The first guest for our series of extremely important and hard-hitting interviews is Bob Odenkirk, author of 'A Load of Hooey.'Read More
We sent along some questions for Jermaine and he was nice enough to take a few minutes off from promoting the new season to send back some answers.Read More
ill Ferrell doesn’t mince words when describing Adam McKay, his longtime friend and comedy collaborator. “He’s kind of a dangerous individual,” Ferrell says. “He’s extremely funny; there’s no doubt about it. But he’s dangerous. I wouldn’t stay in a room with him, one on one, for any longer than I had to. There’s a criminal tendency there. We have a great working relationship because I don’t ask him much about his past. He just frightens me.” Ferrell is joking, obviously. But there was a time, years before McKay found Hollywood success directing and co-writing films such as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) and The Other Guys (2010), when he might very well have been the most dangerous man in comedy.
In June of 1995, McKay was making history at Chicago’s legendary Second City, in a sketch revue called Piñata Full of Bees. It would prove to be one of the most seminal and groundbreaking productions in the theater’s history. Set apart by its aggressive approach to political and social satire, Piñata tackled such seemingly unfunny subjects as wealth corruption, racism, and the massacre of Native Americans. McKay is often given sole credit for masterminding its strong political point of view.
Is it true that in the mid-nineties, while you were in the Chicago improv scene, you publicly improvised your own suicide?
Yes, that happened. I had an actor’s photo, a horrible eight-by-ten glossy, that I inserted into a poster. And the poster read: “On such-and-such-a-date, Adam McKay, 26, will kill himself. This is not a joke.” I put up the poster everywhere, and on the assigned location and date, there was a huge turnout. I went to the roof of a five-story building and yelled down to the crowd. We had a CPR dummy dressed exactly as I was dressed, and we threw it off the roof. Someone else was playing the character of the Grim Reaper, and he collected the dummy and hauled it away. Meanwhile, I ran downstairs and “came to life,” and we all ended up back in the theater where we finished the show.
Good luck not getting arrested in New York with that stunt.
[Laughs] It was the type of thing you could only get away with in Chicago. Anywhere else, I’d have immediately been hauled away. But it was also the perfect time. Nowadays with the Internet, people would just go, “Oh, it’s performance art” or “It’s a flash mob” or whatever. But it wasn’t commonplace back then. There weren’t as many hidden camera shows. Nowadays, this stuff is so common, you can’t truly surprise people.
There was just this freedom. There was just a freedom to try to get away with whatever you felt you could get away with. Del Close encouraged that.
So Del would actually encourage improv that took place on the streets, in front of unsuspecting people?
Oh my God, he loved it! You know, when I faked my own suicide, Del was on the street literally screaming, “Jump! Jump!” He had always thought our improv group was pretty good, but once we started doing these kind of stunts—we once even staged a fake street revolution, with audience members hitting the streets with lit torches and fake guns—an extra fondness came in. That’s when Del really started knowing our names and caring about what we were doing.
Do you think you ever went too far with these stunts?
I might have done things differently if I could do them over again. There was one time when Scott Adsit [the actor who later played Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock] and I and the rest of our group were performing in front of an audience. This was when Bill Clinton was president. Scott came out and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I have some terrible news. President Clinton has just been assassinated.” Scott’s a really good actor and he played it very real. The whole crowd completely believed it. We then wheeled out a television to watch the most up-to-date news coverage. We turned it on and NFL bloopers came on—we had already inserted a VHS tape. One of us yelled, “Wait, don’t change it!” The whole cast came out and hunkered down and just started laughing at these football bloopers. The people in the audience slowly began to file out, dazed. That was the end of our show.
And you know, that’s the kind of thing you do when you’re twenty-five or twenty-six. Now that I’m a forty-four-year-old, I think, You can’t do that. What happens if someone starts sobbing? What happens if . . . . There are too many what ifs. But at twenty-six, you’re not quite that compassionate. I’ll now bump into members of the improv group and say, “Can you believe we did that?” But that was part of the process. We were pushing things as far as they could go. And the only reason I accept it now is that there was real satire there: entertainment and silly pop culture trumping real information. But we probably should have popped it. There probably should have been some reveal at the end. Something to clue the audience in to the fact that what they had just seen was staged.
Illustration By Louise Pomeroy
This interview is excerpted with permission.
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IN LIEU OF A REAL INTERVIEW, WE SENT 50 QUESTIONS TO JAMES ADOMIAN AND TOLD HIM TO ANSWER AS MANY AS HE COULD AND THAT REGARDLESS OF HOW FAR HE GOT, WE'D PUBLISH ALL OF THEM.
Shall we begin?
At your own peril.
So you have a show you’re developing?
Somebody reads the trades!
How would you rate it on a scale of 1 to The Big Bang Theory?
Has your opinion on kissing changed over your lifetime?
My views on kissing are evolving, yes. I used to favor a sharp tongue but now I’ve crossed the aisle over to the loose lips.
Who would you like to kiss without their consent?
Nobody, sorry, my rape fantasies involve me as the passive partner.
What are you cooking back there?
That’s burnt pizza crust in the bottom of the oven. Almost ready.
When would you use the phrase “My baby’s got sauce”?
What’s your favorite type of music invented by black people?
I am extremely racist.
What’s your favorite type of music invented by white people?
Hip-hop, R&B, rock & roll.
White people: Who needs them any more?
Get off of Tumblr before it’s too late.
Were you ever tempted to part your hair differently?
Get thee behind me, Satan!
Have you ever worn a unitard and for what?
A Freddie Mercury impression at UCB! Pictured here with Billy Joel (Michael Cassady), Cyndi Lauper (Andree Vermeulen), and Tom Waits (Scott Rodgers).
If you had a two-dollar bill what would you do with it?
Keep it in my wallet as a sacred lucky charm for about a month, then spend it on booze.
Describe how you would build a house in six words.
I would need some building materials.
Describe six words or less.
What would you throw into the fireplace while no one’s looking?
My NSA “political dissident” file!
You casually mention The Beatles to someone and they say they don’t know who they are. How do you respond?
I take that as the signal to exchange the microfiche.
Thoughts on gay marriage?
Not thoughts so much as brute lust.
Thoughts on Ray marriage?
If Ray Charles were still alive, do you think he’d be married to all those Pepsi dancers by now?
That’s what heaven is for.
So this month’s theme on the site is “Fancy.” Mind if we dive into that?
Color me dapper.
What’s your favorite type of tuxedo to wear?
Cheap, used, vaudeville-esque.
Fuck Marry Kill: a monocle, a stack of $100 bills, elbow patches.
I would keep them all as lovers on the side.
How much money do you currently have on you?
Ten thousand Swiss francs — you know, swissin’-around money.
Can we have some?
Put this on red. Two spins. Walk out with what you get.
What’s the biggest room you’ve ever been in?
You’ve got a knack for celebrity impressions. Who’s your favorite?
Can you do an impression for us right now?
Mmm ... Slow down, champ. You just gonna run up the stairs like that on a Thursday? *Puff*
Seriously, can you record it on your phone and send us the file? We’ll put it right here.
Jesus now there’s homework. Attached.
We love the fact that you do a lot of characters — ever watch TBS?
Not since the days of NWA wrestling on the Superstation!
That last one was a trick question. And to clarify this is not a question. Don’t answer this one. Just listen for a sec.
Adversarial comedy journalism. Touché.
Which fictional character would you welcome into your home?
Which fictional character would you turn a hose on if you saw them anywhere near your home?
You do a great impression of Jesse Ventura, host of Conspiracy Theory. Are there any conspiracy theories that you believe in?
“Conspiracy theory” is an insulting and ignorant term.
Do you believe in aliens?
We are aliens.
Yo ... you smoke trees?
I puff on pines.
How many more answers do you have?
Good thing you’re not on the top of the mountain with the Zen master.
Real quick: What’s your favorite state?
Any speed you want: What’s your favorite city?
Complete the beef slogan: “Beef: ___ _____ ____ _____”
“Something else goes here.”
What’s the best and worst part of having a mustache?
What kind of person puts stickers all over their laptop?
A hippie without a car.
What’s your favorite movie scene?
When the horse dies in The Neverending Story. It’s my yoga.
What do you think of the phrase “spoiler alert”?
Are you currently avoiding any spoilers?
No, I call them shortcuts.
What was the first CD you ever bought?
Jerky Boys 2.
What was the first Cranberries CD you ever bought?
They offered a nice two-year certificate of deposit I jumped in on.
What’s your most recent regret?
All those murders. Well, most of them.
You just landed on the moon, what do you say?
Describe a situation that ends with you spitting on someone.
Who’s going to win it all this year?
Entropy, known to us as Death.
Photography by Mandee Johnson and Rebecca Adler
READ MORE Gauntlet: 50 Questions:
In lieu of a real interview, we sent 50 questions to Cameron Esposito and told her to answer as many as she could and that regardless of how far she got, we'd publish all of them.
How old are you?
Jesus minus 1.
How old would you like to be?
This is fine. At 25, you have hot boobs but not the best brain. At 45, your brain is great but your boobs have lived a bit. The thirties provide a nice brain/boob balance.
What’s the coolest way to die?
Trying to prevent your own death. At least you tried.
What’s the hottest way to fry?
Naked. Maybe with an apron.
In a kooky comic-strip mashup, Cathy has joined forces with Calvin and/or Hobbes. What do they do?
Calvin and Hobbes get out of there as soon as possible, probably on a sled.
What’s the funniest type of porno?
Lemme scroll through what I have open right now and get back to you ...
If you had to direct a porno, who would you get to star in it?
Linda Hamilton, Sigourney Weaver, Katee Sackhoff, and Milla Jovovich. And it wouldn’t be a porno, but just like a movie with cool punching.
Fuck Marry Kill: Puff Daddy, Diddy, Sean Combs.
No, no, no. None of these.
What’s your favorite Michelle Pfeiffer movie?
I like everything Mekhi Phifer has done. He was great as the Catwoman.
You’re a substitute teacher tasked with filling in at an inner city school. The kids just don’t want to learn and refuse to not be in gangs because they’re from the inner city. How do you inspirationally turn things around?
I’m a nun on the run from some nightclub gangsters. I don’t get shot by the gangsters because of my nun pals and everything is resolved. Then, for some reason I can’t remember, I go teach music at this school where Lauryn Hill is a student. Really, though, why am I back with the nuns? Because I already got away from the gangsters and I’m a nightclub singer and it feels like a nightclub singer would only have to pretend to be a nun once per life. So I can’t understand how I’m at this school or anything.
We hear you’re engaged. What’s it like to be loved?
What’s keeping you from riding more horses?
Stupid horses always wanna climb up a mountain and kind of dangle off the side being all, “My feet are steady. I’m a horse and I kick rocks around but I won’t fall,” even though they KNOW I am afraid of heights. “Let’s go through that meadow or open field of nothing,” I say, but the horses are like, “We only do what we want!”
How do you think Snoop Dogg responds when you accidentally walk in on him while he’s watching CBS sitcoms?
You asked this like you think he’d be embarrassed. Here’s the thing about Snoop: He doesn’t embarrass. He could have his entire peen accidentally hanging out of his pants while he meets your grandmother and the President and he’d be like, “No doubt.”
What’s wrong with hippos?
Too hungry. Don’t understand the concept of food. Those little white plastic balls won’t make you less hungry, hippos.
What would your job be if you were in the Civil War?
That one medic who is a woman dressed as a man so she can make it to the front lines. Lots of bone sawing. Decent fake mustache (for the time).
Who’s famous these days?
Zooey Deschanel? She definitely has a fuchsia coat.
How would you advise someone on making it in Hollywood?
Tons of plastic surgery. I’ve had A LOT of work done — started right when I was born — and look at me now! I’m a star!
Please explain the Electoral College and if you can’t, please write how you think the Seinfeld theme song would look if it were transcribed into words.
We vote and then they vote and it doesn’t have to be the same as our votes but it can be and de beepy beepy deepy dee boom da boom boom bee (bucka chicka bucka chicka).
What about the theme to Curb Your Enthusiasm?
It’s the same.
What TV show do you watch in the dark?
All, because I have standards. Close the blinds, too.
What’s your favorite TV show... er? That is to say, who’s got a nice shower on TV?
The ones on Game of Thrones. People look awesome. Those people are always getting clean! Oh, but like showers I would like to also be in? Orange is the New Black. With Piper. And Alex. Maybe two Alexes.
What movie do you tell people you like, but you secretly hate?
I’m not a liar, OK, Funny Or Die?
What movie do you tell people you hate, but secrete only mildly dislike?
Oh, I hate everything.
How old were you when you attended your first Natalie Merchant concert?
Lilith Fair 1999. I was 17. I ran toward the stage in a fit of tears when Sarah McLachlan appeared to sing “Adia.”
How often do you play your Coldplay greatest hits CD?
As often as Gwyneth does.
Our theme for the month is “Exploration.” Cool if we dive into that?
Wouldn’t recommend it. Too shallow.
Would you say that Native Americans “had it coming?” Explain.
No. But he had it coming, he had it coming, he only had himself to blame (pop, six, squish, uh uh, Cicero, Lipschitz). And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, please rent Chicago and get yourself some culture. Then move on to Cabaret. Can’t do it the other way around. You must build to perfection.
What would you bring on a vacation to the moon?
Liv Tyler, iPod, speakers, and a downloaded copy of I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing. (I know that was an asteroid, and that she stayed on Earth, but I just think she’d be up for the moon and, yeah, it is weird to make out while her dad sings, but that’s also the whole point of that movie so I don’t think she be that upset about it.)
What’s the point of going on a hike?
Acceptable to wear spandex! I do it for the spandex.
“Take a hike”: That’s a funny phrase, right?
Whoa, you’re good. How long you been doing it? Do you do road stuff or just in town?
What were road trips with your family like as a kid?
My older sister and I in the way back of our station wagon, counting the number of people behind us we could get to change lanes using rude gestures and confusing antics. And tons of barfing because we ate too much white-cheddar popcorn or the like.
What’s it like being a mother, probably?
Boring. Especially when babies are teeny. They don’t do anything. But also the best. Yeah, that’s right: I’m into it.
What do you talk about when getting your hair cut?
Radical queer activism and desert sweat lodges (I go to a very specific salon and I follow their conversational lead).
What do you talk about at that awful moment when you’ve run out of things to talk about when getting your hair cut?
I close my eyes and focus on sweating through my shirt due to silence-induced anxiety.
How good are mandarin oranges?
The canned ones will put you directly into a diabetic coma, and the fresh ones are too small and annoying a food for any adult. How do you have time to peel such small food? What are you, cracking your own almonds?
Vladimir Putin: Guy’s a mess, right?
Scariest shirtless guy out there. Anyone who believes gays are coming for their children scares the shit out of me. Gays are raising children — sometimes children straight folks weren’t able to raise — and there are gay children (that’s where gay adults come from). Anyone who thinks there is something else happening between gays and kids besides parenting (or being an aunt or nanny or cousin) or being gay and being a kid does not have a firm grip on reality and should not have nuclear weapons. What’s happening to gay folks in Russia right now is heartbreaking and awful and should scare us all. And it’s also a great reason to keep the conversation about equal rights and equal marriage here in the States going. Don’t be like Russia on this one, America.
Are you political?
What are you against?
See two above.
What are you anti-?
See three above.
What is the difference?
One of those questions was below the other.
What are you pro-?
All human beings being treated like human beings.
What are you a pro at?
Much like Pantene, I’m a pro at V’s. And that is a hilarious sex joke.
How is your Borat?
My Bo Rat is a professional athlete in two sports.
... You like?
Yes. He’s made me tons of money with endorsements. That photo of him with a baseball bat across his little rat shoulders — perfection.
When you get married, instead of saying “my girlfriend,” you’d say:
My wife. Co-owner of these kids (gesturing toward future kids).
We’ve seen you describe yourself as a “tiny lesbian.” How tiny are we talking?
0.5 Briennes of Tarth.
What do you think Steve Spielberg is doing right now?
Hopefully talking Richard Donner out of Goonies 2. REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CRYSTAL SKULL, STEVEN, AND HOW SAD THAT WAS.
Explain the Middle East in seven words:
Whose Shire is it? (That was four.)
Fill in the blanks: ___ ___ what ___ eat (hint: It’s “you are what you eat”)
Never say this to a comic. Never! We are trying the best we can! We don’t always live at our houses! We might eat a stale bag of hotel-room pretzels or a hard-boiled egg from Starbucks, but we are not these things!
So say we all.
Photography by Mandee Johnson
READ MORE Gauntlet: 50 Questions:
When the Funny Or Be Murdered web comedy site asked if I wanted to be interviewed for their online magazine, The Occasional, I had one major demand which I expressed in a very courteous and business-like email to the offices of Funny Or Be Slaughtered Like a Hog in the Dirt:
“I am happy to be interviewed, but please do not send some comedy know-nothing fuckstain to talk to me. I want and, God dammit, DESERVE to be interviewed by someone who knows my body of work, my entire beautifully toned and oiled body of WORK! Someone who can have a thoughtful, in-depth conversation about my background, my influences, my phucking philosophy. In short, someone who respects me.”
Funny Or Be Force-Fed Barbiturates and Thrown in a Lake responded: “Andy, we get it, but we can only think of one person who fits your description. Why don’t you go interview yourself.” I have a suspicion this was meant as an insult and I don’t think they expected me to take them up on it. But I have a TV show to promote and an interview is an interview. So, here is...
Andy Daly Interviews Andy Daly for Even If You’re Funny You’re Still Going to Die’s Online Magazine The Occasional
AD: Hey, how are you?
AD: I’m great. How 'bout yourself?
AD: I’m great too. We’re the same person!
AD: I know! Hey, that’s a great shirt.
AD: So is yours! (laughs)
AD: So, Andy, thanks for doing this.
AD: Thank YOU for doing this.
AD: Of course. I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you was—
AD: Wait, hang on. I thought I was interviewing you.
AD: Right. Well, I think we're sort of interviewing each other.
AD: Oh, like Interview Magazine?
AD: I guess so. However you want to think about it is fine.
AD: Yeah! Like Interview Magazine. Two incredibly talented, edgy newsmakers get inside each other's heads.
AD: Greeeeeeaaaat! Yeah! Ok, so I guess the first thing I wanted to ask you was, what is Review?
AD: Great question, Andy. Review is my new show airing Thursdays at 10pm on Comedy Central. Now I have a question for you, fellow edgy newsmaker.
AD: What's Review about?
AD: Great question, Andy. I play a character named Forrest who's a reviewer, but he doesn't review food, books or movies. He reviews life. So people write in and ask him stuff like, "What's it like to get addicted to drugs?" or "What's it like to sleep with a celebrity?" — stuff that they, for whatever reason, can't or are too afraid to do in their own lives. They send Forrest out to do it and rate the experience on his five-star scale.
AD: My turn to ask a question! If you had to try and describe what it is that makes this show hilarious, what would you say?
AD: Great question, Andy. There are a lot of things that make this funny — hilarious performances, really funny writing, but the funniest part about this show is probably just that Forrest is this deadly combination of arrogant, incompetent and committed. He believes he's uniquely qualified to weigh in on the value of any life experience, he believes his work is essential for the good of humanity and he's basically an idiot, a very well-spoken, tweed-jacket wearing idiot. He leaves a path of total destruction behind him and it's just fun as hell to watch it play out.
AD: Watching a pompous ass get himself into terrible trouble and fuck up everything he touches sounds like satisfying television to me.
AD: Absolutely. And also totally surprising. Because this guy is, by definition, doing crazy things that's he's ill-equipped to do, there are so many opportunities to take surprising turns the audience will never see coming. We take this guy to some completely insane places.
AD: What are some of the craziest experiences Forrest has to tackle?
AD: Great question, Andy. He goes to an orgy; he gets into a totally insane road-rage confrontation with guest star Jason Mantzoukas; he targets High School Musical star Ashley Tisdale for sexual conquest; he goes into outer space.
AD: This sounds like the greatest show of all time!
AD: It is the greatest show of all time. I think we've firmly established that.
AD: How have your experiences on other projects you've worked on informed this show?
AD: Great question, Andy. I think some of my favorite things about Eastbound and Down will be in evidence on this show. I loved the way that show didn't just reset at the end of every episode. It was a season long story arc, almost a miniseries really. The characters changed over the course of a season, none more dramatically than poor Principal Cutler!
AD: What a dope.
AD: What a dipshit.
AD: Forrest reminds me of him in a way because he starts out as this guy who's on top of the world, he really seems to have things figured out for himself and he seems happy. And then...
AD: Shit goes off the rails. On Eastbound, it was the arrival of Kenny Powers but on Review, it's this TV show Forrest has agreed to do— this insane, moronic TV show that just tosses him around like a dinghy in a storm.
AD: Obviously you've done a lot of improvising, with the UCB in ASSSCAT, as a frequent guest star in Reno 911, on Comedy Bang Bang and The League. Is this show pretty improvised or is it totally written?
AD: Great question, Andy. We put together a murderer's row of writers for this show: Andy Blitz and Kevin Dorff from Conan, Leo Allen from SNL, Carol Kolb from The Onion, and this super smart Harvard sitcom writer named Gavin Steckler. I ran the room along with Jeffrey Blitz, the genius behind that spelling bee documentary Spellbound and the movie Rocket Science. So we went into the shoot with amazing scripts but then improvised on top of that to help make things feel more natural and to find more fun moments.
AD: Sounds like the perfect approach.
AD: Good point, Andy. It was the perfect approach.
AD: And Jeff Blitz directed all the episodes, right?
AD: Great question, Andy.
AD: This is the first time I've disagreed with you. That was not such a great question.
AD: It was pretty good though.
AD: Okay. Agreed.
AD: Anyway, yes. Jeff Blitz directed everything, which is a major part of what makes this show so special. He's the real deal. He won an Emmy for directing The Office. He's the real fucking deal.
AD: Fuck yes.
AD: Well, it's hard for me to imagine anyone reading this and not watching Review on Thursdays at 10pm on Comedy Central starting March 6.
AD: Great question, Andy.
AD: That wasn't even a question.
AD: Well, whatever it was it was great. Anything else to add?
AD: Just that I'm super proud of our supporting cast: Jessica St. Clair, Fred Willard, H. Michael Croner, Tara Karsian, Antoine McKay, James Urbaniak— and our guest stars: Andy Blitz, Maria Thayer, Andy Richter, Emo Phillips, Rich Fulcher, Lance Bass, Betsy Sodaro, Julie Brister, Leo Allen, Carlos Sanz, Rance Howard.
AD: No kidding. Well Andy, it was a great pleasure talking to you.
AD: I feel like this is one of the best conversations I've ever had in my life!
AD: Yeah! You might be the only person I ever talk to again as long as I live.
AD: I'd be fine with that. Hey, this might be kinda weird but can I kiss you?
AD: Sorry. Yeah nevermind.
AD: Yeah. I just—
AD: No no. No need to explain. That was weird.
AD: Okay, well anyway. Great chat!
AD: It was! People should tune into Review!
AD: Fuck yeah they should!
AD: So long!
AD: Bye bye!
In lieu of a real interview, we sent 50 questions
to Paul F. Tompkins and told him to answer as many
as he could and that regardless of how far he got,
we'd publish all of them.
We abbreviated your name in internal emails as PFT. Do you ever refer to yourself as PFT?
When I talk about myself in the third person, it tends to be more along the lines of, “His Excellency.”
How about PYT?
How ABOUT it?!
You know, like the Michael Jacko song?
I DO like the Michael Jacko song!
You probably get that PYT thing a lot, don’t you?
Uhhh. Not at all! What fun.
Just so you know, regardless of your answer, we will consider you a PYT.
Let’s move on.
If you had a nickname that the press gave you, what would it be?
Up to the press to decide? I’m sorry, I’m trying to follow your question
but you’re asking me to read the minds of the Fourth Estate.
What would you have to do to end up in the tabloids?
Be known by more than 100 people? THIS OUGHTTA DO IT!
You were once on a show called DAG. What was it like working
with David Alan Grier?
Are you currently wearing your trademark suit?
I WON’T DIGNIFY THAT WITH A RESPONSE.
How many hats do you wear?
Only as many as would make me tall enough to go on rides.
How do you look so goddamn sharp?
Watch your tone. Also, tuck in your shirt.
Define sartorial and use it in a sentence.
“Sartorial” refers to matters of clothing, as in, “I know ‘sartorial’ relates to clothing in some way, but I’m not sure, so could you define it for me?”
Are you, or have you ever, been a wearer of tank tops?
I have no occasion to enter tanks, so no.
Gotta let those guns breathe, right?
Because they’re hot?
Who’s got the sexiest arms in Hollywood?
Whoever wears the longest sleeves, because they’re clearly trying to
maintain order by concealing them.
What do the words “Man, it’s brutal out there” mean to you?
How can one make talking about the weather more interesting?
Act like you made it happen: “Sorry about the rain today. My hand slipped.”
We’re covering a lot of family topics in this issue. Mind if we ask you
about your family?
I dare you to.
F. Thompkins: That’s a name of Hispanic descent, correct?
Maybe. I’m no expert, though, because my name is TOMPKINS.
Do you know what your parents did before you were born?
Yes, I would watch them from heaven while I was waiting to be born.
How did they ever live without you?
If they’re reading this, and we assume they are, what would you want to tell them here and not in person?
“I love you.”
What are your thoughts on sisters?
MOVE OVER, BROTHERS!!!!
What are your thoughts on the sisters?
I can only respond by swiveling my head on my neck like crazy.
Aunts: Overrated? Underrated?
Well, they’re no uncles.
Do you pronounce the word “aunt” as “ant” or “awnt”?
I say “ain’t,” like Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry, R.F.D.
If you could institute an entirely new pronunciation of the word aunt, what would it be?
What does motherhood mean to you?
Let’s get this party started!
Anybody can get a gun but it takes a man to be a father, right?
It’s not really a question if you just add “right” to the end, is it?
Rank your family members. Go.
Okay, I went and did it.
What’s your Thanksgiving like?
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory with your family?
We only have one shared memory — the time that scientist tried
to fuse our consciousnesses together.
What question are you asked most at family gatherings?
“When are you going to appear in The Occasional? Until you do,
we consider you a failure, right?”
How would you explain podcasts to the very elderly?
Slowly but concisely.
How do they explain paintings to you?
LOTS of pointing and grunting.
Do you have, or are you currently having, any children?
I don’t have any kids ... that I participate in the lives of! [Up top]
I don’t need to deplete my candy budget catering to unsophisticated palates.
What would you tell your daughter, Abigail, if you had a daughter
“I’m just going out for a pack of cigarettes.”
Leno or Letterman … to have as your dad?
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY REAL FATHER?!?!
Would you like to stop these questions? You can if you’d like.
Let’s get to the hard-hitting questions: You see someone who you’re
pretty sure is Hitler, but he’s walking a real cute dog. What do you do?
I march right up to that dog and let him know EXACTLY who’s holding his leash. Then watch them fight.
What would you tell Eric Clapton when you meet him in heaven?
“I coveted my neighbor’s wife, too, but here we both are!”
Eric Clapton: Dead or alive?
Alive, please? I am uncomfortable giving the kill order on Clapton.
Are you sure?
No. Take him down.
Who’s on your bucket list?
The bucketiest people I can think of! Lots of folks with chins or
beards that look like handles.
In terms of hot cereal, you a Farina or Cream of Wheat man?
I like to do a hot cereal “suicide” with both Farina and Cream of Wheat, with a little McCann’s Steel-Cut Irish Oatmeal and some gruel.
Speaking of, what do you think of that Cream of Wheat man they
have on the box?
I LOVE his hat.
Which Vacation movie is your favorite: Christmas Vacation or Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure?
White pants: what’s the story there?
THE SOUL YEARNS FOR ELEGANCE.
This article was originally published November 2013
READ MORE Gauntlet: 50 Questions:
In lieu of a real interview, we sent over 50 questions to Maria Bamford and told her to answer as many as she could and that regardless of how far she got, we'd publish all of them.
So you incorporate a lot of characters and voices into your act, right?
(IN HIGH LADY) Yes, (LOW LADY), I do. (MEDIUM LADY)
How many do you do?
About 4 voices.
Can you do one right now?
How’d it go?
Well, I did an impersonation of me doing an impersonation of myself doing an impersonation of me because I am in a hotel business center and I feel self-conscious. I said “hello” to myself in the mirror. It was pretty accurate.
What person would you say has the best speaking voice in the world?
Barack Obama has a very warm palate of tones.
How about the best peaking voice?
The voice of Everest has been silent, but as it is trampled by millions seeking its summit, I believe it will rise up. (What are we talking about?)
Who needs to stop talking all together?
I’m often caught in the middle of my own monologue to a stranger and wonder— what’s that high-pitched beeping— “Oh! I’m still talking!”
What was the best conversation you had in the past week?
My boyfriend doing impersonations of our dogs.
If you’re in a group conversation, what’s your role?
Listener, laugher (Lady).
You’re buying a picture frame and notice that the stock photo in the frame is YOU. What do you do?
Call my manager to celebrate!
How do you stay in such tip top shape?
What’s your favorite exercise?
Elliptical while Netflixing.
How much can you bench?
What’s your relationship like with your parents?
What do you wish it was like?
What’s something you wish you could say to your parents but never would?
You guys, I’m going back to school in Library Science.
Do you think they’ll read this interview?
My Mom had me on Google-Alert –so I assume, yes. Hi, Mom!
How old is too old to start doing stand-up?
With technology, I think hospice care, or late 50’s-90’s, is the best time to start! Free time, great perspective on some edgy topics— death, chronic pain, loss, bedsores. The Internet is a 24 hour international open mic and the AARP membership is a growing, untapped audience. I can’t wait to see what my parents’ generation is going to come up with. They’re cra-zay.
What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever heard told by a child?
I like a fart noise.
What’s the least funny joke you’ve ever heard told by a child?
Hitting me on the head with a plastic baseball bat.
Do you know anyone you would consider a “hack”?
I certainly have the characteristics of what I’ve heard a “hack” is— heterosexual relationships, food, airport references. And there’s always
a new generation of “hack”— so, I’m sure whatever’s edgy now will become the norm and then, the people will rise up.
Do you know anyone you would consider a “hacker”?
I am in a commune of artistes. We do not speak of technology.
Angelina Jolie was in Hackers. How would you describe her whole “deal”?
She’s pretty great and all.
Since this is a sex-themed issue, do you mind if we ask you a few sex related questions?
Of course. I want to be obliging.
Sex: Overrated? Underrated?
UNDER! It’s so fun and funny.
What sex advice would you give to someone having sex for the first time?
What sex advice would you give to someone having sex for the last time?
Give it your 20%!
Pornography: what does the word mean to you?
Cash cow, harder than waitressing.
What’s a good outfit someone can wear during sex?
Who’s sexier? Steve Jobs or Steve Spielberg?
I can’t choose. They both have their sensual energies. Especially since Steve Jobs would be a ghost.
What’s your favorite Steve Spielberg movie?
ET. It reminds me of how I feel living in Los Angeles. Surviving off of Reese’s Pieces in a closet.
Ol’ Steve Spielberg is getting a little full of himself, no?
He has a lot to be proud of. He’s been able to do a lot despite being a tiny little man with girl hands.
When would you say Steve Spielberg jumped the shark?
This is where I mention Jaws.
Did you say Jaws? You know, because of the shark that’s in that movie?
Who directed Jaws 2?
I don’t know and I won’t check.
Did you even see Jaws 2?
No, I didn’t and I won’t. I simply will not watch JAWS 2.
A typical day for me involves approximately four hours of upright consciousness— all activities must be contained between 12 noon and 4 and then I fall into a heap of pugs. There is no room—with all of my snacking and responsibilities—to attend to all of pop culture.
Do you watch House of Cards?
Negatory, but my parents keep me up to date on Kevin Spacey’s shenanigans.
What is your favorite TV show, not including House of Cards?
DEREK!!!!!! And Suze Orman (available on iTunes!).
Which is more fun to play, House or Cards?
House is much more fun— especially grocery shop miming.
Do you care about the Beatles?
We keep in touch.
Who’s tall these days?
Is Manute Bol still a reference?
What do you do when you see someone over seven feet tall?
I enunciate clearly and loudly.
It’s like where do they even get off?
Well, they get off at whatever stop they want to but if they go to the end of the line— then, that’s their beeswax.
If you were a betting woman, what would be the name of the horse you’d bet on?
Braindead Megaphone – title of one of my favorite books – or Bert.
Are you a betting woman?
Have you ever stolen anything?
I have stolen food. And when I say stolen—I mean—relieved friends of old candy corn in a cupboard while they weren’t watching. Who is the victim?
Are you currently in possession of anything that doesn’t belong to you?
As a middle-class white woman, I’m sure there are a few things I’ve appropriated that I should return. I should probably give back reggae.
What is the quickest and easiest way to express disapproval?
Grimace and downcast eyes.
Boxers or brief...cases?
I’m going with Boxers. Petting dogs lowers your blood pressure, and business luggage is still evolving.
This article was originally published October 2013
READ MORE Gauntlet: 50 Questions:
In lieu of a real interview, we sent over 50 questions to Pete Holmes
and told him to answer as many as he could and that
regardless of how far he got, we'd publish all of them.
So you have a show?
Does that feel good?
Like real good?
Totes real good.
Why do you get a show and not someone like Lena Dunham? She deserves a show.
Lena Dunham has a wildly popular show called Girls. I’ll forward you a link.
How many times have you made love to Lena Dunham?
I do have a crush on Lena Dunham. She dates the guitarist from Fun and I like to think of myself as the ambassador of fun, so I might have a chance.
How many times have you made love to anyone?
My record is “I can’t believe this is happening!”
Have you ever made love to someone who didn’t consider it ‘making love’?
I’ve “plowed” a lover once or twice (once). One time thanks to some Italian Merlot I gave a girlfriend “the business.”
What kind of bed do you sleep in?
Regular flat. Not old-person reading-style or european-sex bed.
What kind of home do you live in?
A Pete homes.
What’s your dream home?
How do you maintain your glow?
A low of raw vegan food. That’s real. I have a glow. It’s because of a lot of raw vegan food. I’m taking this joke question as an opportunity to remind people that living, organic produce has the enzymes that naturally produce the healthy “glow” that makeup and skin products attempt to simulate. Read more on my raw vegan food blog Rawesome Veeg-Neck Tee which doesn’t exist.
What advice would you give aspiring comedians who want to lose weight?
www.RawesomeVeegNeckTee.tumblr.com which doesn’t exist.
Doctors: Yay or Nay?
I prefer Yachtors (doctors on big boats).
What about dentists?
If not for dentists, who would we lie to about flossing?
What’s your 4th favorite color?
Asians. Wait, what?
What’s your mother’s favorite song?
“Look at that Goat in the River, It’s Attacking that Child We Named ‘Forever’” (she’s from Lithuania)
What should it be?
“We Don’t Talk to Police” by the Ghetto Boys
Do you have a sister?
What movie do you hate?
The Dark Knight Rises. Here’s me as Batman making fun of it.
What movie do you tell people you hate, but your sister loves?
The Non-Existent Sisterhood of the Traveling I Don’t Have a Sister.
What movie does your sister love, but you also love because you’re family?
The Other Sister, Sister Act, Sister Act Two: The Other Sister Act.
And to be clear, you do have a sister, right?
Did you fuck my sister?
Is that a yes?
HOW DARE YOU??!!?
Who’s bald these days?
Howie Mandel and everyone in that Alien movie with the guy who was the star of the sitcom Roc. Which one was that? Alien 3? They had to shave their heads.
How many mugs of Pepsi do you drink in an hour, ballpark?
I don’t drink soda. www.RawesomeVeegNeckTee.tumblr.com
Can you imagine a red computer?
If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life, who would be making you do that?
Probably Mormon Jesus.
What is the best YouTube comment?
“This made me feel less alone for a moment. Also, UR GAY.”
What’s an example of a non-racist YouTube comment?
All YouTube comments are racist if you look hard enough.
What does a microphone taste like?
Pencil shavings you left wrapped in aluminum foil for two weeks.
Phonies or haters: who’s sexier?
I’m turned on by a hater with big phonies.
What was the last CD you bought?
Have you always loved The Cranberries?
I prefer their opener, Urinary Tract Infection.
Favorite white person on In Living Color?
The least coordinated fly girl.
Favorite black person on Monday Night Football?
I love all black people.
Favorite Jewish person in the biz? Any biz.
I love all Jewish people.
Halls or Ricola?
I just open the window while driving through the Stephen King movie “The Mist.”
Do you want to stop these questions?
I could stop at any time. This and Tylenol PM. I’m in complete control.
Don’t you know these questions can stop any time you’d like?
Chest hair’s making a comeback. Are you okay with this?
Back hair’s making a comechest. How do YOU feel about that?
What would you tell the you from 10 years ago?
What would you like to tell the you 10 years from now?
Sell your Yelp stock to our robot overlords or they won’t stop whipping us.
What would you tell me 10 years ago?
Help me invent Yelp.
Hm. Really seems like you don’t know me that well.
Raw honey is good for you. If you heat it, you lose all the benefits. Also, honey bees are responsible for 6/10ths of our food supply yet we keep fucking them over. TAKE CARE OF OUR BEES.
How often do you exercise?
I only lie about flossing.
What goes on when Ben Affleck and Matt Damon get together?
They mostly talk about me, I’d suppose.
What conversations do you think Will and Jada have at night?
“No, YOU are legend.”
What couple would you like to have a dinner party with?
No couples. See my Craigslist listing.
What are you bringing to that dinner party?
I got your bottle of wine right here (grabs pants).
Don’t you think they’d have that already?
Some of them have had it already (high fives everyone).
This article was originally published August 2013
READ MORE Gauntlet: 50 Questions:
Who'll be the surprise celebrity death of 2013?
People will be surprised when Nelson Mandela dies this year. No one ever sees suicide coming.
AIDS or HPV?
AIDS for sure. I love the 80’s!
So religion still a thing?
Religion will be always be around as long as we have old people and private schools. I’ve always considered myself an Athiest, but I just heard about Apathiesm! An Apatheist is someone who doesn’t care if there’s a God. I’ll be THAT, thank you very much.
Detective. Detective? DE-TECTIVE! You’re looking for me.
Of course I remember jeggings. Denim’s 9/11.
This article was originally published February 2013
What is the greatest state?
Inertia. Or California. I love California. You can go to the beach, the desert, and the mountains in one day. I've never done that, of course. It is a preposterous notion. But I do go to the pho place down the street from my house, which is also right next to my laundromat. How many states have a mediocre pho restaurant next to a laundromat right by where I live? Not Michigan! No, sir. Mostly because I don't live in Michigan. Plus, I can see the mountains from my house when the smog clears, which is never. The best state is California, because you can pretend to see smog-hidden mountains from a syringe-covered beach while remembering there's a desert you have to cross when you drive to Vegas, which is never, because Vegas is a Swiffer mop for overfed retards.
Who is the most American person of all time?
Psh. Evel Knievel. He invented the Grand Canyon and jumped over five presidents at once with a motorcycle and in 1972 he started eating a pound of Canadian soil a day just so he could shit it out and make it property of the USA.
Are you, or have you ever been a Communist?
One time I got in trouble for bringing candy to school because the teacher said if I wanted to bring candy, I had to bring some for everyone in the class, so the next day I did, and then Joseph McCarthy blacklisted me from being in the school play.
Someone is treading on you. What do you do?
KEEP YOUR HASHTAGS OFF MY BODY... wait, what did you say? Treading? Oh, nevermind. I don't know what treading is. Who is doing the treading? Everyone's got something that gets them off in this world. Maybe I'm down with treading. Gotta try it first.
What would your perfect flag look like?
First off, we need to get rid of these goddamn rectangles. I would have a circular flag that, when folded properly for ceremonies, would resemble a slice of pizza. I would have a pizza flag with Joey Ramone in the middle of it.
Photography by Mandee Johnson
This article was originally published October 2012