« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#48: John Mulaney, Comedian Turned Broadway Star

2016-11-30
John Mulaney, known for his stand-up comedy and his work on "Saturday Night Live," first turned to meditation while filming a short-lived sitcom that bore his name, "Mulaney." He now has a daily meditation practice, which he often practices in a dark dressing room before he goes on stage for "Oh, Hello," the two-man Broadway show he co-wrote and stars in with fellow comedian Nick Kroll.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Oh, not rolling. Who are we willing? We are well? Yes. Ok good were rolling tonight, I'm John Delaney citizens, so people where our voices were so we ve done when a lot of amazing packets, but these guys among are most delightful guess. John Mulaney is a comedian. You may have seen him in some of his specials that have been on comedy central. He wrote for Saturday Night live, he had a short lived sitcom on Fox, which was canceled at which cost him a lot of emotional tumult, and it was during that period that he turned to meditation. So we're going to talk about that and as you'll hear he's really raw the honest about that period in his life. He has bounced back really. Well, though, with more stand up around the country and specials and he now has hit show on Broadway, a two man show that he co road and co, starting with his fellow comedian, an old friend, Nick Crawl. It's called oh hello. I've seen
it's amazing. It can be running on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre through January. Full disclosure, as sometimes happens on the show John, is, as is the case with some other guests, a personal friend of mine. I don't expect a lot of journalistic objectivity, but do expect a really interesting and very funny conversation. So here is generally for maybe see this is a ten percent. Have your podcast ambient air When did you start meditating? How why I started meditating after I read this is such a plug after I read your book ten then happier by Dan Harris who, as you know, the answer to that I was in oh hi. I got your book I have it. We are to get a book by like a dude. You actually do not know I wouldn't want to actually read my friends book at I find a kind of a new at an interesting you had an interesting life would may pockets of which I had not ever spoke. Yellow
that's that's. I guess I never knew how much you did as a war correspondent as a foreign correspondent. I never knew about any bit. I mean I remember China cram everything I wanted to say about the book into either a tweet or so, Please, let me very long. Email rubbed, thou there was that, but then I was either no. I think I had two like do. It was your journal as I go to your favorite books the year and I had like one sentence to sum up: ten percent happier- and I was trying to say, like you can approach this as a news junkie or as someone who likes the memory of a foreign correspondent or whatever electors. So many ways in I came at a just from knowing you personally, which is good, but what is I was his ailing. I go to your stuff, but you're actually performing and making me laugh. You know if I go see, or do you doing and upwork you are the tv show or you going to talk to her with your current Broadway show it's not like. I have to sit there and listen to you. Tell me about like every corner of your personal,
That is so that rights when I'm not interested in people making me laugh you because your border, because that's what you do, but that's kind of disease kind. That's a particular disease. Many comedians comedians watched, so many documentaries. There must be it's it's a true like we want sad realism. So anyway, no Europe, you as it is exact kind of candid memoir, that of also an interesting life. There's not a candid memoirs of uninteresting lots. Yes, that is true anyway. Thank you for saying that so you you're it oh hi and you read the book. We don't really needs with a book but more interested in What was going on your life that that the idea of meditation was not repellent to you and then how soon you acted on it? So I was I did this show for Fox that did not go well. In the end I mean it was a long long journey in the end result was that it didn't work out that well, the so called millennium, which is my name. So we had Richard argument
so we had Sergio or the name. Oh well, I have always wondered if I should have taken a stage name, because I sometimes I'm saying something. I'm like your grandfather doesn't need to pay for their own people came over from Ireland. to escape a famine right now, you're onstage, just selling everyone out, stir a fair enough. Em and what I would I be able to dissociate who I am from the comedian that I am in. Is that even a good idea? I don't know, but I thought about that intact, thing about it or people who, like has adrian real name. I have no idea yeah good seek has now you can go ahead, sting in his in Higgins secretly. Thank that's cause, I'm not there yet or I hate him too. He might think he might think. I also just like that. no staying, I'm allowed people have these nothing bottlenecks himself, but yeah. I was referring to his self. His self esteem out more referred to the fact that he could separate in the way that your rhapsodize about
yeah, but sometimes one eye when people like jungle, any Saxon like what that's not fair to like that eleven year old kid that was John Mulaney. He didn't do all these things right, Zack, though in his own, specially oh yeah tired, but but but what a sensitive I mean if he read that in printed age and any would have been very upset, people say how Milady Saxony, you ve actually slowed her servant. Of course, courts really, of course you're. So likeable thanks that thanks, it's a good, I'm glad proceeded. I get a lot of very nice compliments and nice feedback. I've been very lucky. I've been many many pats on the back yet because I've been in large groups of people like freaking out about over you where payment of these rooms Carnegie hall- oh that's that I was having border none upward, allocating I, when I went to see the Carnegie Hall and I've I was just in childbirth, fear and Broadway. What detonate relies on the illicit work? Sir? It's a shoe. Britain wants, you were doing, theatre, beautiful places,
Everybody loves. You saw a woman who's calling you says you sort of all this I mean in I've gotten I've gotten great reviews of the attribute have gotten mean tweets tons of nice sweet. None of this is complaining. I'm just saying we are specifically talking about the stage next of yes I always wondered like I have to be when I'm like at the doctor sick, I'm like the the name, is Melaney John, so I'm sort of like should name be separate from the name that you can say so It's too late now either way it well how his mom Johnny, starting with two hours, that would yeah, of course through as that would probably not. In fact, other people have tried it and it doesnt work whose traded Mc Guire Brooks. He tried it may career member not a whole separate per cent, boy Brooks, did a whole side claim on Dan. You dont know about NASA. He had a small soul pact, people are nodding in the room, they know about it, If anyone knows I am not,
There are two thousand I room in the press these gains, Haider was I'm been dying or say out of our photo. Journalists in the room knew the answer, so It's a bit clearly go well, I haven't heard of exactly exactly wasn't. It was not well received putting on a wig and so back and saying you have a different. Didn't it didn't go I'll after years of being famous Garth back ok anyway. So when I read your book, I was working on us Fox out. We had waited six episodes than we had almost three months of not shooting. While we wait to hear if we'd make more episode and then we made seven more episodes so in between those two I was reading the book, and I was probably at peak stress but peak ambition and on some level just not not at all liking the balance I had you know and any kind of feeling,
feeling like I was on like Mars like living on Mars and I wasn't comfortable there. I think some people are comfortable on Mars. Matt Damon, Matt Damon Oak, with lived on Mars, yet movies exploiting the jackal later I thought you were alike. because this could have nobody literally wasn't a movie. He was uncomfortable on Mars. You weren't, do you right? There are few triumphant scenes that good has grown potatoes and stuff like that you I now, but what happened to that potato farm? I don't think we'll ever get out So I was like this is weird air to live in and I don't know if I like it that much and I was a but I had the feeling that I could not be introspective or I would lose momentum, which I think was a good because, but there are many things your book, but I think the idea
of like you can live in an urban environment and hustle and work hard or you can be in an ashram like staring at the wall, false dichotomy yeah. So that was that just the start of it. I guess there's many things I I do want to reduce the book to just one thing or my reaction to just one thing or what meditating standard is one thing, but that that was deafening, jumping off point and so you're no high? You actually start meditating there, yes did the did exactly what you did try to for a few minutes and hated it, and then I went to Chicago right after it, and my parents have like we still have like this is just a big ass. Is there a lot of kids and there's a lot of empty rooms? There's a lot of good places to be, I meditate on cuz, it's like in it when my parents are at work, it's just an empty house and
I tried it more and more while I was there for that week, which is one I e mail, you I think I started doing it for about just out of just out of ambition, a set of China for fifteen minutes. That's pretty good yeah. It was for going from three minutes of fifteen, begun, and I think I had maybe four or five days are doing it, and in the middle of that I got some email regarding an edit of an episode that normally would sort of spike my anger levels out of control and I'm members reading it, and I was able to kind of process it, and I was also able to separate the good experience of shooting the episode from the difficult experience of what was gonna get added down in the episode and go that that does not. I just never thinking like that, does not change the fact that you had a good time making, which is again,
not in your book, but no, but that that's a great example of the rubber hitting the road pretty quickly. We! U done just a little bit of meditation, and here you are faced with an unpleasant data point and instead of just Letting it yankee around you. Actually, there was a moment of reflection. was a moment of reflection and I was having anger for the first time like out loud, while working on the tv show the appeal fiercely yeah. Before that I'd law, you write a safer not on the set at over the phone. While I share have picturing that line so do I I had it was weird and it felt like out of body and it felt like uncontrolled would just by way of contacts. So Europe career, leading up to that of out, makes some statements. You correctly, we have gone wrong. Gradual, largely a writer understand a comedian, so you were doing a ton of
traveling as a static meeting, be arrived at one of the senior writers and on Saturday Night live, and this was a huge development. Free Fox came and say we're gonna give you show you called him a lane We didn't Bennett NBC and it was a pilot there and then they pad I honour and took it to far right. I was kind of its own coup as well I'm right, I'm rarely happens just building up the amount of confidence that real debt has really happened. Value for network passage to again not an expert in the south, but if a network passes on the sycamore were damaged goods, yes, so you are able to bring the fox. This was a very, very heavy time and I don't blame you for getting I can only imagine how stressful does is to your first show its get your name on it and that pressure can make you snappy yeah pressure, plus no context for anything you know like, am. I am I supposed to walk around going. Am I supposed to ever say the words excuse me them
My name is on the show or do only monsters or do you sometimes have to have an ego, or should you never have any great? I said I'm gonna write a tell all about how the worst boss ever running. Show it was I the best boss ever running, show ya at what point? Do you put your foot down at what point? Do you get angry? No one was quite maybe I was. I was also not asking for that advice, but also I didn't, feel like I had a grid for that. I wouldn't even know where to start, and so I just blew up on a phone call and it was like not it didn't help, it was not good. Rarely does it really didn't help and I just felt bad and I I I also then apologize for it, which I felt you know in retrospect it was like well in apologizing. I tried to conceal he'd, what I'd fought for on the call Mozilla System Mass, but I'm visceral memory of being on the phone. feeling like I have never yet this much before in my life, wow yeah
sir I've never yelled in this way? The way Doesn't a movie radio, like men are no, let me get this straight, so you'd know no hold on a second. Could you just said this, but then last week you said that so will you lying then? Are you lying now? You know that I know I know. I just explain it to me. Explain it to me. My heart rate is rise, I'm I'm yet. I am stressed out just thinking it, so I do not just think about it. like the I am really enjoying it ain't. So so, ok, so you you are? This? Is the this is good emotional context here, and you see and start meditating in the here was as he now that might have been rage. You were and then all of a sudden. Actually it was obviously not off
but your reaction was less heated than an otherwise would have it wasn't just blanket seeing red and also I do have a tendency to go. I got mad about that. Email. Air go the whole experience it I can tainted. Experience would like what a great party, but at the very end, someone said saying to me the piss me off zones. Right and so did you keep meditating from there. I tried to an didn't. I didn't. We went back into production very come by the way, tat people far I tried do but didn't we went back into production. I made a lot of promises to myself about doing it and then totally didn't do it and when- and why did you start back up? Ok, so the show was very poorly received by all humans and cancelled so that not by all humans? Ok, but it's not.
My region of people it didn't? Even when the popular ass only I was cancelled laws, the popular vote and easy? and the amount of evil had voted for it as it was the Gary Johnson of divisions. Ok, ok, so you would you so now you're some people voted for, but I'm not be not like self flagellate. In saying that, I think it's a healthy thing to look at it and go that did not work by most all metrics you feel showed in work or which is poorly receive lots of whole other question, which I can't say I've. I know the answer to our have fully unpacked. You know, because when you have saying that you did so many jobs on and were so frightened centre on, and then people dislike it. You want to learn lessons from it and you want to move on yeah right and you want to move on to fast ass. The first move is like: well, let's do something else.
But you can't do and I accept a hit a wall. I went on tour, it was cancelled and I went on the road for days later. Thinking like I'm just gonna, leave this behind me and go back to being a stand up and I've totally processes. Experience Well I mean we were talking a little bit during that time and you were definitely working on processing it. I mean you were definitely willing to talk about it and work at through, I hit a wall fast realizing. I couldn't run it. Yes, I had to go through it rather than around, and so in that period, did you is that when you started meditating again yes insect I think I first city I went on to us that there was a first city. I'm answer. It was like I am. I I always try to circumvent begin by virtue. Of course it is the capital after all,
I was doing shows in Sacramento, and every bit of anxiety at ever had just came like crashing down this sitting in the hotel being like. Oh man, I'm done and was your wife with you now that unfortunate, whose it was bad. As everybody knows, your wife, animal Elinor Manning. I didn't know whether we will get a state. I guess she for people figuring out right, she's written ass, she wrote a very cool book of daily the daily face, severe her makeup expertise. She does the make up for oh hello, which yeah she does this irrational effects make up and as our wig supervisor for oh hello, she makes beautiful beautiful, victorian lamp. She does. If you you, can follow her on Instagram, even see those lampshade. he's. Also, just this I can say with real authority a wonderful human beings is one of the human being and reason are no real. Yes, she is the result. We know each other and she also is a real. So this, I also can say with comment a big source of strength and comfort for you per
I asked whether she was in the room with you in Sacramento, because you really should have been No, not blaming her, I'm saying would have helped yea it would have helped it would have helped. also in the period where started meditating that break between episodes. I got married, so it wasn't like we got in and I got married. I didn't just get married so low. It was. I got it wasn't a time with no activity right right, running away. Yes, although, let's be honest, she did do all of that. We are absolute, site that I say we were planning the where I was occasionally checking in as my wife plan, a perfect one. So I started That is the biggest thing they got me back into it was. I was having a like a lot of episodes of panic, witches at which you can totally relate to yet. But I do know that that you, I knew your feeling anxious and depressed
but I didn't know you. Actually it was actually pen longer onstage panic or just occasionally it was. You know it was like it wasn't, always the complete shortness of breath. I don't enjoy physically feeling this way it it got to that point a couple times and it still you know I've still had to breathe my way down over the years from some kind of, just flood of adrenalin or anxiety like that. It was more like I would feel very anxious all day before a show, and it was kind of and the Sonny you doing fur. for I know that was the other things. I've done it for at that point, eighty eight years, and it was like my favorite thing in the world to do, so walking around being like does everyone hate me? Have I totally ruined my life and I totally ruin my career? Is there any coming back from? This is probably no coming back from this. This is one of those things is welcome
back from having others thoughts alone in a hotel room in Sacramento is just It's so uncomfortable physically uncomfortable for me, anxiety that it kind of ruined ruin the whole experience leading up to Russia. And then on stage. Sometimes I would be dancing there. Thinking like it was actually a lot more before a sometimes I would I'd have tightness on stage, but it was kind of residual. It was just this like ball anxiety all day, and so how did your meditation help with any that yeah I completely Cosette was like it didn't always help in the moment, and it didn't know is help that day, but I was very, method starting around December of that year, to doing it every day, and I think the cumulative effect of that was.
Very, very good you, but I really did I've had days where, where meditate for twenty minutes at the hotel, then I get backstage in a meditative like seven minutes, just to kind of grandma just to be like also like now, I'm in this theatre, NOME and space. This is gonna, be great. There's a ton of people out there. You know, but be just some, how to do it in the space I was about to perform and helped, but I'd still be on the site. You know I'd! Stop that meditation. With my second of the day I put my shoes back on and I'd be like who I'm still flooded with all these thoughts, but it is definitely became a cumulative thing that totally jobs with my experience think it doesn't fix your problems, all does is just equip you d better handle them. Oh it stuck in the beginning at fixed my problems that I should say the and in the first few times I meditated after that
almost like. Oh I've, calm down gotcha, all the cobwebs are gone it your life. Is it but that didn't last envy the twill, effective. It became long term. It became like a long term. Truck is supposed to resort to yes, yes, what is it? no that in fact, one of the things that can get in the way of it working is you expecting it to do a certain thing, because high expectations is a hindrance in meeting like that's right from the Buddhist Scriptures desire for force up to feel different through adaptation, we'll get in the way of whatever is supposed to happen. All that's supposed to happen really. Is that you're supposed to see clearly whatever's happening already and that them that actually is magic, because once you see, I am like I'm feeling all these things from thinking all these things and its manifesting this way in my
that actually is and of distance, so that you'd aren't yanked around by it anymore. Yes, the magic to going in expecting look. I want to come out of this bliss downs and down. Is in my view, and in my experience like a recipe for disappointment totally, I think I what I've I've first went back to it thinking it was. going be like when you stop as a you know, when you saw that little kid and then after you felt great, I never did that, but when he sobbed as a team. Publicly now I was like you know, like very cathartic, like
cuz. I wouldn't you know it's one of those things are like. I wouldn't been breathing all day, so the first time I've even taking a deep breath. So it was very like blissed out feeling right and then I had to get, but then it's like did men in Sacramento to Denver. I had to go to Chicago going and like the feelings, didn't go away, and I wasn't done processing that I had to say, rational there. So it is like it, it just kept happening and I kept meditating and there are many weeks it it was like this is pointless. Show. Did you quit? What did what was the move? Now I was, it was physically Unc. I guess it was physically uncomfortable. The anxiety enough that I would all
they'll be happy to exercise or sit down and meditate gotcha, but it was a really like. I was very focused and I was on this tour and was really like monastic existence. It was kind of perfect for it, but it's also set it up. It was not a clear test. Run for meditating in life can save a few things about my view of you. During this period we met me may I say to say nice things, but but but I think you can tell a lot about somebody by how they handle the diversity, and I thought you handled it. Just from my vantage, my wheelchair,
do conversations about it on email and then person that incredibly well bad things happen to all of us or and sometimes we let it make us into monsters, and you did the exact opposite and I've never a few things that stand out of my mind. One just talking to you about it and you were so would like forthright and just clearly like the thing up and look at it from every different angle, but then the moment on Kimmel which I can feel it a re, create, as I know You know what you said where he asked you how to show when what it was your line again. I think I said well none of the critics liked it, but fortunately audience didn't like it. He something I've. Accordingly, we had low ratings. Yet for something along those lines with very very funny, and then you you, your bounced back a my view was like really trade. because you then not long thereafter, went and performed Carnegie Hall and as amazing, that was incredible,
Emma your first line when you walked out and stages well back to stand up a real area and it was great people, Loveday was sold out and it was really then that was the other thing. Ok, so now could have put guess what I'm so you could have put your head in the sand. You have just let it make you into a toll, jerk or or twitter, and you did neither of those things and you walk through it. Even though, is really hard so- I think that's all really awesome is all thanks. That's a huge credit to Anna. My I've who, without whom I dont know if I would have gone through it, is much. I think it would have absolutely tried to go around it or bury it or, but you can't you You can't be going through that and come home to someone with whom your honest and talk to an not and go yet everything's gonna be great. I think gothic repression, any you can't. Just I don't know,
we are at least I'm very grateful that we don't have that relationship at all. There was no It was like coming home like having got my aspect. There is no way to pretend it hadn't happen she didn't pretended tat. No one had it all and she also always very protective but was kind of like this is survivable. You know, I remember, as I said to her, like don't know what this is or something and she was like. You were never made fun of his again. He said you ve never been unpopular before because, like oh and shoes I gotta lotta people go to usually in high school their debts. Otherwise, I think the point out I mean she was just like this is not I mean she wasn't implicitly, there was the underlying thing of. Like John, you are playing Carnegie,
we're married and we're really happy and we're really lucky. You can't hit zero. You can hit five, but you can't hit the zero you know. So in terms of self pity, I was not going to be able to have too much in a good way and but any added, same time. It we weren't pretending it wasn't, sounds like the exact right mix. and suddenly Varig works was vague and so did it get better? How did it get better? Such time? I mean ice. I still will have anxiety that I need to like you know. If I've been,
Meditating for awhile. I will hit you know I'll hit a day where I'm like so mad about something insignificant or significant, but it's it's there. I'm a cumulative person, I'm very like polite in nice day to day and a lot of things get shelved the way, and then I get really mad. My dog got sick, she's, fine, now she's, always she's, always just been a little second than his bonds is back in this great, but she was sick at one point, maybe a year after the tv shows and I was talking to someone- and I was like I don't understand. Much is that she has acid reflex in there's no one and I was going on and on- and I was like this whole city and they were like well hello. How does our LOS Angeles to blame for this, and I was like I don't know had about a lot of things and that that still happens to watch,
premeditation practice like now, sir. Oh, I do twenty minutes a day. I try to do it at the theatre at the licence, Theatre, so we ve been doing the oh hello on Broadway, show what you saw and one and eight. Maybe thank you very much and we were just talking off MIKE about when you doing the same thing over and over again now in a show that is we improvise a lot, but when saying the same lines, and I felt this way with stand up to and you same as same lines over and over again you mind, as we were saying, has a tendency to wander. Yes, it does and that's totally natural
but scary and an end jarring and can be like slightly unnerving and your os in front of an audience said that the eight the adrenaline in the stakes are high. So your kind of playing with like a few different elements that can really throw you, so I have tried to do it closer to the show at the theatre. We have there's lots dressing rooms upstairs that we don't need this is just to mention were not like the cast of musical. So there's all these empty dressing rooms and I'd their pitch black. When you shut the door and I'll just sit and earned. Do twenty minutes then at what it? What is your pact? What it looked like? What you actually doing your mind? Oh the one thing I do that the one thing that I
didn't take from your book is that you don't have to sit twisted up on the floor. You actually do. I sit Lotus on the floor with great yeah, but it's I don't need to. I think I'd sit Strader. If I didn't know, I dont tell people not to do I'm just saying if you can't do it as because I can't each but no if, if some sort of great asian Master were in the room, they would in fact some radiation masters are really dogmatic about hey. You really do need to sit in this way. So if you can do it, great yeah I've, weird legs and they're kind of twists and bend, and so I can do at night I'm it's it. It's not a perfectly quiet environment. Like a hotel. You hear people coming going. I've I've really tried to embrace that run like that is their sound guy. Walking up the state that is a pipe like tat is the sound of a pipe again just relax.
like I. I've had really controlled environments. A lot like you know, our house is kind of quiet and- and this is good cause- it's I don't know, organs me to the environment. So you're feeling your breath coming and going out? No, when you hear annoys you noticed that and is go back your breath it I got it. I really just try to go. That's Linda walking on the whole breathe, and that is that pipe again, does your wife meditate? Yes, I don't know she is currently. that's a good question says: that's not a topic of discussion between two. Oh that's. Maybe one thing I need to work on is saying: I'm gonna go meditate. So what do you say to she figures? Menu item?
bathroom, no, I sing and NGO lay down interesting. Does you're Custar slashed co, writer slush long time, friend, Nick Crawl meditate, I believe somewhat yes, as well. Do you considered meditating? If take yoga and they do that thing. At the end, you, I guess, but it may, I think, a lot of people use that is like nap time or like planning what they're going to do. Next, everyone uses a diploma there. Yesterday, So I generally in that one of the great meal apps yeah, Higgs What am I of us and I sure, vassenka as meal planner, I think than its proud. If your firm it of Lee like planning your meal, then you are definitely not meditating. That is totally true. Nick everyone's open in meditation. There's no reason to lie, but I do sir, I'm gonna go shut, my eyes or light on
sometimes I say I'm gonna meditate, but I'd definite Lee EM, don't say it out loud that much so easy, because in some part of you suspects that either your wife or you're, good friend, slash partner will be like he's a weirdo yes, must be. No. I started to yeah. I still have two like the word is like its region. one of those words that I grew up with his being like what like a funny hippy on a tv show does. No. I guess I get it around the office before I. Nightline during the we gaze, I meditated my office Russia, meditation rumour on account of my office without in increasingly enough? I had nothing to do with setting up. I was gonna happen organically within the within the company, and I dont tell people that that's what I'm doing and why I think that the same kind of reared reason that year
I gotta acupuncture every week- and I tell you, I'm gonna the doktor and to see to the extent that some him weirder, though, to go to the doktor S, not an apparently that seemed to me as like. I want well, though private The intrigue does too, I am constantly going over there, so you think acupuncture is in the same category of meditation that way in that I lie about it, well in that yeah. I guess I didn't expect to get to this, but yeah. Now that we're talking about it. I disguise those sides of me so I know that you're going what you will not be another one acupuncture by other goes every week do ok, we got the same guy located other people, your lot you're lying through, not your wife, I'm lying to other people. Yes, I also like it's. I get so much so many benefits from acupuncture that I a kind of Kant.
Miss it. However, it's really hard to be like. I absolutely cannot do that meeting, because I have acupuncture Europe for a tv star. You could say whatever Well, I'm on Broadway run ok you're, Broadway star. Thank you the EU can say what have you on the spectrum of crazy things that for fear, but I am like Chicago and we're like irish cattle feed fair enough young. I like that about you. You, like you'd, feel fully comfortable being a complete monster about well, I don't you come to being a complete or a whole person, because the acupuncture meditate after that makes him etiquette and then not them? Yes, ok that the actually, if you ve, seen it more holistically than I was saying it
only about oh hello, hello is myself and crawled doing to characters a neck pleasure. Captain him gale. I play curtain him George. We ve been doing these guys for about ten years to two thousand and six we started doing them as sketch comedy characters. We hosted a showdown, the EAST village, the two guys from the upper West side of Manhattan like seventy like deep seventies and Columbus, not far from where we are now. gale is an also ran actor Georgia's and also ran novelist. They wish they were Richard Dreyfus and Philip Roth there, a hundred percent, not their absurd. With the kind of Man Alan. All that is a turtleneck in sport coat alerted bitter actor that he's the peak for them and also someone that, in in the narrative of their show, they stock and they're just tote bad guys. These guys with strand, took bags.
the or these people you ve observed in nature like. Where did the genome? We saw them as we saw what we saw these two guys that were the jumping off point at the strand, bookstore which is in downtown the downtown yet not, though not the pop ups in times square down too. I guess what I'm saying is that so how did you placed them in the deep seventy, oh, that was more kind of like the Woody Allen nests of it. You know up reseca weight as a yeah. Well I, like they put them deep. So maybe the heart of I mean now I was about to say part of its that I'm an outside it in New York. So I, but now I upper West side sounded right. It is it feels salute be refunded. Precisely I mean where we are in a Lincoln Square right now, but so not far from this parliament, you're talking about, but I live air and, like you, ve nailed a certain type. There are many in the West village. There are many in Albuquerque Berkeley, Chicago everywhere, Boston do people who fit,
stereotype, older men who are like your carried relevant, another round did no known today, did they see themselves in what you guys are doing? No, no one. Because I didn't see anybody know how things are I didn't see anybody who even fit that damn in the audience. The night I was there was all well. Let me be careful how I phrases we did. We have people, around the same age as Georgia. They enjoy Sheila I mean the Show- is about these guys look Back on their life in New York, in it in the night in the nineteen eighties and add catch and steely Dan and rent contrive departments- and it's about a lot of it is a very silly show. We also basically just muppets but through silly show rounded and in in a real nice that we really appreciated. As like fetish eyes of nineteen, seventeen New York had, I think, other people who experience that also appreciate theirs
lot of the show is written by two men in the thirties, but we wrote it in an altered state where we were two men and our seventies. That's cures, for you is like an irish guy from, cargo like. Why should you be interested in this? I don't know I don't know, but I like it so much Y all because you were at an event that the strand bookstore and no so we we saw these well. We saw these two guys at the strand bookstore at the time Nick and I trying to figure out a way to host the stand up show in the east village. We saw these two guys near each buying a copy of Alan Alders. Autobiography. Never have you doc stuff. No, each buying hardcore copies and they looked like Burton Ernie like in the sense of the relationship like they looked like two platonic friends who might share an apartment together, but they were also selfish enough to eat, buy a copy of the book like they look joined at the hip, but also you know, as Nick says they wouldn't share a copy of the book with a price Euro Murphy bed.
though we followed them in and they are. You actually followed him yeah. We had nothing to do with like twenty three and twenty that, and we have nothing to do with wondering eyes and they had a kind of cadence of like John Stewart. You know like that type of that that very as assured wrong pronunciation, a the play, its confident, confidently financing words wrong, he's a big part of Ohio It was at that time where, like the New York Times, had just discovered John Stuart, and how like we get a moment for like two years, you could sense, marked by saying kids get their politics from the daily. Yet it was peak peak time for that it was lot there is. There is a great. These men were authorities on everything, and you learn this: You followed them a long enough to actually hear them talk. Now they were just day got it and
and it set off like a bunch of associations for both of Us Nick having grown up in Westchester New York, myself having but a fetish eyes. New York from afar and watched a lot of film in the seventies said in New York and that kind of, like weird, sank, TAN Tan Khakis Brown, Turtleneck Brown. Jack just kind of an awful look where a guy had hair like oatmeal any like war high wasted quarters in you is an architect, and this was like a bachelor that all women in the film are in love with. That type of thing was just very interesting and very very familiar to both of us, and we wanted to play those types of guys, and so you then started hosting this event in the house. Dan showed a place called graffiti and we would come up and say like we what we really wanted to get into the hut and ten scene. and we're going to bring in summer you young comedians, and we will
interview them and we're just. We was kind of what I mean it was very quickly what it is. It was these too liberal, intolerant men who you know talk down to people but are, but our just clearly life's losers, life's glorious losers, Andy you think you have any inkling that this was very still on running. Stick. It didn't see what whatever stop it, because we like to doing it. So much I remember I had a list of things I wanted to do in maybe two thousand and eight when, as a writer Saturday LIVE and one of them, I still have the list. amazing, I want to do a scan of special, and I did that, and the next thing I wanted, we wonder, was a oh hello party. Album was like a party records what you called like a comedy record in the sixties, like sort of like for adults, the put on the cocktail party, the two thousand year old man, isn't exactly a party album, but it was kind of thereby I was like
You should record an album like that, where they get, these guys think they're doing sophisticated urbane humor, but it sucks- and we never did that, but we ended up doing the characters on Kroll Show when Nick got the show on comedy central, we very quickly started doing these short more like filmic, pc the characters. Then the second season we started having them host a prank show called too much tuna, which was a bit. We had talked about downtown alot that we had a show called too much. Do you know where your interviewing someone and then there's tuna serve than ever and everything grinds to a halt cause it's too much done so that was kind of in the air. We all remember that time in that was the too much sooner really connected with people They were always characters that comedy people liked, but we may be couldn't get alot attraction with. We are turned down by the Aspen comedy festival. They said the show was too old, like words, the young young festival, in your playing old, guys, we're alike
Did I ever thing you would run this long. We always thought, like others, kind of maybe two specific, but somehow too much tuna broke it wider and we started getting tweets in Instagram from like a fourteen year old girls in Dallas, who would be like too much tuna and somehow I just really yet they were just psych. Ok, these guys. They're like tunafish. They, like tuna, salad, I get it is somehow is like some time you just need like a hook and eyes with attitude It was really just like. Oh I get it these guys. Guys are losers of pranks yoga do much tuna for some reason: it crystallized it, and this was after the cross shows. Yet the crawl show both as a platform, obviously in neglecting is doing Show it was like it broke it to a wider audience, but also it somehow broaden did in a net like
when you can go abroad in a weird way. That's the best thing for comedy when, like what weirder about your thing makes it go. Wider. Yeah areas is a great thing. So how did you get the boy, were your writing a play any number of things you could have done with it after the cultural staff, including nothing, including nothing and and by the way we're getting tweets. But not the public, wasn't bang downloader, but we did a priest it that it had kind of a wider appeal than we thought. We really did appreciate that so then, my show cancelled Nick decides to stop doing crozier after three seasons. Why, in order he d really come he did what he wanted to do it that they really saw. I may as very very admirable thing Why is recording the watch where he was like I've done? What I want to do with this and I'm gonna walk.
the way, rather than just keep making for the sake of making? Very I mean you know, I don't know humanity's was reset so then we did an event to promote the third season at the ninety second street, why in character interviewed by apologies Willie guys. This has not happened and no apology isn't necessarily will it s amazing, so cat S arrival so no Ellen elder. he's no Alan all well, no one is, we were were interviewed in. We did an audience you and I, and it was like the first and we had done them- lie yeah like seven years. We done them on film for coming central and it was so it was like it was an hour and a half we prepared so little and by the way we thought we'd prepared, but we prepared like three jokes: we just kept talking at the hotel about other stuff.
Unlike what we should order before the show to eat, and we just never wrote anything down, and then we had stage- and we really did like ninety minutes and it was so fun. And after that someone asked what we're gonna do next to me, said of a law on Broadway, which was a joke, that we immediately knew we would do well or that we would try to answer. You started not on runway no started off. Broadway you'd be very hard to start on brought yeah. It's insane that we're even on areas coming in a really good way in a great way, but it is totally bizarre. Did you think when you, as you started, work where was authorities Unitary Lane, yeah Nedda yeah. Did you think you as in a limited run there did you think, ok or a visit and will do this, and then I will go off into other things or no. I can't and that we hadn't already talked about Broadway we'd, both in big theatre fans and we both a lot of theatre in New York? I dont know if we thought
oh I don't know. We don't know that much about the space and not enough. We thought like within the next two years, will be in that space so We are a little ignorant of the steps and I think that's her- have initially helped our confidence as well. like all the way to do broadways do half progress. So we did this run at the cherry lane and we both ban on television. We done the show we done crawl shown. We done his characters. We, we sold that our run and like eight hours, which was great great great way to do it, and we just had to do this. We just then did the show and we got some reviews in and then from there we we were still thinking about going bigger in New York. It still just been the most fun thing we ever did. It was still just like
nothing more fun in this. We both have other things going on, but let's make sure we let's tour this year, and I was the first step we took it to Boston, Chicago San Francisco, Washington DC, Montreal, San, Diego, bigger and bigger theatres, which is good for scale, because we went from doing it to a hundred and seventy nine seat, theatre off Broadway to like thousands cynthia- and I was just like- Let'S- what's it like these guys to project more scale, I have this. and have the show be a bigger experience and then look the unbelievable break of it all was we got interest to come to Broadway and were able to do it and were able to do it?
a year after doing off Broadway both the calendar, the very fact that it exists. All of it is astonishing. The more I've learned about the theatre world were very, very flattered and and lucky to be an end in that space. I have to admit, though I think some of our ignorance helped our initial. You know diver yeah absolute having ignorance, actually it in some rare cases can be bliss, or at least foolish motivation, yeah sure the so you, the original idea was that you guys we're gonna, stop the show. When does anyone here, I'm trying to think back now and I dont know if I remember exactly because we are sort of like ok, we just did off Broadway. That was awesome. Will I think we thought about a week at the beacon.
I think we thought about. We knew there was a lot of demand to see the show in New York, so we were like how do we capitalize off that? What's a fun way to do that, a theatre in union square? That's three hundred seats as opposed to do under we do like a longer run. We just didn't know what pieces would fall in which order was so we decided to go on tour and I think it was going on tour and be nice reviews. We got off Broadway that helped people and our This may be seen in that light and although they had been interested since off Broadway and now but you never to showcase, can extend your running through January. Twenty second rent, yeah butter, know in this area, but we, our degenerate, were, I think, soon and in what? Beyond that you ever do you have any That's what you're gonna do beyond that are going on tour doing Stanhope after that, and we You have more we'd like to do with the characters movie? Oh well, we'd like to film this show in some regard those shower doing and then
yeah. We're up were open, anything I'm not being cagey. We don't know but yeah sure, with whom movie. If people want to learn more about, you were working on their website. I have a website. It's nice. Everything does much on it. Ain't gonna, Wikipedia I've to specials unnatural. I like those that this it's just me the whole time and then you know I have twitter and those things and dialogue. Where do we you're after I am I deleted from my phone? Why? Just in the past forty eight hours were happened. Just overload overload is just post election stuff, ok and indeed you d people. I learn about. Oh hello, is there a website for their did? Go? Oh hello, Broadway, dotcom! Ok, within a lot, I guess, but you are among them, tippy tat, most delightful guess. I can't believe it's absolutely true. I've listened to the show you the greater the guests of an amazing, but you
maybe he's really Shi Ite, I mean necessarily what links the writing. The book you know is really helpful to my whole life and I dont think I could have approached it without someone who is a straight laced guy thanks for being uptight and also meditating. It helped me, even though I lie about it. ok there's another edition of the ten percent happier podcast. If you liked it, please make sure to subscribe radar and if you want to suggest topics, we should cover a guess. We should bring. hit me up on Twitter at Denbigh Harris. I also want to thank heartily the people who produced this podcast and really do pretty much all the work: Lauren Efron Josh, Cohan, SARA Amos and crew Cab, Steve Jones and the head of ABC News, Digital Dan silver I'll talk to you next Wednesday. there's not a person in America who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona,
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every day. This is my last day of the cylinder stretch to drive off about photos from one of our Visa or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a home school mom and now in a new programmes. From eighty see news you gonna hear from damage. I she went back to my office and so unkind because he is not here, and I can assure you that our community has found faintly worrying. This is essentially inside the from the emergency room. The police cruiser to the Czech outline Yuki one. This pandemic sounds like the people putting themselves no one's way, there's always a risk. Brain is home to re. Kids are my husband or maybe errands, listen to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast, river, pod, costume.