September 2, 2021
Comedian, host, and writer Simon Amstell joins Jameela this week to discuss his being a shy child finding his voice in theater, the way his sexuality played into his struggles with shame and lack of self-confidence, his experiences with Ayahuasca and how it helped him get to the root of his depression, what a “spirit hole” is, and more. Go to simonamstell.com to check out Simon’s upcoming tour dates for his new show – Spirit Hole.
74 — Simon Amstell
Jameela [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to another episode of I Weigh with Jameela Jamil, I hope you’re well. Sorry about my voice, even though it’s very sexy, obviously, I think we can all agree. But I’ve just been very upset for a matter of days about what’s happening in Texas and that we weren’t able to stop it. Regarding Roe v. Wade, the complete rollback of reproductive rights that was so hard won for such a long period of time. And how we’re reading today about Florida investigating how to do the same. How it was done in the middle of the night amid a huge climate crisis, amid a pandemic, amid so much political chaos, how they used a weaponized all of this destruction to be able to sneak off and steal from 50 percent of the population, it is not pro-life. It is anti the life of the people you are forcing into sacrificing their bodies and sacrificing their futures and sacrificing their lives, in many cases, especially people who don’t have money. This is a country that can’t even feed the children that are here. This is a country that doesn’t have health care, that is accessible to everyone. This is a country that has a homelessness crisis that. Is far beyond even the point of just being called a humanitarian crisis. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. This is the country that is now forcing birth. That’s all it is, they’re forced birthers. They’re not pro-life. They are anti life. People don’t give a shit about whatever’s coming out of that womb. Once it’s out, you’re on your own and they’ll punish you just for existing, especially if you’re not a cis white, straight, nondisabled man. Anyone else coming out of there is going to get punished for having been born against their will and against the will of their own parent. It’s just stunning. Everyone, please follow Planned Parenthood, they are straight on it at the moment. Also follow, you know, ACLU, all the different people like Yellow Fund. But Planned Parenthood, have a petition. I’ve signed it. My followers are all signing it. Please follow their work support. We can we can stop this in our tracks. Biden can intervene. And most of all, we can stop further states from now implementing this unbelievable change of policy. Today’s episode is oddly, it’s a comedy episode, so I’m sorry about this intro, but. This is something that’s very close to my heart, it’s why I get so many smear campaigns against me is because the religious right fund misinformation about me because I’m a very loud, pro-choice voice. I had an abortion at twenty six, spoken about it a bunch on this podcast. I have zero regrets, I have only relief. And I would have killed myself if I had been forced to have a baby back then. I was mentally ill, physically ill. I didn’t have a support network, didn’t want a baby, still don’t want a baby. It would have destroyed my life. That’s what we’re legislating. That’s what they’re legislating. That is going to ruin whoever’s life they can. Just because that person has a uterus. No punishment for the owner of the sperm. Only punishment for the owner of the uterus. Unbelievable. OK, so somehow I’m going to try and shift gears here. Today’s episode is about depression and mental health, but it’s with one of my favorite comedians of all time. His name is Simon Amstell and I love him so much that I actually canceled this interview once or maybe twice before it came out because I was too scared because I was so intimidated by him, partially because I’m such a fan and he’s so smart. And I just felt like a a lowly nothing who wouldn’t be able to handle him, but also partially because he used to be quite formidable on television in the U.K. He’s got a very formidable sense of humor. Oh, he did anyway. And he was on a show that that used to be very I was on the show as well, where we were all just very snarky and sometimes a bit a bit mean. And so I think a lot of people presumed I’m mean, because I was on that show and I made that presumption about him and just kept freaking out. So finally I was able to get the courage to speak to him. And he turned out to actually be the probably the loveliest person I’ve ever met, the warmest and kindest and most humble and self-aware human being. And his comedy has been so unbelievably helpful to so many people. One of the first comedians, he was one of the first comedians in Britain start talking about mental health and vulnerability and shame and grief and sexuality. He is gay and has had quite a journey through coming out that we talk about a little bit in this episode. We talk about him getting diagnosed with depression and just generally his mental health and anxieties through his life, his family dynamics. It was such an interesting chat. He also taught me about ayahuasca, which I know is kind of, you know, buzzy topic at the moment. Some people are talking about it as a means to aid mental health, I think is a fair thing to say. I don’t think anyone saying that it just cures mental health issues. I think that’s a really dangerous rhetoric to push. But it can help some people and elevate some people’s way of thinking or help them work through shame or anything painful that they’re going through. And I’ve been super curious about it because I’ve been very open on this podcast about the fact that I don’t really feel as many things as I would like to feel because I’m so traumatized from my childhood. And so I was very, very interested in hearing about ayahuasca and going to medical mushrooms that have also been a part of his journey. That also teaches me what spirit hole is. And yes, it is a little bit sexual. The story is just so funny and so vulnerable. It’s actually quite unbelievable how much he’s willing to share with everyone just in the name of kind of community and making sure that not only does he not feel ashamed by keeping these secrets, but also he wants everyone else to feel seen and heard and understood and maybe a bit more safe in expressing themselves. He has the biggest heart and the funniest laugh. And I’ll never forget that I got to interview someone that I’ve admired so much for such a long time. I really wanted to be him when I was younger. And I’ve I’ve enjoyed his work for such a long time. And if you are in the United Kingdom and you want to go and see him live, his new show is going to be unbelievable. His tour starts September 9th, and he’s taking it to lots of different cities in the UK. And you can just check out where his website, SimonAmstell.com. It ends in London at the Palladium on November 9th. And I so wish that I was able to be there to see it with all of you because it is just going to be wonderful, just like all of his other shows that he’s ever done, ever. And I really hope you enjoy this extraordinarily open chat that made me so happy in a week where I really needed some light among amidst rather all of this darkness. So sit back, relax and enjoy the unicorn that is Simon Amstell.Simon, Amstell, I cannot believe you’re here. Hello. Welcome to I Weigh.
Simon [00:08:14] Thank you. I can’t believe I’m here, but I am here.
Jameela [00:08:17] You are. You are. I have proof I can see you. I am. I was telling you this the other day on the phone, but I. I was very intimidated about even asking you to come on to my podcast. I was really afraid, like genuinely afraid. And then I even canceled one time because I just didn’t feel ready and I haven’t done that with almost any other guests. I was speaking to you on the phone. I was like, oh, he’s the he’s the loveliest man in the world. Why on earth was I so afraid? But I think it’s because we didn’t really know each other when we were younger. You know, we we we did the same show, but at different times in the UK that was T4 for, you know, and Popworld, etc. all of that. Um, but we didn’t really get to know each other. And I think because of what your sort of TV persona was ten, 15 years ago, I think I probably thought you were much scarier than you actually are, because the show that we did was quite like it was formidable and, you know, we were formidable and we were sort of like punch up against pop stars and, you know, powerful people. And it was a little bit snarky at times and all these different things. It was part of the entertainment of the show. But I guess I thought that that’s what you were like all the time. And I was wondering if other people used to think that about you. I also loved how you were, by the way. Like, you’re truly one of my favorite broadcasters of all time. I just thought you’d be scary. And you’re actually really lovely.
Simon [00:09:45] Um, thank you. I’m overwhelmed. Uh, yeah, well as you can tell from this moment now, I’m actually just very sensitive and yeah. I don’t know, I feel like people are just different wherever they are. So there is no one fixed person. I think. So you’re different with your mum to how you are with your lover. So
Jameela [00:10:10] Speak for yourself
Simon [00:10:11] No, um, so of course I was not like just constantly sarcastic 24 hours a day and and cheeky. I you know, sometimes I was just asleep.
Jameela [00:10:24] Totally. Oh. Well, I think I’m the only reason I say this. I think it’s also because I think a lot of people have that misconception about me. I think that people thought all of us were a specific type of humor all the time or a specific type of person or, you know, I think that that. I don’t know, like I think some people didn’t see that a lot of us are actually very vulnerable and struggling with our own shit and making more fun of ourselves than we ever were of anyone else. And and that
Simon [00:10:50] A lot of people just didn’t care at all about either of us.
Jameela [00:10:56] I’d say the vast majority. I feel so grateful for having been able to grow up watching you on telly like you were such a big staple of my life. And then to watch you leave Pop World go on to the Buzzcocks, which I also loved. And then you became you’ve become truly one of my favorite stand ups of all time and one of my favorite voices I did. But.
Simon [00:11:18] Oh my goodness.
Jameela [00:11:19] Seriously, I really love you and I appreciate you. And I think it comes from the fact that there weren’t many people talking about mental health when you started, not in the way that you did. And this completely just almost reckless, shameless way. Even if you yourself are still feeling shame while doing so, you you destigmatize so many difficult conversations and you allowed, like kind of our generation start to feel safe through your comedy. And Britain isn’t known for being open about emotional vulnerability or mental health. And I guess that’s why I was so thrilled to have you on the podcast, even though I tried to cancel it because I got afraid.
Simon [00:11:57] So funny. Yeah. Yeah, I just thought you had something else to do and
Jameela [00:12:03] No I was afraid I was afraid.
Simon [00:12:06] Ridiculous. Well, thanks for saying all those nice things. That’s really lovely. And I agree with all of them.
Jameela [00:12:12] Yeah. Talk to me about your mental health. Like how how early did this journey of yours start? How early did you realize that you either weren’t happy or were different? You felt uncomfortable?
Simon [00:12:24] I feel like I didn’t really hear the phrase mental health much until I don’t know a few years ago. I might just not have been paying attention, but I had like a like one of my standup specials was called Numb, which we did for the BBC a while ago. And it was about like not being able to feel anything. But it wasn’t I didn’t know like I didn’t even know when I went to therapy for the first time that I had depression. I thought I was just a bit scared about getting older. And she said I had classic depression and it just seemed absurd to me that that would be the case. And also like so like
Jameela [00:13:00] I read somewhere that when she said that you were surprised and you were like oh I thought I was just profound. Which I loved.
Simon [00:13:05] Yeah, right. I wanted to be more special than just having classic depression.
Jameela [00:13:10] So were you just like a happy kid, happy teenager, happy at school, were you popular?
Simon [00:13:16] Well. I think I did manage to find, uh stuff that made me really happy, I really focused on showbiz quite early, so I was doing like my first stand up week at 13. I was also on the school radio station and and getting good parts in the school musical and going to a Saturday morning drama club. So I found where and that only happened, all that sort of stuff only really happened because I was so shy as a kid. Uh, Mrs. Posner at the school parents evening told my mom and dad that I should go to the Saturday morning drama school and it would get me out of my shell. And it really did. It really worked.
Jameela [00:13:55] I read something about you being so shy that when you were little, that really little, you really hoped you’d have a sister so that you’d have someone you could marry. But you’re so fucking sweet.
Simon [00:14:07] Yeah, it’s true then I did have a sister, but she refused.
Jameela [00:14:11] Fair. Fair.
Simon [00:14:12] She’s married to some accountant called Johnny. Can you imagine? I mean, I’m right here. I’m on TV. Yeah, I was really shy, so I went to that drama club and then I was just I was just in love with all the performance. Uh, um, uh, what’s the word of the performance.
Jameela [00:14:35] Aspect? The performance aspect.
Simon [00:14:35] Aspect yeah. I couldn’t think of the word aspect there. That’s why she’s with Johnny.
Jameela [00:14:40] Did you find your kind of people in doing so?
Simon [00:14:45] Yes, I think so. And found a way to feel comfortable with those people. It was quite tricky doing one on one conversations. I was like really good in front of an audience, I felt totally confident and in my element in front of the audience, and then still parties were sort of anxiety. Um, and then I suppose then that the whole thing about around 13, 14, I start to realize, isn’t quite the right word because I was in such denial. But I was like, oh, no, I like boys. I want to kiss boys. What am I going to do by that? And so then if I had felt at all comfortable before that, suddenly my whole body is having to constrict itself rather than being exposed as a gay person in Gants Hill, Essex, where this would not have been alright.
Jameela [00:15:39] No, indeed. I’d also not to stereotype anyone. But within any religion there are also like extra sometimes external feelings of shame around sexuality. I think it’s fair to say.
Simon [00:15:51] I’m sort of culturally Jewish. So there wasn’t like a huge it wasn’t like the rabbi was going to come and perform an intervention, but there was there was that sort of, um, there was the feeling of. Well, I don’t know what the feel. It was just it was just so impossible. It just felt like there was just no way I was ever going to even be able to look at the beautiful boy playing Joseph in a school musical, even though I was the pharoah. It was it was impossible. And so I had to do that on my own, I suppose. I mean, it’s all fairly standard stuff, but I think it explains explains why I ended up having to learn how to cry in therapy, because I’ve had to repress a lot of feelings from and certainly from around the age of 13, when I started to feel things for boys, then, you know, just like make up a new person to be in order to feel safe. And so that’s really. That’s not that’s not healthy is it?
Jameela [00:16:55] No, no, I so I so, so, so relate. I mean, I didn’t come out until I was about 30, maybe 29, 30. And so like that that feeling or you just switch a whole part of yourself off is just it detaches you from yourself. And, you know, you made that show Numb. And I wonder if that numbness came from the separation of yourself versus the person you projected.
Simon [00:17:21] Yeah. Do you like Gabor Mate. Have you had him on this podcast?
Jameela [00:17:24] I. I do. I do. And you and I have a shared I’ve spoken about this a lot on this podcast that the heroine line specifically where I think it was Gabor Mate who said that, you know, to someone who was a heroin addict, well done for finding heroin like well done for finding something to ease your pain. You know, it’s just like a journey of acceptance rather than giving someone shame and pushing them further into the shadows, just making them understand that it was a survival mechanism. I talk about that a lot in regards to eating disorders like it should never feel ashamed of what you have to do to survive. You’re still here because of it and now it’s time to move on from it, but to look at as part of your journey rather than a mistake.
Simon [00:18:04] And the other thing I was going to say was that he talks about that kids need two things. I’m not going to say this quite right. You should really get Gabor Mate on the podcast but.
Jameela [00:18:14] Yeah, actually, you know, why don’t you just leave and I’ll get on the phone.
Simon [00:18:19] It took so long to arrange. I’m here now. Gabor Mate says the kids need two things. One is acceptance. So, you know, their fed and clothed and like it kind of just love basically. And then the other thing is they need to feel like they can be authentic. And if you what will happen, if you feel like your authenticity will stop the love is you break off the authenticity, but you need it. You you know, you’re you’re not an integrated whole self without the authenticity as well. I think that’s probably why I love doing stand up comedy as well, is because I get to tell the truth on stage. And it’s and it receives like all this um I was going to say love. I think I’ve got over the idea. Uh, well. Laughter Let’s just say laughter rather than, you know, every every time I’m like, oh God, I’m scared of saying this thing. Surely this time people will say, well, that that you’ve gone too far. You have to leave the country now. But each time they seem to go this is great. It’s very funny. We feel this, too, or at least. Oh, that’s quite odd. But we’re still sat here. We haven’t walked out the room. So, yeah, it’s it’s like a compulsion to tell the truth because I wasn’t able to so long, I think.
Jameela [00:19:44] How long how long was it until you get like how old were you when you finally came out.
Simon [00:19:48] Twenty one.
Jameela [00:19:49] Twenty one.
Simon [00:19:50] I just when I started Popworld actually.
Jameela [00:19:53] Right. Yeah.
Simon [00:19:54] And the, the motivation was I’d better sort this out now because I’m on terrestrial television, albeit quite early Sunday morning and I’m about to be like a closeted TV presenter. I didn’t want that. I thought that’s going to be a I thought what could happen is people will find out before I even told myself that it’s OK. And so then I went to Miami and found what turned out to be my first boyfriend and lost my virginity on a in a kitchen and and then felt like, OK, oh cool this. OK, I’ve got it. I know who I am. I’m actually quite good at it. Let’s, let’s, let’s go and be out. And then I would then I just sort of like burst out in a happy and joyful way as possible. But actually actually what I think about it, I was still a bit constricted because I wanted to be gay in a way that wasn’t going to scare anyone, wasn’t going to upset anyone.
Jameela [00:20:55] What do you what do you mean?
Simon [00:20:57] I wanted to not conform to any of the stereotypes in my head. So I didn’t want to be promiscuous or predatory. I was like, really pleased that my straight friend Dan, who, you know, was having much more sex than I was. And he was a straight man. And I was like, these straight people are very promiscuous, whereas I’m a gay man, not much sex at all, actually. Thank you very much.
Jameela [00:21:21] Good night.
Simon [00:21:22] Good night, everybody. So you know, that lasted a long time until I realized what I was doing, you know, uh, trying to be accepted in this hetero patriarchy. I thought that would be the sort of sentence you’d like on this podcast.
Jameela [00:21:36] Yes we love that’s our favorite, it’s a drinking game, whenever anyone says it, we all take a shot of heroin. So I yeah, OK. So I have quite a lot of friends, especially ones who came out around that same time. I think the next generation have got like a much more kind of accepting not all, not everywhere but but some I guess in the West, teenagers have at least the kind of vocabulary. There’s a little bit more freedom. But I found that a lot of my friends who came out, in particular gay men, were very afraid of also seeming camp in any way, quote unquote. They were very, like determined to to come across as very quote unquote, straight. And they would only ever try to date straight men like they didn’t want to date other gay men because somehow that made them feel gayer. And it was just like a really stressful time where I feel like it it just oh, God, it meant that everyone was always kind of functioning at 50 percent of access to happiness or authenticity.
Simon [00:22:31] That’s a nice way of saying, yeah, that’s true.
Jameela [00:22:34] And so when you did come out, you had a less than ideal reaction from your family.
Simon [00:22:43] Yeah, but they were in Gants Hill, Essex, so
Jameela [00:22:46] no, 100 percent, although I don’t blame any of our parents as explicitly as I think I would like grown ups. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, I blame your parents. I know, but I but I, I feel as though if our parents had grown up with the Internet the way that we did, I think I would feel much angrier with them. But I’m very I’m very open to the idea that people are inherently a product of their environment. And so I try to cut some slack for people who just, you know, believe what they are told again and again and again everywhere and fear mongering, terrified around this thing. But I imagine that your family having, like, you know, various members of family, I mean, kind of like spectrum of reactions to your sexuality, your dad in particular, I think finding it may be the hardest to to grapple with. I imagine that also contributed did that further contribute to the shame or at that point, were you so firmly kind of OK with who you were that it didn’t? Um, damage you?
Simon [00:23:44] No, it contributed. Because I. What I wrote something. What was it? It was something like the problem with needing people to love you despite who you are, is you end up suddenly compromising for them. And then rather than being your full, joyful self, you end up, um. You end up repressing yourself in the way they would like to repress you, not that’s exactly what I wrote what I wrote was slightly better and you can probably find it on the Internet. But, um, but, yeah, I wasn’t I was I still wanted their love, their approval and. It was a you know, eventually I realized, um. It wasn’t going to come from me twisting myself into something else, I’d done enough of that. And so I guess I just sort of let them come to me, which happened in the end, I sort of just one day my dad was just fine. One just one day he was just fine.
Jameela [00:24:47] Yeah, he just texted you and he was OK.
Simon [00:24:50] Yeah, it was bizarre. It just didn’t make any. I was like, but I didn’t win this from you. I did he was just fine one day.
Jameela [00:24:59] It’s so underwhelming, isn’t it. It’s so hilariously underwhelming but great and kind of much more peaceful than a huge maybe reckoning. I don’t know. I don’t know what you would have found personally satisfying, but I’m glad that they have now come around. So therapy was a big part of you, kind of like overcoming your shame and anxiety and depression, but also ayahuasca, can you I’m so curious about ayahuasca. I’m so curious about mushrooms. I, I also am very afraid of them because I don’t know anything and or would like, you know, ignorance and fear often come hand in hand. I would love to talk to you about how it’s impacted your mental health, your shame and your sense of freedom. So you went 10 years ago, 12 years ago, for the first time you went to Peru?
Simon [00:25:56] Yes. Uh, yes. And I was that’s it was just after making a show that was called Numb. So I really couldn’t feel anything. I’d got I’ve got like beyond sad to actually can’t feel anymore.
Jameela [00:26:12] Nothing to lose really.
Simon [00:26:13] Yeah. And and then my friend Ian from, from school had come back from the rainforest. It was like this, it was sort of like a lad’s dinner in like an Indian restaurant or something. And it was. And then he told us this story which just blew everyone’s minds about meeting a shaman and. Having sex with the universe and and it was like it was bizarre and but I thought I whatever that is, I have to have that. That’s that’s because he looked like he was eight years old. He had so much joy. Um. I thought Oh, my God. There’s some joy that I’m missing right there. And so I just without much research, really, just like books booked a ticket to the first retreat I could find that looked halfway legitimate online. And luckily it was a really good place. And through I sort of explain if anyone doesn’t know, you sort of sit in a circle there are like there are these ceremonies. You’re in a kind of teepee structure. There’s a lot of people talk about this throwing up that’s involved, but there’s all different kinds of purging that can happen. There’s like the throwing up there’s like quite a bit of shitting sometimes. There’s like laughing, dancing, crying. I, I did a bit of everything because it was very expensive and I
Jameela [00:27:38] You wanted to get your money’s worth.
Simon [00:27:40] Yeah, I was. I’ve come a long way and if I don’t get diarrhea, something is wrong.
Jameela [00:27:59] That’s great. OK, so you did everything and not all at the same time.
Simon [00:28:07] Uh no.
Jameela [00:28:08] And what was the actual feeling? What’s the actual feeling like? You know, so you you drink this sort of tea, right? This it’s like a kind of it’s a concoction. Maybe it’s not tea, but ayahuasca in drink form. It looks like a sludgy brew.
Simon [00:28:23] Yeah, it’s smooth enough. But it doesn’t taste very nice. It’s not like a pleasant it’s not like a nice drink to have.
Jameela [00:28:34] Is it foul or is it just sort of like earthy?
Simon [00:28:37] Well, they sort of they sort of like they really sell it as foul. So by the time you drink it, it’s like, oh, it’s not that bad.
Jameela [00:28:44] OK, fine, good. And then how soon after drinking it do you start to feel something? I mean, I don’t even know if you were aware of time at that point.
Simon [00:28:52] Um, well, in fact there were about four ceremonies, this retreat. And the first one, nothing happened to me at all because I was like trying so hard to let go. I was singing in my head, let it be.
Jameela [00:29:03] Oh, my God.
Simon [00:29:04] And for four hours, nothing was happening at all. And everyone’s having these experiences. They’re crying and they’re throwing up and like this. And I’m just sat there, like desperately trying to let go. And and then they the ceremony was over and they lit the candles and they said, thank you all very much. And then I threw up so loudly, so violently in front of everyone in the lights. I was like and then the shaman was laughing as well. That was the other thing. I was like, this isn’t funny, this isn’t funny throwing up in front of everyone. So it’s all so that was good. So that was the first night where I learned it was because I was a choice. I remember this is why that hasn’t gone so well, although I learned something. So it kind of did go well. There was a choice between do you want to sit on a kind of yoga mat thing or in a rocking chair? And I thought, oh, I’m a young man. I don’t need to sit in a rocking chair and I’ve done a bit of yoga. I can sit on the yoga mat and my back just hurt for four hours. And I was like unhappy. And so in the second ceremony, I sat in that rocking chair and within about half an hour I threw up and then these visions start happening. It’s a vision inducing medicine and it somehow gives you everything you need it somehow. So I went in there with depression and it somehow. I guess took me to a moment in time when I was a baby, where it seems like this is like the root cause of all the anxiety, this is like the root moment, like even before, oh, god, I like boys. What I do about that is like I’m a baby. And my, uh, my parents arguing. I spoke about it in a Netflix special. My dad I had a vision of my dad, like slapping my mom around the face and my whole baby self tenses. And I’m really I’m really experiencing this as the baby in the ceremony I’m aware that I’m in a room with other people, but I’m experiencing this as the baby. I’m in a pram and my stomach tightens my shoulders round. And I’m desperate to do something to stop this man from hurting my mom, because if she dies, I die. She’s got the milk. So, you know, I think that’s part of it. Maybe empathy, maybe. I also love her. And so. Somehow failing all that, and it’s really I’m really feeling in my body, this is why it’s so,.
Jameela [00:31:38] So visceral.
Simon [00:31:39] It’s so visceral. It’s so beyond talking therapy, because you’re like you’re there, you are the baby, and then you’re feeling all this like responsibility to do something. And then something in the medicine says you were just a baby. You couldn’t even crawl. And suddenly all this, I suppose, forgiveness for your baby self starts to be felt and. I start feeling like, oh, wow. This looked like in my body, oh, that’s why I’ve always, like, had this posture, I’m desperate, like desperately trying to, like, stand up straight the whole time. That’s why I’m like nervous and anxious and eventually have stopped being able to feel anything because of like it was that was at least the perception of unsafety in my very early childhood. And so after that, once I get there and I forgive myself, I was just a baby and then I was dancing for the rest of the ceremony and having just the most delightful time.
Jameela [00:32:43] So there are other people around and you’re up and you’re dancing around them through them.
Simon [00:32:48] No I’m staying in my place and I’m just to maybe dancing in the rocking chair like like my arms, which is still floating about. And I was just doing just this freedom. This like like
Jameela [00:32:58] a lack of inhibition.
Simon [00:33:00] A lack of inhibition, lack of anxiety, lack of lack of lack of confusion. I suppose, about like why why can’t I just feel all right. You know, why can’t I just feel OK with another human being without feeling like I have to do something to make it better? And it was it was amazing. It was really amazing.
Jameela [00:33:21] It’s also amazing at how how well you remember this. I mean, this is over a decade ago, and it’s clearly so poignant to you. I know you’ve also then had to like talk about it a lot of times so it stayed fresh. But it’s seems so poignant to you that it feels as though it happened yesterday, like the way you describe it.
Simon [00:33:36] Yeah. When I don’t think about it often. But then when they start talking about it, I can really remember the moment and I’ve written about it.
Jameela [00:33:44] And that’s also something that I didn’t really realize, you know, and I’ve got a few friends who’ve been doing ayahuasca and I’ve seen them. I’ve seen I’d say all of them have had this incredible steep upward trajectory, especially in the last year. I think the I think covid kind of gave people, you know, I get the space to maybe realize that I really have to do something about how unhappy I am. And so it prompted people to do kind of more I mean, use the word extreme just for lack of a better word. But more hands on approaches or more unusual approaches, I guess, to or nontraditional approaches to sorting out their mental health. But I didn’t realize you’re so aware and awake and you can remember afterwards. I guess my fear is and I don’t think I’m alone in this, my fear. Maybe you felt the same way, but my fear is just that it’ll psycho actively change my brain and I’ll become a different person or I will lose any of my cognitive faculties and I’ll be unconscious and therefore unsafe in the moment. Like I have all these kind of terrorism prejudices in my head. And it’s really interesting to see, like, just how clearly aware you were. And almost kind of straddling like two spaces all at once, you know, you know, you’re in the room, but you’re also the baby and you’re aware of both. That’s so interesting to me.
Simon [00:34:57] Yeah, I guess they get the dose right. Something so that you’re not completely lost and you feel very held. You know, there are these there are these shamans and there’s lots of people like even if you need to go to the toilet, which you will do you like, you raise your hand like somebody will come and guide you to a toilet. You’re like you’re you’re completely held I was about to say in the space. But that seems such a cliche thing to say. Can’t say in the space in a podcast can you like this. And somebody will have to drink their tequila. Oh God I said space. I feel held in this space. I used to be funny.
Jameela [00:35:37] And then you did ayahuasca. No. Do you have any did you have any fear that it? Because I know that some of my friends have been afraid to try it because they’re especially the comedians. They’re afraid that they’ll stop being funny or something after. But there’s a huge misconception that hanging on to trauma will keep you fun and keep you sharp, keep you I don’t know like cranky and observational, whatever your style may be. Did you have that fear or you were just so numb at that point? You were like, fuck it, I have nothing to lose.
Simon [00:36:03] I just thought I’d rather be well. And I didn’t see it as I didn’t see them as being in a opposition like I find I get worried that I’m going to write the same joke again if I if I remain the same. So I’m into changing and transforming as much as possible. Not not just for the sake of it, but like I’m really into healing. So I don’t know. I don’t want to be sort of like trotting out another stand up special where I sort of play this anxious character. So I did that. That’s that guy. Now you can, like, watch it, that’s there if you want it. And now there’s this other thing which is.
Jameela [00:36:45] Growth.
Simon [00:36:46] A bit more like this talk, bit more yeah there’s growth. I thought you said gross.
Jameela [00:36:50] Yeah disgusting.
Simon [00:36:53] Sex party I suppose. Yeah. Yeah. It’s it’s a different it’s like there’s an evolution to the person that you’re watching that feels much more exciting than like just seeing this. I don’t know this cartoon character on stage, I mean, that’s also I mean, I like cartoon characters as well, but I want I you know, I’m interested in like. I’m going to be dead at some point. What can I? Who can I how much can I open up? How honest, how free can I be in this world? How how myself can I actually be before someone says, well, that’s that’s enough now?
Jameela [00:37:31] I totally I feel exactly the same way. I truly I feel so exactly the same way. And it’s why I’m so dedicated to being so publicly vulnerable and myself at all costs, because I’m just like I’m interested in seeing myself develop and I know that I won’t develop unless I am really fully authentic all of the time, even if that sometimes like ugly or embarrassing or imperfect, at least I know that I’m being liked or disliked for who I am rather than for who I’m projecting. Does that makes sense.
Simon [00:38:04] It’s hard for you as well, because if you’re a comedian, it’s sort of it’s sort of accepted within the job that you’re saying all these things.
Jameela [00:38:11] Yes totally.
Simon [00:38:11] And you’re just there, I don’t know. Saying all these things from it, from from a position that isn’t generally. No, nobody’s asked, have they?
Jameela [00:38:24] But what’s funny, but what’s funny is that, like, I’m not a I’m not a stand up comedian. I’m not a comedian. But everything I’ve ever done has been only through the lens of comedy. Like I’ve only done comedic work. I’ve done zero set apart from maybe my documentary about the harm of pornography, which was still horribly silly, unfortunately, but like nothing I’ve ever done has been serious ever. And so it’s a funny thing where if you’re not a standup and also I think if you’re a woman and I think because some of the other, like, fashion stuff I did, they were just sort of like, you can’t ever be kidding. Like whenever I’m joking, no one ever takes it ever as a joke or my sarcasm is taken like as it’s definitely something completely serious and sincere. And I have this reputation of being, like, deeply sincere all the time. And I’m never being sincere.
Simon [00:39:14] Maybe you should get a funny hat.
Jameela [00:39:16] That that might help. Just wear a headband with a dick on it or something like that, I don’t know. But no,
Simon [00:39:24] No like like a clown hat that’s what you need.
Jameela [00:39:26] Again, regardless of whether it’s easier for you or for me, like or regard, regardless of whether I’m a comedian and therefore I’m allowed or I’m not a comedian, therefore I’m not allowed. I think what’s been liberating is me deciding that it just doesn’t matter the context through which people see me be myself. It doesn’t matter if they’re going to be OK with it, because it doesn’t matter if I’m allowed because I do a certain job or have a certain title. The key is to become OK with who you are fundamentally, and there shouldn’t be any kind of what am I try to say? Like, they should never have to be a caveat. Does that make sense?
Simon [00:40:01] Yes. That’s you as paranoid as you are, it seems to all be going very well.
Jameela [00:40:05] We’ll see. We’ll see.
Simon [00:40:07] I would I would say that that would be a good,
Jameela [00:40:12] Ok I’ll strongly consider it. So then you didn’t do ayahuasca again for 10 years. Right is that because then you kind of felt as though you’d made this huge shift. Were you feeling generally OK for that following ten years? I mean, in that ten years you got diagnosed with classic depression?
Simon [00:40:30] I went to I went to the therapist. I said, I think I think I’m good. And she agreed and and that was good. And I also just started a relationship, which I’m still in. And so, um, and I’m also sort of more fulfilled, or not more fulfilled. I mean, I was really fulfilled what I was doing all that TV stuff you were talking about, but I became bored by it. And so I’m now really fulfilled in some of the new stuff I’m doing, whether it’s stand up or like directing a film or something. Yeah. So I feel like. Yeah, what yeah, the only reason I had I felt like I had to go back again was because I was about to turn 40. I didn’t know how to do that. That was because everything in the culture says don’t become 40.
Jameela [00:41:17] You talk a lot about the fact that when people say, gosh you don’t look, 40, as if that’s a compliment, but actually it’s not, because then they’re saying that when you do look 40, you’ll be. Disgusting.
Simon [00:41:26] Disgusting.
Jameela [00:41:28] Yeah, I’m so interested in this because I love getting older, like I’ve always wanted to be older. I have despised being young my whole life. I’ve despised looking young and being young. I just want to be.
Simon [00:41:40] What do you mean why because you had difficult experiences? Or what would you mean you want to get older? What do you mean?
Jameela [00:41:43] I think because I think childhood and teen years were shit, but also all of the happy content, cool, wise people I knew were always old. All the people I looked up to, they were all older people. I enjoyed their interviews the most. I enjoyed their books. I enjoyed talking to old people so much more than I did people my own age. So I always just thought, oh, fuck, you know? And then also I learned that apparently the first cells to die in your brain are the ones that kind of carry your anxiety. So I was.
Simon [00:42:11] Say again the first cells to die?
Jameela [00:42:11] The first cell first to start to die in your brain as you get older.
Simon [00:42:15] Oh I see the anxious ones.
Jameela [00:42:16] Yeah. So they’re the anxious ones. So, like, you’re just fuckin chilling. Like, I was like, oh right. Well, that’s just
Simon [00:42:22] What about all the anxious old ladies that you see on the street that are sort of like full of terror?
Jameela [00:42:25] Youthful, youthful, anxious selves. I mean, sometimes it is generally just scary. It’s sensible to be anxious because something scary is happening. But, um. But I do think that I was just I just always thought that life would be better when I had more wisdom, had more answers, and when I was a bit more invisible to the world, like I could just kind of like we make old people, unfortunately, but very invisible, and they get to just kind of potter around and do their own thing. What was it about getting older that scared you? Was it was it becoming invisible? Was it becoming the idea of less attractive? Like what scared you?
Simon [00:42:58] All the stuff that like when I went to the rainforest again, I looked around. It was like day two or three. And I suddenly thought, oh, there’s nothing here amongst these trees that says that getting older is a problem or something that like you could you must do everything you can to reverse. Like there was nothing there that said it was a problem. So. Oh, so this is a cultural thing. This isn’t this doesn’t come from within my body.
Jameela [00:43:24] As well you’re in an ayahuasca state that you’re starting.
Simon [00:43:27] No, no, no this is just me sober. Sometimes I’ll just be really wise. Yeah, so what was the I don’t know, I think partly like, you know, my type for a long time was like a kind of like a sort of younger version of myself and like that. And so and so when you sort of like get further and further away from your type, you imagine yourself becoming less attractive because you maybe you will become less attractive to yourself. But actually that type isn’t so fixed anymore. Like it was ridiculous. Like I mean, the sort of people I went for, it was just like my type for a long time was like someone who’s got a jumper stuck over their head. Like that sort of vulnerable.
Jameela [00:44:13] Yeah. Yeah. Oh my God. Same Simon. Same.
Simon [00:44:17] Right. Some people like they needed help, you know. And anyway so I don’t know what, but somehow I. Yeah. So I went to Peru again and somehow I can’t remember what happened, but I feel all right about it now.
Jameela [00:44:31] I mean, I read I read about you taking all your clothes off. Was that
Simon [00:44:36] Oh yeah that’s what happened. So I so I ended up yeah dancing around naked, slapping my own bum, beating my chest. And this is quite like near the end of the ceremony. And I’m like making all these wild animal noises.
Jameela [00:44:51] How many how many people were in the room.
Simon [00:44:54] There’s about 20, 25 people in the room.
Jameela [00:44:57] Yeah. And you didn’t know them at all?
Simon [00:44:59] Not really, no.
Jameela [00:45:00] And did any of them know who you were like, oh fucking hell there’s Simon Amstell off of the telly.
Simon [00:45:06] A couple but, you know, it was a sort of safe therapeutic space. It wasn’t.
Jameela [00:45:10] No, I think this is amazing. I’m saying this was zero judgment. I’m just trying to literally create a picture for myself in my head to prepare myself for when I eventually
Simon [00:45:18] Ok I’m about to take my clothes off if that helps the picture?
Jameela [00:45:18] That would be really great, especially on a podcast. I feel like that’s my most important. Um, so OK, so you’re in a room. There are 20 people. This is a kind of prime situation where even if you know, you’re in a therapeutic space, one might feel self-conscious.
Simon [00:45:34] Yes so that was part of the that was part of the the journey, the healing. That was part of the lesson. Really, the question that came up really in the ceremony was what’s like not as a question, but like I felt it. What’s more important to you, the shame that you feel or the pleasure that you could feel? And so
Jameela [00:45:53] Is this when is this when you use your finger?
Simon [00:45:57] I was holding back on that little anecdote, but yes, as I was totally naked, I’ve been like, cool. If you really want it,.
Jameela [00:46:08] I want it.
Simon [00:46:10] I’ve been called to take all my clothes off by the medicine. She speaks to you sometimes.
Jameela [00:46:17] What does her voice sound like? Is there a voice? Is there.
Simon [00:46:19] It’s not like it’s a feeling. It’s a sort of it’s a compulsion. And you go with it because you’re told at the retreat, surrender accept trust. And so you feel this compulsion to take your clothes off. And you do. And it’s not like it’s not worrying. You know, you are there with people. Nobody has said in the build up to this you might end up naked, they’ve spoken about throwing up in the pooing. But so this is like, oh, is this OK? Also, we’ve been told for two weeks before and for two weeks after not allowed to have any sex and I now about to beyond my own control, my finger is about to, I promise you, beyond my control, let me move its way into my perineum. Now, obviously, the perineum is just like a bit of like skin you can’t push anything into. But I had a vision of my finger being, like slipping into a new hole. And I and it was embarrassing because as this happened, it wasn’t just like a private act. I started making these very loud orgasm sounds so loud the woman next to me eventually made this noise [clears throat] and and I felt a bit bad for her but I just had so much shame excavating moment, I just turned and in my head said this is nothing to do with you and carried on. And as I continue to penetrate this new hole, rainbows are flying out of my body. This ecstatic place that I was experiencing taught me, I don’t need the shame. I don’t need this shame this place is much better. I think I had felt a little bit like I better keep some of this shame and anxiety because what will I write without it? But I considered it in that moment. I was like, I think I’ll be able to write about some other things. And I thought, I don’t need this shame anymore. And I let it all out of my body and to the point that I’m like just jumping around now naked and dancing and making these, like, crazy animal noises. And laughing.
Jameela [00:48:37] Can you give me an example of an animal noise that you may have made,
Simon [00:48:40] Well that they were kind of they were primal. They weren’t like it wasn’t like an impression of like a rhino.
Jameela [00:48:46] You’re not throwing out a kind of ahhhk.
Simon [00:48:49] No, it’s just something is something is like being released out of my body.
Jameela [00:48:54] Fuck.
Simon [00:48:55] And then this lady who’s like moderating the whole thing comes over and says, Simon we’re all finding you very amusing, but the ceremony has finished.
Jameela [00:49:05] Oh no. And were you able to still not have any shame in that moment?
Simon [00:49:09] Oh, yeah. Well, there’s some shame came the next morning because I. I don’t know I was like, okay, that’s okay. I just I’ll just lie down and I lay down for a while. And then the next morning I told my story to the group and then somebody raised their hand, spoke about how like I feel like I’ve been carrying around all this shame. And maybe part of the difficulty of getting older has been that I’ve been like getting further and further away from this lost, anxious boy who needs to be helped. And this person raised a hand and said, obviously, I support Simon fully on his journey. But to me it just sounded like a man stopping and starting masturbating for four hours. Well, then the guy in charge of the retreat by the guy running the whole thing said, yeah, actually, Simon, it’s not really on. I was like oh, no. Did I not explain it properly? It wasn’t the physical. Oh, it was a spirit hold. And he said, oh, that’s okay then.
Jameela [00:50:13] Fucking hell. That’s I feel like they all need to do a bit more ayahuasca.
Simon [00:50:16] Maybe. I think what it shows is that everyone has their own perception. Right. Everyone has their own like everyone has their own story going on. And so this for this woman, it was it was, you know, probably triggered something from her own life. But I felt like that’s probably a good thing because then you can deal with that thing and. Yeah, and then but then the guy I think he just hadn’t heard me properly. But at the end of that retreat, it was just it was just incredible. I looked in the one mirror, it was there and I didn’t look old or young, just looked so happy.
Jameela [00:50:50] So then what’s life has this all been in the last year and a half? Has this been like during covid?
Simon [00:50:56] This was like just pre lockdown. And it was. Yes, lucky I went because we were taught to surrender and you really had to surrender during the pandemic. And and also, luckily, I was able to continue some of the work with magic mushrooms, which are available in this country, growing out of the ground, not legal of course. Not legal, but I think they will be legal at some point.
Jameela [00:51:20] Yeah they should. They should be. Should be.
Simon [00:51:23] You can’t be arrested for something that’s going to be legal soon, can you?
Jameela [00:51:26] No. I think yeah, I think I think we should all probably anyone who’s listening to this is now because it’s so hard to not feel so intoxicated, by the way, that you talk about it. I mean, these things are such especially as British people. It’s so amazing to hear someone just kind of strip themselves, literally strip themselves of their shame. And you speak about it with such like euphoria. And there’s so much like joy riding radiating out of you. It’s hard to not just want to go into it right now. Just book it right now, go and do it. But I think we should all probably do our research, prepare ourselves that some people have a bad trip or whatever. I think if they take the wrong amount, I think it’s really important to go to people who are responsible and careful and experience to make you feel safe, as I’m saying, and and just kind of, you know, wait till we feel ready. So. So how do you feel now? I mean, the world is still a terrifying place. The news is still petrifying. Everything is stressful. How is your how is your head like how are you feeling?
Simon [00:52:32] I think I feel all the things that we’re supposed to feel now as human beings, so it actually isn’t about getting to a place of happiness, if I feel tired, it’s like, oh yeah, of course you feel tired. And I also I have got like a way of I have a way of communicating with myself now, that I didn’t have before. I talk to myself in a very loving, kind way. I stroke my own arm sometimes and say, you’re doing really well. You were so funny.
Jameela [00:53:07] That’s so nice.
Simon [00:53:08] Yes, I do that because sometimes it’s like tiring being on tour. I remember I did like I do this like talk at a university and then there’s like a lunch with students, then show. Then the next day I had a matinee and like that night I like stroked my own arm maybe it was the first time I did it. And I said, you’re so great at the lunch, at the talk. And you’ve you done so well. You’ve got one or two more shows tomorrow and then we’ve got three days off. All right. And I was like, OK, I can do it. And it’s like I did that with myself. It’s like nuts. Whereas before it would have been I wouldn’t have even had that communication. But sometimes when I’m this is the other thing I learned from that retreat, when you are triggered, it’s not so important what is triggering you, the person who said the thing or whatever it is, what within you has been triggered. And so when something causes me any sadness now, I quite quickly have a little chat with myself about what what it’s reminding me of what’s really going on here. I don’t think it’s about that random person on the street. I think it’s it’s oh, it’s reminding me of when I was 13 and dadadada. So.
Jameela [00:54:18] And then what do you do with that?
Simon [00:54:20] So then it’s like, oh, great. Oh, so it’s it’s an opportunity for healing. Thank goodness this lunatic person has upset me because I get to heal this bit of me that this bit of trauma that was never addressed. Trauma is a big word there. But, you know, and and so I go and so so I so I’ve had the memory. I’ve had the memory. And then I go, oh, how are you doing? Thirteen year old Simon. Nobody probably ever said this to you, but that must have been really hard when it happened. And then my kids self goes, oh, it was hard. I had no one to talk to. I was like oh do you do not want to talk to me now. All right then. And then we have a little chat about it. And then that pain, it dissipates because it’s been addressed.
Jameela [00:55:10] God, it’s almost like whenever people talk about and God knows, I mean, ghosts or anything exist, but like a spirit that can’t move on or whatever to the other world because it’s got like, you know, like something that it needed to communicate. It needed said, it kind of feels a bit like that. Like we’re haunted by the sort of like ghosts of our younger selves until we can just sort of release them by letting them say their peace or just feel seen.
Simon [00:55:31] Yeah, that’s it. That’s great.
Jameela [00:55:33] That’s so that’s so interesting to me. That’s so interesting. What like a profound relationship we’ve kind of developed with with the younger self that you found. So, um, hard to accept when you were yourself young. That’s so that’s so beautiful. Simon.
Simon [00:55:48] Oh thanks. I really enjoyed this podcast. I mean not that it’s finished.
Jameela [00:55:53] Oh thanks! Bye! No I’ve really I’ve really enjoyed it. God, you’ve really like moved like moved me and inspired me because I think this is I think I, I think I’m trying so hard to be kind to my younger self, but I just I just keep ignoring her at all costs, which is what she hates the most. So I think that you’ve inspired me to do better and work harder, which is good. And I find this so fascinating. And so is impacting all of your relationships as well. Like, have you become a more present or person? Have you become more forgiving of others and having become more forgiving of yourself?
Simon [00:56:32] Yes, I mean, I still get triggered. Things still come out like especially with my family, like I was with my family recently and I I became just so angry and I just had to say to my boyfriend, but it was really good because I just said I feel really angry, and he he sorted it all out. He took over and he was good. I expressed how I was feeling and then some action occurred and it was like, oh, OK, this is all right. So I guess what I’m saying is it’s still these things they still pop up, you know?
Jameela [00:57:09] You have coping mechanisms now.
Simon [00:57:10] Yeah, I know, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m feeling and I’m, uh. Yeah, it’s to it’s that feeling of that feeling of repression is too familiar. I just I know it too well now. And I don’t want it. I don’t want it.
Jameela [00:57:28] Yeah. And I also like in reading about you and for this podcast and reading about how you’ve been like feeling about everything over the last couple of years. Something you said that I’m working so hard towards doing myself is that you’ve started to and pardon me for paraphrasing this appallingly, but you started to notice that when you feel feelings of discomfort, you can separate them from yourself and recognize that I am not this thing. I am simply feeling this thing.
Simon [00:57:54] Oh, yeah.
Jameela [00:57:55] Do you know what I mean. Like, yeah, you. Yeah. But I think that that’s something that we all kind of maybe intellectually know. It’s just like I am not my anxiety, I am not my depression. But deep down a lot of us feel like we are controlled by it, navigated by imprisoned by it. And that is fundamentally a part of ourselves. That’s why we get so mad at ourselves. Like, why can’t you just cheer up? Why can’t you just enjoy something? Why can’t you just let go of this addiction or whatever that thing may be. And I think that there’s something so self compassionate and self aware and lucky about being able to get to a space where you can just like on a fundamental, like, deep level of yourself, not just intellectually, you can sort of in your soul, your gut understand that right this is just a temporary thing I’m going through and I feel confident that I can work my way through it. So tell me about the show Spirit Hole and what people can expect. I mean, it’s some of these things that you are talking about, the themes that you’re talking about.
Simon [00:58:50] Yeah, it’s about it’s a lot of it’s about shame. A lot of it’s about getting older and not being able to cope with that. I’m looking at the post it notes on my wall to check what the topics are. Yeah, there’s that whole story of going through and drinking ayahuasca, a bit about going to Berlin Sex Club to check that we really have got over ashame and this is about magic mushrooms and then there’s quite a lot about men. So masculinity, that kind of thing, which I sort of hadn’t intended to write. But it’s all came out of me and I just I wouldn’t stop. I started talking about how the pressure that men are on to appear to be men, and then it wouldn’t it wouldn’t stop. I’ve sort of never had that before. With a bit of stand up. There’s always like a bit like, OK, this little joke here can go next to that one. This is just like like so much wanted to be said. It’s like one of my favorite bits of the show.
Jameela [00:59:43] It was like, you’ve unblocked a dam, isn’t it? By getting rid of the shame, you start sort of like just lifted.
Simon [00:59:48] Yeah.
Jameela [00:59:49] Lifted. Whatever was like barricading. How you really feel for these things to compulsively come out of it, I think is really cool. I also think that’s a really important subject. Um, but I was wondering is this was the sex club Berghain?
Simon [01:00:03] Well, yes, it was the it was like the hardcore basement of Berghain.
Jameela [01:00:08] Oh you went into the basement. I didn’t go into the basement because my boyfriend went once and he got down there and someone was frying poo in a frying pan.
Simon [01:00:18] No!
Jameela [01:00:22] And so after he told me that he was just like it was just kind of one of those kind of your, like, deepest, darkest sort of fantasy type nights. And and I never want to shame anyone if you want to fry your poo you fry your poo, babe, you know, like you live. But I, I.
Simon [01:00:38] I didn’t even know they had a hob.
Jameela [01:00:38] I know someone had a job and they were frying poo in a pan, maybe it was one of those like campfire ones where you bring your own, do you know what I mean.
Simon [01:00:47] Must have been must have been that’s right.
Jameela [01:00:49] Yes Um, and so after that I was too afraid to ever go down there.
Simon [01:00:53] But how come your boyfriend went?
Jameela [01:00:55] Well, he just wanted to know what was downstairs. He was like twenty three he’d gotten into Berghain. And obviously it’s a very big deal if you can get into Berghain because they’re very picky about who they let in. They won’t let in the people that you maybe think they would let in, like the people who turn out trying to look cool, like the the doorman is very specific about whether or not he senses you are right for Berghain.
Simon [01:01:16] Yeah I think we got very lucky.
Jameela [01:01:17] Yeah. Well, I mean, so did James and I, but I stayed upstairs and the rave bit and I went I didn’t want I was afraid of the basement so I can’t wait to see your show. Learn about what happened in the the dangerous basement of the dungeon of a Berghain. Is there anything else left on your list then of like things that you would like to achieve when it comes to how you feel? Are you like, oh, I hope I let go of this? Or do you feel like you’re pretty content with how you are now?
Simon [01:01:46] Um, part of the show is trying to figure out if my boyfriend and I should have a baby. That’s OK. That’s that’s the current conundrum. What do you think should we have a baby?
Jameela [01:01:58] I think you’d be a wonderful dad. I don’t want children. Not that you’re asking me to have them with you, but I’m just saying.
Simon [01:02:05] We take an egg, you’ve got an egg?
Jameela [01:02:07] I’m sure I’ve got many eggs. What a crazy evolution to our relationship that would be me being afraid of you for 10 years and then just giving you my egg. No, I don’t know. Like, I can’t I think it just has to be one of those things where you should do it if you feel as though your life is lacking in the absence of a child, because it’s such an ginormous responsibility that I don’t think that’s a decision that should be made intellectually. I think it should be one that’s made because there is a feeling of not even necessarily something as dramatic as an emptiness, but like a real want of like this house isn’t complete, like we need to expand our little family. Like, I think there really has to be like a yearning for that so that it’s circumnavigates the natural resentment of not sleeping for a few years. Is that fair to say? Does that sound too harsh?
Simon [01:02:58] Just wonder if it has to. But could it come from like can it come from there’s so much love in this house, it’s overflowing and it could go towards a baby as well?
Jameela [01:03:07] Totally. That sounds great. If you feel as though there’s the love as a sort of ping ponging around and it’s not like being absorbed enough, then I totally get it. But I’m so the wrong person to ask this to, because I’m so, so not there yet in my brain. You’re in a more beautiful, like open space. Like I have all this love that I want to give. Yeah. I need to do ayahuasca and then we’ll talk again.
Simon [01:03:30] Yeah. Let’s see, see what happens after the
Jameela [01:03:32] Until then send me your address and I’ll pop you an egg.
Simon [01:03:35] Thank you.
Jameela [01:03:35] No worries.
Simon [01:03:37] First class because maybe I don’t know, dry. Will it dry?
Jameela [01:03:43] Hopefully not
Simon [01:03:45] Have you had them frozen
Jameela [01:03:45] We’ll do FedEx, that’s fine. OK, great. So Simon, before you go and this has really been a joy, will you just tell me, what do you weigh?
Simon [01:03:57] The impulse is to just tell you what I weigh.
Jameela [01:04:00] I know. everyone does everyone wants to everyone wants to give me the number. I do not want the number.
Simon [01:04:06] OK, here’s here’s what I think here’s here’s the answer. I did a, uh, a charity. I was hosting a charity event and like, I wasn’t doing very well. And Richard Curtis in the audience and he sort of I mean, I say I wasn’t doing it very well. I think I just sort of kept saying things that were like funny and true. But the audience sort of weren’t in the mood for that. And I couldn’t, like, be more professional and like. Give them the good time that I could have done maybe and he came to me afterwards and he said, you know, the thing about you is you can’t not tell the truth. And I thought oh that is it. It’s and it’s annoying. It’s annoying for a situation like this that I I can’t just, like, turn on some sort of, uh, Mr. entertainment persona. But I think that’s it. I think I can’t not tell the truth. And so that’s why I would say I what’s the thing I weigh, I weigh that I tell the truth, whatever’s like going on. If if you know, even if the situation doesn’t seem correct for it, I still end up telling the truth. I love doing that. It heals me. It feels like it’s healing the audience. And I’m I’m not interested in anything else other than the truth.
Jameela [01:05:31] I love that, I love your dedication to radical honesty. It’s so inspiring.
Simon [01:05:36] Oh there we go. That’s the best sentence
Jameela [01:05:40] I find it so inspiring, even though I will never get away with it the way that you do.
Simon [01:05:45] Oh right well why don’t you get that hat?
Jameela [01:05:47] Simon, you’re such a joy. It’s been so nice to get to know you in this truly very public odd way.
Simon [01:05:59] Yeah you too.
Jameela [01:06:01] But, uh, but it’s, um, it’s really just been so eye-opening and inspiring and I and I so look forward to all of your future work. And I also just want to say how much I love the fact that you continue to move on from things that you’ve mastered and continue to take on new pursuits and challenge yourself is something that I do that I’m constantly discouraged from doing. And I I think that you’ve been someone I’ve always kind of looked across the pond to for someone who just keeps being like, right now I’ve done that and I’ve become good at it. And whenever you become good at something, I think especially in media, they say, I want to keep doing it because you can keep making money from it, but there’s a part of your brain that starts to die, however exciting and cool, that try not to diminish the job itself. But I’ve moved I’ve just jumped career again and again and again and jump straight into the deep end and just allowed myself to be as vulnerable and freaked out as possible. And that has led me to so much happiness and fulfillment and new experiences. And I really thank you for being an example of doing that.
Simon [01:07:02] Oh, thanks. I feel like you are now an example to me as well.
Jameela [01:07:08] I’m just going to strongly advise against that for you. Thank you so much, Simon. Have a great day.
Simon [01:07:15] Thank you. You too.
Jameela [01:07:17] Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode. I Weigh with Jameela Jamil is produced and research by myself, Jameela Jamil, Erin Finnegan and Kimmie Gregory. It is edited by Andrew Carson. And the beautiful music you’re hearing now is made by my boyfriend, James Blake. If you haven’t already, please rate, review and subscribe to the show. It’s a great way to show your support. We also have a bonus series exclusively on Stitcher Premium called Ask Jameela Anything. Check it out. You can get a free month of Stitcher Premium by going stitcher.com/premium and using the promo code I Weigh. Lastly over at I Weigh, we would love to hear from you and share what you weigh at the end of this podcast, you can leave us a voicemail at 1-818-660-5543. Or email us what you weigh at Iweighpodcast@Gmail.com and now we would love to pass the mic to one of our fabulous listeners.
Listener [01:08:08] I weigh a business owner. A rape and PTSD survivor, succeeding as a female wildlife camera operator, children’s liver disease survivor, a good listener, lonely, sister, a depressive. A National Geographic explorer and activist being 10 years into being probably James Blake’s biggest fan. I’m hyper mobile. I have a phone phobia, so this is very difficult. And my charity fund raiser.
November 27, 2023
This week, Jameela is joined by writer, broadcaster and feminist organizer Clementine Ford to discuss the historical roots of marriage as a tool of patriarchal control, the illusions surrounding modern matrimony and the modern marketing machinery that sustains its myth.
November 20, 2023
Jameela is joined by beauty culture critic Jessica DeFino in a candid conversation about where her current research and journalism is taking her, after years of covering a multi-billion dollar beauty industry for major women’s magazines & beauty apps in the US.