Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An All-New Excerpt.

A friend told me she’s never quite sure if I am joking. I told her: neither am I.

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

Let's All Watch This Show.

Forget binge watching – I need to stop binge thinking.

 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

From Burritos To Béisbol.

Kinda cool how they based an entire country off of Mexican food.

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.

The next morning, the cousins shared a moment as I polished off all the team’s extra post-game donut holes. Both were worth the 8:30 a.m. game time. And there it is – another food-related happy weekend here in LA.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Situation High Jinks.

I sometimes imagine the “ooooo” a live audience makes during a sitcom kiss – when I bathe my dog in the shower with me.

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.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Jets With The Assist.

Adele is an amazing singer. The problem is, when one of her songs comes on, everyone else thinks they are, too.

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

Dinner And A Mezzo Forte.

I hate when people decide to come over and I have to put my pants back on.

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.

Bandera macho salad (made with rotisserie chicken) and French dip. Both phenomenal.

On the other end of the spectrum, while watching the Jets at Sharkeez, I won dinner for two. I’ll be treating some lucky date to free bar food very soon. You’re welcome, baby.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Now This?

If you think this is bad, the real issue is that one day elderly drivers will know how to text.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

My Fraternal Brother From A Different Maternal Mother.

My fraternity was the place I first learned how to chug a drink – which comes in handy nowadays in airport security lines.

It’s also where I forged life-long 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

31 Days Of August.

Why put anything in my iPhone’s calendar, when I can just wait until someone texts me “Where the hell are you?”

Another busy month, captured one second per day:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

500 Days Of Summer: The Weekend.

“Stay out of the heat and stay hydrated.”

Thank you news anchor. Its 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.

Monday, September 4, 2017

It May Be Labor Day Weekend…

…but I put my tummy to work.

Gnocchi with ragu sauce at Eatalian Café. Perfecto.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Which Is A Worse Form Of Animal Cruelty?

Naming your pet William Shakespeare, or Bo Derek?