November 14, 2022
A zombie fan explains to Geth why ‘Night of the Living Dead’ meant so much to him growing up as a closeted Mormon. He also shares his own dreams of writing a zombie movie and breaks down his favorite films in the genre. Later on, he opens up about processing religious trauma and how leaving the faith has changed his relationship with his family.
345 — Gay Zombies (Live From Edinburgh)
Chris [00:00:06] Oh. Hello. Hi, Edinburgh. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred. Hi, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful/Anonymous. This is, of course, a show where we do a phone call. And it sounds pretty simple, but it gets a lot more complicated than that. I think a lot of people who have been listening for a long time would say that those things are true. What happens here is we cut deep into the human condition. People tell their stories. Sometimes those stories are light and funny. Sometimes they’re they’re dark and unexpected. Sometimes they are completely baffling and crazy. But they’re they always interest me. And I hope they continue to interest you because, man, people are interesting. And that’s a statement that I stand by. I wanted to let everybody know I got some live shows coming up. December the second and third, I will be in North Carolina. I’ll be in Asheville. I’ll be in Durham. In the opposite order. I said it wrong. December 2nd in Durham, December 3rd in Asheville. Early shows on those will be tapings of Beautiful/ Anonymous. The late shows will be standup comedy. And I really hope you come out. And I really hope you go and you buy some tickets because it would be awful nice to see some fine, friendly folks down there in North Carolina, where I’ve had a number of good shows in my life before, and I hope that that streak continues. And I’m psyched to see Asheville cuz I’ve heard so much about it. Then December 16th, I’m at Littlefield in Brooklyn. I’m doing my new standup hour. Martin Urbano’s opening up the show. You can get tickets for all these shows at ChrisGeth.com. I really want to pack out this Brooklyn show. I think the ticket sales have been slipping a little bit and I have not been active as much in my home comedy scene of the Brooklyn scene. But I’m trying to come correct, throw down, have a party at this one. So I hope you come out on December 16th and join in on that party. Again, ChrisGeth.com for tickets to all of those. Now the business is over. Let’s talk about today’s episode. This was a cool one. This was a live show that we did in Edinburgh, Scotland. Thanks to everybody who came out. It’s about zombie movies. It’s a person who really loves zombie movies, wants to make zombie movies. But then also starts talking about who they are and how who they are interacts with how they grew up, how that made them feel. And I’ve never considered zombies from the perspective of an outsider before. And our call, our caller, really does a pretty convincing job of saying that maybe zombies are part of a queer narrative more than any of us ever expected. And it’s fascinating and it’s cool. It made me think about how you can look at different pieces of art when you filter them through different perspectives, they land in different ways. It was cool. It’s a cool call. I think you’re going to like it.
Voicemail Robot [00:03:19] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:03:27] Hello?
Chris [00:03:27] Hi.
Caller [00:03:29] Hi.
Chris [00:03:30] How you doing?
Caller [00:03:32] Good. How are you?
Chris [00:03:33] Stressed the fuck out, man, if I’m being honest. So we’ve tried, yeah, no offense, but there was someone else on the line and then their audio didn’t come through. So I’ve just been sitting here in front of a live crowd for what feels like 2 hours, but was probably 4 minutes. And it was a little awkward. But I think they’re all with it and fine and I’m just going to try to mentally move on. But that’s how I’m doing.
Caller [00:03:53] That sounds horrifying. And I’m so sorry.
Chris [00:03:56] It’s okay. It’s stressful enough. But they were kind about it, and I got a sick recommendation on a Springsteen Iliad, so.
Caller [00:04:03] I don’t know what the hell that is.
Chris [00:04:04] Me neither. Apparently the first 10 minutes are fucking awesome though.
Caller [00:04:09] I don’t believe that. The last 10 minutes all. It’s all about the last 10 minutes. You got to leave them wanting something.
Chris [00:04:15] I think that may have been the gentleman’s point. Yeah. Yeah. Now, more importantly than me, how are you doing?
Caller [00:04:22] I’m doing pretty good. How are you?
Chris [00:04:24] Good. I mean, I just told you.
Caller [00:04:26] Oh, yeah. Right. I forgot about that.
Chris [00:04:29] Yeah. Yeah, things are good overall. Things are good. I’m here. I’m in Scotland. I’m at an arts festival. We’re all livin life. It’s a weird thing, but it’s a good thing.
Caller [00:04:36] Yeah? Have you been there before or is this the first time?
Chris [00:04:40] 2016 I did it. And I liked it then, like it now. And my son and wife are coming to join me tomorrow. So that’s going to make it really fun.
Caller [00:04:48] That’ll make it really nice.
Chris [00:04:49] Yeah. So what’s your deal?
Caller [00:04:54] So I love zombies. Since I was a kid, I was super into zombie movies, and I spent way too much time trying to make it my whole personality.
Chris [00:05:09] Zombies are your whole personality?
Caller [00:05:11] Yeah, exactly.
Chris [00:05:12] Zombies are your whole thing.
Caller [00:05:13] I became a zombie for zombies.
Chris [00:05:15] What are you talking about? How does this go? Like, do you do those zombie walks?
Caller [00:05:22] I have done that before, but I just like I mostly have studied a lot into zombie cinema and I’ve just written papers in college about zombies. I’m just that weird kid that, like, just got super way too into horror movies.
Chris [00:05:40] Okay. What’s your relationship with zombies now?
Caller [00:05:44] Um, it’s a sad one because they stopped making good zombie movies.
Chris [00:05:50] Okay, so you don’t work in the field of zombies at this point? You haven’t translated into a profession. You’re not making zombie movies or writing them or?
Caller [00:05:58] I actually have. I’ve written some like- so in college I had an idea to write an anthology zombie series, which I made one short film that was based on an anthology, and I wrote a bunch more that, because I’m poor, did not get made. But you know, they’re there, they exist, which is cool.
Chris [00:06:21] But you. So you. Is it fair to say- I don’t want to put words in your mouth- you’ve got scripts and you feel like you could be the one to bring back zombie movies?
Caller [00:06:31] Yeah, man, I’ll do it. I’ll do it right now.
Chris [00:06:34] No need to be modest. It’s anonymous. Say it out loud. Make it come true. I love that.
Caller [00:06:39] Let’s manifest.
Chris [00:06:40] What? What makes a good zombie movie? Because I’ll tell you, I have a lifelong fear of scary movies. So I have watched some zombie movies. But scary movies genuinely get me to the point where it’s unenjoyable at times, so I’m not encyclopedic. It’s one of my big gaps in, like, nerd culture. I know zombie. That’s one of the big one of the big things. What what makes a zombie movie good?
Caller [00:07:03] I think there are a few things. I think the coolest thing about zombie movies is how they’ve evolved. So like the first real zombie movie, right, is like Night of the Living Dead. George Romero. Have you seen that one?
Chris [00:07:13] No.
Caller [00:07:14] You have to watch it. Come on. Everyone in the room has to watch it.
Chris [00:07:19] There’s not that many people here.
Caller [00:07:23] They still have to. Then even more so, they have to watch it.
Chris [00:07:26] Round of applause, who has seen the original Night of the Living Dead? Let’s say about half the people.
Caller [00:07:31] Oh, yeah?
Chris [00:07:31] Okay. Yeah, I’m scared of that. That one’s your. That one’s your old school slow moving zombie, right?
Caller [00:07:37] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It’s it’s it’s the beginning. So, like, the. It’s like the first time our modern zombie has, like, appeared in a movie before. Before that, it was like revenants or like other cultural things that weren’t really necessarily what we would see as a zombie.
Chris [00:07:51] Okay.
Caller [00:07:53] And I think that to go back to your question, what makes a good zombie movie, I think it’s like the cultural, I guess, reflection of things. Like when that movie was made, everyone was worried about like, you know, the Soviets and like assimilation and things like that. So there’s this slow moving, mindless thing that’s just has one thing on its mind and that’s like destruction.
Chris [00:08:18] Sure.
Caller [00:08:19] And then we move later into like a more modern one which is like World War Z, which is like this intensely fast, horrific zombies. It’s like this immovable thing that’s coming at you.
Chris [00:08:30] I think I did see that. Is that the one where there’s, like, thousands of zombies crawling over a wall together?
Caller [00:08:35] Yeah, yeah, yeah. With Brad Pitt?
Chris [00:08:36] I saw that one. I saw that one. Yeah.
Caller [00:08:38] Not the best one. You got to you got to pull it back a little bit. Go back to those original ones.
Chris [00:08:42] Talk to me. Okay. So Night of the Living Dead is the first one. World War Z is kind of this evolution where you say maybe it has passed its tipping point. What are the highlights of the genre? If you if you had to tell everybody listening right now, and those of us in the room, like, okay, there’s three or four that you gotta see. Night of the Living Dead is one of them because it’s first. What are the other ones that bring the form to its peak?
Caller [00:09:05] Yeah, I think, well, the cool thing, you called it a genre, but it’s interesting because I feel like at this point it’s like the MCU or like a superhero genre where there’s like genres within the genre, you know?
Chris [00:09:16] Okay.
Caller [00:09:16] So, so like nowadays you have like thrillers that are zombie movies, you have comedies, you have romantic comedies that are all zombie movies, technically. And I think- so I think the coolest thing would be, first of all, you got to start with the beginning. You got to start with George Romero. Night of the Living Dead.
Chris [00:09:34] I got that.
Caller [00:09:36] And then you can jump over to something like Zombieland and it’s a comedy and that has a completely different take.
Chris [00:09:41] That has Woody Harrelson in it?
Caller [00:09:43] Yeah, Woody Harrelson’s in that one. Jessie Eisenberg.
Chris [00:09:43] Yeah, I saw that one. That one’s good. You like that one?
Caller [00:09:46] Yeah, it’s good, right?
Chris [00:09:47] Okay.
Caller [00:09:48] Yeah, I. But I think that’s the cool thing is that, like, you’re getting this crazy sweep of stuff. It’s not just one thing that you’re seeing over and over again.
Chris [00:09:55] Is Zombieland the list of the must sees? If you’re building a syllabus?
Caller [00:10:00] I think so. Yeah.
[00:10:00] Zombieland is definitely on there. And then, like, jumping sideways to, like, romantic comedy, you got to see Warm Bodies.
Chris [00:10:07] Someone just yelled, “Yes”.
Caller [00:10:08] Hell yeah.
Chris [00:10:08] Someone said- wait, there’s someone who, you were sitting here- are you- ma’am, are you also a zombie person?
Audience Member [00:10:15] No, I just love that film.
Chris [00:10:17] You just love. I’ve never heard of Warm Bodies.
Caller [00:10:20] It’s so good. You have to see it.
Chris [00:10:22] With who?
Audience Member [00:10:24] Nicholas Hoult.
Chris [00:10:25] Nicholas Hoult. Now I’m going to ask her in the room first, caller, and we’ll see if you agree. Ma’am, what do you think makes it so good?
Audience Member [00:10:32] It’s funny, but romantic and it’s about a zombie who falls in love with a human. Like, it’s just so ridiculous. But it’s great.
Chris [00:10:40] Funny, romantic zombie falls in love with a human, ridiculous but great. That is the that is the person in the room’s summation. Caller, would you agree with these points?
Caller [00:10:49] Yeah, but I think in addition, it’s like it’s this… I think the intriguing thing about it is like the recovery of zombies and the recovery is love. Like to incorporate the genre of, like, a romantic comedy into that genre feels so bizarre and out of place, like they said. But then just like the thematic-
Chris [00:11:08] What do you mean? What do you mean when you say the recovery of zombies?
Caller [00:11:13] So, spoiler alert- is, am I allowed to say the spoilers?
Chris [00:11:17] Yeah, sure.
Caller [00:11:19] Towards the end of the movie, they basically the love brings them back to life, right? That’s like the secret ingredient, which again, is like this ridiculous thing. But just like in a completely interesting and unique take on zombies.
Chris [00:11:32] So love can heal whatever that zombie’d them? So at that point. So, okay, so Romero, it’s like the commie, the looming communist threat spreading over the Iron Curtain, trending more west towards Europe and the States. And there’s, you know, sleeper cells within and it’ll erupt from within your own community. I can see how the Romero slow moving zombies are that. So when we get to warm bodies, is this more an analogy then for something like a heroin addiction and that a person’s love can help bring someone back from the other side of something insidious that’s overrun them personally?
Caller [00:12:06] I think that could be I think that’s a huge part of it. I think the other part is that like we’re in a deficit of someone like like true love is that we’re trying to like find someone who truly gets us and wants us despite, like, faults. Or despite like our self-destruction. Or like, you know, things like that. So in a modern zombie movie, like Warm Bodies, a big thing about it is like that overcoming and that finding that person who’s willing to see through those bad things and make you a better person despite all that.
Chris [00:12:38] And by bad things, you mean see past the fact that you are a living undead zombie?
Caller [00:12:42] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Big time.
Chris [00:12:44] Okay. So Warm Bodies, Zombieland, Night of the Living Dead.
Caller [00:12:48] Another. the other one is a series, actually, it’s called In the Flesh. It’s a BBC series. So maybe people over there have seen it. I don’t know.
Chris [00:12:55] But it got a couple of woo’s. It got a couple woo’s.
Caller [00:12:57] Yeah? Oh that makes me super happy.
Chris [00:12:58] Okay. You’re not, you’re not just going for the cheap heat because you know I’m in Scotland, right?
Caller [00:13:02] No, I fucking love In the Flesh.
Chris [00:13:05] Why?
Caller [00:13:06] It’s it’s a show that deals with the morality of, like, a zombie recovery. So like as a zombie, it follows his main character, who went and killed a lot of people as a zombie, ate their brains, you know, as one does.
Chris [00:13:22] Yeah.
Caller [00:13:23] And and then has to deal with the fact that he’s murdered so many people in the state after his recovery. And it also deals with a lot of like diversity themes and inclusion themes that I think are super important and super smart. And I think it’s really cool that the genre takes on that kind of, you know, those important issues as well. It’s just a really diverse genre that I think is really important.
Chris [00:13:49] You weren’t lying when you said you love zombies, huh?
Caller [00:13:53] No.
Chris [00:13:53] You’ve thought about zombies.
Caller [00:13:54] You can hear the passion.
Chris [00:13:55] Yeah. I mean, this is like talking to me about soda or comic books from the eighties and nineties, like, where people are like, Whoa, I don’t even know if I care, but kudos to you for knowing this much off the top of your goddamn head. It is true, everybody. I will warn you. If you ever meet me, don’t start bringing up old Marvel Comics. Don’t start bringing up regional sodas. It will- you- I will get excited and you will get bored. Anyway, we’ll be right back. Thanks to all of our advertisers. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
Chris [00:14:38] This is like talking to me about soda or comic books from the eighties and nineties, like where people were like, Whoa, I don’t even know if I care, but kudos to you for knowing this much off the top of your goddamn head. That’s, I mean, okay, let me put the screws to you then. Where have we dropped the ball as a genre? Where- at what junctures in its history do you feel like zombies have gotten off course? Because you’ve said they’re not making great stuff anymore, although you’re naming some stuff that’s a little more modern, too.
Caller [00:15:03] Yeah, I think there’s there’s definitely stuff that can be made. I think that with any horror or like thriller genre, I think there’s a tendency to make it like a cheap, easy thrill kind of a deal. Like, you know, people will go and see any old slasher movie or, you know, another like off brand Halloween movie, even if it doesn’t mean anything.
Chris [00:15:26] Mm hmm.
Caller [00:15:28] But I think, like, the reason why zombies were so good and why George Romero did it right was because there is, like, significance in everything that he touched in the being of a zombie.
Chris [00:15:38] So who dropped the- what movies are you like, these movies get a lot of love, but I look at them and I go, That’s a bunch of bullshit. And that’s where zombies started to go wrong. Is it Sam Raimi? Let’s call out Sam Raimi.
Caller [00:15:50] I you can call out Sam Raimi all day. No, I’m just kidding. I, I actually don’t like World War Z. I think it’s I think it’s one of those cheaper thrill movies. It’s like, societally, I get, like, the reflection, but it’s just not as interesting, I guess, as some of the other ones.
Chris [00:16:06] Did you watch a movie called Uncle Pecker Head, by chance?
Caller [00:16:09] I haven’t.
Chris [00:16:10] I don’t think it’s quite a zombie movie, but you might like it. I liked it.
Caller [00:16:14] All right. Uncle Pecker Head. I’ll write it down.
Chris [00:16:16] It’s about a small time punk band touring around the country. They’re based in New Jersey. So as soon as I heard that, I was like, Well, I got to watch it. And they hire a roadie and it turns out that the roadie is a monster. I don’t think you’d call him a zombie, but it’s a very funny premise for a movie. Is it perfect? No. It’s low budget. There’s a lot of low budget horror happening right now that people are getting behind where it’s like, yeah, we don’t have the money to make. We’re- no one’s giving us millions of dollars, but we’re rallying around these things that people are making themselves. That’s like a whole underground genre right now, right?
Caller [00:16:44] Yeah, 100%.
Chris [00:16:46] Gotta get you in on that. How do we get you from being a zombie- someone who loves zombies to someone who’s making these scripts? How do we do it?
Caller [00:16:52] I don’t know, dude. Who do you know? I don’t know.
Chris [00:16:57] Who do I know? I mean, I wish I knew people who could help. I wish I could snap my fingers like that. But are you actively- is that the long term goal? How old are you?
Caller [00:17:07] I’m 29.
Chris [00:17:08] 29. Okay. So that’s where you start to have some turning point thoughts about who you’re going to be and what you’re going to do.
Caller [00:17:14] Yeah, yeah, I definitely I mean, the idea would be to do something like that for sure. I, I grew up in a really small town where there wasn’t a ton of opportunities and I kind of had to work my way into- so I worked in the film industry here for a little bit. Just as a PA, as a producer. I still kind of work as a producer, freelance, and then I work for a company as well, just producing videos and ads.
Chris [00:17:39] So. So you’re in the mix? You’re finding the pathways.
Caller [00:17:44] Yeah I’m close, but it’s it’s hard to break into.
Chris [00:17:48] You know what movie you would make. Do you have the script of the movie you would make if somebody said, I think you got what it takes? What are we doing?
Caller [00:17:53] Yeah, I have. So I have eight different scripts that I’d like to produce into like one anthology.
Chris [00:17:59] You’ve written eight scripts?
Caller [00:17:59] Everyone laughs at eight scripts. Come on.
Chris [00:18:02] No, that’s awesome. That’s. I just love knowing. It’s like, you know, it’s not like, yeah, I already have the script written. You’re like, I got the anthology ready to go. I got eight takes on this. I know which characters are side characters in the first one and became the main characters in four. You’ve already got that all figured out. You know who’s dying early in the first one and coming back to be a villain slash antihero in three. You got the anthology.
Caller [00:18:26] A zombie.
Chris [00:18:26] What’s that?
Caller [00:18:28] A Zombie who’s died in the first one, coming back as a zombie in the last one.
Chris [00:18:32] Have you done any research into the roots of zombie via the phrase zombie, which I believe is most associated with some Caribbean cultures, particularly in Haiti?
Caller [00:18:41] Yeah, Haiti and the Congo. Those are, I think those originally significant signified something close to it’s like a Revenant or.
[00:18:53] Talk to me. You’ve used this phrase a second time, a revenant. You said precursor to zombies as we know them in movies was revenants. And that is like people who maybe view a zombie as part of a religion or a folk culture would say that. So what is that? What is the difference between the movie zombie we know of, like, I eat brains and my face is decaying and I’m kind of walking around my arms pointing out going arghh, versus what would happen if you used the phrase zombie in a place like the Congo or Haiti? What are the differences there? I’ve read a couple articles about it. That stuff’s fucked up. That’s really scary. They think- right?
Caller [00:19:28] Sorry. Go ahead.
Chris [00:19:29] No, you go. You go. You know more than I do.
Caller [00:19:31] I don’t know about that. But I think, so what I from what I understand, it’s more of just a reanimated corpse, oftentimes a loved one that, like, visits someone or things like that. I, I don’t know the exact, like, religious connotation to them, but something like that. And then later George Romero would read about these these reanimated corpses visiting people, kind of haunting them, except it’s scarier because they’re like physical presences instead of just a ghost.
Chris [00:20:01] Right. Like you think your aunt’s been dead for seven years, and then she’s knocking on the door and acting all fucking weird.
Caller [00:20:07] Yeah, exactly.
Chris [00:20:09] But then I’ve also read that they think there may have been people who were, like, drugged and kidnaped and enslaved and the drugs fried their brains, and that’s why where the myth started. I’ve read that too.
Caller [00:20:19] Yeah. Yeah I have actually heard that.
Chris [00:20:19] But that might just be me talking out of my ass in a way that’s unfair and problematic in all sorts of ways. I don’t know. Who knows?
Caller [00:20:27] I definitely don’t have a source for that. But I have I have definitely heard things like that. I don’t know the sources, I guess. But it is pretty interesting. But yeah. And then George Romero took those and decided to give them, like, particular qualities of eating brains and.
Chris [00:20:45] Yeah.
Caller [00:20:45] And then we are where we are today, I guess.
Chris [00:20:48] Now I’m going to say two words that I think are very divisive among people like you who really care about zombies.
Caller [00:20:54] Oh, boy.
Chris [00:20:55] You know what I’m going to say?
Caller [00:20:57] I don’t know.
Chris [00:20:58] Three words, actually. I’ll use the full phrase. The Walking Dead.
Caller [00:21:04] Okay. We can talk about that.
Chris [00:21:06] You got opinions, right?
Caller [00:21:08] I do have opinions. I, listen, it was a good show for maybe a season or two.
Chris [00:21:17] The crowd is chuckling because they all agree. But we don’t usually say shit like this out loud.
Caller [00:21:21] I’ll say it out loud. And it’s something- it sucks because you put so much time into it. And I feel like people that are invested into zombies are pretty invested into zombies.
Chris [00:21:30] Yeah. Yeah.
Caller [00:21:31] But then it just kind of fell off. You know what, though? Fear the Walking Dead was not bad.
Chris [00:21:36] Well, here’s the thing, because I watched the first few seasons of Walking Dead. When we get to a season where they’re hanging out on a farm where everything’s safe and they meet other people who have created a safe farm, and the zombies never show up and like raid the farm and attack. And they got- at a certain point, I’m watching a show about farmers.
Caller [00:21:53] Yeah, exactly.
Chris [00:21:54] I signed up for a zombie show here. I want to see more people get killed.
Caller [00:21:57] Before we made a show where people are- yeah, exactly. We fully made a show where people are getting murdered by mindless beings into a boring show.
Chris [00:22:04] Seems like you’ve made a show where everyone survived and is happily rebuilding society on a farm. Great. Happy for them. But that means your show ended last season. I’m not watching the show about the farm. And if I’m going to watch a show about a farm, it’s probably going to be a different show than this show. Because this was a great zombie show and it’s a middling farmer show. I’ll say it.
Caller [00:22:25] Say it. Say it louder.
Chris [00:22:26] Then I. Then I hear that they did right the ship. And like I said, I hear that- I also hear that Fear the Walking Dead was great. That’s good.
Caller [00:22:33] Yeah. It’s interesting. I feel like I think there is an element of people that you can take in shows like that or movies like zombie movies, a people element of where’s the ethics of like keeping, you know, resources and things to ourselves and stuff like that. And I but I, man, you’re right. In the The Walking Dead just did it in the most boring possible way.
Chris [00:22:56] It was a bummer. But I hear it bounced back and I didn’t come back to it.
Caller [00:23:00] Yeah, I didn’t. I think they just lost so many people by then. It was just like, nah.
Chris [00:23:04] One of the most humiliating experiences of my life involves me having an encounter with Robert Kirkman, who wrote The Walking Dead comic books. I’ve truly humiliated myself in front of that man. Would you like to hear the story?
Caller [00:23:17] I would love to hear the story.
Chris [00:23:18] So I read some of The Walking Dead comic books, and they were really good. I liked them. And then I found out that he was writing the series called Invincible. And a friend of mine who knows my taste in comic books was like, You would really love Invincible. So I started reading Invincible and it’s great. Can I give you a slight spoiler?
Caller [00:23:35] Yeah, of course.
Chris [00:23:36] So it’s about this kid who has superpowers because his dad is effectively the Superman of his universe. And he then finds out very early on in the series, like his dad is like flying all over the world and saving everyone and he’s Superman. And then it comes to light that his dad was actually like a member of an evil alien race that was implanted here to use his powers to get all of Earth to trust him. And now they’ve activated him. And he’s not a hero. He’s a villain. He finds out, his dad goes, he grows up thinking his dad is Superman and then all of a sudden he goes, no, my dad is the biggest super villain. And then he has to find out, figure out, because he’s the only one who has these powers because his dad passed them on, he’s like, do I fight my dad? And it’s great. And I became very addicted to it. Now, here’s the thing about me. I think I might be a little bit like you in that when I iove into something, I dive in very deep. I also tend to have some mental health issues, I don’t know if you do, where I get a little manic and a little OCD and maybe a little overprotective in a way that’s melodramatic. So I hit one issue of Invincible, and I was so excited every time I would get a new one. They were so exciting. It was so exciting to get these new ones. A new one comes out and it features a character who is like a wolf man type of thing. And that was another- Robert Kirkman was trying to start this other series that was a wolf man and you could tell it read like he didn’t really care- like it read more like an advertisement for like, hey guys, check out this wolf man thing. So I sent him a thing that was a very passionate email and I was deep into my thirties at this point. I was too old to be doing it. So I was like, Hey, man, like, I love Invincible and I’m standing by you, but like, you’re just trying to do like, some corporate crossover bullshit right now. And, like, I’m not trying to get on board the Wolf Man. And if you want to crossover the Wolf Man, that’s fine. But you got to look at the title. It says Invincible across the top of the comic book. So remember, it’s an Invincible story because this is a wolf man story. It’s not cool. You’re making us wait. Your comics come out late and, like, you know, you just got to respect your audience a little more than you did that, man. And I went off, and it was a crazy thing to do. And then I sent it. And then as soon as I sent it, I was like, I’m like 34. 35. Immediately wrote another email that was like, Hey, it’s me. I just wrote that thing. Ignore that. I have depression issues and I think there’s other stuff going on in my life. And the bottom line is, like, this wolf man Invincible thing, it should not be getting an emotional reaction like this from me. And that’s my fault, ignore it. You know, I’m going to go deal with the other things in my life and I’m going to to my shrink. I’m gonna tell her I did this. My shrink is going to have opinions, but I sometimes do this where I’ll displace some stuff that I’m feeling and I’ll put it towards something like this that’s inconsequential. But it’s not really your fault, so feel free to just ignore that other email. And I signed both. And then I sent that one and I was like, oh, arguably, second one was crazier. Not good. So cut to like-
Caller [00:26:14] Fixate on the problem and your response is the new problem.
Chris [00:26:18] Yeah. And I think actually I should have just sent a thing that was like, if I had sent an email that was like, I just send an email and I feel like a dummy for sending it. It’s a comic book. I’m a grown up. Keep doing what you do. Love your work. My bad. That would have been fine. But I like explained the severity of my current mental health issues and it was not a great call. Cut to three or four years later. I’m performing at a theater in New York in an improv show, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. Their Sunday night’s show is called Asscat, and I’m there and there’s this guy in the audience and I can kind of make him out. And I’m like, I know this dude from somewhere. And then we get backstage in the green room and John Gabrus, another hilarious improviser, he was in the show that night. He’s like, Do you guys read Walking Dead? I was like, Yeah. He’s like, I think, Is that Robert Kirkman? I was like, That’s the writer of Walk- you’re right. That’s why I was recognizing that guy. So we go out for the second half of the show and I managed to triple down and make it even worse. I’m like, I started the show- I was hosting the show that night. I’m like, so before we start the show back up, I just want to say, Sir, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but like my friend John, he’s a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic books. Are you the guy who wrote them? He’s like, I am. And we all give a clap, you know, kudos to you, great job, blah, blah, blah. And then I go, Funny story. I actually, you know, you write Invincible, too, and I love that one. I was like actually a few years ago, I fucking popped off and I wrote you this insane email and then I wrote another email apologizing for it. That was even more. And he interrupts me. He’s like, That was you? And I was like, No, tell me you don’t remember that? He’s like, Yeah, you were mad about the Wolfman? I was like, Oh, no. He’s like, Yeah, everybody got mad about the Wolfman. But yeah, I’ve never, he’s like, We get a lot of mail about that. But I remember like you sent this rambly explanation of why I should ignore the first one, and I was like, Well, now I’ll never fucking forget the first one. And then he kind of he kind of yeah, he kind of went off. And he deserved to. But I did I truly humiliated myself to the creator of The Walking Dead.
Caller [00:28:08] You know, there’s nothing better than just doubling down on anger.
Chris [00:28:11] It never serves me well. Never serves me well.
Caller [00:28:15] You know what’s funny? Is that the same thing almost- well, not the same thing because I don’t know famous people. I’m sorry. But there’s a so In the Flesh, I mentioned that earlier.
Chris [00:28:26] Yeah.
Caller [00:28:27] Was canceled after the second season.
Chris [00:28:30] Did people lose their minds?
Caller [00:28:30] Or no, the third season, sorry. And well I did. And I was so sad after it got canceled that I fully wrote like emails to the BBC being like, listen, man, how dare you? And it did not do anything to bring it back.
Chris [00:28:48] Did they write back at all?
Caller [00:28:50] No. No response.
Chris [00:28:51] Right, as an American, don’t you- and I don’t know how (UNCLEAR) but as an American, don’t we have some dim hope that there’s someone at the BBC just sitting at a desk waiting to patiently answer all of us?
Caller [00:29:03] Just, yeah, we can fully Karen it out and like speak to the manager, I guess.
Chris [00:29:06] Just to be like, you know what? I’m so sorry to hear that this hurt. I understand there’s an emotional attachment to a show. I’m gonna run it up a chin. I can’t make any promises, but we’ll see what we can do. Sincerely, the BBC. Like, in America, that’s what we want that to be. Because you can agree, we have great respect for BBC programing, don’t we? In the States?
Caller [00:29:26] I think so. I feel like a lot of people, you know, Downton Abbey, that’s like everyone, everyone’s mom watches Downton Abbey.
Chris [00:29:31] Also the BBC allows shows to end. Like Fleabag is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen. It’s two fucking seasons and they got out. And you go, and it ended. That’s awesome. There’s a very funny thing where I think a lot of American comedians really think the British Office was better. And then consistently I would talk to the British people who are like, you know, constantly- someone just said the US one’s better. People are like, Michael fucking Scott. But I can’t tell if that’s just because they like the humor or maybe if people are real tired of Ricky Gervais over here. I can’t tell. Can’t tell which one it is. Both. People are saying both. Hey, man, listen, if there’s one thing about Chris Gethard, it’s that I’m a fucking truth teller. No, I’m not. I’m not one of those truth teller comedians. I just roll with the punches. Just roll with the punches. So what are you doing? What do you- what’s your life like when you’re not obsessing over zombies?
Caller [00:30:21] Just like I said, I work as a producer for a company here. Just literally most boring shit ever. Like Amazon ads.
Chris [00:30:29] What about?
Caller [00:30:29] Supplements.
Chris [00:30:31] Yeah. So, like, in the field, creative, making things, film things, telling little stories, but corporate. Like, they are buying your services, you are doing the job type stuff. What about your personal life? What about the non-work life?
Caller [00:30:48] The non-work life? Uh I, you know, just living, like all of us, just getting over religious trauma and trying to be gay in a state that doesn’t want me to be.
Chris [00:30:59] Hello. Got 32 minutes left. What religion did you grow up in?
Caller [00:31:05] I grew up Mormon.
Chris [00:31:06] Grew up Mormon? Yeah, that’s uh the combination of Mormonism and homosexuality I hear is not an easy path.
Caller [00:31:14] It works really well together.
Chris [00:31:16] Yeah, I hear it’s a little bit, little bit oil and water, that one, huh?
Caller [00:31:19] Yeah.
Chris [00:31:19] I’m so sorry.
Caller [00:31:20] It’s definitely one of those. Oh, it’s you know, I would say it’s okay. It’s it’s not okay, but, you know, we’re, we’re alive, so that’s good.
Chris [00:31:27] Yeah. Yeah.
Caller [00:31:29] But I think. Yeah, I think it’s something that drove me, you know, I think it’s typical for religion in general is that when you don’t fit into that religion, you tend to hyper fixate on things. And I hyper fixated on being creative. And I think that you can’t really justify things, but you can say, Hey, I like where I’m at now. And I think that it was okay. I think that I’m happy and I got what I needed out of it, despite the hardships.
Chris [00:31:58] That’s good. That’s good. I do have to say too, you say like you know you hyperfocus. Do you think, you know, you’re someone who for the first half hour we talked about how you have what you quickly proved to be like an encyclopedic knowledge and devotion to fantasy worlds. Do you feel like wanting to get lost in that fantasy? That could be I could, you know, this is armchair psychologist territory, but it’s not a reach to think, oh, maybe maybe someone who is feeling that pressure in the real world wants to dive deep into the world of zombies.
Caller [00:32:29] Yeah, absolutely. I think like I grew up on Alfred Hitchcock movies and these crazy like thrillers and things like that. But I also, you know, got really into video games and comic books and things like that. But I definitely think zombies was a place where I just I felt I think the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead, I was like, I’m one of those zombies. And I couldn’t figure out how to not be, I guess? Where you’re just, you know, moving slowly through this thing that you this existence that you don’t really want to be a part of, but you keep moving because you need brains.
Chris [00:33:08] Can I tell you something?
Caller [00:33:09] Yeah.
Chris [00:33:10] This whole crowd just watched me get choked up unexpectedly. Because that was such a poetically phrased and beautiful thought.
Caller [00:33:20] Oh, thank you.
Chris [00:33:21] To hear that you-
Caller [00:33:22] Thanks, crowd.
Chris [00:33:23] To hear that you watched you watched zombie movies in a religious upbringing where you were closeted. And when you watched that zombie movie, you you sympathize with the zombie more than the people trying to get away. That’s like, quietly, one of the most touching things I’ve ever heard.
Caller [00:33:44] A little bit horrific, you know, trying to eat people’s brains but you know.
Chris [00:33:48] I mean, to feel trapped, to feel judged, to feel like you’ve got these, like, desires that you’re being taught are… like sinful compulsions that you should be able to wrangle and control. That all starts to make sense.
Caller [00:34:05] Yeah, I think you start to kind of see how, I guess, the world keeps seeing you as this thing that is incapable of entering, I guess, the presence of a deity. And you start to kind of feel the same way about, oh, the zombies are like forbidden to be part of society. And have you ever read the book I Am Legend? Not the movie. Have you read the book?
Chris [00:34:31] No.
Caller [00:34:33] So the original book actually is about vampires. I don’t know if you’ve heard that. Not about zombies.
Chris [00:34:39] No, I wasn’t aware.
Caller [00:34:40] And it’s a really incredible experience to read that book because Robert Langdon, as the, you know- in the movie, he’s portrayed as kind of a Christlike figure where he saved the world, you know? In the book, it’s really interesting because he spends his time killing the vampires during the day while they sleep. And by the end, again, I’m so sorry I’m spoiling everything. But by the end, he realizes that he had been destroying a civilization that was just budding. So he he finds out that he has been killing vampires that have been forming their own civilization that he could have been a part of. Obviously, he’d have to become a vampire, which he wasn’t super into, as we know. But he he came to find out that he was destroying part of a civilization and he was the one that was ruining things. He became kind of this anti-Christ figure in the society of vampires. And I thought the book did an incredible job at capturing kind of that feeling of like outsidership in these vampires and being tormented because they were vampires. And then you come to find out that they were the ones that didn’t deserve it kind of thing.
Chris [00:35:57] This is taking some turns that no one saw coming. This is all starting to make so much sense, that zombies are these puzzle pieces that have allowed you to help sort out some feelings of outsiderness, so to speak?
Caller [00:36:12] Yeah, I think that’s why I tend to be drawn towards the zombie, you know, the zombie genres that are more tied to acceptance and recovery, like Warm Bodies, again, to bring that one back in. Or In the Flesh. They both have to deal with kind of the acceptance of the zombie and bringing them into like a part of society instead of shooing them away or just killing them.
Chris [00:36:39] Let’s pause right there. This is getting cool, right? It’s getting very interesting. Let’s go ahead, take a break. We’ll be right back. Thanks to the advertisers who help us bring the show to the world. Now we’re going to finish off the phone call.
Caller [00:37:02] Warm Bodies, again, to bring that one back in. Or In the Flesh, they both have to deal with kind of the acceptance of the zombie and bringing them into like a part of society instead of shooing them away or just killing them.
Chris [00:37:16] Now I have to ask… I imagine the answer is yes, even if it’s within like independent comics, graphic novels, or maybe even on some of the shows you’re already naming. Um, has anybody has anybody made zombie driven works that more overtly tie it to the idea of the queer outsider experience? Someone has to have. I sound like an American studies professor right now. Makes me sound like a college professor. There’s got to be people. Have there been people out there or are you sitting there going, I see it. I see it. Someone give me this money because I see it. And you haven’t said it overtly, but where those messages are inside it.
Caller [00:37:56] Well, I assume that there is more, but In the Flesh, again, I feel like I’m reiterating. This work, the writer, by the way, it’s Dominic Mitchell who’s incredible and he’s done stuff for like Westworld and he’s an incredible writer. But he wrote Kieran, the main character, as a queer kid. And then one of the zombies that comes back to life is Kieran’s ex-boyfriend who like joined the military a long time ago. And so there’s like, there’s queer, like a lot of queer elements in there about now that they’re back together, like there’s they’re dealing with that same homophobia that exists in their small town. And I think that that correlation between that and the overall zombie story is like really stark and really beautifully done, in my opinion.
Chris [00:38:52] Now, here’s a question that might be troublesome and is probably problematic in a number of ways. Apologies ahead of time as I sort out the thought. I’m doing my best. So you were raised in Mormonism?
Caller [00:39:03] Yes.
Chris [00:39:05] I myself have grown- I was raised Catholic and grew away from religion. I’ve talked about that on the show. I think there are I have met many kind Mormon people in my life. I also think there are some very, very deeply concerning practices. You hear about, you know, conversion therapy. You hear about like the high presence of things like that that I think are viewed as cruelty inflicted upon queer people and particularly queer teenagers where you go, this is very dark and should be outlawed and prosecuted. My opinions. So I’m not trying to offend- I’m not going to paint the entire Mormon faith with that brush. I’m saying within it exists a lot of that reputation. Um, I also know like, for example, I believe South Park, right, has, you know, The Book of Mormon, which kind of, you know, aims to dissect a lot of the religion in this humorous way. And they I think they really used comedy to take it apart. And you start to see that there are some aspects of the religion which, to an outsider, almost read a little bit like science fiction in some sense. Now, again, I’m not scholarly, I haven’t read up on it, but this idea, I believe, that you will get your own planet if you get into heaven and things like that. It’s very interesting to me that you were someone who felt like an outsider in that faith, but where your interest landed… it’s not too far in that sense. Now, is that a reach on my end or is that someone- something you’ve thought about?
Caller [00:40:35] I don’t know that I have in particular thought about that, like my interests in that way being driven like towards a more fantasy aspect. It could be. It could be something where I’m more susceptible to, like.
Chris [00:40:51] You know, we don’t have to force it.
Caller [00:40:54] I just that’s just something that I haven’t quite really thought about of like how susceptible I am to maybe a more fantasy region. Because for me it was always more about escapism than it was about, about like application I guess. Um, so I, I don’t know if, for me that is entirely true, but I think maybe, maybe the susceptibility of it could be there. It definitely is a place where you have to do a lot of mental gymnastics to get around, especially like as a queer individual, to get around the fact that like a huge portion of who you are or your personality has to be stripped from you if you want to be accepted, if that makes sense.
Chris [00:41:45] Yeah, that’s not okay. You mentioned trauma. I have to ask, do you have- do you have any relationship with the faith these days or have you stepped totally away?
Caller [00:41:56] Um, I think I’m definitely into a more agnostic approach where I, you know, it’s actually really funny. So I went to BYU, um.
Chris [00:42:07] Brigham Young University.
Caller [00:42:09] Brigham Young University. Studied film there. And then in that actually environment, there’s a class, so you have to take- in order to get your degree at BYU, for those who don’t know, you have to take religious classes. Those classes include classes specifically dedicated to the Book of Mormon, which is Mormon or LDS religious text. And there’s classes about the Bible and there is one class in particular about uh its world religions was the class, where you would study everything from like Hinduism to obviously stuff in Mormonism and early Christianity, Judaism, Sikh, like a bunch of, sorry, I think I mispronounced that. I’m so sorry. Um, but just a bunch of different religious religions. And there is where I kind of like started piecing things into like, oh, this is all kind of stems from similar places. And so I think starting there, I kind of started to take an agnostic approach of like maybe deity exists and that’s the way all of these are, you know, have these elements of what they would call truth, which is great. And and that or maybe, you know, they all just came from the same thing. And either way, that’s okay, that’s cool. There’s some good teachings there. And I think I am like, if there’s a God then sweet, we can chat about that later, I guess. But if not then I think I’m doing pretty good.
Chris [00:43:42] And I have to- and if I’m prying and this is not what you want to talk about, totally fine. But just out of concern for you, we started talking about zombies. Didn’t see any of this coming. Do you know that oftentimes in families where you grow up in your faith, I’ve talked to other callers on the show who they’ve had to walk away from their faith, and that meant that there was now distance between them and their families. And then that can be, you know, it can feel like an actual severing from your family. I’m wondering I’m wondering where you landed and if you’re okay.
Caller [00:44:12] Yeah, I’m great. First of all, I’m doing great.
Chris [00:44:15] Good.
Caller [00:44:17] But I do still have a relationship with my family, which is great. They are super kind. It’s definitely… I don’t I don’t know how much people do know about Mormonism, but it is a huge portion of your existence. You’re dedicating a lot of time and energy towards the church to be a full, you know, member. And and for some people that works really well. And I’m not trying to take away from people’s, you know, what helps them. But I think because of that, when you’re not part of that religion, your family does just there is just kind of a little bit of a separation. Fortunately, I know that people have it way worse. Like, I still get to talk to my parents and I still love them very much and they love me very much, which is great.
Chris [00:45:07] That’s good.
Caller [00:45:08] It’s it’s been interesting, too, because even my partner, my in-laws are even more kind, like where we see them almost daily, just, and they’re wonderful people. So I, and they are also practicing Mormons. And so, like, I’m not just I really want to emphasize, I’m not trying to take away from anyone’s experience. I think it helps a lot of people for sure. And a lot of people in my life are still Mormon. And I’m grateful to have some good ones that are very accepting of me in my life, for sure.
Chris [00:45:44] Never imagined that that would be coming down the pike when we were talking about World War Z.
Caller [00:45:50] I’m a complicated person.
Chris [00:45:52] Hell yeah, you are. I like it.
Caller [00:46:00] Oh, that means a lot.
Chris [00:46:01] You know what else I like, too? I’m thinking because I’m like zombie movies, in my mind those are not complicated movies. It’s like there’s the dead people and they try to chase the living people and eat the brains and turn them into more dead people. And then you come out, tell me all these things about zombie movies that you’ve really hard about- thought really hard about, and then you layer it on top of your life experience as an outsider who can view it differently and see the idea of people who, you know, create hysteria around looming threats and communities of people. And then I sit here and I go, eh, maybe zombie movies are a lot more maybe they have more layers to them than I ever imagined.
Caller [00:46:33] Hell yeah they do.
Chris [00:46:34] You use it by you, by you sharing your background, both religious and via your sexuality, you now you’ve now convinced me that zombie movies have layers.
Caller [00:46:47] Bring them back, Edinburgh! Bring ’em back!
Chris [00:46:51] Wow.
Caller [00:46:52] It’s funny, the first like movie so like, while I was at BYU, I produced like, you know, I directed like my own little zombie movies. And the first thing I did was- I think at the time it didn’t connect with me that it was about my sexuality because I was very much still closeted and very much trying to avoid, I guess, the conversation with myself about my sexuality. But it was about these two people that were separated by a kind of a rift with zombies below them, and they couldn’t get to each other. And I think later that was like a huge metaphor for how I couldn’t connect with- I had tried to date a lot of girls and then I just wasn’t ever connecting. And that was like a huge rift inside. I think that was part of it. Like in hindsight reflection, I think that was a big part of it.
Chris [00:47:43] Wow. So zombies can really represent just any way in which current day culture’s well has been poisoned, so to speak.
Caller [00:47:54] Absolutely.
Chris [00:47:55] Like Romero nailed it with communism. And you might be able to make the music, make the movie about about societal division, keeping people apart. And it sounds like other people have with the romantic comedies and the BBC show.
Caller [00:48:08] I think so. I think there’s it’s just such a wide.
Chris [00:48:11] Damn.
Caller [00:48:11] I mean, you talk about superhero movies nowadays and there’s like a pretty wide genre. You have everything from, you know, a Taika Waititi superhero movie to, you know, Black Panther, and they’re incredible movies.
Chris [00:48:23] Hey, if you want to talk about superhero movies, that’s where I can really shine.
Caller [00:48:27] We can talk about anything you want. That’s great.
Chris [00:48:30] About anything you want. You’re the caller!
Caller [00:48:33] Oh, that’s right. I forgot.
Chris [00:48:37] Now, listen, Marvel movies have become a genre unto themselves, like you say. And I’m starting to get nervous that we’re pushing it past tipping point where people are going it’s going to be impossible to care about this much Marvel content. And it breaks my heart because I grew up in that. I grew up obsessed with those characters when that company was going bankrupt. And now it would be sad if they went away, but also kudos to them because they did a hell of a job for a very long time.
Caller [00:48:59] Yeah, I think that’s that’s kind of how I felt as like people drifted out of loving- there was a huge renaissance of zombie movies. Like, you know, when one Zombieland was coming out and Warm Bodies and those types of movies.
Chris [00:49:11] Shaun of the Dead. How do you feel about Shaun of the Dead?
Caller [00:49:14] It’s a great- it’s incredible.
Chris [00:49:16] Even if you hated that, you’re not saying that in front of a UK crowd. You don’t talk shit about Shaun of the Dead around these parts.
Caller [00:49:22] Never talk about Sean Penn without a lovely glowing review. No, I thought it was great. I love I love Shaun of the Dead.
Chris [00:49:32] Yeah.
Caller [00:49:33] But now nowadays, it’s kind of the same thing where everyone just kind of got sick of the genre and stopped making them.
Chris [00:49:39] World War Z and all. Yeah, you’re right. You’re right. It needs a break. It needs a breather. And then it’s come back as a human story with a new take directed by you, my ex mormon friend.
Caller [00:49:50] Wow. That is very kind of you.
Chris [00:49:53] That’s what I think. That’s what I think.
Caller [00:49:55] I hope so. One day.
Chris [00:49:58] So did you grow up in Utah?
Caller [00:50:00] I did.
Chris [00:50:01] Went to BYU. Do you still live in- I don’t want to. I don’t want to- we can edit it out later if you want to follow up and tell us it’s too much. But do you still live in Utah?
Caller [00:50:08] I do. That’s okay. Yeah, I still live here.
Chris [00:50:12] I don’t know that, being that I am someone who I feel like it’s hard to catch momentum in the entertainment industry as a New Yorker because so much of it is Los Angeles focused, I feel it’s Los Angeles, New York, to a degree Chicago. Those are the huge cities where you can kind of launch an entertainment career. Los Angeles probably has the most opportunity. You don’t hear so much out of Utah. If you really want to go for it. Have you have you thought about the idea that you might need to leave?
Caller [00:50:39] I have a lot. And it’s hard again because of those familial ties, because I don’t want to like completely separate myself from my family.
Chris [00:50:52] Sure. Sure.
Caller [00:50:54] So that’s been kind of hard. It is interesting, though, because Utah does have like I have a big circle of friends of like writers and filmmakers who do a lot of stuff here. Like, I worked, I even worked a little bit on like Hereditary and Midsommar had a Utah unit that I worked a little bit on. So, like, there’s, like, interesting things that come through here for sure.
Chris [00:51:17] Uh huh. You’re finding-
Caller [00:51:17] But it definitely is not as like prominent.
Chris [00:51:19] Yeah, it’s not as easy. It’s not impossible, but it’s not as easy.
Caller [00:51:24] Yeah.
Chris [00:51:24] There aren’t as many there aren’t as many pathways set up. What do you think- and I’m only asking this as someone who’s very excited to talk to you and to hear- again, you… did not see it. When the first half hour was like, okay, I guess we’ll just talk about zombies, in my head I’m like, That’s pretty good. And then for you to add all these personal layers, I go, Oh, this is why I love doing this show. So now I’m also sitting here really rooting hard for you as an individual who has lived a lot and dealt a lot and had to think hard about your own humanity and think about how you want to present humanity in your story. So there’s a part of me right away that’s just, I don’t know anything about you and look, the scripts for this anthology, they might be garbage. But I got a feeling they’re not. I got a feeling you wrote a fucking anthology that people would flip out for. What do you-.
Caller [00:52:15] Thanks, man.
Chris [00:52:16] You’re also coming up on 30.
Caller [00:52:19] Yeah.
Chris [00:52:20] You’re living in Utah. You’re working a job that’s tangentially associated with what you want to do, but not quite there. And then you’re very honest about that. So I’m sure you think a lot about it. What would you say the odds are that these stories you’ve written that you want to bring out into the world, the ones that are sitting in your guts, what do you think the odds are, genuinely, that you make them someday? And I’m not trying to depress you with that question. I’m trying to get an honest sense of it. Because you’re saying you’ve got friends who are writers and filmmakers. There’s people making it happen. What do you think the chances are that you actually get it done?
Caller [00:52:55] Oof. I don’t know. I think, again, I just feel like zombie movies in particular are so out of fashion now.
Chris [00:53:09] Yeah. That’s when it’s time to strike.
Caller [00:53:12] Yeah, right?
Chris [00:53:12] See, I sit there, I go, they’re out of fashion now. And that means it’s an open playing field where it’s a known box office moneymaker that they let it, they let it jump the shark. Right? They beat that dead horse until people didn’t want it anymore. Now it’s been a few years and you got the new take on it. That’s my angle. Maybe I’m just being too positive there.
Caller [00:53:31] I wish I was that positive. I don’t know, I, I personally don’t fully see it happening. There’s other stuff that I’ve written that I’ve written that I think could be a thing that I would love to get out there. But zombie movies in particular, I don’t know.
Chris [00:53:50] Let me ask you this, because that quest, that answer is very fascinating to me. If it’s not me, I asked you, what are the odds that you’re going to make it? Your answer was effectively, zombie movies are out of fashion now, right?
Caller [00:54:03] Yeah.
Chris [00:54:03] But that’s not really an answer to the question. It’s an answer about what everybody else is thinking. But you’re somebody who spent a large portion of your life having to hide from- not even hide who you are- hide from who you are. You said there were stretches where you were figuring it out. Right? And so you’ve already had to do that. You’ve already had to worry about other people. Other people. Zombie movies are out of fashion, that doesn’t really answer- so how much of it not getting made, like if you really wanted to sink some time and money and effort into it… How much of it is not going to happen because you’re worried about things like that, those external factors that they’re out of fashion, would anybody actually want to see it?
Caller [00:54:42] Well, I didn’t want a personal attack. I think you’re right. I think I definitely there’s a couple… I think if I really put energy into it, I think you’re right.
Chris [00:54:56] Because no, I’m not trying to attack you, but I’m getting excited. Like I’m starting to bounce in my chair a little bit because it’s the exact type of thing, like my favorite thing, my favorite thing- and this is not something I always talk about, but like my favorite thing about my career is that I’ve been able, like when I, when I used to be really heavy into the improv scene, my favorite aspect was not performing; it was teaching, seeing other people coming up. And when I had my TV show, by the end, I’ve always told people, once we got to cable and it became my job- because that was a very unlikely thing. I don’t know how long you’ve followed me, but I had a show on public access TV, which is dog shit in most people’s eyes in the States. That’s that, you know that, being in the states, it would take too long to explain here. I’m sure you guys have your version of it, your knowledge of it in the crowd. But then I went and made it happen, and then it brought its own difficulties with it and some stresses, but I still got to keep hiring young writers and seeing- so I always get excited when I hear about, you know, somebody who’s got a voice and an angle on something. That’s the thing that gets me most excited. So I’m sitting here and just saying, I’m not trying to attack you. I’m just saying it would be a shame if I didn’t call you out on it a little bit of, you know, when I effectively ask you, do you think you could get it done? And the answer is, zombie movies are out of fashion. There’s a part of me as an artist who has mentored younger artists along the way to turn around and go, that’s not what I asked you, and I don’t give a shit if it’s in fashion or not. There’s so many things that go out of fashion, and when people bring those things back, they’re hailed as geniuses for doing so. And it sounds to me like you’ve got some shit to get off your chest and you’re going to get it off your chest in a way that’s not heavy handed and not forcing it down our throats. You’re going to get it off our chests in a way where it’s a fucking dope ass zombie movie, where if people think about it a little bit harder, you know, it sounds like a movie you can show up, buy some popcorn, scream at the screen, get scared, and then if you think about it, it’ll also say, Hey, let’s take it easy on fucking outsiders. That’s a movie that I want to see. So I’m not attacking you, but I do just want to say your an- you’re giving an answer to a question I didn’t ask. What’s out of fashion? I’ve never cared about that. You got some shit to say and I hope you go and say it someday.
Caller [00:56:56] Thanks, Chris. I appreciate that.
Chris [00:56:58] Thought you were going to be blown away by that.
Caller [00:57:02] While you were saying that, I actually just produced it. So.
Chris [00:57:07] Well, I didn’t expect a personal attack either, but I guess you and me just like to cut each other off at the knees when things get too real, huh?
Caller [00:57:16] No, that was- I do really appreciate that. I think every creative needs a kick in the pants, for sure.
Chris [00:57:22] And here’s the other thing. Zombie movies are out of fashion now. Maybe. But it takes a long time to make a movie, especially out of Utah. Right? And it’s true. It’s just going to take longer. You’re going to have to raise more money. You’re going to have to find people who want to do it. You’re going to find friends who know how to do stuff technically that are going to do you favors. You’re going to have to figure out makeup and effects because it’s a zombie movie. So this is going to be- if you start today and it actually gets finished, which movies often don’t, it will take years. So who knows? Maybe by the time you’re done making it, the world is going, You know what I’m in the mood for? Less superheroes, bring back zombies. Maybe you start making it today and it lands right in the slot. Because that, you know what? Hearing you say this sort of more self-defeatest thing of like, well, zombie movies are out of fashion now, you know what’s going to fucking kill you even more? Is if in five years they’re back in fashion and you go, I didn’t lay the track to be a part of this zombie renaissance.
Caller [00:58:20] That’s very true. So how much money do you want to put in?
Chris [00:58:26] See, you’re like me.
Caller [00:58:28] No, that’s, I have- it’s- the bad thing about a creative brain that’s also a producer is you know how much things cost.
Chris [00:58:36] Yeah, that’s true. You are a producer so you understand the impossibility of it. But who would I be- I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t sit here and try to get you riled up. And it’s also very funny how every time I do, you kind of do the equivalent of a verbal pat on a dog’s head of just like, that’s a very nice thought, Chris. Thank you so much for that.
Caller [00:58:56] No, I I think the biggest problem with any creative that I think we tell ourselves over and over again and never actually do anything about, is that like it’s about the doing right?
Chris [00:59:09] Yeah.
Caller [00:59:10] It’s like that first step and or even after that, I have the first step. I literally have like scripts sitting in my inbox. But it, it’s about running with it I think. And we tell ourselves that over and over again. But it’s such a daunting I don’t know if it’s the world like beating us down over and over again that it feels so daunting. But it’s just.
Chris [00:59:32] Well it’s that- It’s like a combination of, like, realism, like things don’t go well and things don’t get made. Um, you know, does that mean you don’t try? Sometimes, I guess. But with this one, I don’t know. If you want to call a show and talk for 35 minutes about how much you love zombies and take us through the history of the zombie genre and all the things we have to see, I don’t know if you don’t if- I don’t know if you don’t try on this one. I don’t know. I don’t know. I’m rambling a little bit. I don’t know. There’s also a part of me that feels like I’ve wasted so much time in my career. You spend you spend all this energy thinking of the reasons why it’s not possible, and you go, Oh, if I had just put that energy towards doing it instead of dwelling on the reasons it’s not possible, because no movie is possible, right? Theoretically, no one should ever make a movie then. Right? Like Kevin Smith sold his comic books and went and made Clerks. Is it a perfect film? No. Do I love it with my whole heart as a Jersey guy? Abso fucking lutely. But there’s not a more perfect example of like we can spend all the time we want thinking of the reasons it’s impossible, but some people do it. So what did they do? Because it’s possible, right?
Caller [01:00:44] Yeah, I think. It’s it is like that combination of that passion and then you just have to like literally have, I don’t know if it’s the faith or like the drive or some I don’t know what that X factor is. And maybe that’s the issue. Maybe that the X factor is the thing that’s like, that actually makes it happen.
Chris [01:01:07] Yeah. Now you say you’re a producer and that gives you knowledge of like, I know how expensive things are. When you look at your anthology, you look at those eight scripts, do you actually look down and go, Okay, I know how producers break it down, and I have a rough ballpark of how much this would realistically cost if I wanted to do it right. Do you have a number in your head of how much money you need?
Caller [01:01:30] For um we actually did a Kickstarter for like the first the first episode in the anthology and it was around ten grand, which in I understand, to be clear, that that’s not like a ton of money.
Chris [01:01:43] Yeah.
Caller [01:01:44] But I think as, you know, someone who’s not wealthy.
Chris [01:01:51] Of course. How’d the Kickstarter go? Did you get it?
Caller [01:01:54] No. It died pretty quick.
Chris [01:01:56] Did you come close?
Caller [01:01:58] I think we got, of the ten grand, I think we maybe got two or three and then it fell off.
Chris [01:02:10] Can I tell you something? And I’ve never done this for anybody. We can get you ten grand. I don’t have ten grand to give you, but I can help. You’re asking me how much I got? I have a three year old son, is what I got. I can’t give you ten grand for your zombie movie. But if you start that Kickstarter again someday, because that’s brutal. To start it and have it not go well, that’s a kick in the ass. That’s a deflating, momentum killing, confidence crushing kick in the ass. But if you decide you want to get back on the horse again and go for it, there’s a hundred thousand people that listen to this show. If I can get 10% of them to give you a dollar, you got your ten grand. And I’ll do that. And I don’t even know you. And maybe this movie is going to be a piece of shit. Who knows? But it still has a right to exist. I have a feeling, just based on who you are and your story. So think on it and let me know.
Caller [01:03:08] Jesus. All right. That is like I don’t I’m you’ve made me speechless. I called you, and I can’t even I don’t know what to say.
Chris [01:03:20] Listen. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s figuring out how to crowdfund queer zombie narratives.
Caller [01:03:29] Put that on your resume.
Chris [01:03:31] Or I don’t even know. I haven’t read it, at the very least, zombie narratives with queer undertones? Is that fair to say?
Caller [01:03:36] Yeah, for sure. There’s definitely some gay in there.
Chris [01:03:40] I was put on earth to help facilitate the cause of gay zombies. Let’s make it happen.
Caller [01:03:47] Jesus.
Chris [01:03:49] To get an ex mormon to say Jesus twice, I feel like I’ve done good.
Caller [01:03:57] Man.
Chris [01:03:58] What do you guys think? We’re out of time. You guys want to see this anthology someday? Scotland wants to see it. I think our listeners do, too. Our time is up. Caller, thank you so much for calling. That was a great chat, and I did not anticipate where it was going to go. Have a great night, everybody. I have to thank the caller for calling, opening my eyes about zombies and what and what they might represent. It was a cool call. Thanks for calling. Thank you to everybody out there in Scotland who helped make this show happen. Thank you to Andrew, who was in the booth. Thank you to Andrea, who is back in Jersey helping facilitate. Thank you to Anita Flores for producing the show. Thank you to Jared O’Connell for engineering the show. Thank you to Shellshag for our theme music. And hey, if you want to know more about me, go to ChrisGeth.com. Lotta info there, including ticket links to my live shows. And wherever you’re listening, there’s a button that says subscribe, favorite, follow, something like that. When you hit that button, it helps the show so much. So please consider doing so. If you want merch, PodSwag.com. You want episodes ad free? Go to Stitcher.com/premium. Use the promo code “stories” you’ll get one month free. Stitcher Premium, you get our show without ads and so many other shows. Okay. Thanks for listening, everybody.