough. I would tell this to David Kelly when we were working together and he wrote it, he would ostracize. But I literally was talking to my image in a window once. Just say, not good enough, good enough, not good enough. Where does that come from?


That comes from my mother. But I don't blame my mother any more because she was hurt. She was good. Good for you. Catherine says hurt people. My wife has this expression.


Hurt people, hurt people, hurt people, hurt people. Sure. You know.


But does it mean that doesn't mean the fucking wires were not already crossed. So I. I mean, I do that, too. Like, my parents were whatever they were and, you know, turned out to be the mess I am. Then you go through years of like, well, what did they have that was good. What am I grateful for? What did they give me? What are the gifts, you know, set aside the horrible things and then forgive them?


Yeah, I forgive them. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to fucking get my brain back.


Yeah, but I believe, Mark, that the mess of our lives is the glory of our of our existence because it create the battlefield of our work, of our canvas that we've spent our life trying to humanize, connect, to make make alive turn darkness into light, turn darkness, light. That's yeah.


We're the alchemists of depression. Did you you take that away, take my troubles away. And who the fuck am I in some way I wouldn't trade. I want in one minute I'll say all I want is peace of mind. The other minute I say don't take away my troubles.


Yeah, but. But Bandyup, I mean, what how old are you? They're not going away. There's no taking away. What are you fucking. I mean it's like it's a dream.


I mean it's one hundred and eighty seven and you're excellent. You're absolutely right. Here we have these conversations. I have good skin but I hundred even look great for one hundred and eighty seven.


Thank you. Thank you. But but but I mean this is this game we play this way. I want to keep my problems. Yeah. I want to temper them. Yeah. I want to tape of them. I want to keep, I want to, I'm going to hold on to some character defects in the language of recovery.


So, so, but the truth is, is that they're not negotiable. How the fuck are they going to go away. You've got a brother in law who's a monk. I mean, what are his struggles?


Yeah, he's got plenty of struggles. He be good? Yeah. Yeah, but but but it is it is comforting when I'm in the darkest place to to hear a voice. And if I can't hear my own memory of that voice, I'll call my doctor up and he'll talk to me for thirty seconds and he'll remind me that it's because of this that you are able to do what you do. It's just how hard you work. And the other reason I work so hard in just the structure of it is I'm so terrified of going on stage or in front of a camera, in front of a microphone and up.


So if I bust my fucking ass or even if I have the balls to do it, Richard Harris says, which is just don't do anything, just shut the fuck up and show up even no matter what I do, if I do whatever ever I've learned in my life and I've done my best to do it and then I fuck up, it's not my fault. Whose fault is it? It's not mine.


It's not mine because I worked my ass off, I did everything I know, I did it well, I did it poorly and then I fucked up, but I didn't take it for granted. Right.


But but this is interesting to me that Richard Harrison, because they like having just come off a chute and trying to figure out after talking to people like you and many other actors, you know, about how they approach things, it seems that that at some point that once the work is done, Mandy, that, you know, you of all people seem to have a you have to have some belief in your basic talent. Correct. No, I don't I don't I'm I'm I'm I'm probably the most insecure person I know.


Yeah, I like playing people that aren't on TV, but but I'm probably the most insecure person I know, and I'm comfortable with that at this point in my life. I consider it now one of the gifts that have given me my life.


But don't you drive people crazy? Oh, absolutely.


Absolutely. And that's why I. I won't call you and say I just want to be your friend. Mark, after this interview.


You can.


But but but yes, I drive people crazy. I drive my children crazy. I drive my crazy. One of the tricks that covid is to get the fuck away from each other every every now and then any way we can because it has it affected your work, like with in a collaborative environment.


At times, yes. Yeah.


Sometimes to a wonderful degree and sometimes to a very negative. A great degree.




Because you're so hard on yourself and and in the midst of that tornado of self-doubt and insecurity, you know, it's hard to wrangle that stuff.


Right. So you got it. You probably alienate some people very well at times.


Well, I remember something that I remember because it's a it's a way of being kind to myself that James Lupine, who wrote Sunday in the park with George and directed it and a good friend. Said to my wife years ago about when I'd be thought of as difficult, he said, let me tell you some about Mandy. He's only difficult to himself, right? Yes, other people experience it in different ways, but that he's only hard on himself as opposed to other people that are doing it to take advantage of other people.


He's just doing it to try to make the work great. And I and I always hear that echo in my head to know that I'm not I'm not doing to make you look bad or to fuck you over or to hurt someone else. I'm just trying to make the scene live. Right.


I understand that. But might but the point I'm making from my own experience in is that, you know, that guy knows you.


That guy, you know, took the time whether he wanted to or not, you know, to understand how you work. So but if you went a situation where that that is in a given, then a lot of people are going to take it personally and they're going to get hurt and they're going to. And then so then you got to go through the whole apology process or they should fire me.


They should fire me and or I shouldn't be with them. If they're not going to have any kind of sensitivity to who I am, I can't change who I am. I know. But at what point does it become selfish and maybe a little abusive? Probably at any point that it affects anyone else that isn't positive.


OK, it points I'm not I'm not I'm not absolving myself right. Or forgiving myself for it. That's another great thing teacher said to me. I said, I just can't forgive myself. He said, good. I used to think someone said, what's the meaning of Judaism? I said, well, Ramona's compassion and forgiving yourself and given up on forgiving myself. Because he said to me one day, and I love this. I mean, you know, you by the teaching you want to buy the feels good, the taste it.


And he said, Who are you, a deity? Who are you to forgive yourself? Aren't you a human being? Human beings make mistakes.


Isn't it nice? Where do you find the guy that validates the worst parts of your character?


Absolutely. And I pay him handsomely. I don't want to stop that.


Oh yeah. Finally I found the guy that justifies the worst fucking thing I do to myself. Good. He encourages it. Yeah, I know.


It just doesn't get a little exhausting but. But it is exhausting. But I'm exhausting. I exhaust myself, I exhaust others.


But I feel like we've been talking for nine hours an hour.


But, but, but, but you know I need a guy since that's who since that's such a part of my nature to exhaust myself, evidently to exhaust myself publicly.


If I need someone to say that's OK.


Well you know, it's I get that too. But I've got a friend said something to me that took me years to understand when I call him up, a dear friend of mine who I can be honest with and talk about, you know, problems. I'm a recovery guy. So I got, you know, sobriety so that he's one of those guys.


And when I tell him about all these these horrible things that I'm going through my mind, he would ask me like, well, what are you getting out of that is what are you getting out of that?


And that's a great question. What am I getting out of that? Like like I'm doing it over and over again and I'm complaining about it, so I must be getting something out of it.


What is that? And it just that that's a provocative question. It's like, yeah, what am I getting out of that? And do I want that anymore? These are choices, right?




But if you're if you happen to be a painter or a composer or an actor or a writer and you choose one day to play, someone who is incredibly light hearted seems to laugh away. The world seems to brush off every shoulder every second, no matter what it is. And why are you that way? Because you are loaded with agony and you are and you have found that the way to counteract it is to be this other way. And what becomes the connective universal tissue to the listener is I have that agony.


I know that. But to me, the the trick and what I admire and the guy I want to have dinner with is the one who manages it by finding ways to have fun in spite of their nature.


Right. Well, what about love?


What about it? Well, I mean, what about vulnerability? What about I mean, I understand agony. I understand the relief of agony. I understand, you know, getting laughs and and turning darkness into light.


I understand that.


But there is a sort of power to to being open hearted without fear. Yes, may may you live long enough, and in spite of the love you've just lost to find a friend, another human being on earth, to just do nothing with you say nothing with.


Yeah, but just feel comfort from right to not be able to help them in their pain, but to know that they just want to sit and and and be lost with you on the couch, the chair in the car. And, and that to me is the definition of love, just comfort and company and and being lost together.


Yeah. And. You know, it is this fucking thing about sex that we got when we were little and all the stuff about sex and all the energy lost over sex and energy in terms of what you could have done literally just with that hour, you know, trying to calm yourself down, self medicate.


I mean, oh, my God. You know, it's just insane. The whole world over over this kind of stuff. Genius people, you know, who could who could solve the world's problems politically, scientifically, are ostracized because they they they they needed to calm themselves down by masturbating.


Yeah. It doesn't masturbate. Yeah.


No, I, I'm, I'm a proud I was a daily masturbator for years and I, I've just taken a break because I'm getting older, try to cut it down to twice a week.


But you know, it's important. I've always felt that, that, you know, it's built in, it's relieving and it's a gift. It's one of the many gifts that Hailsham is going some give.


And it is great at times. But but it is it and sad at times. Is it the defining factor?


Is it the definition of love?


No, no, it's onanism. It was somebody my friend of mine said to me, said, if you masturbate a lot like daily, your primary sexual partner is you.


Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Did you read this book Sapience. Which one sapience know.


So it's just like, you know, five eight hundred page book. I don't know what it is right now.


You just I now I know I'll never read it by a great historian who does, you know, does all this, you know, it goes billions of years. Did you read. Yes. Into the formation of mankind at seven. And then I'm reading this thing because I really want to see what's happening. And he takes it. And the president is going all through the timetable of existence and and how sapience came to be, what they are and and what they've done.


And then the last ten chapters virtually. And this guy is an avowed atheist, by the way. Yeah. But the last ten chapters really are saying, in my humble opinion, and I'm not the wisest, greatest reader in the world, but is that you can not find happiness. And I hated that book from those last ten chapters. And I really read that book and loved a lot of it, but I hated that that's you make that kind of effort and garner your audience and you have a successful book.


But that's what you're offering us at the end, that all of us who are looking for peace and happiness, you're going to say in your, you know, huge mind that that's a wasted goal. Fuck, you see.


And then he proves his point.


See what he did you say? Look what he did to you. He's correct you.


No, I mean, I talked to somebody recently said that most animals, you know, that we're designed to think negatively out of fear and protection.


So, like, that's one of the things we've had to reconfigure as conscious, you know, sentient animals, you know. Yeah, yeah. That was but that's what we're talking about here. That's the challenge. That's what we've been talking about the whole time. Yeah.


I mean, fear I'm so exhausted from being terrified. And, you know, people people will say to me, you know, I have to public speaker, I got to make a speech. What do I do? Can you help me?


And I say to them, you know. Sheikh, let your legs, sheikh, let your arm, sheik, let your lips Sheikh Sweat, you know, let it roll down your eyes. Have you ever walked away from someone in that condition in front of your eyes? You know, people will lean into you and those that don't just be great, just hope they walk away quicker.


Well, I mean, if you're advising a guy who's going to give some sort of corporate presentation, just go out there and cry so lightly.


First of all, you've got him in the palm of your hand. Secondly, they're going to want to pay you to shut the fuck up and get to the next guy.


Helped this guy. This guy sort of got it together. Yeah.


Give him a billion dollars and build it.


So you did like this show, like the Homeland show you did for a long time, right.


Approximately ten years from hello to to the final goodbye. But it was eight seasons. But you enjoyed it.


You enjoyed it. I just loved it. I truly loved it. Unh unh unh unh unh. So many levels. The people involved, first and foremost, the character of the material, the relationships with the intelligence community that we formed in terms of our research systems and the relationships that I made with those people long term, in many cases, the connective, the connective nature of my being to a global understanding of systems broken and needing attention.


So it informed you politically, to some degree, politically, it gave me a platform.


Unlike other part of my career, it started my relationship with the International Rescue Committee and helping refugees be listened to and should be paid to them and the. And then, you know, because of all of that, it literally it's all the ripple from that whole thing because of the platform we made from made the refugee thing, I never had social media. We started it for refugee crisis with the International Rescue Committee. Then my son, who always is taken out of the cell phone filming family things, you know, takes a family movie of Catherine after we have a fight on our anniversary.


So this was really kind of sweet. Can I put that on your social media? I said, I don't know how to do that. I have somebody who does it for me. He says I can do it and he does it and it goes well. And then he starts doing that at the time when the pandemic starts and it's bringing a smile to people. So, you know, we're just the hired it parents. We just answer questions on the Instagram.


Yeah. Yeah, we're doing nothing except answering Gideons questions. And he's putting this stuff out there. And then, you know, George Floyd is murdered. So we then shift. That's not appropriate to do that. So we shift into awareness for Black Lives Matter and that moment. But in the back of our minds, the minute this thing started catching, we thought if we could grow this platform, we can maybe help get out the vote, you know, September and October.


And we were a little part of that effort. And, you know, from all of those things from being in a television show.


Yeah, yeah.


It's interesting, though, that that as a progressive, thoughtful, creative guy that, you know, it feels like it took me a while to get on board with the social activism.


Huh? Oh, no, no, not at all, I'd been it was my wife brought us on board early on social activism in terms of social media, we've been very active since really I did since I began doing solo concerts.


Are you a fan of Theodore Bikel? I know him. I been with him. Are you? My father loved him. Beautiful man. I'm glad I got to be on a stage with him once, you know.


You were. Yeah, because it seems like there there there is some connective tissue there. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.


I'm, I'm certainly one of those guys of our generation, you know. Are you asking me to sing you a song. Is that. No, no, no.


I just wondered. Oh no, no. I'd love you know, I'd love it.


Did you like did you have to learn Yiddish? I did. I did. I mean, I particularly, you know, the words every word I sing. But I, I learned it to a point through the lyrics that I went to Germany and on more than one occasion. But I go to a German movie and find my way around. Really. Yeah. Yeah.


What's your favorite German bass.


My favorite Yiddish song I think is the one my dad sang, the only one my dad sang and never sang much. But it was a yummy, amazing medley that investors made love those made available Ciccolo been Losman getting them just that is the main mission they do. Can they do this for me? So it goes on and that's about Mama. Mama, what do you want? What do you want with my daughter? What do you want? You're not happy.


Do you want a pair of shoes? No, Mama, you don't understand. I understand. You want a new dress. No, Mommy, you don't understand. You never understand. Do you want a boyfriend? Yes, Mommy. You understand.


You always have to stare at her. And my dad used to sing. That's when I learned all this Yiddish music. That was the one that mattered to me.


Yeah. Yeah. My dad's voice was there. Yiddish spoken in the house only as a secret language. And when when Grandma Celia came over because she never learned how to write very well or speak English. And she would always go in the basement with my father because she didn't want my sister and myself to see how long it took her to sign the checks.


My grandparents used to speak when they didn't want us to understand what they were saying. Yeah, yeah. Well, that's amazing.


So when you do these things is how many people are left of the generation that that is provocative like that, that it's just astounding how Yiddish has grown through Folks Beina and the different organizations that have brought in the language.


It was tried to have been decimated, attempting to be decimated completely back to life. Their camps there, they just did. My friends at Fox Beina did this Yiddish Fiddler on the Roof. It was one of the most extraordinary things all of us have seen. Fiddler on the Roof in one iteration or another. This was the definition of how it should have been seen. And it was unbelievably powerful. And Joel Grey directed it. And it had a simplicity that was almost like a high school production.


But because of the connective tissue of the sounds of a language. And I remember when we recorded it, I had many of the same musicians, African-American musicians, Asian musicians who worked on most of my other recordings in New York studio musicians and on the African-American and Asian musicians came up afterwards and said, we just want you to know we worked on all your albums. This is the most powerful experience we've ever had. And we couldn't understand a single word.


And as I started to perform it and Catholic priests and nuns and Irishman would come back and say, thank you, I learned what meaning of this was. I just happened to be a Jew who connected to my heritage, his language. The lesson was, whatever you come from, whatever the languages of your ancestors, take a walk in it, take a bath and let it wash over. You don't try to understand it. Just just drink it and let it wash you.


And there's something about it. And it's. It's one of great things that's unexplainable. Well, yeah, it's like that it's like the the idea of centuries of of prayer. There's like a groove there. There's a it's not just tradition. It's not legacy. It's almost genetic. It's a language spoken for centuries. Yes.


And once you tap into it, you know, it makes you feel connected.


Yeah. Connected. Yeah.


I mean, that's to me of the word James opined put it in Sunday in the park with George. So my character of George Sarod when I was thirty one or two years old, I think, or maybe I was thirty four, repeated this line over and over again through the play Connect George Connect and it became the word I realized of my existence. And it's the only words if I have a tombstone, which I, I'm not dealing with because I, I can't deal with any of that.


So I'm, I'm, I'll check out when the time comes in. It's my children's problem or my father's left and I don't expect to know about it. I don't want to know. I don't want to know. I'm going to be put in a box. I don't want to be know that they're going to then I'm going to put me in an oven. I don't want to be in a mud hole. I don't want any possibilities. And so I don't want to know.


But but if there is a tombstone, I want it to say he tried to connect. Well, you do.


And I think that, like, as you're saying this, that the horror for you that that the the existential dread must come from those moments where you feel disconnected very much in the most painful moments, both personally, if they're with my children or wife, when I can't communicate or I overcommunicate or I'm overemotional or oversensitive and I blow the moment or I'm on stage and I just missed it or did too much or couldn't recover quick enough or was too young to know how to recover.


I was in great pain and still am to this day at times, particularly with family, because I don't get that moment back yet. Yet with those who love you, you do get another try. As soon as you knock on the door, they will open it. You're the one who closes it.


Yeah, because you're busy beating the shit out of yourself in the room to yourself and to have my two sons and my wife Catherine for forty two years between Catherine and the boys. Constantly love me in spite of it all, is. Pretty overwhelming, yeah, thank God, yeah, yeah, so I did fuck that up, good for you. I'm a lucky guy.


Yeah. Yeah. Well, you knew where the line was apparently. I think so. But they would they also knew that it's going to take dad, dad to go to the city, have the dog tag. You know, he may come back, you may not back, you may not come back for a week. It always happens around my birthday and Thanksgiving, which are days apart. Always it's I can't handle something about it. And I usually check out last year I went to go to New Orleans because I've somebody said something and I got upset, packed my bag, went to LaGuardia, got on the airplane.


Then the something happened on the airplane. And at that moment I felt better and I thought, I don't need to go to New Orleans. So I said to the stewardess, can I please get off the airplane? I need to get off the airplane. There was some sort of problem. I said I got to get off there if I had made it, like, a little crazy. Yeah. And they opened the door. They let me off.


I got back in the cab. I went back to the country. I said, I'm home. So so now we kind of refer to it in New Orleans.


So. So you find that the depression comes at certain times?


At times, yes. But it never I can never identify the trigger. It comes out of nowhere literally. OK, you literally have to go away for a few days.


Yeah. I just have to know that I can escape that, that I have an alternative to being confined and being confined, meaning if it's with my wife, that you have to be that to my wife. That, my darling, you have to be around me. I don't want to expose me to you. I don't want my kids to have to be exposed to my darkness. And I need to know I can get away and as long as I can.


And everybody's fine. I mean, Gideon, my youngest one, he used to he had it better than anybody and he taught the rest of the family. So every Thanksgiving and and Christmas, the the family members of the monks at the monastery in upstate New York, my brother in it's family on Christmas and Thanksgiving. So one day I was in a bad way. And we drive the family up there. We're in the parking lot and everybody knows dad's in a in a dark spot.


And Gideon outside. And he's about I don't know, maybe he's fifteen, sixteen maybe. And and he said, if you can't get it together, don't come in.


And I didn't. And I stayed in the car for about an hour but but he was he's the clearest one. He's the only one in the family that doesn't try to fix me. Yeah, I know I grew up with a father with depression, and I you know, I know the the the the story of it for you. No, Madison. Oh, I had 15 years of five different medicines at the time, at one point I was on stage in New York doing my one one, I think my funtime show 20 minutes into the concert and.


And I went up because of what some Lyrica did, you know, to my head, and I stopped and I started the whole thing over again from the beginning and and a friend of mine said, you can never do that again.


And I thought to myself, let me take them. I'll do it again if I need to do it again.


And I went home and I took that last bottle of pills I had and I put them in the toilet and I said because I tried to get off those pills many times over the years. And I preface this by saying some people need medication and it's important. But for me, most of all, the medications put that fighting part of my brain to sleep. And I needed every cellular opportunity to but to stay focused and alive and battle the darkness. And so I would try many times to get off it with lying to the doctors, just not taking it over the years.


And and like clockwork, you know, two weeks into what I'd crash, call the doctor, have to take it again. But that night I put it in the toilet and I said, never again. And I'd rather not be here then feel chained to this. I can't do it anymore. And I and it was the moment when I was ready, you know, and yeah. I was done. Yeah.


They were prescribed medication. Sure. I guess the other thing that everybody probably knows is there are psychopharmacologist out there that should be put in prison. Yeah. That that give you medications. They don't know. That should not be giving you them. Yeah.


Well yeah I it's all speculative it turns out.


Look, I really I'll repeat the preface. Some people really need to have certain medications. Absolute don't take some word of some actor on a podcast, you know, listening to what he said and think that's right for you. What's right for you is what's right for you, not what I say.


Yeah. Did you listen to music today? Just the music I heard at the beginning of your podcast with the one. Oh yeah. Lynne and and a little bit of music that there was in there. That's all the music I heard today.


And what do you listen to music every day? No, I don't. My kids get in.


If my son getting was here, he would tell you he would interrupt and go.


My father doesn't like listening to music because and I think partly because music is is I love doing it and it's my work, but it's not where I relax.


And where do you relax? I relax taking walks and ironically, on my walk I run a concert. So I'll run an hour, hour and a half worth of material of Rixon singing like, you know, just about this loud, you know, really quite well. Oh, yeah. Oh, really? Yeah.


And that's what I do. And occasionally I do. I listen to Möller or I listen to my son's recordings or I'll listen to Debbie Friedman because it's just an OK time for me. But in general, there is so much noise in my head, Mark, we have so much noise that I love. Quiet. Yeah. And my wife loves more noise and more noise. And she's and we've learned that I need quiet. And I read a book once somebody gave me called Quiet by a Forget.


The woman wrote it and it's about introspective people. And you'd never think when people talk to me or you see me on some fucking interview, I sometimes watch myself talking to some person like yourself. And I turn to my wife and I'll go. I don't know how anyone could tolerate me. You know, it's just I am desperate to get away from this fucking television. I can't watch them anymore myself.


And the book is about. People that you'd never guess were introverts, so it made me realize that in many ways, even though I do what I do, that I am an introvert and some of the people that are described as introverts, it's extraordinary book for people, you know, I mean I mean, it used to be at Harvard and stuff. They used to say to you there was courses about how you had to be an extrovert to have the existence, you know.


Oh, yeah. Well well, it's like it comes back to Robin, you know, who was probably like one of the most introverted people that I ever met ever.


Yeah. Yeah, I know. And then you put on the thing. Yeah. It's almost like a protective magic trick, you know.


La la la la la la la la la. OK, thank you. I'm going to go be quiet now. Yeah.


But when you when you would win you would experience it with Robin. Yeah. It was undefinable almost. It was so hugely different from, you know, one thing to the other.


Oh. When he turned it on. Oh yeah. Yeah.


It's like others just all of a sudden you're on to couldn't understand one second he can barely look in the eye and the next they're like, holy shit, we're in an amusement park. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


It's great talking to you, buddy. You feel good. I do feel good.


And it's wonderful talking to you and and and I want to leave you and whoever's listening with one of my I had I had a fathers group when the kids were starting in preschool.


Yeah. And these four fathers and then the mothers became friends and then we had life together all the time. Yeah. Holidays. And one of the dads passed away from melanoma and was a dear friend of mine named Mark Harrington. And I loved him dearly and he kept them alive for the moment. When Katherine and I heard that it was time and we ran back from Colorado where we were visiting people and we made it to his room and he asked the nurse for a cup of morphine and he took the morphine and he struggled to get himself up in bed.


And he looked at these two lunatics, my wife and myself, and he said the most challenging words of all time, have fun.


And then he laid down and about a day later, he was he left us.


But he knew that that was the job at hand and he knew it was the Everest to climb at the same time.


And how are you doing with that? I'm doing better than I've ever done in my life, and that's why I love getting older.


I'm not crazy about the knees and all the things that go with with the the design, the body parts.


But I love getting older for just the the time live in the things that provide me that I now have learned to ignore. Yes, exactly.


It all goes away. Nothing's that important. And you can you can't get over how many you were ready to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge and the next minute you can't even remember why.


So maybe that's that maybe that's your version of self forgiveness you're forgetting.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I and my wife will say I wish I had your memory, which is zero.


I remember nothing if it's a gift, Mandy. It's so. I think so. Mark, can I wish you I wish you fun and and I wish you to have your loved ones in your mind and heart for all your days, you two.


You too. And in a similar sense, Warren Zevon I think once said, enjoy every sandwich.


I will. I will. All right. But what is your favorite sandwich? That's a good question.


I love like I love a very moist brisket sandwich, Jewish style brisket.


Wow, we're pretty close. I would love cold meat loaf sliced with mustard, left a thick iceberg lettuce on a on toast.


Oh, that's nice.


I like a meatloaf your mom made or something. Yeah, just meatloaf. Yeah. I like I like the deli meats but not that, not much on it. Just the the the dark mustard.


Oh yeah. It's too much for me. The dark mustard. I know no good. I'm a Frenches yellow mustard. Oh really. All right. Well I'm a simple man.


We can, I can live with that. I think we can live with our choices. All right. Take care of yourself. But you do all the best. All right. That was Mandy Patinkin, you can go see his stuff from Homeland to Princess Bride, the records, the plays you can't see, I don't know, maybe they're on available. I'm not sure. Are they Sunday in the park with George? I don't know. I don't know.


Don't forget, Better Help offers online licensed professional therapists who are trained to listen in video or phone sessions with better help. You simply fill out a questionnaire to help assess your needs and then get matched with your counselor. And under 48 hours, better help is a convenient and affordable option. And you can get 10 percent off your first month with the discount code, yet get started today at better dotcom. OK, all right. Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples.


Wilhelm Reich, here's some guitar.


Boomer laughs. Maggie lives. La Fonda, Cat Angels Everywhere.