« WTF with Marc Maron Podcast

Episode 871 - Loudon Wainwright III / Judd Apatow

2017-12-10 | 🔗
Singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III talks life, love and Roman numerals. The prolific musician tells Marc about the heyday of the folk music scene, the late-in-life acting career he didn't expect, and the burden of having talented singer-songwriter children who turn his transgressions into songs. Plus, writer-director-producer (and Loudon Wainwright fan) Judd Apatow stops by to talk about getting back on the standup stage for his Netflix special, Judd Apatow: The Return.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Alright. Let's do this. How are you what the fucker is, what the fuck buddies? What the fucking here is what the fuck's there is, what the fuck Adele ex, what the fuck next what's happening. I'm MARC Maron, Wow did I just say my name: weird imo marin. This is my show. W e f welcome to it. How are you everybody? Ok, thanks for all the excited feedback about the James franco episode seems that people really dug it. It was good nice long, one dug in did a lot of listening. I've been doing a lot of listening lately. More listening that I'm generally known for usually I'm known for listening and interjecting the now now, I'm just experimenting with just listening style. Do some listening
anyway, it is actually sign of my garage. It says what people need is a good listening to some one said that to me it was a gift I took. It is a gift and as a nun passive aggressive thing superfan Amy years ago and sent it to me. I think it was her, but yes, just up there and now I'm referring to it, because it some point I'm going to have to this until this shrine of eliciting here, the garage but not soon doesn't seem like it's gonna, be soon. I'm here now, I'm here in it I'm doing the show today on the show. Your talk to me friend jet appetite he's got a special and loud and wainwright, who also judge, is used in movies they're, not together, two different talks, but that's that's. What's ahead, that's what's ahead for you, but first, europe, hello, europe, I'm coming this you this spring europe, Monday April. kate in london, england, thursday april nineteenth in stockholm, Sweden, sunday April twenty. Second, oslo, Norway Monday April, twenty third
MR dam in the netherlands and thursday April. Twenty six in dublin, ireland, it's it's. My few parts of the world tour go to devotee of pod dot com and check out the tour page. You get there You and take it information right. I'm coming forward awhile, I dont. That is the tour I plant. I want to go see some places. I want to see the world before burns, I'd like to see some parts of the world before they're gone, I'd like to get out and enjoy my life now that work so hard all these years before, goes away, see I'm trying to be. That said, those two tones at the upbeat and then I just undercut it with the with the terrified my god terrified, but not but running like y'all, know, a ball but yeah, so it's been in interesting week. I haven't talked to you since last week, but I think I, recorded that before most
California was on fire for? I was nominated for a critics. Choice awards, the yellow comes the it and the yang hey is that fire going to consume. My new house- I don't know- I don't know if it is, do I signed to spend some time watching fire apps watching fire maps watching for one fire comes, I feel horrible for people who lost property lost, pats, lost homes, not in that order, necessarily whose lives were promised by these fires, but there are fires all over five. In California and it's terrifying, because the brain just seeks to make like You know, there's always been fires right now, like this dislike I don't know their fire might break out in the fucking garage three minutes. It's just like spontaneous fires, but most of the peace. I know up north in the brown people. I come in contact with at work or their homes zero okay, but again I hope
everything's, okay out there for everyone to feel bad for people that that got compromised by these but his dyke? This can't is it This normal now, like I've, always been kind of nervous. about california in general, I I can't I want to run man, but it's like nowhere to run nowhere to hide, and I believe there are some places to run, and there are few places to hide, but dug in I dug in. I got new place, and I guess if it's going to go it's going to go down, but I've actually done jokes about this. About these five. There's in about you years ago, as just crazy, I went out may say where the painter got some emergency kits, we got that. I guess I'm gonna have to get a generator one way or the other you better be preparing for the end of something and I'm not saying that in a tone of terror or existential despair, it's a practice term, prepare for the end a right the other side of the fires, I was nominated for critics, choice award yeah,
did a critics choice nomination, I folks for me, I didn't anticipate being nominated for anything ever you know thought the one shot. We, I was a peabody, but they they didn't, didn't they pooh poohed it. The peabody's pooh poohed us, I guess I thought that was the one that would that would have been the one possible, the one window of opportunity to get any accolades. I certainly didn't bait getting any accolades for act, over anything first I don't know, I'm not being falsely humble. I just like looking at my life It was not part of any of the the possibilities for so so critics choice award is, is a welcomed excitement and I am grateful for it and I'm excited about it. and the glow. The show got several. Alison brie got one betty Gilpin got a nomination? I think that the show got a nomination, so everybody onset was excited. We needed that excitement over the last few days because we were,
we were shooting the show up in pomona on a set that a god. I don't want to spoil anything. What it's whaling. I bet. Oh, what what may be it'll just provide it'll vied suspense. We were on a hospital set in pomona for two days I twelve hours it's running well into the evening. One two in the morning so it's nice to have the extra added excitement of visa of knowing that, where the show is getting this recognition was, it was fun times if you're on a day to day basis, for whatever reason I experienced a great deal of dread and terror in my head- and I know I know many of you know this and I'm not experiencing it right now, but I we had a moment on set the other night, where it's like look. I wait around a long time to do three lines on Friday night. We shall all day I was there. We were there from like twelve to one in the morning, and we did I did one in the morning, which was a fun scene, no lines, but it was,
and it was me and allison and betty and Chris Lowell pretty much. I waited around like eight hours about eight hours and they did coverage. All the women with are y'all one thousand three hundred and fourteen of them, and we Everything said my point yet my coverage with where the key whereas on me the last shot of the night of a twelve hour our night at one in the morning and I and ii, some reason, instead of them feeling like wildfire. man what kind of gig is this way? What is all this? waiting around this acting business. I just walked in and I'm like make it a good a few minutes man. This is what you wait for this. What acting is enjoy minute and a half, and just you know, act get out of it. I was doing a beat with all of them that had a beat with betty who's, great great actress, and we just had the moment and felt very rewarding that's a step in the right direction.
it wasn't like man was that worth waiting for I'm trying to tell you that I turned a corner, and I I have grown to appreciate hey if this is the window. If this is the moment, if this is where I get to act in this episode, if these two winds are where it's at for the day lean in man- and I guess that's pretty good advice for anybody like? If you have those moments where you gotta show up and do your job, you have fully focused, you know if or even It's only for a half an hour that it's expected out of you and you spend the other twelve hours. You know at a computer or pretending to work make the best out of that make Does that half hour make the best? I have five minutes man because it burning. Everything is on fire, my god, so judd came. Why? Because you got special judd, apatow the return premieres tomorrow december, twelfth on works. We got into it. It's always good to see, judge those
have a chat and it always ends up longer than we think in. It always ends up pretty engaged, because you know we do what we do So this is me, hang out jet appetite for a bit sitting about your special. Let's start their technique, wise you, bold, mother, fucker use the wireless. There was no aversion to using a fucking wireless. At least I didn't go with the JANET jackson. you know minute on wireless. No, you can't no, no, of course not, but I dont trust wireless mike's, unlike some weird old timer guy, like if I dont know that it's connected to something and they always seem bulky, and they know side in and out properly, and you just want to have used it. I I have a different issue, which is. I am not that profession as a comedian, and I will constantly trip over the cord. Don't you knew that you, like I prefer not to have more,
appear the necessary. I literally find myself at the comedy sort tripping over the cord, so often that I would they said we have a cord less as I yes thank you. about it, so I I watched you work on a lot of the material for four months and months and then I'd and I didn't know I get me a third of it were rehiring that stuff. Did you just pull it out that night? But what's interesting, is when you do the improv and the comedy store, there's so much material that just doesn't work there. Aha a longer story at things that take time when you need people to pay more attention right, there was always a larger hunks that that worked in it is or places where people were of sea or more hangs on your work in that stuff out elsewhere. Yes, certainly bets right out, Well, this is an eleven men. How minute? Yes, the parliament! I read it. I really hope that I, when I was fourteen on my pants or get a divorce, he I stumbled onto it
It's so sad, but makes me laugh so much poems in exactly the same cadence that there was weird kind of naive social importance. Yes, that what you're saying and the dr seuss rhyme scheme yeah, but you had a little reverse there there was there. Was there, wasn't all doctor soucy? What I found interesting about finding this poem one is that the poem basically saying I'm an enormous amount of pain, but maybe this pain will one day make me a good comedian, and I wrote that when I was fourteen, that's basically what the poem is about. He already knew, but you know when I was a kid. I had this sense that I was supposed to be good at certain things. If I wanted to be in comedy yeah, and so
and I tried everything I tried juggling pins, I tried to write sketches. I just took a quick poppet everything. What were the other ones, qatar playing har playing? I was terrible at that. While I do you want with the jug ling, did you figure out how to get the balls in the air I could juggle depends than I bought the fire pins now light on fire and then never worked up the courage to like them, and that's why I took you so long. Make a special exactly so afraid. Then, one day I wrote a poem and it's interesting it's a real window into how my brain works or worked at the time, but the eight find the most interesting part is. I never wrote a poem again right so I wrote this long poem and then in my hand, I must have thought near you not get this media and stabbed, which is a matter for My stand up career, you do, my brain wants to shut it down, but hardly
I know, because I wrote poetry in college and I took it seriously at some point yet even after high school, even after my big ginsburg, in assault on the world we live in at fourteen. I I I I think that writing comedy his poems. I think that jokes are poetic, there's rhythm! There's there there's a turn of phrase, there's a lot of things that are very poetic elements, the eye. everyone's I went and things worded perfectly. It feels a little poetic. This is the one that is so truthful, but I was proud of this thought and it so simple, but I dont give out how my fifteen just seemed so unhappy to be in the house. Sometimes a billion. My wife right- and I say you know when you have four people. It is a family when it is three. It is a child observing a weird couple that's as close as I get to poetry, it just says it all: it's like a beauty,
what I mean. Arguably, I think that you committed your life to poetry. That's the way, I'm going to look at it. I like it I mean I would have liked to have been a poet, but where do you really go with that? You know what I mean it's like maybe get got a couple- bucks books, nine people read any teach somewhere, that's the best that you could hope for that, always or at least to the debate how many people do you need to watch your stuff or, like your well. You know what I mean. You know the answer to that. I needed to work in china it's work in russia. That's the funny thing of the business. I was thinking about the businesses like will things work overseas and, and you get in these meetings, where there's a subtle subtext which is like you know, was there anything you could check in it like a an actress from another country that might bring in the spanish crowd and then, when you try it never work at it is bomb in the country of the foreigner you put in danger. The rind ain't. You ve done that well, just in the centre
Sometimes we work with people from other countries, because We love them not not to ride right marketing reason, but I've never felt a bump in that country because because I had the russian guy in a few things, but they do want you to think that way, and they also you know, are- are trying to reach people that don't understand verbal humor yeah. So this also this feeling generally yet that you know movies work best. Blow it up. Shit hole up. Shit are generally very broad physical comedy expressions. Yes, it's in any and you'd know you think I don't know at a reach people in other countries and everywhere. if a movie blows up around the world yeah, no idea why we made this movie and called begin again here, and it was a mark ruffalo movie that John carney, the guy who made once may yeah, and it did ok in the united states
in south korea makes twenty five million dollars that movie it's jag gigantic, in one country on earth, south korea? is Keira knightley. In a musical don't know why you can't try to appeal because you'll never figure it out. If you can't you can manufacture lightning in a bottle buzz, you don't happen. There was no part of the process or thought south korea's couldn't this is gonna kill. We got an ace in the hole in south korea, so I like that special in that you know your whole approach to stand up. Given your twenty year, hiatus was it. It was yet two years, a twenty two year, hiatus from You did the young comedian special nineteen, what ninety two ninety two and then you go on you make a billion dollars. You make a lot of movies tv shows you write, jokes or other comics and now finally,
We are confident enough to give them what you started out doing the reason I'm bring it up is because I thought you were very humble and you had a lot of humility around the approach you didn't come in swaggering you you are. You are sort of like I know where I'm at I'm, I'm I'm a mom, I'm a strong feature. At this point, I always say that the the only show since I started pursuing stand up aggressively in two thousand and fourteen, where I really felt like I did badly and got nervous was one night at the comedy cellar when you walked in I got really self conscious and I had just started made been doing it a few months again. He and you walked in the room and on stage all I thought was marin noses sex, and I did
feel feel way with with ray romano watching or anybody watching dice clay was watching me, one that I just some reason. I felt so connected to you that He the voice in my head. That's telling me that I suck is also My hair is, I finally was doing well enough. That would indeed aid to me like its go and good that's good stuff. I really relax the generally just recently, just recently you'd be like stuff like a good use of the best compliment is when you here hear from someone else. I married said you got some good
shit! I'm like! Oh thank god. Why do you like tell said you're funny now you got one of those. Oh, that was a big one, a huge one, the it's hell legs. Yes, that's what that's the one we all want exactly for him to say anything about you, but I you know when I started doing it again, it's so funny because I was so into stand up from the time I was seventeen before, but really from the time I was ten to twenty four. Then, when I stopped, I was pretty burnt out at just doing seven days a week of nothing but thinking about jokes writing, Julia watching medians? So I didn't even look at comics for a decade and only maybe around two thousand and ten eleven did I go. What's everybody doing, I didn't even go to the improv for a fifteen years problem right, really, even so, watch so I didn't, and then I started feeling like even as a comedy producer, I shouldn't know what's happening.
Yeah, but that sounds like somebody who I can acquit something like that was hurting them and then, but they had. No control is like an addiction like. I can never go back to where that's happening. I just lost interest that there was an anger I felt just bored of watching it and and then slowly I'm trying to think who think that said, the roma thing. Who is the comedian up the got me x, I did again. I know I started watching Hannibal a little bit yeah and he was making me laugh. I think watching you know. You know there was a few people that I thought wow like Maria bamford yeah. I remember hearing her on your show. Yeah you you drove somewhere. We either right yeah and I was really taken by that and then you've not seen her before that oh man and then I started looking that up and then I then I realized amazing who are lot better than the people. When I started and different,
you know I mean yes sure there is. There is always some slouches around, but yet with some great guys and two of them we started are awake. Whenever that was the ninety two, you said the young comedians special was yes, and that is I started in eighty nine, I think, officially, making money even probably eighty seven, eighty eight doing it, but there were good. People around, but there was the of the remnants of the road of that first wave and there were a lot of those kind of you know mid level headliners with a rap closer somersaults, but there is always like you know. There are some people in the generation before us where europe without, really unique, those guys are really sort of doing something completely different and there's a lot of them around. Now I mean back, then it really was you go see bill heck for that. For that thing, the media was singular in that Steven Wright, was singular in that in his thing, both wait, yeah, you would go see
him in the late eighties and, of course, kennison who, to this day I've never seen anyone more exciting to watch how menacing justice allergic to see kennison before the crowd knew, who he was was the most exciting comedy had ever seen really can't be recaptured, like people walk in a room, not knowing this guy's come in and not knowing the joke, the point of view and he starts screaming at them the place would erupt half the place of walk out and there's no one like that. Now these are inaccessible panic. You know why I actually, for some reason, I, on the random thing on my ipod in the car, The album went on. I have it like that: first, album hotter than hell or louder than how you can it's not on cd, so someone's gotta rip it and someone ripped it at some point and gave it to me, and I listened thing through and I've always been a guy that listens to that. Once a year, and I had experiences with him and then
this was the first time I right, like is really was really kind of and minded and either it's all so awful. I remember laugh at me. I knew it was but like it, I felt this white offence for the first time, so like you know he was definitely a monster, but that the the intensity and ned the balls of it all. You don't see that much I'd. It felt like I guess. Looking back, if you you were to try to define the same kennison character, it would be the world has broken him, yes, and so in a way a world will pay If you, from that point of view that he was, it was a person in meltdown So his opinions, which were so wrong at time. Yeah you never felt like the joke was he believes that you felt like this is what but when you get broken cautionary tale, yes, you drank completely lose your mining start screaming at the adopted.
People to go to the food it doesn't make any sense at all, punching way down. Hunting is down, as you can find exactly so for because I always took it like it's the frustration that life is unkind. That makes you go. What are we gonna? Do I dont know go to the fuckin food yeah yeah right, but it doesn't make any sense at all that way. He captures that whole thing with words like you know, you're sitting, Mary Ann, what you pulled together like he phrase like he was just sitting in front of the television set with some. Shitty dinner, that he'd pulled together for himself and starving guy on tv starving kid just infuriated him. It isn't that just a cover for an inability to feel sadness that you do feel so sad that you just start screaming nonsense, cuz, you can go to that vulnerable bright, and I just want to cry about that kid. Yet you're heartbroken. Now it's exploding. Yes, however, everybody unless we're just totally wrong- and he was just a monster-
it's. Definitely there was some of that, but but okay, but like what I was saying, though, like I was impressed and I I entered the the the the the apa towel return. seeing you around is I was not that I needed to defend you, but I'm like wait, people before surprise I used him. He was writing jokes for some. I comics when he was a child when you're going to what you think he's going to have a hard time, putting together an act, Do you know what I mean did you ever? Did you think may as a joke writer, new drew from your life. You know very frankly that you're going the hard time putting together an act it I think what it is is that I didn't think about it too much. I just slowly. slid into yeah. I think what helped me a lot in doing it again. Yeah one was, I didn't need to do it to pay my rent right and I didn't need to beg for spot. So I was very lucky that I had enough recognition that
put put me up as a freak show anyway they leave the beginning. I like Steve. Oh I mean you, ve got africa, but just then was under your music about seeing me. I have to do it. The other way helped me a lot, as I didn't know who any of the comics were. So when I started going up at the cellar yeah, I didn't know almost anybody, so I didn't have the fear of everybody, because at the time I understand how much better they were than me or the area where, where they stood in the hierarchy as like you, I didn't know like. Oh that's how funny you know Keith Robinson Oh yeah, I should I should be this round air because he's killed every single night and all those guys that you'd have Greer barnes and why? greer Barnes Gary these people like we're so funny, and then I slowly watch them, but at the very beginning I just hadn't watch comedy in a long time when I would go in and I would sit at the table, all the comics I didn't need. No they're axe dial, who I was
that its own and then by the time, figured out who everyone was, I had enough of light sea legs to not too embarrassed, but I was embarrassed. I know this is kind of weird that I am attending to do it but I've always felt like and realise that I love it. So much but you were this, but you were a comic yes, I mean that, weird thing is like I would have thought that you know sitting down with them that that you would have thought that they were projecting was this guy need to do this for wisely. Here I didn't. I didn't get that from people will. Then I hit it yeah. I mean oh yeah, but you know. Maybe that was a people were thinking as it does. What is it happening right now, every once in a while, I would see someone get quiet. I'd say that the comedian stable just someone would just stop talking, and I I hope you, the by presence here is in making people self. Conscious
and slowly you don't want them walking you're going home at two thirty going like I fucked up with appetite, which is so not why I'm there at all red buds, but everyone was so nice really fell in love with everyone there, and you know and no they as well inviting the club was excited to have me work there and then I work, my ass off his jokes to try to. I tried to be worthy of it. I really respected all the the comedians and thought I gotta get good enough that I can Think I was a meeting on the same level of these people. I come. Why is watching the special and you're just you was all loaded up with like little one line pieces that I never heard before and I didn't get it all the way to the ended. You do the cause. We, I do the near the liking, and I got that. I love that bad now, at the end that all the kids stuff in me and the industry to admit waking, these sort of, had to cause you work in and go up in and just do the detached jokes. Yes, but you you, you present your life as it is
yeah. I know I am a rich producer of film in television. I live in a very gilded life. Is that the word yes? But The problems remain what that is thing that you notice and I'm sure, from your new merged in your new home. You will notice as well. if you can pay your bills yeah- and I always say that said, you know people who have succeeded in what tried to do and have a little money they they spend their whole lives. Thinking when I, when this happen, happiness will arrive and then, when it once you realize. Oh I'm still unhappy. It's me. It's me but yeah, but I don't know that I ever thought that happiness would arrive arrive in, but I do feel there are some things I don't have to worry about, like I used to that used to consume me. Yes, but But when you really think about, how is that going to change you to have? But I don't know you know I am. I am getting a new house and I walked around in my. It feels different like it, but it young I'm. Fifty four
like. I, you I'd better, do something to to to feel like that. I've I've arrived somewhere it's hard to think that you deserve it. You know that right and you've worked a long time and I am allowed to have the room. You know with the big tv, and I'm going to work hard on the sound yeah like I don't deserve this. If there is that you know, I get why I don't fucking know: That is, I mean, I feel, that a little bit, but I guess for me, it's more like I do. I need it isn't exactly I didn't like deserve it sort of like you know, I'm okay here, but this house is falling the fuck apart and I've not even fixed anything. Unlike like when I empty It's gonna be like they should just demo it to fund as a point of pride in not being an asshole in the nice house. Yeah and that's it. That's it a difficulty. I I don't think I use much of it and in the special, but I do talk, a lot
about people who always want more like if you're the koch brothers and you have thirty five billion dollars- and you are obsessed with getting all these congressmen to push for tax cut, so you could make two billion more of which you'll never spend a penny. What is going on in your mind? What are your values at the cost of people's lives? Yes, quality of life, the country, the globe at food sanders. Can we get? Can we get rid of food stamps? I can get a tax cut and- that is what's driving all of us mad is that trump is a symbolic of very wealthy people, and it's not enough, and as someone who doesn't have to feel terrible, I get a parking ticket. I dont get it at all because other than sending my kids to school and having a place to live, there's nothing to spend money on rule you really spend money on generally is you might go on?
cation yeah and you might get the extra appetizer and that's about it, Why do you need like? Why does trump need to say I'm worth ten billion if he was worth nine hundred million it's what the fuck is the difference I he he also has mental problems and he needs to win and he's a bully and there's in any seems to be the beginning stages of some degenerative mental condition. Think that said, people are beginning to say that openly, like some things happened, while apparently his father had it and his sister as it has it now is completely incapacitated. Degenerative mental illness reagan around the country for several years, push him out there I ran contra interviews. He did he had to do a deposition air, not good, it wasn't the best writing moment on a hill. Well, so this special good, you do what you do you mean you shoot. Nine I shot. Two shows
wait for two nights I shot four shows yeah the night before the first show in the same theater. I did a warm up show to get used to this to you to five at yeah and I didn't take that one and it went so badly, If people told me that would happen, but when it happens, when you run the full set as any just can't get over the hump eating it felt like every Joe. was starting over yahoo, worse and subjects of work, but every joke- and it was a canadian. People here who were so polite zia that they just their energy never lifted, but don't. But I thought the thing look gray, who directed it with a marcus, a ram boy. Is he one of your guys? He is just a great to comedy director who, who did pete holmes special and he does a lot of 'em, and I thought I dunno how to do this and he did abuse of the atmosphere was nice at the suit. eyes, whose embryo makes that suit. I don't know but profound Those were involve it's my punch
parliament is a punch, drunk love. It now are you? You like I can never like. I don't think I could pull a suit off. I think my head's too large, I don't know I haven't worn a suit in a long time. I look ensued. I look a little bit like an agent, but my body is so wrongly shaped it's just a time. I got a little pear shaped, so I decided a few years ago and my wife is not thrilled about this yeah that the only should I look good in with a black james perse polo shirt. I bought twenty five of them. Isn't that a lot yeah- and I just decided- I'm not even going to pretend I look good in other clothes, he didn't wear that and then I lost some weight. So I'd look: okay, yeah for the for the special and right, the second we were done, taping just put another ten back on. Did you just start eating again and at the I just toss it the window I've been. I got my cholesterol down with that without stanton's, like there's a big fight, my houses, my wife, is against the state
I know I got against him too cause. I don't. I don't know really why. But you know to be a medicine, but I just cut meat and dairy out. We as some people say that all the meat that that people think is everything else, but that the your cholesterol is very meat driven. I hate any discussion of having to be healthy yeah. I don't like that. I haven't do it well now it's like there's wes reason get guess it doesn't seem like things are going well, there's not a positive close. you're ahead. So you might live. Sometimes when, like I'm watching the news and in the end they say, hey trump decided to put all the dukes and be when bombers to like up in the air twenty four hours a day. I will eat that pint of ice cream and I'm kind of happy. That the window got smaller fifty. I wish I think that, sadly, it's true like you are right. When old people old people like who I respect like they got, they got out, I them think I didn't have to see this shit yeah after what they went through
like let him go now. As I get older and I feel closer to death, I I get them like a feeling, like worm, excited to die to just get out before I like the environment falls apart before some other bad thing. I know if we're going to make it dude I might have. We might be a wo around fort kept him, and I know what the We really thought I was going, can get out before the world ended, but I don't know it used to be. You know when I was a kid I would think they're going to cure cancer before I get it and now my dear not going to leave them real good with some of them really dependent which, when you get- and I can't slip out before them really bad stuff happens near. It becomes harder to create silly comedy in the face of this. It becomes harder to do anything that that good, that that is, your bowl or not or are not, requiring khazars there's
you things like we're in an urgent situation, and I should be doing something urgently, but you run out of there what what so then like with that kind of percolating and the news percolating when you just want to go like watch a movie or enjoy something or play some guitar. It's there's party this like why. Why do this? Even things? Why not just sit like I remember you being home and kicking jokes around with the seth and Evan for pineapple, express, like oh it'd, be funny if he tries to get the windshield the car he added to his foot just gets stuck, and then we would hear you know when they you like pitched it. We would desgas for seen minutes the idea, I don't have, that kind of moment is possible right now, where you're so lost in the silly fantasy land, and I was talking to a summit about this for hours last night that as a jew yeah, I feel like worship.
to pay attention right now- and I am not even religious, but I have a feeling, like my whole life, I thought why didn't they do something about all this. You know during world war, two f and feels like if I shut it all off and write silly jokes, I'm abdicating some responsibility and- and my friend was saying no the way you change the world old, is through your art, and that teaches about love and connection and compassion and everything you do to protest. Everything that's going on doesn't matter at all or anywhere near as much as the messages you slyly send through your comedy or your movies, and how that is it with you? We know what I think of I just think of trains. jews going into camps and I just think aren't I supposed to be like on the on the train tracks, stopping it yeah, and I think that is that just a a nice
ocean, then I'll write a movie. Now the comes out three and a half years, but how did that help people in Porto rico who have no water right and aren't we suppose Well, what you like what? But what what The thing is is Would you be able to do the type of grunt work necessary to get? your hands, dirty and help out in a practical way. in an immediate way? Well the way I do it is. I just try to raise money. So I do I do an enormous amount of benefit What is the the a c? L? U thing I I they. I got an invitation to go yeah, I'm going to get to some sort of a recognition for easier you as soon as the trumping hit. I said I gotta figure out what to do so crazy one of the main things is I'm going to raise money for the hcl you yeah, because so much of what's in them, I immediately send them money yeah. You need lawyers and a lot of what has stopped the terrible things he's done, the
ban in the military or travel bans is because the hcl, you is suing right so and then Well, I still get to do comedy yeah. I could strong arm friends the dewy shows, and at least it's doing something. So that's one thing I try to do why That's true, I think that's right because, like I think that you know, on the other side where people are just thrilled at you know, I got realize that what's happened because of a tone of an email I got is that these people that had that hated obama that hated a progressive, culturally progressive five minutes and in all areas, just became were enraged and then they became. Exhausted by have being forced to tolerate thinks. And then then them once they didn't have to any more. The fury just came out, the fury of, hours so now, they're condescending position is like well now You guys have to tolerate. You know this horrendous intolerance in hostility and racism and hate, and we had to put up with it with you guys
of young and older people- hearted shit open my garbage now that you know so so like for me. like. I think what we have to do it as a service to ourselves, but also to the country, is not fall into despair and let that become like just like it is. I think that authoritarian regimes neo feed on on hope, witness despair and end the reality that people are not really able to do anything about and and were so confused at how much where lied to you know, for instance, people already have forgotten about the vaguest, shooting yeah, we're five insane things path, that already, and that was just weeks ago. Yeah everything the I there's something about: there's an old hicks joke. You remember the joke. He did. I can't I this paraphrasing it about watching the tv v, death, destruction, war, writing and you know you the door. It's crickets like there there's some
profound idea about you. What you allow into your head. What you allow it to do and what your reality is and what you can do so the the question becomes. Can I stay positive? Can I think of constructive things to do while putting up my resistance and writing boner jokes, the simultaneous certain other boner jokes report, because if there is no humor, then there's just the hopelessness and and you know but yeah, but but let's talk about before we go. I watch the rough cut of the garish handling doc and its of Israel, a beautiful thing. You're one of the few people have seen it yeah. It was very touching I loved it and, like I said to you- and I think I told you before- and you knew him well- and you put this stuff together from archive footage from his note books from all the things you had access to and his wife and it's a u its abuse full kind of memorial of a friend and mentor, but like that that memorial, certain service and I will
the show. What would you call that a memorial we did a memorial for gary at the wilshire evil, a lot of people spoken and I cut together little documentary sequences about different but there's just learning about him changed my life because I talked to him and I dont know that route appreciated his comedy with the depth necessary with the depth of that was. That was there that it deserves, and also his and you know you turning me on to him and then having me go to that thing, and then we did that the green together and I got to you know. Sort of I always I him, but I never knew some weird level how much I in common with him. I think that a I do not want most people I am realizing- is that they didn't home as well as a wished. They did yeah. Although people, don't you, don't really have the courage to dig. You know if, if like you're in a unique position because you do get the moment with someone will you're allowed to ask the questions. People will not ask and conversations tat. Sometimes I can do it
once in a while. You could just turn to garry shandling Why are you like this and get answers, but in life, even as his close friend yeah? I I wouldn't often dig for the psychological underpinnings of who he was, but when I made the documentary and I started figuring out how he became this guy and what he was doing and what he was attempting throughout his life to be saying, I find happiness and peace and it I realized it was it's very powerful. I I related to it as well, and it's sad that people didn't get to share that with him as much as they could have. While- was alive because he had a very interesting journey, which is the same as us. Witches were young. We we have some difficult childhood duration. React comedy become some way to escape away to be seen, but then we want to be successful so that we feel good.
about ourselves that at some point realize: oh, that doesn't work yeah. What what does work, which one really is love and connection in some higher purpose, and then we go for that which is still difficult, and in a very hard to attain, and then we could kill them in north korea. Bomb. Now right is we're about to feel that peace. Finally, but Gary had a fascinating in a story, The one that I love is that when he's twenty years old, he went to a comedy, not a comedy club. Just a a a like a bar club and saw a george carlin right, oh yea and george carlin is he's pretty new to being hippy. George carlin yeah gary rights bits forum right found, the betsy were fake commercial four legalise marijuana right, so he wrote he
I literally wrote the bit what, if they legalize marijuana, what would the commercial be, and so he had about five pages of bits for carlin. He walks up to him and says: hey, I I wrote you some jokes ballsy for yes and Karl Heinz, as I don't usually by jobs while rhythm. If you want to come back tomorrow, I'll tell you when I thought Gary comes back there, They dared laid out on the table with a he wrote on em, he made notations and he says to young gary. You know what I don't buy jokes, but there's one great joke every page, and I think if you you want to pursue this, you should and Gary got in the car and just move to california, changes like he needed that, and you know it you wouldn't know. Who knows if karla would have done that on any other day, because you know what that's like right. You know who? Is this kid? It's a mood thing
I you know like who I don't know Carlin, for you know how often he did that, but he was probably in in arizona. What did he have to do? Yes right, you know what I mean and it's a little ballsy. Jewish kid is right at the jokes things like and nothing to do tomorrow- or I'm read these Instead of going to the mall right yeah I something and is in a rough, but I think carling used to do that. I heard his daughter, Kelly carlin show- and she said he would bump into a comic. He would ask the comic for his number and then eight months later, he would just call the guy go how you doing as a career go. And he would follow up and in a really beautiful way with people. He knew the that power that he had and then I found this letter and this isn't in the document We were ten years later or seven years later. Gary's do like make me laugh.
yes, just beginning to get spots, the communist or any rights a ladder to Carl and thanking him for telling him to be a comedian, and he says more important than your comedy is the man you are and how he he wants to be a man like George Carl and right who in a speaks his truth. And and it's it's wild and I dunno if he sent it because I found it the literature, it looked like the unsent right. Thank you later wow and it was, but it was beautiful it really. He was like. I wrote an episode of welcome back Kotter. I like that we're going to impress George Carlin, maybe that's why the second thoughts came in yeah not going to send it, but that's going to be on in march great and it's four hours, and I thought you know what the oj is worth. Seven yeah he's gotta be worth four
alright buddy. Well, the specials great, it's called the return december twelfth and the existed can be. I this isn't going to go up for awhile because we're going to hold it until we we do for to promote the thing. Yes so like who knows the one on a fuck. The world could be so different in that when this runs in three or four weeks of vodka could be in prison by then whom we, who knows what the egg? That's that's up, that's an optimistic! That's! the Ok, okay, again apatow the return premieres tomorrow december twelfth on netflix and it's good he's been a latent stand up comic for a decade or so it's good to have him out. Have him back, I did stand up the other night. at the comedy store- and I was third up
in the original room? Ten forty five spot second show and I got on stage and I just been free, forming doing the refugees trying to find the beats trying to find that the path. Where is it? Can I go? What's this idea, how does it work? Does it have legs? But I in canada, havin fun, riffian, try not to freak out. freaking out a funny way. I get onstage stages. Front row stage left toad the asleep totally asleep I'm talking I'm on the mic and you can hear it's loud and I about him being a sweep, and I'm asking him if he's awake, if he's is he's enjoying his nap? Nothing, not waking up. I took a picture of the dude on stage from the stage and you're. Obviously I was having fun and then
the flash, apparently woke him up? And I gotta be honest with you. I felt bad woke him up. I felt that I I was rude that he was sweeping by it was one those moments or my guy should have just let that guy sweep You know what I mean. I don't know his life. You know he's in a safe place. He's in a comedy I became for a few laughs. Maybe he hasn't slept in days and he was hoping that the comedy would make him feel better and he just finally got a little shuteye. He did. I think, at the end of going back to sleep so loudon wainwright is a very prolific folk singer and his memoirs liner notes came on the phone is available wherever you get book, so this is me and loud and clear, in He do the boats. I have a sailboat, so you know how to sail. I know how to sail yeah. I started I started when I was fifty five, so I kinda know how to sail doing it for fifteen years. I grew up with now,
I had around the world you that proficient no, no, I once and what s I once did along sail from you. I daily in that cured me of that. So you can sleep in the boat I have. There is a place to sleep on the boat. I have never slept there. I had sex there once, but didn't sleep or yeah it for you moving. We are on the water, or was it just? The anchor was dropped, as they say at a record year was well. That was good. It was that was that something that you needed to get out of your system, or is that, like, let's fuck on a boat, and the fuck on a boat haven't done that, let's do that, I dunno how much time I got left. Well, you know you have a boat in this a place to lie down. She actually a toilet, a head, they call yeah and I've. I I I've used that, but I said well, so we said we should please step sex dot on dot the buddy. This is what your wife- this is my my other by bed, better have yeah my girlfriend now a girlfriend yeah. I got a girlfriend that girlfriend
is the is: is the mother of the lady, the last child? All this is a new does a new one. This is somebody who works at the new york or in fact I listened to your europe show with david remnant. Oh yeah rightly enjoy, but I assume morrison, ok, whose whose a big at an earthenware that's great. So that's nice If you have someone to to have talks with on about sex on a boat with and have high minded conversations about things well I yeah so today you flew in today you're going to you're going to go, do a thing with christopher guest tonight and you guys each other long time about forty five years. Where did that start? How did you like it? You know I I've Mckean You know you and your friends with him. I went to college with Mccain, so that's how I met Chris. Actually, and David and landers, David lander, carnegie attack in pittsburgh. Acting school house was swell. Staying to be actors are really
and then my and then Michael and David got kicked out and and Michael went to n y. U and that's where he met chris in the acting program. So when I came to new york, I met Chris through Michael they were like youngsters. Are they met in college that whole thing started in college yeah like What years are we talking there? I could I would be worth sixty seven yeah, so you are, If you are playing a bitter you weren't playing, I was beginning to play, I was I was. I had a I had played guitar and by I was Benatar. I began to write and sixty eight haha. so yeah. The original idea was to be an actor that was the the original plan. Well, that's right, because in the book you talk about that feeling that feeling of of making people laugh on stage and just sort of like this is where this is it yeah yeah
yeah. So that was really you. You just knew you wanted to be on stage connecting it started. When I was in santa ANA, when I was about seven, I sang a song acapella for my mother and her twin sister, and these two beautiful they were. You know twenty seven or whatever they were beaming down this love and approve yeah me and that that that clinched the deal for me and that did it. I I pretty as I'd wanted to be a cowboy and an astronaut, but then I wanted to be a performer after they but yeah. It's so like. as your your yeah. Your mom had twin sister, so where did you get? I guess we should go all the way back, because it's sort of interesting to me cause. You grew up in these kind of like two worlds: in terms of who your parents were yes, accuracy You have very kind of like it there's a fairly. You know falutin highfalutin, powerful bloodline,
in above america in a way yeah legacy. It's a big name, but your dad comes from a big family right from a like. An old family yeah, the wainwright's are been around for years and were relatives with the stuyvesant. You know Peter stairs and the one legged governor yeah, so my dad grew up as a kind of the what they call the goal coast of long island so established so that money or that family connection goes back to a pre american new york to dutch new york Does it go that peter stuyvesant was the first governor of new amsterdam right right, okay, so way back Those are the right that I'd know. I never understand how that money stays around to you. I don't know anything about money, really I now you're musician, I mean, but is it but you grew up, you know in that world right, like chester, new york, you know in the end caused mansion yeah. Oh, we were the members of that. We were members of the bedford, golf and tennis club,
haha and that, but my dad met my mother. My mother, was from the opposite. End of the social scale shares his funky white trash chick from Tifton, ga ha, you know really really dirt poor. Her dad was an itinerant, a tobacco farmer, and she had that. She talk like that. Lottie lottie, yeah, so beautiful loudly saying that again sweet. I'm glad you had that, though yeah no, she was my biggest supporter I was spinning trying to start out singing and playing and stuff where there's like, there's a lot of kids. Oh there's what four you are three I have. I have four and a half siblings at my dad had a had a daughter late in his life, and you guys are on the on the same. A life plan just just go out there and fool around and see what happens. That's it yeah
However, that one that is anna and anna is thirty. Three, that's you have sister, that's my half sister anna at wildfire yeah. When did you start like you know what cause like? I listen to all the music, and you know you write very well and and and in the book and and there's something about, and he seemed like a pleasant man. It's early. I had a nap, but I mean there's something about like, as I do comedy and I do very impersonal come and- and it seems that you are sort of compelled to be as personal as possible as well. Yes- and it's is that you, you know in my own life- and I imagine in yours that know, there's a price to pay for that some rough thanksgiving, dinners with a family.
But when the? How does that way? We can evolve into that. But when did you start in? You know, writing songs and what was what? What? What drove you initially, while at first, I learned how to play the guitar hints at when I had a guitar when I was thirteen and I never thought I'd write songs. My dad was a writer and writing observing him be a writer, but he was like a journey was right or he was a famous journalists. He had a in life magazine for for years and he was very well known in the sixties. When I was gone so I at some. You know you had a look up to that. You knew that your dad was famous. Are I let looked up to it, but I also looked askance at it because I didn't. I didn't
it'd, be like him, but like most snotty nosed kids, you don't want to be like your parents, haha and second of all, he he seemed to be an unhappy person trying to write and meet deadlines and write books, but was young unhappy in general or or he was unhappy in general yeah. He had a. He had a hard ass father, loudon wainwright the first year who'd who died, when when, when my dad was only seventeen aha and he never got to, you know, work any of their stuff out, so I think he was a hard ass. How well, I never met him, but you now get your elbows on the table and it's just disciplinarian and, and you know not emotional, not yeah cut it and angry. I've seen pictures of him and in fact, this picture of him in the book. You can see that he's he's holding it in and not letting But what what? What I thought was interesting in the book is in in the parts I read was that you know- and I tried to
this in my own life is that you know you haven't Self awareness you've done enough research on yourself in and there is a to to the degree that you have. There's this legacy. You know other these generations of either emotional detail, men are coldness that you you're you're you're up against there is conditioned or genetic that your propelled by these saint clair did the deck esteem act genetically are a year away. However, the beat goes on. You know there is a legacy of of of of depression and self loathing, but your dad seemed like your dad was was not I mean it's you
if you had a relationship with him, we do. You know we kind of towards the end of his life. He died. He was only sixty three when he died, so we we kind of got a little closer toward the end, particularly after he got sick, yeah, ah and in nineteen eighty two, which was five years or six years before he died. He and I took a trip to australia together I was playing there and they threw in an extra plane ticket. My dad came with me. We were guys. Then we have had broken families and we're in new relationship here he is Anna had just been born, so he was a new dad who's fifty nine year old new dad. That's why there was that must have been a these are so you're you're on a level playing field on us, yet we really had probably the best time we ever had, then in oak, a kind of toward the end. cuz, if you do talk about a moment in the book where you at you finally got give it to him a little bit, I gave it to him.
And when he was in the hospital actually dying, and he you know so he's hooked up to tubes and bags, and you know and and I we had this thing. Where you know my name is loudon wainwright, the third. We ass a kind of a pretentious. It's my actual name here, but so he said when my career started he said. Well, you should you should use the third, because we don't have any confusion about which loudon is which right. So I agreed to that. But then I really soon after that he didn't use junior. So I said and I then I waited twenty years, but finally he's dying. I said you know, I just gonna say something. This the roman numeral thing and you did not use the junior thing. So you were just plain old, loudon wainwright here and then he said you can have the name when I am dead would shut me up pretty good. Is that poetry, poetry? That goes right through to so what were you?
noise. Like a you know, you chose to have a musician and you went to these private schools, which must have been a nightmare, But when did you choose like? How is the the culture changing that made? You want to do it? Well, I went to carnegie which is where I at mckean that, but it must happen before the plane was, but I didn't think I was going to be an actual musician, although I played in folk bands in boarding school thing, but but but I dropped out of college. I was a hippie in san francisco for about two years. As I got busted and sixty seven four oklahoma the way in which I was there in the summer of love dogmas lay in and I lived in a crash pad and along with some other bid, you meet him in San francisco, yeah fagin. That's romantic! I had been a morally or might why girlfriend at that time had friends, barred zero was barred and that that summer they went out,
it's so weird like I know that he's like a great musician and a funny guy and a cynical writer by never locked into the steely dan really. Why listen to. I know the good songs you know like in terms of like tweeting hurting out which it seems like there are band. Were there just people were full on steely, dan I am a. I am a huge steely dan sure. In fact, once I asked Donald because I kind of know him and his wife Libby titus- and I I I asked him if he would produce one of my records for me here- he said: no, kind of crushed me so, but I'm a huge fan, I love his records. But I know that a lot of people don't know and I'm I'm coming around. I know that I know the ones I grew up with very controlled. Yes, maybe that's the problem yeah I do. I think he nailed it's nailed down. Yet it's almost it's. It's almost like gas, sterilized, now. I find that the great stuff in this a lot of it to be answered
sad in the writing and his as a vocalist. I think fagin is one of the great singers. I I agree I agree is: are you guys you kept in touch a little bit about? We see each other every once in a while me, I don't. I forgive him for not one to produce one will you get richer thomson and do it s not nothing. That's right, I'm! So this summer of love like what was out like. Were you ass, a guide drug guy acid, oh yeah, yeah, the good get up, Owsley yeah, I was pretty. We would Ass it in the morning and then just gonna wander around goals and gay par talk to them, the bison that the bustle oh penn there yeah. and you know sights saw free concerts with the grateful dead and big brother and the holy hang out with those guys at all. I'd know, because I was just a lowly, you know you weren't, even a guy, I wasn't a guy yet yeah, you know you're just when the the the the the hippy. Nasa's yeah I was, I was
I would go to the hate ash very free clinic to get broken glass. Take it out of my foot. I know I was one of the right I see walking around sure on jars with no shoes, a great idea in a major city But you were a kid right. I mean how old are you well? Six? Seven I was, I yeah. It wasn't a total kid. I was twenty one, but there are, but you know like I, I guess when I talked to guys who you know come of age as musicians. At that time I mean you were there with this or a cataclysmic shift. Were three of them really a music. I saw him he grew up and it was the end of you know. What been sorted bandy. I would imagine when you were a kid and then rock and roll starts in happens right and and then all others energies completely shifts in the late sixties. In the folk and then whatever you have asya speed, it yielded right, whatever the drugs that were being taken,
I but the beatles. Like I mean you were like a like, a very impressionable person when that shit went down yeah. No, I loved all the you know the beatles and the stones and, of course, dylan I mean when I and when I started to play the guitar and and sing and the folk boom was happened. He asked in last very long, but it didn't out it really did it lasted about two year here and the newport folk festival was the groovy as thing, but then electric music, when, when bob plugged in bright reasserted its power but but that that's because that you look at it. it's like. You know we had a good thing going and then you had to bring electricity into it. Yeah, yeah. I mean it left a lot of a lot, a lot of focus in the dust I mean I I loved when Dylan went electric yeah, it was very powerful like
great, like his like. I read dylan's book. You know that this strange autobiography the chronicle yet, which is great, I think some of the best up in it was his depiction of that sea so like. After a assuming you go you you went to san Francisco. Did your acid and Did you run away or did from San francisco forward. While I was arrested in Oklahoma on my way back and though, what affirm possession of marijuana- yeah and now and then I started to write, songs, yeah and but. And with an acoustic guitar with not with an electric guitar. I say that and then I went and sang in these little hoots and open. MIKE things in cambridge and in new york.
You have to do jail time. I was in jail for five days for five days and nights just for wheat yeah, but they were they were. They were very excited because they found out that my dad was the famous I receive it, so they were talking about ten years in Oklahoma city. With a warning, Did they because I thought they were going to give you a break? I thought your voice now and then my dad, who was living in london then, and he had to so he had to take two long airplanes. You know one to new york and they add an oklahoma city. and he got a lawyer and he has a new, a judge in new york and basically he used his influence and money to get my ass out of jail, and I was about to get jumped on my ass- a yeah because I was in a tank with with you know it was. It was a county jail in Oklahoma city at night. We would, we would sleep with a roommate, but in the day was you know forty guys milling around really. So it was pretty
I had a hard time for five days it for for a preppy kid from from northern westchester. Was it scared, the hell out of me? I still have nightmares about it. Do you really yeah so and so I was cute mia, I was really cute. as those album covers those early album covers yeah you're, a looker man ride, hey yeah, you aren't exuding alpha strength, no, they they were going to jump on me. So my dad got me out and then that kind of straighten me up. Then I started in the music. You say you you doing hoots that with erica hoots. Oh nights? You know you'd, go and play three songs for a lot of other singer songwriters and some japanese tourists, but you're gonna have to virgin you're in new york? You went back to new york and fourth, I went back and forth to cambridge and in between cambridge and knew that was the folks. cambridge out your folk and then cause. I know you about seem phil van rock and those guys in like was this. Was this the the heart of it or you're, that the big folk stuff at will Gone right, you know, Dylan had gone electric, sir
Well, the early bleecker street mcdougall street. You know Dave Van RON gave right here and phil ochs dylan richard freyja. That was five years before my time, so the remnants of that was going on when I hit the village who is the remnants? Well, you know, still the Eric Anderson. I don't know if you know who he he was. It was a good sing, a song good singer, sir John hammond, junior partner of him we'll die, and junior. I did a lot of shows with him at the gaslight. So you're ok see you doing that for thing and then you know how it is the second tier. The second wave of the folk thing anyway. What happens? What what happens is I'm I'm winning show at the village gaslight on Macdougal street for John hammond junior year and a guy called Brian keating was writing for the village voice, wrote this ridiculously ecstatic review. You know this sky as the next guy
and that's what happens with comedians or musicians are actors, another gate they get pounced on if they're good the area and when there was one or two papers, it meant something rhino. At no other input, and within six months I had a record deal at atlantic record some ice puzzle was so brief. It was ridiculous, I mean not pay any dues, but in that song on, I think it's history there, Bob Dylan wrapped the talking boost structured song, yeah you're. You talk about that or is it that there is a sort of a big rushed. His sign dylan type yeah, because he was out of commission for thing he had had his motorcycle acts right so male singer. Songwriters were really in other, sign them left and right, so that you said that it was you prying, Springsteen, yeah. We we, I used to joke that we we should start a. You know a a new bob dylan club sure and every year at bruce's house and you should have burgers, got nice house
out there. It's got a good house yeah. He does that. Are you friends with him? I have never met bruce Springsteen. I've seen him play a couple of times, but I've never met. My son way at the beginning of his career. You guys are all workers, you know what I mean. I mean: that's, that's the wild thing about the life you've led and as a comic. I know that that you know you go out there with your guitar and you're still out there, what your guitar ultimately, I'm one at whatever level you doing that at that's. What you're doing right now it's the last chapter in my book, the seventy five to ninety. It's it's about the job of going and playing for seventy five to ninety minutes in a mostly in my case, a lot of the time in clubs and I've been driving for almost fifty years. So all right, so you signed all you guys. He friends were prying. I've talked to. I am. I am friends with prions great you guys. You're, like he write, very beautiful and clever songs will go bite to them. Will humor will I have been the hurry we receive goodman fan, I
you know, I know about steve vikki. You know I don't like some of this music. Is it me from my childhood and I know about the year the couple of heads, but I ain't somebody samuel, I that stuff- and I know you re in prion, we're kind of yeah. They were buddies, he from the chicago scene right, but so, get the record deal Was he what was the expectation? Well, they they put him much. Let me do it I wanted to do that would be at lana records ness. We urge inside me, so my first record is: I took seven months to make and it's totally voice in qatar It is not right that allowed one loud and one is to straight ahead. Just songs got great reviews and nobody bought it. So then they came time for the second album which interesting the enough was called album to good good thought on that, your hair creative in hand at again
It was a harmonica on that and I did a duet with my wife. My then wife, kate, Mcgarrigle, but the rest of the record is all voice and guitar and one song on the piano and noble and great reviews, and nobody bought that one yeah. So Atlantic dropped me columbia, clever. they have assigned me and then I I who should be guy said was ahmet or the other or unnecessarily sign me right. Okay, but then clive sign me into another big guy columbia and then I then the dead skunk thing a They put me together with a rock rock band. Why are you laughing like that way. I like the way you said it well yeah? There was a not meant to be funny. It was a thing you know it was the thing it was number one in little rock arkansas for six. We there you go now. You found your people, man yeah. I I've always imagined bill and Hillary kind of making out in a rambling station wagon. That deadline got on the radio yet, but there is a free thing right.
Well, he was freaking that would have been my only hit so far, her nose, big big record and and the. But then that problem was that. Then I was the skunk I so where's the next funny animal song. So then you have the problem of what was your pressure, there was an eye and I from his life in the brass. It yeah, but it and then the next thing it was. I made a record with Bob Johnston. You know who produced blonde on blonde and Leonard Cohen's records and all the some of the great dylan records of nashville. We made a record in four days with all those guys and but it didn't have a funny animal song on it with that, but that's sort of like why isn't there a certain amount of light cause? You're writing. You know what I mean: you're you're you're doing you know real. You know kind of soulful folk music and your writing? Your clever songs at that tell us are in truth about the human condition, and I get this skunk song, but you're still
How did you not get angry and start drinking, and I did don't worry, I did. I started to drink and falander and my my marriage broke up, and if this is america to kay eight and that's it that's rufus, his mom Martha, is rufus and Martha MA. I've met them at different points. I so there you were. You know the skunk song didn't repeat itself in and now you're you're, just a guy not so, and I had a career and not selling records, but there, but I still you know continue to work and then clive sign, began to arista when when he went to Arista, So in seventy eight I just stopped trying to. I was kind of half heartedly trying to make what they called radio friendly records via note records that were somewhat produced. Sure that I started again and and just proceeded to put out, you know voicing guitar records and I made those records with richard thompson, which
I can strip down app so that the production on the record served the songs and I think generally, I've managed to do that for the for the last thirty, something when you look back on it like you know, I notice in the book that you talk about like philandering or the road, or what have you is, you know, that you have done or tried to do and what they did to your family. I mean you d. I own destroying put my finger on it like as like, we do, these things in songs. You know when you do songs, you know about this kind of stuff. You know about truth about about here in your kid about your relationship with your father or fathers in general about whatever The darker songs. You have the more touching songs that you what song is that three or four minutes you know, but you still have this a life for you. I imagine you know you have a full range of emotions and and and and you're decent fella, but but it it's it's just interesting. when you're defined by your music, because there
I don't know whether I read it or or I'm just projecting it, that how close do you feel to the protagonists of your songs in general? Well, I feel I wouldn't pretend that it's a I feel close to it's me. It's know. Is it's a kind of crystallized polished? I mean all it talks about some of my less appealing traits. I wrote it is me I've right! It's been its, though, is the waterfront that I have covered. my life, my family, my kids, my parents, my sister it's about all these people, because these are the people that are mean a lot to me and then quite they're, quite particular, and I don't really write generic love songs. I admire people that can do that year or even other people that have kind of cryptic things where you're not quite sure what they're writing about write like dylan or even steely dan. For that sure he never
white sure what their what it's about here, but my tendency and I dont know why cause it's just the way that I write. Everybody develops style, but I write very straight ahead. It's very just scripted is a beginning, a middle and an end, and out of it, I mean I do right, sometimes political songs and straight ahead novel. Songs, but a lot of it is about my family in my life. What which is interesting, cuz! It's like if prine songs or not, he makes characters yeah, I get it that much that you're right so there's that those are the choices either. You write cryptic songs that people can just your kind of you is a template to feel whatever they're going to feel without having any kind of if not knowing what it means. Yeah yeah and then you have like six songs. about people you make up in then those guys who do the straight stuff. You're, like the straight got you that right to the heart of it. doing the memoir saw yeah yeah yeah I've ever
that's it, I'm the real deal, real, damn deal, like when you're writing as a kid. You know when he wrote an allowed one and stuff. You know you must have had In your mind, you were judging yourself against. You know dylan or whatever right yeah, and I you I gotta nail this we'll to figure out like again, like everybody else in show business. When you start you ve got to figure out what to look like, and you know how to separate yourself from the pack how'd you do with a well I've right I assumed I took a took up the costume of my youth. I I have short hair. If you look at that, first album everybody else had long hair and bell bottom pan right at of a brooks brother, blazer and gray flannel pants there, and that so right away. There was a different look right. And then I started to sing a lot about myself through your preppy ish preppy psycho killer! Luck!
right kingston trio. No, no. That would have no, that that's tour, that's the fifties, but they were all pretty clean. Seem preppy, ashura, nea, but striped shirts. I think it never wear striped don't tell them what I'm wearing today. As a nicer plaid, I live nice multi, colored plan. I give it a strike by its own. I thought there was not acquire structure, fashion on the radio, is great. Isn't the apparatus not kingston tree of zone on that as a verdict? Labour short slaves, your yakking century? I think it's because they all matched, that was the big mistake. So all right, so you doing these goods, a skunk song happens. You know you have this relationship with the label, clive Davis. What what what's happening? around you and music at that point, what are you up against because I can give you ve really kept going yeah but in a different type of music is changing around you constantly, but you you're alive
into a america music want your folk or or your country ashburn writes the songs on an acoustic guitar, now usually record them with that, and it's the same five chords that I learned when I was fifteen. What happened was that? kept? My head down and kept writing songs. right, but wait wait when did things get bad like it at? What point did the we structure started the vessel start kind of shake. The idea in terms of you put these actors out, you're, not sound record. You ve gotta, be on the road. In your view, building owing horizon doing right and and at some point said that you started drinking and that you did get bitter and that made it into the music a bit, but it didn't seem to sink you Oh I you know I didn't have. I have I've had a pretty good time actually I have I, you know I've I've, the cement like: an like anybody's life as collateral damage. Sure
but I've. I've really is. It hasn't been bad for me. You know haven't been severely depressed straight or are had a nervous when my mother died in ninety seven, I kind of fell apart, but that was that was appropriate, sure natural, so so bye, large, you know I just kept my head down and did the job and I liked playing and and that's still what I'm kind of doing and what is your? How is your? How did your following evolve? How did you find that you got the people, the fanbase? What did they come for? and how long have they been with you? Well, a lot of them have been with me for the ride. I mean, and sometimes I'm shocked. When I see my my you know, I drive up to the club and I see these old people. I think they're there for the bingo. We have, I mean, but then it's dark in there. So beautiful and warm and they love may end. But then other things happen. You know we meant John I mean I did this, sir. I was in the show the jug uptown did undeclared here. So as a result of something like that, all the sudden there were you
people there. So or fans of my of my son and Rufus arthur something so so you know, occasionally there, sir some young people of their shared by most It must be wild because I can eat. I have you had their experience where finding out the thousand seventy one, seventy one, You ve had a good go at it. You you've lived your life, Do you have that moment where you go back to places and a woman comes up to you and goes? Do you for me, yeah that's happened, yes, and very belated. No, I don't, but I say, Of course, I do and my line is through the it's of time here, we are and I know that just happened to me actually yeah with somebody. Your age so am I a wild rain and a very nice person, and so I said hello, apologized and we let it go.
I didn't apologize. She apologized, it's funny, though, because like you're not like, I, I guess like the assumption about how a performer lives on the road. Yet you know you're not sort of crazy party dude. You know you like south anymore, now, you're, not some dangerous, weird junkie or freak out there, your folk guy right and you're out there getting laid just like anybody, but they must be. I'm just picturing just pleasant to point pleasant. Ladies buying They were very plus desire, recall them were human beings as they like you go there, responding to something very you know, but I hastened to say were laughing about it. But it's important to point out, at least for me, is that a lot of it created a guilty bad feelings and feeling like an idiot jerk and of an abuse of power you now too,
domestic life. You know the marriage with kate that I with us as a roach for nine years, and we had a daughter. So marriages where workers smashed up because of my goofing around on the road, a lot of it yeah, but wasn't your dad, you aren't hiding like seven year relationships necessary. I didn't do that. You know I would hide like two week relationships and again a lot of time. Sir we're talking about my proclivities lot but again each of the job as you go to some town. It's it's not a relationship at all. It suits. You know somewhere, go home with you right to say that the face the television set, but but also it's like it's surprising, as somebody who does not happen year worldwide, my horse I mean I ruined a the my first marriage like that, but I am I don't have and children. I never did that pizza
terrible about it. But yeah I mean there's something profoundly lonely about a hotel room. I dunno what it is, but you know when you're on the road, even if it's for a night you're like where am I and you've just made the of the three hundred or three thought I get people I get right, adored you right! I guess I don't pull factor that in other tyre dinah thing right and then you suggest so you can take a hostage it back to the hotel, a I love hostage and their they're excited. they are there there into it. Then you know, but what? But you ve taught you sing about this stuff in it. It it has there has been like kind of attention that you know I mean Rufus came at you with a song and I think, the game at you with were, and there yeah there was like a I imagine why, wouldn't they hear their dad, you do it I'm even writing about them, since they were infants yeah. No, that's all You know if you eat it, gotta take it.
You're going to dish it out and rufus and Martha you know have certainly taken. It's and I can take it- I mean sometimes it's Martha, wrote this in song, you can swear your your bloody rice? Yes, so for a while. You know when she ceased pledges to open, shows for me in the beginning of your career, so she he would do the song, and I thought I would think boy she was going at the time with a singer called dan burn? I don't know if you know who he is a really talented singer but older than her, and they had a tough difficult relationship. So I thought well, that's a tough song. god, daddy, bloody mother, fucking asshole and paramus new jersey and Martha goes out and its term amino it's my audience and in the in the room primarily bear her careers still moving up, she announces to my audience that this is a song about my dad and then
bloody mother, fucking asshole, So that was a moment that I was yes how that when you got well, I just made joke yeah. I just got through it, but why she does it so she decided to lay that and you had no idea in what what happened after that. Martha is very provocative. I I'm sure she would agree with that. She likes to push the envelope. Hi. I appeal, I think, that's a good thing to do. Performers need you're wake people up shake people up. if it's her dad, even if it's on front audience, yeah it, like you, was almost like a secret years. Keeping for wild use playing it yeah, at some point. She decided like we. I can't let him think that it's not about him right now. And then and then, but you never. There was never a point where you guys weren't talking to each other. All we've got we've been there, we've been there, you kidding me
let's see am I talking to rufus this week now I haven't, Other daughter was an incredible musician. I want to talk about Lucy Lucy wainwright, the out my daughter with suzie, yeah and she has the roaches yeah we'll is not written. The song attacking me and I really appreciate the, but that's not her style anyway. You have it. Sometimes. I think it's at first got really happened now sure by then it's a first the kids at all that think they get their rights to the stick. The the most yeah right in general the roof is like is spectacular performer and songwriter and yeah his his song about you. yes, his white dinner at eight yeah and that's a it's a sad song. It's a beautiful song is really is and it's sad and but I think it's a great song, that's one of his great songs. Well, when you, when you process his stuff, what do you think your best album is for you? What's the one that you're like that, was I really nailed it all the way,
true on that one. I've made twenty seven albums. I think- and you know it- some people and I've made some duds, that's for sure or albums that I don't really lame yeah. I I think there's an album called history that I made and it was right after my dad died year and that event was such a cataclysmic thing. The song started to come out that I and I think, there's my my best songs. There is great record near its great record and then mama my mother died. I made a record last man on earth and lot of that. Unfortunately, I only have two parents, but you know those. Those are two very strong records of mine. Yeah yeah histories. Do I history so beautiful and I think didn't you do one of your father long. So yes, he, my dad wrote a song. There was a guy that he might might
we had lived. We lived in l a for for a bit in the early fifties and dad was a friend with harry gill kishan, who was a a folk singer and a bit of a pop folk singer. He had a group that they sang backup on dean, martin records, like memories, are made of this. I would they were that weird hawaiian bunch when they knew what I was. I was fell kid at yale thing, a song called the wild goose for that that song memories has a weird little uke Uke thing. Yeah, but terry gilchrist, yeah while there were drinking buddies and and- and I think that my dad took a shot at writing some songs hanging out with him, and he wrote a great song about nineteen fifty, so it would have been to twenty five year old man, it's just a handful of dust and that that song is on the history. I guess I'm sort of fascinated at your self awareness in about could I I wrestle with the some of the same things you do now do is. Is there redemption after this when you say that you,
backer in the moment or whatever wreckage, you've. You've you've wreaked on any body, do you? You just have an acceptance around at that eventually resolves itself. If you don't make it worse or or do you do you still kind of like you just think you're propelled by that by is there still guilt and you know self hatred and that kind of stuff yeah, but but you know it I'm get this. Also there is redemption and forgiveness, and you know I'm mean my kid sir eat em the youngest daughter, whose name is Alexandra she's. Twenty five, but I mean Rufus is this- is forty four and martha is forty and Lucy's thirty, five I'll have kids or rufus and Martha have kids, so you know, but they're all grown ups. They ve been banged around the world so that this forgiveness floating around you're right and that an that? That's that's what I've you know. One of them
as I did in my book, was I, I included some of the my father's writing. He was a beautiful, elegant writer. Some of his essays are in the book and I love the you know. He and I had a kind of a crappy relationship, but he died more than twenty fears ago. So there's a forgiveness thing. That's going on now between me and him, even though he's been dead end and if you can't forgive your parents, I'm talking to my kids die. If you can't forgive your parents, you can't forgive yourself. That's my! that's my theory at this point and that's you will learn that the hard way You make a lot of mistakes and I made plenty of mistakes. I mean it wasn't, but it wasn't any more than anybody else. I just wrote about it. I had a couple of broken marriages I screwed around I mean that's it No! I know I know a guy. I use that one too, I get the sense that you know there is a short menu to two transgression yeah. You know and there's of course, there's a big rain.
Yeah, but you know. Certainly there are ones that sort there's nothing unusual. I didn't drowned any puppies, know right yeah and you didn't bankrupt a country or kill anybody right right right. You know you kind of like judge yourself on the the moral transgression chart and how familiar it is culturally yeah and you're. Like look, you know, people fuck up yeah right, yeah yeah. So so please, forgive me kids. I'm saying this on the radio You seem to wrestle with the very idea of of love. Yeah love ya, like I do material that similar to this end I am trying to like get gleaned from you because I'm a little younger than you, you know what how you resolve some of that stuff I mean like do cuz, I feel like I'm capable of love. You know of giving, but there's something that holds me back and in terms of guilt and whatever but like how have you,
Imagine having kids changes that will. I have a song called all in I am here on a family in that is about love. You know, love heels, heart ache and for me LEO pain and what family is not insane, you know, so I ve been love is bins, work in its way into the songs in the last ten or what is with you feel, with age and grandkids yeah, I think, grant grandkids yeah. You know, and you do realize that you know it's kind of corny, but the the the the l, the love thing is a big thing. Do you ever feel pointlessness and is that if a theme, well, oh well, he I mean I wrote a song when I was twenty five on my second album called the suicide song via a vet. Time ago it was time ago and I was kind of goofing around any right. I wasn't really the worst I ever felt was, after my,
mother died? I really went down hard. How old are you fifty? I was alright. I was fifty one or so we've already gone through a lot of your stuff too yeah I I'd had a lot had happened to me and and my father I had died earlier and that that was more of a release from a real died, but by my mutt when my mother died, but the bottom line out and what it was. That was the feeling just sort of wake. You know like avoid yeah I I couldn't get out of bed in oh and I've been mildly depressed for my an entire dont life service was the real thing here now. I was really about it, but with time and see in a shrink here and some minos, raza pam, I got back on my feet again, get me, so I won't talk a little bit before we we wrap it up. I know you gotta do stuff the ad
acting in the air, the sort of tv thing I had no idea into. I looked it up today that you you're actually involve with the original david letterman daytime shows at teresa. I was the musician sidekick on the couch for the first week in the in that show didn't last. That long. Is that what happened? No, I wanted. They did me for a week and then they thought this isn't great, and then they tried some other guests and then then they they shifted over to to to late night and brought Paul shaffer, and I guess and like what was the because you did act here and there, like, I mean we're how it, how did that who was dry I am bringing you into that. Like you, you, you knew the like. You knew Christopher, in mckean and those guys when they had the the sketch of spinal tap. I was inspired tat s me in the sketch in the sky. It was in Iraq reiner a tv special called the tv show. Martin model was in it and and harry
shearer was at an end that they dig came up with this sketch about a heavy and I was the keyboard player- were in sea me on youtube area in a wig area. So so you always sort of work. These were your close friends or your sort of yielding proximity to comedy alva, tat, you're, always kind of like around. And when you met when you met those guys, you ok, you went to college with some of them, but but you you met like in that in the city. I give you their pre s now right. Yet when I met when I met I met Chris when he was in this thing called lemming of the national lampoon radio hour, so that was pre. You know belushi and chevy chase, and- and this was a two years before Saturday night, we saw that perform alive yeah where they performed at like the boss, the village vanguard. yeah sure it was great, it was amazing, was in crowds like the dark,
Although the rock festival yeah the satirical answer to woodstock, that's right, where they all would just go off the edge of the cliff right, so he shot baluchi as a young crazier. Eighty, I think he did as Joe cocker and bright course, of course, and chris did incredible dylan and a wonderful actress, is no longer alive. Alice Clayton was in it Gary every and lot of great and chevy a lot of great people, you did you did snl early on tour? I was in the first season I was in third show. Robert Klein was I was there and the other musical act was arba, really Nobody knew who they were. They had just won the Eurovision song contest and they they were. The only group I am I'm too yeah that ever lips sank on Saturday night live that first time they did it then, and in lorn decided that would never. and again was their chaos at the show. Is it everyone excited? Was there like air, like? I can't imagine that first season,
if it was more variety, show it that felt short films and a it was great. It was you know, with the all the original text yeah. I remember that the party after the show he did oh yeah. He was talking about things yeah going off to the bathroom every once in a while sure, yeah. What reason did you do Carson or any of those shows I did? I did Carson and twice once with johnny and once with doc, severance and guest hosting yeah yeah- and I did you know I've done. I did the mike douglas show you'll. Remember that I used to watch it after school. They sit around the half circle right yeah. I did a lot of mike douglas show so yeah I did merv griffin, oh yeah, yeah. It shows I have done. You can just put sitting there with guys that like to me, you know I get like thinking back on those talents at that time. It just everything seemed to be more like a community like it. but he seemed to know each other. Is it
Am I making that up or do you feel that to like you sitting out there like like a merv griffin show and maybe some I like there and some other guy there, but yeah show business felt small to me. I think it was a little looser. Maybe You know, and I don't think that people were but there were eagles flying around and shirt and and crap and bullshit failure, but I I you know, and- and it was a long time ago, how did you do mash have that and Larry Gelbart saw me playing at the troubadour in l, a in seventy three years, young and said hey. I have an idea of a singing surgeon and I did three episodes of mash that's fine yeah. It was fun and then all of a sudden, you got judged yeah. You know that putting you in everything judd has been incredible: yeah the what was the first thing you purchase an undeclared yeah he when he was a fourteen year old kid growing up in syosset long island. He saw me on that letterman show than he used to come into town and
Play played the bottom line when he was a kid We're probably many was like a teen or nineteen. so you ve been a fan alone. He's home fell on tyre, and then I get this. All about twelve years ago, from No, I didn't had no idea who he was. I had not seen freaks and geeks was weird today. I I got on a plane from this morning. in new york and Martin starr was sitting next to me, he's a drunk out judd and air freaks and geeks and martin stars and intense dude he's a good guy. He slept most of the way. Okay, I could tell he was intense he's intense yeah. So so he puts you on an undeclared and then yeah, and then you know I gave me some parts in some other movies and then wrote with Joe Henry my friend Joe Henry. We wrote the music for knocked up and the good stuff from Chad yeah you did that cover year of another friend song, right daughter, Peter blake, that yes Greg who's. That guy's really interesting guy he's he's he's an expatriate is he's an american
been living in london for almost forty years he was in a rock and in the seventies called slap happy. They played a lot in europe. A great songwriter he's also an amazing cartoonist and a writer and Hardly anybody knows the hell of a song, that's how song. If you google me the first thing that comes up his daughter, so I have to always tell people that I didn't write that, yeah, it was a pain in the ass, but it's a great song, hey at least the skunk things behind you yeah man that used to be skunk. Now it's daughter can't get a fair shake on your. It's shit, yeah yeah alright man was great talking to you. The book is beautiful, it's well written. You know it's fun. In what what what happens. Now you detour constantly I took a regularly I'd say you know, John and Chris, talking about may begin to get. I have this theatre show called surviving twin, which is my my son
mixed in with my dad's riding and I've been doing that and in so there's some talk that we might do a film of that. So rarely that's the next thing that hopefully will have. I really do you really are emotionally a burying the hatchet, your dad postumius or the more you forgive the better. You feel yeah, that's type that I just made that up. that's a bumper sticker, isn't it or song yeah, ok, I'll get I'll go cracker on that? Ok, thanks were very nice. Talking to you, an okay. That was that the book liner notes is out, give it get the book. It's good. A music, a life and entertainment, thou wainwright dig it. Can you
guitar guitar anyone, the in the and boomer lives.
Transcript generated on 2022-07-30.