For Chris: I’ve always really wanted to get into acting and/or comedy but I’m terrified of failing at it. How do you get the courage to perform?
First off – the terror you’re feeling will never go away if you choose to go into this field. That’s just something I want to say very bluntly right at the top. There is no sugar coating that. I know it’s horrible to hear, but the terror ain’t going nowhere. That fear will manifest itself many times over and in many ways and if you really can’t handle it, you should follow your gut instinct to not pursue acting and/or comedy. It’s a cliche thing to say in the acting world, but if there’s anything else you could envision yourself doing, do that thing. Not everything will be easier per se, but I imagine 90% of other professions fuck with your head less. There are so few things where you are judged on talent, personal appearance, drive, and where you have to live like shit for years to make it, where “overnight successes” are sometimes people who have worked for ten years plus, where even if every factor of motivation, ability, and talent line up perfectly, your success is still also determined at least partially (and in many cases, mostly) by luck. It’s a bad trip. It is not for everyone.
I often wish that I had a resume with anything on it besides comedy, but I started doing this when I was 20. The only other job I’ve ever had was at a magazine, where I wrote, delivered boxes, handled the mailing list, and answered emails. That magazine was about weird stuff in New Jersey. A very cool thing and the best job I’ll ever have, but also not the resume padding that I desire when I want to give up and go get a corporate job. On a very frequent basis, I find myself wishing I got that job when I was 27 instead of 20. I would have done it for the rest of my life, and I would have been very happy to do so. Things didn’t break that way. I am backed into this corner where I do comedy. READ MORE
With the exception of a ﬁve-month stint in Los Angeles, I’ve spent my entire life living in New Jersey and Queens, and it shows. I am a stereotypical northeasterner. I’m always in a rush. I’ve attracted stares from out-of-towners when I’ve shoved past someone blocking the subway door. I’ve considered kicking a man’s crutches out from under his feet because I thought he was going to make me late. It’s not like I think this behavior is okay. It’s just that I’ve spent more time sitting in Lincoln Tunnel trafﬁc than most kids spend in front of the TV.
For a full six months after entering therapy, I felt shell-shocked and alone. I’d been put on medication, and was experiencing an array of side effects. Some were funny (Depakote made me fall asleep at the dinner table in the middle of a date); others were chilling (the muscle relaxant that accompanied my Risperdal warned of possible sexual side effects; I never dreamt that meant I would ejaculate what was for all intents and purposes water). It wasn’t easy, but after a lifetime of anger, and a college career that only saw me grow more and more out of control, for the ﬁrst time I’d decided to get help and try to heal. I gave up drinking. I made it a point to actively search for the positive side of everything.
And perhaps as a result, after years of self-doubt and self-destructive behavior, I was ﬁnally dropping all of my internal defenses and starting to look at all the possibilities life offered.
So despite my loyalty and devotion to New Jersey, despite my long-standing job at Weird NJ, and despite the fact that it was the only home I’d ever known, when Matt Besser, the owner of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, called me in January of 2004 about a writing job for the Comedy Central show Crossballs (which he was executive producing), I knew I had no choice. READ MORE
Hello! Sorry that I didn’t check in on Friday. Especially after I explicitly said I was going to. I didn’t mean to scare anybody. I realize that just not writing anything after I said I would is not cool. It invites people to think that after making it all the way across the country I died in some tragic but sort of romantic and symbolic end to my journey. And by journey I mean both RV trip and life as a whole. Not the case. Again, my bad.
The reason this update is coming late is two-fold. First off, I needed to sleep. Like, so bad. I’ve never needed sleep more. Secondly, it’s the first time during this entire experience that I haven’t known what I wanted to say before I sat down and started writing. Trying to sum up the past two weeks of my life has proven impossible. The best I can do is offer my scattered thoughts in what will almost definitely be an unsatisfying manner. READ MORE
Above, the conclusion of the mutiny that was discussed here.
Yesterday was an illustration of how sad and desperate America can be.
We had a very late night that involved Don and Will driving as the rest of us slept. I woke up to the sound of both of them losing their minds. I guess they’d found a WalMart on Google and spent an hour in the middle of the night driving to it only to find that it no longer existed. Then, they went to an RV park that was closed as well. I heard Fanelli screaming his guttural Jersey scream as he lost all hope. It was pretty scary. There is a reason the New York Times recently referred to him as musclebound.
Anyway, the next morning we were all still tired and decided that since we were right there, we’d go to the Grand Canyon. Most of the people on the trip hadn’t seen it before. Before we went, we decided to eat at a diner alongside old Route 66. This diner almost single handedly brought my depression issues to the forefront.
The old towns along Route 66 look and feel like classic 50s car towns, but the interstates have killed them. There’s never anyone there. So the ones that survive are like weird ghost towns that remind you of how cool and small America used to be. The waitress at our diner clearly hadn’t spoken to many people before us that day. She was tripping over words, and it was clearly because the muscles in her mouth were atrophied due to a lack of usage caused by a lack of human contact ever.
I left her a 200 dollar tip, because it seemed like she had a rough day. This seemed like one of the best ways I could spend the money people contributed to our fundraising. I know this is a sad thing to say, but I will literally wonder forever if this woman is OK. Welcome to the comedy blog! READ MORE
This morning I climbed to the bottom of an immense canyon and hiked alongside the Rio Grande. Eventually, I came upon a hot spring, where I disrobed completely. Also sitting inside the hot spring was a man named Derek whom I had only met while inside the aforementioned hot spring. Derek told me that his life was completely solitary; that he dabbled in logging, but his main trade was packing elk. When I asked what that entailed, he explained that he didn’t kill the animals, but his job was to find their carcasses where other hunters had left them so he could skin and butcher them for transport. I nodded politely. Neither of us ever mentioned that my dick was visible.
This is the exact sort of thing I was hoping would happen when I planned this trip in the first place.
Taos, New Mexico is a strange and wonderful and in some ways magical place. Our friend Melanie Hamlett lives there, and as soon as our trip started, she began tweeting us that if we rolled through, she’d be happy to show us some strange stuff. I’m really glad we did. READ MORE
First things first, Don Fanelli and Bethany Hall have arrived. This is the best thing that has happened to me since this tour started. Don is one of the rocks of our show and Bethany is the secret glue that holds all of it together. We’ve sort of quietly ignored that they haven’t been here, but I’m sure people familiar with my show have noticed that they weren’t present. They both have real lives and day jobs, and I’m just thankful they were able to join us for the second half of this insane roadtrip nonsense. Now we can really get to work.
Anyway, this weekend was weird.
Here’s the thing about The Chris Gethard Show. My name is Chris Gethard. And I have a show. And in that show, I play a character named Chris Gethard. And that character is similar to me in about eighty-five percent of its personality. The other fifteen percent is a bigger dick than I generally like to be.
For example, if you’ve ever been to one of my shows and you see the band fuck up, my character makes fun of them. “The band likes to play every intro roughly eleven seconds too long,” is one phrase that my character uses to torment them. My character likes to say Will Hines isn’t funny. My character consistently plays up Shannon O’Neill as a crazy lunatic. My character loves to force Don Fanelli into over the top situations and treat him like a meathead.
Off stage, those aren’t the ways I treat those people at all. I asked Will to do my show because I think he’s one of the funniest people in New York City. I’ve performed for ten years with Shannon O’Neill because I think she’s a genius. I brought Don Fanelli into the mix because I thought he had as much potential as anyone I’d seen in years at the UCB Theater in New York. The LLC, a mutation of the Kung Fu Monkeys, can’t play too long in my eyes. The Kung Fu Monkeys are one of my favorite bands, and have been for almost fifteen years.
Long story short, a lot of times in the course of being this manic host character, I say a lot of dickhead comments that the real me would never agree with. And that works in the context of an hour-long show once a month. We get to walk off stage and laugh about it. But the show we’re currently doing is twelve days long and takes place in a metal box on wheels. It either merges with our real life or replaces it. I don’t know quite which. Me being a dick in the context of “a character that shares my name” got me into a lot of trouble this weekend. READ MORE
This trip has officially hit a point where I fucking hate being a part of it. There are a handful of moments that are still fun — meeting new people, for example. But by and large, this has become physically disgusting, mentally taxing, and emotionally disturbing. I haven’t taken a shit in days and I am at least slightly angry most of the time.
The worst aspect of all is that I can’t sleep. The past two nights have been spent sleeping in an bed above the driver’s seat with both Shannon O’Neill and Will Hines. They are two of my best friends, but friendship goes away pretty quickly when you’ve got Will snoring directly into one ear and Shannon farting into the other. It’s amazing how quickly you will turn on a decade-long friendship when one of the friends is farting into your face. I love Shannon O’Neill. But she is sitting literally eighteen inches to my right at this moment and has no idea that if I could push her out of the moving RV right now, I would do it, rather than smell her fucking farts for one more night.
I also am grotesque. I haven’t showered in days. I have a fucked up ingrown hair on my neck that has been there for so long that I’m convinced the only way I could possibly get rid of it is to slit my own throat. It seems like my new routine is going to bed slightly sad and waking up very angry. And this trip was my idea. I can only imagine how bitter and resentful the other passengers on this RV are towards me. If their thoughts towards me are even half as vindictive and evil as mine are towards them, I think it’s probably best that I put the following out there – if I die on this trip, it was definitely not an accident no matter what the people on board tell you. They did it. Don’t ever let them convince you otherwise.
This trip has broken me. I hope this makes our internet videos better, at the very least. READ MORE
I am writing this entry from the back of an RV that’s parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Selma, North Carolina. This is also where I slept last night. In a Wal-Mart parking lot. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Yesterday was a good day. We didn’t have to drive too much to get to Carrboro, North Carolina where we had a show with the cool cats at Dirty South Improv. The shitty part is that our generator is still busted, but hopefully we can get that fixed today.
A girl named Molly Buckley was talking shit on Twitter about how they had this burrito called El Gigante at a restaurant called Bandido’s and how I couldn’t eat the whole thing. Being that I’m a rage filled maniac, I said “Fuck that,” met this lovely woman in Chapel Hill, and was way too aggressive with her about how I was going to conquer this fucking burrito. Unfortunately, the thing weighed seven pounds. That’s like eating a newborn child. There was no way it was going to happen. I almost vomited in the restaurant. Our waiter told us that people vomit from it all the time. This almost made me vomit more. READ MORE
In yesterday's tour journal entry, I described showing up in Philly and surprising a comedian on stage who had talked shit at me over twitter, resulting in an eight-person brawl. You didn't believe me? Here's the video.
Last night ended treacherously, as we drove from Philadelphia to Baltimore in a snow and ice storm. It was one of those situations where everyone in the RV was thinking something along the lines of “Probably we should pull this thing over, being that it’s a huge vehicle none of us have experience with and this weather is sort of horrifically scary,” but choosing to instead say things like “Let’s just get there now so we can sleep in for 15 extra minutes in the morning.” You know, dangerous behavior.
We slept on the floor of a friend of Bill Florio’s. Bill is in the show’s house band and he’s got insane stories. Every city we go to he either attended a crazy punk show there or got punched in the face by someone or witnessed an unbelievable feat of humanity. And he’s an unassuming guy. I think it’s because he’s been in 80 percent of all New York punk bands that formed from 1992 to the present day.
Anyway, Bill’s friend Sue offered to put us up. She was really nice. She mentioned she went to Rutgers and I realized we had some overlap time there and some mutual friends. It was one of those odd “We have definitely met” sizing each other up type of interactions. Instead of nailing down how exactly we knew each other like a normal human being would, I instead slept on her basement floor using a balled up thermal shirt as a pillow, because I’m a sad maniac. READ MORE
I’m very happy to say that I went the entire day today without any failings of the five major senses. This whole day went better.
First of all, I got a whopping six hours of sleep. Part of this was because I took a Unisom sleeping pill. But most of it had to do with the fact that our friend Michael Kayne arranged for us to stay at his family’s home in Connecticut. Michael was not there, and I am the only one on the tour who had met his folks before, so it was really awkward. But, they let ten weirdoes sleep on their floor. I got a bed because I hadn’t slept at all, and it worked.
The Kayne family are indescribably wonderful people. It’s like hanging out with a less pretentious version of The Royal Tennenbaums. They’re nice, creative people, and I have always really enjoyed my time with them. When we woke up in the morning, his family had fresh squeezed juice and fresh baked muffins waiting for us — because they were planning to break us.
The reason Michael sent us to his parents’ home was because a huge tree limb had fallen in their backyard. It was about fifteen feet long and thick. Mike’s mom rented a number of hand saws for us and a cart to remove all the logs with.
Unfortunately, when you are trying to destroy a huge chunk of a 200 year old maple tree, six hand saws aren’t gonna cut it. I don’t mean that in the colloquial “not gonna cut it” way. I mean it in the “these saws aren’t gonna fucking cut through this thing in a million years” way. It didn’t help that the tree was covered in ice, and that just to get to it we had to shovel through about twenty feet of solid New England snow. READ MORE
As of this writing, I have never been so tired in my entire life. The exhaustion I know has manifested itself in physical pain, mental disarray, and prolonged bouts where I am unable to function fully as a human being.
I just wrapped up my first day on the road as part of my Cross Country Adventure.
The Chris Gethard Show Cross Country Adventure officially kicked off on Friday, when the cast performed a show alongside Sean “Diddy” Combs. I do not want to be cocky at all, but this experience was the shit. I hope the audience had as good a time as I did. I felt so proud of the cast — everyone stepped up, didn’t let the nerves get in the way, and delivered. We had a Sean John fashion show, a Ciroc electrocution blindfold taste test, and sent Will Hines to Junior’s to get Diddy cheesecake. On top of that, Diddy gave us a care package — including handing me the sunglasses off his head, which was awesome. He also gave us all nicknames. Inexplicably, mine was “Ray Ray.” I have literally never seen a crowd erupt as much as they did when Diddy named me. It was insane. Instant chanting and overwhelming noise. I have no idea exactly what button got pushed with that nickname, but it all comes down to the fact that Diddy is a magical human being.
Seriously, I believe that. I’m not being melodramatic or sarcastic. That dude has so much charisma, so much kindness, so much warmth. He was totally game for everything and so hilarious and I will never be able to thank him enough for agreeing to do my dumbass show. Being able to pick his brain about career stuff was really interesting and enlightening. He gave every single person in the audience a copy of his new album. He is a complete class act.
The fact that our roadtrip started with Diddy giving us his blessing and encouragement made me feel like it would be easy.
Thirteen months ago, I put a video on YouTube, completely on a whim. It was Christmas Eve, I was shirtless in a bed at my parents’ house, and in it I was sending a message to entertainment impresario Sean “Diddy” Combs.
I told him about how I wanted to believe that the world was a cool enough place that a guy like him and a guy like me could hang out. I asked him if he would be a guest on my talk show at the UCB Theater in New York. I asked my Twitter followers to help me convince him to do the show by putting up tweets directed at him that involved the hashtag #diddygethard.
A few dedicated people got on board. I thought it was pretty funny. I didn’t think anything would come of it. Mostly, I thought it was a cool way to promote my show that got a lot of people participating.
Then, on December 31, 2009, Diddy sent a tweet back to my friend Winston asking what everyone was talking about with all the #diddygethard stuff. Within minutes, I was on the phone with Diddy. He asked me what my show was about, and I rambled about how it was a talk show and how we try to do a lot of out of the box stuff and how my mission statement with the show is to give the audience something each month that they can’t believe they just saw. Mostly, I kept saying “It’s at the theater Amy Poehler co-owns”, because I had a feeling that chances were he had maybe heard of her a little bit more than he had heard of me.
He said he would do my show. I thanked him profusely and said “People are gonna flip out about this. Thank you. I can’t believe you’re down to do it.”
He said, “Ask and ye shall receive.” Then, he hung up the phone.
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