July 23, 2018
EP. 122 — Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland: come for the apple orchards and beautiful cathedrals, not the disaster tourism. Born to a Catholic mother and Protestant father, this week’s caller attended a segregated school where they had more bomb scare days than snow days. She and Geth play a game called “How long can a person from the island of Ireland tell a happy story before a sad detail comes up?”
This episode is brought to you by Halo Top (www.halotop.com), Care/Of (www.takecareof.com code: STORIES), Madison Reed (www.madison-reed.com code: PEOPLE), and Talkspace (www.talkspace.com/beautiful).
122 — Northern Ireland
[00:01:17] CHRIS: Hello to everybody who loves a good shower power hour. It’s Beautiful Anonymous; one hour, one phone call, no names, no holds barred.
[01:31] [THEME MUSIC]: I’d rather go one on one, I think it’ll be more fun. And I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:01:42] CHRIS: Hello, everybody, welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. A show where I send out a random phone number and then a whole bunch of people try to talk and we talk. And we listen and we connect in a world that is feeling more scary by the day, we connect and we lean into things like empathy and connecting with other humans on a human level. And just hearing each other out and being willing to just go there, get vulnerable and not be ashamed or scared of vulnerability for once. This show might be saving my life week to week. Thank you for letting me do it. Thanks for letting me have this gig. Want to put out there that we have some touring dates coming up at the end of this very week that you’re downloading this and big ones, including a live Beautiful Anonymous taping – Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal, Canada. I’m doing a bunch of stand up, including my own hour twice and a live taping on the twenty seventh of Beautiful Anonymous itself. Come on out. If you’re up there, if you’re in Montreal or the surrounding areas. Come on out. Hang out. That festival is such a fun time. Such a good party. And do a taping right in the middle of it. See what we can get while we’re up north, up in Montreal, one of the great cities in this world. So maybe I’ll see you there. I’d love to say hello and shake your hand. I really would. And then the week after that, I think I’m in Burlington, Vermont. Burlington, Vermont. Anyway, you go to ChrisGeth.com and get tickets for all those dates. Doing standup. August 2nd, 3rd and 4th. I’ll tell you more about that next week. Who cares? Go check out ChrisGeth.com if you want to know about all that. Alright, that’s enough with the personal plugs. Blah, blah, blah.
Last week’s episode, I got to tell you guys, I’m so proud of it. And word really started to spread on that one. Thanks for everybody for spreading the word of mouth, letting people know we’re out there. It was, of course ‘Prison Bound’, someone who was leaving for a federal prison stint in four days, giving up four years of their life to prison and they’re talking to us for an hour? It was mind blowing, blew my mind, blew a lot of your minds. Gotta say all the feedback, it was really incredible. It went and went far and wide. The A.V. Club wrote about the episode and it showed up on the on the old Earwolf Reddit, the subreddit over there. And we don’t always you know, they lock in more on like the absurdist comedy stuff that you’re always known for. We showed up and a lot of people going “wait are these true, are these people lying?” and then other people who listen to this going “no, we don’t think so, man. We think these people do tell this guy stuff. We’re not making it up.” I saw someone accusing “I think that that’s fake, he’s done a lot of improv, a lot of subversive comedy, I think they probably make up most of those calls.”
Do you know how much more work it would be for all of us to make up and script these? a full hour? Plus, this whole show, a lot of the people who have locked onto it and love it would say “we’re not cynical people, not cynical people, that’s how this thing works, we leave cynicism at the door and we get genuine, we’ll leave that cynical side of things out of it.” The episode itself, the Facebook group, so much reaction, huge reaction. And I got to say, I was so fascinated, a lot of people saying it was their favorite episode ever. A lot of people said it was intense. A lot of people say, man, that’s the kind of crazy thing you hear in this podcast sometimes that made me like it in the first place. Also, a lot of very respectful discussion, a lot of people going “Well, not everybody has access to treatment programs like our caller had. Might be some element of privilege here.” A lot of people saying, “I don’t want to make any huge assumptions, but sounds like this might be a Caucasian person. Would a person of color with a drug charge get the same benefit of the doubt? Does our justice system work the same way for everybody?” A lot of these conversations that I think are really worth having right now were had in that Facebook group. And I was proud to read them, proud to be part of them. And, you know, so many people going, “man, this brings up so many different feelings.” What a cool thing to be a part of. Check it out, read up on it. Join the Facebook group and maybe discuss this week’s episode too.
This week’s episode is a very special one to me. We’ve been doing a thing lately where we get some international numbers and we found one for for Ireland. And, as a lot of people listen to the show might know, I actually just got my Irish citizenship because my grandparents are from there. My grandfather came to this country in 1928. My family has not been in America for even a hundred years. So, I thought now let’s see what happens if we add an Irish number to the mix. We got some calls. It’s amazing how small the world is, it’s this huge thing with billions of us on this planet Earth. Not only did we get a call from Ireland, got someone who’s living in the actual county that my grandfather’s family’s from. You can imagine how much this meant to me personally to be able to ask about what life was like there; past and present and future, and to hear from our caller about what life is like in a totally different pocket of the universe than the one I live in, but one that I feel such a connection to. It was really… gotta say, meant a lot to me. A fun call, I hope you enjoy it.
[00:06:51] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:06:59] CHRIS: Hello.
[07:01] CALLER: Hello?
[07:05] CHRIS: Hi, how are you?
[07:08] CALLER:This is Chris?
[07:09] CHRIS:Yeah. This is Chris.
[00:07:05] CALLER: Oh, my. Oh, wow. Hi. Hi. I’m actually, sorry just to get it out of the way, I’m not from Southern Ireland.
[00:07:14] CHRIS: Where are you from?
[07:15] CALLER: Hello? Yes, I’m from Northern Ireland.
[07:20] CHRIS: Northern Ireland, OK.
[00:07:24] CALLER: Yeah. Oh I just wanted to get that out of the way in case you were like “why is your number different? Why is your accent not like super 32 and a third and all that?”
[00:07:33] CHRIS: Just for anybody who’s listening. So our phone system, we can just get numbers from other countries, pay a couple of bucks, we get numbers from other countries. We did one Estonia a couple weeks ago, it led to a call from Denmark. Jared was like “let’s see what other countries we got today.” And I saw one from Ireland, I said “we should do Ireland.” So you’re in what I would say, I’m assuming, and I know this is divisive, I have to assume you’re Catholic because you’re immediately apologizing for not being from the Republic of Ireland, but from Northern Ireland.
[00:08:03] CALLER: Well, it’s kind of a weird situation for Northern Ireland, actually. My mom’s Catholic, but my dad’s protestant. And because she married out of wedlock, we just went for Protestant. I was baptized in the Church of Ireland, which is, according to my parents, the most Catholic Protestant church you can be baptized in. But, we’re not a particularly religious family.
[00:08:22] CHRIS: Fair. Fair. But there’s there’s a little Catholic blood in there causing you to apologize in the first 15 seconds of your call.
[00:08:31] CALLER: Oh, yeah, a lot of guilt. I got the Catholic guilt.
[00:08:33] CHRIS: Good, good, good. Well, thank you.
[00:08:36] CALLER: I’ve got the big Catholic family and all that.
[00:08:38] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. Me too. I’ll tell you, you don’t have to apologize for being from the north. I had said in my Instagram prompt, “please only call from Ireland, I don’t want to feel the guilt of your long distance fees.” But it’s OK. To me, you’re calling from the island that I requested, same island. So you’re good, no apologies.
[00:09:00] CALLER: Yeah. That’s what I figured. I come from the island, I go to the sites a lot.
[00:09:04] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:09:07] CALLER: It’s fun. I also think your granddad is from Armagh, right?
[00:09:11] CHRIS: Yeah. Have I mentioned that on the show before?
[00:09:16] CALLER: Yeah, I went to school in Armagh. You mentioned it before and I was like, “oh, my goodness, Chris, we have some common connection here.” A weird world.
[00:09:24] CHRIS: Yeah, my grandfather was born in a very small village called Charlemont, in Armagh. And I went and visited it two years ago, I did a festival in Dublin and then I did the Edinburgh Scotland Festival, then I jumped back to Ireland. We drove all over, we visited my grandfather’s village, right on the border of Armagh and I believe County Tyrone. Those borders.
[00:09:48] CALLER: So it’s not the city? Sorry. There’s a city Armagh and then there’s County Armagh. I live in County Armagh. And then I went to school in the city of Armagh.
[00:09:58] CHRIS: Yeah, he was from County Armagh. But from what I was able to gather visiting, there’s a village called the Moy which he… His family’s land was in Charlemont on one side of a bridge on little stream, right next to that bridge. From what I could gather, his day to day life had more to do with this village called the Moy in County Tyrone, but he grew up in County Armagh.
[10:23] CALLER: Ok, yeah, I don’t really go to Tyrone a lot
[00:10:25] CHRIS: Oh, what’s up with Tyrone? I just sense in your voice you’re like “oh no, Tyrone.”
[10:30] CALLER: Oh, no, I just.. there’s not much to do there. I just never had a call to go.
[00:10:35] CHRIS: I got that sense. The Moy — what a good name for a place, the Moy. And then I got there…
[00:10:41] CALLER: Oh yeah, there’s some great names around here.
[00:10:43] CHRIS: This place you named The Moy, it’s not much to do, but it was lovely. And I met somebody who knew my grandfather’s brother. My grandfather left when he was 18 years old, so nobody knew him. But they knew his brother Felix.
[00:10:57] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, if you go back, you can probably put the records and all that. I don’t know how interesting this is to anyone listening to me. Sorry for rambling on about it.
[11:04] CHRIS: I’m the one doing the rambling. I’ll tell you what, I’m an Irish citizen now. I’m a citizen.
[00:11:12] CALLER: Oh, you’re more Irish than me, goddamn it.
[11:14] CHRIS: Really?
[11:16] CALLER: Yeah. I’m supposed to do that. I’m supposed to do that thing, my whole family did it, but I was away. I went to university in Scotland – I just graduated. Yay!
[00:11:26] CHRIS: Nice. Congrats
[11:27] CALLER: I just came back, so I need to go and apply for my Irish passport. But I have a British passport at the moment. We all have dual citizenship in Northern Ireland, so we’re allowed to have both.
[00:11:37] CHRIS: Right. You technically are a citizen of both the UK and Ireland if you live in Northern Ireland, yeah?
[11:43] CALLER: Yeah, kind of. You’re allowed to go and move over there. Yeah. But it’s gonna be weird with Brexit, I don’t know how it’s all gonna work because of the border and all that, but I just I don’t want Brexit to happen.
[00:11:56] CHRIS: I’ve heard people are nervous because a lot of … From what I understand… Can we talk about this? Here’s the sense I got when I visited Ireland, both when I went to Dublin and all over Ireland and when I went to Northern Ireland. Irish Americans are pretty obsessed with the fact that they’re Irish American. The sense I get is that Irish people and Northern Irish people are really fucking tired of Irish Americans claiming they’re Irish in any way. True or false?
[00:12:29] CALLER: I don’t want to say that to an Irish American.
[00:12:31] CHRIS: No, I’m bringing it up! I’m Irish! I got my citizenship, baby, I’m Irish now. How tired do you? Do a lot of Irish people go blind, rolling their eyes at Irish Americans?
[00:12:44] CALLER: Erm… it’s nice because they come and they buy stuff here. And there’s a lot of touristy shops and they like to spend money here, which is nice. But yeah it’s… You guys are… I don’t know, it’s like they’re more into being Irish than we are. And the stuff like that they think is Irish isn’t that Irish. We do drink but we don’t have like green top on our Guinness or we don’t dye a whole river green because we’re Irish. We don’t go that far.
[13:14] CHRIS: And you guys aren’t.
[13:15] CALLER: I think it’s kind of nice to claim your heritage. It’s nice that people are proud to be Irish, I guees.
[13:19] CHRIS: What a nice diplomatic answer.
[00:13:21] CALLER: Sometimes the behavior that you see…
[13:22] CHRIS: I like hearing you verbally say it’s nice people are proud to be Irish while everything about the tone screams “you Americans need to pipe the fuck down about this one.” Sorry Sally.
[00:13:34] CALLER: Yeah. Just yeah. Just calm down a little bit. Like I had family that emigrated over too, I don’t really know them that well, but they’ve come back to visit a couple of times and they seem nice. But it’s weird to hear them… they’re first generation Americans I guess, they still sound Irish, but their kids sound so American and it’s really weird. It’s like they open their mouths and I’m like “holy moly, I thought you were going to sound different.”
[00:14:07] CHRIS: It’s funny. Where I grew up, everybody was Irish-American. My mom was first generation. A lot of people, I think, fit that bill, were first or second generation. And it’s funny, I wouldn’t say we had an Irish accent, but I’ve listened to recordings of myself when I was young, and there’s a couple things, there’s a couple words that slip through where I’m like, “oh, I can hear a little bit of my grandparents in there” l like, the way I used to pronounce the word girl. I used to say almost like, how do you say girl?
[14:37] CALLER: Girl?
[14:40] CHRIS:Girl? I used to see it like gay-earl a little bit. The R was very silent. But you know what my mom always said? My mom was like… in our neighborhood. there’d be St. Patrick’s Day coming and my town had a big parade and everybody would go nuts. And, you know, my mom always said she was like, “the people who care the most about this are the ones whose families came furthest back,” Like my grandma, one of the great points of pride was that she was the deputy grand marshal in the western New Jersey St. Patrick’s Day parade. She was from Wexford, she was from County Wexford. My mom is like “all these people who put on the big sweaters and the caps and they got shillelaghs, and they’re chugging beer all day, their families came like four generations, five generations ago.” My grandfather left for a reason.
[00:15:29] CALLER: I think there’s something in… like you need… oh my mom’s calling me.
[00:15:33] CHRIS: You need to go on call waiting a second? I can wait. Yeah, yeah. I’ll just wait.
[00:15:38] CALLER: [on phone]Okay. Mom? Yes. Mom. [To Chris] Are you gonna go on hold? Or I’m going to run downstairs.
[00:15:48] CHRIS: Yeah, just run downstairs, carrying the phone. Is it a cell phone? You can just carry it, whatever you want.
[15:58] CALLER: [on phone] Mom, I’m on a phone call, is there anything?
[16:02] CALLER’S MOM: No, just the cats, did you feed them?
[16:03] CALLER: [on phone] I fed the cats. Yeah… thanks you.. bye.
[16:06] CALLER: Sorry, she had to check that I fed the cats.
[00:16:08] CHRIS: I’m just happy the cats got fed. No apologies.
[00:16:11] CALLER’S BROTHER: leave for 40 minutes.
[16:15] CALLER: OK. Sorry. I’m also leaving my brother to the airport, so he was reminding me of that.
[16:1]9 CHRIS: [laughter] Just living real life
[00:16:23] CALLER: Where were we? Oh, yeah… Americans… I studied abroad there. I think I have a slight American accent. I studied abroad there not too long ago in California. And it seems like because there isn’t a homogenous American identity, it seems like people really like to emphasize where their ancestors came from and where everyone else came from and kind of hold on to that.
[00:16:48] CHRIS: Now, you live in County Armagh right now?
16:52 CALLER: Yes.
[00:16:53] CHRIS: When I was in Dublin doing this festival, I told all the Irish comics, “I’m gonna go see my where my grandfather grew up.” In Dublin. they’d say, where is he from, and I would say I’m going to go to County Armagh. And all of them would get a little uncomfortable, if I’m being honest.
[00:17:10] CALLER: They’re being dramatic.
[00:17:11] CHRIS: So you know what I’m referring to? The stereotype of County Armagh, my family’s native land, and your current native land, they would say that is one of the only place where The Troubles are still a little bit of a thing to worry about.
[00:17:29] CALLER: I’m 22. I didn’t go to an integrated school, I went to a protestant school but there was a Catholic school down the road from me, and we shared classes sometimes. And like everyone I grew up with and knew were pretty friendly. I only notice some difference because our neighbors are all Protestant and I don’t think they like my mom very much.
[17:54] CHRIS: Really?
[17:55] CALLER: But no one’s openly said anything. And I went to summer camp one time, and we shared a room, my brothers and I, with these two girls. And for I think just a week we got on really well. And then one night they were saying their really long prayers because they’re Catholic, and we were like “wow, it’s so amazing that you can remember all that, we’re so impressed.” And they were like, “well, yeah, why don’t you say that?” And we said ” oh well, you know, we’re Protestant and we don’t say all that stuff.” And they were completely shocked, they’d never been friends with Protestant people before. I don’t think there’s any open divisions of my generation, but a little bit older.
[00:18:34] CHRIS: So there’s not fighting and incidents, but there’s maybe some quiet tension that remains.
[00:18:41] CALLER: There is there are some incidents. So where I grew up, the school I went to was next to a courthouse. And that’s one of the main places where people target for bombs, or just so leave a bag there or something and it’ll look like a bomb. And so because of that, we got more bomb scare days than snow days, Which to me, when I was a child, I was like, “yes! a bomb scare, I get to go home!” But probably looking back, it wasn’t the best.
[00:19:13] CHRIS: Now, when I said the Dublin comics warned me to be a little careful, you initially got offended. Then 30 seconds later told me a story about how you had more bomb scare days than snow days.
[00:19:26] CALLER: Well it doesn’t snow a lot here.
[00:19:28] CHRIS: You’ll like this story. I met these people where I went to visit my grandfather’s village. It was a very, very small town. And m my family used to own a pub called Kelly’s Pub. I wound up meeting these older women who heard my accent. They ask me what I was doing there in a graveyard, I was looking for my great grandfather’s grave. And I tell them all my family’s from here, and they used to own Kelly’s pub. And the one said, “Oh, I can show you where that is”, and I said, “oh, my understanding was it didn’t exist anymore.” And the one woman went, “Yeah, he’s talking about the one that was destroyed in the bombing.” And the woman’s response was “I thought he meant the other Kelly’s pub where the machine gun killings happened.” That was a real conversation, I was a part of. My Kelly’s pub destroyed by bombs. The other one, only machine gun killings.
[00:20:19] CALLER: Yeah. My granny used to work in a hotel. She was like a manager of the bar in the hotel. And multiple times that there were bombs and actual bombs in the hotel and they had to be evacuated. But I think it’s just because the way they tell it, it’s so nonchalant. I grew up not seeing too much visible, but the way they title it, it just seems so every day that it doesn’t seem that big of a deal. I’m sure it was for people here living in Belfast especially. But, I live in the countryside, so it’s not so bad. We can avoid it a lot
[20:52] CHRIS: Now with Brexit, I’ve heard people are a little nervous that it might inflame some tensions again because there’s gonna be firm border again.
[00:20:59] CALLER: Yeah, I’m kind of thinking about it too much because people may dispute me or something. I’m not that knowledgeable about it, but my view is that people are going to want to start to join Ireland more. I wouldn’t be opposed to having an all Ireland except economically, we’re better, Northern Ireland is better off with England, I think. Or with the rest of the UK. But with Scotland wanting to leave, or a lot of Scotland wanting to leave, slightly less than half, but maybe more than half. I think Northern Ireland could follow, potentially. But also, if they’re going to have a hard border, which is them have to check people every time they cross, it’s going to cause a lot of problems because people do a lot of trade, back and forth across Northern Ireland. At the moment you can just drive over and it’s nothing.
[00:21:49] CHRIS: People’s jobs… you can’t you can’t be a truck driver making deliveries f you have to stop for a customs check every day. Can’t be going to work a couple of miles from your house if you have to get customs. Anyway, we could talk about that all day and I really could. And I’m happy to if that’s what you’d like. So anything else you want me to know? You called. I’m excited.
[00:22:18] CALLER: I think you cut out for a little bit. Sorry.
[00:22:21] CHRIS: I was just asking if there’s anything you want to talk about, cause I could just keep leading this conversation about my own family’s past and troubles and what not. But I don’t know. I also want to get to know, you know, your deal. What’s going on? You have cats. You have a brother. What’s your life like?
[00:22:35] CALLER: Yep. I have some cats, I have two brothers, got a mom and dad. My life is kind of at a werid stage at the moment, I guess. I just finished at University of Scotland for the past four years and I did a year abroad in California. So I feel estranged from Northern Ireland a little bit. Now, I’ve just come back home last week from my graduation and then I’m going to England next year to do another year of study and just going to be in school forever. But it just I don’t really have that much to do with my summer, but my granny’s kind of sick, so I’m going to try to spend some time with her and just like reconnect with my friends back in Northern Ireland. So not too much is going on, I guess.
[00:23:20] CHRIS: I’m very sorry to hear that your granny sick. That’s a bummer.
[00:23:24] CALLER: It’s OK. It’s been like a slow sickness kind of thing. But I just it’s weird. Well, it’s kind of sad. She had her first thing when my brothers and I — we’re all very close in age, they’re twins and they’re only 10 months older than me. Oh, so we’re Irish triplets, as they say.
[00:23:42] CHRIS: Well, yeah, you have real twins and Irish twins
[00:23:45] CALLER: Yeah. And we all went to university in Britain at the same time, so it kind of… a lot of her life, I don’t want to say revolved around us but you know, she picked us up from school and she we saw her every Saturday at least and we pretty much did see her every day. So then we just left and I feel like may have contributed towards it. So I feel like if we maybe spend more time before again, that might pick her up. But I don’t know. It is just old age as well I guess.
[00:24:17] CHRIS: Yeah, at the end of the day, these things do happen. Did you say did I hear you say she had a stroke?
[00:24:24] CALLER: Oh, yeah. It was weird. It was a transitory stroke. Which is I don’t really know the medica… but it’s not a full on stroke, it’s just a couple of transitory ones. And then she has some weird eating things she really doesn’t want to eat anymore. So we’re trying to force her to eat, well not force but we’re trying to get all these drinks that she can have instead of eating. But yeah. I mean, really, she has to eat.
[00:24:51] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s sad.
[00:24:52] CALLER: She’s very strong minded. So it’s kind of hard to help her sometimes.
[00:24:56] CHRIS: I believe it, I’ve been around Irish women. We may be Irish Americans, but my grandmother was and Irish woman. The ability of my grandmother to be the quietest, most peaceful, shy, little lady and at the same time, the most stubborn, strong willed human being I’ve ever been around. Well, it was remarkable.
[00:25:22] CALLER: No, but I feel it’s kind of weird because she listens to us, the grandchildren, because she doesn’t want to trouble us or anything, but it’s kind of weird because it’s like the reversal of roles in a way. And I don’t think she likes it very much. I think she’s embarrassed, but there’s not much you can do, it has to be done. And we’re all capable now, we’re all grown up so we don’t need any help. So it’s kind of like returning the favor I guess.
[00:25:45] CHRIS: Yeah, absolutely. The cycle of life.
[00:25:51] CALLER: Yeah, I just never thought about it happening to me. I guess until you get there you don’t really think about it.
[00:25:57] CHRIS: Yeah. Now, can I tell you, this conversation fits the template of my experience traveling to Ireland.
[00:26:07] [AD BREAK]
[00:29:13] CHRIS: Can I tell you this conversation fits the template of my experience traveling to Ireland.
[00:29:22] CALLER: Fits with the stereotype then.
[00:29:24] CHRIS: Well, here’s what I noticed. I started saying this is part of my comedy routine when I got back home, I’m still working on some Ireland material. Here’s what I noticed in Ireland, when you were in Ireland, you are around by far the nicest people you are ever going to meet, and at any given moment you are 30 seconds away from the saddest conversation you will ever have.
[00:29:46] CALLER: Oh yeah, it can get sad real quick.
[00:29:50] CHRIS: You’re so sweet, you’re so nice, and then all of a sudden, here we go, transitory strokes, caring for your grandma, the cycle of life and death and how it affects us all.
[00:29:58] CALLER: Yeah. Sorry, my brother was talking to me just there about bringing him to the airport so it’s on my mind because we need to stop off at my Granny’s for him to say goodbye to her and spend some time. We were supposed to spend some time with her today, but it just didn’t work out. So yeah, I guess was all my things. It’s just on my mind, I feel bad for bringing up dying.
[00:30:21] CHRIS: No. No, you don’t have to apologize. Let’s not be so Irish about it with all the apologies. Please, please. Both. Cause then I’ll start apologizing. We’ve got thirty nine and a half minutes left. It can’t just be you and I apologizing to each other the whole time. It would be too on brand.
[00:30:39] CALLER: OK, I’ll try to stay off brand. I can tell you a story line, tell a lot of people in bars, I guess.
[30:47] CHRIS: I’m into that.
[30:50] CALLER: It’s like my go to story. But it normally starts off… I have a massive scar on my arm, it’s not that noticeable until I point it out. And it kind of starts off with someone noticing that and then I go through the whole thing. So my family is very disastrous, very prone to accidents. So it started off, I guess, with my dad and when he was a baby, he was left alone, he was kind of playing in his walker/cradle thing. It was Christmas time and he reaches for a card up on the mantelpiece and he falls. Oh, God, this is… I don’t know of this is the best way to tell you. He falls face first into the fire, and survives and he pulls himself out. And gets rushed to the hospital and everything, but it was like the first chain of events that kind of led to everything else, I think anyway. He has no fingers now, but he’s perfectly healthy apart from that. Well, half of his fingers. But yeah, my brother [bleep] got the hole in his heart and a bunch of other problems. Oh wait, can you bleep out his name?
[00:32:01] CHRIS: Yeah. We’ll bleep the name.
[00:32:03] CALLER: OK. And then my other brother had arthritis when he was twelve, which I didn’t think was a thing that could happen. And then when I was three, we were in Florida for my third birthday, like a big family holiday, everybody there, and I trip over the pavement and my dad runs me over with a massive car, like those giant cars that you guys have in America that can fit so many people. And he runs me over, so that’s what the massive scar is about. So my mom’s kind of the only healthy-ish one in the family. That’s my bar story.
[00:32:43] CHRIS: When Jared said, “hey, we could have a number from Ireland.” I never imagined we’d have a story that fit my expectations of what might happen as well as that one. Kudos to you. Kudos to you. A series of stories about your family falling into fires and being run over by cars. That’s our big Ireland call. This is really something else.
[00:33:13] CALLER: We’re all healthy now though, we’re surviving.
[33:14] CHRIS: That’s good. That’s good. Wow, that’s a lot of bad luck! It’s a lot of bad luck right there.
[33:23] CALLER: So we’ve run out of bad luck, so it’s all good.
[00:33:24] CHRIS: That’s good. Yeah, that’s the whole luck of the Irish thing, your family must look at that and be like “bullshit!”
[00:33:30] CALLER: Yeah. I think also there’s a lot of things you can do wrong in Ireland. Like walk over fairy rings and all of this stuff. I think somewhere along the line someone’s been cursed by a fairy or something like that.
[00:33:41] CHRIS: What are the fairy things?
[00:33:47] CALLER: I don’t know too much about it, but basically, there’s a couple of things. There’s a [inaudible] next to my house, which is like ancient buildings from like Viking times or something. If you walk over those, that’s supposedly bad luck. But there’s also the fairy lines and the fairy circles. And I mean, they’re kind of some of the myriad of mushrooms and some people make themselves. But basically the fairies live there, and if you step over them… you’re not supposed to anyway, you’re kind of trampling on their home so you’re being cursed. There’s a lot of weird folklore, like, have you heard of the changelings?
[00:34:21] CHRIS: The changelings? Talk to me about the changelings. I love this.
[00:34:27] CALLER: So I’m kind of no one really believes it anymore. But I don’t know, hundreds of years ago people used to think that when they’re babies, or even adults, but it was quite common in babies. When they started to behave weirdly, so maybe they had some sort of sickness or something like that. They thought that the fairies had come in the middle of the night and changed the babies over with a fairy. And so they just put the baby out for the fairies to change them back. It’s kind of a magical story, but it ends sadly, because a lot of babies died that way. I’m sorry, I really tried to be positive there.
[35:12] CHRIS: Changelings? Yeah. So they’d steal the human babies and leave you with a creature.
[00:35:21] CALLER: Yes. Or so people thought, but really it was probably just their babies were sick and they didn’t know what to do. So they put them out.
[00:35:32] CHRIS: Right.
[35:34] CALLER: I’m going to talk about something happier.
[00:35:35] CHRIS: Let’s let’s make a contest… my Northern Irishman. That’s another question I have — If you’re from Northern Ireland, am I allowed to call you Irish? or is that a little bit like “shape up”? Is that an American thing or am, I supposed to say Northern Irish?
[00:35:48] CALLER: I expect Americans call me Irish because a lot of people don’t know Northern Ireland is a country. So it’s fine. But when I’m in the U.K., people really know about the difference between Northern Ireland and south of Ireland. So I really expect them to call me Northern Irish. Not expect as in I require you to do this… like I don’t really care what people call me. I kind of I assume that Americans are gonna call me Irish because they don’t know that Northern Ireland is a thing.
[00:36:16] CHRIS: Because we’re ignorant? We’re ignorant people in general a little bit? Yeah. We’re gonna just call you Irish. I mean, to be fair, you live on the island of Ireland. But when you’re in the UK, can people just hear your accent and know straight away all your Northern Irish versus Irish? Because Americans can’t, right?
[00:36:29] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, they can. And do you want me to say some things that people normally, they can really tell that you’re Northern Irish if you say them?
[00:36:37] CHRIS: Yes. And then I want to do a game with you… I’ve been inspired, don’t let me forget. Yes. What are the tells, what are the things you’ll say where where people go that’s Northern Irish right there?
[00:36:47] CALLER: OK. So there’s two rhymes that kind of go together: ‘How Now Brown Cow” did you understand what I said?
[36:56] CHRIS: How now brown cow?
[00:37:00] CALLER: And then there’s ‘Shar Par on the R’
[00:37:03] CHRIS: I don’t know what that is.
[00:37:05] CALLER: So Shar is the thing that you wash in.
[37:09] CHRIS: Shower.
[37:14] CALLER: Yeah. Par as in you’re powerful
[37:16] CHRIS: Power, shower power.
[37:20] CALLER: On the R, as in the time.
[37:23] CHRIS: Oh, hour, wow.
[00:37:27] CALLER: When you say it your way, I can’t hear that I’m saying it much differently. But those are the only things I can’t stop myself from sounding Northern Irish in. And people get you to say them over and over again to their friends when they meet you.
[00:37:41] CHRIS: So when I say ‘shower’ and you say ‘shar’, you don’t hear much of a difference.
[00:37:48] CALLER: Oh, I kind of hear it when you say it, but when I’m saying I don’t think I’m saying it like you said.
[00:37:57] CHRIS: I love that. Here’s another question I have before we play a game. I’m not gonna forget this game. So here’s another question I have. I dated a girl for a long time and she was Irish Catholic. She went and studied abroad in Dublin and she went to visit Belfast and she tried to go to a certain neighborhood, and the taxi driver was like, “I’m sorry, I can’t bring you there.” She was young, she was maybe 19, 20 years old at the time. And she was like, “what do you mean? I’m supposed to meet friends there.” And he said, “I just can’t in good faith bring you that neighborhood, you’re Catholic, you’re young, you’re female. I can’t drop you off by yourself in that neighborhood.” And she was astounded that he was able to tell on sight that she was Catholic. He was able to just look at her and go “nope, that’s a Catholic” Now, she was Irish Catholic by background, but when we’re walking down the street here in America, I can’t look at someone and say, “oh, you’re Catholic, you’re Protestant,” but it seemed like in Belfast that guy was very able to identify that.
[00:38:49] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, there are a few things that I would say are… I can kind of tell, but I don’t think I could tell in America. I think I could tell here by the way people speak, but also there are certain characteristics that make people look more like they’re from the souht of Ireland. So if they look like that I guess that they’re Catholic. But I try not to assume anything obviously. Yeah, there are some areas that people should avoid probably. But nowadays, people do the whole disaster tourism as well.
[39:17] CHRIS: Oh yeah, we got that in New York, believe me.
[00:39:24] CALLER: And they just go to places where people have been shot. And just go see where the bombs are… I don’t know, it’s a bit weird. It’s a lot better now.
[00:39:39] CHRIS: Oh, believe me. There’s a 9/11 museum with a gift shop. As someone who grew up in the northeast, I’m not sure how to feel about that. Believe me, believe disaster tourism is a thing.
[00:39:48] CALLER: Was there a shooting there or something?
[00:39:50] CHRIS: What? 9/11. The 9/11 museum? There was a little bit more shooting.
[39:56] CALLER: Oh, 9/11! Sorry, sorry, sorry. I was thinking 7-11.
[40:01] CHRIS: Oh, you were thinking 7-11. Oh 9/11, was there a shooting on that day? Uhh maybe, you know, if there is a shooting on 9/11 I don’t know if it made the headlines.
[00:40:16] CALLER: Sorry about that, I know people are very sensitive about 9/11, very sorry about that
[00:40:20] CHRIS: It’s funny, as a New Yorker, sometimes you’d be on the train, right? You get an E train, you see a family and they get their maps out and they’re confused and they go “can you tell me how to get to ground zero?” And I’ll go “yes, take this one to the end of the line.” But it’s so weird that it’s like a whole economy surrounding the worst thing that’s ever happened.
[00:40:42] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, I guess people will capitalize on anything. It is good to memorialize things I guess.You need to have some taact about it, I think.
[00:40:57] CHRIS: Yeah, it’s just the way people do it. Yeah, but you’re growing up in Armagh, you don’t need to see a bus full of tourists going around and some guy on a megaphone “Oh, here’s where here’s where the constable air forces took out this girl, here’s where the Catholics killed this person, here’s what the Protestants killed this person.” Nobody needs a bus tour of that.
[00:41:18] CALLER: No, not really. I mean, it is mostly Belfast, but people come to Armagh as well because we have beautiful churches. We have two cathedrals and I’m a very small town and and a lot of cool documents. I’m not too sure about it, but a lot of it’s very important for religious people, apparently. And other reasons to come to Armagh; we have nice apple orchards. I’m just afraid of them and giving off the wrong impression, it’s really pretty.
[00:41:43] CHRIS: My family used to own one! I did not know until I went there. My family used to own an apple orchard and then my great grandfather gambled away all the family savings so he had to sell it. And then he went blind. How’s that for an Irish story?
[00:41:58] CALLER: Yeah, I mean, there’s a good exterior and then underneath… that’s a pretty Irish story
[00:42:01] CHRIS: Which brings me to my game. So you were telling me a series of stories that were very fascinating, but also sad. About your granny, your family history with fires and car accidents. And you said the sentence “I’m going to tell you a happy story now.” So I want to go ahead… we have 27 minutes… tell me that happy story and I want to time it. Let’s see how long it takes for your happy story to get sad. Tell me a happy story, I’m going to time it. See how long can someone who lives on the island of Ireland tell a happy story before a sad detail comes up?
[00:42:39] CALLER: All the stories that stick out in my head… I was just going to say you have nice call music. But all the stories that stick out in my head are sad. I don’t know why that is. I have no… I mean most happy memories are in America at the moment because I went there, I went to California. I got to see Joshua Tree. I got to see Yosemite and explore all of that wonderful state. And so those are a lot of happy memories…
[00:43:20] CHRIS: Maybe a happy memory from growing up? Maybe a happy memory from growing up.
[00:43:29] CALLER: So there are a few sad details, but I’ll just skip them. So probably once a year, maybe twice, my parents took my brothers and I down to Newcastle, which is a little coastal town underneath the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. People go there to holiday as soon as the hot weather comes out — which is very rare, I mean, we had a little bit of hot weather a while there recently, but it’s like sliding again. But yeah, as soon as the weather comes out and it’s beautiful, we all go to Newcastle and go to the arcade and go to the sunshine. So those are the few happy memories… well no, I have a lot of happy memories, but those would be some of the peak ones. So we used to take road trips there. The only downside was I used to get carsick a lot
[44:18] CHRIS: [mimicking a buzzer] less than a minute and a half a minute.
[00:44:20] CALLER: That’s not sad! It’s not sad! It’s really funny.
[00:44:24] CHRIS: OK, OK. I saw tell me a happy memory, you talk about these happy vacations where you get car sick. I’ll let it slide. Fine, fine, fine, we won’t count that one. Keep going.
[00:44:39] CALLER: One time we went to Newcastle and I was almost there to the hotel we were staying at, to the beach. It was going to be great, wasn’t sick the whole car journey and my brothers start to remind me that I haven’t been sick, the whole car journey. And I have one leg out of the car and just sick all over the car park.
[00:45:00] CHRIS: So you said you got sick all over the car park?
[00:45:05] CALLER: But I think it’s… I mean…
[00:45:05] CHRIS: I asked you to tell me a happy story and two minutes and 15 seconds later, you’re vomiting out of the car.
[00:45:14] CALLER: But I mean happy is kind of boring in a way, because I could tell you that we went to the beach and we had made some sandcastles and took some nice photos and we had bunk beds and all that. But I think the funny parts are more when we fought over the bunk beds, when I was sick everywhere and it was disastrous.
[00:45:33] CHRIS: Well, I can tell you this very much: when I went to Ireland and did comedy and I met the Irish comics, I will say I’ve never felt more at home. I do realize that my family gave me a sense of humor. And what you just said is very true for me as well. And I can’t make funny too much because this whole idea that you take the grim stuff and that’s the funny bits, that’s my whole career. That’s my whole career. So I can’t scoff at it too much. But I realize I got that from my mom’s side of the family in a big way.
[00:46:01] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, people they’re talking with their happy memories where we had a nice time. It’s nice, but it’s kind of boring.
[00:46:08] CHRIS: Tell me, how about this? Why don’t you tell me about your favorite birthday as a kid? What’s your favorite birthday?
[00:46:16] CALLER: Oh, I have a good story actually. A little bit of context, I guess. My parents — t’s going to be bittersweet again — my parents kind of do this thing where they make us sad before they make us happy.
[00:46:33] CHRIS: 14 seconds. I asked you about a happy birthday and it got grim 14 seconds in. Your parents make you sad on your birthday?
[46:41] CALLER: It’s not… it’s kind of nice.
[46:45] CHRIS: OK, I’ll shut up.
[00:46:45] CALLER: This isn’t my birthday, I’ll get to the birthday story in a second. For example, I really wanted a dog one year for Christmas. All I’ve been talking about for a whole year was a dog, this was like 10 years ago. And they had really hinted that I was going to get this dog, so my heart was… on Christmas morning racing down the stairs, ready to meet my new puppy, Santa was going to bring this dog, it was going to be the best Christmas ever. And so I go down the stairs and there’s this giant teddy bear and it’s from Santa to me. And so I hug the teddy, I’m like, this is great. But I’m kind of really anticipating where the dog is. And there’s a letter sitting there from Santa Claus, he says, “sorry that I only got you this teddy bear, but the dog couldn’t fit down the chimney.” And I was already like, that’s kind of bullshit because the teddy bear was a larger than a dog can be. But anyway, “the dog was too big to fit down the chimney and I couldn’t bring your dog for Christmas.” And so I sit on the teddy bear and have to, like, smile because everyone else is opening up presents, but my heart is breaking and I’m turning cross. I think everyone can kind of tell because I’m nearly in tears. So we go have breakfast anyway and then this lady who we know vaguely, she’s like a family friend comes driving down the driveway. I’m like “why the heck is she there on Christmas morning?” And a dog hops out of her car! And it’s the happiest moment of my life because I’ve just been so sad before.
[00:48:21] CHRIS: But they had to dig a ditch for you to climb out of. Why is that?
[00:48:25] CALLER: Well, yeah. So that’s kind of what they do a lot, he kind of “we’re having no holiday this year” so we’re all kind of glum. So that’s kind of what they do and then they surprise us with the thing. They’re big on surprises.
So anyway, the birthday story:
[00:48:41] CHRIS: So that was all just a very sad prolog to the birthday story.
[00:48:46] CALLER: No. Well, I think that’s happy. I got a dog in the end, it was the best Christmas ever.
[00:48:55] [AD BREAK]
[00:50:52] So this is kind of similar. I reached eleven years old, around eleven, and my parents kind of talked about it with me and said — Oh, no, I was ten because it was the end of primary school — they just said, you know, “you’re getting a bit old for big birthday parties that have all your friends round, it’s a lot of fuss.” In my head, I was kind of thinking and I probably did argue back a little bit, my brothers who are 10 months older than me just had birthday parties, and it would be only fair for me to get a birthday party, too. But my birthday came and passed and very little happened. We kind of had a cake with the family and all that so I kind of resigned myself to ‘well I’m too old for any birthday parties, I guess that’s it.’ So the Sunday after my birthday — about five days away from the actual birthday. We have Sunday dinner every week, it is quite a big thing in Northern Ireland, I think a lot of people do it so they get together with their family. So you have to dress a little bit nicer than you normally would. So my parents told me to drive dress extra nice. So I’m like “OK, I’ll go do that” even though I hate dressing up, I don’t know why I have an aversion to it. But I start seeing people drive up the driveway and then I looked on and I see that there’s balloons everywhere and it’s another miracle! Yay! I have a birthday party! So that was another great one.
[00:52:18] CHRIS: These aren’t happy stories. Once again, I asked you to tell me a happy story about your birthday and what you described to me was psychological torment by your parents.
[00:52:30] CALLER: But it’s a good! I think it’s good! Because I wasn’t expecting it
[52:33] CHRIS: It’s not a happy story!
[00:52:37] CALLER: It’s a surprise birthday party. I wasn’t expecting that I was going to even have a party.
[00:52:41] CHRIS: But what about those five days? What about those five grim…
[00:52:44] CALLER: I got all my friends come, we get cake, there’s balloons. It’s great!
[00:52:47] CHRIS: But all of it predicated on the fact that you had five grim, heartbroken days when you thought your family was telling you that they don’t want to celebrate you.
[00:53:00] CALLER: Yeah. But that’s kind of like the rollercoaster of life, you gotta experience the lows to get the highs.
[00:53:05] CHRIS: This is Irish. I can feel myself being a descendant of this lineage because you’re from where my family’s actually from. How far? How far are you from the border of County Tyrone?
[00:53:19] CALLER: Pretty far. Do you know roughly the map of Northern Ireland?
[00:53:24] CHRIS: No, I’m not going to pretend. No, I don’t.
[00:53:27] CALLER: OK, well if there’s a big block in the middle and I live underneath the block, pretty much. But it’s pretty far away from the border. Oh, nothing is that far away compared to like driving in California. It’ll only be an hour or so, but it’s not that close.
[00:53:42] CHRIS: There’s a there’s a there’s a world in which some day you’re driving and you find yourself in that village is Charlemont and you go “ah, this is where the Kelly’s are from. Oh, Chris Gethard’s from here.”
[00:53:53] CALLER: Probably I’ll try to find the ruins of the bar.
[00:53:56] CHRIS: I look like everyone there. That’s what I learned when I did comedy in Ireland. I realized, man, these crowds really like me because every male comedian there is like sort of sad and has a big head just like me. They all got freckles and big heads.
[00:54:10] CALLER: Yeah, you could fit in with some of my family I think.
[54:15] CHRIS: Yeah, I get that crazy hairline. Sad, big teeth that don’t fit my head.
[54:19] CALLER: You’re very self-deprecating when you post things sometimes. You shouldn’t be.. you look fine.
[00:54:21] CHRIS: I look fine. Thank you so much. I’m gonna put that in quotes.
[54:23] CALLER: You’re handsome, it’s very good.
[54:26] CHRIS: Oh, you upgraded it. That’s your family style; no birthday party to birthday party, you upgrade it. That’s your style, you look fine to handsome. My wife thinks I’m handsome, so that’s about all I need. I think I might have some issues. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I go, ‘I am handsome’. And then sometimes I look in the mirror and I go, ‘I’m a hideous monster man. Why was I put on this earth?’ But that’s my own issues. Who knows? I don’t know.
[00:54:50] CALLER: Yeah, I get that too. Like, people take photos of me sometimes and I’m like, ‘is that what I look like, I must look like that.’ But then I look in the mirror and I’m I don’t think I look like that. I think it’s just the angles and lighting everything.
[55:03] CHRIS: You ever have one of those ones where you’re in a group photo and you’re like, ‘I don’t look like that.’ But then you look at everybody else in the group photo and you’re like, ‘nope, that’s exactly what they all look like. I guess I look like that.’ You ever have that sad moment?
[00:55:17] CALLER: Yeah, it’s kind of sad. And also the times when you don’t want to post on Facebook or anywhere like that. But everyone in the photo looks really great apart from you, so it’s really selfish if you don’t post it because you know they want you to post it.
[00:55:29] CHRIS: Yeah. Where you have like you have like one eye open and somehow like three teeth showing and the other half of your mouth is in a frown? Oh yeah.
[00:55:41] CALLER: And one I squinted and an eyebrow raised for no reason whatsoever, everyone else just smiling normally.
[00:55:48] CHRIS: Yeah. And you’re looking at yourself like ‘this is how I go through life in the world? How will I ever forget this is the next time I’m out in public?’
[00:55:57] CALLER: Yeah, it’s a bit disastrous.
[00:56:00] CHRIS: You and me might be related. We might be related, it sounds like.
[00:56:03] CALLER: Distantly, a lot of people in Northern Ireland, I guess, are related
[00:56:09] CHRIS: You gotta be related to somebody named Kelly, right?
[00:56:14] CALLER: Yeah. Well, I’m from… I can say my second name because it’s really common… Murphy, so we also have a really big clan of us. The Kellys… the Kellys are huge, I don’t know if you knew about, but the Kellys, that’s a big surname. So yeah, I mean I guess some Kelly has married some Murphy at some stage.
[00:56:36] CHRIS: Yeah. We have some Flahertys? There’s a bar in The Moy that I’ve been I’ve been told is owned by distant family of mine. But I forget the name right now. Flaherty maybe?
[00:56:52] CALLER: Yeah, that’s pretty common name
[00:56:57] CHRIS: My grandmother’s name was Bern.
[00:57:03] CALLER: That’s another really common name too.
[00:57:10] CHRIS: Let me ask you about this. Let me ask you about this. I got my Irish citizenship, I’m about to apply for my passport. I got all the paperwork filled out, I’m about to go down to the consulate. New York City, the Irish consulate. Not hard to get to… Now, let’s say that America keeps turning into a… Increasingly ignorant and dangerous hell pit of ignorance and hate. Let’s just say, keeps heading in this direction and I don’t often go political on this show, but I can say it, we got kids in fuckin cages now. I’m going to go ahead and just draw some lines in the sand and say it’s becoming a place that I’m not okay with and I’m comfortable stating that publicly. If someone like me flies to Ireland and says I’m an Irish citizen and I’d like to live here now, what happens? Is that a thing that happens? Do you get American expats? Do you see this right of return citizenship leading to any Americans just living there permanently now?
[00:58:03] CALLERS: I think probably more in the south of Ireland, but not a lot of people… Yeah, I don’t see a lot of Americans arriving to Northern Ireland.
[00:58:11] CHRIS:They’re not just clamoring to move to Belfast?
[00:58:13] CALLER: We’re not too great on the right either. Right? We’re not too great on the abortion rights or the gay rights or anything like that.
[00:58:19] CHRIS: And as you mentioned, at some schools still segregated, right?
[00:58:23] CALLER: Most most are still segregated. Yeah.
[00:58:27] CHRIS: Yeah. The guy I met who knew my family. I met a guy who knew my family like I mentioned to you. He said when he drops his grandkids off at school, they’re Catholics — they get out of the car, they go, right, the Protestant kids go left, They’re in the same building, but they never see each other throughout the day. The Catholic kids and the protestant kids, segregated school, same building, segregated classrooms.
[00:58:47] CALLER: Yeah, there are a couple of schools but that are integrated, but most are not. There are movements to try to get them integrated. But the problem is nobody wants to give and everybody wants to take. So they wouldn’t want Irish — although not no one — but a lot of Protestant people or, you know, people who are unionists or I should say, who want to stay in the union and don’t want to join Ireland, don’t want Irish to be taught, or Gaelic, to be taught in schools. And that’s part of the reason why our government shut down. We don’t have a government in Northern Ireland at the moment.
[00:59:24] CHRIS: What? You don’t have a government?
[00:59:28] CALLER: Kind of. Because we’re attached to the rest of the UK, it’s okay and it’s all running smoothly. But we’re supposed to have our own government installments. Over a year ago they shut down over disagreements. There were a lot of disagreements, but one of them was part of the Irish Language Act, which… no one’s resolving anything. We just haven’t had a government. I kind of expected something to happen by now, but everything seems to be going OK. Everything’s still operating.
[00:59:59] CHRIS: Do you think there’s a… I wonder where I could move where people just genuinely treat each other right. Does that exist? Where is it?
[1:00:13] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. Wait, what?
[01:00:16] CHRIS: Likewhere’s the place that you can move where people just actually treat each other right? Because I asked you if I should come to Ireland and you said ‘no, it’s fucked up here, too.’
[01:00:27] CALLER: No, no, no. Well, the south of Ireland, they just got the rights for women to have abortions. Although it has to be implemented. They’re all for gay rights and their economy’s probably going to go up with Brexit because more businesses are moving there from London. So yeah, the south of Ireland, probably it’s a great time to move there. I have a couple of our friends who would dispute this. But again, we’re all quite negative, so… there’s kind of bad parts everywhere. I wouldn’t say that America’s all… I don’t want to say Americans good right now either… you just had your Fourth of July, you should be very patriotic!
[01:01:12] CHRIS: It was a hard one. I bet many of our listeners would echo it, weird Fourth of July. I went to see the fireworks. Me and Holly, we met up with some friends of hers from her childhood and their kids and we all went and watched the fireworks and the kids ran round and it was beautiful, but not so easy to be all ‘rah rah, let’s celebrate America right now.’ It’s just not. Maybe some people listening will be mad at me for saying that, but it’s just not. Maybe some people go ‘you’re an artist in New York. You’re a liberal.’ OK, but we got kids sitting in cages. How are we going to just sit here and stare at fireworks and eat hot dogs and be proud of this? How can we do it? There’s kids cages.
[1:01:55] CALLER:I guess you can be proud of how many people are speaking out against it?
[1:01:58] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah…
[1:02:00] CALLER: I mean, every American I talked to about it is disgusted by it.
[1:02:04] CHRIS: Furious. Absolutely.
[1:02:07] CALLER: Every American I’ve talked to, I haven’t met one Trump supporter yet. I mean I went to California so I’m probably going to the wrong places. But yeah, I haven’t met anyone who actually wanted Trump?
[01:02:17] CHRIS: The Trump supporters, the stereotype is that they travel less. But I don’t know. I don’t know. Because you’re right… there’s a lot of people grumbling and a lot of people mad, but we’re all getting mad on Facebook, we’re all getting mad on Twitter. What’s that do? We’re not marching like it’s the 60s. I keep wondering that, why am I not in Texas right now? Why am I not on a plane to Texas? Why are we not all? Why aren’t all of us on a plane to Texas right now? What are we doing? We’re watching it from afar. You post on Facebook, here’s who sees it: the people who agree with you. What’s that do? Why aren’t we…
[01:02:51] CALLER: Yeah. And then you block the people who try to argue. Well, a lot of people do.
[1:02:55] CHRIS: And what good does that do? I’m gonna say a thing, if you disagree with me, you’re an idiot and I can hit a block button so I never have to hear another person’s opinion. What is this world we’re living in?
[01:03:08] CALLER: It’s bad, But even in real life, when people try to talk, it quickly turns into I’m right, you’re wrong or an attack… people, I think it’s a common problem when I try to talk politics with people, they kind of take it as a personal attack on their beliefs rather than I’m just trying to comment on the policies and I don’t think they’re a bad person for believing in those policies. There’s obviously a reason why they support them. I feel like it’s normally people see it as a personal attack on themselves rather than just trying to discuss a problem.
[01:03:43] CHRIS: And it’s funny because I think, at the end of the day, all of us everywhere are people who just kind of want to take care of our sick grannies and sort of be left alone, you know? That’s the example with you, but I think that’s true. I think everyone…
[01:03:59] CALLER:Yeah, and everyone just wants safety.
[01:04:01] CHRIS: Everyone just wants to be safe. And everybody just wants to hang out with the people they love and have some good food,
[1:04:10] CALLER: Tell some sad stories.
[1:04:13] CHRIS: Tell some sad stories. Have a drink. Have a laugh.
[1:04:15] CALLER: Funny sad stories.
[1:04:18] CHRIS: Well, that’s the Irish way. I want to come to Ireland to do more shows, man. I liked it!
[01:04:22] CALLER: You should. I would come. I’ll be in England next year so do that too. Just do a whole UK and Ireland tour.
[01:04:28] CHRIS: I’ll tell you what. In September, I’m doing a live taping of Beautiful Anonymous in London. People been asking me for years to come to London to a live taping.
[01:04:35] CALLER: Oh cool, I can go. I’m going to Oxford next year. So it’s like you hour on the train down.
[01:04:41] CHRIS: I stayed in Oxford for two weeks and I almost got in a fist fight with an Oxford boy.
[01:04:46] CALLER: Oh damn. I’ve only been there to visit so I’m really hoping it’s not like the stereotype.
[01:04:53] CHRIS: I went… the same girlfriend I mentioned before, her sister went to Oxford. And what a what a beautiful place. What a beautiful, magical, special place. You just walk around and it’s so clearly old and ancient and so much history there. But there’s the thing where because she was a student, we were able to stay in student housing for very cheap to go visit her. And the kid next door, he just kept blasting techno music. Just dance music all night, bass and drums. And the first night it happened, I knocked on the doors said ‘hey, I know usually the room next year’s vacant, but it but it’s occupied now, me and my girlfriend are there. Just giving you a heads up, just letting you know, maybe you could turn the music down.’ I could see that he was kind of rolling his eyes, especially when he heard my accent. And the next night it was the same thing. And I knocked on the door again, and he opened it again very nicely. I said, ‘just so you know, where we’re trying to sleep, it would be great if you turn music down.’ And he went to slam the door in my face. He tried to slam the door. He kind of laughed. I heard his friend laugh and then he started laughing, slam the door. But he didn’t realize that… I will say, don’t laugh in an American’s face. You don’t do that. I mean, stereotypes about us being a kind of oppressive, obnoxious people aside. I did have a moment where… I’m from northern New Jersey, I don’t know how much you know about us, but I did have a moment of like, ‘fuck this Oxford kid.’ So I put my foot in the door and I just went, ‘you don’t want to fucking do that, man.’ And he looked at me and he was like, ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘you don’t want to fucking do that. You want to do that?’ And he was like, ‘no, I don’t want to do that.’ And I was like, ‘yeah, that’s right.’ And then the music got turned down and it never got turned up again for the whole trip. USA. USA. USA
[1:06:22] CALLER: Yeah, put him in his place. I was saying earlier, I hate when people are mean to Americans because they hear the accent or whatever. Like people are really smart there too. I think it’s because I find… like from cartoons and all that sort of stuff, I think anyway… or a lot of American TV is kind of silly, so people assume that you’re dumb. But I realize that Americans are not… And yeah, a lot of the stereotype of English… well I do want to get into it too much, but yeah… the stereotype of Oxford educated people is they can be quite arrogant or like looking down on people. So that’s why I’m afraid of when I go there. But when I was there, everyone seemed pretty nice and everyone else I’ve met there has been pretty nice. So I’m hoping that’s not the case.
[01:07:21] CHRIS: What are you going to study?
[1:07:24] CALLER: People can look down a Northern Irish people, too. Anthropology.
[1:07:28] CHRIS: Woo! That’s cool. The study of cultures, yeah?
[01:07:34] CALLER:Yeah, basically it’s called the study of Humans. I’m doing museum anthropology. Did you visit the Rivers Museum when you were there?
[01:07:45] CHRIS: On the Oxford campus? Yes, I did.
[01:07:46] CALLER: It’s inside the Natural History Museum., it’s a really cool museum. I went to go visit when I was there. And I get to work a lot with the artifacts there. And yeah, it’s going to be really fun. A more hands on approach, I think.
[01:08:00] CHRIS: I believe I did go to that museum. Did they have shrunken heads?
[01:08:04] CALLER:Yep, yep, that’s the one.
[1:08:09] CHRIS: I remember them shrunken heads. People know me. People who knew me were like ‘you’re gonna want to go see these shrunken heads.’ I said, ‘you know me well,’ gotta go see these shrunken heads.
[01:08:18] CALLER: I’m really excited for it. There’s not a lot of other people in the course, so I feel like I’m really going to identify myself. Anyone listening who I know in the future because I’ll be probably the only Northern Irish person on the course.
[01:08:33] CHRIS: I don’t know if this is a highbrow enough entertainment to be very popular on the Oxford campus.
[01:08:41] CALLER: I think so. I mean, I think podcasts are having a real moment at the moment.
[01:08:46] CHRIS: Yeah, but these Oxford people are going to listen to me going like ‘I ain’t I ain’t going to do this.’ And then they’re gonna say, ‘oh, this is a particularly uneducated American’ and they’re going to turn it off and they’re going to turn on like Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast or something like that.
[01:08:58] CALLER: OK. Now I feel bad for doing that stereotype. No, I’m sure people there are lovely and respectful with people. But there’s just a few people who make it bad. I’ve just heard some stories about certain clubs there that are particularly bad. Also I’m gonna be a masters student, so post-graduate. So I think I go be a little bit more chill.
[01:09:23] CHRIS: I bet you’ll do great. I bet you’ll do great because you seem very thoughtful and very nice.
[1:09:29] CALLER:Thank you very much.
[1:09:32] CHRIS: If anybody tries to hold the fact that you’re Northern Irish over your head, fuck them. Who cares? Get over yourself.
[01:09:35] CALLER: Before I went to Scotland for four years, I kind of did a tour around of English universities, because I was thinking my going there. One university I went to — I don’t want to name it — I was only 17 and I traveled there by myself because my parents were working so they couldn’t come with me. And I was doing a tour and everyone had their parents with them. So some parents were trying to be friendly and asked me where I was from and all that. And one person was like, Oh, ‘are you from Northern Ireland?’ And she just said, ‘Oh, sorry, sorry to hear that.’
[01:10:08] CHRIS: It’s funny. I’m Irish American. I have no connection… My grandfather, he he was from Armagh, he hated the English. I’m not going to lie. And we have so many UK listeners and I’m not trying to… I don’t hate the English, but man, they… I got in trouble. I remember once I was in London, that same trip, I would take the bus from Oxford to London. I was in a cab and this taxi driver heard my voice and immediately was like ‘oh, you’re American?’ and I was like, yeah. He’s like, ‘you guys ruined the fuckin world.’ And I was like, Jesus, dude. And it happened to be on St. Patrick’s Day and we drove past a St. Patrick’s Day celebration in London and he was like, ‘Oh, don’t get me started on the…’ And I was like, I’m taking it on the chin in two directions here. But that’s okay. People everywhere have stereotypes. When I went to London, everybody was so nice and I can’t wait to get back in.
[01:10:54] CALLER: I mean these are the stereotypes… I have so many English friends and so many American friends. So I don’t believe any of them, I just think there’s a few people that stand out and they make the story what it is.
[01:11:05] CHRIS: And that’s what it is all over the world, right? Ninety nine…
[1:11:10] CALLER: Most people were nice in that university. But that one woman said that to me.
[01:11:12] CHRIS: And you’ll never forget that. And that’s what you’ll remember from your time. And that’s the way the whole world works. Ninety nine percent of us all just want to get along. Be chill. Hang out. Break bread together. Share a drink together. Share a laugh together. But that one percent that has the chip on their shoulder. They say the ignorant things and then the battle lines are drawn. And then we have to have all these sad talks about divisions, my friend.
[01:11:37] CALLER:Yeah. And then we have to vote for one of them because the party politics… we would have to vote for one of them and then people label off their stereotype and it just becomes bigger and bigger, the divisions. Yeah, it’s bad system.
[01:11:51] CHRIS: Not a great system. Enjoy studying it. Enjoy studying it and getting your degree. And thank you for calling. Our time is running out, maybe I’ll see in September at that taping.
[01:12:01] CALLER: Yes, definitely. I’ll try to get any tickets that you come over here. I’ll try to meet you. That’ll be so cool.
[01:12:06] CHRIS: [fake whispering] They’re already on sale. We haven’t announced yet, but you can go to London Podcast Festival and get them on there. They’re on sale.
[01:12:11] CALLER: They’re already on sale? Oh, OK. Thank you.
[01:12:14] CHRIS: You got the heads up.
[01:12:16] CALLER: Thanks. I’ll just Google it? I’m just gonna Google it.
[01:12:19] CHRIS: Yeah, I dont have the url memorized. You’re the best. Thank you for talking. Good luck with your granny. Thanks for answering all my questions about my family’s homeland and so much love to you and your granny. And good luck at school.
[01:12:34] CALLER: Oh, thank you so much. Thank you for being angry for mental health as well. I want to say, I know everyone says… I just think… Yes, thanks for doing that, being a real advocate. I hope I get to see you in Northern Ireland or England someday. Bye!
[1:12:49] [BELL RINGS]
[01:12:52] CHRIS: Caller, thank you so much for calling and tell me what County Armagh is really like. I didn’t mention this during call, I wish I had. I’m 38 years old and for as long as I can remember that word, Armagh has meant something to me. That’s where we’re from, I always knew that. And I just had an hour long conversation with someone from the. Really nuts how lucky I am to do this. Thanks for calling, thanks for filling me in, thanks for being you. Good luck with your studies. Good luck with your Grandma. Thank you Jared in the booth today. Always a secret backbone of the show as everybody knows. Thanks to Harry Nelson, who helps out. [inaudible list of names], Justin Linvaugh! I don’t always thank Justin, I owe him more thanks! He’s not an Earwolf employee, he’s my right hand. But even he does so much for this podcast. Gotta start thanking Justin. Thank you Shell Shocked for music. I got dates. I’m going on the road all the time, ChrisGeth.com. Rate, review, subscribe on Apple podcast, it really helps so much. It does. Thank you guys so much. See you next time.
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