Saturday, November 30, 2013

Neighborly Advice.

Hey – absolutely, whoever partially blocked your driveway is a real piece of shit.

But by only placing the “I PARK LIKE AN IDIOT” bumper sticker slightly under his rear passenger tire, you look like YOU EXACT REVENGE LIKE A REAL PUSSY.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Tale Of Two Thanksgivings.

Yesterday, at 11 a.m., I passed by a Toys R Us and saw people camped out, waiting for the big doorbusters inside when the place opened 18 hours later. Great way to spend Thanksgiving, or the greatest way to spend Thanksgiving?

Let’s compare:

While my friend Jeff ladled the finishing touches on the juiciest, yummiest, perfectly carved turkey ever…

The Toys R Us folks slept in their own filth so they could save a whopping $4.99 on a 3 in 1 Jewelry Designer. In their defense, the is “just charming.” Winner: us.

While 27 of us ate, drank and felt like a one big, warm family…

The Toys R Us clan urinated in mayonnaise jars so as not to lose their one and only shot at paying only eight bucks (regularly $11.99) for a Magna Doodle, which is terrific – if your kid was born in 1972. Winner: tie.

And while we deliberated over this fabulous dessert selection…

Their cell phone charges dropped below 5% so they could save a whole 20% on the aptly-named Sorry. Winner: nobody.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Give Thanks.

Cal-a-Vie Health Spa in Los Angeles makes something they like to call Gluten-Free Savory Stuffing. I call it Satan.

Nonetheless, today I like to thank all the people, places and things that make my blog possible. I’m thankful for:
  • Jews in Santa outfits 
  • Chicks playing trombones 
  • 36° temps in LA Phallic shower heads 
  • Ricky’s howling shushing a singing kid 
  • Dudes who use my pics to catfish other dudes 
  • Lays’s Chicken & Waffle flavored chips 
  • Plumbers who cut four unnecessary holes in my bedroom wall 
  • Meals served in terrariums 
  • America’s anus: Walmart #1536, in St. Petersburg, FL 
  • Communion wine with little pieces of fruit in it 
  • Kim Kardashian acting in a movie make it stop 
  • The guy shooting 100 feature films in 300 days 
  • The KidSpace poop exhibit 
  • Substituting rags for a rear bumper 
  • Ronald McDonald sporting a Hitler mustache 
  • The hot chick at a bar who turns out to be religious 
  • Living life like you’re in “private browsing” 
  • Surfer riots 
  • The Design-a-New-Hairstyle-for Nicolas-Cage dry-erase board 
  • Leading a life so incredible, the Westboro Baptist Church pickets my funeral

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 61: Deep Thoughts, By Actor Will Radford.

FYI: we are friends until the waiter sets that plate of nachos down on the table. Then we are mortal enemies.

My very good friend and gifted actor Will Radford and I get into some heavy-duty conversations about the business. (that’s Will, above, with James Spader on “Boston Public.”) I thought that while you’re stuck in holiday traffic and illegally checking your phone and searching the Internet, you might enjoy something he emailed me the other day, as we talked about maintaining perspective in a career littered with obstacles:

“The only thing I might add myself is, not only to refuse to let casting directors and others define you, but to refuse also to let ‘being an actor’ define you. To me, the most successful actors, and the healthiest actors, are those who don't let the label of ‘actor’ define them–because an actor will ALWAYS be limited in some way. There will always be those who lament your failure or those who hate your success. The actors I admire tend to be those who see acting more as something they ‘do’ rather than as something they ‘are.’ There's a romantic vision of ‘being an actor,’ as someone who's in it against all odds–it’s them against the world. Then there are those who see them selves as something else–certainly something much bigger than the acting jobs they get, and therefore are able to better weather the storms, endure the assaults, and (like Rocky said) not try and be the fighter who lands the most punches, but rather be the one who can take the most punches and still stay on his feet. To me, Anthony Hopkins is such an actor, but there are many more. Everyone does acting for a different reason, and those reasons may change as one goes along. They may even quit acting for a while, or permanently, if they find it holding them back in some way. To me, I guess, as long as a person feels they are moving forward, and that acting is either helping them do so (or at least not hindering them from doing so) then acting is okay. But sometimes people become so enthralled with the ‘idea’ of being on TV or in film that it takes them over, and instead of acting serving them, they start serving acting. At this point, the person is completely upside down in their thinking, and bitterness and feelings of being slighted and denied opportunities start to rob them of the very joy and self-effacement that they need in order to be good working actors. I can in no way claim to have figured it out, and these last couple years have been the hardest I’ve ever had. Sometimes we aren’t sure what the right thing to do is, and yet we can be sure of what is the wrong thing to do. I may need money, and not be sure how to be obtaining it, but I know damn well I'm not going to knock over a liquor store. Sometimes, taking a break from acting, or from anything, has the effect of revitalizing and re-focusing a person. Perhaps it helps to take periodic inventory of one’s experience, and honestly ask ourselves, ‘am I moving forward? Am I getting better, becoming more than I was, overcoming fears, gaining confidence, etc?’ As long as acting is serving YOU, and not the other way around, it can be a progressive thing.”

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Once Again, Out-Of-Context Thank-You Notes I’ve Recently Written To Casting Directors.

• Sorry, but if your dog is small enough to be carried away by a falcon, then it shouldn’t be called a dog.

• My superpower is understanding iPhone text typos.

• When you bump into an ex who got married, you could look at it as horrendous – or realize you made it to the semi-finals.

• Twitter’s suggestions of who to follow is like your mom trying to set you up on a date. • Has anyone been old longer than Bob Newhart?

 • If money can’t buy happiness, explain pizza.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Born On Thanksgiving.

Yesterday, Ricky turned two, and as is tradition, we went to PetSmart, where he got to pick out his birthday present. The massive selection was enough to make his XXXL head explode.

This year’s theme was apparently “authenticity,” with Ricky whittling it down to two choices: one made from real fire hose, the other from car tire.

The winner: fire hose. But the birthday boy was too pooped to enjoy. He’ll destroy it in the morning.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Yeah, Real Bullshit.

“Sarah Palin’s Alaska” was cancelled after only nine episodes. Alright, U.S. We’ve learned our lessons. The meds are working.

Or are they? Folks are still tuning in to all kinds of this ultural content because they really prefer the pure truth of non-scripted shows.

Not so fast. I present evidence A: this casting notice I saw last week, for something called “Tattoo Nightmares”:

ROLE: STEPHANIE’S BOYFRIEND 
(30s) Tough looking Caucasian male – tells Stephanie the tattoo is a good idea. Accompanies her to the tattoo parlor. 

That’s right – they’re casting someone to play this train wreck’s boyfriend. Sounds like must-see TV. For shitheads.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

An All-New “Excerpts From My Text Messages.”

Thank god I have the newest, fastest iPhone so I can mindlessly check the same three apps 500 times a day.

And in between, I do love the texting. Here’s a fresh batch from my celly. (My outgoing texts are in blue):




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Question, Santa Monica Place Parking Garage:

If people are stupid enough to forget where they parked, you really think they’re gonna retain their plate number? Kickass technology, nonetheless.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Oops.

Whenever I come home and all the lights are off, I immediately take off my clothes on the off chance I’ll get to ruin a surprise party.

No luck last night. And then, as Ricky greeted me in the dark, he started munching on something that didn’t sound right. Turns out it was a giant, wood button from a pair of Muk Luks, which I could only assume belonged to my dog walker.

For a brief moment, I hoped it was just a casualty of Ricky greeting her, and not her remains. (Just in case, I texted her, then put my ear against Rick’s belly. All good.)

But I felt bad he’d done that, and she was sweet not to have mentioned it to me, so I called the folks over at Muk Luk, and apparently their buttons are a real hit among dogs. The very nice customer service rep put a couple of new ones in an envelope and sent them my way. I’ll leave them out for the dog walker with an apology note.

Good job, Muk Luk. Bad dog, Rick.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Weekend Recap.

That loud scream you heard Saturday was me, when my alma mater, Maryland, decimated by injuries (including their best two players breaking their legs on the same play), scored to beat a 16 ½-point favorite and earn a postseason bowl bid. I’d like to thank my lord and savior, Defensive Lineman Andre Monroe… Check out this crazy infographic showing how almost everything you buy is produced by 10 corporations… I illegally watched Ice Age: Continental Drift online, and I still feel like I got ripped off… My new gym had a grand-reopening party yesterday. I was the only guy in the mega power rack section who had his face painted like a cat.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Improvising With My Idol.

Thanks for inviting me to a wine tasting, but I’m gonna go to a wine drinking instead.

And when I do, I’ll be guzzling Mangria, the signature beverage created by one of my heroes: Adam Carolla. I pattern my life after Adam’s daily podcast, in which he riffs for 90 minutes about his world and the dysfunctional people in it. (Including his two useless, shitbag parents.) No one can touch Adam’s improv skills – he’s the greatest who ever lived.

So when I realized he was going to be signing bottles of his crazy concoction at a liquor store on my way home from the gym on Saturday (hence my super casual getup), I had to stop in and say hello to my icon.

There’s a prevailing notion that you should never meet your heroes, because they often disappoint, but Adam was definitely not that guy. He was super nice, and when I mentioned to him that I was an improv guy myself, he squared off and challenged me:

This is us in the middle of it. I’m trying to hold my own with a legend. It felt like attempting to get a piece of a Mariano Rivera cutter.

Everybody: screw the chickenshit sentiment and go meet your heroes. They might just amaze you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Tenth Great Film Of 2013.

When someone says, “People either love me or hate me,” it’s a pretty safe bet most of them hate you.

Captain Richard Phillips wasn’t exactly a delight. He was a hardass on his crew, and put them in real danger after he tried to cut corners by traveling a bit too close to the Somali coast.

But it made for a kickass, tension-filled plot, and Captain Phillips is a great film. Tom Hanks gave an amazing, honest portrayal of the Captain, but even more impressive was Barkhad Abdi, who played the Somali pirate leader. Abdi had never acted before – he was a limo driver who attended an open casting call in Minneapolis, where there’s a fairly substantial Somali population. To keep him from developing a friendship with Tom Hanks, who plays his adversary, Abdi wasn’t allowed to meet him until the day they shot their first scene, and after all that, Abdi really held his own against Tom. (Though he admitted later, “After we finished the scene, I was like, I can't believe I'm doing a scene with the Forrest Gump guy!’")

I won’t say anything more, since I’m not one to spoil a plot. Though it’s safe to say the real Captain Phillips got out alive, seeing as he was just on the cover of Parade magazine. See it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

In Which I Help A Very Talented Man Have Copious Amounts Of Sex.

Research has shown that men think about sex every 15 sex.

Women, on the other hand, may need a slight nudge. So when I was driving through the parking garage at Beverly Connection the other night, and saw actor Ben Schwartz getting out of his car with a stunning redhead, I knew it was time to earn the assist. You see, I’m the opposite of a C-blocker; I’m a C-benefactor.

Ben is one of the stars of “House of Lies,” and recurs on “Parks & Recreation” as Jean-Ralphio, the cocky, crazy, self-centered slang-babbling character created specifically for him. Check out this clip.

As Ben and his date walked past me, I put down my window and told him I was a huge fan. He  stopped, backtracked, reached into my car, shook my hand and we had a moment. (We grew in neighboring suburbs of NYC, and both trained in improv at Upright Citizens Brigade.) Then he thanked me, and returned to his date, who couldn’t help but be impressed.

Ben, no need to thank me. It’s what I do.

Weekend Recap.

Ah, autumn in New England – the changing colors, the falling leaves. Ah, no, actually – this is Burbank yesterday. Granted it was 82°, but let’s put to the rest the question about whether we miss the change of seasons out here. We don’t… A thought that occurred to me when I was out on Saturday night: someone needs to tell attractive people that their stories are boring… I found a screw on the floor and it made me wonder for the rest of the weekend what was going to fall apart and kill me.

Friday, November 8, 2013

My 1800th Entry.

For Halloween I just talked shit to complete strangers. That’s right – I went as the Internet.

Actually, the web’s been pretty great to me. And my blog has been the cathartic journal I’ll be really glad I slugged through 50 years from now. And on this milestone, as is custom, I have chosen my favorite entries from the last 100:

Set Your VCRs and Betamaxes. Two years later, and I’m still making money from this shoot. And my head is still spinning from watching JB Smoove riff take after take all day long. You too can experience sensory overload here.

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 60: Let’s Open The Reader Mail. Speaking of Upright Citizens Brigade, here’s a teaser for an upcoming blog post: I got Ben Schwartz, one of UCB’s best (and star of “House of Lies” and “Parks and Recreation”) laid last night. You too can use improv for sexual purposes here.

Weekend Recap: The Lap, Thighs, Shins And Toes Of Luxury. Next year is Bill Gates’ 20th anniversary. 20th is China, so he’s buying his wife the country of China. See what might have been if only you’d invented a faulty operating system first.

In Memoriam. This was overwhelmingly one of the most popular entries I’ve ever posted. See why male-on-male rape references always crush here.

Thoughts From My Shoot. New Yorkers have a certain obligation to hire Asians, seeing as they feed us every Sunday night. Learn about the sweetest and sourest shoot I’ve ever loved here.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Because The Genius Switch Has No Off Position.

As I was exiting a casting workshop the other day, and the place was buzzing as it was being set up for a party, I was handed this old-school goodness. And then the idea hit me: Bacon Pop Rocks. Someone make this happen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

In Which I Personalized The Pay Envelopes To The Cast And Crew Of My Film.

To my very large co-star, Edwin Bravo.

To the sound guy.

To the 1st AD. I wrote this one before I worked with him, and tried to cover all the bases.

To the gaffer.

To the owner of the home we shot in, who is actor Ryan Carlberg’s brother.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Paying My Respects.

My SUV finally is officially retiring. Isn’t this when it gets sent on a dangerous assignment with a rookie and doesn’t make it back?

Actually, the lease was going to be up in January, so the good folks at GM called and asked if I wanted to get out of it early. So I got a kickass deal on a newer version of my old one. I gotta say: I’m like the Marvin Hagler of haggling: the new SUV has so many whizbang features my last one didn’t, and yet I’m paying less this time around.

It possibly helped that I have an inexplicably high credit rating (847), which is like a ruphie to a car dealer. Augie didn’t know what hit him.

Still, I’m feeling more than a little sentimental about parting with the old vehicle. In just three years I logged over 53,000 miles in it, and that’s a lot of time behind the wheel. I remember looking in the rear view mirror at a very sick Petey as I drove him to the vet, and it suddenly occurring to me he was probably not coming home this time. He didn’t. Seven months later, I looked down at Ricky, the little shit just five weeks old and 4 ½ pounds, laying on his back in my friend Caroline’s lap, as we brought him home for the first time.

One or two first kisses took place inside that SUV, and many times, eight people loaded themselves inside on our way to lunch. There were my patented drives my niece and nephew begged me to take them on, in which they’d sit in the third row as I blasted music and drove recklessly, then foolishly asked them not to mention it to their mom.

But as much as the old car will be missed, there’s nothing quite like a new one. It’s the closest thing we adults get to Christmas day. And now I can create all kinds of new memories. Forget kissing – this time I’m stepping it up to dry humping. I’ll need seven volunteers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Weekend Recap.

Thank you, end of daylight savings, for helping Ricky enjoy one of the better sunsets of his young life… Went to my friend Chris’ birthday party Saturday night. Chris may not be thrilled to be turning 42, but on the bright side, soon he’ll be old enough to play a high school student on ABC Family… My other friend Chris, whose home served as the location for my film last week, became a dad for the first time yesterday. I know you’re wiped out, sir, but remember: it’s hard to believe you’re truly excited if you upload less than 600 photos of your new baby on Facebook.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Top-Notch Chow.

Mad respect to people who can stop eating when they’re full.

Don’t count me as one of you. I love good food, and I was really happy this week when my favorite magazine, Esquire, named one of my favorite restaurants, Hinoki & The Bird, one of the top 20 new restaurants in the country.

I can’t recommend the place enough. The menu, in which no dish is composed of more than three ingredients. The full-time pastry chef. The tree-house style back patio. I even dated one of the hostesses earlier this year, just to prove my level of commitment.

Check ‘em out. They’re in Century City, two buildings down from Nakatomi Plaza from Die Hard. (Even the address is kickass.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chapter Closed.

My gym closed its doors for the final time yesterday. I gave the men’s locker room a Shawshank sendoff.