Episode 159: "Python Run"
March 21, 2014
Origin of the episode title
Welcome! This week's episode features a long talk about MERYL STREEP! Film critic KARINA LONGWORTH is the author of a new book called MERYL STREEP: Anatomy of an Actor, and together we are going to talk about: What Pauline Kael's problem was with Streep, why, in the late 80s and early 90s, Meryl could not do anything right, what Meryl Streep learned from Jane Fonda and Liza Minnelli, and what role Women's History plays in Streep's oeuvre.
Plus: Kale, and why it should be illegal to massage it! Pie, in general! Matt Lauer's disgusting beard, and how relieved we all are now that it's gone! And the cutting edge duo FX has recently hired to carry over its x-treme brand.
Download the Episode
Transcription by Amy
Hello. Hi everybody. It’s Hidey! No, it’s not Hidey. I made up a character last week called Hidey. Most people liked it. This is Julie Klausner now. This is Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW. I am in Los Angeles for the first day of spring. As I speak to you it is March 20th. Tomorrow is my last day at Mulaney, where I have been writing. I am going to be here for another week smoking medical marijuana and eating gluten free pancakes. I’m not sure what I am doing next week. Then I am going to come home on the 31st. I like to be in New York on April Fool’s Day. It’s my holiday, you know? That’s my itinerary.
I am in LA and I will always remember where I was when I heard that The Comeback might possibly coming back on HBO for more episodes. That’s not guaranteed but the fact that it was leaked to Deadline is very exciting. That was the big news of the day. I got a text from my friend Holly about it. Holly and I generally text about pie. Last week, On Friday our friend Jake Fogelnest’s birthday March 14th is also Pi day, get it? P-I, 3.14 and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. What am I Boing Boing? I don’t know what comes after 14. If you do you are a nerd. It was Pi day and I don’t care about Talk like a Pirate Day or National Clementine Day. All of these things are there to distract you from the fact that you hate your job and it's easy to chew things and swallow them. When it came to Pi Day I was excited because I follow a couple of Los Angeles based twitter accounts like LA Weekly and LAist and one of them had a headline that was the top ten best slices of pie in Los Angeles-CLICK! I found a really special pie. It's salted caramel pie. It's from SImple Things on West Third. Here's what this salted caramel pie did, it took what we love about candy and combine fit with what we love about baked goods. It's essentially like a Kraft caramel that you put in the microwave for just a send and then you put some salt on it and it just melts into a crumbly crust. IT's like nothing I have ever experienced. Holly and I texted about pie a lot on Pi. I also bought a banana cream pie. It wasn't for me; I brought it over to our pal Alex Cordelis and his wife Melissa Seely. They had a drinks thing. It was Pi Day so I said, "here's a banana cream pie." I didn't stick around to eat it because I was tired. I don't remember what happened. I do know I brought them a banana cream pie because they couldn't guarantee that the tangerine chess didn't had nuts in it. That's bullshit. Los Angeles should be more allergy aware. Holly told me about a Chocolate Malted pie from Big Sugar Bakery in Studio City. Honestly, I could text about pie. I could clearly talk about pie for a long time.
There's something about pie that is interesting to think about. I am not a food person. You know how much I hate food culture. I have been to a couple of restaurants lately or have been shown delivery menu; I mean take out menu for places that the menu baffles me. I have gotten to the point where I still enjoy eating even though it seems like a pain in the ass to some extent, but I also just want to eat off of the children's menu. I want chicken nuggets, pizza, and a grilled cheese sandwich. That's it. Maybe ice cream if I am good. The restaurants I have been going to grill radicchio. IT is very stressful for me. I have turned down invitations. I have turned down opportunities to be with loved ones because they said, we are going here and they sent me a link to the restaurant they were going to. I clicked around and found out it was a vegan Mexican restaurant. I have nothing against vegan people t this point in my life. I used to but that was because I was raging out against parts of myself that I was uncomfortable with. Vegans are exhausting, but everybody's exhausting for different reasons. Honestly, I have met people with eating disorders who are a lot worse. It is a good eating disorder to have.
Keep talking Julie; keep digging yourself into this grave. This vegan Mexican restaurant had a menu that was upsetting. It was one of those hangs where I can't go to it. There's nothing I want, there's nothing I want to be near, even if I went there and had a glass of water, which is a wonderful experience as anyone in the fashion business will tell you, not Loren Scott because she's dead.Oh no, too soon. Oh it's The Burn with Jeffrey Ross, (sings a song) is that how it went? Tough Crowd with Jeffrey Quinn and he pops out of the 'O' in crowd. Hi everybody I am going to roast you.
This restaurant I was invited to had massaged kale on the menu. That was the first time I saw it this week. Then the second time I saw it was on another menu. I am done. What are you doing massaging kale, and bragging about it, publicizing it and offering it to people as thought is something you should be proud of. It's stupid, so stupid. There was also, forget it, I can't, I can't, I don't want to talk about food anymore. I feel sick to my stomach and nacho cashew cheese is something no one should have to say.
In all seriousness, RIP Loren Scott. My callous joke from a few minutes ago, has it been a few minutes--time is a flat circle-- was exceeded in poor taste only by the infamous, made of of snakes person, Patty Stanger. The millionaire match monster on twitter said rest in peace Loren Scoot, I hope you are happy in Heaven. To wish someone happiness in Heaven is a weird idea. I see the sentiment is a good one, even an R.I.P. our favorite initials. By 'our' I mean Alice Copper who has stood me up for three golf dates.
Alice Cooper has stood me up for 3 golf days and one python run. That’s where we take our pythons into the park and we just let them run around. It’s rest in peace, not I hope you are happy in heaven. That’s not a thing that people say except for that monster Patty Stanger. If they based Disney villain on her I bet that no child would ever be not gay. They would learn to fear women, not in a glamorous grotesque. They would just think women are disgusting and that they are going to eat your soul. This is how people turn gay. I know a lot about this because this is something I pursue completely, sincerely and in no way is this a joke.
What am I talking about today? Hidey-the AV Club didn’t like my character last week; they called it grating, her grating. I told her that and do you know what she did? She hid for a week. She said, “I’ll come out when they want me. “ Hidey, you just keep doing you. Congratulations to Josh Gad and Billy Crystal. They are the new stars of a show called the Comedians which is on FX, which stands for fun and extreme. That s a network, this is a business fact, industry jargon, insider information, FX passed on Broad City. I don’t know if you know that. They sold the pilot to them and they were like, no, we are not going to make a series out of it. Comedy Central made the series out of it and Broad City is so good. Anyway they passed on Broad City and said to themselves, I assume, “This is really cool these young women are doing something edgy and interesting, and funny, but do you know who is probably more on the pulse of what young people are into? “Josh Gad and Billy Crystal. That is a more current duo,” they said to themselves. Then they watched the cast of Always Sunny in Philadelphia beat a homeless man to death because I assume that’s what that show has devolved into, those guys standing around a homeless guy, lighting a fire and beating him to death—every episode. Every once in a while they mix it up and dig up a corpse. I haven’t watched it since Brain Unger and I stopped dating.
I was listening to the radio. I drive a shitty Ford Fusion around Los Angeles. It’s filthy. It has a coat of dust on it. I got a huge scratch on its side my first week here because I was living in a house of terrors on the ground floor apartment of this old, in retrospect haunted building. I felt like I was going to die when I went to sleep at night because there were not bars on the window. There was also a parking lot in the back of a building that was about the size of a postage stamp. I had to back up a long way to get to the street. Do you know when a house is close to another house? It is a terrible situation. I am an awful parker and an excellent driver, Rainman. Anyway I have a gigantic scratch on the side of my car and I am filling the back seat with water bottles. At a certain point I can see why hording is attractive. There’s something to someplace being a mess, and then having a collection of something. It’s one thing to have a couple of water bottles in the back seat and then you are like, “I am going to throw all of them away at once and that is going to feel interesting.” Then you realize that you are really depressed.
I am in the car, and the fact is I refuse to get my car fixed or anything because it’s temporary. I keep it scratched because it reminds me that it is temporary. I am returning it before going back to New York. What is convenient is that the device that I have to hook my phone into in order to play music from the car stereo is broken. It has always been kind of dodgy but now it is broken, so the other day I listened to the radio. I listened to NPR with some god forsaken musician who would not…how can people talk for that long without trying to be funny? There’s not story. It is just information. Sometimes people talk and there’s no connection there. It’s like robots—my band is playing here because that would be a cool venue for us. We were in Texas when we recorded this album. Then the guy who works there, I refuse to say DJ. NOR does not have DJs although their morning zoo is getting more and more ribald and I don’t know how I feel about it. The guy who works there will ask a question that is so dry. Or it will be anecdotal, “I saw you DJ there and it was such a great set.” “Yeah, it was a lot of fun.” Anyway that was a nightmare.
So I turned to FM Radio and listened to Jack FM 95.5, I think. I don’t know it could be different. There are four rock stations here in Los Angeles. If there is one thing about Los Angeles it’s you can’t get enough Doors in your ears. Jim Morrison is everywhere. Period. The end, my friend, this is the end huh?
So I am listening to FM radio on Sunday while I was driving and I heard the introduction to ZZ Top’s Legs by a radio DJ that made me so depressed I almost had to pull over off the road and put my head down, like you do when you are a child at school and they say take a nap and you put your head on the desk. Actually this tags bag to National Pi Day or Talk like a Spaceship Day, where the DJ, this is over the vamp where it goes to the opening verse ZZ Top’s Legs, the DJ got on the mic and said, “It’s National Potato Chip Day. Funny fact the inventor of the potato chip was a guy whose last name was crumb. You can’t make this stuff up. Here’s Legs by ZZ Top.” That was horrible, just horrible. I witnessed a fist fight in front of a MacDonald’s across the street from where I work. Today I went to Trader Joe’s to buy shampoo. It’s called Tingle. Am I excited? Yes, a little more than I should be, but how dare you judge me. I got shampoo at Trader Joe’s. Every time I go into Trader Joe’s I brace myself for somebody to be way friendlier to me than I am comfortable accepting. I got my stuff. I paid extra for a bag. I walked past a MacDonald’s where two grown men just started shouting at each other. One was a very young dad. He was on a bike. He had a little kid that was also on a bike. Then a guy in an SUV screeched to a halt and got out of an SUV which is always scary. When they get out of the car angry there is no way to look cool. It is awkward. I am going to get out of the car, undo my seatbelt, and go from sitting to standing. There’s going to be a door opening. Then I am going to come around, and I am going to be as angry as I was when I was behind the steering wheel. It’s kind of like a certain emerging from a pupa process. It must. By the time you come around the car you are a little cooled off. I don’t know from road rage.
The guy who was behind the wheel of the car was on the defensive. By the time he came around the dad with the bike was screaming at him. He was screaming from a primal place. “You almost hit my kid you motherfucker, you son of a bitch!” The guy with an SUV goes, “Ediot,” which is not a good comeback to you almost killed my kid with your car, you motherfucker, son of a bitch. Honestly his accent doesn’t have anything to do with it. Calling someone an idiot whether you are one of our Latin friends for an origin country is not a good argument. The dad went into the next phase of the argument, even though he had won, won, won won. He goes, “He’s a human being you motherfucker, he has the right of way because he’s a goddamn fucking human being.” Again, he was not wrong. My back was to them because I am trained to walk past conflict and not regard it until it ends, and god willing you are removed cleanly from the situation like a cancerous tumor, at the time I did turn around and realized they were punching each other. This was at 4 in the afternoon. The sun was so bright. The benches outside of MacDonald’s and little tables attached to the concrete with the chairs were next to the cool shade of that Spanish looking tile roof. I knew I could go inside and get a 99cent cone if I wanted to but I kept moving. It was horrible.
Fred Phelps is dead. That’s a lot of fun. People are having a good time celebrating his death on twitter. I am sure if he were alive he would be happy to know that he is a meme. Also Charla Nash is doing better than ever. Charla Nash is the survivor of the worst chimp attack in history. I know that there have probably been way worse chimp attacks, especially if you count chimp attacks on other chimps. What they do to each other is like war crimes technically. Charla Nash debuted her new face on the Today Show because she has some sort of bizarre exclusive contract with the Today Show. I think the Today Show is only showing interviews with Charla Nash, ways to set your table so that you will eat less, and Matt Lauer with and without a beard which thank god he shaved off today. I was going to write a letter about Matt Lauer’s beard. At a certain point it looked like that he had put Elmer’s Paste on his face with a wooden stick. The he dipped his face into a giant mixing bowl of sand that was the color of salt and peeper. Also there was a little bit of regular sand. It was a horrible beard and I am glad it is gone. He’s going through some shit. What is Matt Lauer going through?
Savannah Guthrie, meanwhile, whom I thought was a milquetoast nothing, is now interesting to me because she is pregnant. She got married while she is pregnant, which I think is cool. If you have ever worn a pregnant maternity wedding dress you are a little cooler than someone who just gets regular married unless it is a gay wedding in which case you win. You win.
One of my co-workers is a sweet guy named Dan Levy. He is a comedian and a writer on the show I work on. He also worked for Whitney Cummings which is fascinating. He has a little baby. His baby is not even a year old. He is a baby, not even a toddler. He is a fast crawler. His wife came in with the baby. I was interacting with the baby. The baby was really cute. I asked Dan’s wife Rachel how old the baby was. She said 11 months. Then someone else asked when his birthday is. She said April 27th. I said, "So close to Hitler’s birthday?" because I don’t know how to talk to people.
I was on Bob’s Burgers this week. I made a guest appearance on Bob’s Burgairs on an episode that the aforementioned Holly Schlesinger wrote. I played Jenny Slate’s character Tammy’s mom. I was really funny and I was really good. My point about this is 1) Holly is the best and 2) I am very honored when people ask me to do things. It is very nice when people ask me to do acting things. It is very nice when people ask me to do acting things, for example, if I got a call to be on Louie I would be very happy to do that. If someone said, "We want you to play a bitchy woman who works at a coffee shop on Maron." I would say, "Yeah, I'll do." Then I would show up and do you know what I'd do? I'd do my own take on that character. Maybe they would yell cut, but I would have my reasons.
My point is that I am very honored whenever people include me because I am not someone people necessarily think to include. That is something I wanted to express gratitude over, around and about.
I have been thinking a lot about how frequently I beat myself up or put myself in a position where I assume something is my fault. To the extent that even this morning when my building was testing it's fire alarm, which it loves to do. My building is the number 1 tester of fire alarms at 9 o'clock, which is technically fine, but also irritating. The second the fire alarm went off, I though what did I do? Did I burn toast? This is my fault, that's my default setting. Ha ha, fault is in both words. I am trying to be more conscious of it. I think it is a lady thing, I am not sure. I am speaking from a personal place of experience and from a feminist understanding that women have the tendency to put others first. I realized, more often than not, I am not into mindfulness or breathing, but I am trying to be aware of how many times I assume something is because I stink or I didn't try hard enough, or because I am too fat, or I am not talented enough, whatever enough… When I do think that what it takes to reach me that those things aren't true and to challenge my default settings that these things are true. A lot of times it takes another person that I trust to shake it back into me.
Sometimes it comes down to being in a situation which you assume this isn't a good fit because of something you did because you are lousy, or you stink or you didn't prepare for it. Not to quote the song from a Chorus Line Nothing but often I will say the more you are alive and the more you put effort toward being kind and doing stuff the more often it is that it is not your fault and it really has nothing to do with how hard you tried or how good you are. Beating yourself up never helps. I think if you challenge it, or if a friend of yours is able to reach you and they challenge it, you realize that it is just not the right fit for you. Not that it has anything to do with who you are.
As a person who grew up always wanting to find that enclave of bee-people who are at the end of the Blind Melon video. I want my adult life to be easier. I want to believe that around every corner there's a bunch of bee-people frolicking. The truth is there aren't. There are a lot of people that I don't necessarily have a lot in common with, not the woman who called grilled cheese 'happy' last week. That might be an example. Maybe she's Mormon. I don't know why she was so nice. We always want things to be the right fit. We're always seeking and want to believe that this is the perfect thing; we've found the Holy Grail and that we are able to stop searching for soul mates or perfect jobs or I've landed. This is me. This is it. Even when you know it's not you tend to ignore the small quiet voice that says, "this isn't right. This isn't the right guy for me. This isn't the right job for me or this isn't the right place for me. You can ignore it and beat yourself up by saying, "You're not doing what you should in order to fit in", when in reality it is not going to be the last chance.
It also has nothing to do with how great or not great you are. It's just a matter of knowing that you have to find pleasure in the seeking of the next thing and the right thing. I don't think you need to believe that the right thing is out there as much as you do need to find pleasure in the seeking. That's where I have been thinking about beating myself up and I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to be someone who is miserable but productive. There was a time where if you said to me, god forbid, that you have six months to live I would have locked myself in a room and written as many thing as I possibly could have so that I could leave behind a novel, a play or a screenplay or whatever fit is instead of the person if told their life were ending soon would go to Hawaii.
I am at the place now where I do want to write stuff down, but I also want to go to Hawaii. I wonder if that is just because I need a vacation from all of the bad company I am able to keep. I am talking about this because I hope it is something you can connect to. If you are going through a hard time and you think you may be contributing to it by making things worse than they need tone or harder than they need to be, maybe just be aware of when you turn things against yourself and when that makes sense and when it doesn't. The odds are that it doesn't make sense a lot of the time. That is something I have been thinking about this week.
I also wanted to mention that a lot of people sent in the names of celebrities and other nouns for consideration whether or not they are groovy. I am going to go through these now but in the future I will go through these at the end of the show. A lot of people tweeted me and asked if Goldie Hawn is groovy. Goldie Hawn has always been groovy and will always be groovy. Nicole Justice submitted the following people for grooviness: JP Morgan-No Eudora from Bewitched-Yes Pam Greer- Yes Julianne Moore's character from Boogie Nights- No The entire cast of Foxes- No Scat Cat from The Aristocats- Yes Smucker's Goober- No Rex Smith- No VC Andrews- No Peter Tork- Yes
Then she wrote Me. Sure, yes Nicole Justice, you are groovy.
Theresa Brafario submitted Jane Fonda in Klute- Yes Jerry Brown- No. Peggy Lipton-Yes Susan Dey- Yes The show Godspell-Yes that's groovy Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey- Yes The First Time I Saw Your Face in the love scene in Play Misty for Me- Yes
Amy Patrick submitted Mama Cass- Yes Robert Altman- No The band Love- Yes Captain Caveman- Captain Caveman is groovy, the teen angels are not Robert Evans- No
Troy wants to know if Latrice Royale is groovy- Yes Joe Potanar wanted to know if Snoop Dog is groovy- No. Snoop Dog is a drugged up person that thinks pimp stuff is still cute and it's not. Paul Williams- Yes Lisa Bonet- Yes Liza Minnelli with blue hair at the Academy Awards- No Liza Minnelli is beyond groovy she's something different. Fairuza Balk- No Jennifer Coolidge- Yes Squeaky Fromme- No Tammy Brown- Yes
I also wanted to address whether or not Dottie Sandusky has ever had an orgasm. People have written in about this. Combining all of your emails, the maximum that people have said is three but most of you think she has never had one.
Finally I got a couple of great emails about kangaroos and whether or not they are the squirrels or the pests of Australia. Maybe I will share them later with you after the interview. I wanted to mention there was a link on my timeline on twitter this morning to a video called Jimmy Fallon sings Let it Go as Vladimir Putin. I thought that was a parody of what a Jimmy Fallon bit would be. I am very concerned because it has been almost two weeks since they gave a white guy a late night talk show.
We have one guest…