Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Pouring Out A 40 Oz. Of Sweet Riesling.

I like talking to bartenders, because they can’t go anywhere.

Unless... the bar has a beef with its landlord. Then all bets are off.

One of my favorite bars, the Glendon in Westwood, suddenly closed its doors over an issue with its lease, and it’s really a shame. It was a nice place with a very cozy bar, good drinks, and really good food, including a blue crab mac n’ cheese that was killer, and I’m just getting more pissed.

Sorry to see you go. Stay golden, Glendon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Let’s Answer Reader Email.

On weekends, I like to reply to all my friends’ emails with “unsubscribe”.

But a reader of my blog named Carlo hit me up the other day with a few questions, and I was happy to answer them. He’s an actor, planning on moving out here, and one of his questions involved a topic I hadn’t blogged about before: parking in LA.

Carlo said parking back east is a nightmare, and wondered how it was out here. Short answer: not bad.

For all of the cars that are on the road in LA, there are many free lots, or garages for which places will validate. There’s lots of street parking as well, often with meters that you need to feed until 6 or 8 p.m. All of them take credit cards, which is super convenient, but here’s where it gets tricky:
This is more rare than common in LA, but you have to read signs, because parking enforcement in LA will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger. Check the time listed on any ticket you receive, and it will be less than two minutes after your meter expired. That’s ninja shit.

After a designer named Nikki Sylianteng received several tickets, she came up with a solution – a graphical grid that clearly indicates when parking is permitted:
Clear and simple. Which is why the city would never go for it and cut into its cash cow. (LA takes in $250 million a year from parking violations, second only to New York City’s $534 million.)

A better solution: just remove your windshield wipers. Hope this helped, Carlo.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Weekend Lowlights.

Ran into another Hyper scooter owner and we nerded out. Then I set off a radar speed sign, doing 37 in a 35 mph zone.

The last band you’d expect to cover Billy Joel.

Shevin family science: my niece confirming gummy bears really do expand in water.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Last Licks.

I once found a Cheerio in my couch and thought, “That’s odd. I don't have any Cheerios in the house.” And then I ate it.

I’m ashamed to admit how old the couch is, but let’s just say it already had a lot of mileage on it back when it was in my older brother’s fraternity. It’s seen things.

Believe me, I would have replaced it a long time ago, but with a Pit Bull that sleeps on it, loves to knock the cushions off it, and uses it as a giant napkin every time he finishes dinner, I was in no rush.

But lately, I worried I’d come home to find a Fabreeze commercial being shot in my living room, so I went out and bought a nice, new couch, and it’s being delivered tomorrow. Ricky gets one last night on the old one, and then it’s going the way of bulky-item pickup.

Lots of good memories. I slept on that couch many times. (Which is odd, because I’m not even married.) The makeout sessions. The great movies and TV I watched while sprawled out on it. It’s the end of an era. A lumpy, slobbery, threadbare era.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Time For My Midterm.

I want to become a professor, write a terrible book that no one wants, then force my students to buy it for 80 bucks each.

The complete antithesis of my professorial style is Aaron Sorkin. He’s my favorite writer, and right now my favorite teacher. I’m halfway through his online master class, and so far it’s incredible.

Aaron is thoughtful and brilliant and really loves writing, and he shares everything he’s learned about story and characters. He made the bold promise that at the end of this class, everyone who takes it will become an excellent screenwriter.

It’ll be interesting to dive back into writing my sitcom, and see how my skills have progressed from my typo-laden, limerick style to somewhat tolerable. Can’t wait.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

So This Is How I Die.

Of all the horrible ways to die, I think healthy eating sounds the most painful.

I’m gonna go quickly – at a high speed that is – with my newest toy. My electric Razor scooter was fun for a while, but I began to yearn for more. The breaking point came on July 4th, when I rode it down the strand to a party, and afterward, it ran out of juice, and I had to push it all the way home.

My neighbor, who has a fleet of scooters and motorcycles, warned me not to fall into the trap of wanting stronger, faster, more powerful. But that’s exactly what I did. Last night, it arrived: the limited-edition, Hyper Racing Gold 2000 scooter. 2000 watts. It goes 40 miles an hour. I took it out for a ride and it hauled ass. I passed cars.

Unlike the Razor, whose charge only lasts 40 minutes, the 2000’s lasts ten miles. And it’s not just fun – it’s practical. I can give my SUV an occasional break, because I have the Tesla of scooters. It has a key ignition, and a super strong headlight and taillight, and a really loud horn. And, unlike the Razor, it has so much torque that getting up the hills by the beach is no longer a problem. It’s actually made to go off-road. I love it.

I woke up this early morning and raced it down PCH, and it was the closest feeling an adult could have to Christmas morning. At the very least, I’m going to break a wrist. Eh – ride and/or die.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Keep It Shorter. Keep It Shorter. Keep It Shorter.

This weekend, I’m taking my niece and nephew to see Pete’s Dragon. Anyone know how long it is? I need to know what time to pick them up.

Let’s talk about length. Like I did recently with my friend Michael Rutherford, who is a writer/director. Michael wanted to know what I thought about an idea he had to make shorter movies. Not short films, but full-length films that were 45-50 minutes long.

I thought it was a great idea. Why do movies have to be at least 90 minutes long? Because that’s the way they’ve always been done? That’s not a valid reason. Many good things in life evolved for the better because someone finally questioned them. People thought electric guitars would ruin music. Not so much. Apple created computers so simple, they didn’t need user manuals. High-jumpers went face down for years, until Dick Fosbury invented the flop, broke the Olympic record, and no one jumped face-down after that.

After Michael and I talked, I must have had my radar up, because I started seeing that he was on to something. Check out these guys from “What the Flick?!”, as they reviewed an episode of “The Night Of”. Or Jerry Seinfeld, in an interview in Esquire this month about “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”, said: “The freedom of the Internet was extremely attractive to me. If a movie director or producer was free to put out a movie that lasted for 48 minutes because that’s all they had, movies would be so much better.”

I say go for it, Michael. Make perfect, air-tight movies. Change things for the better.

Monday, August 22, 2016


I don’t technically “save room” for dessert. I just stuff it in there and pray I don’t have an accident.

The highlight of a very good weekend: the Italian hamburger, my favorite dessert from my favorite restaurant in LA: Son of a Gun.

So now the rest of this week can only be a letdown. But let’s all try to have a good one anyway. Okay? Okay.

Friday, August 19, 2016

I Want This Job.

How do you improve even the most menial labor? Gameify.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Conspiracy Grows.

The best revenge is living well. Unless you own a flamethrower.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get to that, but something is definitely up. After I posted yesterday about someone possibly sticking nails and a metal chunk in my tires, my friend Pat linked to a pic of a screw in his motorcycle tire. Pat’s hunch is that this about something we must have done in Denton Hall, our dorm in college. I like this theory.

So then the question is whether this is like the film Diner, in which Tim Daly punches former high school bullies as revenge for him getting beaten up during a baseball game in eleventh grade. Or, is it more like Munich, in which a Mossad team leads an assassination mission against 11 Palestinians responsible for the massacre of Israeli athletes at the ’72 Olympics.

Am I paranoid? No. I don't even know what that word means. I don’t have time to learn new words – people are out to get us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Someone Is Out To Inconvenience Me.

While I was going to school in Atlanta, I saw a woman pulled over with a flat tire, so I offered to help. She told me to hurry because she had a hair appointment, and I realized: this is how serial killers are born.

Now it looks like someone wants me dead, or at least very delayed. In the last two months, on three separate occasions, Ive found two nails and the chunk of metal pictured above in my tires. Three mornings ruined, and $900 spent on new tires. (My SUV uses some fat, pricey ones.)

So thanks, whoever you are. Next time, if you want to show someone how much you hate him, just do what I do: buy him an Edible Arrangement.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

From My Favorite Director On Earth.

Come to think of it, the number of things that are “not rocket science” is staggering.

Definitely rocket science: a group of female African-American mathematicians and engineers who calculated trajectories for spaceflights, including the Apollo trips to the moon. Their story is being told in an upcoming movie called Hidden Figures, directed by My friend Ted Melfi, who also directed my film The Beneficiary, and last year’s St. Vincent.

I’m really proud of Ted, who continues to show incredible range with both comedy and drama, and now a period piece. I told him, “What, no superheroes? I already love this movie.” To which he replied, “Yep. Just actors. Acting!”

Very much looking forward to it, brother.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Best Movie Of The Year.

“You realize kids in other countries make Air Jordans and iPhones, right?” – me, after my niece and nephew gave me a homemade birthday card.

I have my improv training to thank for that one. Unfortunately, firing off a quick zinger is often the biggest benefit most get from improv, because there isn’t a lot of cash in it – unless “SNL” comes calling.

This is the premise behind Don’t Think Twice. A popular improv troupe in New York – so tightly knit, they even live together – faces the beginning of the end because of the ambition of one of its members.

Comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote, directed and stars in this movie, and did a beautiful job. I saw it with my friend John Kapelos, who was a very big Second City performer in Chicago back in the day (he has video of him performing on stage with Dan Aykroyd) before making the leap into a super successful acting career. John loved the film as much as me.

But you don’t have to be in showbiz to appreciate it – many of the issues the characters confront are common to all kinds of workplace,s or situations in which you and your friends work in the same competitive field: the jealousy and bitterness, the unavoidable implosion. The moment you realize that great time in your life, and your comfort zone, is over.

Don’t Think Twice has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It earned it. See it.

Friday, August 12, 2016


St. Patrick’s Day may just be an excuse to drink, but then again so is Ireland.

I’d forgotten these two bars are next to each other in Manhattan. On St. Pat’s day, it’s gotta be a bloodbath.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Most people think being in a fraternity is like a being at a really long office summer outing with unbearable dickheads.

It’s not. My frat was full of very good guys, including Steve Richman, who was in town last night, and got together with me for the first time since college.

Steve is a big-time mortgage/finance guy, who travels the country giving motivational speeches. He’s all about positivity, as evidenced when our bartender mistakenly dumped an entire pint of beer into Steve’s lap, and Steve was completely forgiving.

It doesn’t matter how many years go by – when you share the same experiences with someone, the chemistry picks right up where it left off. I knew I had to wake up at 4:45 this morning, and I still wanted to stay out late and talk to Steve.

College leaves you with great memories. And crippling debt. And friendships that last. Good seeing you, brother.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Shut Up.

I lost my voice.

If whoever finds it could resume screaming at my DVR for not recording the USA/Venezuela basketball game, that would be much appreciated.

I really did lose it, and it happens to me once every five years or so. This was particularly bad timing, because I spent most of the weekend interviewing people for a docu-style project. I tried to power through in the most gravelly way, and interesting of note: several people mentioned my New York accent really comes out when I’m hoarse. Also, when I answer my phone, callers ask if I just woke up. Trust me, I didn’t. I’m running on little sleep.

So this happened. The good news is, if you need an Alec Baldwin type voiceover at Stephen Baldwin prices, I’m your guy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Humanity.

No one kicked off a shittier weekend than the dude who dropped this outside the Food 4 Less.

Way to get a three-month jump on Halloween, Petco.

What gives? Is this some sort of code for pedophiles?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Dear Trader Joes –

There are zero reasons wraps are better than sandwiches. No one is good at making them. A wrap is a sad burrito made with a shitty tortilla and stuffed with a gross salad. The tortillas always taste terrible. Sometimes they’re green. Sometimes you can’t even tell the difference between the tortilla and the paper it is wrapped in. Remove the paper, and the structural integrity of the wrap is compromised, because it is a wrap.

Wraps, when they could just be sandwiches suck, hard. Let's acknowledge, and move forward.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

My Frenemy.

I was at LA Center Studios yesterday, and had a flashback to shooting my film The Beneficiary, and the large window we broke with the intense heat from one of our lights. It cost $1800 to replace – which is still less than I had to add to the curse jar.

And there it was, the new window, tormenting me. I never even got to walk barefoot Die-Hard style on the shattered glass of its predecessor.

I don’t hold grudges, or plot revenge. I will simply have Ricky smear the hell out of you with his nose.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thank You, Sir.

That person you like just isn’t losing any sleep over you. So, help out and drunk dial them at 3 a.m.

I got an alcohol-induced call from my frat brother Peter the other night, and I must love him because I paused “The Night Of” to answer my phone.

No, I definitely love him because Peter is a big fan of mine, and doled out some tough love about my career. (Things haven’t changed. In college I drove a piece of shit Volvo, and in our fraternity’s year-end magazine, in which Peter roasted all 120 brothers, he said “Matt Shevin, just remember – it’s not the car. It’s the man behind the wheel.”)

Peter wanted to know why, when he gets together with other guys from our frat, he talks me up but has little to show them. (One of them did message me recently that he saw me in a movie during a flight, which is cool, but Peter is right.) I shot three comedy sketches last summer, and got so focused on writing new material, I still haven’t edited them yet. Now I’m going to.

So thank you, Peter. Fire lit. In the meantime, I drive a nice SUV now, and have your shame to credit for that.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

31 Seconds Of July.

Try the new summer cleanse, in which you only eat cherries and read Donald Trump tweets until you shit away your will to live.

How about that July? Here it is, in the form of one second per day:

Monday, August 1, 2016

Final Score.

I went out in Hollywood on Friday, Orange County on Saturday and got great reviews in a casting workshop on Sunday. But, with a brand-new team to scratch his back, and all the leaves he could eat, Ricky won the weekend.