Monday, March 12, 2018

Pheaturing Wil Shriner

Hey, kids, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile for a Monday. It's National Napping Day... did you take a nap? I will after I get done with this blog thing. Speaking of napping... Are you looking for a workout that doesn't involve sweating, lifting or... hell... even moving? Then napercise is for you. As the name suggests, this exercise class is pretty much adult nap time. Napercise classes are currently offered at David Lloyd Gyms in the U.K., and involve 15 minutes of stretching and 45 minutes of napping. Each enrollee in the class is provided a bed, comforter and eye mask to ensure restful, uninterrupted sleep. That is, unless someone in the class snores. Here is how the David Lloyd website describes the class, "Napercise is scientifically designed to reinvigorate the mind, improve moods and even burn the odd calorie. The frantic nature of modern life means that few of us seem to get enough sleep, and if you’re a parent, [a good night’s rest] becomes even more of a luxury. The development of Napercise is inspired by past academic studies into the important health benefits that napping in the day can bring." Finally, a workout I'll actually enjoy. Alright, I know what you're thinking... napercise is just one big scam. After all, you can do this exercise at home, for free, and not have to sleep in some random bed in a room with a bunch of strangers. However, the class is ideal for new parents who are exhausted, especially ones with kids who would never allow them to indulge in an uninterrupted nap. If nothing else, at least we all have an actual excuse to go to the gym now. Sweet dreams!
Ignorance is bliss, and Caitlyn Jenner is blissful no longer. After endorsing Donald Trump and saying he would be "very good for women’s rights," defending voting for him, and wearing a MAGA hat after he tried to ban trans people from serving in the military, Jenner has now seen the light about Trump's darkness. "As far as trans issues, this administration has been the worst ever," she told "Newsweek" at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala (also, what was she doing at the Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala?) "They’ve set our community back 20 years, easily," Jenner said. "It’s going to be hard to change, but we’ve been through these types of things before and we’ll continue to fight it." People hate to say "I told her so," so they're calling on her to apologize for having been so dangerously wrong. Here's one person who realized they were duped by Trump. Only 62,984,824 to go.
Last night, Betsy DeVos appeared on "60 Minutes" to give an exclusive interview with Lesley Stahl, and things probably did not go the way the Education Secretary had hoped. DeVos has always been a controversial figure... two Republicans voted against her nomination. She wants to rewrite the Obama administration’s approach to policing campus sexual assault to protect not only victims, but also the accused. Oh yeah, and she also advocated for putting guns in schools in case a grizzly bear wandered in and needed to be shot. Seriously. But still, DeVos maintains that she is not unfit for the role of Education Secretary, but just is simply "misunderstood." However, when it came to her "60 Minutes" episode, DeVos had a hard time explaining her own policies and plans. "Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they’re doing?" Stahl asked. "I have not," DeVos answered. "I have not. I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming." "Maybe you should," Stahl suggested. To put it very lightly, Betsy DeVos is the human version of when you didn't do the reading but you get called on.
Linda Tracy Gillman, 70, is currently on trial for hiring a hitman... and was just charged again for the same crime. KSL reports that the senior citizen in Harriman, Utah was convicted of trying to arrange her ex-husband murdered, then charged with seeking a second hitman while in jail, and was just charged AGAIN with hiring a third hitman because third time's a charm. It all started in December 2016, when Gillman allegedly gave an employee of her's $5,000 to carry out a hit on her ex and his new wife, promising him $100,000 more once she got some of that sweet life insurance money. Instead of going to the ex to kill him, the employee went to the police. In June 2017, while in jail, she allegedly asked an another inmate whom she thought was in a white supremacist gang to hit the failed hit man who sent her to prison. "Gillman referred to herself as 'the bank,' and said that she 'could make everything happen'" if the inmate could take out the tattler. Now on trial for her first attempted hit, Gillman allegedly tried to arrange for the prosecution's key witness to be murdered. I'm sorry, lady, but you should get a new hobby. Hiring hitmen just doesn't fill the time.
On Friday, a nun being sued by Katy Perry collapsed and died in court. The 89-year-old Sister Catherine Rose Holzman fell out during a post-judgment hearing connected to the lawsuit filed by Perry and the Archdiocese of L.A. For those not caught up on the bitter legal battle between Perry and the nuns (what even is life), the battle is over who has the legal right to sell the convent the nuns lived in from 1971 to 2011. The Archdiocese of L.A. offered to sell the convent to Perry for $14.5 million in 2015, while the late Holzman and another nun from the Immaculate Heart of Mary community arranged to sell it to the L.A. restaurateur Dana Hollister for $15.5 million. Perry and the Archdiocese opened a case against Hollister and the nuns, under claims that the nuns had no right to sell the property. Perry wants to turn the property into a private home for her mother and grandmother, while Hollister wants to turn it into a hotel. "Perry was a very lovely person but her offer is not as good as Dana’s. We’re looking for someone who will care for our property and let it be open for the public to enjoy. She wants it for a private home, a hideaway,” one of the nuns said, according to "NY Daily News." Just last week, the nuns released a documentary about their ongoing legal battle for their home. Following Sister Holzman's tragic passing on Friday, the Archdiocese released a statement expressing condolences, "Sister Catherine Rose served the Church with dedication and love for many years and today we remember her life with gratitude. We extend our prayers today to the Immaculate Heart of Mary community and to all her friends and loved ones.” A post on the website advertising the sisters' documentary further expresses their thoughts towards Perry's proposed purchase. "Our Sisters were supposed to live for the rest of our lives at our beloved Convent. But, against our will, the Archdiocese removed us to 'monetize' our property. Katy Perry wants it and she has no concern for the terrible path of destruction she is creating to get it. She is deeply hurting us and our friends who have stepped up to help us." There are no words for how simultaneously sad and bizarre this whole scenario is.
So, instead of writing this blog I should be listening to this album...

I bet that's not all she can blow... If I had a TARDIS I would go back to see the Statue of Liberty being constructed.... forgetting it was in constructed in France. Ugh.

The other day I Googled "dogeball" instead of "dodgeball" and this is what I got.

That's creepy. Do you go to Pet Smart? They have a pretty good store rewards card...

Here's another teacher saying what she wants to be armed with...

So, a few weeks ago I told you about a dog with a human face... here he is ICYMI...

I asked you to send in pics of your dogs if they have human faces and I received a few. Check this one out...

He's adorable but doesn't really have a human face. Hey, parents, I hope your kid is as talented as the kid that did this...

So, I mentioned Betty DeVos earlier... well, this was on her phone before she was on "60 Minutes"...

Hahahaha. Did you see the pic of Trump on International Women's Day a few days ago? No? Check it out.

That's great.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, so, in the past I had this really funny comedian come on the Phile and tell a joke. The problem is though he's so old that it's hard to understand what he's saying. Fortunately I am kinda old as well and do understand him as he speaks old English, and that makes me able to translate the joke so you'll understand. So, please welcome to the Phile once again...

Me: Hello, Alan, welcome back to the Phile, sir.

Alan: Salutations, Jason.

Me: Alright, tell us the joke you have for us today, Alan.

Alan: Okay. A booby of a country squire, who made an honest woman of his father's chamber-maid, bolted into the room when she was in labour, and blubbering over her with great tenderness, sobbed out that he was sorry she felt so much pain on his account. "Don't make thyself uneasy, love," said the wife, "I can't bear to see thee fret, for I'm sure it was not thy fault."

Me: Haha. That's funny. Okay, here goes... When a dumb guy's wife goes into labor, he apologizes for the pain he's causing her. But she's like, "Don't worry about it; it's probably not your baby." Haha. Do you have one more for us today, Alan?

Alan: One came to a citizen to buy a mat, and shewing him many, he liked them not; then he to jeer the country fellow, brought forth his daughter mat, and told him, this was all the mats he had. "No," says he, "I must have one that has not been lain upon."

Me: Hmmm... okay... lemme think... A guy wants to buy a mat, but doesn't like any of the ones the mat-seller has. So then they get the mat-seller's daughter, who is also named Mat for some terrible reason, and the guy buying says, "Yeah, I don't want a mat that someone has lain upon. In the sex way. Because your daughter has obvi slept with some dudes." That's not very good, but i think that's it. Alan, thanks for coming back on the Phile. Come back again soon.

Alan: Thank you. Farewell, Jason.

Me: Alan Raglafart, the 100-year-old comedian, everyone.

Hahaha. That one I get.

The 77th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

The author, David Frankham will be a guest on the Phile in a few weeks.

There are three women. One is dating, one is engaged, and one is married. They decide to get kinky with their men and really pull out all the stops to make it extra special. The woman who is dating says, “Okay, so I bought black leather, red lipstick, fishnet stockings, and really got crazy. He loved it so much he thinks he’s in love.” The woman who is engaged says, “I showed up to his work after hours wearing only a red coat. Let’s just say he wants to move the wedding date up!” The woman who is married says, “Okay, I really went all out. I got a babysitter for the kids, and bought a black mask and a whip. My husband gets home, goes straight to the fridge, and grabs a beer. Then he plops down on the couch and says, 'Hey Batman! Where the fuck is dinner?!?'" Hahahahahahaha.

It will be a few cool entries from Gainesville. I hope.

Today's guest is an American actor, comedian, film director, screenwriter and game show host. I am so thrilled to have him as a guest on the Phile. Please welcome the great... Wil Shriner.

Me: Hey, Wil, welcome to the Phile. I'm so exited to have you here. How are you?

Wil: I'm good, Jason, thank you.

Me: I have to tell you my friend Rich and I were talking about you at work a while ago and he mentioned to me you'll be a cool guest on the Phile. I remember you when you used to be on Letterman back on the day. You were really good friends with Dave and he gave you your first big break, am I right?

Wil: Yeah, Dave and I were friends at the Comedy Store in the late 70s and when he got a show going he said, "If I ever get something going I want to hire you." David Letterman, Jay Leno, Richard Lewis, were all hanging around the Store, we were all just struggling comedians and Dave started doing "The Tonight Show" as host and I did my first few shows with Dave, and when he got the show in New York he took me and Rich Hall and Merrill Markoe all to New York. We were like kids in the candy store, doing the network show live ninety minutes every day.

Me: How did you get into comedy, Wil? Your dad was a humorist so you were raised surrounded by it, was that a part of it?

Wil: Yeah, that's pretty much it. My dad was a humorist and a TV personality, he started in radio as a musician. He had a show called "Two for the Money," and had his own variety show. My dad, since he had twins, I have a brother who is my twin, put us in commercials so we we just grew up around show business. My mom was an acrobat dancer, so it just seemed like the thing to do. If my dad was a fireman I'd probably become a fireman... I grew up around comedy and my dad worked like an hour a couple of nights a week and I was I like these hours.

Me: Wil, my dad was a rock and roll singer... I barely play the kazoo. You grew up in New York, am I right?

Wil: No, I was just born in New York. I grew up in Florida, and a little bit in L.A.

Me: When did you start to do comedy yourself?

Wil: Well, I started comedy in school, I went to Catholic school, so if I saw my friends get smacked over something I said I found great joy in that. I took it to the stage in '77. I was making funny movies, I went to the UCLA film school and I was making little short films that I would show in the art house theaters. They would had tracks live, and I recorded the tracks on it and thought I could do these funny news reels. I was showing them at the Comedy Store, I would put a 16 millimeter projector in the back and I would show them. They were a hip modern commentary, a lot of the jokes were biometrically opposed on what they were seeing on camera. It seemed to be unique and different enough that I become a regular at the Improv and the Store pretty quick. So, then it was just the time of building stage time, develop an act outside of the movies and talking about my life. As I went through all the stuff I went through, getting married, having kids, getting remarried and all that stuff it just becomes fodder for material.

Me: Isn't your son a comedian now, Wil?

Wil: Yeah, he's a third generation comedian. I go to the open mics with him occasionally. He's been getting up at the Improv and the Comedy Store. He goes to these open mics places, like Flappers where Missy puts him up. He's developing an act, he's got twenty minutes now.

Me: So, what was it like when you started, do you think it's different now than it was back then?

Wil: I would not want to try and make it today. When I was doing it there was a real supportive nature to comedy, there was a HBO special about this that was loosely based on Bud Freeman, and it was about how comics were supportive. They would crank up the TV when we were on "The Tonight Show" and everyone would come into the bar and watch and cheer if we got over to sit with Johnny and Bud would buy a round of all drinks. We all went out at night and all help each other with our bits. It was very collaborative and supportive, but there were only about two or three hundred comedians in those days. We knew everybody, we knew everybody's routines. There was Tom Dreeson, who was a little ahead of me, Jimmie Walker, Handling, some of these guys who already had good acts. Those guys were very giving, and today is a little darker environment, everybody is pissed off about everybody else's success, but there's room for everybody. When you watch TV now there's so many outlets for expression and creativity. The Internet has opened it up, I mean look what you are doing, you have your own outlet. You don't have to wait around for somebody to give you a start now, you just create your own future. YouTube and a lot of these channels are giving people opportunities to go to the next level. It's also bringing a lot of crap on, a lot of wasted time on YouTube. I still think people have to be entertaining, have interesting characters, have a story to tell, otherwise they are not really servicing an audience.

Me: That is so true. I actually did stand up myself, mostly in the mid 90s. But it's so much easier to do this blog. So, when you worked on the Letterman morning show what did you do?

Wil: I was a writer for the show, and a lot of us wrote our own bits and we had to bring them on... Rich Hall, Bob Sarlatte, who was a San Francisco comic, Edie McClurg, Valri Bromfield... and so collectively we would write for the show. I would go out with cameras doing a lot on the street stuff, the kind of stuff you see now with "Billy on the Street." I was doing that in the 80s. Dave used to go out with Merrill, and he would go out and shoot remotes. That was great fun because it was called "found comedy." Basically you put Dave at a drive-thru window and we had "found comedy." A lot of the early stuff we did I took to other shows, we did "The Home Show" with Gary Collins for about six years. I went around the world doing pieces, they'd drop me somewhere, we would hire a film crew and we would make a story. We knew what we were doing, we went there with a purpose, but hen we knew we had shot five Beta tapes, five twenty minute tapes we knew we had enough for a five minute story we could get on a plane and come home.

Me: When you did "The Tonight Show" was that with Dave as the guest host?

Wil: Yeah, my very first two I came out on "The Tonight Show" and just showed a film on the guest spot, what is called the second spot on the panel. Show I showed a behind the scenes of "The Tonight Show" film I wrote and directed. Then I came back with a thing about the Democratic Convention, ans the third time I did a stand up monologue then went and sat with Dave. It took a little of the tension and the heightened sort of pressure for when I finally got to do it with Johnny the first time I had been there and knew the environment. "The Tonight Show" comedy spot was like five hundred people in the studio, the laughs just bathed me, it drenched me with laughter. We weren't supposed to look over at Johnny, we were supposed to just look forward and do the spot. I tell people all the time it was very intimating, standing behind that curtain and the band would stop with a thump and I would hear Johnny muttering, "My next guest is making a comedian appearance..." I would be like oh, shit, my heart would be beating and I would freak out, then when I would get my first laugh and then I'd settle in. Every comedian had that. A lot of us would go and do spots at 1 o'clock the night before just so we would bomb and feel comfortable knowing our set. No laughs.

Me: That's so cool. With your first show with Johnny how did you do?

Wil: I did good. It was never relays scheduled when I was going to get called over, the big care for people was getting called over the first time out. It happened to Ellen DeGeneres, Drew Carey, Roseanne... there were a lot of elements to the show, if it was running long we knew we weren't going to get called over. If we went long personally, we planned six minutes but sometimes with the audience we would get seven because the audience would laugh, and pause and stuff like that. So, I would always suggest to people to plan five minutes, so maybe they'll leave themselves thirty seconds for Johnny to call you over. I did about two or three before I got called over, and then it was pretty much understood I would come over every time. Then I was doing a movie with Francis Ford Coppola called Peggy Sue Got Married, I just came out as an actor, without doing any stand up. I was on the panel and I was like now I really made it, I was like Dick Cavett, Steve Martin, I would just go and sit down.

Me: When you got on the show with Johnny did your comedy career In those days stay the same? 

Wil: Oh, no, it was like winnng "American Idol" back in those days. In the late 70s and early 80s, when we did "The Tonight Show" in the day I was in the market and people saw me, and were like, "I saw you on 'The Tonight Show.'" Then I got a gig opening for Paul Anka, at the Aladdin in Las Vegas after my first Johnny "Tonight Show" appearance. I was there for a week with him, all of a sudden things started coming in and I was getting booked in other casinos. In those days the aspirations of a comic was getting the opening act status at bigger paying venues. We would all go to Vegas, or Tahoe or Reno, or Atlantic City and be an opening act. Once we had exposure we started to get billing and it kept building up. I finally built up to where it was called a co-headliner. Joan Rivers and I would work Caesars Tahoe, and we would get equal billing on the marquee. I was like oh, man, I'm making it. Even though Joan was making more money it was the prestige of co-headlining. The power of television in those days was to take you in those areas. Then along came the mid-80s when Roseanne got her TV show and Drew Carey and Brett Butler, Tim Allen and all these guys would get their own sitcom. That became the hurdle, I want to get on "The Tonight Show" with a set that shows my attitude and get a development deal.

Me: Did you ever get offered a sitcom show, Wil?

Wil: No, not really. In those days I wasn't really driven. It was stupid, when I started directing sitcoms I realized what a great life it is. It's probably the best life in show business. They're on a soundstage with air conditioning and people bringing you food, light rehearsals, it's a great life. It's funny, Barry Sand wo produced the morning Letterman show said to me, "If Dave doesn't show up one morning I'm going to put you in the chair so be prepared." I was like yeah, that would be cool, I'd like that. I kind of just leaned towards being a host and I really admired Carson so much, everybody wanted that life, their own talk show.

Me: You mentioned Peggy Sue Got Married... how did you get to be in that movie?

Wil: It was a weird thing, I made this little film for Letterman about my dog stealing my car and driving around the neighborhood and Francis Coppola's casting guy saw me on there and wanted a copy of the film. I went into a meeting at Warner Bros. and he said am I interested being in a film? I said sure, as I've done a couple of small films and things like that. So, I read something for him and be brought me back to meet Francis and the next thing I know I've got a co-starring role in Peggy Sue Got Married, playing Joan Allen's husband. With all those people in it, Kathleen Turner, Nicholas Cage, Jim Carrey, Sophia Coppola... we were all on the road to being actors now, this is in '85. I came back and I got an "Amazing Stories" episode for Kevin Reynolds, and then I got on "Dream On" for Jon Landis and I'm thinking I'm getting some good credits here.

Me: How did you first get your own talk show, Wil?

Wil: Alan Thicke was going to host his own talk show for Westinghouse but he got "Growing Pains" and he bailed out. I knew a couple of people over there and and they asked me if I'd be interested. I said, "Yeah, I would be actually." So I went out, getting groomed, sent around the country to different stations to host their local shows. They developed me as a talk show host and we sold it to hundred and ten markets really easily the first year. It was off and running and we got big ratings. In the beginning we got a four rating and of course in those days a four wasn't good enough. I did two hundred hours of that and all the executives at Westinghouse all got fired and replaced, so no one really championed us for a second year. Suddenly I found myself out of work as a talk show host. Then I hosted an animal show for CBS, and a show about inventions for Goldwyn... I became a go to host, kind of like a Mario Lopez or Billy Bush was. I did that for a long time and that kind of killed my acting career.

Me: I'm so jealous... I always wanted my own talk show... instead I got this silly little blog. What was it like having your own talk show, Wil?

Wil: It was a lot of work, I'd get there at nine in the morning and I got home at ten at night. It was a long day and we did two shows a day, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. We did a one o'clock and a five o'clock show, we basically did a show, had a half hour to put my fetus, and then started to look at notes for the next show. It was tremendous work, and in away when it finally ended it was a relief. I look at Ellen and Kimmel and it's one show the whole day, which is hard enough, but we were doing two a day and at the end when the money was getting cut we were doing three a day. I would come home and couldn't remember who was on. My wife would ask me who was on and I would be like I don't remember, I think Dr. Ruth was on. We were nominated for three Emmys but it was tough, we were up against Oprah and Phil Donahue, and for us we were on at 9 a.m. in New York up against a show called "Regis and Kathy Lee." In Chicago we were after Letterman, and in L.A. we were on at ten at night. We were like who is our audience, who were we trying to reach here? It's tough, when they syndicate shows they just try to sell them and it's always been a challenge. They gave is a drawing of a woman from Indiana with a high school education, with two and a half kids, forty thousand dollar family income, "That's your audience, go after her." We'd go we don't really want to go after that audience.

Me: When you had your talk show did you still go out and do stand up?

Wil: After the TV show ended I did a lot of clubs, because I could fill clubs, people knew who I was. There's a big difference with people wanting to pay to see me opposed to just being a comic in a club. It was easier actually, with people coming in predisposed, liege me and wanting to see me. I did that for about twelve years. I always kept my hand in stand up, it was always the satisfying job because I was the writer, producer, director, editor, I got to do it all. To this day when guys come through who are friends of mine for bargain price I go and open for them. I'm happy to go on in theaters and stuff because it's a better environment for me than the Ed Hardy crowd in the comedy clubs.

Me: Did people ever see you and think this is not the Wil we know or remember? Does that makes sense?

Wil: Yeah, it does. I'm pretty much truthful to my comedy and myself, it's pretty much true to who I am. It's not like Bob Saget, who has a challenge, who was a dad on "Full House." When I used to see him Bob used to worm pretty blue and it would shock people because that's not what they were expecting. There are comics that are definitely shy in person, like Steve Martin, he's pretty much reserved and shy but his act was way out there. If you are playing to see someone you are already predisposed that you like them. I opened up for country acts, Tom Jones, Crystal Gale, Loretta Lynn, I kind had to be aware as a comic look at the audience, try to make them laugh with a common ground. I can't just be here's what I do and you are going to like it whether or not. I think it'll cost me ultimately on the success of my show. In Florida if I have to work for an older crowd I have to work a little slower, explain the jokes a little buit... I have to references that they're going to get. I've always prided myself if I am performing for a corporate crowd I learn their business and use words that are part of their lexicon. As a comic I can get as dirty as I want to get but I don't feel the need to do that. 

Me: I was surprised when I fond out you directed TV, Wil. How did you get into that?

Wil: I was playing poker with Jay Sandrich who directed a lot of "Cheers," "Newhart," "Mary Tyler Moore," and a director named John Bowab who directed television and Broadway, and Bud Freeman, Rich Hall, Tom Dreesen, there was a bunch of us. Those two directors said don't tell anyone but that was the best job in show business. I get residuals for the rest of my life... I just got a residual today for "Fraser." It's the gift that keeps on giving. As I was getting older my manager said, "They are looking for a Wil Shriner type." I said, "You should submit me." He said, "No, they're looking for a younger, cheaper Wil Shriner." That's when it kind of hit me I am aging up. Television and comedy, it's about youth and that's who they're after. I went and saw Jay and Jimmy Burrows, another great TV director being honored at a TV Academy event. I bumped into Kelsey Grammar who I've known for years as he grew up in Florida, and he said, "What are you doing here?" I said, "I just played cards with Jay and I'm thinking about TV directing." He said, "Really? If you're serious come to my office and come to 'Frasier.'" So I started to go to "Frasier" and watch and I went to all the rehearsals, the run throughs, the tapings, and from there I've became friends with some of the great directors. They took me on other shows and I put in a hard year going around. I felt like a stinky fish, everyone was like who is this guy? What's he doing? I did my time, tried to stay out of the way and watched. Then Peter Casey who ran the "Frasier" show said, "I assume you're hanging out here because you want to direct one of these." I said, "No, Peter, I just come by because I like to see what you're wearing everyday." He laughed and said, "Well, we're going to put you up for one next season." I got one in January, 2000, it was a good script, it was a good episode, I dd a good job and then I got another one, then two and then four then six... I kept building my resume on shows. Ted Dansen had a show called "Becker," then Nathan Lane had a show called "Encore," I directed "Everybody Loves Raymond," and then Norman Steinberg who is a great writer was running the Bob Saget show on the WB called "Raising Dad's," and I went over and directed three and then they offered the whole rest of the reason when they got picked up. Of course I took as many as I could but I was still doing "Frasier" and "Becker" because I knew they were going to have a long shelf life. I stayed with the good shows and did as many other shows as I can. I did "Gilmore Girls," "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," a bunch of shows. I had to pick them up as I could because those days were a lot of sitcoms and everybody couldn't work. Nowadays there's more sitcoms but it's a different kind of style, they're not the multi camera shows like "Friends," "Frasier," "Raymond," they were all shot with four cameras in front of a live audience. A lot of shows now are done single camera, and usually one of the show runners or writers, producers do a lot of them themselves. It's easier.

Me: Okay, so, I have to ask you about Hoot. How did you get to be the director of that film?

Wil: I met Jimmy Buffett and I read the Carl Hiaasen book "Hoot," and thought it'll make a great movie, so I asked how do we do that? I said I would write the script if I could direct it and we shook on a fish sandwich in the Keys. I went back and wrote the script and I got notes from Jimmy and notes from Carl. He gave it to Frank Marshall who is a big deal producer, and Frank had some really good notes so I went back and addressed those notes. We took it out to Walden and sold it in our first meeting. Now we set out to make this movie and start casting it.

Me: I never seen the movie but I think my son has. I looked up to see who was in it and was really surprised. Did you have a part in the casting?

Wil: There was a little girl in Bob Saget's show who played his daughter named Brie Larson, I loved her and thought she was so talented and vulnerable. I cast her as one of the lead's and to my great pride she is now an Oscar winner. Now she's going to be Captain Marvel. She's got this great career and I feel good that I spotted her talent. I think that was her first lead in a movie. We had a kid named Logan Lerman who played the male lead and he's gone on to do dozens of movies.

Me: You have directed dramas and sitcoms for TV... what are the biggest differences apart from being in front of a live audience? And I can't believe you directed "Gilmore Girls."

Wil: "Gilmore Girls" was like a dramady... there were some lighter moments, there were some dramatic moments. For a show like that a lot of us who were freelance directors we had to come in and take the temperature of the actors, the set, who was in charge. When I went in to do "Gilmore Girls" I had to say to the little young girl, "Okay, we are going to try and do this." She would walk in looking mad and I would say, "Can you be a little more fun when you walk through the door?" She'd say, "Whatever." I'll be like, "Okay, well, if you can try it." And I did ten more takes until she did it. They're not really different, I am still telling a story with a lens and actors. To me it's getting the best eye line on an actor, people would upstage themselves.

Me: Okay, well, you have done soooo many bloody things, Wil. Is there anything you haven't done that you want to?

Wil: I'd love to do a one man show on Broadway, that's what I'm working to, something like that. 

Me: Wil, thanks so much for being on the Phile. I hope Rich likes it. Haha.

Wil: Jason, it's a pleasure to talk to you, and tell Rich hi.

Me: Cool. Any advice you want to give before you go?

Wil: I always say share what you know. Keep making people laugh.

Me: I'll try.

That about does to for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Wil for a great interview. The Phile will be back next Sunday with Liz Hooper and Dan Murphy from All Good Things. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye. It's nap time...

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Pheaturing Howard Kaylan From The Turtles Featuring Flo & Eddie

Good morning, welcome to the Phile for a Sunday, kids. Thanks for reminding me to change my clocks that change themselves. Actually, I have two watches I need to change and I haven't changed any of them yet. Well, the President was just sued by a porn star, so that's where we are at right now.
Adult film star Stormy Daniels is suing President Donald Trump, alleging that he never signed the nondisclosure agreement that his lawyer had arranged with her to keep her quiet about their rumored sexual relationship. According to the lawsuit, Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, signed the papers, but Trump never did. No, this is not an over-the-top soap opera plot. This is our democracy! Somewhere a bald eagle is crying right now. On Tuesday, Stephanie Clifford, known professionally as Stormy Daniels, filed the civil suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court. The documents show the "hush agreement" was signed by Daniels and Cohen on October 28th, 2016, just days before the 2016 presidential election. The blank where Donald Trump was intended to sign was left empty. The agreement, which dictates that Daniels would be paid $130,000 to keep her relationship with then-candidate Trump a secret, has Daniels under the pseudonym "Peggy Peterson." Donald Trump was listed as "David Dennison." According the NBC News, the agreement states that Daniels is "not to disclose any confidential information about Trump or his sexual partners to anyone beyond a short list of individuals she'd already told about the relationship, or share any texts or photos from Trump." Soooooo she has texts and/or photos from Trump? I would say this this would make for an interesting morning briefing, but the President doesn't do those. Anyway, now that this document may be invalid, that means that Daniels would be able to share her story. "She believes it's important that the public learn the truth about what happened," said Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney on "Today" on Tuesday. "I think it's time for her to tell her story and for the public to decide who is telling the truth."  Buckle up, folks. Things are about to get interesting. 
Mike Pence's attempt to honor women on International Women's Day went just as well as his attempt to eat with one. The Vice President jumped in on the trending topic, and people felt that a celebration of women by a man who can't even dine with one unless his wife chaperones him was less than authentic.

"The Trump Admin will continue to strive to empower women?" They certainly have gotten women to mobilize, but likely not in the direction they like. Mike Pence’s tweet about women did not go over well with women who know about Mike Pence. Pence calling his wife "Mother" is not even the most regressive of his views on women. As governor of Indiana, he made a whole bunch of disastrous decisions about women's health, including signing a bill that mandated burials or cremation for miscarriages and fetal remains. Saying he is anti-choice is an understatement, and women being denied the right to make choices about their health is far from empowering. People were indeed empowered to call bullshit on the tweet. While Pence acts all pious, people haven't forgotten who his boss is. It's not enough to tweet about women once a year. You actually gotta put your policies where your tweets are. 
While the only people who seem to be enjoying the Trump presidency are either grifters, white supremacists, or Alec Baldwin, but one more dude is having a great time: former president George W. Bush. By being a president who has even less of a grasp on the English language than he does, Bush is reportedly reveling in what Trump does for his reputation by virtue of comparison. According to "The National Journal," Dubya has been seen smirking at the reports of Trump's White House dysfunction. "Bush is often heard to remark, unable to stifle his trademark smirk, 'Sorta makes me look pretty good, doesn't it?' He's shaking his head like everyone else wondering why they can't get their act together. He wants the guy to succeed but thinks a lot of his problems are self-inflicted." Likely to suggest to people that he's not actually enjoying this precarious time for the republic, Bush did give a speech back in October about how dangerous Trump is (but without actually saying his name). "Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seem more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication," Bush said. "Bigotry in any form is blasphemy against the American creed and it means the very identity of our nation depends on the passing of civic ideals to the next generation." But yeah, everyone agrees with Georgie. While he may have eroded civil liberties and went to war under false pretenses, Trump is even worse. 
Twenty-eight-year-old Ryan Grant of Minneapolis is smarter than the rest of us. Actually, he’s smarter than all of us combined. The former accountant realized he wasn’t on a career path he cared for, so he started looking into other options and focused his sights on Walmart. Grant buys up all kinds of items from Walmart’s discount aisles and flips them on Amazon. It probably doesn’t sound like a lucrative operation, but Grant claims his business is set to make a whopping $8 million this year. He said all of that money will go right back into his operation and his salary is set at $60,000 for now. The entrepreneur simply walks through Walmart’s discount aisles with his smartphone and compares product prices with Amazon to determine if he’ll buy items in bulk. Grant is going through so much product volume, buying and reselling, that he needs to rent out a warehouse to have enough space for the operation. He started this kind of buying and selling with textbooks in college, and he quit his accounting job after he perfected his method and realized he could make a living at it. Dammit, why didn’t I think of this? 
Back in August, a woman named Patricia Aileen Wilson accused a Tennessee patrol officer of groping her during a traffic stop. Following the incident, Wilson opened a lawsuit suing the Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Isaiah Lloyd for sexual misconduct. She alleges that during the stop Lloyd ordered to lean over his cruiser, at which point he reached into her shorts and groped both her rear end and genitals. During this stop Lloyd repeatedly asked Wilson if she took drugs, to which she assured him she did not, except for the occasional Ambien for sleeping purposes. After the groping incident itself, Wilson was given a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt. Wilson also alleges that three hours later Lloyd pulled her over once more, this time, her two kids were in the car. Lloyd allegedly told her, "We have to stop meeting like this." In the lawsuit, Wilson alleges that Lloyd was "using his authority as a law enforcement officer to sexually harass,​​​​." Last Monday, the Tennesee Highway Patrol released dash cam footage of the incident. The THP released a statement with the footage was released absolving Lloyd of criminal charges. “After careful consideration and review, the Tennessee Highway Patrol Command Staff has advised me that Trooper Isaiah Lloyd conducted this traffic stop in a professional manner in an effort to protect the motoring public,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said in a statement. However, the District Attorney Jared Effler said his review of the behavior in both traffic stops “revealed that Trooper Lloyd’s actions were inconsistent with his training and Tennessee Department of Safety general orders.” And yet, DA Effler agreed there was not sufficient evidence for a criminal case against the officer. Despite the lack of criminal charges, Wilson's lawsuit is still seeking out $100,000. 
So, if I had a TARDIS I would go back in time to New York City in the 1940s. But knowing my luck I'll get there in 1947 right when 23-year-old Evelyn McHale jumped from the observation deck of the Empire State Building onto a limousine which was parked below. 

Damn. So, parents, I hope your students are as clever and talented as whatever kid did this...

Whales are fine too. And as far as that math problem... what sorcery. I have never seen anything like that. The furthest I got in school was fractions. So, the other day I Googled "Baroque Obama" instead of "Barrack Obama" and this is what I got...

Did you notice some things are getting smaller and smaller? Like this camera for instance...

That's way too small... but I want one. I hope you're having a better day than the person this happened too...

Haha. Hey, been to CVS lately? Do you have their new store rewards card? Check it out...

So, here's another teacher saying what he or she wants to be armed with instead of guns...

A fee weeks ago I told you the story about a dog with a man's face. Here is the dog ICYMI...

I asked you guys if your dog has a human type face to send me pics and I received some of them. Here's one...

Ummm... not quite. But thanks for the pic. So, I saw this movie poster the other day...

It reminded me of something, and then it hit me...

Hmmmm... interesting, right? Hey, it's back... from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, it's...

Top Phive Ways International Women's Day Affected The Trump Administration
5. Trump complained to Reince Prebius about not being able to attend the march, because "it'd be a great place to pick up chicks."
4. Kellyanne Conway spent the day kneeling on the sofa at her home, rather in the Oval Office.
3. The Department of Education made great strides, as Betsy DeVos had taken the day off.
2. Trump had been forced to use a laughable, bullshit statement about his deep respect for women.
And the number one way International Women's Day affected the Trump administration was...
1. Sadly, Trump peed on himself.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. SO, with this whole Stormy Daniels suing Trump thing happening I thought I'd invite a "friend" to the Phile and ask a few questions about it. So, once again, here is...

Sarah: Oh, my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine... hello,  Jason.

Me: Hello, Sarah. Man, this whole situation as sticky as a Stormy Daniels video, right?

Sarah: Or the Democrats.

Me: That makes so sense. So, did Trump offer or give her an hush money payment?

Sarah: President Trump has already addressed this.

Me: No, he hasn't. Are you denying also that Trump didn't know about the payment?

Sarah: I'm not outright denying that Trump didn't know about the payment.

Me: When did the president specifically address the cash payment that was made in October of 2016?

Sarah: The case has already been in arbitration.

Me: A-ha! A new plot twist. So Trump went out of his way to draw up a contract and go through an arbitration process over allegations that are fake news?

Sarah: Sure.

Me: what does that even mean?

Sarah: The lawsuit itself does refer to some arbitration process that happened last month, but accuses Trump's lawyer Michael Cohen of "surreptitiously [initiating] a bogus arbitration proceeding against [her]... without even providing Ms. Clifford with notice of the proceeding and basic due process." 

Me: I must admit the White House is doing a really good job keeping the story alive, Sarah. Have you spoken to Trump about this?

Sarah: I have spoken with the president and Trump has won an arbitration case against Stormy Daniels. I won't outright deny Trump and Cohen discussed Stormy payment.

Me: Did the president break campaign finance laws?

Sarah: There was no knowledge of any payments from the President and he's denied all of these allegations.

Me: Well, Stormy's lawyer has reportedly responded to the White House's statement, and it's hilarious...

Sarah: Can I go now, Jason?

Me: Sure, Sarah, but it looks like the Stormy weather won't be ending anytime soon. Haha.

I don't get it. Hmmm... can someone explain? Now for a story from...

Since the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed seventeen people, the teens who survived the gunfire have been working tirelessly so that no other student should ever experience the trauma. Many of the children are doing what the adults in charge won't, and are calling for weapons of war to be taken off the streets. On Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who is technically an adult, visited the scene of the crime, and according the students, her visit was even worse than worthless. According to the students, DeVos barely spoke to anyone, and was likely using the visit for publicity (or perhaps a taxpayer-funded trip to Florida in the midst of a terrible east coast storm). Carly Novell, a senior and editor of the school paper "The Eagle Eye," said that the Secretary refused to take questions. Parkland teens let Betsy DeVos know exactly how they feel about her visiting their school. When DeVos's visit was announced, students expressed on Twitter that the Secretary... who literally advocated for arming schools against bears in her confirmation hearings... was not welcome. At the school, DeVos took just five questions at a press conference, and hardly gave any substantial answers. Asked if she made any promises to the students of the school, she said, "I told the student newspaper reporters that I would love to come back in an appropriate amount of time and just sit down and talk with them." DeVos promptly exited the press conference when asked if there was any specific gun control legislation she'd support. Luckily for the students, their was a meaningful visitor at the school on Wednesday... Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.

As Carly said, it really is Wade who is serving the people.

On Tuesday, President Trump made a "joke" on Twitter, only it didn't seem like he really thought it was a joke. Ol' Tweety posted this tweet...

There's a lot going on in this tweet. First of all, for once, he's right... the 2018 Oscars actually did have the lowest ratings ever. Second, he's got that random capitalization thing going on, and third, he slips into talking about himself in third person (or is that second? Either way, it's not first. And it's not normal). But he added that he was just kidding, so we know it was a joke, right? Although clearly Trump does think of himself as a star... he was the star of his own reality show, "The Apprentice," before coming president, after all. Trump has also said he was just kidding after suggesting that the "Second Amendment people" could do something about Hillary Clinton, and he was just joking when he said Russia should hack Hillary's emails. He's hilarious! Maybe he could start ending his tweets with, "Thanks a lot, I'm here another three years! Don't forget to tip your waitresses!" This man knows comedy.

Yep... I'll be doing the Phile again from Gainesville on the 28th and 29th of March. Fun times. And now for some...

Phact 1. People sentenced to death by beheading were advised to give the headsman a gold coin to ensure he did not botch the beheading and cause a painful death by multiple strokes.

Phact 2. Donald Lau, who has been Chief Fortune Cookie Writer at Wonton Foods for over 30 years, is retiring due to writer’s block.

Phact 3. Taco Bell was founded by Glen Bell who watched long lines of customers at a Mexican restaurant. He ate there regularly, attempting to reverse-engineer the taco recipe, and eventually persuaded the owners to show him how they were prepared. With this knowledge, he opened a stand selling tacos.

Phact 4. In the late 1990s, a man studying the underground chambers of the Colosseum found patterns of holes, notches, and grooves in the walls. By connecting the dots of the negative space, he discovered that a system of elevators had been used to transport wild animals and scenery to the main floor.

Phact 5. North Korea has its own distinct basketball rules, such as three points for a dunk, four points for a three-pointer that does not touch the rim, minus one point for missing a free throw, and eight points for a basket scored in the final three seconds.

Today's guest is an American rock and roll musician and writer, best known as a founding member and lead singer of the 1960s band The Turtles, and as "Eddie" in the 1970s rock band Flo & Eddie. He is also the author of "Shell Shocked: My Life with the Turtles, Flo and Eddie, and Frank Zappa, etc.," the 76th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Please welcome to the Phile... Howard Kaylan.

Me: Hello, Howard, welcome to the Phile. How are you?

Howard: I'm here. Ask me good questions, Jason.

Me: I'll try. Okay, you started out singing and in a band pretty young, right? What was that like?

Howard: Some of my quote unquote adventures were so stupid. In the real world or to real people these things would never happen but I believe because Mark and I both hit the pop star world rather young we really kinda grew up in it. We just didn't know any better. The other kids asking "would you want fries with that" we were already hiding weed and performing for the big shots and doing TV and we were quite advanced I think for our age bracket. The Turtles had broken up when I was 22. So, when I considered my life was over probably at this point because I'm not qualified or trained to do anything else. Nor did I have any desire to do anything else. The only thing I wanted to do from the earliest possible age was to be in the show business. I never could accept anything else, I constantly fought with my parents about it because it was always the fallback, what are you gonna do if it doesn't work. 

Me: What did your parents think as you were so young of the Turtles success?

Howard: It boggled their brains. They got a trip to Hawaii, a car and a TV set. My mom could tell the neighbor, "My son, my son." She couldn't say, "My son the doctor, or my son the lawyer" but she could say, "Tune into 'Ed Sullivan' next weekend because my son." That held a lot of weight in our community.

Me: What were you into back then music wise?

Howard: I wasn't much into the the rock and roll, I was as into Soupy Sales as I was into Bobby Darren.

Me: So, did you know you wanted to be a performer or a rock and roll star?

Howard: I didn't care if my success was rock and roll based. I didn't know what part in it I would play. I didn't know I would be the performer, though I imagined I would. I didn't really fit, even at an early age, any of the criteria for these people that were already stars when I was a little kid growing up and stuff, watching Dick Clark on TV and there was Frankie Avalon and Fabien and all that. Bobby Rydell and these guys with the incredible hair. They were skinny and that was what the girls were into. That's what they did before Sinatra and that's what they did before Sinatra.

Me: There was no such thing as a rock band back then, right?

Howard: No, there was no such thing so I couldn't expire to that. It was the era of the Bobby's and the Jimmy's. It was the beach party movies and already I didn't fit in. Like Jimmy Darren, at the time they were buff, they were young, they were cute, they were studio kids. I knew studio kids, I used to go out with a girl who was a studio kid. She was a Mouskeeter and to me that was the closet I was gonna get to show biz. I was a 12-year-old dating another 12-year-old who was a Mousekeeter. That was cool, especially coming from the east coast. Watching Disneyland, the physical place in California being built on television, and knowing I didn't stand a chance as a fart in a theater, to ever see that place because it was 3,000 miles away and my father's job was in Utica, New York. I wanted to go there for Disneyland truly, I didn't have the Hollywood dream. I didn't think success was geographical.

Me: If you don't mind me asking, Howard, how old are you? You probably don't feel as old as you are, am I right?

Howard: I am 70-years-old. The things I said all my life I can now say with impunity. No one gives a fuck. If the old codger says something a little eccentric, but if I said it at the age of 17 they'd shss me. I'd say, "fuck you, you're an idiot." Now certain things are better than other days. In fact, in my child mind I would never see past the age of 28. I remember when I was about nine or ten hearing somebody say Dick Clark was 28-years-old. I almost dropped my Nesquick. Twenty-eight? I'll never live to see 28. Not knowing at the time that 27 was the rock age. If you're gonna die, you're gonna die at 27. I had no idea that that was even a thing. This is something spooky, the last thing my father ever said to me out of the blue was "twenty-eight years." My brother was standing next to me said, "What? What does that mean?" My father said, "Ask him." Meaning me. "He'll know." And I don't. I still don't. I have no idea what he meant. I was in my late 30s or 40s or something, But nontheless I hear something like that and I'm still haunted by it as I have no fucking idea at that it means. That was always my cut of age but I never told anybody that.

Me: So, what do you think of playing music today opposed to back in the day?

Howard: Mark and I, if there's any genius to this act at all, it's to be able to take a group who was marginally successful 50 years ago and make them bigger today then they were.

Me: So, are you concerned about the legacy of the Turtles?

Howard: I'm not the least concerned about the legacy of the Turtles. I think the music speaks for itself. It has to. To a certain degree you can only hype yourself and then there's a brick wall. If we can't deliver on our promises then it doesn't matter what we said once. It's just hearsay at this point from a long, long time ago. I know acts out there who are big and never sounded good. They weren't good in the 60s and they're not good now.

Me: Does anything concern you at all, Howard?

Howard: Very little concerns me, Jason. Let me tell you the honest truth... as far as performances are concerned I don't worry about them whatsoever. I'm not the guy who warms up vocally, I never have, I never will be. We don't rehearse, we don't do soundcheck.

Me: Can you believe people still come and see you guys and talk about the Turtles?

Howard: When people talk about us I think it's a bloody fucking miracle. That's the sort of PR we did for the last 40 years. The Turtles have appeared to be larger than we were before. If you go through there actual amount of hit records that came out at that time you'd find the people who had the fewest would be us. Success is success. We had three separate very good runs as the Turtles but we had three down periods as well. We had as many bad times as good times. We are not Bon Jovi, but for that I'm grateful. I don't want to change places with Jon. Let him be the outlaw. On the dark horse he may ride, but I've got a Lexus.

Me: Hahaha. Okay, let's talk about the Frank Zappa years. What was that like?

Howard: Well, we had to transform ourselves on the fly and turn ourselves into something else right at that juncture. After the Frank years ended abruptly we had to think on our feet very quickly just to come up with rent. We became Flo & Eddie out of necessity. Those songs that were on the first "Phlorescent Leech & Eddie" record were the songs we had written for the Turtles back in 1970 and never got to record with the Turtles because the other idiots in that screwball band had decided they wanted to take the band into a more country direction.

Me: So, how did the Turtles break up? 

Howard: Mark and I are feeling a different kinda singer-songwriters, we were more into the Joni and Jackson and Steven and Carly kind of Canyon thing. Geograohically that's where we were and mentally. Those were the people we were hanging with and we knew. So, it was only natural for us to have acoustic guitars and wanted to turn the band, if there was one, into that. And that's what the first Flo & Eddie record was. The first Reprise record was acoustic stuff.

Me: So, what was it like working with Bob Ezrin on the second Flo & Eddie album?

Howard: We played the first album for Bob Ezrin and we knew that Alice Cooper was going on the road and there was a rumor that we had done so well with Alice we were going to do the entire year here in the states and in Europe with Alice and it was gonna be great because Reprise had both acts. It was was as we both had the same PR people, the same everything, it was gonna be a breeze. Erin listened to the first "Phlorescent Leech & Eddie" album and he said, "Do you know what's wrong with this record?" What, Bob, tell us. He said, "Well, they aren't really any hook hooks." What do you mean hook hooks? "Well, do you hear that thing that you started there? Where does it go? Why did it end?" Well, the song comes in. "That's not good enough." What do you mean that's not good enough? Ezrin's theory was every hit record that he ever had had a running lick that went allll the way trough the record. Somebody was playing a lead line under every portion of that record that went by. There was no such thing as vamping acoustically until the singer came in with his poetry lyric. That was bullshit. What we did was the same what he did with Alice Cooper, came up with a lick, like "I'm Eighteen" and mutated it thought out the song. He had the guitarist play it, the strings pick it up, so there was always an under current in every song given you two melodies to listen to even if it was just the bass line going off and doing that thing under the vocal. It was an eye opener but also he was full of crap. It depends what school of thought you were part of. Arlo Guthrie never wrote a song thinking that.

Me: How did you get hooked up with Bob Ezrin to begin with?

Howard: It was Warner's suggestion, and he had a lot of success and a lot of it with Alice and he liked us as people. He saw us on the road and they asked him if he thought he could produce these guys because we produced our first record ourselves. He took on the challenge, I think he did really well. I think we did a really good record. The fact they couldn't sell it as a company has nothing to do with him and very little to do with us because we were out on the road constantly pounding that thing.

Me: Who else did you tour with back then, Howard?

Howard: The Doors, who were then three people, not four. You try and do a headline tour without Jim Morrison.

Me: That's crazy. Okay, so, you guys got to do a lot of television. What was that like?

Howard: We did. We got to be staff writers and head writers and do a lot of comedy stuff and behind the scenes music as well. It wasn't the same as carving out a life as Mel Brooks or doing that sort of thing. I never wanted to be a rock star, I never wanted to be Mel Brooks, I don't know about Mark but I just always wanted to be somewhere in entertainment but I didn't really know what that meant. But certainly rock and roll or pop music, or whatever this is what I do, as my entry into it and I had no idea that it would last this long.

Me: Reading your book I was surprised at all the twists and turns you took together career wise. What was that feeling like?

Howard: We took huge chances but we had nothing to lose. Once the pop career ended we really didn't know what we were gonna do. If somebody came along and said, "Hey, you guys would probably be good writing TV scripts." Sure we would! Give us an office! That's all we ever wanted. Once we figured to that rock and roll guys never got an office we wanted an office. We always had one. Herb Cohen, bless his soul, always provided us with an office and when he didn't we found one at our graphics company or we would find one at Ms. Universe.

Me: How did you learn about all the TV and movie stuff, Howard?

Howard: By doing it. Thy asked us can we do it and we said yes and worry about how later. We surround ourselves by the best people in the world, learn from them, and we would come in there and deliver a product no matter what it is, whether its a TV show, a record or a movie, or whatever, that will knock their socks off. That's what we do and people are surprised at every turn they never know we had it in us. They never asked. That's why during the 70s and 80s we called ourselves "alternative vocations." We never thought ourselves as a rock act. We thought to ourselves we weren't actors hired to play singers, alas the Monkees, but we were singers that wanted to do everything else that we possibly could to learn all the facets of show business necessary.

Me: I have to ask you about Harry Nilsson, Howard. You said in the book "when Harry ended that is the day the music died for me." That jumped out of the page to me. When I lost my dad to cancer in 2000 I thought to myself fuck everything, but I was married at the time and had a new born. What was it about Harry over all the colleagues and friends in your life you had lost?

Howard: It was just so incredibly sad. In Harry's case shit continued to happen. It wasn't quick. It was agonizing slow. This man went from the most confident, brilliant singer-songwriter I've ever known and changed mutated into this obese, non-caring man. He threw it away. I know he was very sick and I know his systems were shutting down one at a time. It wasn't just Harry's death to be bluntly honest, it was Phil Reed's death, the lead guitarist who was murdered, it was an attitude about the business that had changed. The record business became a side trip the drug world instead of the other way around for whole bunch of years and it was a very unpleasant place to be. I would see this big executives makes these stupid wrong decisions with their buddies just based on a hundred dollar bill and what was on the table in front of them. You would know this wasn't going to work, this was a huge mistake. The drugs were talking and they were. We watched a lot of our contemporaries get caught up in it and go down. Not necessarily in their lives but just in their careers, or in their minds, or I can't do this anymore. Sorry about your dad by the way, he was a great singer.

Me: Thanks. So, most duos or bands or partnerships don't last that long, but you and Mark have been partners for a long time. How is that possible?

Howard: As a partnership the smartest thing we ever did was to separate ourselves geographically at the exact time when we did. That was about 25 years ago. Career wise the Happy Together tours were going then so we had money. We might have been doing the radio show at the time, taping the last few shows in Los Angeles and sending to WLIR on Long Island because we did that for a couple of years. We just knew. For me it was instinctive, and I said in the book it had a lot to do with the Rodney King thing and I had to get out of L.A. It was way more than that. When we got back from New York things were totally different. I came back to the house I rented to Chris Elliott for two years and it was in pretty good shape and we just moved right back in. Mark discovered religion about 25 years ago, and that's when I discovered I didn't want to do that. I think it was a good idea to put a little geography between us we wouldn't end up carpooling to every show. This is a man who is really in the need of a life, as was I. I didn't have it and he didn't have it, we were both 25 years ago looking for a life we both found. In totally different places, in different arenas, and in different mind place.

Me: So, about the book, did you have any expectations with it?

Howard: I didn't know if writing book would work. I didn't know would care or if it would even get published. I didn't know if I'd be able to tour with it or if people would want it signed or if it'll just be a vanity project and I would have eight boxes of books in my house forever.

Me: What's this movie you made called My Dinner With Jimi?

Howard: It's a comedy film I wrote. It won a bunch of awards and stuff but didn't make anybody but me any money, but I was smart enough and anticipate the famous no back end rule. I least got paid for the writing of the screenplay. I thought I would be an idiot if I didn't get paid for writing the screenplay. I was hunched over the typewriter for 7 months and I'm going to cross my fingers? It's a little indie, there is no money unless you're Napoleon Dynamite. Every solo project I have done is not for money, its just so I can get it off my fucking chest. I needed to make a record, I needed to write a book...

Me: How did the science fiction writing start?

Howard: I just love it. I love the genre, I've always loved it. In 1980, along with the drummer Joe Stekco I went to my first world fantasy convention in Providence, Rhode Island, and got into Miller at that time with Stephen King and Peter Straub, and Dean Koontz, and I think even Harlan was there at that particularly convention. Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut... and all these incredible people to me as an average reader of every science fiction I could find since Robert Heinlein in the fifth grade, these were stars to me. Beatlemania or all those type of conventions I could give a flying rats ass... they're not stars. I think that's kinda silly. Writers, the people that are really intelligenicier, those kind of people I don't mind hanging around with, and picking their brains and getting to know. I still correspond with a lot of those people that I met back then.

Me: When did you first start to write stories, Howard?

Howard: I started writing horror stories in high school. I fell in love with "The Twilight Zone" and Alfred Hitchcock and all that kind of twisty-turny you think you know what's happening and then you don't.

Me: You end your autobiography you don't know how much you could do this entertainment shit. It's 2018, and the book came out in 2013, and you are still touring. What gives?

Howard: Well, this entertainment shit meaning the stuff I did then, entertainment that I know it three months a year. That's the stuff that will tell you.

Me: You're a big pro-marijuana fan an advocate, right?

Howard: I am an advocate and I will stand up for it and fight and say hey yeah, I am that guy because I totally believe there is nothing toxic about it, its not a gateway to anything. I certainly would rather have a joint than a martini, and I feel a lot safer I'll tell you that. The world would be a lot better place but people have been saying that for 50 years. Now all of a sudden it's a political thing states can make money with it, they can tax it, they can run it through the system all of a sudden now it's fine. Dr. Phil will be endorsing it next. It doesn't matter, I don't need an endorsement. Like I say, if you can't learn it from a book you have to experience it. You can't talk about weed and not know what you're talking about. You can't talk about politics are religion and no half of what you're talking about.

Me: So, will you be touring for awhile?

Howard: Three months every year. I'm not gonna be one of those guys who is 70 and says, "I'm retiring, everybody" and then falls over. I'm dead. All I put into it, all the thought and all the time. It's meaningless because I spent all this time worrying about it. And in John Lennon's words, "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans." Well, I made my other plans, they've worked out very well, and now I'm at the apex where I feel I'm entitled to a little enjoyment for my time. I'm enjoying it. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. I've been semi-retired since the age of 17, and now I want to tell the world it's great to do that. Anybody who could do that, do it. Take that opportunity, break your band up, you got enough money be Michael Stipe. Walk away. I refuse to. I like to do the summer stuff because I know it's a tunnel with a three month entrance. I could see the light from the first day. I check them off one at a time and it's kinda like homework assignments. I'll do it for as long as I'm physically able.

Me: Cool. Howard, thanks so much for being on the Phile. So, good questions?

Howard: Yeah, good questions.

Me: Great. Continued success. Take care, sir. All the best. Any last advice?

Howard: My pleasure. I don't have any advice for anyone, because that's a fools game.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to Howard for being on the Phile. He is a very unique guy and I hope to have him back on the Phile one day. The Phile will be back with Wil Shriner. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker