July 18, 2022
EP. 328 — Quitting Journalism
A queer journalist opens up to Geth about the pressure to be active on social media and feeling traumatized covering the news. They discuss the complicated relationship between comedy and journalism and what happened when he got called out in someone’s special. He also talks through his frustrations with clickbait headlines and famous comedians making jokes about trans people.
328 — Quitting Journalism
Chris [00:00:04] Hello to everybody who reads the last paragraph of an article to get emotional and inspired. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred. Hi everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. You’ll have to pardon me. You can hear my voice probably sounds much weaker than usual. I’m recording this three days after having hernia surgery. A long overdue hernia surgery. And guess what? Everybody told me the recovery would be hard. And it is. Hope you’re doing well. Hope you’re recovering from whatever recent surgeries you’ve had or whatever traumatic things you’ve been through, physically or emotionally, otherwise, whatever. What a good- that’s a very on brand way to start this. That’s how I should start every week. Hope you’re recovering from any recent traumas. That fits for what we do around here. Hey, everybody. I got shows coming up. If you’re in Jersey, I got my final run through of my Edinburgh show. It’s at Tiff’s in Morris Plains. This is a hometown show. Morris County, New Jersey, Thursday, the 21st. ChrisGeth.com for tickets on that. Only a handful of tickets left. That’s an intimate homecoming show. I am, of course, preparing for Edinburgh. If you’re going to the Edinburgh Fringe Fest August 3rd through 28th, I’m performing every day. Both my solo show. There’s going to be four or five Beautiful Anonymous tapings spread throughout the month as well. I’ve had some people reaching out to me about when those tickets are on sale. I’m hoping any day now. I’m hoping by the time you hear this, they’re on sale. But please do come out to those. Those are going to be very fun. And then also finally going to Wisconsin, going back to Chicago, Atlanta, Athens, Raleigh, Asheville. Check ChrisGeth.com for info on all those shows. The stand up, live Beautiful Anonymous tapings, whole bunch of those cities. Check it out. This week’s call, I tell you, I identified greatly with the caller. The caller has had some career stuff and I think a lot of us are feeling that way the past few years. How do you dive in? How do you appreciate what you’ve got? How do you respect that voice that tells you maybe it’s not the path you need to be walking anymore? How do you adjust? How do you take momentum you’ve gathered and point it in a direction that will make you happier? A lot of us are dealing with these fundamental life questions right now. Our caller certainly is. Caller comes from the world of journalism. And you’ll hear you’ll hear the broad stuff, the sort of existential stuff that messes with the soul. You’ll hear some specific stuff, too. Some crossover in the comedy world. The uh the writer has written about comedy and seen what a tumultuous world it can be. So the caller and I connect on that front as well. I think there are many people in many fields who are feeling their version of these exact misgivings right now. I know it’s certainly struck a chord with me, as you’ll hear. But it might strike a chord with you or maybe someone in your household, you’ve seen them dealing with it. It’s a good one. Enjoy it.
Voicemail Robot [00:03:30] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:03:37] Hello?
Chris [00:03:38] Hi.
Caller [00:03:41] Hey. How’s it going?
Chris [00:03:43] It’s okay. That’s the honest answer. It’s okay.
Caller [00:03:47] Yeah?
Chris [00:03:48] Yeah, everything, you know, everything in my life is great. But I’m just having one of those days. Just having one of those days. But I bounce back.
Caller [00:03:54] Happens.
Chris [00:03:55] Yeah. Excited to be talking to you. How are you?
Caller [00:04:01] Likewise. I’m. I’m also doing okay. Uh things are a little up in the air right now. But, you know, often that’s right when things get more interesting. So. Yeah. Kind of trying to figure out what I want to do in terms of my career going forward. And so I’ve been a journalist for, how long has it been? 20 years. And kind of been questioning that ever since the start of the pandemic for a number of reasons and… uh yeah, it’s a little unsettling, I guess, because I’m I just turned 40 this year, which I don’t think any career counselor would suggest that’s the best time to start switching up your career, especially after I spent a long time to kind of claw my way to pretty respectable position in my field. But it’s just kind of feeling more and more like maybe this isn’t the right fit for me and I’m trying to do more of actually listening to my intuition.
Chris [00:05:20] I’ll tell you what, we’re in similar places. We’re in similar places.
Caller [00:05:26] Oh, yeah?
Chris [00:05:27] I spent a whole bunch of, uh, I spent a whole bunch of time this week going on job sites, going looking up like what… What gets me health insurance in my area. Like, what’s what jobs actually give you health insurance? I want to know, because…
Caller [00:05:48] And what’d you find?
Chris [00:05:50] Well. Well, let’s get into it. All right, let’s get nitty gritty on this one. I found two that jumped out at me. One was there’s a supermarket nearby that’s looking for a nighttime produce manager. And my grandfather was a producer manager at a supermarket. And I was like, Oh, that’s a that’s a family lineage. It’s a good job. Very proud job. And then there’s, uh, there’s a home for the elderly near me that needs a dishwasher, which is another overnight position where you wash all the dishes at once. But that one, I have a sneaking suspicion, that sounds hard. That sounds like a thing where it’s like dishwashing… They’re making this sound very easy, but this must be very hard. Those were the two where I was like, Those are two jobs within driving distance of my house that give health insurance that would allow me to… Um… Very… Very concerned about how much longer I have in me of put stuff out there and put myself out there and deal with the, deal with the reactions of the world. Very similar to journalism, I would imagine.
Caller [00:07:12] Yes. Yeah, it is. That’s definitely part of it. It is strange to kind of be in the public eye. I noticed that a lot of the people I was working with, I felt like that was kind of part of why they liked it. And I don’t think that that’s necessarily true of most journalists even, necessarily. I think it might be specific to the kind of subset that I was in where there was a lot of kind of, you know, celebrity entertainment type coverage. And so it was, I think, kind of a perk to a lot of people. And it kind of just unnerves me. I didn’t really get into this to be a known person. I, you know, I started back when I mean, feels weird to say that when I’m only 40, but time is moving so fast now that when I started, it wasn’t really necessary to have a personal brand as a journalist. That wasn’t the point. And now it seems like the best way to have a solid career is for people to really feel like they know who you are and start forming these kind of parasocial relationships. And I just find that really uncomfortable because like, I mean, I don’t even know who I am half the time from one day to the next, you know? Like I feel like we’re always kind of these fluid beings. And if you’re being locked in by all these different people and their perceptions of who you are, it can really mess with your head. And I don’t think people fully understand that. I think a lot of times people, especially if you haven’t gotten any kind of attention publicly or been a public facing person, you kind of fantasize about what that might be like. And I mean, nobody’s fantasizing in ways that are negative, right? So you just kind of imagine the positives of it. But then you don’t think about, all right, death threats, and, you know? All of the kind of culture war stuff you get thrown into and feeling like you’re kind of being closed in more and more by the persona that you didn’t even realize you were maybe creating along the way. If that makes sense.
Chris [00:09:33] Yeah. Oh, you’re talking to the right guy. Talking to the right guy. Because my, my whole career I’ve survived, like you said, by like this idea of connection with fans. And it turns in this idea, if anybody hasn’t heard the phrase parasocial relationships, to summarize it- and correct me if I’m wrong- based on what it’s it’s basically the idea that there’s someone who lives publicly and you start to become invested in their private life as if you know them better than you do. And I think one of the, at least in the comedy world, one of the big examples, some of the big examples people point to are Pete Davidson and John Mulaney. Like they seem to have these fan bases where people really feel like they know them and forget that they don’t.
Caller [00:10:22] Right.
Chris [00:10:23] Those are like the big public examples that people have analyzed a lot. But I know what you mean. I know what you mean of like, I know exactly what you mean. I don’t know how it applies to journalism as much, although I appreciate you saying, you know, people get out here and have to build personal brands, which is not really why you sign up, I think, for a journalism class. But in comedy, I certainly feel it. Certainly feel it.
Caller [00:10:51] Mm-hmm. Yeah, I suppose it’s, it’s also kind of funny because there is this- in journalism, especially, there’s this real conflict going on right now between… They kind of want you to be a public person who has these independent fans that will, you know, read what you write, will share it, will be super invested. But at the same time, they don’t want you to cross certain lines because then it starts looking like, Oh, well, now you’re not objective. Because I know I said earlier a lot of like what I was doing the last- I’m a freelancer now. The last job I had, which I got laid off during the start of the pandemic, was for I, won’t say the company, but one of the one of the top five companies that runs the world basically as far as media companies go.
Chris [00:11:50] Okay. Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.
Caller [00:11:50] And they were. Yeah. And so but other, other, most of the other stuff I’ve done has been more political kind of coverage and stuff like that where like, so you want me to have an opinion about things and let people know really where I stand and who I am. But at the same time, you kind of don’t want me to because there’s this belief that if people know where I stand too much, they’re going to think I’m biased. Whereas I think, you know, you can have an opinion and even express that opinion and still objectively report on things. But it’s this sort of push and pull where you never really know where on the line you’re supposed to be. And it’s every kind of editor. And then everyone sort of has a different ideas about where that’s supposed to be. That’s kind of a complicating thing, complicated thing to try and navigate, especially, I think, for someone like me who didn’t come up with that kind of being inherent to the world that I’m in now, if that makes any sense?
Chris [00:12:59] It does. Now, I also should tell you, just to gush a little bit, that I have, I’ve come to find out that I’m not the only person out here who- there’s like nerd journalism nerds. There’s people who get very nerdy about it. And I have a little bit of an obsession with like long form magazine style journalism. It’s developed in the past five years of my life or so. And I like have favorite journalists and I track down much of what they write. And I think that I might be part of the problem, it sounds like. It sounds like I might be the type of consumer that has made your life harder.
Caller [00:13:39] Well, and that’s also kind of why it’s complicated, right? Because it also, that helps explain why you’re following me on Twitter. I saw you- when I saw the number and I clicked over onto your profile to be like, what was that number? I was like, Wait, he’s following me. Why is he following me?
Chris [00:13:59] Let’s pause there. I think that’s an all time first that the caller has revealed that they are someone I follow online. Fascinating. I still have no idea who it is. Maybe we’ll find out later. Who knows? Will the anonymity be broken? Keep listening. Find out. Thanks to our advertisers. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
Caller [00:14:26] I saw the number and I clicked over onto your profile to be like, wait, what was that number? I was like, Wait, he’s following me? Why is he following me?
Chris [00:14:34] Yeah, pretty much any journalist who follows me, I follow them back, because I have great reverence for that world and I go, Maybe this is a person trying to interview me, so I should open up the DMS. And also I like writers. I like, like I have a weird- for a guy who has is like a big time jersey guy, I have a very big obsession with Texas Monthly magazine. I really love a lot of the stuff that Outside Magazine does, that Wired does, and then you get nerdy and start tracking down, you know, everything Gay Talese has ever written. Joseph Mitchell. And then I started discovering that, like Alex Belth, who who kind of chronicles all the best magazine writing of all time and, and puts out these indexes to it. So I get real nerdy. I get real nerdy with it. But yeah, I probably follow you because I have great reverence for the journalists in this world. So I hope that means something to you.
Caller [00:15:31] Yeah, it does. And that’s that’s kind of one of the complicating things. I mean, I can’t pretend like I don’t, you know, if I see someone whose work I like is following me back or whatever, it is exciting. Or it’s just kind of funny because on the one hand, obviously I want what I’m writing to be read. And I want to be having an impact. But then it’s this sort of push and pull of I want that but then sometimes it feels like it’s too much and I want to like retreat. And it’s a really weird place to try to have a career from, where whenever you get more success, you get more nervous about it. You know? It’s, like well that’s a competing impulse.
Chris [00:16:12] Oh, oh, yes. And then you self-sabotage and then you you develop a certain standard of living and a certain level of respect for yourself and your own abilities. But then you find that you kind of like slice your own Achilles heel because you want to back away from it. I do all the same stuff, all the same stuff you’re describing.
Caller [00:16:38] Yeah. And it’s… I don’t really know how one navigates that. I don’t know how… I’m interested to hear how you’re navigating it, although it also sounds like you’re similar, at least, to me trying to figure that out in real time.
Chris [00:16:56] Yeah. Not well. I mean, I’m like, seriously considering becoming the overnight produce manager at a grocery store after 20 years of a different career. And I also want to say too, not because I think it’s easy. I think there’s something very noble about it. And working with your hands like, I’m not sitting here and I’m just going to easy job. Not at all. It’s harder. A harder job than I have. But it’s… The world is weird. And it is heartbreaking. And I have to imagine too… Being in journalism and feeling like, Oh, you have to start to develop a cult of personality. There, there’s something very disheartening about that to hear, and you must feel that every day, because even I sit there, I go, even with some of the journalism I just named that I really get nerdy about and obsess over, like Skip Hollingsworth from Texas Monthly, I read everything he puts out. And he does a lot of great true crime and researches Texas crimes and has this way of writing. But that’s true crime, right? That’s a specific alley that people seek out. Like, you know, some of these famous journalists from like the new journalism wave, Hunter S. Thompson, Gay Talese, who I mentioned, like there’s a cult of personality there and they’re fashionable people and they do talk shows, but they’re also writing profiles and they’re writing, you know, writing like Gay Talese broke out with Frank Sinatra Has A Cold, one of the most famous, you know, magazine articles of all time. It’s a profile on Frank Sinatra. And it’s not just that, but these are specific lanes. To hear that you are someone who’s writing stuff that’s more of a political bent or a news bent, and that’s coming to demand a personal brand, that a journalist covering politics or news driven stuff needs to start having parasocial relationships with fans to drive clicks and editors are asking for that more and more, that leaves a pit in my stomach, because that’s the stuff that should be nameless and faceless, and the story should be the story, not the journalist. And it’s kind of concerning that that’s what’s being asked of you in your field. Right?
Caller [00:19:09] Mhm. Yeah. And I think it’s just a part of what is happening with everyone now on some level. And that isn’t always tied to their career, but I feel like almost everybody is being asked to be a public person. One of my best friends is not on social media at all. And because he just doesn’t wanna be. And he’s said he’s constantly being asked about it and not even in a, oh, that’s interesting. Why, you know, why aren’t you on anything? What’s that like? More of like, what’s wrong with you? You know, are are you hiding something? Like, why wouldn’t you be on these platforms? And I’m on social media, but I, I haven’t been on Facebook, I mean, just one platform very much recently. And I’ve been getting messages from some friends like, Are you okay? As if I disappeared off into the woods. Like, you know, like, I’m Chris McCandless because I’m not posting on Facebook every day or something. It’s it’s this bizarre kind of everyone must be a public persona world that we live in now.
Chris [00:20:12] I do love two things. First of all, you’re dropping the name, “Like you’re Chris McCandless”, who is famously the subject of Into the Wild, the kid who kind of took off and went to the woods. But also, you can’t escape your nerdy journalism roots, right? You’re also dropping a very famous piece of magazine writing. It’s Krakauer, right?
Caller [00:20:32] Uh huh. Yeah. Yeah.
Chris [00:20:35] So you’re having a crisis of faith. And I’m having a crisis of- two crises of faith happening at once. Let me ask you some questions. Here’s an interesting thing. And ohh. I mean, you’re a journalist, so you’re you’re going to you’re used to being in the driver’s seat with the questions and the angles and finding the angles on things. So this is going to become a real game of cat and mouse where you’re going to see what I’m going for. But here’s one thing. Because my feelings about my career and your feelings about your career matching up, so maybe I’ll ask you a few of the questions that I wish someone would make me think about right now, that I’m- some of the questions maybe I’m dodging a little bit that I wish someone would put the screws to me on. Is that cool?
Caller [00:21:16] Yeah, absolutely.
Chris [00:21:19] So first things first. Even while you’re having these feelings that you’ve gotten to a place in an industry that not everybody gets to. I mean, we all know, right, like… Maybe not everybody does. My brother’s a journalist, so I know, like the large majority of journalism is not flashy. It’s- the large majority of it is like people going to school board meetings, people going to town council meetings, and people building relationships with local public works board officials and police officials. A lot of the ground level. Now, also, a lot of that small level, ground level, local level journalism is drying up because of funding. Very, very concerning. But you are someone who you say you’ve attained some momentum in a world where it’s hard to do so. You have a name people want to follow. That’s cool. It’s burning you out, but it is cool. When we think back to your early days that made you hungry to get motivated to get to this place, can you still get in touch with what made you fall in love with the idea of being a journalist in the first place?
Caller [00:22:38] Yes. Which is why I haven’t just totally left it behind, because it would be easier in some ways. And I mean, really with my skill set, with my resume at this point, I could go get a job in public relations. You know, I can write press releases for celebrities or brands. And I’ve actually in the past done a little bit of that type of work here and there. And, you know, I mean, I could make probably twice as much money with much saner hours, and I wouldn’t have to be the face of anything. I could just disappear into the background and write things for other people that it wouldn’t even be, you know, it wouldn’t matter who I am. But that’s not really as exciting to me as thinking about trying to bring attention to things that I think are important and give people more of a voice and… There is… It’s funny that you ask, too, because I’ve been thinking a lot about this, as you might imagine, and I’ve tried to really go all the way back and I was like, Okay, well, when did I want to start wanting to be a writer at all? Because it wasn’t- I’m not like there are a lot of journalists who they knew they wanted to be journalists from a very young age, and that is all they ever wanted to be. I was not exactly like that. I more at one point thought maybe I’ll be, I don’t know, a poet or something? Obviously, making money has never been a very good focus for me. But I was like, well what made me want to be a writer in the first place? And I- sorry, it’s a long winded answer. Leave it to a writer to be long winded. But I recently found out like last year that I have ADHD. And that helps explain a lot of things. One of them being that why in school I was often all over the place. My mom really advocated for me to be tested. And at first they thought, oh, this kid just might not be that bright. And then they gave me an IQ test. Then they’re like, okay. That’s not the problem. What is going on? And this being kind of the Wild West days of understanding neurodivergency, they were just just thought I had a learning disability. They didn’t go more specific. And I really struggled a lot in school. If I was interested in something I would go really hard on it and do well. And if I wasn’t, it was just a disaster. And one of the first things when I was probably in like the fourth grade or something and I had to write a story for a class, and suddenly, for the first time ever, I was getting all of this positive feedback of, Oh, you can do this. And so I think I just took that and ran with it. And then how journalism came along, I mean, I wrote for my school paper, but it was really in part just, okay, how do I make a living? But also… The idea that I could call somebody up that I was interested in for whatever reason, and they would talk to me about whatever it was and that I could go to events and cover them, and I could… Try to throw my voice in with the rest and maybe impact things in some way. That was a very exciting idea to me. And that’s part of why it’s been difficult lately, as I realize, well, I’m seeing a lot of my articles get clickbait headlines thrown on them or get pushed in certain directions that I don’t think is the main purpose of why we should be telling the story. But I get that this other framing of it is more maybe salacious and therefore gonna do better for our advertisers. And also maybe don’t write about that because they have a deal with one of our brands and that’s not going to be good. And, you know, there’s just so many things now that just it’s just it’s just not why I got into this, you know?
Chris [00:27:11] Even the even the question about can you remember what made you fall in love with it ends with the words, That’s not why I got it into this.
Caller [00:27:21] Yeah, I guess that really says something too, doesn’t it?
Chris [00:27:23] Yeah, you’re thinking really hard about this. Right?
Caller [00:27:27] Yeah. And I’ve been kind of in denial to some extent, like I was… I was- the person I was dating before, before the person I’m with now, I was talking about work- I forget exactly what I was saying, but I said something about something I was working on and my work in general, and he goes, Oh yeah, because you don’t like your job. Right? And he just so innocently like, oh, right. Because, you know, you kind of hate your job. And I was like, What are you talking about? I don’t hate my job. I love my job. And he’s like, really? Like, where do you get that I hate my job? And he’s like, well, practically every time you talk about your job, it’s something that you don’t like. I was like, Ooh, that’s true. That’s not good, is it? And I think part of this is informed by… I was covering the George Floyd protests in my city. I actually wasn’t even covering them for any outlet. I was just doing it on my own and doing a lot of livestreaming and that was also particularly overwhelming. So, I mean, I got I got laid off by the, you know, the biggest company I’ve ever worked for at the start of the pandemic, because that was just better for their bottom line. And then… Dealing with the pandemic and then I was out, you know, night after night after night watching people, and in some cases myself, getting pepper sprayed and just realizing, too, that a lot of this comes down to how much kind of secondary trauma you have to absorb. And in some cases even a bit of firsthand trauma. But if you’re just just having to kind of really pay close attention in a way that I don’t advise most people to do. But if it’s your job, you know, I think it’s important to be informed, but there’s a point at which it’s too much and it’s almost required for you to be living in that too much place all of the time. And then I also realized, because I’m most of my- well, I have some journalist friends, too, but, you know, most of my friends aren’t journalists. And so they will want to talk to me about all of this stuff. You know? It’s like the, the guy who has the truck. Everyone wants him to help them move. You know, I’m the guy who knows about this stuff. And so, oh, let’s talk about this with him, you know, so I’m just kind of always steeped in this stuff, and it gets super overwhelming.
Chris [00:30:14] Mm hmm. Mm hmm. I identify with this to a degree that I wish I didn’t. How’s that sound?
Caller [00:30:26] Yeah. I mean, the part of me that likes that someone is, likes that I’m telling someone who gets it is, is gratified, I guess, on some level by that. But I also wish you didn’t have to, have to identify as strongly because, you know, I’m a big fan of what you do. I’m a big fan of comedy in general and people sharing their stories in general. And it’s really interesting to hear you talk about it from your perspective, because I hadn’t thought about, you know, how many people this is probably affecting in all different fields.
Chris [00:31:03] I feel like we’re not the only ones. I feel like there’s probably a lot of people out there sitting there trying to figure out like, I have, I have a life that I worked hard for. I have a life that is a great life. But I’m feeling this emptiness. I’m feeling this weird, I don’t want to say fire in my gut. I almost wish there was a fire in my gut. But I’m feeling almost this like, a sadder way to phrase it- I don’t know if you’d agree with this- it’s like almost this sort of like panicky resignation that I got to be, that I got to be brainstorming other options, that I got to be thinking about what I want and what I need. What is going to lead to happiness? And so much of it ties into what you’re saying too. Um another question-
Caller [00:32:01] It’s tough too, right, when-
Chris [00:32:03] Oh, go for it. Yes, yes, yes. I want. I want to hear your response. It’s tough. What’s tough?
Caller [00:32:08] When, like, I think when you’ve… I think from the outside especially, probably like I’m I’m imagining some people listening to this being like, oh, fuck off. Oh, no, the two white collar dudes are unhappy. You know, it’s like it’s it’s hard when you realize you’ve gotten what you wanted and you’re not happy with it.
Chris [00:32:31] Yeah, the relatively successful artist and the journalist who’s gotten to a place where one of the first things you said was that you’ve gotten to a pretty enviable position in the world of journalism, aren’t happy with what they got? Like, oh, I get it, I get it. I do. And it sounds like you do, too.
Caller [00:32:54] Yeah. No one really wants to hear much about that either, I think, because it’s- it can be more even more deflating. Like if you’re working toward a goal and think like, well, at least once I get here, then maybe, you know, I’ll be happy or at least happy enough. And when you hear people who’ve gotten to their goals say, yep, nope, still didn’t, didn’t fix the, the basic.
[00:33:23] You know what, though? Sorry to interrupt, but I’m I’m feeling very compelled to say the following is that you and I are both sitting here going like, I know we shouldn’t be complaining and nobody wants to hear us complain. But we are also trained to not want to hear each other complain in a way that I don’t love. Because here’s the thing. Hearing you say that you’re feeling this in journalism, I’m feeling it in comedy. I bet there’s people feeling it in white collar jobs, in artistic jobs, in blue collar jobs, in work from home jobs, in all areas. I bet there’s people who have very enviable positions that they’re feeling weirdly discontent with. I bet there’s people who work in jobs that are not the ones that you might look at and say that that’s enviable by most people’s standards but where they went, I actually really loved this and for some reason I want to move on. I do feel like there’s been a lot of dialogue lately that… How would I put it? It’s like so much divisiveness… And a lot of what we are trained, especially in America, to do is go like, well, just stay in your lane and don’t complain and keep your head down and do your thing. And you sit here and you go… There’s a part of me that’s going, Yeah, you and I both know, like, all right, who are we to complain? But it’s also one of the many areas in which I go… It feels like we are trained to be divided. Hey, be thankful for what you got because some people don’t even have that much. And I go, Well, I’m not thrilled on those people’s behalf either. And maybe if they’re willing to hear me out and they come to understand that I’m willing to hear them out, maybe we all should be talking a lot about this. Maybe we should be wondering, like, why are we so work obsessed in this country? And why are we also trained to feel like we should never air out things that feel like there’s something that feels fundamentally off but I shouldn’t complain because I got a roof over my head? Some people don’t even have that much. Okay, well, these theoretical some people we- I should be trying to help them too. And I don’t see how shutting up about it is going to help anybody. Because I’m starting to have a feeling that things are coming apart a little bit at the seams with this idea of, how many of us go and work 40 hours a week and fart off for 15 of those hours because our jobs are done, but you’re supposed to work 40 hours a week or more. And then you sit there and you go, I’m just I’m just filling a fucking tally to get to a certain arbitrary number, and I could be home with my kid. Why am I gonna do- okay, you’re going to pay me less if I go. Why? I’m doing the same exact- getting the same- because I can work fast and get stuff done? Let me go home. Let me go hang out with my significant other and maybe we can go on a hike with a few extra hours and I’ll be a happier person when I come back to the office. Oh, no. You won’t- you’ll actually take away my health insurance if I want to spend a little bit more time at home? Well, that’s you having us by- that’s like you got people who work by the balls. I just last night was telling a friend of mine, and then I was telling my wife and she was so sad, I was like, man, I have had a bunch of years in my life where I’ve made a decent amount of money. It’s slowed down significantly since 2018. I went on a hot streak in the in the 20 teens. It’s slowed down. But I’m still really content. And I go, the only thing that stresses me out is that I work all these different jobs and I cobble together this very sweet life and none of them give me health insurance as a rule. And I go, if someone of my means is still sitting here going, Man, there’s so much in my life, I’d like to adjust it, but I can’t because of health insurance, I’m going, they got us by the balls. Because I got it pretty good. And I feel like I’m kind of shackled to some stuff I’d like to change. And I got it relatively really good. So maybe we don’t need to apologize for complaining. And maybe there’s a there’s another side of it which goes, if people in our positions who, like you said, white guys have it pretty easy. We’ve both gotten into competitive fields and done pretty well. Well, if we’re complaining- but maybe if we do it from a perspective of compassion and a perspective of, well, if if we’re feeling this, there’s probably a ton of other people who don’t have as many advantages and options who are feeling it too. Maybe it’s what we all need to be talking about. And maybe we don’t need to apologize for feeling discontent because that just kind of locks us back in the box of, go be a good little worker and we’ll pat you on the head for it. So maybe there’s something to that. Maybe we need to get over that puritanical apologizing side of things, too. And that goes for me more than anybody. Anyway. I’ll get off the soapbox.
Caller [00:38:30] No, I think that’s a very good point. No, that’s a really good point, though. And, you know, and it’s funny that you mention health insurance, because, like I said, I was working for one of the bigger, you know, Fortune 500 companies and I was- well, I wasn’t even tech- I don’t think I was even technically offered health insurance. Legally, they had to offer me health insurance. I don’t recall ever being offered it. And then when it came time to go get health insurance through the marketplace and I learned, oh, you need to because you have this job where theoretically you should be getting health insurance through them or get it offered to you, you need to let us know what they’ve offered you- give us, you know, form whatever. And so I contacted whoever is in charge of that at that company whose name I almost just slipped up and said. And they were like, Oh yeah, here’s this form, which said that they had offered me health insurance, which I was like, That’s funny, I don’t recall that. And it said that I had declined the health insurance they offered me. Also don’t recall that. And then I looked at what health insurance they were actually offering. And had I known, I would have turned it down because- and I was able actually to get health insurance through the marketplace, because the insurance that they were offering me was so terrible. I mean, it was like it would have made more financial sense to just go get catastrophic coverage. It was like they had clearly looked for the worst possible plan they could find that no one in their right mind would ever accept. So they could go, Well, we filled the letter, if not spirit of the law. Deal with it.
Chris [00:40:11] Let’s pause there, man. Hey, if you’re out there and you’re listening and you’re not in the States and this sounds insane to you, please tweet at me or get in the Facebook group and express to all of us that it’s insane how this system works in America. Let us know what it’s like in your country. I want to hear it. Anyway, we got some ads. We’ll be right back. Thanks again to all of our advertisers. Now let’s finish off the phone call.
Caller [00:40:38] It was like they had clearly looked for the worst possible plan they could find that no one in their right mind would ever accept so they could go, well, we filled the letter, if not spirit of the law. Deal with it.
Chris [00:40:52] I had a conversation last day with my wife where she’s going, Why are you looking up jobs at a at a grocery store exactly? Like, do I need to be worried about you? I’m going, well, it’s health insur- I’m going, I have a great, great life, but, you know, she and I have talked a lot about my son’s three and I’m leaving on the weekends to do shows. And I love doing shows. I love my live shows. But I’m sitting here going, it puts stress on things to just disappear for a few days a week. It’s hard. It’s hard for me. It’s hard for her. It makes life hard for the boy. And I go, if I want to come off the road, I got to, like a lot of that money that I make on the road is the “if we ever lose our health insurance, this is the money that is set aside for us to be able to buy worse health insurance than we currently have, but to have something” money. So I need to figure out a gig maybe. And she’s looking at me like I’m crazy and I go and I know I feel crazy saying it. I have a great life. And the other thing you and I got to point out is, listen, there’s a lot of people listening to this show who aren’t from the United States. And for all our U.S. listeners, we got to point out, there’s people listening in other countries right now to the conversation you and I are having and they’re baffled. And they’re going, this is this is really a thing that people in America have to stress this hard about? And it’s becoming with each passing year even more so like, yeah, yeah. They got us- this whole thing about how many fucking debates did I have to sit through with Democratic candidates? Oh, here’s what I’m going to do. But no, my- I want a public option. No, we want totally- So the progressives want total- Well, you know what you gave us? None of it! I had to watch 18 debates where all you talked about was health insurance. And surprise, surprise, you didn’t do any of them. You didn’t get any of them done. You didn’t do it. You didn’t help in any way. They got us totally fucking controlled because none of us are allowed to break our leg in this country. And that makes it turn- anyway. Yeah. Your, you called the right guy if you want to vent about career changes and the workforce. Okay, let me another question.
Caller [00:42:56] Yeah. I mean it’s, yeah.
Chris [00:42:58] I got an I got another question about one of the ones that I wish I would be thinking about more. Are there people in your field that you still admire, that you still look up to, that you still go, I want to write something as good as blank? Like, do you still basically have influences, if not heroes in your field?
Caller [00:43:23] Yeah. And outside of my field. I mean, that’s another kind of funny thing about this whole mixed feelings about being at all public facing is most of the people that I really admire what they do, I guess, just by definition, unless I personally know them, obviously, it is that they are public facing people. So, you know, if they weren’t willing to be that, I wouldn’t get to enjoy their work, you know? And I think it’s probably pretty difficult for a lot of them. I mean, I think, for instance, like your field, I think there probably are a lot of stand ups who I think there are probably a lot of stand ups who in part did it because they like the attention and want probably to be famous. But I’m sure there are also a lot who just really liked comedy and really liked how it felt to get up on that stage. And then they just succeeded. And before you know it, oh, now I’m a famous person, and how do I deal with that? I always felt like an outsider and now I’m somehow this famous person and have to be available to people. And it just… It’s, it’s, I don’t know. Because I want to keep doing these things that I like doing, expressing myself, putting stuff out into the world, like my desire to do that hasn’t changed. It’s just everything that comes after that has gotten more complicated, I feel like. But I still I love hearing people tell their stories. I love hearing people share their art.
Chris [00:45:09] Who are some of the comedians you look to?
Caller [00:45:11] I don’t want people to have to stop doing that.
Chris [00:45:12] Who are some of the comedians when you’re frustrated-.
Caller [00:45:14] Oh, what comedians do I like?
Chris [00:45:15] Yeah, because you said like you said, there’s I asked you for some journalistic heroes. You said, well, there’s other ones, too. And you immediately said comedy. Who are some of your nerdy, nerdy comedy loves? I’ll tell you some of my nerdy journalism loves. How’s that sound? Maybe we can maybe we can get each other excited.
Caller [00:45:32] Okay. Sounds good. Let’s see. I like Maria Bamford a lot.
Chris [00:45:38] As do I. Should we go one for one?
Caller [00:45:41] Gary Gulman.
Chris [00:45:42] Gary Gulman is one of the best in the game! I mean, Maria Bamford is, too, but Gary Gulman. Great, great person. Friend of mine. Okay. You brought up Bamford and Gulman. I’ll get nerdy about journalism with you. I’ll tell you I often times, if I need to feel inspired, reread an article called The Boxer and the Blonde by Frank Deford. It’s from Sports Illustrated. And um it’s a beautiful piece of writing about a boxer from Pittsburgh. And I have many, many times just reread the last paragraph and told myself if I could ever make anything creatively as beautiful as the last paragraph of this article, I’d feel satisfied in my life. It’s a piece of sport. It’s a piece of sportswriting. So you gave me Bamford. I’ll give you The Boxer and the Blonde. Oh, and then I’ll follow it up and I’ll say, you give me Gary Gulman. And if we want to talk journalism nerdiness, I’ll talk about The Secrets of the Little Blue Box, which is an article, I’m looking it up right now. It’s by Ron… Ron Rosenbaum. And it’s an article that was in Esquire in 1971 about like the phone freaks who were kind of hackers before computer hackers who used to break into the phone system and mess around. Absolutely brilliant piece of writing that goes in a million different directions you’ll never expect. Okay. So you gave me you gave me Bamford and Gulman. I give you Boxer and the Blonde and Secrets of the Little Blue Box. You give you give me some more comedy, I’ll give you some more journalism. If you’re having fun with this.
Caller [00:47:35] Yeah, definitely. I, I love talking about comedy and journalism, so. Um, oh Kinane. He’s another one I like.
Chris [00:47:45] Love Kyle, fellow punk rocker. I’ll give you a piece called The Peekaboo Paradox by Gene Weingarten. It was from The Washington Post. And it’s an article about a children’s party clown who is legendary in the D.C. area. And it goes to some dark places no one will see coming.
Caller [00:48:08] Nice.
Chris [00:48:09] Yeah.
Caller [00:48:12] Uh let’s see, I like Doug Stanhope.
Chris [00:48:14] Doug Stanhope. I like Doug as well. I’ve had some great interactions with Doug. And it’s very interesting because there’s a lot of people who emulate Doug who, in my opinion, don’t have the same grit and integrity that Doug has.
Caller [00:48:30] Yeah, that’s definitely one of those, he’s doing a high wire act that I think he’s one of those, like, I mean, there are a lot of writers like this too, making it look deceptively easy, and then when you try and do it, it’s like, oh, this is really difficult. How is he doing this?
Chris [00:48:47] Yeah. And also when you realize Doug’s also opted to go live in an area that’s not an entertainment hub and to my knowledge, sets up all his own gigs himself with no- he doesn’t give money to agents, to managers. Like you think DIY and you think like the punk rock people, and you don’t necessarily think of someone cut from Doug’s cloth, but you go, Oh, there’s very few people who have done the DIY thing to greater effect than Doug Stanhope. You give me Stanhope, I’ll give you one of my absolute favorite articles. I mentioned that Skip Hollingsworth from Texas Monthly is it like someone who I actually just consume everything. And if I had to pick one Hollingsworth article, I’d say there’s an article called The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob. It’s a Texas Monthly piece about a series of bank robberies. Mind blowing. So good.
Caller [00:49:46] I feel like I wonder if I should tell you this story about when… Well, I don’t know if I should tell you, because it might, I mean, it would reveal probably who I am. But I’ll just say I wrote an article about a comedian. And then I ended up being referenced, talked about in his stand up special. It was a Netflix special. And uh.
Chris [00:50:12] Oh, okay.
Caller [00:50:14] It was a very weird experience where I was- I went with my friend to the show. We went to a bar afterward and I was just staring off into the distance. And he was like, What’s up, man? I’m like, Oh, I’m just- sorry. I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to write this article about this show that I know if I do it, it’s going to be a thing. And he’s like, What are you talking about? I’m like, if I write this article, I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but it’s going to be a thing. And he goes, how do you know that? And I go, I don’t know. I just know. Like, I have this feeling that something is going to happen if I do this and I’m not sure if I want to or not, because it can be a contentious opinion or it actually wasn’t even an opinion piece, it was just really more straight reporting. And then he goes, alright, whatever. I think he’s probably thinking, this guy is- my friend is being a little bit dramatic here. But then however much time goes by and I get a text from this same friend; Hey, did you know that fill in the blank talks about you in his latest stand up special? And I’m like, yeah, that’s very funny. He goes, No, I’m serious. Go watch it. And I did. And sure enough, and I was like, okay, that’s that’s very bizarre.
Chris [00:51:34] Whoa. Whoa. Well, I have not- you’ll be happy to hear that I have not figured out who you are. So had you written specifically about this person?
Caller [00:51:53] Yeah. And he doesn’t mention my name, but he says a journalist. And then it’s very clear. And then the- oh so actually, before my friend texted me, the first clue- I didn’t realize this was what it was- but all of a sudden this article that I had written starts trending again, you know, I was told by someone, like, Oh, this article you wrote like a year ago is now like blowing up again and I don’t know why. And I go, I don’t know why either. Maybe some big account weeded it out for some reason, didn’t realize it was an old article. I have no idea. And then I realized, Oh, he’s got a new special out, so that’s probably why. And I just kind of chalked it up to that. But it’s like if you… If you Google what he says, you can very easily find my article. And so that was it was very strange. And, you know, it was one of those like, well, I guess I was right. I knew a thing was going to happen from this. I didn’t think this was going to happen.
Chris [00:53:03] I was sorry that happened. There’s probably some people out there figuring it out. I have not. I will say- and you tell me if I’m right or wrong- and I want to apologize to everybody. There’s a little noise. There’s some construction in my neighborhood coming up at the tail end of our call here. God bless our editors for dealing with it. Would you agree there’s a very weird relationship between journalism and comedy the past few years?
Caller [00:53:34] Oh, yeah.
Chris [00:53:36] I hate it. I hate it.
[00:53:38] And it’s been- yeah. Oh, I do as well. I feel very torn and kind of stuck in the middle often because, I mean, I’ve been a comedy fan since I was a little kid. I mean, I remember when I was little and we got cable for the first time and they accidentally gave us HBO and-
Chris [00:53:57] Nice.
Caller [00:53:58] This is back when- yeah, this is back when HBO didn’t have a ton of original programing and they used to play the Carlin specials just over and over and over again. And I would watch them over and over and over again. And his bit about religion was actually really mind blowing for me because I was raised religiously and I had doubts, but I would always push them aside. And then if you can get someone laughing about something, it’s a lot easier to make them think about something in ways they weren’t before. And I remember the next morning waking my dad up, who was the more religious of my two parents, who at one point wanted to be a minister growing up. And my grandfather was a minister. And I was just like, There is this guy, George Carlin. I don’t know if you ever heard of him, but he’s got some interesting ideas and uh I’m a little bit unsure now about some things. But then also, I mean, I’m a, you know, I’m a queer person who has worked a lot in LGBTQ media and… Yeah. I mean, it’s a weird it’s a weird time to be someone who’s a comedy fan and also in queer media. And I think Judd Apatow said something I found interesting one time where- and this doesn’t maybe entirely relate, but where he was saying, you know, dark comedy serves a purpose. And some people need that to help them process and heal. And other people that does the exact opposite. And for the people that it does work for, everyone’s got their own timeline on when they’re ready for that. And for some people, you know, it’s Gilbert Gottfried talking about 9/11 right after 9/11. And for other people, it’s don’t ever talk about that. And for other people, it’s maybe in a few years I can hear you talk about that. And it’s been one of those things for me where it’s hard to kind of explain why I like sort of like a Doug Stanhope type of comedian where a lot of people I’m friends with are in a circle with don’t really appreciate that kind of humor per se. Or, you know, it’s… It is it is an uncomfortable kind of kind of place to be in, because I think there is a lot of value that can be had in making light or fun or whatever with dark and difficult subject matter. But I also understand why that’s very difficult for people. And I just feel like the conversation is often so reductive as to being pointless. And you have comedians and journalists and just people talking past each other a lot.
Chris [00:56:52] And using each other, right? Like… For some reason, it is just becoming a fact that if you write something controversial about comedy, it’s going to get a lot of clicks. For some reason, culturally, that’s proven true. So I think there’s journalists who write articles about controversial comedy and some of it’s responsible and fair. Some of it, I think, is this editor wants clicks and I know this is going to get clicks. And that’s the state of the world. And then on the comedian end, there’s some comedians who make controversial stuff and it gets written up and it leads to that firestorm, at least those conversations. And then there are a whole lot of people who don’t have the best of intentions who now start doing it, knowing that they’re baiting journalists into giving them free press. People who, in my opinion, don’t even necessarily really have punch lines and don’t even necessarily really have jokes. Like I was that I was once at a I was at a family function recently- my wife’s family- kind of a few steps away, like my brother in law’s wife’s family. And someone was like, Oh, this cancel culture stuff is making your job really hard, huh? And I was like, No, it’s not. It’s just not. Like and he was like, Really? I thought that all the comedians were mad about it. I was like, I think there’s a lot of comedians who are making a lot of money by convincing you that they’re in danger of being canceled. So you better buy a ticket to go see- like there’s a lot of people selling tickets. But I don’t necessarily it’s not like they’re saying anything that- how can you get canceled when you don’t have anything interesting to say? If all you’re ranting about is how you might get canceled, that’s not that interesting. George Carlin got a lot of trouble. He said a lot of risky stuff. Richard Pryor said a lot of really risky stuff. And then the other thing is, they also knew when they were saying it that they would have to deal with the consequences of saying it. They didn’t then turn around and go, You’re not allowed to get mad at us because we’re the truth tellers. It’s like, Well, if you’re telling the truth, people are going to sit around and suss that out with their families around their kitchen table and say, Oh, did you see that new Richard Pryor bit? That was really wild. Well, I kind of think this part was true. I think this part he went too far. You know? But there’s this weird, weird, mutually beneficial parasitic cycle between- I’m sorry, but there’s a few publications, and I’m very tempted to drop some names… Like, there was an article, I believe it was in Vulture, that was all about, Oh, there’s this divide. Are you are you a club comic or an alt comic? Because they really hate each other. And that was not true. I had been in New York comedy when that was true. I watched those walls come down. I saw it benefit everybody. I saw club comics jumping on alt shows. I saw that alt people who got really good about being funny enough could go survive at the clubs. And I saw a lot of comedy grow, and I saw a lot of comedians pay their rent because everybody started crossing over. And then that article came out that was claiming, Oh, there’s this huge divide, and a lot of these comedians hate each other. And then guess what happened? A lot of comedians started saying, Well, I better pick a side. Which side am I on? And every- that- everyone suffers for it. That means less stage time, less interesting work, less cross-pollination between people with different points of view. Because an article that generated a lot of clicks that wasn’t totally true then kind of created a reality. Which is really irresponsible. I think you would agree as a journalist. To create it, to say, hey, the reality is this, when it’s not as such, and then you create it. That’s really irresponsible to do. And I think it hurt. It hurt- I saw it. It created a lot of antagonism and a lot of pain. And it only leads to more nonsense on every side of the spectrum. And you can see it going every- it’s this cycle. It’s annoying. I think, I admire journalism greatly and I’m glad you admire comedy greatly, but I think we can all agree that the Venn diagram of where they cross over can get really annoying fast.
Caller [01:01:04] Mmhmm, you know, I think there’s a similarity there. Now, I do think a lot of people on both sides are doing things for crass commercialization reasons. But I also think a lot of it is just like I think there are journalists who just don’t understand the comedy world that well and are making assumptions and don’t even realize that they’re wrong. Probably have been told that there is some conflict there more than there is. And they just assume that that’s the case because they’re not actually necessarily big comedy fans. Or they haven’t really listened to a lot of comedians talk about their world. And they just assume they know what they’re talking about when they write about it in the same way that I think there are a lot of comedians who don’t really care that much about trans people. And they don’t really know what it’s like. I mean, no one knows other than trans people from a first person perspective, but they haven’t even really talked to many trans people in a real way about it. Or they’ve talked to one or two and think that, well, I know what I’m talking about because I have this friend who says this. And no group’s a monolith.
Chris [01:02:11] Yeah.
Caller [01:02:11] Just because you know what this one person feels about it doesn’t mean you know what everyone feels about it. And, you know, I think Ron Funches said something about this where he’s like, Oh, sure seems like a lot of comedians suddenly care a lot about trans people. Seems suspicious that suddenly you all care this much, that you’re making it this much part of your act when, like you’re saying, like you don’t even have a point. You’re making the same dumb jokes over and over again. And I’ve heard a number of trans people say, look, we’re not saying you can’t make jokes about us, but could you at least do it well? Because you’re not doing it well. And that’s the insult more than anything in some ways. It’s like, yeah, if you can come up with good jokes, we’re all ripe to be, you know, made fun of a bit. But at least do it well. You know, and it’s like when I wrote about that comedian, I knew that if I did so there could be some blowback and some things to deal with. I did it anyway. There was some of that, but I didn’t then start going, Oh my God, I can’t believe that this would happen and how could this happen? Like no, you knew it would happen and you did it anyway. I didn’t do it in hopes of like riling people up, but I knew that would happen. And I’m going to accept that that’s going to happen. And that’s part of my responsibility. And I think the same thing with comedians. You’re going to talk about it and rile people up, you should expect that.
Chris [01:03:30] I also I want to tell you, I’m with you. I love that Funches said that. I also I feel like everyone should go at James Acaster, who I don’t know personally, British comedian, has a great bit where when I saw it I started cackling where he said, he came out going, Oh, I’m glad these comedians are finally sticking it to the trans community. I think we can all agree the trans community, they’ve really uh they really, they haven’t historically- historically, they really need to be taken down a peg. And I’m not doing it justice. He in a very-
Caller [01:04:03] Got a free ride.
Chris [01:04:04] In a very, very smart way, just does a whole bit that’s like, why are we picking on a group of people that historically have just had to hide in the shadows and live in fear? Like why? And I’ll tell you another thing, too, that I haven’t seen this point put out there, which is, is Dave Chappelle, a brilliant comedian? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, of course, like, yeah. But his obsession with trans material, one of the things I wonder about is, you know, Ricky Gervais just a week or so ago also went so hard at the trans community and it was spreading. And I go, I watch those two jokes, those two, and I’m like… Here’s my question is, if your material is so similar, if people of the stature of Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais wind up doing material that is so similar to each other. Isn’t that an indicator that these jokes are not that interesting? Because generally when someone of that stature gets to something, then comedians, I think they’re, you know, there are a lot of unwritten rules in the comedy world. There’s a little bit of a magician’s code of how things go. And in general, if someone puts out a special and and does something, well, then that topic, you move on from it because that person already nailed it. So if someone, you know, Chappelle has now talked about it and how many specials in a row? Now Ricky Gervais is has talked about this how many specials in a row? You sit there you go… It seems like by the quote unquote, standards or rules of comedy, however you want to put it, this is not that interesting because a lot of people are getting to the same punchlines with it. So why are we doing it exactly? And it’s it’s fair and valid to go, what’s the intention here? So I think that needs to be put on record. When I saw that Gervais thing, I’m going, Chappelle just got in trouble for the same thing. So if everybody’s willing to get in trouble over and over again for attacking one community, well, if I’ve heard the joke before, it’s not that interesting a joke. And I’m certainly not one of the best joke writers in the game, nor would I claim to be. But I do know that if somebody writes a joke about a topic and I find out about it, custom says that I back off from doing that joke. So if there’s this obsession with doing it over and over again, that’s weird. That violates this idea that, Hey, man, somebody already did that bit. But if we’re all allowing these ultra famous people to land the same punches on the same community over and over again when the jokes have already been told, what’s that about? Seems strange to me.
Caller [01:06:54] Right. And I mean, if it is something that’s already been been done, at least give us some new take or some interesting angle. Cuz otherwise really what do you what are you adding? And it just feels like I question how much I actually, I mean, my own perspective, I think Dave Chappelle cares about this topic more, but from a perspective of people are criticizing me and I don’t like it and now it’s personal. So I think I don’t- I think his most recent special was probably his worst special because he got so bogged down in this defensiveness. And then it just wasn’t even in many places attempting to be funny. And then I feel more, I mean, I haven’t seen, I should say, the latest Gervais stand up special yet, but I’ve seen him do this stuff elsewhere. And that felt more like, Oh, you want to cash in on this attention. I don’t feel like you actually care in the same way as maybe Chappelle cares. Although I question why Chappelle cares. It’s just a little self-involved. But it’s just like if you don’t really care, why are you talking about this? And if you do care, why are you making it about you this much? Because there’s probably interesting stuff in here. I mean, Chappelle could approach this from a perspective of what he’s learning. And and I mean, he did get into that a little bit. Although, again, I think he was overestimating the whole, I had a trans friend thing. But it’s just doesn’t feel like, it doesn’t feel like you’re letting being original, interesting, funny guide you in those cases as much as you are just doing the thing that you know will get attention. Or more in Chappelle’s case lately, doing the thing of, why are people giving me shit about this? And it’s like, Well, that’s not all that interesting to me, you know? And it just feels too… I don’t know. Like self-involved and boring. And it also feels like, you know. Yeah, go ahead?
Chris [01:09:12] Well, I want to say a couple of things. One. You’re allowed to air out your opinions on this show. I also say this, to you. There’s a lot of people there is the chance that comedians who have never bothered to listen to any of the 300 plus episodes of this show, find this one and get mad at me. I will say, if you’ve never listened to before and you decide to start getting mad at me, you’re, you’re part of the problem. I’ll also say that, yeah, I put out my opinion there, too, of like, hey, if everybody’s making the same joke, is it a joke really worth making? There’s something concerning which I think goes hand-in-hand with what you’re saying. I’m with you. And I want to let you know that our time is up. I want to let you know that I greatly enjoyed talking to you. Hearing-.
Caller [01:09:59] Likewise.
Chris [01:09:59] Hearing that you have all these thoughts racing through your head, hearing that you’ve gotten into some hot water before in a way that sounds commendable, it makes me hope that if you do leave journalism, that you find something where you’re equally able to kind of poke the bear and rabble rouse. Points out. And most of all, I hope that the the the that feeling of, like, lingering discontent that I’m all too familiar with, I hope it doesn’t mess with you too much longer.
Caller [01:10:39] Well, thank you. And I seem to be unable to help myself, so I’m sure I’ll probably keep doing that stuff. And I hope that also all that stuff the same for you. Because I think you don’t owe it to anybody, but I do think that what you do really matters to a lot of people and has helped a lot of people. And, you know, myself included. So thank you for that.
Chris [01:11:00] Oh, please. It’s a pleasure. I’m also laughing now as I think about it, because one of the things I said out of the gate was like, Yeah, with entertainment, I just feel like it’s like this constant dialogue and people’s opinions and, and, and all this- and that was one of the things I said was driving me nuts. And then by the end, you and I are discussing the exact types of things that just drive- I remember when the- when the Gervais thing hit out, when the Gervais thing came out, I watched a bunch of those clips that were going around and I went, Man… Comedy is really annoying. That was my initial thing. So annoying. Now I’m going to have to think about this and ask questions about this because this guy decides that this is worth his platform. It’s really annoying.
Caller [01:11:48] Yeah.
Chris [01:11:49] Anyway.
Caller [01:11:49] And I’ve read articles about comedy thinking the same thing of journalism is annoying sometimes.
Chris [01:11:55] So yeah, it is right?
Caller [01:11:56] Right there with you.
Chris [01:11:57] That’s I’m- there’s a comedian who once got nailed for telling some really mess, like, really messed up jokes at a show that was, like, in the middle of the night, billed as, hey, this is like, super dark, fucked up, twisted, inappropriate material. Like, that’s what the show is. And then a journalist who paid for a ticket was like, this comedian shouldn’t have told this one joke. And it’s like, that’s not- you gotta- this was a show where the challenge was to say the most fucked up thing. And it went viral. And it was- anyway, yes. Comedy is annoying and journalism is annoying. And I get the sense you might be one of the good ones in there, so I hope you stick with it. And if you don’t, I hope you find something that makes you much, much happier.
Caller [01:12:44] I appreciate that. It’s been great talking to you.
Chris [01:12:48] Likewise. Likewise. Caller, thanks so much. You sound like a good person and I hope you find some peace and some feelings of content. I really do. This show is produced by Anita Flores. It’s engineered by Ryan Connor. Our theme song is by ShellShag. Go to ChrisGeth.com if you want to know more about me, including my tour dates, including live Beautiful/ Anonymous tapings. And hey, wherever you’re listening, you can hit subscribe, favorite, follow, it really helps when you do. Find our latest merch at podswag.com. We got mugs, shirts, posters and more. Plus, if you want your episodes ad free, you’ll want to sign up at Stitcher Premium. Go to Stitcher dot com slash premium. Use the promo code “stories” for a one month free trial.
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