Thursday, September 28, 2017
I had the pleasure of meeting him, back in 2010, when I had a unique assignment that involved recording celebrity’s voices for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
I recapped it in my blog. It’s kinda dated, so here are a few helpful notes:
- The Jonas Brothers were a celibate boy-band
- I also recorded Paris Hilton in her home, which featured every magazine cover on which she’d ever appeared framed on her dark blue walls, plus a stripper pole in her bedroom
- The soon-to-be shitcanned football coach of Texas Tech had locked a player complaining of concussion symptoms in a storage shed to avoid harmful sunlight
- David Copperfield was a magician/my shameful doppelganger
Here’s what I wrote:
On the barometer of sexual appetite, I’m not quite a Tiger Woods, but I’m no Jonas brother either, so getting inside the Playboy Mansion (most people, even partygoers, must remain outside) was once in a lifetime… When you pull up to the place, there are lots of horny creeps getting their pictures taken by the front gate… The mansion makes Paris Hilton’s house look like a Texas Tech storage shed… Hef was in his trademark PJs, always ready for bed… He smells good… Lots of squawking from his pet peacocks outside the window… One of his twin girlfriend’s dogs took a liking to me, then left a present in the library. The butler had to clean it up… Got a tour of the grotto – some pretty mod fixtures, including an old rotary phone… Had my first paparazzi pic taken, exiting the gates. I wonder if it’ll be misreported as David Copperfield leaving the mansion.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Being on the other side also has a degree of difficulty. When the drama teacher at a local high school suddenly took an extended leave, my friend Bryan, an actor who’d been substitute teaching, was offered his full-time job. A perfect opportunity.
On back-to-school night, one of the parents had a strange request: “Please don’t have any of your teaching involve molestation.” Bryan, a very smart, sensible dude, was perplexed, but assured the parent he wouldn’t.
A few weeks later, as Bryan was giving his students a lesson about sketch comedy, he put on a DVD of SNL’s Best of Adam Sandler. All of a sudden, the Canteen Boy sketch came on. Bryan panicked, racing down the aisle to the DVD player thinking “Noooooooo!”
Quickest improv skills ever. He’s still employed.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
If I had ten cookies and you took one, what would you have? A black eye and a broken jaw.
Last week, my brother sent me a pic of my nephew enjoying his birthday at Knott’s Berry Farm, and my eye went straight to his black eye. It’s a scratch really, and kinda nasty, and I assumed it must have happened during his soccer game, because I’d been to his baseball game earlier in the day, and his face was in one piece.
Turns out the culprit was a popcorn kernel. He poked his head over a popper and a kernel shot right up and did thedamage. He’s damn lucky it didn’t hit him square in the eye.
That said, I snapped this shot the other day of him getting some love from Ricky in between innings. I think the catcher’s mask oughta stay on from now on:
Monday, September 25, 2017
Or chili. Always a good (or dangerous) sign when you kick the weekend of with a chili contest.
So, if you don’t count either of these, my diet’s going pretty well.
Friday, September 22, 2017
Actually, it snowed a little north, in Mammoth. No surprise – it’s been Christmas at Costco for over a month now.
But seriously, if it’s happening ing this early, skiing is going to be unbelievable this year. Who’s with me?
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Judd Apatow was always funny, and obsessed with comedians. When he was ten years old, he transcribed standup bits, writing them in a notebook. And then, even though he came from no money, paid a classmate 30 bucks to type the bits out – not for a school assignment, but simply so Judd could keep them neatly catalogued.
He began working on-air for his high school radio station on Long Island, which “barely broadcasted past the parking lot”, but used this credential to convince comedians’ managers to let him interview their clients. Much like his transcribed bits, the interviews never wound up on the air. They were strictly for Judd’s obsession.
A few years ago, he decided to publish the interviews in a book called Sick in the Head. I’m currently reading it. (And will be, for the next year, since I only read on the elliptical, and the book is 658 pages.) It’s a great collection featuring some of the best comedians, both recent and back in Judd's high-school days. He even re-interviewed some people all these years later for contrast.
In 1983, Judd flew out to West Hollywood to interview a young Jerry Seinfeld. When Jerry opened the door of his apartment to reveal an extremely younger Judd Apatow (he was 14, and definitely not a real reporter), Jerry's face dropped. But he hung in there and talked to Judd for a couple of hours. Here’s a good snippet:
JUDD: When did you first do standup?
JERRY: I did Catch a Rising Star one night. I guess this would qualify as my strangest experience. This is definitely it. My first time onstage, I write the whole act out, you know, and I put it there on my bed and rehearse it, over and over again. I’m standing there with a bar of soap, like it’s a microphone. And I got the scene memorized, cold. I get up there, and it’s gone. I can't remember a word. I was – I stood there for about 30 seconds with – saying absolutely nothing, just standing there, freaking out. I just couldn't believe it, all these people were looking at me. And then, I was able to just remember the subjects I wanted to talk about. This is absolutely true. I’m not embellishing this at all. I stood there and I went, “The beach... ah, driving... your parents...,” and people started laughing because they thought this was my act. I couldn't even really hear them laughing; I was like absolutely panicked. I think I lasted about three minutes and I just got off. That was my first show.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Thinking about all the shows I should have watched when they originally aired. But at least I’m watching one in real time now, and I love it: HBO's “The Deuce”.
While the trailers promoted the show as a look into the birth of the porn industry, which I felt might be icky and not for me, it’s actually more about a dangerous time in New York City. “The Deuce” was the nickname for 42nd Street, long before it became Disney-fied, and back in 1971, it was a minefield of drugs, prostitution, mafia shakedowns and corrupt cops. Even little lost behaviors, like James Franco’s character chain-smoking and flicking his finished butts on the sidewalk are from a strange, lost era.
James plays twins, and he plays them really well. His main character is the good twin, a struggling manager of a bar who is being seduced by the mafia to work for them. But the key to any great show is ensemble characters, which in this case includes prostitutes and their charming yet ruthless pimps, a brilliant NYU student who impetuously decides to drop out of school, and now Ralph Macchio, who joined the cast in the second episode as a funny detective who drunkenly babbles on about sports trivia with his partner.
The show was created by David Simon, who also created “The Wire” – you know, the show that so many of us have meant to get around to bingeing because all we hear is good things. Here’s your chance to get out in front of David’s latest. I highly recommend it – it’s gonna get ugly.
Monday, September 18, 2017
And that’s how I kicked off my weekend, with lunch from a very good place I’d never tried before: Pinches Tacos in Culver City. The second you walk in, you know the place is legit. And the pollo enchiladas were excellent. I’m never more unnecessarily confident than just after ordering Mexican food in a Spanish accent.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
I probably need to get out more. Or get myself onto an actual sitcom. The latter is a possibility, after I had an audition recorded for a pilot the other day.
It’s an interesting premise, and well written. I won’t hear about it for a little while, but I’m really proud of my work. Until then, I’ll be sitting in a swivel chair, turning around quickly, smiling and pretending I’m in the opening credits.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Not me. I’m a drummer, not a singer. But I had to sing for a commercial audition yesterday.
My plan was to offset my lousy singing voice with pure commitment. Also on my side: the commercial’s song had a Christmas-carol feel to it, and because I’d been yelling the day before while watching the Jets, my voice had some unusually good timbre. It gave me a bit of a Perry Como, Bing Crosby crooner sound. Lousy style.
I gave it may all. It’s all I could do.
One last thing: I think we should hear Adele’s boyfriend’s songs before we pick sides.
Monday, September 11, 2017
That’s why I go out a lot. Three times this past weekend. Restaurants come and go. (We all have that friend who insists on reminding us that two-thirds of restaurants fail within the first year. Don’t be that guy.) But Bandera is an exception. They figured out a few simple things: put a cool bar in the center of the place, serve strong choices (they’re owned by Hillstone, so it’s essentially a higher-end Houston’s) and cultivate a cool atmosphere – in this case, with a jazz trio.
For 20 years, Bandera has been packed every single night, with a 40-minute wait. That’s rare.
Friday, September 8, 2017
Thursday, September 7, 2017
It’s also where I forged lifelong friendships with my brothers, including Steve Richman, who was back in town the past couple days. Steve gives motivational speeches all over the country, and has some pretty impressive range. He’s spoken to companies in every remote part of the US. The highest-security prison in the country asked him to design trust exercises for its correctional officers.
He’s been asked many times to write a book about his expertise, but out of modesty he’s declined. I tried to persuade him the past two nights to write that book, but so far no success. Maybe I’ll hire Steve to motivate me to motivate him.
As I drove home last night, I thought about a lot of old friends and wondered what they’re up to right now. Then I realized: they’re playing on their phone. Everyone is playing on their phone.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Thank you, news anchor. It’s my first summer.
It was as hot as it gets here, and downright unbearable. Adult me is starting to concede that a major contributor to global warming was kid me leaving the front door open and heating the whole goddamn world.
In spite of the crazy temps, it was a very good Labor Day weekend, full of visits to all my greatest hits. Drinks at The Wellesbourne. Dinner at Eatalian Café. Double cheeseburger and a shake from Five Guys.
To make up for all the junk I ate over the weekend, I plan to do the elliptical for 18 hours today. Seeya there.