August 27, 2020
EP. 21 — Neal Brennan
This week comedian, writer, and director Neal Brennan joins Jameela to discuss how Mike Schur set them up as friends, Neal’s struggle with depression, if men or women have it harder when they are single, Serena William’s disproving Neal’s theory around love in one sentence, and his stand-up special 3 Mics on Netflix now.
Song played at the front of episode: I Know – Khushi
21 — Neal Brennan
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of “I Weigh” with Jameela Jamil. I hope you’re all right. I’m all right. We’re not talking about natural disasters and, and politics anymore because it’s very stressful. And this is not where we go to have that conversation. You come here to escape. I come here to escape and we are going to run away together. I love today’s episode. I’m so excited about the two things I’m bringing you today. First and foremost, my incredibly funny and wonderful and poignant guest, Neal Brennan. He is a great stand-up comedian. He’s also the co creator of “The Chappelle’s Show”, which is arguably one of the most influential and brilliant comedy shows of all time. He made the special that’s on Netflix a couple of years ago called “Three Mics”. And it is this incredible combination of both funny stand-up and social observation, but also heartbreaking honesty and sincerity around trauma as a child and how that goes on to shape the rest of your life and probably led him to being a stand-up comedian. So he is on the show being funny and cantankerous and overly opinionated. The Neal that I know and love. And we went to all kinds of stupid and then heartbreaking places and he even surprised me with how vulnerable he was willing to be on this podcast. And we still just don’t see that enough from men. So I’m so grateful for him because, you know, we all need to be soothed. We all need to figure our shit out. And so I welcome, I welcome that conversation on my platform. I can’t wait to hear what you think. But before I play Neal’s episode in his chat with me, I’m going to play you a song. Don’t worry. This is not my song. I would never try to infuse a new singing career through this platform. I would never put you through that. Nobody, nobody asked for that. And I know it. But I have come across this incredible song that is out today. And it’s about everything that we talk about on this show. And it’s such a good song, is like an actual good song. And it’s very rare that one gets the rights to music. But the artist, his name is Khushi Music has given me that because I’ve asked for it, because I think he might actually genuinely like it. I know this is a fucking weird, intrusive thing to do to force you to listen to a song, you can fast forward. But I suggest you don’t, because this song is so good. It’s, it’s about mental health, but it’s from the point of view of someone watching someone else suffer. It’s all of the helplessness we can feel at times. And the love and the empathy and solidarity and also sometimes a little bit of the struggle we feel when we don’t know how to help. And that’s, that in no way stigmatizes or is meant to shame or make anyone feel self-conscious around their mental health. It just meant so much to me as someone who has both been a carer of mentally ill people, but also very much so the recipient of other people’s care. I depended on other people to save my life at times. And so it just is infused with empathy. And I feel like that’s everything that I try to put out into the world and encourage from all of us. And so his name is Khushi Music. The song is called “I Know”. It’s fucking great. And I am not going to make a habit of doing this, I promise. It’s just because the song is so special. So enjoy the song and then enjoy my good friend, the extremely funny and grumpy Neal Brennan.
KHUSHI MUSIC [00:04:35] [“I Know” plays]
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:02] Quite done?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:03] I can’t sip? I can’t sip.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:05] Sip away from the mic. All right? Sip away from the mic, sir.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:09] Wow.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:10] Neal.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:10] Wow.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:11] Welcome.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:13] Hold on. I might, can I? Alright, go ahead.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:16] Clean your mouth, clean your mouth. Fart. Do everything you need.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:19] I would never do that. Sorry, my I use my mouth for stuff.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:24] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:24] Like eating and sipping.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:25] Sure.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:25] For instance, I’m talking now. It goes both ways.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:28] Neal. Welcome to the show. How are you?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:30] Fine. No, but you said, “How are you”? But it sounded like I was on trial a little bit.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:36] It’s my accent.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:36] I know.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:37] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:38] I know. I know what it was.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:39] You’ve been all right?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:41] Yeah. Yes, I’ve been great. I’m trying to think of what, I mean, how broad do you want to go?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:46] No, I mean, I just want to know generally if you are alright. I’m-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:50] Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:52] Feeling good?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:06:52] Yeah. Good. Feel good.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:06:53] OK. Good. This is a podcast that’s about mental health. It’s about shame. And it’s something that you talk about a lot. In fact, that’s how we found each other. Well, I found you. I hunted you.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:07:03] Let’s be honest. You found me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:05] Yeah. Neal has this Netflix show called “Three Mics”, and it’s one of my favorite comedy sets I’ve ever seen.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:07:13] Thank you very much.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:13] I watched it a couple of years ago and related to a lot of the things that you said, because it’s very personal. It’s, it’s not just a comedy show. It’s also a kind of backstory as to why you are the way that you are. An explanation.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:07:23] Why my face-, why I have resting dick face.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:25] Yeah, exactly. What is resting dick face?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:07:28] I just, I mean, I. No one’s called it that, but that’s. Yeah. That’s the male version of resting bitch face.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:07:33] OK, right. Well I, I saw this special and I cold emailed Neal.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:07:39] Yes. She called-, she cold e-mail-, she got. I used to write with the showrunner, creator of “The Good Place”, Michael Schur, 15 years ago. And so he put you in touch. He gave you my email. I saw your name didn’t look you up. Just thought you were some lady on a sho-, I didn’t know. I don’t know who you were.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:03] Well, technically, I was just some lady on a show.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:05] Yes. At that point, you were just some lady on a show. Then I said, “Hey! If you’re coming to the Comedy Store, look me up”. Or get in, tell me. And you’re like-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:12] And I lived behind the Comedy Store at the time.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:14] Yes. So a few weeks later, you emailed me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:18] A few months later, I’m cool.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:19] I guess, yeah, you’re pretty cool.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:21] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:21] You are really cool. I like how that’s the whole point of the show. It’s like, no, I’m cool, I’m not embarrassing at all.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:26] Yeah. We discussed this.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:27] Mmhmm. Then I finally, you said you were coming to the Comedy Store. I looked you up. Turns out you’re tall and good looking, which is one of my things. I like good looking people and, especially women. Guys I could take or leave. I mean, I think it probably helps if they’re good looking. I like a guy to be aesthetically look like something.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:46] We all do.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:46] You know?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:47] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:08:48] And, and I look you up. Good looking. And then you come with some guy, who we’ll call, we’ll call like a gangly gentleman.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:08:59] Sure. He’d love that.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:01] I’m sure, he’d love it. And I didn’t know, you know in L.A., people have like relationships. I don’t know if that’s your trainer. I don’t know if that’s your voice coach. I don’t know if that’s your ener-, your healer.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:11] You think I would bring my trainer to the Comedy Store?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:12] I knew nothing, lady. I just knew that you were good looking.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:15] My bodyguard, maybe.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:16] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:17] My gangly bodyguard.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:17] Sure, you gangly bodyguard. He’ll wrap him up with his long octopus like limbs. And so I’m speaking to him and I say, and he’s, I go, he’s, you go to the bathroom. This guy goes like I watched “Three Mics” as well. And I thought it was fantastic. Brilliant. I think it was. So, you know, he’s British and, and I was like, oh, you, what are you doing? He’s like, I’m a musician. And, you know, everyone in L.A. is musician. So I go, oh, you got a band? I mean, I could not have been more condescending. I was like, what are you soloist? What are you?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:51] What’s your SoundCloud?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:09:51] Exactly. What’s, what’s your name?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:09:53] And he’s like James Blake. I was like, all right. Well, I thought I was gonna be able to put the moves on your girlfriend, but you’re a better artist than me, ’cause I was a fan of his. And, and that was, it was like checkmate mate. All right. Well. ‘Cause certain musicians you listen to and you go, man, they must, girls must go nuts. And James is one of them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:15] Aw, that’s nice.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:16] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:17] Well, that’s, that’s, I think it’s been quite a happy ending altogether.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:20] Yes. Well, I’ve made no moves on you.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:22] We ended up not banging.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:23] Nope.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:23] And we’ve become very good friends.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:25] I don’t think banging would help.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:27] Help what?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:28] Anything. Our relationship.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:30] Oh, for sure. Definitely not. It definitely wouldn’t help your relationship with my boyfriend.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:34] No, no, no, no. I’m saying he dies.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:36] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:36] Of course he dies. He dies. And then you, I’m-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:10:43] He’s, he’s in the other room, by the way, for anyone listening.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:10:46] Of course, I’m looking at him as I say this. I’m saying this to his face. Every guy has like a scenario and, you know what I mean? He dies, I got to be your top five consolers. Right? And, and then one night, you stay late, one thing leads to another.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:02] It’s “When Harry Met Sally”.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:02] I don’t think it would hurt. I don’t think it would hurt or help.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:07] Agreed.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:08] You know what I mean?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:08] Yeah, yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:09] It doesn’t, it wouldn’t be like aw, now we’re onto something.I don’t know, like we’re pretty tight.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:14] Great.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:15] And, and-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:15] Well, I’m happy that you’re my friend now.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:19] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:19] So it was the fact that in your, in your Netflix special, you had referred to all these, referred to all these different things that you’d done to overcome your PTSD, your anxiety, depression. You struggle with your mental health for most of your life?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:32] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:32] OK. So having seen you’d gone through all of these different processes to try and get rid of them, some of which you’re still trying now.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:11:39] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:11:40] I had one that I thought you would benefit from. I emailed you. We’ve become friends. And so I, I wanted to also just say once on air, I’ve said this to you privately. But you are one of my favorite people for the fact that you spend so much of your career also being very open about your mental health. I think it’s really cool and really important. Back in the day when you were coming up, when you were younger, A, did you even know you had depression? And B, if you did, did you feel like it was something you could really open up to people about?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:06] Back then, in like the 90s, we called it a New York attitude. Depression was a New York attitude.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:15] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:16] And then it became. And then it became. And then like Prozac and-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:21] In New York, they would actually prefer that, wouldn’t they? To someone happy.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:23] Yeah. That’s the New York-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:24] They like the hustle. They like the grind, the misery.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:27] Like small, angry, depressed, down.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:30] Yeah, like the English.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:30] Get in your hole.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:12:31] Stay there.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:12:31] Like everyone like lives in a little kennel. And so there was not-. And then, and then Prozac became sort of popular in the early 90s and more antidepressants like that. Prozac was the first big one. It was the first mainstream one. It wasn’t like lithium or anything. That was for bipolar. It was, it was, it was like just for depression. So then people, you know, prescribed it more. That’s almost the, I would say that’s, I daresay that’s the upside of the pharma industry, is it can mainstream certain things like that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:13:10] Mmhmm.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:13:11] I mean, look at what they did for restless leg. Right? I mean, they took it. They really took it mainstream. And now I’m one of the leading restless leg comedians. No, but I, but so, so then slowly, but surely, and then I started going to therapy in ’99. And started taking Zoloft and was pretty open with people I’d talk to about it. And they, I was never, I’ve never hidden it. I’ve never. I’m fairly, I’m the youngest of 10 kids and the older people in my family, my older brothers and sisters are more like, what? What are you doing?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:13:48] Uptight. Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:13:48] What is that? So are you going to take this forever? That kind of thing. Because they’re, they would feel more of a shame around it. And I’m an artist, so it’s not, it’s I’m not like, you know, I don’t work at a, I don’t work for insurance broker, you know? Like I’m not it’s, there’s no stigma around anything.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:04] Yeah, but you’re not a painter. You did come up in a, in a, I’d dare say, quite a chauvinist industry, especially back then, like the comedy scene, especially the comedy scene you’re within, like there’s a lot of quite toxic masculinity.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:14:16] Absolutely. But I don’t, but I think that depression is one of those things where people would go like, I’m depressed as a joke setup.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:24] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:14:24] So there was no-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:26] Taboo.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:14:26] Yeah. There was zero taboo around that. And, and it was, yeah, it was sort of. It was. It wasn’t taboo, and then I found doing the show, that=.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:14:41] This is “Three Mics”.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:14:42] Yeah. Doing “Three Mics”, I realized like everyone has something, I just said mind first, so to speak. It was, it was like, oh yeah, everybody. So then people see me as, I get DMs everyday, probably, about how much it meant to them, how much it helped them. People have tried different therapies because of “Three Mics”. One woman quit her job, which is really all you want.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:07] She’s homeless now.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:15:09] She’s homeless, she died. Homeless. But before she died, she was a big fan of mine. And that’s all that matters. Good night, everybody. Have a great podcast. So. So, yeah, it’s very helpful. And I’m sure that all these people found me helpful because I was very open about it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:27] Was there much discomfort? Because I fucking loved the fact that you went there. Kind of just to explain to anyone who hasn’t seen it. There’s three microphones, on one of the microphones, Neal does regular stand-up on one of them. He does, well, he goes back into his life story and is incredibly honest and open about his journey through mental health and trauma. And then third mic is one liners?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:15:45] Yeah. One liners. Just like-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:15:47] So were any people, did any people resist “Three Mics”? Were, anyone found it to be a bummer because it was a comedy set? Like did it make anyone uncomfortable?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:15:56] No, I mean, I think there are people that like think it’s a cop out. Probably. Comedians probably think it’s a cop out. Like uh, you didn’t do blah blah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:04] Yes. What you did wasn’t brave at all.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:06] Well, it’s not brave. It’s not that it’s not brave. It’s that it’s not purely a glib stand-up.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:14] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:15] Like, you know what I mean? And, and so but now, having said that, I thought Seinfeld would not like it for that reason. And he was like, no, I thought it was great. Like-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:24] Who is this Seinfeld you talk of?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:24] Well, what I’m saying is like he is a, he is an actual person. He’s a human boy. But he also believes, I just thought he would be like the classic stereotypical, I need stand-up done this way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:38] Yeah. And you didn’t reach the formula. But he loved it.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:40] I didn’t do it. Yeah. I didn’t do it. But I did a lot of it. I did for 35 minutes of it. But there’s another 20 of-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:47] So as someone who’s tried so many different things, I mean take me through roughly the things that you’ve tried. Just to like list them. Medications, therapies.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:55] Yes. Zoloft is my main medication.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:16:58] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:16:59] I took it probably for 10 years and it kind of stopped working. Then I, then I tried a few other ones in those, in the SSRI family that just had weird side effects, where they were sexual or like I’d gain weight without eating.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:11] Sexual side effects. You become more sexual?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:17:14] I was I became irresistible to women.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:18] Oh my God.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:17:18] To the point that it really was a huge, it was a huge problem for my life.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:17:21] Couldn’t get anything done.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:17:22] No, it was a huge problem for my life. And I mean, people would, women would jump on my car. When I was just driving, like, like, like I was giving off a musk. So, “musk” is my favorite word for male attraction then, that, the sort of wackier ones were Ketamine, which I did not like. Did not work for me at all. Some people think I liked it. I did not like it. Now, having said that, there are people that DM me who said they tried it and it was the only thing that worked for them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:00] Yeah. Each of their own.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:01] Yes. So in terms of dealing with the shame of it, just try. I’ll try anything. I don’t. I’m so agnostic about what’s going to work or what does it say about me if it works or what isn’t-? I don’t know. It’s just-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:16] Would you try like healing and reiki and something spiritual?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:19] Yeah, I’ve tried reiki.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:20] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:20] Did nothing for me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:24] OK. You did EMDR, which is the thing I first wrote you.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:26] I did EMDR. Which was the one you promoted. I did-. The one that really worked for me for a long time was TMS, which is transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is basically a, they put a thing on your head that looks like, we’ll call it a table tennis racket. OK. And it sends magnetic MRI beams into your head. Like a clicking fashion.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:54] Does it hurt?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:54] No, it’s just kind of weird.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:18:54] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:18:54] It didn’t hurt. I did that, that 45 sessions of that. Worked really well though. Zoloft, now I’m back on Zoloft. And I try-, I did TMS a few months ago that was, I think it worked as well as-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:08] And then is it all right to bring up the, what you went to China to go and do?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:19:12] Yeah. That was more TMS. That was, that was better TMS. Chinese TMS. It was a, it was a, it was TMS with a different table tennis racket on a different region of my brain. Because in America they only do the left side. And-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:29] Why?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:19:31] I don’t know. I don’t. I believe that’s-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:34] Lazy.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:19:34] Because it’s the most. No, it’s like the one that’s most kind of approved and studied. And in China they did the, the back and the right. And the left. Or they didn’t move to the left because the left was good. So they did the back and the right. In China.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:19:48] What did that feel like? Again, the same.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:19:50] Yeah, it was, I had them crank it up, which was, I showed you the video, it was hilarious. My face is shaking, which scares people. It wasn’t scary at all. It was funny. So it-, your face will not shake. I don’t want to put that out there.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:06] Your face might shake and you’ll be fine.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:08] Yeah. Or it’ll shake and you will be fine.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:09] It won’t shake forever.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:09] Yeah. It’s not. It didn’t shake. It just shake when the clicker was going.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:13] It shakes like when you’re sitting on the washing machine.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:15] Yeah, sure.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:16] It’s fine.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:17] Sure. But I didn’t try sitting on the washing machine. Is that effective?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:20] Have you, have you, have you noticed a difference since you tried the one in China?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:26] I’m not sure yet. I don’t want to say I have because I don’t want to be like, yes, I don’t want to-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:32] Don’t want to endorse it.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:33] Yeah. I don’t. Like I said, I don’t want to be like I’m in love when someone’s, you know? Can I, hello, everyone. We’re getting married. I don’t know, I. It seemed like it worked, but I can’t say for sure. EMDR really worked, though. And I have a funny story about you and EMDR.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:20:49] Oh no.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:20:49] So my friend Bijan. I’ve been friends with since 19-, I’m sorry, 2003. He was my editor on Chappelle’s Show. He edited “Three Mics”. Whatever. Whatever. So he’s in the same, like tries everything. He tried marriage for depression. He tried everything. And, and, and none of it worked. And then I mentioned your name in passing one, like three months ago.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:14] Because you’re obsessed with me. Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:21:14] I’m so obsessed with you. He said, who was that shrine to? In my house. I was like, oh, this shrine? And I said, Shrine, because it’s an Indian thing and I’m racist. And, and I, and he goes, Jameela, the British chick? And I go, Yeah. And he’s like, you know, I do EMDR because of her. I’m like, what are you talking about? He goes, she was on Russell Brand’s podcast and brought it up. And he, it’s like transformed his life to the point where punch line this week he said he’s going to become an EMDR therapist and quit editing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:49] Really.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:21:51] Full time. Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:51] Are you serious?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:21:52] See? Doesn’t someone quitting their job really touch you?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:54] Oh my god. It really changes everything?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:21:56] Yes. It really makes you feel-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:21:57] I feel so important.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:21:58] Yes. See? I’m no alone.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:01] Is he really going to quit his job?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:22:02] He’s really is going to quit editing to become an EMDR therapist.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:06] That’s incredible.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:22:06] I swear to God. Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:08] So for anyone who doesn’t know, EMDR is eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing. It’s a type of therapy. It’s very effective for PTSD. It’s effective for OCD, addiction, all kinds of different things. But it’s just very hard to find a very good cure for PTSD or any cure whatsoever. And-
NEAL BRENNAN [00:22:24] And of all of the things, EMDR, I would almost say don’t even look it up.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:31] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:22:31] ‘Cause you can’t. It sounds like there’s no way that works.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:22:35] Oh yeah, it sounds fucking stupid. It almost sounds offensive as to whatever it is that you’ve been through that you need therapy for. It feels absurd that something quite so simple would help you with that thing. But I can tell you from my personal account that it’s the thing that saved my life. So Google that. EMDR. We’re going to go to a break. So, so similarly to you. I’m always on a kind of journey to see where I can get to with my mental health.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:03] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:03] Like I’ve come through extreme anxiety, extreme depression, PTSD, etc. I think you and I are probably two of the more similar people that I, I don’t have a friend who’s as similar to me as you are. And you and I struggle, and if you, if, is it OK if I say this? But we struggle with feeling stuff all the time.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:18] Oh yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:20] Yes. So that’s something that we have in common.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:22] I have something that you may not have though, which is-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:27] Smugness.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:27] I have a penis. No, I have something that you may not have. Which is. I’m also supersensitive.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:38] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:38] And not, you and James would say it’s all ego based. But I would say it’s, I’m really sensitive. Like, I really am like a sensitive little baby. Like everything bothers me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:53] Bothers you as in pisses you off?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:55] Hurts my feelings.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:23:56] Everything hurts your feelings.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:23:57] A lot of things hurt my feelings that you go, there’s no way that hurt my feelings.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:01] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:01] And, because I, generally speaking, synthesize it into anger so quickly, you wouldn’t know I was hurt for a second. But yeah, everything hurts. Like any snub, any slight, any look, any, like a real like I, I’m not one of these people who like, nothing bothers me. It may look like nothing bothers me but-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:24] Your Twitter is very nothing bothers me and sort of a bit thinking it’s funny when other people get so bothered by stuff.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:32] Oh yeah. Well I think that most people, I don’t, when things are, when people are actually bothered by things, I think there’s things that are worth getting bothered by. And then I think they’re mostly, it’s just the performance thing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:41] Then there’s things that the Internet gets bothered by. Which is ridiculous.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:43] Yeah. Yeah, a performance. I mean, that’s like, the only way to get traction on Twitter is to be provocative or-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:52] Outraged.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:52] Like literally the algorithm favors it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:52] I have no idea what you mean. I don’t use Twitter that way.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:56] It’s not for me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:24:57] To create outrage.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:24:58] No, but that’s the, that’s, that’s how you-. I don’t think you’re gaming the algorithm, but that is how, that’s how it works.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:05] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:25:05] So when they go, there’s outrage on Twitter. Yeah, that’s where it, that’s-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:10] That’s traffic.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:25:11] Like there’s booty’s clapping at the strip club. That’s what. That’s what. That’s what happens. That’s, that. The airplanes are taken off at the airport.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:20] I feel quite jealous that you, that your feelings get hurt. If I’m honest.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:25:26] OK.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:26] ‘Cause I don’t, that doesn’t happen to me. And I think some people think of it as, oh, I’m so tough and I’m so brave. And, you know, I don’t get bothered by all the people saying things about me publicly or even privately, but it really just doesn’t make a dent. And I think that’s because I’m, because of my damage makes me so desensitized.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:25:41] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:25:42] That I’m really genuinely, I don’t think that, this is why I never wear it as like a badge of honor, that I’m uninterested in other people’s opinions of me. I’m just, I genuinely don’t give a fuck. And I kind of would like to. While I see that it’s a strength, especially in my choice of career-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:25:55] Yeah, but I-. But having said that, I bet James can hurt your feelings.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:00] James can hurt my feelings. Not, not, he doesn’t hurt my feelings as much as sometimes in the past. He makes me angry. Haven’t you? Nod. Yes. That’s it.
JAMES BLAKE [00:26:11] I can’t remember a specific time.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:13] OK, great.
JAMES BLAKE [00:26:14] But, probably.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:14] Yeah. No, it’s been a while. It’s been awhile. But James doesn’t so much hurt my feelings. I don’t get my, I think my feelings got so hurt as a child that they’re sort of like, I’ve had so many withdrawals of my feelings.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:26] Yeah, bankrupt.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:26] There are no deposits. That I am bankrupt for. So therefore, it doesn’t really happen. But OK, so aside from that, though, are you a romantic person in the technical classical way?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:39] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:40] Oh.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:42] Yes, the short answer is, I think I cried three times watching “Marriage Story”.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:48] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:49] And during the trial-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:51] What made you cry during Marriage Story”?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:53] I’ll tell you.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:26:53] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:26:57] During the trial, I literally thought, I don’t think I could do this. I don’t. I would be so crushed by an ex wife, using a lawyer to make me seem awful, for, to get custody of a thing that she knows I love, a kid. Or, you know, and then there’s the whole thing like I’ve had guys tell me that they’re wi-, guys that are successful TV people, tell me that their wives said when they got divorced that they came up with plots that are just not true. Just so not true. Like from what?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:27:40] Their wives came up with plots about them?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:27:41] Plots for sitcoms that they were creators of. Like no, that episode was before I met you. Like, just crazy credit, that I would just, that I could brush off. But the thing of having a lawyer slam me to make me seem like a bad father would, would just about break me. And then. The, the letter thing, the letter at the beginning of it, and-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:08] This is when they’re talking about all the things that are great-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:28:09] Yeah, that they like about each other. Like I’ve been in love three times. And it was amazing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:16] Mmhmm.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:28:16] And. When those ended, they all really hurt my feelings. It really, it was, I was very emotional about it, like it was, like one of them I was like crying all the time for like a month.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:28:31] Mmhmm.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:28:32] Me, Neal Brennan, crying all the time. But I, like I was demolished by it. So. So I think I’m roman-. I want. I want. I would like to be in a long term romantic relationship. I just, at this point, I would say I’m agnostic about it because I’m like I don’t see much proof of a, I’m not jealous of very many relationships. You’re in one of them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:00] Thanks.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:29:01] Yep. It’s not with James. It’s with your brother.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:06] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:29:08] No, like you’re in one of them. But it’s not a long list. Five, five couples, maybe. And, and, but I sometimes think that men and women are really poorly matched for relationships. And the other thing I will say about it is that the, the thing in relationships that I don’t think gets a lot of attention, which is the ways you break your own heart.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:35] Like what?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:29:37] Can’t, can’t do it. You, like you think that you’re one of those people that is healthy enough to be in a relationship and you can work things out and you can, and despite your best efforts with someone that you probably love, you cannot do it. And that’s your fault.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:29:55] Also, I think if you’re not sorted out, you can’t really assess who is the correct person for you.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:29:59] I agree. Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:30:01] Yeah. I have a friend called Brett Goldstein and he talks about the fact that, you know, he’s in his 30s, is single. He can’t seem to find anyone. And he gets endlessly frustrated by this because his sister, who’s younger than him, is happily married with two kids, it’s a perfect fairytale life. And he asked her, why is it that you think I’m still single? And she just said, well, I think it’s because you always go for the 10 and you always go for the 10, not of looks, but of excitement. That feeling where you’re like I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I’m going to, we’re going to go and starve together to death, naked in a field holding each other. And that’s just gonna be how this ends. Whereas she thinks that you should go for the 6, the person who just makes you feel like a light buzz, but generally quite safe. But obviously, films, music, especially Meatloaf, have manipulated us otherwise and books that we have to feel this incredibly overwhelming level of excitement and anxiety. And she said that feeling is fight or flight. That is your body telling you to run away because you’re being triggered. You two are triggering each other. That’s what that feeling is. And so instead you should go for the feeling of safety and build from that 6 up to a 10. And I, had I not been in that kind of relationship now, which is the healthiest and best relationship I’ve ever been, not to rub it in. I know you’re already jealous, but I, I, I would have thought that was bullshit because of how much we’ve been programmed to think that we need to have all of the feelings. Do you think you were at all manipulated by movies and books and songs? Meatloaf. Has it got you-?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:31:27] Well, let’s be honest. Meatloaf got to all of us.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:29] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:31:31] But, but, no, I will say that the really good ones I was in, two of the three. I felt really lucky to have met the person and I felt like a real connection.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:42] Great. And you felt safe?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:31:45] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:45] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:31:45] In one of ’em, yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:31:48] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:31:49] Yeah, I did, but then you go, well, did, do I even have a working black box where I can even, even after the crash? Can I? Am I equipped to even, you know, unpack what happened? I, like maybe I’m not healthy enough to even know what happened.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:11] Do you think someone has to be healthy in order to get into a relationship? Would you think it’s OK if they can get into a relationship and then start to work on things together? I think you just have to be willing to work on yourself at whatever time that is. I think that’s a prerequisite of a healthy relationship, is that if you’re bringing your, your baggage into this relationship from your past, you have to be willing to unpack it.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:32:31] Yeah. I mean, I, really the thing the, the other thing that people don’t bring up about relationships is the amount of luck required is breathtaking. The fact that you met James, is luck. The fact that you’re who you are.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:32:47] But yeah, we also did a lot of work.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:32:48] I totally agree. But I’m saying that, the, I think about the women, the best one I was in and it was pure like luck, basically. They know this person and obviously their social circle stuff that you’re probably all similar in a lot of ways, but the right time, the right and the amount of things that need to line up correctly and, and where you are in your life. And-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:14] I agree. But that also, that’s also applied to like everything about our lives. You know? Lucky that you met Dave Chappelle. Lucky that you-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:33:19] Yeah. But I, but I am lucky that I had talent.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:21] Are on this podcast. The highlight of your career.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:33:22] But I have an innate talent for comedy.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:25] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:33:25] You know what I mean? Like so I know that. So all that luck stuff, or I did this and then that person saw that, like, that’s all, that’s fairly, that’s a pretty clear domino based on talent.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:39] Right. But I think we all have an innate capacity for love. I do. I do think that that, yes, you’re right. Of course, it’s very lucky to meet-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:33:46] I have so much more talent for comedy than I do for love. It’s, I’m going to go 20 to 1, it’s a 20 to 1 ratio. And there are people who don’t think I’m a good comedian. So imagine how bad I am at love.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:59] I disagree.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:33:59] No, of course, you do.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:33:59] I disagree.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:34:00] You love me.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:01] Yeah, that’s true. I think, I think Neal’s wrong. And we’re going to go to break so you can’t disagree with me. OK. So you don’t have shame around your mental health. You’d have shame around very much really. But you, do you, you and I’ve spoken about this before. We feel like you get shamed about your life status.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:34:25] Yes. Because I’m a forty-, I’m 46 years young and, I’m 46 and I’ve never been married.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:32] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:34:32] I’ve been doing a joke where I say, women apparently call it a red flag. The thing about red flags, tie around your neck, red cape. So. So, so yeah, I. And the reason I haven’t got married is because I, I, I haven’t wanted to.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:52] Fair.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:34:53] And, I know but that’s not enough reason for people.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:34:56] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:34:56] The assumption is something is broken, right?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:00] Mmhmm.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:35:01] Same with child rearing. The assumption is if you don’t want kids, there’s something a little bit wrong about you. Like why wouldn’t, we all, the rest of us do. What’s wrong with you that you don’t want to have children? Those things make me defensive. I just don’t have a lot of, my life path has been so … Odd. That I don’t have a lot of peers, and I don’t mean that as like I’m peerless. I mean, like, I’m so talented, I’m peerless. What I mean is the things that people-. That’s how you and James hear it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:45] No, we don’t think you’re a complete fuckin’ tool. Just kind of a tool. It’s different.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:35:51] So.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:35:52] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:35:55] James does all of his albums, he’s about to throw in the trash and then the record company goes, no, no, we’ll release it. Because he thinks he’s a bad musician. That’s how people work. So.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:05] He doesn’t. He knows he’s great.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:36:06] He thinks he’s great. Good for him, he is. So. OK. So I don’t have peers in0, I just feel like a bit of a, I don’t really fit in. Anywhere. There’s just a lot of ways, like I don’t eat meat, which sounds like a small thing, but it’s kind of a big thing. There’s most restaurants-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:23] Outside of Los Angeles. You’re a fucking alien.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:36:25] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:28] Yep.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:36:28] I don’t really drink. That’s a big one. I’m not married. I don’t have kids. I have high standards for interpersonal interaction.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:44] That’s alright, isn’t it?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:36:46] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:36:46] When you’re an adult.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:36:47] Of course, yes. You know, all of these things are to me, self-evident in every things that everyone should be doing. I mean, again, meat, whatever. But yeah, you should be able to have your own standards and make your own choices. I think as a man, if I’m a serial, if I’m dating, if I don’t get married, in the time I’ve known you, I’ve dated a couple women. And, but if, if it was a woman, the narrative would be oh, she’s just searching for the one. Whereas a guy-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:16] Oh, I disagree. Oh, hang on. Hold the fuck on. OK, wait. A 46 year old woman who’s single. You’ve got Clooney in your corner. All right? We’re the sort of like old-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:26] How long is that list? By the way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:27] I’m 33, by the way. And if I tell an Uber driver who is from my country, not England, like Pakistan or India, if I tell them that I’m 33 and I’m not married with children, all I get is, you’re old. Nobody is going to want you now.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:40] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:42] So I get, you know, sort of openly abused.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:45] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:45] If I say that I’m-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:46] In a very stereotypical accent, by the way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:48] Well, that’s, that’s. Well, that’s what sounds. They don’t all-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:49] Have you seen my Apu documentary? I made a documentary about Apu, that I need you to watch.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:37:56] I’m doing the exact accent at which he shouted that at me.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:37:59] Right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:00] My point being.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:02] Can I do it? I’m kidding. It’s the exact accent.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:06] But like, you know, even outside of my culture, women in their 30s start to fucking panic. It’s like that there, I think, you know, if there are any women listening to this, we can all, we can all relate to the fact that, you know, if you find yourself single in your 30s, you feel like your eggs are drying up and you’re panicking.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:20] You’re walking into a trap right now, by the way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:21] Why?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:22] Because George Clooney got married. A.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:25] Yeah. But he’s like 50. All I’m saying is at 46, we were still like, when’s he gonna find a lady who’s good enough for him?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:29] Right, but fine. DiCaprio has a weekly think piece about why he’s fucked up.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:36] Yeah. And look at Jennifer Aniston’s think piece. Like every time she eats a sandwich, it’s like, God, is she finally pregnant?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:41] Right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:41] I hope she’s pregnant because otherwise she’s-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:43] But I’m not saying that it’s better. I’m not saying that my-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:46] All I’m saying is that you said that it was easier for women being 46. No one, no one is looking at 46 women being like-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:38:51] Everyone’s happy when Kate Beckinsale fucked Pete Davidson. I remember that. I remember that being a victory for women.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:38:58] A lot of people judged. But the point being that they were happy-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:02] Meanwhile if Jack Nicholson was fucking dating Cecily Strong, it’d be a bit of an issue.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:07] Right. But-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:08] Meanwhile, Kate Beckinsale fucks Pete Davidson and its fucking, people, there’s a parade for her.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:12] No one judges Jack Nicholson’s love life. That man like, no one is-. You’re definitely look to as more of a boss as a single man later in life than you are as a woman. As a woman, you’re considered somebody got left on the shelf.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:20] I think there are quarters in which we’re both correct. And I’m more sensitive to-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:26] I think. I think I’m correct. And I think you’re wrong.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:30] Of course, you think that. What are you going to say? What are you going to say? That I might be wrong about this.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:35] I think, I definitely, to the point where I was surprised when you told me that people that you knew shamed you about your life status, because I’d never come across a man feeling ashamed about being single later in life.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:46] Anything that I’m the, I’m just the out-. There. There are very few situations in which I’m not the outsider.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:39:52] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:39:53] And it’s not. And my point is that I’m doing a show about it. It’s like it’s, I promise you, I came to it the right way. I’ve felt, the same way you think my observation about the government or gender or race or technology, any of the things that I’m, I’m good at observing, the same brain, I applied the same machine to all these things and was like, no, I don’t want kids because I don’t know if I’d be good at it or, and, or I would, or I’d not like I wouldn’t be good at it. I just don’t want to have a kid show up and I’m like woops, not capable of loving. Sorry, roll the dice. Nothing happened.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:32] I share this bit. Not about your having children.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:40:35] Yeah. it’s your greatest fear. You’ve tried to tie my tubes. I slept over at their house one night, I woke up and she was, she had a scalpel over me. And marr-, again, people don’t want men-, wives don’t want me around their husbands.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:50] Is there? Oh, because they think you’re a bad influence?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:40:54] Yes. Absolutely.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:54] Because they think you’re out raging on the town.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:40:56] Absolutely.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:40:56] Hitting all the vegan bars.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:40:57] Hitting all, vegan. Yes. Vegan bar after vegan bar. Raw. Well, some nights I go raw. Raw.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:06] Is it mostly men or women shaming you?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:11] Women.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:12] And that’s because, they want you to have all the love that they have.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:14] Because they don’t like it. They don’t, again, if they, because I’m a threat to this, this thing that they’ve, they’ve created. This narrative that a good man is one who gets married and has children and stands. All that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:32] And unmarried means you’re a sex addict.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:33] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:33] And you’re going to turn their husband into a sex addict.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:35] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:36] That’s interesting.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:37] Yes. I’ll turn Seth Myers into a sex addict.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:40] Yes. You have a great, you have a great, not, I’m gonna call a bit.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:46] Yeah. It’s a bit.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:46] It’s a bit?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:47] About why I’m not married.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:41:48] About why you’re not married. Would you tell my audience? Please.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:41:52] It’s based on an observation from Bijan, who’s one of the top EMDR therapists. He, no, the joke is that when you ask a married guy how it is, they say, when they respond, it’s like they’re reading a hostage letter. You’re like, hey, man, how, how are things with you and Becca? And they’re like, Hello, I am happy. They’re like reading a note, like a, like an ISIS video. And. And I don’t want that.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:42:22] Yeah.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:22] For me. Like that would, it would make me so I don’t like-. I have a quote in my phone, which is some, I want to get it right because I don’t. And it’s great. It’s also an excuse to take my phone out. “Poor is the man whose pleasure depends on the permission of another”. I don’t want to ask permission. I don’t want to feel, I yelled at a girlfriend one time, I don’t want to feel like a guest in my own life.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:42:51] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:42:52] Like, may I do this thing that I was probably born to do? Do you mind if I-? And, and, and I don’t want to feel bad about my inclinations, my habits. Because they’re harmless. But the relationships I’ve been in, a few of them, it’s the, the, my significant others felt like it was an attack on them.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:17] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:43:18] And, and I think that that’s pretty common for relationships.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:43:22] What was the rest of that hostage note?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:43:25] I am happy. Do not worry about me. Worry about yourself and your heathen lifestyle. She has made me a better man. And then she’s in the corner like ISIS, like tell them what else. So. So. So, yeah. Like that’s. And that’s like, that’s the dynamic. Like she’s the boss. There’s literally a sitcom called “Yes, Dear”. It’s not on the air anymore. But like, she’s the bi bi bi. And I just don’t want to feel like, like I’m beneath somebody.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:00] Do you think that’s all marriage? That marriage means being beneath somebody?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:44:03] No. But I think that that’s the factory setting on marriage. I think that there are, if I were to be married, it would not be like that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:11] I agree. Everything else about your life is unconventional. I think you would make marriage whatever you need or want it to be.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:44:17] We’d like on a houseboat. ‘Cause I’m unconventional.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:20] Also what you said about the rationale behind not wanting children is one of my favorite things.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:44:27] Oh, the, the, the if you’ve seen the news. So there’s, there’s, so climate change is going to be a nightmare, right?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:44:36] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:44:37] And that’s horrifying. And we’re already twice what Earth’s population should be. And I can’t remember this much anger or sectarianism in my entire life. Having a kid now, to me would be like being at a house party, it’s packed with people. You can’t move, roof’s on fire, basement’s flooding. Cops are coming to arrest everybody. And you look at your friend, you’re like, we should invite Bryan. That’s what having a kid to me is like. Like, how are you? What are you? How are you justifying this? I feel bad getting Amazon packages. And you’re like, no, we’re bringing a whole other person ’cause I don’t know, my body wants to. I. So. My body wants to do all kinds of shit.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:23] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:24] That doesn’t make it right.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:25] No.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:26] You know how much garbage, my body’s never wanted to eat a healthy thing in my entire life.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:31] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:31] My body tells me just bad, it’s all bad.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:33] No. I’ve been to brunch with you. It’s just waffle mania.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:36] You’ve seen what I do. A lot of syrup, guys. That’s all I’m going to say. Gets, it can get pretty graphic. So. So, yeah, like the idea that your body wants to do.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:46] So marriage, so marriage and kids are kind of off the table.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:49] Marriage, I. Marriage is not off the table.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:45:51] OK.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:45:51] Now, having said that, every married guy I know at some point has come up to me and whispered like an inmate, don’t get married unless you want to have kids. Literally like said it, like whispering, like do not get married.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:05] Where they don’t move their lips.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:07] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:07] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:09] Do not, don’t do this. Like. So I don’t know what their secret is, but they’ve all done it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:15] No, I feel the same way. I feel like a lot of the people that I know who are married are unhappy.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:20] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:20] Currently. But again, I think that’s because we’re not encouraged to do the work or because we’ve been manipulated into making the wrong decisions of a partner.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:25] What’s the advantage of a marriage?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:28] I don’t really see one. I’m not really into marriage.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:29] I mean, what’s the advantage?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:31] I think there’s a great advantage to a lifelong love. And there are tax incentives to marriage.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:35] Yes.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:36] Great tax incentives, everyone.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:37] But that’s like saying, yes. Ice cream’s delicious. I want to eat ice cream for the rest of my life.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:41] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:41] Do I want to sign a contract where if I don’t want to eat ice cream, I have to give ice cream half of my money? No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:48] I don’t know. I feel like if James Blake was your ice cream, you’d be all right with it. I’ll cut that out. I’m cutting that out. Cut that out. Fuckin’ cut that out.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:56] It’s going to. It’s going-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:57] I’m just saying-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:57] It’s going to be.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:46:58] I have, no, cut it out.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:46:59] That’s fine. That’s again, I don’t. But it’s not a matter of the ice cream. It’s not a matter of who or what the ice cream is. It’s just a matter of, for me, what’s the advantage of-? It’s just, to me, a lot of times marriage is a medieval insurance policy for the less successful person.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:18] Also consumerist scam.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:47:19] Yep.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:20] So I, don’t worry. We’re on the same page very much over here. I don’t really care here or there about marriage. The two things that make me care about marriage are number one, there’s a cool tax incentive that I think is cool, as I was saying earlier, second of all-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:47:32] Which you probably already get as an incorporated person.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:36] Can I get more?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:47:38] I don’t think so.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:47:38] OK. Second of all. Second of all, I get afraid of in medical dramas of which I watch a lot when they’re like, when someone wants to come into the room during an emergency, it’s like, well, are you family? In that situation, I would want to be able to be in the room, in an emergency or I would want them to be, in an emergency.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:47:57] That’s another thing that I’m a little bit agnostic.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:00] You don’t want to be in the room during the emergency.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:02] The emergency, fine. But having just gotten a colonoscopy, a month and a half ago.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:06] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:07] Were you there? ‘Cause I was out. My point is, I don’t care who’s there.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:13] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:13] In the, when I’m, when I’m under, I don’t care. And also, I don’t-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:16] But that’s about you, wouldn’t you want to be in there if, if, if your beloved was in trouble?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:21] If it meant something to them, I would but I don’t. I also think it’s a weird thing to want your family to watch you die. Like hey come, you want to see the most horrifying thing on Earth?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:34] You don’t always-, hang on.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:35] Come to room 480.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:35] You don’t always die. Sometimes you make it through and you want someone there, just to hold your hand.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:39] Just give me my phone.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:39] And bring you ice chips.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:41] Just get my phone and my laptop. Just don’t separate that. That’s, I’m marrying. I’m married.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:50] Yeah. Fine. Well, look, I don’t think, you know, we’re aggressive, we’re violently agreeing in every direction on this. Like neither of us are tied to marriage.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:48:56] But it’s cuter when you do, because the accent and the hair.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:48:58] Agreed. I like the idea of a long time love.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:00] And by the accent, I mean the horrifying Indian stereotype accent.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:03] Yeah. I, I believe in a longtime love. Because I like the idea of having a witness to my life. And so that’s something that I think is a great benefit. But no, of course, the contractual side of things is ridiculous.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:17] Have you gotten your heart broken?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:21] Mmmm. Been sad when a relationship ended ’cause you’re losing a friend. But I don’t think I’ve ever had my heart broken. Like I have never been left.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:30] Here’s what I’ll say.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:30] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:31] That’s really sad. So we’re in the third, we’re in the sad mic right now.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:37] OK. Should I sing?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:40] Just when you said the witness to your life thing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:49:42] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:49:43] I’ve had people that I really loved. Right? Men and women. And there are a lot of, almost every situation when you break up with them, you realize that a thing you shared, you didn’t share. Meaning they had a very different point of view on it than you did. And a lot of time in, in the writing area, I’ve written with Chappelle and, and, and share, mostly. The. So in those cases, it was like a thing that I thought was something, they had a completely different point of view on it. A thing. A thing in my life that we share with a woman. They had a lot of feelings that I, I’m not going to say they were, they were noxious, but they were kind of like, oh, that’s a fucking bummer. And you only, you only find that afterwards. And, and so I, I hope for that sake that you and James stay together forever. That’s. And that was what I was, that was what I liked about the “The Marriage Story” thing was that their perception of their marriage was, we’re really different. And that’s the thing that’s so painful.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:11] Right.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:51:12] To me. Like I could I could cry about it in 20 seconds if I had to. If you, if you turn the lights down, I’m kidding. No, but I, it really, it’s a ver-, that’s the thing more, probably more than anything.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:23] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:51:24] That when you feel like you have this shared thing with somebody.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:29] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:51:29] And you and it’s just like, oh no man. That, nobody else thought that, or not, it’s not nobody, it’s this person didn’t think that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:38] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:51:38] And it start, you know, my dad, my dad being the most obvious example. Of like, oh I thought we were his father and son.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:51:45] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:51:45] You thought we were competitors. Or you thought I was a nuisance, or you thought I was all these other things. I was hoping, oh, man. You could see why I would think that. Right? Seeing that I’m your son. So that and, and that would be the things that, probably the most painful things in my life were thinking something was something and then finding out, it’s like finding out that, that, it’s like the end, the beginning of the third act of every teen romantic comedy where it’s like, no, that was a bet.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:17] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:52:18] It, no, she was only with you because-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:20] She was paid.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:52:21] Yeah. She got paid to be with you because da da da. Like, like that, when, when you think that you’re. And that goes back to the fairness thing, goes back to a lot of things. But, but that to me is the biggest heartbreak of a relationship ending is that you both had a completely different perception of what it was.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:42] How, how’s your time on this podcast been?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:52:49] Great.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:50] I feel the same way. There you go.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:52:51] No, I think it was great. I actually think that’s a new, that a new. The thing about.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:52:53] We have the same experience.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:00] About the heartbreak.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:02] Yeah.
KHUSHI MUSIC [00:53:02] That’s, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about that in public. Maybe I have, but not really. I mean, that’s a big one for me. That’s, I think that’s probably a big one for everybody.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:10] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:11] Check the comments to see if it is.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:13] And I would definitely suggest that, like, you know, for anyone, it’s definitely better to be on your own than in an unhappy relationship just because you think you should be in a relationship, because you think you need someone for societal statue.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:25] Yeah. Marc Maron, the comedian and podcaster said. We were talk-. I think he said it in conversation, he goes, I got married because I just wanted to feel like I was all right. He’s wanted to feel like I’m-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:38] He’s not still married to that person, is he?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:40] No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:40] Oh, thank God.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:42] Or the one after that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:53:44] Fucking hell.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:53:46] Yeah, like he’s tried it twice. That’s the biggest bummer about relationships ending. Is that you thought it was one thing. And it turns out like, oh, wait, you weren’t. That’s, there’s no town there.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:00] But that’s not a reason to not then look for-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:54:03] Absolutely not. Absolutely not. I, I think that’s the, that’s the end of, of-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:10] That’s the end goal. That’s-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:54:11] I mean, that’s, my favorite romantic comedies are “Annie Hall” and “Eternal Sunshine” and “The Apartment” because they all end with this note of, it doesn’t really work, but I got gotta try. It’s not, it’s not healthy. It’s not, I mean whatever, healthy is not the right word, but it’s very difficult. It’s the, the attrition rate is like ninety nine point nine percent and the, but yeah, you gotta. That’s the hope springs eternal. Like you got to try. Serena Williams said, that would’ve been a great out point. You can still use it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:54:55] Thank you for editing my podcast. Say it again.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:55:00] Serena Williams, the tennis player. I was shooting some her one time. And this is like five years ago. And I was saying, like, relationships are impossible cause they’re like climbing Mount Everest. And she goes, no, they’re not, because people can actually climb Mt. Everest. Which is like, alright. That’s, that’s a very funny thing for someone who’s not a comedian or writer to say. So the point is, Serena’s great.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:23] Well, Serena is also happily married now. So.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:55:25] That’s what I’m saying like that.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:55:27] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:55:28] Complete defeated cynic and like, and still found some, got lucky. Got lucky. I mean, what are the odds that, she’s a black woman, a professional tennis player who grew up in Compton and she ends up marrying some white tech guy who started Reddit. You know what I mean? Or I think he started Reddit. Like what did? That’s just luck. And they work so far, you know. There’s just so much chance to it. And, but that’s the, that’s the, the, that’s the romantic part, is thinking that it could-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:12] It’s the hope.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:13] You know what? For most people. Yes. But for us, it’s different.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:17] OK, so I guess we’ll just. Jury’s out. We’ll see if, if Neal finds a, Neal find some, some love, some witness action.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:25] But wouldn’t you say that I’m a romantic based on?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:28] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:28] Like I think that’s romantic.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:30] I think the fact that you got hope in spite of the fact that that’s how you’ve felt. Looking back on previous relationships, in itself, implies that you’re a romantic.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:37] Yeah. It’s like show me a cynic, and I’ll show a heartbroken optimist. It’s that thing.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:42] Yeah, well, I love that. We’ll see. But I would like you to know, I don’t care if you ever get married and have babies. I just care that if you do marry someone-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:49] That’s purely self-interest though.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:51] Yeah. If you do-.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:56:52] ‘Cause it confirms, it’s co-, it confirms your beliefs.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:56:57] Well no I. But I just hope that if you get married, just don’t marry someone annoying who has to come to my house. Alright?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:03] No I won’t.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:04] OK. Great. Fine. Are we agreed?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:05] I would like to say that a big, when I date women.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:09] Yeah.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:10] At a certain point, I do think. Can I bring them up to James and Jameela’s? And I, you think I’m kidding. It’s a really good barometer.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:18] Damn fucking straight.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:19] Yeah. Because I’m not going to-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:20] Don’t bring someone unfunny into my house.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:22] No.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:25] I’ll kill you.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:25] In 2004, me and Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones and Seth Meyers used to go out to the club every Thursday. And I brought a woman I was dating one week and then the next week they go like, she was a dud. Don’t bring her around. Like Poehler pulled me aside and she’s like, she was a dud. You can’t bring her around. I was like, alright. Can we just declare people duds?
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:49] Yes.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:49] And apparently we can.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:50] 100 percent.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:51] I learned, I learned the hard way.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:57:52] Neal Brennan. What do you weigh?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:57:57] I weigh 154 pounds, as of this morning.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:03] In the, in the classic “I Weigh” formula.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:58:08] In the classic. I don’t think-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:08] It’s a classic. It’s been around for two years and two months. It’s a classic. How would you how would you fucking sum yourself up, Neal?
NEAL BRENNAN [00:58:21] I am.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:22] I weigh.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:58:23] I-.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:24] Know the classic, it’s a classic.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:58:25] I don’t get it. Lady, I don’t get it.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:58:29] I weigh.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:58:30] I weigh. I weigh my-. I weigh my beliefs and I weigh my, my, my map. And I weigh my code. That’s what I weigh. I weigh my code. I have a code that I’ve, that I, that I’ve over 46 years, I’ve developed. That is, works for me and it’s my, it’s my code. It’s my belief system. It’s, it’s my expectations. It’s all that stuff. That’s what I weigh. I weigh my code and that goes to, that hopefully covers everything I do.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:18] Great. Thanks for coming on the podcast.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:59:21] Tell your friends.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:22] And inspiring everyone about love.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:59:24] I mean.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:27] No, I’m joking. Thank you. I love you.
NEAL BRENNAN [00:59:27] I love you, too. Bye.
JAMEELA JAMIL [00:59:30] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s “I Weigh”. I would also like to thank the team, which helps me make this podcast. My producer, Sophia Jennings and Kimmie Lucas. My editor, Andrew Carson. My boyfriend, James Blake, who made beautiful music you are hearing now. And me, for my work. At “I Weigh” we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast. You can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543. Or e-mail us what you weigh at IWeighPodcast@gmail.com. And remember, it’s not in pounds and kilos, it’s your social contributions to society or just how you define yourself in life. Here’s a little message from one of our “I Weigh” listeners. “I want to tell you what I weigh. I weigh being honest in every situation. I weigh working on personal development, even though it is a taboo subject. I weigh being fat and able to deadlift 100kg. I weigh being unashamedly single for seven years. I weigh being emotionally and financially independent. I weigh living the life I want, not what society tells me I should”.
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