« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 187: Beware the Irish Hammer

2021-02-18 | 🔗

Mike ruminates on the splendid virtues of a certain “Full Figured Gal,” and tells the true story of the day his lawyer – The Irish Hammer – changed the trajectory of his career by challenging him to put a pig on a pedestal. He then invites The Irish Hammer herself – Mary Sullivan – to explain why she left a successful law firm to oversee the career of a man who crawled through sewers to make a living.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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It raises micro, and this is up so number one. Eighty seven of the way I heard it It's called. Beware: the irish hammer. Beware the irish hammer the starts with chapter nine from my book, which tells the true story: two women who made a huge impression on me and no, neither Is my mother? Mom will be how can a future episode to help spread? Her unique, and of sunshine here in the pot gas, but to day I'll, be discussing. Two other Ladys, who I respect and admire and from time to time, fear the first one his best described. I think as a full figured gown and her identity You will no doubt discern from the mirror. Of clues about to come your way, the second one It is also a bit of a mystery, but only because she's chosen to remain under the radar these last fifteen years.
During which time she has done her best to keep me from blowing myself up or in her words, to keep me from becoming an asshole. Her name is Mary Sullivan, but around the office. I like to call on the irish hammer. Why because marries very irish, and while she has the capacity to be incredibly sweet, her temper is not a thing. You want to inflame trust The irish hammer is a lawyer by trade who for reasons. I still don't entirely understand, left her very successful law, two years ago, to run my business over the years She has impersonated an agent, a manager publicist a shrink. We ve been busy partners for a long time now and today, since appears in this chapter of my book
is agreed to answer a few of my questions here on the podcast, very rare media appearance for the irish hammer questions like does she regret it and if she sick of me at honestly, it's hard to tell sometimes our conversation is enlightening, especially for anybody who has ever start business or taken a leap of faith with an erstwhile attorney or upon a great adventure with absolutely no idea what they're doing It's the way I heard it and it starts right now and when I say right now, I mean right after I shamelessly plug my new hit, show six degrees with micro, currently streaming over there discovery, plus com six degrees. Is a history show for boy, who normally wouldn't watch the history show each episode starts with it. Lee ridiculous question like the horseshoe, find your or can a
after your hang over or can a sheep, do your taxes, the answers to these, your questions are always yes answered degrees. Let me show you how it's possible, by proving that everything in our crazy and mixed up world is in fact connected The show was an absolute blast to produce I loved the second of it and it's based on stories in this podcast. So if your fat of the way, I heard it you're in love six degrees streaming any time it suits you over discovery, plus dotcom won't costume penny by the way, if you take advantage the free trial, which I strongly encourage you to do, six degrees with micro streaming for free as we speak on discovery plus dotcom check it out see if you can't spot chuck the producer. His podcast, who portrays no less than thirty five characters. In this brand new series that discovery is already threatening to reorder about that? That's six degrees with micro.
And this well. This is the way I heard chapter nine, a full figured gal. Libya was a tall drink of water. No two ways about it: a statuesque full figured gal, who was in the words of Rogers and Hammerstein broad broad should be. Broad band? her classic beauty, though Libby possessed another quality that most men found irresistible acquired buddy that suggested anything might be possible with a girl like her Fred had conceived Libby twenty years earlier. Her mom had never really been in the picture. But it would the unfair to call Fred a single parent Fred loved his girl as much as any father could love a daughter, but it was Gus. Had actually raised her and now
Ed and Gus we're trying to arrange a marriage, sir Choosing the world for a man who would put their girl on a pedestal. For a time, it seemed that that man would be the governor of Egypt. Ishmael Partia was handsome charming and clearly enamoured of Libya. He said all the right things and promise to build her, a fabulous home right there at the entrance of the newly completed Suez Canal. Fred was delighted. Obviously you smile was muslim, but Libby didn't care about that She, where the veil in public, doing so would please him. But after two years of courtship it became clear that Egypt was not the right place for a woman like Libya, Libya took the rejection in stride, but Fred beside himself. He had waste. Two years with Ishmael and his
little girl. Wasn't it any younger, so Ed and Libby, so to America to find a more suitable suitor who everyone's surprise and delight the mayor of, Baltimore proposed. So too did the mayors of Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco, organ mayors seem to have a thing for full by girls who radiated possibility. But ultimately, it was a hungarian immigrant who persuaded Fred that New York city was the only sensible place for his daughter to call home a first that's Joe was not an obvious match. He was slender man who had been described is too scrawny for manual labor. Next Libby, he looked like a kid. But you knew exactly what he liked and precisely how to get it back in Missouri, The rapporteur for the Saint Louis Post he had one
tarred and saved this money. Eventually, he bought the entire newspaper he bought the Saint Louis dispatches. Well, then, move to Manhattan and bought a newspaper called the world. New York was where first laid eyes on Freds daughter, that's when he proclaimed on front page of his new newspaper. That Libby would stay in the city with him and was delighted. Obviously Joe was a foreigner, but Libby didn't care about that. There was only one problem: when Fred told Joe that he and God I wanted to see Libby on a pedestal. He wasn't talking in metaphors. He was talking about an actual pedestal, one that would ass, the city of New York, no less than two hundred and Fifty thousand dollars that's the equivalent of six million dollars today. Sadly,
Joe didn't have that kind of cash lying around. Joe was a man who knew exactly what he liked. Precisely how to get it so one hundred fifty years before crowd funding became a thing. The journal from Hungary turned his news. Labour into a go fuck me page and choice plunged his readers to keep Libby in New York City. Fellow and Eliza Bender were among the first the contribute with fifty cents, each Joe printed their names along with his thanks right next to a photo of beloved their kids pitched into and Joe printed their names as well: Anna, zero dollars and twenty five cents, Freddy zero dollars and twenty five cents, Leonard Tencent, Frank, zero dollars and fifteen cents Alice Tencent route. Ten cents carry ten cents, miss NICE E. Twenty five cents, all in all the best
there were good for two dollars and thirty cents and every one read all about it. Soon hundreds of new Yorkers began donating their pocket change. Street sweepers carriage drive first stone, Masons housewives. Ordinary men and women with only pennies despair. One who donated saw his or her name in the newspaper next, image of Libby within months, the necessary funds were in hand and soon after that, on a place called lead, so island. The construction of a mighty pedestal began a pedestal sturdy enough to support the full figured gaol that Joe was determined to keep but the big apple, the four hundred and fifty thousand pound one hundred, Fifty one foot statue called Libert US, Frederick or Toby, had cancer
if her and given her name Gustaf Eiffel had raised her and given her frame, but it was the immigrant Hungary, who, given the lady from France, a place to stand without Joe Libby. Would be overlooking some other harbour. Philadelphia is probably or maybe baltimores or she'd, be in some other country. She'd all most wound up behind avail at the mouth, the Suez Canal, dress, in the robes of an egyptian peasant? Instead, she stands at the foot of Manhattan where she welcomes the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. It's funny. An immigrant famous today for the prizes bestowed in his name largely forgotten for his greatest gift, the campaign that kept our favorite lady right where she belongs.
Thanks to thousands of new Yorkers, their pocket change and a man named Joseph Pulitzer, we can say that once upon a time, America put liberty on a pedestal, I had a pedestal. Once I put a pig on it, you can google it go ahead. I'll wait! Are you back good? Let's contain by two thousand five dirty job was an undeniable hit, but the network and I couldn't seem to agree on how best to promote it. They want a traditional marketing campaign with me at the centre of it work Class Euro earnestly attend to master every blue collar trade. That made me very unkind double dirty jobs was not an earnest show,
Nor was it a show about me. There was a light hearted tribute to real people who woke up clean and came home dirty. What I wanted was a camp, where every day people were not only featured betrayal like stars I imagine them dressed in their- were close as they appear Third, in the show arriving in limos at a star, studded red carpet, premier, where be sworn by proper arts and greeted by throngs of adoring fans Gorsky. My intrepid field, producer and partner in grime wanted a campaign featured May covered in feces from every species a recurring theme in season one a stick or for realism. Mirsky also proposed, a campaign that featured intimate portrait. Save me with each of the barnyard animals? I had inseminated artificially my ongoing attempts to demystify the secrets of animal husbandry. All these ideas had one thing in common: they were
starters. As a result, we were stuck happily. My lawyer was on the case I don't have an agent or a manager or a publicist I have a merry around the office. We call it the irish hammer Mary Sue That is your full name. She's afore we're Bio major who woke up one day and decided to practise law. Instead, I'm glad she did Matt He has very false its hair and Albert Einstein, brain and once I realise the latter was bigger than the former. I started asking her opinion on everything Mary got wind of the working class hero campaign already she'd snorted elegantly and called my boss, MIKE, isn't a hero shit blade he's not the star. The show he's not even a host his job is not to be in the spotlight, His job is to shine the spotlight. My job is to keep it from becoming an asshole or worse from looking like one
and it is a rare commodity in Hollywood. So too charm. The irish hammer has both in spades, and so the network had backed off, but now We were back to square one with the promo, and time was running out. You think I should do. I ask Mary. We need to film some. This week without looking from her desk? The Irish Sir said what about the big one pig pig in the open in the show every up sort of dirty jobs opens with a shot of me carrying a two hundred pounds: swine from a barn to a pig pen, incidentally, that power big appeared to have an erection which nobody noticed until viewers started to write and with questions. But that's a story for another day Sure I understand I told marry you want to make. It egg, the star the show more like them, Ascot, she said a metaphor for hard work, but pigs don't work hard. I said unless trust,
hunting counts. The irish Amor looked at me in the way that a smart person might regard an idiot. Do you know what, metaphor is, I think, so, have you ever cleaned a pig Ben several I said was a difficult. Yes, was it pleasant? No, alright! Then, if you want to honour p, who do difficult, unpleasant jobs without coming off as earnest were making it about you elevate, the big, the oars aren't stupid delphic. You're out. Then you won't end up. Looking like an asshole, see what I mean. Don't let the fairer Fawcett hair for you, the next We book to three hundred pounds south for a most unusual Photoshop, she was referred to Hollywood from a farm and Central Valley and IRAN in style, at the sound stage bright and early ready for her close up. She was a perfect pig straight from the
animal equivalent of central casting pink with gray spots and the sweet disposition, like Wilbur from Charlotte's web, but all grown up. I called her Rhonda in a pristine studio with white walls and a white floor. I watch Rhonda was coaxed up a ramp that led to the top of a white pedestal four feet off the ground once she was situated, the ramp was removed and I took my place beside her. It was a simple, set up standing. Ex Rhonda, I would look in the camera and riff about the unsung heroes of dirty jobs. I conclude with appointed question, so, what's on your pedestal, it was a play on that credit card commercial. What's in your wallet, I nailed it on the first take in front of a room full of nervous executives, fortunately Rhonda nailed it too, It is I asked, what's on pedestal. She cried
all over hers. It was an enormous dump, delivered Impeccable timing during the second take. Did it again right on cue this time with a frightful? spray of diarrhoea that filled the studio with a sulphurous funk black the white walls of our pristine set in train forming my blue jeans into something browner. I could only marvel at the stench, while the horrified, executives, backed into a corner a huddled mass if you will yearning to breathe free but rather wasn't done. She could I've done every subsequent take and when she could wrap no more. She began to peat sheep, it on my camera man. She peed on her handler she paid on me Finally, when her bladder was empty, we gotta take that the network could use along with the commercial.
That one several awards for excellence in promos yeah. They have trophies for such things. Interestingly, the footage that went viral was not the footage aired, but the footage Mary encourage me to release on Youtube. After the fact, the outtakes of Rhonda at her incontinent finest those- where hysterical and viewed more times than the actual commercial go figure. Looking back put appeared on a pedestal was maybe the smartest thing I ever did. Not only did it make Rhonda famous it established me as the non traditional hosts of a non traditional show, one whose prime Mary job was to appear more like a guest and less like a host. And whenever possible, not at all like an asshole Opinions vary as to the degree to which I accomplish that, but I must have us something right, because
Mary Sullivan eventually agreed to leave her firm and partner with me, for which I am eternally grateful as Veranda poster of her now hangs in the office of the eye. Hammer like Libby, who welcomes the time and the poor to these United States Rhonda well comes visitors to micro works staring out from her pedestal, keeping me honest and just a little bit dirty. I don't know where you were when you listened to that last chapter, but I hope you weren't standing in line at the post office, honestly, the post office is a terrible place to listen to these stories. Nor is it the best place. Male and ship your packages. That's why I mail and ship all my package's online at stamps. Dotcom! Oh yes, stamps DOT, allows we the mail and ship anytime anywhere right from my computer letters package
doesn't matter, you'll save a lot with discounted rates. From: U S, p S, you PS and more, that's what we do it I grow works every day and that's I do here at home once your mom was ready. You just schedule a pick up or you drop off. It's really that simple Stop wasting your time going to the post office and standing in line gotta stamps dot com instead, no risk and with my promo code row you get a special offer that includes a for weak trial plus free stage and a digital scale, no long term commitments, no contracts just go to stamps dot, com click on the microphone, it's at the top of the homepage and just type in my last name, stamps I've got a promo code are owed w e stamps dot com never go to Post office again, Having said all that, here's gums, the irish hammer
It is a gentleman as promised the woman the myth, the legends, the eye, hammer. My business partner and close friend, the one and only Mary Elizabeth Sullivan. I'm seeing you rolling your eyes, I'm assuming that, like us, show up on the point. Then I cast is basically what you call a. An audio medium for the most part, so now most of the people the listener, they will see me your eyes. Normal, they see me drinking from my care, we made Jenin tonic. I assume you have something similar within easy REACH ass, a wine with a little inscription on it. This your gift to me in two thousand five, that's right what's her for Mary, a clean girl with a dirty job
Do you know how true that was in two thousand, but back when we used to give each other thoughtful gifts as an expression of our era, our heartfelt appreciation, those were the days yeah. It was like when he I think fifteen years ago I wanted you onto the pod gas and by the way, thank you for agreeing to to do this. I know it, sir, it's a rare thing for you. You have perfected art of staying under the radar. It seems for the last fifteen or sixteen years I dont anticipate. This conversation will will go in any of the directions: I've I've plan. Four because you are you, but I should point out that the pig on the pedestal is in fact, as described in the book
over your right hand, shoulder and I'm leaning against Rhonda moments before she evacuated her boughs and turn that particular promo shoot upside down where there have been very was a good one That was the moment you stopped being my lawyer and started becoming my my collaborator, my creative partner and ever since, like like Rhonda, you have paid off, over everything I've done and and and made it better. Would you release declares there? benefit in having absolutely no idea what you're doing you have no fear of being wrong. So I'm free to express my opinion says you know. Yes, I do whoop. Where should we actually start with this, because I feel it, people might might be at least remotely interested in an understanding. Why does you took my car
all end up. You know where it went from their yeah. Well, originally you tried. If you remember, you tried to hire my ex partner who used to run discovery legal and he couldn't take you on because the conflict. So he called me and said: there's this guy. Discovery he doesn't have an agent or manager he's gotta show that just starting, but it looks really promising, and I think you should talk to him if, what's the show about la carte across the sewers and does not like that like Facebook What did I ever? Do you you sending me with no agent no manager, Crosser sewer yeah sounds like something I'd like to take on board should be. It should be made clear that at this point in your career, your representing a list- talent, major Hollywood, stars best selling authors- you know world famous comedians
Why? My name whatever wind up in your rolodex is really truly a mystery. But but you did take the call in the call came from Greece TRAP a little north of Bellingham Washington, where the dirty jobs, crew and I had been filming that day with we had broke for lunch and those guys were eating their sandwiches, while squatting in Greece in human excrement- and I held over to the far end of the pumping chamber- and I called you and you took the call- and we spoke for a long time- and I remember telling you I remember just like the vomiting everything up and telling you that, I had always done my own deals for the last fifteen yours- I negotiated all my deals- a thousand their positive banks behalf. So so what happened for is my deals. I always negotiated for failure, because my whole business model was based not on getting a hit, or
a series or a franchise or any of the things that dirty jobs became. I touched everything like it was very hot never really read the contracts to carefully, because I was very cautious to only so the eight myself with projects that were so poorly conceived and doomed. They had no hope of actually working so buried in my contract, we're all kinds of options that gave discovery incredible power too. Order as many episodes of dirty jobs as they wanted, and this came as shock to everyone, because I I didn't think they wanted it. They knew they didn't want it. This was just a three episode thing to introduce me to their to their viewers, but it was the thing that work and when it worked, they ordered dozens of them and I realized I negotiated for Myself- really about
deal and I needed help and that's why I called Mary from Greece TRAP in two thousand for an you answered the phone and what happened next. I think I took pity on your wages at its and has put forward when the report was that you set the bar, pretty low back contract was absolutely abominable. If you are negotiating it up, assuming that it was a failure and would never be used, he did a great job yeah. But I was wrong about the most important thing which was there's no way. This will go to series and look I I knew the germ of the idea was good, but I didn't know: we'd get TAT thousand letters. I didn't know: we'd be flooded with invitations to keep shooting the show, and I didn't know that the only way to keep the show going was too literally do the work. You know I mean to me as a very Four called show to do physically
and when they ordered it. I knew look. On the one hand, it was a gift. This is the shall I I wanted to do. But I had no idea how difficult it would be or how crappy the terms were terms for happy, but do you remember it was? It was off brand for discovery, I mean there. Was it I'm when I dont know that they were going to cancel it. They were gonna move the show because they didn't think that it had enough factual content behind it, right and you actually called up the president of the network at the time the legality and and told Billy to get a transcript from dirty jobs and to Yellow ever fact in it, along with whatever you know, program that they thought met their standards for education and to let you know what the results were
am. I am, I bet. Was there be more yellow in an episode of Eddie jobs. Then there would be in an episode. Nature were Jacques, stole or any their natural history shows and you are correct what. Why would you bring that up, because that I mean to me you know we met. You took the meeting with me. I showed up in your office after six months, a phone call. Stations lookin like hell and smell. Unlike a sewer, you heard me luck. We should now. It was so weird for me, you- and I spoke for about six months back and forth if you really dug in the contract, you took me on as a client, but on a lawyer and client and dumb and finally went to your office in LOS Angeles, I'll, never forget. This was two thousand five. You were wearing some Armani suit. All kinds of you know elegant jewellery and stop your fair faucet hair was.
Blowing in the breeze windows open, the LOS Angeles son, was streaming in. You look like gland close in the state of the natural. You know, and I was like, oh dear God, what am I doing here? but you invite me and we sat down and we have this conversation. We we started talking about branding, but we also started testing each other, and I think I think testing period is, is worth talking about because look eventually something happened to make you comfortable enough to leave your firm and Take me on as your only client and start to build a business. So what the hell? What did I do to earn? Your trust
over that period. Will you don't you remember those day, as you are probably on the road? What three hundred days a year and after you get done with your jobs, you would call- and I think it was here's this desperate attempt to talk connection to the outside world, so I think, actually, over that six month period, before we met. I got to know a lot more about you a lot more about what you wanted to do at a better sense of who you were most gents or managers don't get that opportunity. There's quick phone calls jump on and off you're stuck in Hotel room out in the middle of nowhere usually separates motel sixes. Which you dirty jobs for ten twelve, sometimes fourteen hours, I get back to the hotel, a check into the mud, room, talks, the fans and then I'd call you and I'd say any luck with this guy.
Track. Am I ever going to get out of this march to put on this crucible of despair? Is there anything? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? So before we put a pig on a pet We spent nearly two years talking about the steel and I guess you know getting to know each other. I remember something you told me when things were really getting contentious, and I think this was part of the testing period right. You said: look MIKE. I'll take any position. You want on any point you want, but if I draw a line in the sand and you back up from it you're dead. To me, you literally said gone, and I believed you absolutely believed you so Why did you say that to me at that point? We The testing me, or did somebody burn you once upon a time was about credibility. You know it's
You can negotiate. You can try to better your position, but if you're really going to draw the line sand, then you can't backup from it Then we really didn't draw a line in the sand very often because it was always a negotiation that discussion, but it was important to me because people have to believe you answer. If you really want me to take a hard line, it's this or the highway, then you had to stick by it and yeah. Look. The entertainment industry is still good people. It will take a really hard line until the other side says sorry can't do on moving on to the next person a mini crumble like a house of cards, so they mostly went to my credibility and at that point I had no idea if you'd be around tomorrow, so more interested in protecting our credibility. It didn't. They need that
the thing I saw you do early on and the thing I've seen you do really in May. We ve done hundreds of deals together you and me over the last sixteen years you die, could negotiate in a traditional way. Right I mean it in. In Hollywood, it's very very expected that one side will come in absurdly high and the network of the studios will come in stupidly, low and the two sides will square off and ignore each other's phone calls for a couple of weeks and eventually they'll settle on something in the middle. But I think I think, would happen for us as we talked for so long. I called you from somebody, Greece pits and somebody sewers. You always too,
my call and then we met- and I thought you were interesting and weird, and you thought I was whatever, but when you negotiated, you went in with a number and you said look this is this: is the number we think it's fair ahead and nobody? Nobody believed you at first like nobody in sometimes it's about the number, but I think we talked about it a lot, but we were asking for had a lot of backup, so I dont believe and going in stupidly high, and then you know I'm coming in stupidly, lower just it's a waste of time. Energy you're, not believable. That means mean that you have to be intransigent if there are different facts or their other pieces. Sometimes you get certain. In exchange for others it doesn't mean that there's a line there. But if you explain your position, if you, if you talk
about why it spare and the parameters. It is a discussion you have it, nobody does that mean agents. Don't really do that. But that's that's why our relationship in some ways worked. I didn't. We I wasn't from the entertainment industry. I dont. I didn't come from that background, so when you come from the corporate world. It's like building a business. You you're, trying to figure out. What's gonna make everybody happy, or at least equally unhappy to be able to move forward and I didn't know what the normal was at the time. I remember being really really concerned that I was misrepresenting you, but I wasn't
doing a good enough job, because I just had no idea. It's like you know, you're, on a football field, you dont know where the fifty hardliners, so I just kept running. Well, you know it was weird couple years, but the that this chapter is in the book because his best as I can figure it, the the day you said, put a pig on a pedestal was not only the day. I started looking at you not so much as a lawyer, but as a partner it was. It was also the day that we written we really kind of embrace. This whole notion of a reverse commute, and you know when I looked back now at all the deal's. We did, whether its Ford or Kimberly com are or master Lock or Motorola discovery. Cnn Facebook returning favours somebody's gotta. Do a tb in their literally hundreds and it occurs to me that almost every single one has some
version of a pig on a pedestal where we did We did something we there weren't supposed to do where people were expecting us to do. Somehow or another. It wound up turning into something something good. So so the question is: do you get any credit for that or not or was it completely one more forest gumption thing that happened now? Definitely forests can form I'll take the credit. I think that when you don't know what normal is, you are just operating from what you think is, right now. The commercial world was a good example of that we're I'd in some ways, because I would get calls from people. And then they were waiting for me just to throw out a number than we do the contract. Then you get on so they would send me. The creators and they'd send me the deal
and they wanted to sign, and I remember that just a backward Stevie shouldn't we have a conversation. First shouldn't you, beyond the phone with a company and make sure that you like them, and that creatively, we were on the same page before we did that, and that was on because normally talent, clients, don't talk to the quiet before the deal's die. So you just had somebody who was representing you that had no idea what was normal right and you were representing somebody. I think you're, probably talking about Doug, remember Doug over Burns entertainment right. It's got named, Doug, shade woman and poor Doug. He called Mary with a fully formed campaign around a client
whose name he didn't want to divulge just yet around the same time I was thinking you know what I haven't seen my mom and dad and ages, I'm so busy with dirty jobs. It would be great if I got to hire them somehow or another, so this guy calls Mary and the client turned out to be Kimberly Clark. They had these paper towels. Old viva so like on the surface, the last thing in the world is going to happen. Is that the dirty jobs guys gonna start representing a brand called viva viva? I mean it sounds like Liberace. You know after a two day, bender goes to Vegas and makes a paper towel right that obviously come on out on the brawny guy, so Viva conference. With this deal, I want to get my mom and show business and the whole thing lands in Mary's lap.
And tell him what you did well. We first had to figure out whether there is any created that would work and because we are in turn down a few times. I just said: let's, let's figure out what you'd like to do and we'll go back and if they like a great and lay down, then whatever so we ended up coming up with the idea. Peeping comes home, that was the name of the first campaign and the idea was as the dirty jobs guy. Walk in to your parents house and your parents. Following you around with the paper towels cleaning up after you, and I pitched that two dogs who took it back the clients allay like the idea. So we were also to go and he called me a say comes out, and I said well about his parents- and he said: don't worry
you're gonna have a frugal one, whoever whoever we're gonna cast, but I said the news gets worse than that. You have cast his real parents. The after great. Your lover is Ernie tape, shore and failure. They ve been on. They bid on dirty jobs, but you can't. Not a hire them and that ended up, I think, being one of the best aspects of that campaign. I think people really talk about the fact that it was your mom and dad. They certainly became little celebrities on their own good, you. Remember your mom carrying around the paper towels Wimbledon years for yearning after that and during it kept cases of viva paper dolls in her trunk, because everywhere she went, people would stop and ask about this commercial and she'd all she'd go. She talked to them are then, should open up the trunk and pull out a role
Would you like me, sign asylum, for you? Do you remember being in Orlando? We were that your parents were there and you walked ahead. You're, going up some grand staircase I was sort of following after you and your parents were behind me and I get to the top of the steps and, unlike their number me and I like race down assuming that somebody, a trip keen on reforms, see them sprawled all over the ground, but now they were stopped by fans wanting to take their photo. They'd, let you go by by the way fixed, our true knows it was great, but I mean it's it's worth talking about because putting a pig, the store and changing the direction of the campaign for dirty jobs also changed the nature of the show. But you kind of did the same thing with this. You know in this case it wasn't a literal paying on a pedestal. It was my ass
parents and I'm not trying to an alibis and I'll drive my mom to up to a swine. I'm just saying that what's What's the boy, what what's on your pedestal right, the that's when I start to realise that that's always the question it stopped authentic and I think that even in commercial campaigns are always looking for a true line what's authentic, I'm either it's even if it's fine, remembered Novartis, the other done deal. Yeah yeah not done with this. Would yet because in this one
in normal Hollywood. Somebody says: what's on a pedestal, you would say: well, we ve done a deal with the paper tat company and then the product is paper towels, so the paper towels or on the pedestal. That's the most important thing, but actually it's not is not the most important thing at all. It's just it's just the product. The thing on the pedestal is your mom and your dad you're actual parents, not actors. So now you have a story to tell you know beyond the extra tough, even when wet properties of vapor tell which my father still Stilson talks about
I started to say we're both laughing at that, because we both remember your dad blooming voice, saying that was so funny yeah. He had. He had one line and the first commercial, which required him to turn around from a barbecue rabies, he'd he's using the Vive papered south to scrub the gun
off of the grill and my mom and I are having a sweet mother son moment at a picnic table she's like cleaning some Schwartz off my face and my father is supposed to turn around and hold the Tao up to the camera and say you know these things really are tough. Even when wet my dad of courses done, you know a hundred plays in Ireland in S, he's never been on television before, but he's very used to being onstage and when he talks he talks to the to the last row in the theater and God these poor guys from visa and the advantage and see and dog there they're all in video village hundred feet away looking at monitors, they got the at their head and they're watching the two
and right on cue, my dad spins round, and he holds that paper towel up to the camera and he says by God. These tells really are tough, even one why it was so frequent allowed. They threw their headsets off these poor people. Everybody screamed that was authentic. That responding as your wine hold up holding. Let me know if you need a refill. Has your court, a banker challenging this point
There is a make its fine. So at some point I mean you never stop me in my lawyer, but you kind of morphed into this other thing and after the Viva paper, towels and after dirty jobs got got squared away. When do you feel like you actually made the transition into? However, it is you introduce yourself today. I'd made a transition item. Now Mary look. I still don't know what to call you. I stood at all how to introduce you. I remember the early days here. You had no idea, you could call me your lawyer, because everybody was all looking for the person who actually was in charge How did you called me the lawyer? They were looking for your agent to your manager and you had no agent or manager cause. I failed to get you to hire anyone. You wait here
now I tried you just started referring to me as your people Harry's. My people do you remember media was it CIA or one Morris we're both. I remember you ragging me around a Hollywood like a Christmas ham introducing you to all these people sitting in all these board rooms with a dozen guys talking about the micro business, whatever that man, it was like a caricature of entourage. You know that tv show. My fear is, I was trying to get you to hire people because everybody I knew and entertainment had people at work, managing their careers. So I thought you need people, but I didn't I needed somebody who was his jacked up as I was about the industry deep down.
I think you are you look at Hollywood. The same way. I do right when you you came from corporate finance and so entertainment was always this kind of weird thing, and I came from Baltimore. Like you, I mean we actually grew up not far from each other weirdly, but I had no interest in in in finding a hit, show or developing a franchise, much less starting a business. So I mean the more I think about it, the weirder this whole thing becomes and for the life of me I can't figure out exactly what happened. To compel you to leave your firm to run a business. It didn't even really exist around a guided crawled through a sewer. I mean what entire make that calculus of highway insane, my way of thinking of it but
you had a brand. It just wasn't like most of the other people in the reality space. You know you weren't a carpenter, you aren't a cook, you, like everybody, was coming as an expert in their field. At that time, you're Spercheius was in talking to people and highlighting them real. That's what the show was. I think that, to a large extent, with the commercial campaigns became certainly the foundation, so everything sort of came from that perspective and I think the pr aspect of trying to play skilled trades got moving through everything that we were doing any of the partners that we were in business with were always supportive of the foundation, but got me to leave the firm was we were. Having a good time, we were having fun sort of forest dumping our way through trying to figure out and a little bit like Don Quixote, maybe
I remember the you gave me a a painting of Don Quixote and Sancho, what's his name and it, and it did feel like that it it did feel for a long time like we were tilting at windmills but the business of putting a pig on a pedestal. Again, I keep coming back to it because it happened with Ford. It happened with somebody's got to do it that deal you did around. That show was unprecedented, not in in the dollar amount. It was unprecedented because we owned the show and you got it on CNN, and then somehow they gave it back to us and now it's on tbn- that's never happened. I mean makes sense of that. Well, when you think about the show, I mean it's not that surprising, in the sense that on both channels they're interested in meeting people, you know
people are curious and they want to know in somebody's gotta. Do it it was not necessarily a job, it can be a hobby. It could be anything now. People are just interested in those kind of stories. The same was true with returning them. Ever find out where people are doing in their community. It was aspirational in an none earnest fashion, because the thing you did with returning the favour was the thing I did in dirty jobs years before I told the story bunch, but not of the pod gas, but I mean
that show I passed on that show three times there was no way I wanted to do a feel good show, but remember you said at the end: look use the truth. Can let let the viewer see the behind the scenes beats the same way you did in dirty jobs. Let him see the making of a few good shell and that all of a sudden made it feel comfortable, and we want up doing a hundred episodes gap because because you put another metaphorical pig on another metaphorical pedestal, but what was the metaphorical pig with returning the favor of antiquity yeah? It was a different situation because most of the shares and air per se if it were ABC Cbs, a b c, we turn it down because there was a format for those shows they were always gonna. Have that heavy violin music, it was going to go in a certain direction, but Facebook Watch was new and so
could be as long as it was good and bad production company was game to try something different and we want in peace want to feel like they were coming along for the for the journey right that they were coming to. Community, they were meeting somebody who is doing something good and they were there with us and that extra camera really allow that, while it would have without it all I thought was looked. If if people can feel like a fly on the wall that they can come along with me, the crew, then that's just a completely different experience than sitting home and and watching a perfectly
executed version of some show where everybody chance move that bus and not the designing wrong with it. It's just it. There's no pig on a pedestal, there's no reverse commute, have stuck on that thing on a pedestal. Well, you know I kind of an because I dont think I mean dirty jobs and returning the favour. Dont look much alike at all. You know, but it, but it's kind of the same show such a dog s, courage, one outsides interesting! I don't pay big big chance here and now yeah. I don't. I don't think that the shows you know, optically look much alike, but fundamentally I was. I was doing the same thing. You know
hi America get a load of this guy, get a load of this woman, see what they're doing check it out. Look what's on the pedestal today. I didn't really think about it. When I put it in the book, I mean I knew it was important for us. It was a big day for us because, like I said, that's when you know no lawyer had ever tried to give me creative advice before it had so many creative people happy about that stroke. That's true, but I thought it was such a good idea and it is dead now like when I look back I'd. Virtually everything we did is a version of it. My mom's book, thanks to you, my mother, is a best selling author two times over and it happened in part because she tell me a funny story, and I read it on Facebook and seventy two million people saw it, but when the publishers came looking right, I mean they were very specific. They they wanted a couple dozen stories, like her blue purse story. That kind of made
thing happen and they they were adamant about what they wanted. My mom, just one wrote totally different stories, nothing that the publisher wanted and you could have easily said, look Peggy, don't I'll. Do that or we can help you if you do that or any number of other things at any age or manager would have done. Nobody in their right mind would have sent my seventy eight year old mother at the time off, to write thirty stories that we knew nobody would ever publish, but you did and when they came back you know all the publisher wanted was to make sure I was in all
of them, so they had a hook. But my mom didn't put me in any of the other, wrote a bunch of stories about our mother and you were like well. Why don't we just publish them ourselves? Who does that different pig, different pedestal, and then we spent some money. We printed ten thousand copies and we sold out in a few days and then the publishers came and then you, Meda, a publishing deal. What we knew we need, He could right. She's got that dry, sarcastic, serfs sense of humour. He was good but yeah you right in the publishing world there, probably thinking how its likes long. He wants to do something to support her a private realise she actually can right yeah. She actually can and she's almost on a third book by the way so sharp and re interrupting. You
then I just you know cause coming in. I don't another kind of business, you're running down there and allay, but appear in the Republic of San Francisco among all twenty four seven, your level of experience. You would know how to turn it. I enough vibrate. You would think so put yourself in the place of a fan, assuming I still have a few the day of a good idea of what I ve been up to for the last ten years. You ve been involved in every single project. What else comes to mind where you wound up? putting some sort of metaphorical pig on a pedestal. The latest project, six degrees weep Talking about doing history shown on traditional history show for ten years ten years, actually we sort of did what
How boost built America yeah really really really close to what we wanted to do us back in two thousand and fourteen yeah an down we wanted to do it again, but selling a history show is, not easy? So we are, we decided to go a different route to get it made. Whatever people understand, the history channel is down old age right. That's how hard history shows are there has been the history channel is now doing a Viking
cinematic shows. I mean I actually like it, but those old style history shows are really all but gone, and I remember years ago, at discovery after the third season of dirty jobs, I walked in a Clark Buntings office. I had a concussion, I had stitches. I had a cracked rib, I was beat to hell and I said Clark Man. I don't think I can do this much longer and he said well, you know if you want to do something that will keep you busy, but maybe not kill you make a show about history, for people that don't watch. History shows
And that that's where that started, and at that stuck in my brain for a long time, that's what six degrees is but never mind that it didn't happen because the network wanted it. You had to go out and find a sponsor and put that sponsor on a pedestal and the sponsor was a p. I in DC a basically the energy industry. I mean it's. A good example could be. It was sitting round having a conversation about what would you like to do? It was over dinner, the wrong darling dossier after some speech, that you give em and probably few bottles of wine these buildings, go back to the abandoned. He loved the show idea, and we left in our thinking sure whatever but he kept lugging away at it and talk to a bunch people me in
Industry, and they were kind enough to help us out, so we decided to take the plunge. Make the show having no idea where it was going to go. No, they weren't kind enough. They were interested because they thought I could help them. I think I mean energy is Headline news right I mean they talk about a branding nightmare. Half the country thinks these guys are the devil. You know they think the country's everything's going to end in ten or twelve years you know They ve got a real problem. The energy industry does and true in your fan, but when I say kind enough, what I meant was they took a leap of faith at a time and when we had an inkling of an idea, I mean to get project off the ground. You normally doing. Powerpoint presentation to users and, like you ve, got stats figures and we didn't have any that we had an
good idea of where we wanted to go, and we didn't want to do in energy, shall we having them is a sponsor. You were thinking it was worth Texaco, theatre and the sense of yeah you, you can have a commercial in it, but sponsored programmes at the time that we started. This were really the sponsor trying to shove their product. Into the shop and they didn't do that. They weren't involved at all creatively, I'm in The energy collection, that's in the show anything that we did with because we wanted to. We had fine, you drank poor chuck and to play carrot yours, I Gore end, and so it was kind of a whimsie. So that's. Why said they were kind because it wasn't. There is no real heavy handed troll. They wanted to help out. They like the idea, I'm sure that I liked you look, you can all shucks it or you want. I don't think anybody
he has got a show on the air like this. In the last thirty years we went out, we found a sponsor one: that's borderline controversial. They loved a creative idea, one that was ultimately fuelled over a late night dinner with a bunch of bourbon from the men who build the pipes that allow the petroleum in the natural gas to get from here to there that's it. We had a conversation with and in the end it all felt kind of like minded and you're right they were kind about it. They they they were sports. You know they loved dirty jobs and they love the idea that we were looking to to do a traditional thing. In a non traditional way, and so they they stepped up in a big way, but the bottom line, as we did when we fail to show with no home. We had no no idea where to put this now that unless there is a lot,
patients because remember we were thinking that it was gonna, be a twenty minute show on your facebook page and up here and then, of course, you got involved in the creative process and decided yeah, but you know what I'm half an hour of view is not enough. I was right the people an hour of me, Mary Salon. They won an hour. Look six degrees actually began with a title that is remarkably similar to the book we're discussing and the podcast you're on. In fact, it was identical. That show was called the way I heard it and we got halfway through it.
And we started thinking here. Maybe it should be called something else you now weird. It is to change the title of a show when you're fifty percent done shooting it, but you convinced me to change it from the name of the pod gas to six degrees and that affected everything, and then once we started making these new connections in the show seemed obvious to me anyway, that it should be an hour instead of a half hour, but we didn't really have enough money. Make an hour unless we spent whatever profit. We thought we might keep. So we did that we spend all the money. And then we started and more and then covered, and then we can go back and shoot in March. The way we were going to, we still do not have a place to put the show. For God's sake, you know we ve got sixty percent of
show in the can we need forty percent more. We don't really know what it is. We don't really know when we can shoot it and we don't really know anybody is gonna, buy it in our spending, our own money. What was the ba on that pedestal? Sometimes you gonna take risks. We both like the shell and figured that we be able to sell at this place, competence that look. We did I mean the shows doing great it was. I was as it was, a safety third kind of move, as we would say. Yes, we put risk on a pedestal and energy. I guess I still can't figure out what the actual product is with that show, but you better Fiji.
Dogs for God's sakes- is this: a sign. Have we talked enough? Yeah, I sort of say check, has probably exploding from the you're going on too long. We have fifteen years. You know you're not going to cover it in an hour well, but you might want to end with probably my favorite present ever you gave to me back in two thousand and six, which is when you gave me the nickname, the irish hammer. You remember shadow box, they do You created a shadow box for me for Christmas, where you took a really old, somewhat rusty hammer anyone grade the irish hammer in the handle and then you'd What was hair and I'm hoping red paint and put on the end of the hammer and You wrote a poem, I wrote your book, I did
and I was still warrior at the time. You were still fascinated by the negotiating that went on around your deal and around a bunch of stuff and the day after that was back in the days when you actually likely saver I was fascinated by your persistence. I was fascinated by the fact that at one point things got so contentious with discovery and without no look we're all friends today, in fact, is it's entirely likely? The dirty jobs is going to be on the air at some point in twenty twenty one and if all goes as planned were going to start shooting this thing again, but back in
thousand six two thousand and seven things were tough and I had to figure out a way to get to move forward. With the deal that I had at the same time, Mary was trying to improve it for me, and you know, without Talkin out of school, something happened. Something happened in the midst of that two year that that gave us a huge advantage in the talks, and your advice to me was don't take advantage of any of this simply do the work right and if you don't want to take the money that you're due in the next stage of the contract, because you want to hold out for something better, then don't take it and you don't have to pay me either talk about testing each other right. You know what a freak I am with death. I can't stand. I can't stand o anybody anything, and here
my lawyer, is telling me, don't take their money, just send it back but keep doing the show, and so what that meant was seated get paid either. So the first thing I sent you before I sent you a gift was ice you still haven't. I sent you a blank cheque yeah I do somewhere. I had the blank check with your letter to me explaining the poor reasons that you were sending me a blank cheque, because you felt guilty yeah. You had no idea what you owe me right. I seemed completely incapable billing new house,
very funny like that. That was one for the experts, the records, since this whole conversations based on my book and there's an epigram in the book. It says the very beginning of a promise made is a debt unpaid and I felt like you I bet on me. You know when nobody else would in you you. You took me on his client without an agent without a manager without a vote, nothing and you slowly assumed the identity of all those people who are trained to do any of it. But you did your best and you didn't tell me you know, for any of it, because you were icing me, as my lawyer, did not take the money from the very people with whom I was no, she heading in order to send a message to. Let them know that I was in fact serious, but not recalcitrant and still dedicated best
good. It was an amazing bit of advice that seemed absolutely against interest, and so I just could live with it. So I said I sent you a blank cheque and a long letter explaining it and I think that helped raise my stock somewhat. In your estimation, no other exciting letter at the outcome. Dig it up. One of these days was very funny letter, so here here's how we end this and here's what people should know. You know you, you went from a bio can major into law. Law in entertainment, entertainment into meeting a client who had an idea not a show but An idea- and, of course the idea was micro, works the foundation you early run today and that foundation evolved out of the show that wound up running for three hundred different job
because you had me put a pig on a pedestal So I remember all this very vividly in them and I am grateful to you for all of it. But before I read the pollen that I wrote in the Light box, the shadow box good grief at the idea that I made a shadow box, for you is so ridiculous. It's very thorough, but it's not funny is that back in two thousand, whenever it was, when you told me to put a pig on a pedestal that launched a series of events That, ultimately, not only got you to leave your perfectly respectable job, but to run a foundation that, at the time, hadn't generated any money or helped anybody. But today we felt over twelve hunt people, and you know here you are of a lawyer erstwhile doctor, who is helping hundreds of welders
get a real start with their careers, and you know another pig another pedestal another feather in your cap. Well, in fairness, we started it, but the foundation. Today I mean Jade Jade in our office. I couldn't do it without her she's amazing at running the foundation chuck since he's listening somewhere on here. Probably Chuck does a remarkable job in telling stories, because half of the job is p r, its letting the people know about it. So we all work for the company and dominate our time will founder asian because it is it's part of the mission is part of the goal. Yeah mission. That's funny you remember back, do thousand eight, I said: look we're in
this industry to make money, but we're in this space to you know, do something decent. So he here we were talking about missions. Your dirty jobs had a mission statement and it occurred to me that there is and all things, a missionary position and a mercenary position, both of which are our underrated and weave. We ve tried to do both over the years and micro works. The foundation is is very much a missionary play and look not to get model about it, but you you ve done some amazing things for my mom and dad with your very onwards style overt deal negotiating, but but before that this was all about my my grandfather, you, no dirty jobs, as you know, was a trip
to him and he saw the first episode before he died and the foundation is really his leg. And all that happened, because you put a pig on a pedestal once upon a time and wouldn't take my money and didn't cash. The sign blank check that I sent you. Thank you very much. It's probably expired by the way, but it's a it's a crooked six degree kind of road and you've been the traffic cop on it from the start so much obliged. This is where you say: you're welcome, MIKE you're welcome
So here is the poem I wrote the Merry Sullivan and you have to picture it. It's in a shadow box. Next to a real miniature sledge hammer and yeah, I put hair on it and red paint because we had finally finished the deal. We had closed the deal and I thought well what would the irish hammer look like it vanquished the foe, and so I made the hammer to look like it would post battle, and I wrote this than we find it here. Woe unto tee who challenges she, whose clients the hammer protects, prescribes who writes from morning till night to actors who want to direct, be of good cheer
redemption is here as studios learn their manners. The verdict is, in two network. Chagrin. Beware, the irish hammer that was the actually know what that was this second verse. The first verse here is there is bountiful shake in the city
fame when it comes to making a score executive scheme as managers dream of evermore attorneys, grin as publishers, spin, an agent's vie for the glamour so take my advice. Don't pay for it twice! Hire the irish hammer. Okay, we're cutting you off of the gin and tonics when you read the second burst first well, it was a picture of the thing and it was all backwards. I had to scroll around on my thing: yeah, hey it's the least I could do. Here's the irish hammer, Sullivan agent manager. Publicist lawyer, shrink people, the girl, with the fair Fawcett. Here you know your hair was trending our eight months ago on a higher on twitter. Congratulations,
You really know how to say goodbye to you goodbye each other, because can here we go back to the point where you mentioned, something about me and storytelling.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-04.