Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Huge Loss.

When John Singleton was applying to USC film school, one of the questions on the application asked him to describe three ideas for films. One of them was titled Summer of 84.

John was accepted into USC, and one day, an executive from Orion Pictures came to talk to one of his classes. John told the guy he didn’t like that the movie Colors wasn’t about South Central Los Angeles, so much as it was about two white cops. The exec naively replied, “Well, Ice T wrote the music for the film,” to which John said, “Well, Ice T didn’t write the friggin’ script!” His class erupted in applause.

Suddenly, John was on a mission. Summer of 84 evolved into the script for Boyz N the Hood, and he began shopping it. Columbia Pictures loved it but didn’t want him to direct the movie, offering him $100,000 to let someone else do it. John turned it down, saying “Hell, no, I’m not gonna let somebody from Idaho or Encino direct a movie about living in South Central Los Angeles. They can’t come in here and cast it and go through the rewrites and know exactly what aesthetics are unique to this film.”

And it was on. At age 23 he made a powerful, classic film.

It really sucks John died yesterday. We need people like him.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Grandma Goodness.

Grandmas are always like “there’s not enough meat on your bones.” The only reasonable explanation being that at a certain age every grandma starts giving serious thought to cooking her family and eating it.

Either way, shout to my mom for teaching my nephew her recipe for jelly cookies long before we had to use a Ouija board to find it.

She was in town for the weekend and it’s always nice having her here. I’m all the more fatter for it.

Friday, April 26, 2019


It may be illegal to text and drive, but you can still lawfully handwrite someone a heartfelt letter at 50mph.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Secret To Happiness.

Happiness is a warm puppy. The opposite of happiness is a warm public toilet seat.

Okay for real, here’s the secret: always have something to look forward to. I’d always believed it, but I especially did after my friend Ben turned me on to the movie A Family Thing. In a very poignant scene, Earl, played by Robert Duvall, talks with his nephew, whose dream of playing pro football ended when he blew out his knee. The nephew is angry and withdrawn, and has been taking his frustrations out on his family. Earl tells him there are other things in life – simple things – that can make him happy again. “Heck,” Earl says, “Being happy ain’t nothin’ more than havin’ something to look forward to.”

That’s my mantra, and it was on my mind the other day as I booked a trip for a mini reunion with my fraternity in November. It’s centered around the Michigan/Maryland football game, and it’s six months away and I can’t wait.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be a trip; simple things truly are all you need. I bet right now you can name twenty things you’re looking forward to. Dinner with friends, the new Tarantino film, a new pair of sneakers. I can go on.

Here’s homework: list the things you’re anticipating. Even list one. Always have the carrot dangling in front of you. You see, there’s no better feeling than the moment before something great happens – it’s even better than the great moment. But start even earlier. I’ll have a kick in my step about the trip to Maryland for the next six months. Plus 100 other things I’m excited about.

Alright. Go do your homework.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Literally Irons In The Fire.

I’ve been taking on many projects lately, and as a result I’m working a whole lot more, and sleeping a whole lot less. I need to talk to food about this.

Here are a few: I’m writing two more episodes of my sitcom that I want to shoot this year. My friend John Hunter, the genius composer who scored my sitcom pilot, (he’s one of the most naturally-gifted idea men I’ve ever met – I’m jealous) came up with a great idea for a sitcom, but I suggested it was better suited for a movie. Yesterday, we wrote the treatment together. I was over Jay Mohr’s house last night, and he also wants to write something with me. There’s a top-secret project one of my best friends is recommending me for, and I’ve come up with 11 ideas for it. Oh, and whenever I have a spare moment, I started writing a book.

I’m as overloaded as a Trader Joe’s parking lot at 3 p.m. on a Saturday. And truth be told, it’s the best.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

An Excerpt.

Shout-out to smartphones for eliminating tedious tasks from our lives, like reading books or watching the road when we drive. 

I still read. At least on the elliptical. And I just finished Mike Reiss’ very insightful book about “The Simpsons”. Here’s a story I loved:
“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane is like our Ned Flanders; no matter how much we berate him, he’s always warm and gracious. Our writing staffs have begun to blend, which led to the unthinkable becoming a reality: a “Simpsons”/“Family Guy” crossover show. I imagined our creators would oversee every aspect of the episode, but instead, amazingly, they told “Family Guy” “good luck with the crossover – we’ll watch it when it airs.”  
In the end, everyone from both camps loved it… except Seth MacFarlane. The running theme of the episode was that “Family Guy” stole everything from “The Simpsons”. They made this point over and over until apparently, at some point Seth told his staff: “Guys – enough.”  
Here’s a story you may know, but I heard from Seth himself. Years ago, he spent a weekend in Boston but had to catch a plane back to LA. His travel agent gave him the wrong time, and when he arrived, his plane took off without him. Seth got on the phone and was yelling at his travel agent when he looked up at an airport TV. The plane he was supposed to be on had just crashed into the World Trade Center. What’s the point of this story? That I like “Family Guy”, but God friggin’ loves “Family Guy”.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The Standoff.

I realize not everyone is cool with Easter egg hunts, but they are vital. They help manage the egg population and keep it at healthy levels.

Meanwhile, Ricky took part in his own hunt yesterday – of one squirrel in particular, who enjoyed teasing the shit out of him. Next year he’s off the leash, dude.

Friday, April 19, 2019

It’s An Honor To Be A Nominator.

The reason my nephew hasn’t been nominated for an acting award is because no one has seen him trying to get out of going to school.

All that ends now, as I have been named to the SAG TV Awards nominating committee. I get to nominate the actors and casts that SAG members vote for in January.

Before I take credit for earning any of this, the process is not all that fancy – my selection came from a random, computer-generated lottery. But I will be invited to screenings and events over the next nine months, and I dig it.

Oh, and actors: my vote cannot be bought. Just saying.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A Preemptive Happy Easter!

My nephew, Ricky, the Easter Bunny, and me.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

In Which Pete Rose Calls Me.

3300 blog entries in, all I can say is I’m glad this isn’t a gambling addiction.

Just ask Pete Rose. Or better yet, I will.

Cut to two weeks ago, and while I was in Mammoth, I got a call from my friend Ted. Teds a big-time banker, and one of the perks of being a multi-millionaire is that he can pay to have fancy dinner guests. He and a few coworkers pooled their money and had Pete Rose join them in New York.

Ted called me in the afternoon in Mammoth and told me to stay by my phone. I didn’t mention it to anyone with me in the condo that I was going to get a call from Pete. I just figured I’d put him on speaker phone and surprise everyone. 

It got very interesting, waiting for the call. The giant magnet kicked in (you know the one – something you casually mentioned pops up in reality soon after), and as we were watching an NBA game, my brother compared a player to of all people: Pete Rose. For real. Then Pete called, and after the crazy of the moment subsided, he was super nice and we had a great chat. Really good guy.

Thank you, Ted. It was a total thrill. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

He Will Blow Your Socks Off.

My only request if I ever get murdered is that you don’t let it be solved on a podcast.

Use them for good, not evil. Like the upcoming Stuart K. Robinson podcast. (And video series.) It will motivate the hell out of you.

Stuart was my acting teacher, and so much more. I’ve blogged about him before. And then I blogged about him again. Stuart himself likes to say that acting is a business with few mentors, and yet he was every bit my mentor. Everyone who comes into contact with him feels the same way. It’s no surprise his daughter starred on the TV show “The Affair”, and is now appearing on Broadway in Waitress. And she married Leslie Odom Jr.

Beyond completely elevating my acting skills, Stuart turned me into the take-charge extrovert I am today. I love him for that. When his podcast debuts, I will be the first to let you know. In the meantime, give a little thought into what you want most out of life. Stuart is about to help you get after it.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Three-View Weekend.

I want what every guy wants: to be involved in a rooftop chase.

It’ll start at Mezcalero in Long Beach. It’s where my weekend started, and it’s everything you want in a happy hour: original mixed drinks, great vibe, chill music, impressive view.

Saturday, Ricky was looking up to my nephew at his ballgame.

But I’d argue the best view belonged to my younger brother, from his $2600 seat at Yankee Stadium. That’s him, in the sunglasses, on the jumbotron. A kickass weekend on both coasts for the Shevins.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Ages 10 And Up.

At a gathering last night, my friend Chad picked up a Truly beverage and told this story: “My wife was shopping, and in between the cans of Coke and Sprite, she chose a can of this, bought it, and added it to our son’s lunch, which he brought to school the next day.”

That said, I’m warming up to this whole parenting thing.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

They Call Me Mr. Lucky.

ME: You look so familiar. Are you an actor? Musician? Can I have an autograph?
HIM: I’m your mailman, idiot.

Oops. No autograph for me. But then – I wanted to read Garry Marshall’s autobiography, so I picked up a copy online for three bucks. It arrived last night, and I was pleasantly surprised. The seller obviously didn’t know that Garry, one of my heroes, signed the book.

Happy days to me, indeed, sir.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Laugh It Up.

Whenever I say “At least you’re going to get a lot of material out of this” to my friend Jay Mohr, it’s my way of saying “Sorry about your life, dude.”

Jay has been through some shit, including a nasty divorce last year. But he hasn’t lost a step on-stage. He invited me to see him play The Improv on Melrose, and he went up with nothing prepared, and killed for an hour.

He made fun of every nationality and religion. His childhood. His kids. His two marriages. He made a Tommy Lasorda reference that was so funny, he surprised himself and stopped to write it down on a note card.

All audiences really want when they see a comedian is to know that they’re in good hands and that he’s in charge. Jay was the man. If only for an hour.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

31 Seconds Of March.

It takes a smoke detector one month to stop beeping if you were wondering how lazy I am.

Well, maybe not in the month of March. I kept my calendar full. Here it is, one second per day:

Monday, April 8, 2019


I left a plaster cast of my mouth at the Schat’s Bakkery last year so they knew exactly how big to bake the cookies.

And it really paid off. You see, helping ease the pain of the end of a ski week Mammoth is a chance to stop off at Schat’s, an authentic German bakery in Bishop, CA. It’s enough to bring Jews, Germans, and a big ol’ oven together.

Schat’s is well known for it’s shepherd’s bread, but my favorite item:

Shortbread chocolate chip cookies. They fit right in my mouth. And my tummy.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Once Again:

If Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have a baby girl and don’t name her Princess Leia, they’re wasting everyone’s time.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The End.

Do you like freezing to death and knocking down trees with your face? Well, why not book a skiing holiday?

It’s our last day here, and with nothing to lose, we went down the infamously dangerous Dave’s Run, a double black-diamond complete with 40 mph wind and icy conditions. We (at least I) lived to blog about it.

There’s something nice about a ski vacation – so different from lying on a beach. You challenge yourself and battle the elements, while staying off the grid. (WiFi at 11,000 feet is sketchy.) It’s just you, family, and friends. No news is good news. Five out of five stars. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Family Portrait.

Next week has been exhausting.

This week: a delight.

Pictured above: my brother, me, and my nephew. It’s pretty perfect here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

I Give Back.

Nice of my nephew to allow me to take a selfie in his goggles. I returned the favor by shoving snow down his bathing suit in the jacuzzi. 

Monday, April 1, 2019

Gone Skiing.

Whenever I ski, I like to keep a photo ID on me. In case they need to identify the body.

I’m in Mammoth for five days, for a very much needed vacation. That is, if a “vacation” involves waking up super early to spend all day on a freezing mountain. (I checked. It does. Who knew.)

It’s record conditions up here – 667” of snow this season. (That’s 56 feet!) Cool way to die.