Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People #115 June 4, 2018
Hear the Episode
[00:01:32] CHRIS: Hello to all my goblin enthusiasts, it's Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:01:43] THEME MUSIC: I'd rather go one-on-one. I think it'll be more fun and I'll get to know you and you'll get to know me.
[00:01:55] CHRIS: Hello, everybody. Chris Gethard here welcoming you to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous, a show where you listen to a guy talk on the phone with other people. It's all about listening around here, it's all about listening. So thank you for listening. Want to say thank you right out of the gate to everybody who I met last weekend: many, many listeners to the show came out. I had chosen Bloomington, Indiana, as part of the Limestone Comedy Festival. Chicago, Illinois as part of the Onion Comedy Festival. And I tell you, I met so many Beautiful Anonymous fans, and that always means the world. I mean, I met a couple of callers, a couple past callers leaned over, whispered in my ear, 'hey, I called the show'. Couldn't believe some of the people I met face to face. They know who they are. And I met a whole lot of listeners. And I thank you guys for listening. Coming out and what all of them will tell you. Any of them will tell you, if you go on that Facebook group, there's people posting about the shows. They will tell you that I am a, I am much better on the phone in the safety of a private booth than I am having conversations with 100 people back to back to back a hundred times. And it's really nice to meet everybody. Thanks to one person... is it cross-stitch? One person made me a nice cross-stitch of a telephone. I think it's called a cross-stitch. I am not on the road this weekend. Next weekend I'm at the Helium Comedy Club, St. Louis. But I will talk about that more closer to the date. But yeah, I'll be in St. Louis soon. Last week's episode was Charity Laundry. We had a caller who had had a tough past trying to build a better future. It was a really interesting call. If you're a member of the Beautiful Anonymous Facebook group, guess what? You go in the discussion thread for that episode. The caller actually sent a message anonymously and the mods have posted it in the discussion thread of that, just talking about the reaction and thoughts and see, you know, it's all always interesting to hear from a past caller about what it's like to have the public dissect things you said off the cuff in the moment while you were just freewheelin' and nervous, but that's a very thoughtful post he sent. It's over in there. So go check that out. Thanks to everybody who's a part of that Facebook group. Thanks to the mods who run that group. Not always an easy gig. And I really do appreciate everybody who's a part of it. This week's episode, I got to say, this was I think probably one of the... probably one of my favorites. I probably had the most fun. I've felt real chemistry with this caller. We were joking around. I'll tell you what, here's something people don't talk frankly about is money. That's not a thing that you hear too many Americans just freely talk about. This person has some real life changes that happen that revolve around money. And, you know, this show often goes dark. Or maybe you might say, 'oh, this is a person who lost all their money'. No, you know what happens when you go in the other direction? What happens when a lot of your values are rooted in not having money and then all of a sudden that changes in a big way? A bigger way than you ever see coming. It's a real interesting call. I liked it. Think you're gonna like it, too. Let's everybody go ahead and listen in on the strange, overwhelming world of the Chillionaire.
[00:05:08] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:05:15] CALLER: Hello.
[00:05:16] CHRIS: Hello.
[00:05:17] CALLER: Hi.
[00:05:18] CHRIS: Hi. How's it going?
[00:05:20] CALLER: It's going alright. How about you?
[00:05:23] CHRIS: That was a very honest response. I can't wait to hear what's behind that. How's it going for me? Let's see. Let's see. You can see my voice has blown out a little bit because I tell you, it was my birthday yesterday and me and a whole bunch... Yeah it was nice. The big 38. One of the big ones. Not one of the big ones.
[00:05:43] CALLER: Nice.
[00:05:44] CHRIS: I went to Medieval Times in New Jersey, which is a restaurant where you watch knights fight while you eat, and I screamed my head off.
[00:05:52] CALLER: What... which knight were you assigned to love?
[00:05:54] CHRIS: I was assigned to love the Red Knight. And no spoilers. I was really - I tell you - I was leading the charge to the point where the Green Knight kind of came over and was staring at me in a way that was telling me he really wanted me to shut up and stop taunting him. And then the Red Knight took a very strange... it takes a very strange turn. I haven't been to Medieval Times in a few years, and they have a new storyline that takes a real weird curve. And The Red Knight... it was hard to jeer for him after a certain point, but it was... it was a weird night. It was a weird night. But yeah, that's why my voice is a little blown out, 'cause I was screaming. Screaming for my marbles over at Medieval Times in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. You ever been? You ever been to Medieval Times?
[00:06:35] CALLER: I have. And I feel like there's something really funny about the fact that I think that Medieval Times is best designed for kids, but everyone who enjoys it the most seems to be, like, very adult, very much so. And I was like 25 when I went for the first time. I thought it was the best thing ever.
[00:06:52] CHRIS: I realize that 'cause I grew up in North Jersey and they opened when they're 1990. Last night marks my fifth or sixth time at Medieval Times. That's too many... that's too many Medieval Times. That's too many time for Medieval Times.
[00:07:09] CALLER: I feel like, yeah, that's... that's extremely impressive actually.
[00:07:13] CHRIS: Thank you.
[00:07:14] CALLER: Because...
[00:07:15] CHRIS: Thank you so much.
[00:07:16] CALLER: I've heard multiple times that it's like a script that is fall out. Right.
[00:07:19] CHRIS: They changed the script. The script, to my knowledge, was the same from 1990 till the last time I went, probably around 2012. Then last night, the script was very different and very concerning in some ways. And if anybody else has been there since... I looked it up, they changed the script in 2017. Anybody else who has been there since then, I think will be reaching out to me on Twitter or in the Facebook group saying, 'yeah, they really went for it man, they went for it'. I also was telling my wife, you know, they have the big lobby afterwards where they sell a lot of kitsch items. And I told my wife, I want to start a side business where we sell chimes in a lobby called Medieval Chimes. That's my new business plan.
[00:07:58] CALLER: Just for the pun value.
[00:07:59] CHRIS: Yeah, once... once this podcast craps out. 'Cause the TV show, that things on its last legs anyway. Once this podcast craps out, I'm gonna be selling chimes out in Lyndhurst. That's my new plan. Medieval Chimes.
[00:08:14] CALLER: I feel like because what I want to talk about is money kind of, a part of me really wants to ask, like, how much money the podcast makes you, but I won't 'cause I know that it's gauche. I won't do it.
[00:08:25] CHRIS: Woah. Well, if you're gonna... Well, I will tell you it makes a lot more than I thought a podcast could make. I did not know how booming of a business podcasts were. Everybody in comedy has had podcasts for years. I stumbled into this one, and then once it was featured on This American Life, really exploded and it kind of got put in this upper tier. And I tell you, it's my living. It's my living. I don't know if naming numbers is something I'm comfortable with. I'll say...
[00:08:56] CALLER: Yeah, no. No.
[00:08:57] CHRIS: I will say I make as much on the podcast as I make on a TV show, which I think is pretty shocking.
[00:09:02] CALLER: Wow. That's amazing.
[00:09:05] CHRIS: It tells you I make a little more on this than you would think. And that TV may be a little less lucrative than you would think.
[00:09:12] CALLER: Yeah, for sure. I mean, that is kind of what I would expect. To some degree, just because I feel like media platforms are changing so quickly. TV is a little bit more of a crapshoot.
[00:09:23] CHRIS: It is. And I think everybody's trying to figure out how people consume TV in 2018, because cord cutters are people streaming in this world, and it's tough world to figure out.
[00:09:37] CALLER: It is, it sure is.
[00:09:38] CHRIS: You wanna talk about money, which as you say, touchy topic - touchy topic amongst us Americans.
[00:09:44] CALLER: It's super touchy. It's extremely touchy. And I realized a couple weeks ago that, you know, I think that we all like to - I think dramatize, like, what's most interesting about us to call in in the show like this or even just like you're meeting someone new. You're like, what's most interesting about you? You think about it. And like that's kind of what calling into the show ask you to do. And I was just like, you know, the un... maybe the unflattering fact is I think that money is what's most interesting about me. It's not what's at the front that I put up when I talk to others, because it's not, it's not actually... it's not how you make friends, right? Right. But it is... it is really strange this, like, weird second world of finance and money, that like I think a lot of us are afraid to talk about with others.
[00:10:35] CHRIS: So explain what this means. Explain what this means because... because not many people say that money is sort of the core story that surrounds them. I think... yeah, this is interesting. What do you mean? What do you mean by that? I don't get... like, what does that mean?
[00:10:52] CALLER: So, yeah, I know that it requires a lot of backstory, but I think so, like, I grew up in extreme - I think it's for, like, the country centers - it's extreme poverty. I'm from a really poor southwestern state. And I have a father with schizophrenia who - actually I just want to, like, from the outset say that: yes, he has schizophrenia, but he's like pretty high functioning, and a lot of my job now is just like keeping him stable and happy. And you would not guess that he has schizophrenia when he's not having an episode. So just, like. I get a little tired of fighting back against people who, like picture a schizophrenic person as, like, being like someone you can't have a relationship with and it's not like that at all. But he has schizophrenia and so when he would go through really intense episodes, my parents and I would just end up homeless in the southwestern state when I was really young. Young enough that like, it didn't bother me or traumatize me because like when you're a kid, you don't... you don't know. You don't know what it means when you're really, really young at all. And my parents are really loving so it didn't really... yeah. I can't really even label it as like a traumatic thing, to be honest with you. But it was like... it was like a thing that I felt like was in my wheelhouse of like something driving me. You know what I mean? Like there's the things you like reach back into in yourself to push you forward - like go after your dreams and success and stuff like that. And so I was at this really prestigious music conservatory out of my own effort and stuff like that, because like this poverty, this like world of poverty, is just like - I felt like it was my secret weapon, just like wanting to push past... So, I mean, a very American dream, like I wanted to push out of this circumstance. And it felt like totally possible. And I was doing it. And then all of a sudden, out of the blue a relative I'm not close with at all died suddenly and left me everything. And it's - it's changed my life in ways that are very, very strange and I feel like people don't get to talk about these things, but I don't have that magical power behind my story anymore. At all.
[00:13:17] CHRIS: Wow. So you went from living like a Steinbeck life - southwestern poverty, a specific type of poverty that's... that is a part of the American story, like the Dust Bowl area of the country. To all of a sudden it just flips and it affects your identity.
[00:13:34] CALLER: Oh, yeah.
[00:13:35] CHRIS: Now you're anonymous. You might be more comfortable. I'm not sure if you're not, that's fine. Are you comfortable sharing how much money you came into in this sort of like overnight incident or circumstance?
[00:13:45] CALLER: Yeah. I was thinking about that a lot when I was on hold, but I'm going to try my best to keep myself anonymous. And then to a certain degree, I think it's okay, like I'm starting to... I'm 30 now, and this was about eight years that this happened. Eight years ago. And I'm starting now to realize that like, I'm a really honest person, and this - it's almost like this forced... I have been forced to keep this really huge secret almost. And I'm starting to realise that I'm going to be as anonymous as I can be. But I don't think that even if people look at you differently or if they judge you, that that's necessarily worse than just being honest with yourself. So, yeah, I came into literally a million dollars all at once.
[00:14:38] CHRIS: So you...
[00:14:39] CALLER: All at once.
[00:14:40] CHRIS: So you grew up in poverty.
[00:14:43] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:14:44] CHRIS: Southwest hot, dry, relentless climate. You had a family that was a loving family, but a family that was affected by some mental illness that led to instability. And then overnight - overnight - a person you barely know dies and you have a million dollars at the age of 22.
[00:15:02] CALLER: Yeah. Mm hmm.
[00:15:04] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:15:05] CALLER: Yep.
[00:15:06] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:15:07] CALLER: Yep.
[00:15:08] CHRIS: Now a lot of time... I think a lot of... Here's a... here's a couple of stereotypes I would say. In general, you always read these things that lottery winners, a lot of times, it doesn't really change lives long term because people who aren't used to having money just spend all the money. Let alone a 22 year old kid. If you gave me a million dollars when I was 22, I would have spent most of it on comic books and alcohol. Oh no, I had quit drinking by the time I was 22. It would have been on soda and candy.
[00:15:37] CALLER: Yeah, I... Definitely not and I think part of the reason why I haven't been that way is... I mean, there's so many reasons, but one reason being I came into money, but my parents did not. And so it's been a really confusing... like I'm their caretakers now, but I walk this really strange line where like they don't know how much money I inherited. It was my dad's brother who left me everything. And with this very specific like cruel note in the will that he didn't trust my dad with money because of his schizophrenia. And so I'm... I like have sectioned it off. I like immediately, I like sectioned off - and I came into a million after I had already like given a shit ton away, to be honest with you. And sorry Sally, yes. But like I... he had a, he had a spouse that wasn't given anything and I had to give it - of course I gave like half to her. And then it was very confusing because I felt like I had to make these moral judgements about like I was given this money, but do I deserve it? And I like I had to struggle with that for a really long time. And. Yes, so I just kind of decided that, like, my parents bless their hearts, they're amazing, but they are bad with money. And so if I want them to have any sort of like safe, successful, like later lives, like I'm going to have to be the one to dole it out. That's just the fact of the matter. So, so I just... Yeah. So I portioned out a good chunk of that for them that I consider they're like emergency flash retirement money that I just like give them every month. And it's so confusing because they don't know how much money I have. And so they don't know. And I don't, kind of don't want them to because I don't want them to feel estranged from me in any sort of way. I don't know how to explain that.
[00:17:41] CHRIS: No, I get it. I get it. It's a... It's a situation where people, if people on, you know, if... if people who are historically not responsible, who also have this connection with you, who find out that there is this money that to them might feel like a limitless resource, it's going to become a factor. Whether anybody wants it to or not, that knowledge is going to lead to, you know, conversations being changed by it. I would imagine, at least subconsciously.
[00:18:14] CALLER: Yeah, for sure. And I mean, already we had like role reversal issues because, you know, my parents were leaning on me emotionally and psychologically for a really long time. Like if there is an emergency, like I just snap into action to fix it. Like always. Always. And that was before there was money. And now with money it's even more so. Like my dad had to be hospitalized this year. And it was just like, yeah, I don't know. It's just like I had to call - literally, I'm in a different state than them now - and I had to call the mental health pick up for them from out of state because they just don't, they just, they're not great at responding to the emergencies that pop up. And so now there's this extra money piece, obviously, that I can give, which is amazing. But it does it feeds into this role reversal. And I don't want it to be too extreme.
[00:19:07] CHRIS: So what - you may have mentioned this - do they know you inherited any money at all and they just don't the amount?
[00:19:11] CALLER: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah.
[00:19:12] CHRIS: So they know you have some...
[00:19:13] CALLER: Yeah, they did. I mean...
[00:19:15] CHRIS: Okay.
[00:19:17] CALLER: Yeah. No, they know. They know that it's a lot, but. But I think - because I'm talking like, I'm just trying to like emphasize that the level of poverty, because I think that sometimes. I think poverty is different in different places and, you know, what people see as poverty in their hometowns is... you know, it varies. I'm talking about - my parents couldn't give me like five, ten dollars if I was in an emergency. Like, I'm talking like... No money. And so I think they know that I have a lot. But I'd rather let their imaginations and their scope of money imagine how much rather than blow their minds... with this like unfathomable amount.
[00:20:01] CHRIS: So were you, were you growing up as a kid, were you in a situation where it's like, 'alright I hope that we have food tonight, like are we going to have food at the end of the week?'. It was that... it was hand to mouth?
[00:20:13] CALLER: Yeah, it was very like, yeah. I mean, there were huge peaks and valleys, but there is a huge portion of my life where we - we relied on something called like a nun pantry where it is just like free food. We weren't in church or anything but we would like, I remember driving all around our town for the different free food boxes that you would get from different charities. And usually I remember it being called the nuns pantry and some of the stuff was rotten. Some of it was good. But yeah, that's mainly how we made ends meat when things were rough.
[00:20:46] CHRIS: Wow. I got to say: here's my first reaction. And - so many questions, obviously. Here's my first reaction, though. Kudos to you. That's... I mean, as I said to get that amount of money when you're young. You're 30 now. Even 30, if someone handed me a million dollars when I was 30... Oh, God. 2012, I would have been dead. Would have been dead with the way I was behaving at 30 too if I had that money. Oh, my God. The amount of Adderall, I would have bought that one summer. But we don't need to talk about that summer. Anyway. The amount of responsibility you showed and that you're still showing is, is incredible, especially when it sounds like you'd be within your rights to maybe have some feelings of bitterness. It certainly sounds like your uncle had some strong opinions and said that - he wasn't even the one in the line of fire. You were. So, kudos to you. I don't know how you've had such a head on your shoulders about all this.
[00:21:38] CALLER: I mean, I think a lot of it comes down to identity, right? I mean, it's the same thing that I was saying, like if I didn't have some romanticized version of like my ideal self that did not involve money - in fact, was like appalled by money, I think that I would have done the same thing. But also, there's another funny story like: when you are 22 and you inherit a million dollars, like people cart you around to a bunch of different lawyers, like to scare the shit out of you. You know, it's very funny. It's like a cartoon sketch, to be honest with you. With just like people being like 'now lady, like, just want you to know that some people buy islands and then they lose everything'. I was like, okay, I know I'm not going to buy an island.
[00:22:18] CHRIS: Have you... do you - have you invested it? Do you work with financial managers and all that?
[00:22:24] CALLER: I do. It's been like a really long, slow process of being more willing to, like, look at it and like manage it myself. Because for, like, I just want to express I know part of why we can't talk about this is that like, boohoo, cry me a river and here's a million dollars. But it is a major identity crisis. And when I first found out I was on the phone, I was driving. I was in Florida at the time. I literally just pulled over on the side of the road and like sobbed for hours. I just sobbed because - it's just like, I think when you try - when you're trying so hard to ascend the right way, it's almost like a big slap in the face when it's like, 'no, that's not how the world works'. It's random. Like, this is how money works. Like you, I had to take a semester off of my really prestigious school that I loved to just work and like make some money because I had like a three quarter scholarship and I just was like really struggling to make the last quarter. And I had to take a semester off. And it was just like all my wishes and dreams were answered, but not by me. And it was like this weird random thing. So, yeah, it's like it's an identity crisis problem.
[00:23:40] CHRIS: Yeah. I will tell you, I have had - I have not had the extreme swings. I never, I never lived in poverty. And I was never handed a million dollars out of the blue. I will tell you, I grew up - I grew up, you know - my grandparents were Irish immigrants. I'm second generation. Very working-class part of my town. I was a down the hill kid, which you even if you like... I don't even need to explain, if I'm from the section called 'down the hill' of town, everybody knows what part of town that is. And you grow up, you grow up. And if you're if you're at that certain point on the ladder, you look up the ladder and there is, like you say, a lot of romance in just disliking the rich. It's kind of...
[00:23:23] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:24:24] CHRIS: ... you kind of bounce yourself off them and go, 'okay. I'm not privileged, but I'm a harder worker. You know, I'm putting my head down. I'm real. I'm gritty. Those people are fakes up there. Those people don't know what it struggles'. And then, this is a true thing that still blows my mind. My father worked at a pharmaceutical company for many years and the pharmaceutical companies used to give people stock options as bonuses. And in my memory, people used to be like, 'just give us money, why you giving us stocks'. And they'd get mad about it. And then the pharmaceutical company in the late 90s released a product called Viagra. And as you can - as you can imagine, the stock rose. We all remember that that was a bit of a cultural sensation. And everybody cashed in on these stock options. And there were guys who, who, you know, worked at the warehouse who drove forklifts for 40 years and they cashed out. They became millionaires. And I remember, I remember my parents moved to a different town and their house was nicer and everything. We had more breathing room and I had to reconcile: 'oh, my family has bumped it up a few notches'. And I know what you mean. It sounds like you went from one extreme to the further extreme and kind of bypassed both levels I was at. But that identity thing of like, 'wait, I went - every day in high school, I would see the rich kids and I'd go... Thank God I'm not that'. And I wouldn't say I'm a rich kid, but all of a sudden things are easier and maybe... Was I wrong? Are they people, too? And also, can I be this guy with a chip on my shoulder anymore? And to kind of find that chip on my shoulder again. We have had some similar experiences.
[00:26:09] CALLER: Yeah, for sure. I feel like the chip on the shoulder is such a superpower, like I feel like to anybody listening who's like 'where's my fucking rich uncle?' Like that shit is powerful. That chip on your shoulder. Like, if you don't, wield it in a unhealthy way. Like that is just like - and I'm trying to figure out how to find that grit and that driving me without it. But it's just that can, it can take you so freaking far. It's amazing. It really is amazing. And I feel like unfortunately, because, you know, like many of your listeners, I'm a creative person. Creativity with money is so fucking confusing. It doesn't make any sense, to be honest with you. I'm having such a hard time because all of my interests - I went back to grad school again for a different artistic discipline. Did well. Amazing. Everything's great. But like, I just don't have the same drive to succeed. It's so sad.
[00:27:12] CHRIS: Wow. This is officially the point where I bet a lot of listeners are like 'boo hoo'. Like I could hear it in everybody's heads at that exact moment, which is not...
[00:27:23] CALLER: And I agree, but why... Yeah, I agree totally. But I don't talk to anybody.
[00:27:29] CHRIS: I don't.
[00:27:29] CALLER: I don't talk to anybody about it.
[00:27:31] [AD BREAK]
[00:29:46] CHRIS: And I hope, as you and I had talked, you know, I'm not trying to invalidate your feelings at all, but that is the official line. When someone hears that, when someone hears the sentence: 'Making art with money. Man, is it confusing.' There are a lot of people who listen to this who, like, work in autoplants or work in retail jobs who are like, 'oh, oh, is it? Is making art when you already have a million dollars tough, is it?
[00:30:10] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:30:11] CHRIS: 'Really? Because my manager yells at me and that's tough too'. But you get that, you get.. And again...
[00:30:17] CALLER: Yeah I do.
[00:30:18] CHRIS: I'll tell you...
[00:30:19] CALLER: I do.
[00:30:20] CHRIS: I'll tell you. Again, me opening up a little bit. Again, not a million dollar swing. When a... A couple of years ago in my life, I had a public access TV show. That's what I had. And then all of a sudden that TV show got on cable and this podcast blew up the same year. Similar thing. I did not find that it was... I always, I'll always have the chip on my shoulder and I'll always be able to make my art. But I will say. As someone who had a reputation as an underground guy, all of a sudden I had money. Also mean, I had money to lose, and that's been a struggle for me. I think my chip on the shoulder is already really firmly established. My momentum as an artist was really established and strong. But there is all... it hits that point when you're like, 'oh, but now I'm making money am I going to alter my choices to try to maintain making money?' And I went through that for a while and I'm happy to say I'm - and a lot of this is because of my wife - if we lost all of our money tomorrow and if all these jobs dried up, she'd die in the gutter with me. So that gives me a lot of strength to just go, I'm going to just ignore that money.
[00:31:29] CALLER: For sure.
[00:31:29] CHRIS: Invest it. And if I have kids some day, they can have it. Good on them. Hey, but before we move on, I want to talk about that. But I do want to know, what was your uncle's deal? Who's this guy that you barely knew? Left you all the money? Who's bitter to your dad and his own wife?
[00:31:46] CALLER: Yeah. So I... my uncle... my... both of my parents they grew up... I was my, my dad and his brother they grew up in like California coast. Like they had money. My dad's dad was a dad during World War II and he was really successful afterwards. He was a lawyer. And his mom was like crazy brilliant. She like... I don't know. Anyway, they had money, they both had money, and I think that like my dad... And it's just really interesting the way we build, I think, identity stories around class. Even in the US where... or maybe especially in the US.
[00:32:27] CHRIS: Especially in the US.
[00:32:27] CALLER: But like my dad kind of broke the cycle of wealth. He kind of broke out of it by basically just by being - not necessarily that he didn't want it - but he's just a really sensitive individual. And he actually had like trauma induced schizophrenia. He had a really bad motorcycle accident when he was in... He literally. This is fascinating. He was in his final semester of his PHD For psychology when he was institutionalized.
[00:33:05] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:33:05] CALLER: So, yeah...
[00:33:06] CHRIS: Of psychology of all things.
[00:33:06] CALLER: Anyway, like he... what's that?
[00:33:11] CHRIS: It's like, there's some bitter irony in it being psychology, huh?
[00:33:16] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. And yeah. So then he was - he was institutionalized. And he kind of broke this elite - I guess - identity that my, that his family had and he drove out into the middle of nowhere southwest. And I think that, you know, when he was going through his, his like biggest episodes - I don't know all the stories because my dad is my mouthpiece into this situation. My uncle only talked to me about it a couple of times - but like my dad, when there are a couple of times where he would have an episode and, you know, be scary. And I think he punched my uncle once. And I think he just like, my uncle just like didn't get it at all. Like, not at all. He didn't. There was no understanding of schizophrenia. And I think that he just saw it. Saw my dad's in like a really stereotypical threat kind of way.
[00:34:14] CHRIS: Uhhuh. Uhhuh. And then he gets older. He's got this family money. Does he not have kids of his own?
[00:34:22] CALLER: He does not. He is like without a disservice, like the 40 year old virgin, but you're like, I'm pretty sure that this is The 40-Year-Old Virgin story. And then he met a partner like really late in his life. They had only been together, I think like six years when he died. But it was like finally his first partner, I think.
[00:34:40] CHRIS: Wow. How did he pass away?
[00:34:43] CALLER: What's that?
[00:34:44] CHRIS: How did he pass away?
[00:34:47] CALLER: Yeah, it was kind of a fluke accident. In he had a blood clot in his leg and they went to the emergency room and one nurse came in and was like, 'oh, is he allergic to blood thinners?' And his partner was like, 'no, I don't know. He's never had any before'. And they were like, 'okay, well we're gonna give this tiny test shot before he gets the vial. And the next nurse came in and given the vial and he died. An allergic reaction.
[00:35:14] CHRIS: Ooof. That's a... that's a shitty way to go out. You...
[00:35:21] CALLER: Yeah, it's pretty bad.
[00:35:22] CHRIS: You allergic to this? Let's find out. Yep, that's it. Sorry to be insensitive, but that is... that is one of the most...
[00:35:30] CALLER: No, it's true.
[00:35:31] CHRIS: ...cut and dry, senseless thing. So he hasn't been with the partner so long. So the will is set up to protect the family still. And then you get the money even though you weren't that close.
[00:35:41] CALLER: I think he was kind of... I think part of the confusion, too, I think it was like an emergency will. Like it wasn't super thought out. Like, you know, there weren't too many moves in it. I think, like you might make to, to make it a little bit more complex. It was something you were really planning and thinking about.
[00:36:00] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:36:01] CALLER: So I think that's just how it worked out. I had to just divide it up the way I felt was correct. And I still - even talking and saying that sounds shitty because like how did I still end up with a million dollars? That's kind of like my own choice.
[00:36:15] CHRIS: No. But I mean, it sounds... You know, you can beat yourself up all you want, but you said you gave about half of it to his partner. I mean, this is a person - a 22 year. Again, a 22 year old person. You did the right thing. You did right by her. Or them. I wouldn't want to make assumptions. That's pretty incredible. Yeah, see, you did right by now. Okay. Let's be honest though. You get this cool million, you're taking care of everybody else. You had an upbringing that - I would imagine the fact that your upbringing was what it was makes you even maybe ultra responsible. It swings in that direction. You got to treat yourself a little bit, right. Do you not go out and get like some... I remember my, my - when I got a sitcom job in 2010, I went and bought prescription sunglasses for the first time. That was my big treat to myself. I never had sunglasses in my life. What... you had to have done one 22 year old thing with the money, right?
[00:37:12] CALLER: I... I mean, I guess the 22 year old thing I did, I don't know. I don't know. I just like... it makes me so nervous. Like the, this sense of not deserving something is pretty intense. So like I had best friends living with me because of college and even just like - I think I gave each of them $10,000 and helped them invest it. So confusing. It was a really confusing time.
[00:37:38] CHRIS: Just giving away $10,000 at a clip to just other college kids.
[00:37:43] CALLER: Well, my best friend, not just everybody. Not just everybody.
[00:37:48] CHRIS: That's... that's still a little bit of a freak out move, though, right? So - and you're describing it as a way where you got all this money and you're like, 'eugh eugh - you. You! You want $10,000 so I don't have it?'
[00:38:02] CALLER: Well, yeah, I mean. Yeah, but also, I knew that there was this like sense of impending doom that at some point it was going to feel normal. Right. At that point, I still knew that like this doesn't feel like my money yet. And so if I want to do anything super generous, I'm going to have to do it now so that it doesn't feel like as much money. Right?
[00:38:22] CHRIS: The way you tell me... you're telling me...
[00:38:23] CALLER: And so...
[00:38:24] CHRIS: You're telling me you never went to Ibiza. You never took one weekend to Berlin just to see what Berlin was like. Portugal, isn't Portugal...
[00:38:30] CALLER: Oh for sure! I think travel is definitely the way that my life has changed most with money. For sure. For sure. \
[00:38:39] CHRIS: That's cool.
[00:38:39] CALLER: But not extravagant like, it's like... I don't - I can't like pinpoint an extravagant trip that I took on purpose with the money. But like places I went to yeah!
[00:38:52] CHRIS: I love it. I love what this is turning into because we keep saying you're like so well-aware that regular people listen to this, who didn't get a million dollars, are going to listen to this. But I like that this is the real - in everybody's fantasy vision it's like, 'oh, I would go a little bit fancier. I'll get this. I'd get nicer clothes and start doing this. I'd go to clubs and have access to all these places'. And it's like, no, this is the real world version. Here's what happens. I went from poverty to a million dollars and it filled me with anxiety, weird guilt, and I just have consistently freaked out and tried to give it all away. That's what it's led to.
[00:39:25] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, that's the truth. And like, think about how weird... I mean, 30 is such a weird time because everybody's like establishing themselves in their careers.
[00:39:35] CHRIS: I think that people are starting to make really big milestones of their own effort. Like their first house purchases and stuff like that. My partner and I bought a condo because we had money and I feel like people treated us like, 'wow, congratulations. You could buy a condo' like based of of your effort. I'm like, 'oh, fuck, it's not it's not of of my effort'.
[00:39:57] CHRIS: Yeah but you still bought a condo.
[00:39:57] CALLER: I don't know.
[00:39:58] CHRIS: This is, this is the real back and forth with you, huh? We're like, 'no, the condo's not from my effort' whereas the million dollars. I don't know what section of the country you live in now. Are you still in the southwest in any way?
[00:40:11] CALLER: I'm not in the Southwest. I'm in the town where I got my masters. It's like a mountain town. And - I'm in Colorado.
[00:40:19] CHRIS: No matter where you are. A million dollars... you don't need a - you could go, you could go have like a house up on a mountain with a whole bunch of land. And you're sitting here like...
[00:40:27] CALLER: Oh for sure. Yeah.
[00:40:28] CHRIS: And you're like, 'no, I bought a condo and I don't even deserve the condo'.
[00:40:31] CALLER: Wait, let me - let me add doubly to this. And I'm going to - I'm going to out myself for very, very close people. But maybe that's it. I mean, that's the really scary thing, is that like I think a lot of people call into the show and it's like, fine if really close people recognize you. It's not really the same for me. Like no. Like even my best friends who are gonna hear this are gonna be like, 'shit. I didn't know any of that'. That's fine I guess...
[00:40:57] CHRIS: Look at that, look at that.
[00:40:59] CALLER: But... yeah, but. But my - my boyfriend of nine years, after we had been together maybe three years at this point when this happened to me. No, I guess just two. Something like that. We'd been together. We had been together nonetheless and I didn't know his financial situation. And his dad... his dad is an immigrant from [Beep]. And he was killed by a sheriff running a red light when he was in high school. And so he very similarly inherited money all of a sudden - partially from a lawsuit against the state, and partially because he was a surgeon and he had money. And so we're both navigating. I mean, I'm so grateful for him for many, many reasons, but literally the same exact situation as me.
[00:41:52] CHRIS: Wow. What a lucky thing that you're with someone who is weirdly experiencing the same thing. So what...
[00:42:02] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:42:03] CHRIS: Can I... Do you, do you like, you - You ever go see a shrink? Try to sort this out.
[00:42:09] CALLER: Oh of course.
[00:42:10] CHRIS: Or were you like 'no, no. I'm a poor person. I'm a poor person with the anger of a poor person. And a million dollars. Help'.
[00:42:19] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. And I mean, I have to admit, like I'm highlighting this. I'm... I'm highlighting this because I think that, you know, it's something I don't get to talk about very much. I'm highlighting this in a way as if this is my main - like truly my main - like identity point. And that's not really true how I live my life. It's just like it's the main piece of my identity that I don't get to talk about with very many people.
[00:42:46] CHRIS: And I think we can all hear everybody listening, I think is in agreement that you seem like a very good humored, well-rounded person. And we can all agree that this makes for an interesting podcast. So thank you for that.
[00:42:57] CALLER: Yeah, I was like - I should probably talk about it in this format so that...
[00:43:02] CHRIS: You're not going to tell me about all the things in your life that don't involve a million dollars. I know - I live a life that doesn't involve a million dollars. I know what it's like to go on the subway and eat at Subway and do every... There's nothing that involves the words subway that rich people ever come within sniffing distance of, huh? I just realized they don't take the subway. They don't eat at Subway. I know what this...
[00:43:30] CALLER: Oh I eat at Subway.
[00:43:31] CHRIS: Look that's why you're the cool millionaire. You're the chill millionaire. You're the Chillionaire. You're the Chillionaire. That's my new nickname for you.
[00:43:39] CALLER: Oh my God.
[00:43:40] CHRIS: You're the chill millionaire chillin' in Colorado. So wait, let's talk about your art. You said you... Oh yeah enjoy it. Bask in that. You just got a dope nickname, you're the Chillionaire. Enjoy it. Tell your boyfriend. He's the only other person you can talk about it. Tell him he can use it. A gift from...
[00:43:57] CALLER: I'm into it.
[00:43:58] CHRIS: A gift from your old pal Gethard to you. You're the Chillionaire. Now, you had been going to school for music. You said you switched to another artistic discipline. Can I ask what that is? If you're comfortable.
[00:44:08] CALLER: Sure. Yeah. Yeah, it's fine. I like always... so just a little bit of background. I was always doing music performance. I played the trumpet and always in the back of my mind I was like but I also just like I love literature so much and... so I was double majoring in English where I could. I don't really want to explain the situation too much. But basically I came out with literature and German also as disciplines, and then I did... I earned a Fulbright to live in Germany for a bit to teach English. And it just kind of sent me off back, reminding me how much I love to teach. And I just love English so much. And so I kind of decided that where I couldn't find some of the passion to, like, create as much, I could definitely find the passion to help. So I want to... yeah, teaching. Teaching English is my jam.
[00:45:15] CHRIS: But I think I can connect some of these dots. Here you are. You're this kid. You got... You got... You, you can see your family had money and you know that. But nope, your dad had an accident. And now you're going from church to church to make sure you get enough to eat tonight. You play the trumpet. I bet you're in your head. You're blowing them their trumpet. You're like, 'this is not - they think this is an orchestral instrument. They think this is the rich person's instrument. No, I'm thinking of the jazz greats, I'm thinking of the people in the jazz clubs, blowin' their souls, blowin' their hearts out. I'm thinking about Kerouac riding around this country, popping into random bar. He came through Colorado to - watchin' everybody and book...' And then you get this Fulbright scholarship. You're like, I grew up how I grew up and I'm a Fulbright scholar. Screw that. I'm on this redemption tale. This... my life is a Woody Guthrie song. My life is a Springsteen song. Here's a million dollars. No! Fuck! Wait, what? How am I supposed to... How am I supposed to be a Hemingway character if you hand me a million dollars? Fuck off.
[00:46:19] CALLER: That's right. Yeah, it's true. And it's totally true. And like in a way, you know, in a way it's - I don't know. I think that there is some level of whether it's on purpose or not like I think that there's some level of like having the lessons that you really didn't know you need to learn being shoved down your throat. And I really, really misunderstood people who had money. I really did. I misunderstood it to a degree that's like extremely unfair. And that's something that I felt like I had to learn from the inside because I mean, it's just like you said, like not only are they people, too, but like this idea that, you know, life is just suddenly perfect and easy when you have money. It's like absolutely hilarious. It's not true at all.
[00:47:12] CHRIS: And converse through it all.
[00:47:12] CALLER: It's not true at all.
[00:47:14] CHRIS: There's this weird thing that we all do, at least in America growing up here, where class defined so much and we don't talk about it. Just like you said before. And there's this thing we do where I think those of us who grew up, you know, I would say I grew up kind of right on the edge of middle class and working class. I was very proud of it. Then you look at the people who had a little more money and you're like, man, you didn't work for it. You're looking down your nose at me. What do you know about hard work? This and that. And then we all know, you know, I think there's a very public thing right now to where you can see that there's, you know, maybe - maybe some people with wealth look at people in poverty and go, what did you do to deserve it? What life choices have you made? You're trying to live off my welfare. There's just that lawyer in New York yelling that and saying stuff that - 'you guys are speaking Spanish meanwhile, you - you don't pay taxes. You want to live off the welfare that I give you'. Which is like - you read about it for ten minutes you're like, that's not how that works. And it's this weird thing where it's like we all forget, you know, like you have the... you always have this feeling that what you were born into, that the people on the other side of the fence are somehow, you know, have made their bed and they can lie on it. Or we, we can assume their motives. We can assume their motivations. We can assume their feelings on the inside towards everybody else. Just this very nasty setup we have that's aimed at dividing us from the start. And it's a little weird. It's a little weird.
[00:48:43] CALLER: It's really weird.
[00:48:47] [AD BREAK]
[00:50:36] CALLER: It's really weird. And like, it's so funny because I still feel like - I don't know. It's just like once... Once I started maybe being more comfortable and like maybe less like anxiety reactive about how I was dealing with my money and like the... The honest truth being like, like you say, just like invest it and forget it to a certain degree. Except for like when I'm taking care of my parents or like, when an opportunity arises I'm going to say, 'no, take it'. Like take, take this opportunity because you have the money. And honestly, that's the truth. But, I think that would you get to see is that what divides people is character. And there are people of good character with money and people of good character without. And that's just the fact of the matter. And there are still people who are super freaking corrupt and having money like really lets them do extreme damage. That's definitely true. For sure. But it's not all of them.
[00:51:35] CHRIS: as I kind of realized at a certain point, I don't think you should ever judge someone for something they don't have a choice in. And that goes in all directions. I don't think you should judge somebody who's born into being poor. I don't think you should judge somebody who's been born into being rich. I don't think you should judge people for, you know, how they look. I don't think you should judge people for the things that are kind of handed off to them. I wish there was just a little more understanding from the start on that stuff. You know? You can judge people for the choices they've made. You can't judge people for the random hand they were dealt. It's just not cool. You know what...
[00:52:13] CALLER: So not cool. And like those random hands, they just go in all sorts of different directions.
[00:52:18] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:52:18] CALLER: You know, I think that people like - when I, for example, to talk about poverty. Something that keeps me extremely grounded is my parents like they try their best. They're amazing. Like they are really hard workers. They try their best. And they've been dealt like a strange combination of hands, including a daughter who can now, like, help them and like, bail them out of situations for sure, like at the drop of a hat. But it's just like without me and this random money piece. And they just can't they like - they cannot make it work. It's so sad.
[00:52:53] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:52:54] CALLER: You know, and so just like you have to realize that, like, you know... Yeah, just like you said, people are adults, there are things that they can't... they cannot control. My parents, truly I promise, you cannot control their situation.
[00:53:08] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:53:09] CALLER: In a way I wouldn't change it.
[00:53:10] CHRIS: What a crazy life they've had, too. I mean, your dad had an accident that changed everything. Total random happenstance. And then his estranged brother hands you a million dollars and you step up and become this like protector willing to, you know, keep them going. What a whole lot of random fate has added up, especially for your dad, huh?
[00:53:37] CALLER: Oh, yeah, for sure. For sure.
[00:53:40] CHRIS: You know what's interesting about a million dollars? You know, it's interesting... Oh sorry to cut you off.
[00:53:45] CALLER: Oh no, no! I didn't really have anything interesting.
[00:53:48] CHRIS: You know what's interesting about getting $1 million when you're 22 years old? You're going to be alive probably, what? 50, 60 more years. When you're 22 and a million dollars is a ton of money. I don't know if it's enough to get you through 60 years?
[00:54:04] CALLER: Right.
[00:54:04] CHRIS: You still gotta work still. You're not Scrooge McDuck, you're not like putting on a bathing suit and doing swan dives into coins.
[00:54:11] CALLER: No.
[00:54:12] CHRIS: It'll last a long time, but you could... that could dry up.
[00:54:16] CALLER: Oh, for sure. Absolutely. Absolutely. I do think that that's part of... I mean it's just like you said, like when you have money, there's anxiety of losing it. I feel like... One of the main reasons I'm not extravagant is partially selfish as well, like I - it's like once you have something you don't really want to fuck it up and ruin like that safety net. 'Cause I see it as this like safety net. One of my best days when I'm not feeling anxiety, like anxiety about it, it's like this really lovely safety net that most people don't get. Partially because I think personally that our country doesn't do a good job of providing safety net. But I have it - like I have this gorgeous safety net where I can try all the things I want to try. Take a little bit of risk when it seems rational and I have the thing to like lean back on. But I want to have that for as long as possible.
[00:55:09] CHRIS: Yeah, I tell you one of... 'cause I - you know, like I said, Public Access in the years have built... Here's my weird anxiety. I think you might appreciate this more. I don't think I've ever told anybody this. I don't think anybody knows this about me. When I started making money, I just stopped looking at my tax returns. I have no idea how much money I actually make. I don't know! The first year that I was making decent money, I was like, I'm just not gonna look, I'm not going to check. 2010 I got a sitcom and I was making so much money on it I was like, I don't want to know. And I just kind of stopped looking. Like I know that I pay my mortgage now. Once, once I bought a house, I had to kind of look up like, like the past three or four years of tax returns. I had to go back and look at them to get a loan. And I was like, I've done OK. All right. But I was just like, eugh! I don't want to know. I just kept living in my shitty one bedroom apartment, with my other comedian, oh two bedroom apartment with my other comedian friend for years. Just like I think I know I have a bunch of money in the bank. I don't need to know how much I actually make! I want to keep it like... Like you said I want - I want to keep living as this angry young comedian. I don't want to know that I have a little more breathing room. I gotta make my jokes man. So where's your art at? I said we would come back and talk about it. Where's your art at? So, you know, you're teaching now, it sounds like, but you're not doing your art as much. And this money has become a roadblock.
[00:56:31] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, it is confusing. I think that like I feel such a... I feel - yeah. Again, it's like good days and bad days. Right. I think that on my, on my best days in terms of how I view myself in this situation - I don't know, I really like Virginia Woolf and she has a quote talking about how you... like essentially a woman needs money and a room of her own to create. And like I think about that and I'm just like, I was given it. You better use it, sort of thing. I was like freelance writing before I went back to school. Kind of like finishing people's like... Oh, ghostwriting is so fun. If you want to write and you want to make a little bit of money. I was like finishing people's like deadlines that they couldn't finish. So like these weird romance novels and like you - like goblin stories. People's dream stories that they like couldn't finish on their own.
[00:57:26] CHRIS: Don't say the phrase goblin stories like that's a genre we know. Don't pretend goblin stories is a thing. Goblin stories is not a thing. What're you talking about? Goblin stories?
[00:57:37] CALLER: I guess I only say that because I remember vividly a project that I worked on. It was so strange and not my own taste at all, but it was kind of fun to pretend it was for like a month.
[00:57:50] CHRIS: Well, that's The Goblin Story. You go straight... 'cause this is not a thing that there are so many of. Unless - here's the thing that I have learned through this podcast though. I'm about to get 150 tweets from people that are like 'Goblin fiction is - I'm going to a convention tomorrow. How dare you be ignorant about the omnipresent... Goblin fiction has a long and storied history in both American culture and rooted back in Eastern Europe'. You can, I'm gonna hear the whole history of goblin stories tomorrow. Goblins. That's like the next vampire. Is it the hot, sexy goblins? Is that the next thing after vampires? True Blood but with goblins.
[00:58:29] CALLER: I think it was mainly I like... I like - for the creative side of ghostwriting with the stuff that's not just nonfiction. It's so often people who like lucked out and got some version of a publication date and they thought they could do it on their own and they just can't. They just cannot meet their own deadline. And so...
[00:58:47] CHRIS: So they turned to the Chillionaire.
[00:58:49] CALLER: It's one person's dream.
[00:58:50] CHRIS: They turned to the Chillionaire in their moment of need.
[00:58:55] CALLER: I guess I mean, like, there's nothing funnier than, like, not only like do I have money, I don't necessarily need those jobs. But like - but like, I also, I don't know, I'm just like an extreme lover of literature. So I just felt like a little bit of an impostor. In a fun way. I love this. I felt like... I was being bossed around by people from all over the country with maybe relatively meager skillset, but they were really trying to finish their dreams. And it was just fun. It was fun to help. It was fun.
[00:59:27] CHRIS: So you'll get like a sealed... you get like an envelope or a file. And you open it up and you're just like grinning. You're like, 'yeah, I help you get your goblin novel over the finish line'. Sure, sure.
[00:59:41] CALLER: My favorite though, I have - my favorite was I had to finish this equal service and I have to like I've got to make sure I'm, I've signed my non-disclosure. I was like, yeah OK. So this woman who was self-published on Amazon, it was like a sequel to a romance and she just couldn't do it on her own. And I had to emulate, I had to emulate the style that was so ridiculously bad. I can't even express - there were like typos every other word. Like it was a romance novel that was like, 'The chicken slid down his throat, romantically'. Like that's not even an exaggeration. And I had to write a whole book trying to emulate this woman's first book. It was really hard.
[01:00:26] CHRIS: And meanwhile, you're a Fulbright scholar. You're a Fulbright scholar. Who studied literature. I can see - I see your frustrations. I see how things have gotten mixed up in a weird way for you. 'Cause you're dreaming of... You want to be the next... Who's, who are your heroes? Who are your literary heroes for such a fan of literature?
[01:00:45] CALLER: So my heroes, I mean like I'm into Virginia Woolf on purpose. I love... I love - because of my interest in like Germany as well. I love the World War period so much. I think a lot of really interesting things happen in art during that time period. And so Virginia Woolf, I love - she's on the earlier end. But Faulkner, I love. I love German writers that people are not so interested in. Like I just love - I love people in that time period. And it's not even like - I can hear you like pushing me more towards like beat style writers. And I love them, too. But it's just for some reason the World War period. Just I think it's so crazy. And especially with my background in music too. Just art across the board just did this crazy expansion during that time when people's minds were blown about what the world was. That I think is really interesting.
[01:01:35] CHRIS: Hey, I'll also say this. I wasn't pushing you... I mentioned Kerouac once! I'm not trying to push you to beat writers.
[01:01:42] CALLER: No, no! I didn't mean like person like or thing. I mean, like I can see how, like, my story would be that way. That makes total sense.
[01:01:50] CHRIS: Yeah. It's an American tale. So what are you going to do? What's your... We have eight minutes left, by the way. You and I could talk all day.
[01:01:59] CALLER: Okay.
[01:01:59] CHRIS: We got, we got the - we got some conversational chemistry. We could talk all day, but in eight minutes, what's... What's the plan? What's the plan? How do you capture your own mojo back? You're trying to be the next Virginia Woolf and you're having a lot of fun jumping in on other people's projects and we're giggling about it. But I'm sure there is some - you'd be frustrated if you didn't put your own thing out into the world, huh?
[01:02:22] CALLER: I would. I would. And I like. I think that now - I mean, something that's really cool about this lesson that I think that everybody - that a lot of people kind of learn on their own anyways, it's just like been my path to it. I don't know if. Like. I think that the story of rags to riches like as a work of art itself. Like, I don't even think that that's the story that we need anymore, like people should still tell that story and it's true, but it's like I kind of saw that as the only story like - that American dream story. And I'm trying to find a way... I like to write. I mean, that's just straight up. I've been published in a couple of different disciplines, not super crazy. Nothing like that. But like, I want - I think I really, really.... Like my big thing. One piece of work. One novel. Just like put it out there in a really honest way that doesn't like, I think that doesn't romanticize my poverty in a way that I use to.
[01:03:24] CHRIS: Yeah.
[01:03:24] CALLER: That's really my big goal, to be honest.
[01:03:26] CHRIS: Yeah. And you know what, one thing - here. You know what one thing - I wonder if you'd agree with this, because you - you know, as some, as someone who has gotten progressively more successful. Is very thankful for it but who also has those feelings. You know, one thing I would take away from for anybody who is listening, who maybe does have some artistic goals and is feeling the fear, the frustration right now. I wonder if you'd agree with this: there were so many times in my life when I was a young comedian taking the train in from New Jersey, to New York City. Terrified of New York City. This is where the dream lives or dies and everybody's fast paced and everybody's an asshole. And everybody's chasing their own dream. And they don't have time for you. And I go, do some shows and I bomb. And I'd see people around me getting good. See people around me get successful. And... And I sit and I stress and I have so many memories of nights - me and my friend Bobby Moynihan, who many of you guys know, sitting in this bar - McManus, 19th Street, Seventh Avenue. He was living at home with his folks in Westchester. I'm living my folks in Jersey. Him and I sitting here like we're fucking imposters trying to make it in this city. Who do we think we are? What are we doing? What are we doing? This is depressing. And I look back and it wasn't depressing. It was the most beautiful time of my life. And I was too young and dumb to enjoy it. And now things are so much better in every way. But the fire is also harder to find. And I wish I had allowed myself to enjoy it more when it was hard, because just because things are hard doesn't mean they're not also completely exhilarating and mindblowing and fun.
[01:05:13] CALLER: Absolutely. I think exhilarating thing is - I think that that is definitely the truth. I think that when you have less to lose, there is - it's like it's a healthy version of recklessness. It's like it's - you can put everything on the line at any minute. And almost like... it's almost like when you're creative in that space, like the world is daring you to. It's like, OK, show me how much you want it. Like, show me. Show me. And it's... it's amazing. Like it is. It's really... I know that it sucks. And it's horrible when you got a chance to, like, really be an adult in that world for a really short period of time. But like that, when I look back, it's just like that is - I think it's the piece of myself that I'm the most proud of. Because when, when - essentially when, when the world handed you these difficulties and you say, 'fuck them, I'm going to try anyway'. I'm gonna keep pushing. I gonna keep pushing back. I mean, nothing - nothing - feels better than that. Nothing and... nothing. No reward is better than that. What you get after that.
[01:06:18] CHRIS: Yeah. You were 22 and you had these plans. Then you get this windfall. Comes out of nowhere, you're like, man, I had like a solid 10 years left where I was ready to scrap. You know I was ready to find it. I was ready to fight for it. And now I don't have to. And that's the one of the things about being an artist that I always say, if you don't really feel compelled that you have to be an artist, why the fuck would you? Cause it's hard. And also, no one cares that it's hard. Great art changes the world. 98 percent of art is not great. You're probably going to land on that side of the fence. I do almost all the time. Why... it's so hard. Why do it? Million dollars fell out of the sky. It's smothered the fire out. You drop a million dollars on a small fire, the fire's going out.
[01:07:17] CALLER: Yeah and it's weird 'cause like there's still embers. Like if we're gonna follow the analogy like there's still embers. But it's different. It's really different and I'm just trying to figure it out. I mean, I guess the answer to your question, a few questions back is like - what I'm going to do. I think that honestly, I'm relearning what I want to do. I'm, I'm like, I'm trying to feel around and be as honest and vulnerable with what is the most fulfilling and meaningful way to be with art and creativity now. And when I teach, it feels like it's teaching. But when I write, I feel like it's writing. And I think it's probably just going to be a combination of both. I don't know to what degree, but like... Man, good teachers are what got me to that Fulbright position in the first place. That's what got me to a competitive conservatory. It's like good teachers, really - they make a big deal. They make a big difference. And they were, they were the real variable before it was money. So I really would like to do that.
[01:08:20] CHRIS: I tell you what. I think you're one of my favorite callers ever because you've got an interesting story. You got a good head on his shoulder. You got a sense of humor. And I love that you're teaching people. And I look forward to reading your novel someday.
[01:08:37] CALLER: It will be a goblin story. Make sure you look for it in the goblin aisle.
[01:08:40] CHRIS: Oh, my God. When I finally - when I read the headline that's like 'The great American novel has finally arrived and it's all about a goblin', I'm gonna know in my heart who wrote it.
[01:08:53] CALLER: I can't, I can't... I can't take goblins seriously. I could take goblins seriously for that month, that one month time. That was like alright. You and me, goblins. We're gonna do this.
[01:09:01] CHRIS: You got less than a minute left. We got 45 seconds left.
[01:09:04] CALLER: Oh my!
[01:09:05] CHRIS: Can you just...
[01:09:06] CALLER: Oh my goodness!
[01:09:07] CHRIS: Here's a question: what is a goblin? What's a goblin? What is that?
[01:09:12] CALLER: Just imagine a dwarf. Uglier. Combined with Gollum. That's how I would just define a goblin. People are going to wreck me for that. But that's how I would describe it. As someone who's not a sci-fi nerd.
[01:09:24] CHRIS: So it's just like a Gollum? Just a weird Gollum. 'Interview with a Goblin' doesn't exactly roll off the tongue in the same way 'Interview with a Vampire' does.
[01:09:35] CALLER: No, definitely not.
[01:09:37] CHRIS: We got ten seconds left Chillionaire. Thank you for calling. Your final words?
[01:09:42] CALLER: Final words are: keep that fire if you've got it. For sure follow it. It's more powerful than you think.
[01:09:48] CHRIS: [ring] Caller thank you so much for calling. Thank you for being such a gracious caller with so much humor. It was fun to talk to you. Really I think you told us a story that everybody's dreamed about and the reality of it is just different. Thank you so much for opening up. Good luck to you with that novel. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled. Thank you for calling. Thank you Jared O'Connell. Thank you, Harry Nelson for all your help putting this show together, the secret backbones of the show. Also, thanks for coming to the Chris Gethard show offices. Putting me up there. It means a lot. Thanks again to the Reverend John Doyle, for building this show. Thank you, Shellshag for the music. Thank you to everybody who listens and supports the show. If you like Beautiful Anonymous, guess what you can do? You go to Apple podcast, you rate, review, subscribe. It helps a lot more than you know. I think that's all the business. See you next time.