Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In The Middle Of A Shit Time For Everyone: Sweet Justice.

It’s very important, every few days, to take a break from social media, walk outside, and throw up on people in person.

Oh, the mock outrage. I blogged last month about the entirely unsubstantiated persecution happening at my alma mater, the University of Maryland. Long story short: a football player died. Yes, that’s awful. The head coach wasn’t there when it happened, yet he was the focus of a fluff piece by ESPN that labeled Maryland as having a “toxic culture”. And then then the social media eruption.

Oh, the humanity. It was the worst time to be on Twitter since Justin Bieber only pretended to be retiring. (On the other hand, if you ever feel silly for engaging on that app, just remember there are people on national television asking “ghosts” questions.) 

Here’s the bottom line: yesterday, a very prestigious, impartial committee determined after a long, thorough search that Head Coach DJ Durkin was not at fault, “the program is not toxic”, and DJ is no longer a dead man walking. (LIKE I SAID.) May we all wind up on the right side of justice. 

Welcome back, Coach.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Congrats, Real Chad.

I was reading about Selena Gomez getting a kidney from her best friend, and thinking about my friend who said he didn’t like to loan out his DVDs.

But then there’s my best friend Chad, a super generous dude who has always been there for me. I based a lead character in my sitcom on him. (Above, Ben Pace on the left, plays the real Chad, who is looking at his phone. The T-Rex is merely an acquaintance.)

Chad, a creative director, had an ad campaign he wrote and designed get accepted into the very prestigious publication Communication Arts. It’s another gigantic achievement in his very successful career. You can see the campaign here. 


Very proud of you, sir. Borrow a kidney anytime.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The World’s Largest Deliverable Pizza.

I react to seeing a pizza the way most women react when they see a baby. It makes me want one of my own.

A really big one. Like the one from Mama’s and Papa’s. So huge, I wanted to put on ice skates to slice it.

While I expected it to be more instagramable than tasty, I was pleasantly surprised. It was far from hot garbage.

How did it arrive? In a rather top-heavy Smart Car. The delivery guy didn’t have to say “I love you, too”, but it was nice of him.

I never imagined I’d get to eat pizza quite like this, but here I am. Fight for your dreams.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Technically Not Stalking.

My mom still lives in the house I grew up in. When I visit now as an adult, it looks so different, because I distinctly remember the floors being lava.

I started a new book yesterday morning: Bryan Cranston’s autobiography A Life in Parts. He begins with stories of his childhood home in Canoga Park: 8175 McNulty Avenue. I realized yesterday afternoon I was in Canoga Park, right around the corner. So I drove by.

Bryan will be the first to tell you it’s not exactly a palace. But it was in this driveway and garage that he appeared in his first film — a western, directed by his big brother. On the front lawn, he played war with real props (his dad, a part-time actor, “borrowed” uniforms and guns from sets) until the day Kennedy was shot, and Bryan’s friend declared gunplay over.

It’s a surreal way to kick off what should be a fascinating read. Also, I’d originally been planning on seeing Bryan on Broadway in December in the stage version of Network, before To Kill a Mockingbird became too good to pass up. And: his childhood home is around the corner from where I shot the first two days of my sitcom. Have I mentioned I love Hollywood?

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Inside The Actors Book Club.

In college, my roommate and I got our first electric bill, and, long story short, we became Amish.

It’s never entirely smooth with roommates, and in real life, TV roommates Jack Klugman and Tony Randall weren’t on the greatest of terms. But in time, Tony changed Jack for the better.

I grew up watching “The Odd Couple”, which is essentially aired on a loop in New York. Plus my dad’s cousin’s wife was Jack Klugman’s business manager, and speaks very highly of him, so I was very interested in reading this book.

Jack essentially wrote a love-letter to his old friend after Tony passed, in which he talks about Tony showing him what unconditional friendship was all about, helping Jack at age 70 to finally come out of the very guarded shell of his dirt-poor childhood in Philadelphia.

It’s a really quick read (only took only me eight elliptical sessions), but so sweet and reaffirming. Borrow it anytime.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

What I’m Looking Forward To Most.

The lack of proof that Aaron Sorkin is stalking me just convinces me that he is very good at it.

He’s by far my favorite writer, and one of my biggest letdowns is having booked a very good role on his show “The Newsroom”, only to have the part cut before it shot.

Working with Aaron Sorkin would have been a dream. That said, I can’t wait to see To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway when I’m in New York in December.

Sorkin adapted the book into his own style, which resulted in a lawsuit by Harper Lee’s estate that he didn’t remain faithful enough to the spirit of her novel. This makes me want to see it even more.

Also cool: Jeff Daniels, star of “The Newsroom”, is playing Atticus Finch. Counting the days.

Monday, October 22, 2018

My Latest Favorite Movie Of The Year.

Neil Armstrong was born in Ohio. So were 23 other astronauts. What is it about that state that makes people want to flee the planet?

For Neil, it was enormous tragedy. First Man tells the story we didn’t know about him, and why walking on the moon for him was bittersweet. It’s not a feel-good story. My friend Bru’s dad told him he didn’t like the film – I’m sure because it didn’t portray Armstrong as a True ‘Merican Hero. But what Dad fails to understand is that Armstrong was all the more a superhero because of what he accomplished in spite of his personal life.

Damien Chazelle, who wrote and directed Whiplash and La La Land, directed First Man, and has hit another home run. Want to know what it’s like to be rattling around in the cockpit of an aircraft as it bounces off the atmosphere? You will.

The Oscar-nominee level films are now coming out. This is one of them. You really should see it.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Your Weekend Assignment.

On hot days, I always check parking lots to make sure no one left their car windows up with an ice cream cake in there.

I’ve said it before: ice cream cake is the best cake. So when I saw it on the menu at the new Mel’s Drive-In in Santa Monica, (available in four varieties!), I pounced. I mean, why am I waiting around for birthdays like a sucker so I can eat my favorite food?

That said, let’s all treat ourselves this weekend. Eat that decadent food. Watch the film that’s a guilty pleasure. Wives: have sex one other time than on your husband’s birthday.

Stop waiting. Just go ahead. Do what you love. Eat what you love. Bone the guy you love. It will rewire your world. Let me know Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Particular Set Of Skills.

Until this year, my résumé only had “mad” under “skills”.

But then I taught myself to cook. And to paint. And I was really proud of my new proficiency in each. Then, months passed. I wondered what else I could learn. Yesterday, during a conversation with my friend Ariel, we came upon my next pursuit: I’m going to learn how to edit. I

t makes total sense. It’s a great skill that applies directly to my career, and will give me autonomy and even more control over all my projects. It won’t be easy, but that’s what makes it great.

I’m really glad this is my choice, because I’m starting to think the frog-dissection skills I learned in high school are never going to pay off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dangerous.

Why is it when someone asks if I’ve lost weight I immediately feel like eating a dozen donuts to celebrate?

Especially now that a new Randy’s Donuts opened right up the street from me. The fact that it’s two doors down from Shake Shack is kind of a felony.

Man I get fat really quickly for someone who doesn’t want to.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tau Epsilon Phi, University Of Maryland, Reunion 2018. Las Vegas.

According to the Sky Mall catalogue on my flight home, all dads are clean-shaven business men that love playing golf and think they’re #1.

That wasn’t my experience this past weekend. Sure, my frat brothers have aged a decade or two, but they haven’t lost a step. Evidence A:
Guys who arrived early made a Costco run, and filled a big hospitality suite available to us all weekend with so much booze and snacks that it was the ultimate pre-game spot.

It doesn’t get much bro-ier than a game of thumper in our cabana – which had waitress service and a daily $1000 minimum on drinks and food.

The smell of bong water always takes me back to the TEΦ house. Nowadays, these east coast boys had their first experience with legalized marijuana, and made Costco-esque runs to dispensaries. Overconsumption of edibles led to some wicked wall-hitting.

Tasting dinner at Tao. Wrangling 37 brothers for a fancy, organized weekend is no easy feat, so the next big reunion won’t be until October, 2021. I don’t even know what I’m doing tonight, but I know exactly where I’ll be in three years.

Monday, October 15, 2018

So Good, I Feel Bad.

I fantasize about my enemies spending their weekends at kids’ birthday parties.

But my good friends – my brothers – I wish they could all spend weekends like the one we just spent together.

I’m too exhausted today so I’ll delve into specifics tomorrow, but I will say this: the true measurement of a phenomenal trip is how bummed you are when it’s over, and I was REALLY bummed, prompting my brother David Krell (a very talented writer) to quote a fellow author:
“Don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened.” –Dr. Seuss

Friday, October 12, 2018

My Barely Slept-In Accommodations.

On my flight to Vegas, a guy in front of me had a bouquet made up of dollar bills. Pro tip: that stripper will never marry you, bro.

It’s been so great here already. My frat brothers are all just really good guys, so I’m having a phenomenal time. I dropped my bags in my room and didn’t come back until an obscenely late hour. Don’t drink and blog.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I’m Heading Out Of Town.

Every other guy who arrives in Las Vegas: “Strippers and poker!”
Me, arriving in Vegas: “Ooh, there’s a Walgreens AND a CVS next to my hotel.”

Today, I’m flying to Las Vegas to join 36 of my frat brothers for a reunion. While it sounds entirely debaucherous, I always behave. And I kinda have to – imagine if I went from a streak of 7518 days without vomiting to a whole new one of four days.

I’ll of course hit the casino (and have them point me to their finest claw machine), lounge by the pool (thank you, food poisoning, for quickly giving me a passable summer body), and enjoy a nice suite at the Palazzo. (Nice-ish. My pledge-brother Layne is crashing on my couch because he took too long to decide he was joining us.)

I need this. My last attempt at getting out of town consisted of 90 minutes in Philadelphia, after I was notified mid-flight that I booked a role. A great reason to scrub the mission, but still.

Redacted stories and photos when I get back.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Have Heroes.

Elon Musk’s heart is in the right place. How else are we going to get ice cream trucks on the moon? 

Despite his recent turmoil, he really is a good guy. Just ask my friend TJ, who bought a new Model 3 last month. TJ idolizes Elon, and when he saw him outside an event over the weekend, he asked the man if he’d sign his new car. Elon obliged, autographing his frunk.

Speaking of the moon, TJ is now over it. The car is worth more than it was a month ago. And it’s a good lesson for us all: you haven’t really made it until someone recognizes you on the unemployment line and asks for your autograph.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Getting Me Through.

The fastest land animal is me when I’m in another room and hear my dog about to throw up in the living room. In fact, they should make an alarm clock that plays the sound of Ricky about to throw up.

The last two days, the roles were reversed, as Ricky bolted to my side every time I bent over the toilet and loudly heaved. Dogs are good that way. And so were so many friends, who checked in on me as I was in absolute agony for 24 hours. I appreciated that so much.

It’s been 20 ½ years since I last vomited, but my M.O. hasn’t changed. As I lay nauseous, my body rejecting whatever was inside me (Sharkeez bacon), I needed the TV on quietly. Shoutout also to the overnight “South Park” marathon. 

New streak begins today. See you in 2038.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Streak Over.

I hadn’t vomited in over 20 years. Yesterday, I got a horrendous case of food poisoning. It’s been a really bad 24 hours, and is far from over. (The pic above has been my view, occasionally interrupted by a closeup of my toilet.) The only bright side will be weighing myself when it’s over.

Friday, October 5, 2018

FYI:

In California, there's just “pot” at the end of the rainbow.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Three Hep Cats.

Why are people pissed off that Cardi B ordered an attack on some people? It’s not like she released another album or anything.

On the other hand, a very good guy did release a new album: my friend John Kapelos. John is an actor who’s been in everything, but he’s also a great musician, and his new jazz record is called “Too Hip for the Room”.

John had a release party Tuesday night, and “Hucksters” co-star Ben Pace and I attended. Also in attendance was John’s friend Mike Hagerty, who’s been in hundreds of shows and movies in his own right. (He was Kurt Russell’s friend in Overboard, and the snotty apartment super Mr. Treeger on “Friends”.) Mike was nice enough to show up even though he’s the biggest Cubs fan, and his team was playing in an elimination playoff game. He kept excusing himself from the party to check the score of the game until I showed him how to watch it live on his iPhone. He was so grateful. I love Hollywood.

John’s album is cool and great and you can download it on iTunes. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wardrobe Malfunction.

The most unbelievable part about “Sesame Street” is that there is only one grouch in the whole neighborhood.

That said, my sister-in-law had my nephew try on an Oscar the Grouch costume in advance of Halloween. Not bad, except all Ricky saw was a giant stuffed toy and went right for my nephew’s nethers.

Finally, I know where HBO can go with the show.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

30 Seconds Of September.

Did you realize “September” rhymes with “remember”. If 15 bands hadn’t before me, I’d be rich. 

Here’s my September, one second per day:
 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Matt And Jackson Shevin’s Punishment Churros.

There are four main food groups:
  1. Canned 
  2. Frozen 
  3. Drive-thru 
  4. Fried 
My nephew and I chose category 4, frying us up some yummy dessert. I’m calling them “punishment churros” because they were originally supposed to be made last week, but then my nephew got mouthy with his mom and had his freedom (and iPad) taken away for a while.

We gave them a signature style, choosing a homemade Twinkie filling. Corporal punishment.

The final product. The star shape lost some a little something in the frying pan, but they damn sure tasted yummy. Qué sabroso.