Episode 147: "I Don't Do Mushrooms, Henry"

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December 27, 2013


Sasheer Zamata

Origin of the episode title[edit]

Henry is Phish fan Julie made up, to whom she explains that she does not think cats can smile.


Monologue The difference between cat and dog models, how nice it is to finally be able to happily do nothing, how Britney Spears describes sharks, and why shoplifting is awesome.

Interview This week's show features an essential chat with comedian Sasheer Zamata about the year in pop music, which basically means the year in Beyoncé's new album. We also talk about Sasheer's web series, THE PURSUIT OF SEXINESS, how commenters expect all black comics to be all things to all black people everywhere, and how an actor plaing "White Jesus" interacted with Kanye on stage at the Barclay Center one time.


  • Jimmy Jazz looks great in a bow tie.

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Episode Link

Monologue Transcript[edit]

Hello everybody. It’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW.

Did you have a Merry Christmas? I’m speaking to you now on the 26th Boxing Day or Grudge Match day into perpetuity as I know it. I, like you, am an American, I assume. The thing about Americans the day after Christmas is we as a country very much ape if not the male orgasm the cliché of the male orgasm. Do you know how Louis CK talks about how after a man pleasures himself he goes , Ugh! Ew! Ugh! That’s us after Christmas. You wake up on the 26th and thing, Ah! Stop playing that song. Who turned on Jingle Bells, turn off Jingle Bells. It’s like porn is still playing on your computer, Ah! That’s offensive to my sensibilities. Who out this on? This video objectifies women. That’s America on the 26th. It’s not even Black Friday. Not even the day after in the Thanksgiving sense, well at least I can go somewhere and spend money.

Speaking of clichéd I had a Christmas that was so Jewish that before I went to a Chinese Restaurant and ate Chinese food with my family I went to my parent’s new home, they’re moving and I hung Mezuzahs on at least three of the doorways. That is how I approximated my own reduction to a cultural stereotype. I am also doing some binge relaxing. How about that? I’m trying to do as little as possible. I know this is the time of the year when I usually read my one novel but I don’t know if I’ll get to it this year to be completely honest, sorry Jonathan Franzen. I got Jimmy a collar with two tags on it, one has his name and his phone number and the other has his microchip information. He came with a microchip. I didn’t put it in. I didn’t ask for a Robocat. He came with a microchip. Who am I to say, that’s ok, take it out. What am I insane? No, this is what I do. I write down the number. Jimmy has a collar on because he’s going to be coming out with me to the west coast in a couple of weeks. I am going to go there and get the apartment ready for him and then I am going to come back and bring him.

I was told by the landlord of the new place I am staying at that in order to allow Jimmy to stay in the apartment he needs these things on his paws called soft claws. If there are cat owners listening please write me and tell me you have had a great experience with soft claws. I don’t want to know if you have had a bad one. I spent a lot of time googling to see if these are safe and humane, there are overwhelmingly positive reviews but basically what they are if you don’t know, they are like little cps you glue on your cats claws so that when they got to scratch the furniture they don’t. But it is humane, certainly more humane than declawing though I can’t imagine that would be an option. Don’t amputate your cat’s fingers, what’s wrong with you? What are you doing with a cat? What’s more important to you your cat or your furniture? Ethan Allen.

I got soft claws. The come in colors. I know there’s something there about, “Oh in LA even the cats have to have extensions.” I’m not going there because I am not a hack, ok? What if my whole thing was denying I was a hack. I didn’t get Jimmy red soft claws because I do not want to confuse him. Whatever he decides to be or who he is born as is completely acceptable to me, there’s no way I wouldn’t love him. I got him the clear ones. There’s photo on the instruction on how to put them on. Basically you just fill the caps up with glue and then you stick them on the cat’s claws. They can chew on them if they don’t like them. Ryan Hotlips Houlihan has had experiences using soft claws on his cat Diana and apparently all Diana did was just look at them which is what I do frankly when I get my nails done. The cat on the box is the most miserable cat of all time. He’s a big Garfield looking motherfucker, a chubbo ginge. I should talk, and it’s not even my holiday, why am I eating like this? (A) (B) Vegan brownies are still brownies Klausner that doesn’t mean you can have two, (C) Why am I engaging in fat talk out loud? Whenever you hear a woman beating up…anything that is the harshest form of criticism is only because we’ve practiced internally.

I am basically Honey Boo Boo’s mother. What? I’m not? Oh really? I look great? Oh Thanks. I don’t believe you but I like hearing it. There’s no correct answer to fat talk. Back to the cat on the package. The cat on the Soft Claws package was looking at the camera like you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This is the job today? They are cat models. They are professional cats that go to these photo shoots. It’s not like they are getting a candid of Moose on your Instagram, it’s a professional cat model and a handler. They show up on time, god willing. The difference between a cat model and a dog model is that first of all, they get the camera. They understand what it is there for. Second of all, dogs are more expressive. They know when you want them to smile. Dogs smile. It’s a good photo of a dog, if a dog is using your product for some reason you’ve go the gig photographing the Lands End Dog Section of the catalogue and there’s a Labrador. There’s a Yellow Lab on the big plaid flannel dog bed and he looks right at the camera. What does he do? He smiles. His tongue is out; he’s smiling, that’s a great photo. It’s a photo that you keep. That’s’ a photo that you print.

With cats all they need to do is look up, and ideally at the camera, but they never need to be looking happy. Have I seen a cat smile? No I don’t do mushrooms, Henry. Henry is the Phish fan character I just created. The amount of misery in this cat’s face is surely worth the purchase price of Softclaws. Even if you don’t have a cat please buy a pair…I’m at the point where I am talking about Jimmy and I ‘m really talking about myself. I am saying I hope Jimmy likes LA. I hope Jimmy isn’t lonely out there. I hope Jimmy’s comfortable on the plane. What if Jimmy is depressed all day because no one will hang out with him? Then I have this vision of myself, not Julie-sized Jimmy behind the steering wheel, although that is fun to think about…here’s my worst fear, being sad. I don’t get scared that something harmful would happen to someone I love, but mostly I’m scared of the things I will feel after. The number one fear I have about being in LA is I am scared that Jimmy is going to be eaten by coyotes, and that’s not going to happen. He’ll be locked up in an apartment with windows that are screened in with locks on the screens. He is going to be very safe.

The thing I’m mostly afraid of is being in my car with the sun shining and it’s 3pm and I’m really depressed. That’s something that, especially is you grow up in the suburbs, it’s very tangible. That’s a memory that is very much ingrained. It is important that the sun is out because when the sun is setting it is a completely different kind of sad or scared. That’s fun. As I mentioned I have been doing a lot of nothing. It has taken me a long time in my life to do nothing. I’d struggle against it. I’d be bored. I would over-plan during breaks, now I am just loving it. I am sort of schlumping around. I will change from my pajama pants into other stretchy pants and I’ll sort of laze about. I’ll take a nap. I have been listening to standup albums. This is kind of embarrassing yet sincere for me to admit, guy, I love comedy. I love standup. Just listening to it alone, alone, alone, it’s nice to be reminded why you still love what ostensibly you are peripherally connected to. I was listening to Maria Bamford, Dana Gould, Jim Norton, and playing Candy Crush. I have intricate snack nests but because they are winter time snack nests they are also tissue nests, that means they have stuff for my lips, tissues, saline spray… My skin is a mess. My skin alone will be thrilled to be in LA. I have been watching things such as Elf. I watched the first two minutes and I swear to go id Bob Newhart weren’t in it, I saw it once and it was fine, but I can’t. Is Trading Places a Christmas movie? That’s a Christmas movie I can watch (because it’s not about Christmas.) Trading Places is a movie, I have discussed this with my friend Jake Fogelnest, you could never make today. Not just because of the language involved. You can’t. What are you doing? Trading Places, I did not watch this week. Two seconds of Elf, I didn’t even get past ‘Once upon a time’…I’m done. I’m switching to 150 Greatest Child Stars on VH1. That’s not creepy to have on prime time. Hanson had great hair—wow razor sharp observation, click. What else was on? I am Britney Jean, I watched half of. I am Britney Jean, for those of you who do not know, Britney Spears did this two hour, not to blow your minds, piece of propaganda that aired on E. She has a new show premiering in the New Year in Las Vegas, which is a terrible place that should e the first to burn if there is an apocalypse, even if there isn’t we should just lop it off. Give it to Dubai. Britney Spears is performing in Las Vegas, as I mentioned, a horrible place. It’s what entertainment would be like if Jews didn’t run it. She’s going to be doing her show there. She has an album coming out, and she was also shooting videos for perfume and work bitch. She was going home with her terrible boyfriend. This guy looked like the biggest lunk-head. He looked like a dum-dum. The Spears family makes the guys at Duck Dynasty look like they work at McSweeny’s. They are all standing around. Her lunk-head boyfriend has on jeans that basically look like some European, with all due respect, took some white thread and stitched the specifics of what a pair of jeans would be, around the shape of the fly and on the pockets of these dark stupid pants. He had a Live Strong bracelet on. He was looking at his phone the whole time. He looked like such a Galoot. Right before they ate their Thanksgiving meal, the Spears all sat around a table and gave a prayer. Mr. Spears said, “Dear Father, thank you for your son Jesus Christ,” I was completely disarmed by that prayer. I did not expect it. I was under the impression that when Goyim say grace they say, “God, thank you for this food we are about to eat.” I did not expect them to refer to him as Father, that sort of heavenly…”Father, thank you for your son.” Me? Nope, Jesus. Oh!

Britney Spears came across really well in the documentary. I can’t call it that anymore, let’s get real. This was not that movie, what’s that movie about the war criminals? How to Kill Someone? Faces of Killing, not the Killing Fields. You guys know exactly what I am talking about. If I looked it up I’d be distracted. You know what I am talking about. It came out this year. Anyhow, it’s not that. It’s I am Britney Jean. Her body looks fantastic. At one point she describes a video she is about to shoot for Work Bitch. She’s very childlike. She is. She grew up as a Disney child actor and that is a whole thing. Those girls, again not to destroy your perception of the way the world works, at some point they need to strip away their child image to be sexy. What’s the new Miley Cyrus video by the way? She’s rolling around under sheets. At one point she starts out naked and then she’s wearing a lace shirt. That’s not how things proceed. Britney Spears says about the video she is going to shoot there will be water around her dancing and that there is going to be, this is a direct quote, “Shark, actual real sharks.”

Haven’t you heard a child say something like that? “Mom, there’s actual real sharks.” Ok, Kaiden, Jaden Skyler, and Keif (short for Keifer ) Why can’t we just change THs to ‘Fs and call it a day?

I watched this CNBC show, they have these hour-long shows in addition to episodes of Locked Up of a show This is How Wal-Mart Works, or Oprah: Her influence has an impact. They had one about cruises which was interesting. The one I saw the other night was about Shoplifting. The guide listed Shoplifting, Behind Shoplifting. I’m interested in that. I switched the channel and it was an hour investigation into the industry of loss prevention, again lunk-head incorporated. It’s a bunch of guys who look like they are I don’t know if they are above, below, or adjacent to mall cops. They are men who have all been gym teachers at one point, even if they were just subbing. They definitely have played sports in their past, which is why I am completely against sports. Once you grow out of the sports your body can’t do the sport anymore. You look back on your life and think oh I have wasted my life. Why? Because I put all of my chips on a physical pursuit and it turns out that people age and they don’t do it in reverse. Now I have to find another thing I am able to do. These men grow mustaches and go to the Javitz Center or some other convention center. Everyone has a booth. This is a product you can use in order to stop people from stealing things. It’s attached to a tag on the thing and it explodes like squid ink in your eyes but only if you are allergic and people buy it. They have cameras and other sneaky items. They have technology you can install in your place of business through which you can use the cameras to take, what I call a sneaky peek, at the people in your store to see if they are stealing shit. The odds are they are! There is a lot of shoplifting in stores.

Here’s my POV, I think it is fine. I think shoplifting is good clean fun as long as it’s done by juvenile delinquents and in particular females. I don’t think shoplifting is a male crime. That doesn’t mean that men don’t do it. I know men do it. It’s like come on dude, steal a car. Leave shoplifting to Winona Rider and Tiffany from Cincinnati. I want a teenage girl with too much eye makeup lip-gloss over her cold sore. I just want the trashiest girl with the scrunchiest hair to put something she doesn’t need in her bra and walk out of a CVS. That to me is as American as smooching in a car at lookout point. I don’t know where I am going with this now. I want to mention that when I was a child everything I knew about teenagers came from Archie comics and the musical Grease. There is a tradition. I don’t know what people before the 50s thought about teenagers. I guess teen age culture didn’t. There were things for kids snd things for adults. We learn so much.

This show about shoplifting taught me a lot of things. It taught me that the people who greet you at stores are not there to be friendly; they are there to make sure you know subconsciously that you are being watched. Did you know that? I feel like a dum-dum that I didn’t. You come in and they go “Hello.” That is their way of saying, “Don’t fucking take anything because I am acknowledging you. I’m watching you. I’m going to take a sneaky peek later if I need to.” The other thing I learned is that a lot of people are still stealing expensive cuts of meat. I think that is by far the funniest thing in the world. I know that there are parts of it that probably aren’t’ funny such as factory farming and that people can’t afford to feed their families. However, if I am shown a video of a woman putting a filet mignon, a raw steak between her legs or under her dress or in her bra before she casually walks out… that’s heaven to me. That’s like when somebody else watches a ballet who likes ballet. I personally don’t care for it I find it a bit boring; I thought Black Swan would have been better as a Jon Water’s movie. The meat theft is fascinating.

The meat theft is fascinating. There was also something I learned called the milkshake trick, by far the grossest thing in this entire show including the meat between your legs. The milkshake trick is a man. They used a middle aged man. A man walks into Woolworths, I know they’re bankrupt but it is a good example, a man in his 50s named Sam goes into Woolworths and he’s sucking on a giant milkshake (Slurping noise) out of a straw in a cup with a lid on it. Sam makes his way to the jewelry counter and grabs a ring. Then he casually drops it in his milkshake! Sam walks out of the store with piece of jewelry in his milkshakes and nobody’s any of the wiser. He’s slurping, unbelievable! Unbelievable. Do you know what I say? Sam can keep it. Why? A lot of effort went into that.

Here’s my take. Is shoplifting wrong? Absolutely it’s not moral. As a kid that’s a speech you are told all the time. Even if someone didn’t see you take it you still took it, that’s wrong. If they are really shitty parents or just strict then they will make you go back and apologize to the person who owns the store. At this point, because these are all minimum wage people or teenagers themselves and probably stealing more than you could ever imagine because they are so disgruntled by the lack of opportunities for the middle class in this country. The idea that a child would apologize to a teenager behind the register at a Walgreens or ShopRite is hilarious.

There’s a lot of gum chewing in that Britney Spears documentary by the way. There’s a point where everyone in the room is chewing gum.

I’m sorry I took this action figure. All right whatever. That’s my impression of Gene the teen. Here’s my conclusion about shoplifting. I am in favor of it. If you put on one side the theft prevention goons, these mustachioed characters on the left side of the room and on the other side you put women that Jon Waters finds hilarious, what side do you thinks I’m going for? That includes Winona Rider. Good for Winona Rider, what did she steal from Saks? A scarf. Fine, Great! Why did she do it? Nobody knows. There are some people that have psychological explanations why women shoplift but mostly because it is fucking funny and cool. It’s cool to shoplift. Should you do it? That’s up to you. If you do please let me know. I will come up with some sort of honor for you. Not that I am encouraging it, I just think it is cool. I think it is funny. I think it’s great.

I saw a play on Sunday called Fun Home at the Public Theater that everybody recommended and practically tripped over their own low-hanging juicy balls to recommend to me that I see it. Here’s what Fun Home is about Allison Bechdel, who you will know as the lesbian graphic memoirist novelist, cartoonist to whom the Bechdel test is ascribed, came up with this notion that if two female character in a movie are talking about something besides a man that passes the Bechdel test. I think that test is a great point of reference but is not the only way a film can be feminist. That could include two women talking about a meteor….I guess that doesn’t happen. I don’t see those movies these days.

This is what I saw, Her I loved it, American Hustle, complicated, Amy Adams looks incredible, Anchorman II liked it I though Steve Carrel stole the show. That’s it.

Fun Home is a play. It is at The Public. It is a musical for people that don’t like musicals, in my opinion. I think it is a little NPR-y, a little proud of itself. I thought it was very good, but I didn’t like it. It’s about Alison growing up. She had a dad who took his own life. He was gay and closeted, so there is a really compelling story at the heart of it, her relating to her dad. Then there are songs. They are songs in a musical that people who judge musicals can listen to in their Prius’s and feel good about themselves and think, I don’t like musicals but I like this. This is smarter than the Pajama Game. Is it? What’s going to be here in 500 years, let’s bring this down considering greenhouse gases, what’s going to be here in 50 years? Are people going to be singing the Pajama Game (sings Pajama Game)? Yes. They are not going to be singing, ‘Daddy,daddy I need your attention please. I’ve got something to say. Can we play aeroplane?’ Do you know what Billy and our friends Robin and Dickie said it’s like Falsettos. It is like Falsettos, it’s the lesbian Falsettos. Fun Home is Galsettos. Allison Bechdel is played by a woman who looks like Ira Glass. She sings songs. What else should I say? It was an hour and a half. That was nice. It wasn’t bad. Like I said, it was very good. Was I moved? Not particularly. Was it good? YES, I said it was good!

Here the other thing about the experience of going to Fun Home, Billy invited me to it because he’s a gentleman. I got there on time which is interesting to me. Billy and I get along because we are both 10 minutes late to everything. That’s not why we get along; we get along because we are compatible in many ways that are intangible and tangible. I got there on time. He texted me he was running late, to take the ticket at the box office. Fine. I do. I leave his ticket, I take my seat, the lights go down, the play begins. It took me about the first half of the show to realize he wasn’t coming. I realized the seat next to me was empty and every time I’d see something out of the corner of my eye I‘d turn my head back and think, Billy? It turns out he got there not even 5 minutes late, the show had literally just begun and they wouldn’t let him sit. They made him watch it in the back so that he wouldn’t disturb the people even though there were plenty of breaks where people were applauding, “Oh, Oh I get it, I get what is happening in this musical that is not like a goofy dumb musical that people around the world enjoy and translate into other languages that has been running for year, I get it! I understand.” He was in the back and I thought…it had crossed my mind that Billy stood me up. Maybe he invited me to Fun Home as a prank, he got tickets and then didn’t show up. I would have had to hand it to him that would have been really funny to have forced me to watch fun home by saying, “Do you want to see Fun Home? I’ll take you to see fun home.” “Sure, fine.” And then didn’t show up. That’s an idea for a prank you can use.

It was called Fun Home because he worked at a funeral home, but he didn’t just work at a funeral home he appraised antiques.  Do you know what?  If you liked it, I’m glad. I’m glad you liked it.  Life is too short not to like things I suppose. I wouldn’t see that again for $500. Not even $1000 now that I’m thinking about it.  You’d have to cover my rent, and I’d have to be cash poor at the time for me to see that again.

I saw Her and Anchorman II I liked them both. Did I mention that? Good.

I got Jimmy two bow ties for Christmas.

Do you know what I have to mention before we bring on Sasheer Zamata? Leann Rimes. Leann Rimes tweeted something today that is so goddamn funny it was on D-listed.com. The great Michael Kay wrote up this incredible tweet. Heads up, people created the whole notion of Christmas spirit as a way to purposefully juxtapose a time of the year in which people’s empathy levels are lower than they ever are. So if you are talking to a family member or a friend and they seem like they are not listening to you, it’s because they are not. If they seem like they are not presence for you it’s because they aren’t. They are dealing with so much other shit; they just don’t have any room to think about you. Don’t take it personally. It’s an odd time of year in that everybody is trying to get their wants and their needs differentiated and met, they revert back to emotional hoarder like tendencies around their families. They are becoming their dinosaur selves. Leann Rimes is no exception; I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt when I say that because she is pretty much a garbage person all year round.

Leann Rimes tweeted the following thing and the headline on D-listed is Leann Rimes is as selfless as ever. She wrote, “Not a fun day. I have a stomach bug. Oh joy. And one of our best friends is losing his mom.” That’s one of the best things I have ever read. Can you believe it? I can’t stop pooping and one of my friend’s mom is dying. Classic Rimes.

Guess who I got a birthday present for? Do you want to be jealous of me? Let’s go-Launch jealousy sequence. Julianne Moore sent me a present. I tweeted a couple of weeks ago ‘Who will get me this tote bag for Christmas?’ It is a tote bag of Kathleen Hanna’s band, JuLie RuiN. I wanted a tote bag. I said something on twitter half jokingly, but I know I was baiting. All of a sudden Julieanne Moore, Queen of the Red Headed Hall of Fame tweets back at me,’ I’ll get it for you Julie, Love Julie.’ Shut the fuck up life! Then I said Father thank you for your son, Jesus Christ. Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub. I was very thrilled and grateful. She sent it in the mail, I just got it today. I sent her one because I’m a nerd. How did I get to be so lucky to have this goddess in my life? I know that I sound hyperbolic. I don’t give a shit.

That Duck Dynasty guy by the way, I don’t know if I said this last week because I am trying to wipe out my memory constantly like a cat, but that Duck Dynasty guy who was suspended, he in his comments about gay people did not leave anything ambiguous. He made it really clear. We knew exactly what he was saying. You could think it was taken out of context. No, he went off for a while. Beyonce sang to a terminally ill child at her concert. I watched that video while I was on line at Chipotle. That was a bad idea. I was sobbing when I ordered my pinto beans.

I want to mention that earlier today I remembered that Jiminy Glick, Martin Short’s character, the host of Prime Time Glick, every single episode of which I would kill right now to have in front of me. I remembered today with my friend Jodi Lennon how brilliant Prime Time Glick was. It’s a great show, perfect—Mart Short-forget it. There are so many funny things about that character. He had two sets of twins and one of the duos was named Mathew and Modine, nothing funnier. The only think funnier is that whenever he’s forget something he would say it was because he forgot to take his Ginko Biloba.

Michael Keaton put a photo of a Zagnut bar on his Instagram. I saw the Lady Gaga’s Thanksgiving Muppet Special. I was told it was essential viewing after I ruminated about her a couple of weeks ago and said I really like Art Pop the album but I had a problem with her as a performer. I had seen her do Baby it’s Cold Outside with Joseph Gordon-Levitt which was the worst thing I have ever seen. My friend Nate told me I had to see the scenes she has with Kermit the Forg. They are the most awkward things in the world. Neither one of them are saying anything. It’s on Netflix, you can stream it. Here’s the weird thing. I don’t see how that is a Muppet Special. The Muppets all have weird voices now. They don’t sound like the Muppets, they sound like the Guppets or something. She sang her song from Art Pop. After that special I straight up love her. I think she is fucking incredible. I think she is fantastic. I am awed. I’ll just shut the fuck up. I think she is incredible. I think she is 70s talented. Here’s why I think that, because she’s not fucking dancing. I don’t think she should dance. I feel strongly about this.

If anyone knows Lady Gaga and is listening please give her the following message from a fan who thinks she’s brilliant, please stop dancing. It’s not just because you’re not good at it, because you are not good at it, that’s fine. You don’t have to dance. Guess who didn’t dance? Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon, a million people, Marianne Faithful. Do you think she is straddling the stage and doing elbow choreography, that doesn’t need to be your path? You are a fucking rock star. You are Elton John and other people too. Because of her millennial background second generation removed rom Madonna, thinking if I’m going to be a pop star I have to do what she does but with my own slant on it, fine, but NO. You don’t have to dance the way Britney Spears dances (you’re not very good at it) that’s fine. When you put on you crazy clothes and sing your incredible songs with your great voice you just need to show up, take some Alexander Technique classes to stand up straight behind the piano. Make gnashing motions with your mouth and teeth, shake your hair around. Just don’t dance. That’s where I am. Did I say I got Jimmy Two bow ties? I did. I also saw Gravity, which stunk. I thought it was stinky. I was worried about seeing it in the theater because I thought I’d be scared about being lost in space. The only thing that is scar ya bout that movie is Sandra Bullock’s hair.

Guys, I’m excited to initiate this sequence of events. It’s time to introduce the interview. We have one guest…