Episode 163: "Talking Gump"

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April 18, 2014


Bruce McCulloch

Origin of the episode title[edit]


This week's episode features one of our idols, the brilliant BRUCE McCULLOCH. This is a huge deal, because The Kids in the Hall made High School palatable to many weird humans, not excluding your humble pod-hostess.

Enjoy Julie's chat with Bruce about his writing process, what his book will be about, growing up in Calgary with fitness and Deep Purple as the only respites from your shitty family, and how weird it is when random people come up to you when you're famous- not just the cute redheads.

Also! The View on Cyrogenics, Alice Cooper on the Street, a Comedy Awards snub, Sippy the Vape Pen, Jessica Seinfeld's Instagram, and why now is the perfect time to reboot MRS. DOUBTFIRE.

Make this episode last because it's rich and sweet.


Download the Episode[edit]

Monologue Transcript[edit]

Transcription by Amy

Hello, Hello. Hello everybody this is Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW. I am taking it easy lately; I am actually recovering from some surgery. I am fine, I am fine, I'm fine. I just wanted to be honest with you because least week I recorded my monologue before they found that plane in Malaysia and I look like a clown with egg on her face for not addressing that on last week's monologue. People turn to me of jokes about current events so I let you down.

In all seriousness last Wednesday I had surgery and I am still recovering. I'm fine, I'm fine, I'm fine I'm fine, I just wanted to let you know. I also want to let you know that Percocet and I are not good fit. I don't mind being spacey but I could cry for no reason without being constipated. It didn't work out for me. Therefore I am auctioning off the reminder of my…what are you ridiculous? I'm going to give it to Hotlips. Hotlips is back in town from Los Angeles. I assume all of the Purple Thunderfuck is gone. Not all in the state, but all of the Purple Thunderfuck in Katherine McPhee's apartment building where I was fortunate to live for a couple of months and Ryan Hotlips Houlihan, the producer of this here podcast would hang his hat for a couple of weeks.

He is home. I'm home. Jimmy is home. I am not running at 100%. Is that a mixed metaphor? What would I be running at? Full speed? What are we in the domain of cars? I went from 0 to 100 and then we don't finish the sentence. It should be I went from 0 to 100 in two minutes. I have never seen the Fast and Furious movies. I just thought when that man died, wow, was he symmetrical. My brain is not working at its optimal speed. My body is not working at its optimal speed. I am getting there. I will be fine and I am fine. What I had learned in the past week from taking it easy, just being still, which I am terrible at. Not because I like exercising but because being still is like breathing and I am bad at it. Considering my complaints of beating myself up and being too anxious it is often advised. There are 101 ways to make yourself miserable but that song was cut from Mary Poppins. Nobody is more angry than me that we didn't get to see BJ Novak present that. Maybe it will be in the deleted scenes of Mr. Banks on DVD, but I don't think so.

Being still is especially frustrating, it is symbiotic when your brain isn't functioning at its highest rat-a-tat-tattiest. A week and a half ago the idea of having a week and just taking it easy and relaxing on the couch, watching movies and reading a few books sounded great. Now that I have the opportunity I am not…I keep trying to read the same chapter of one book. I'd get through half a movie, and then decide to watch something I have already seen before and then think, Fuck it!

What I have realized struggling again myself, what I don't want to do and what I know I don't want to do is--it is all fear -based. It is all fear. When you are still, when you are not pushing yourself forward working, organizing, making list of this you want to do to get you where you are, there's just no forward motion sometimes, just stillness. Making things, connecting with people, when there is none of that and it gets quiet enough you can hear your heart breaking. That's what has begun to occur to me. That and it take Percocet a long time to leave your blood stream. When it comes to your heart breaking there is a lot about growing up that has to do with dealing with, god willing not a lot has to do with pain and tragedy and horrible misfortunes. A lot of it has to do with discomfort, disappointment, acceptance that things around you aren't great in every way. Every once and a while there will be a rallying moment, "maybe that can't change but I sure can." Maybe you can and do. That is a push a forward motion. Sometimes when your only source of happiness in looking forward being still is heartbreaking because you don't have what you want. I guess what I am trying to say is, why don’t I have my own TV show? I mean come on, come on, Neil deGrasse Tyson has a TV show and I have never seen him do one ASSCAT at UCB.

I have a lot to be grateful for, that said, this week I have been having a hard time seeing the glass half-full. I was trying to think of a way to twist that metaphor so that it is cuter, but it didn’t happen. Maybe Hidey will do that later. By the way, Hidey is hiding this week. She is packed behind a couple of boxes. I am not even going to let on that I know where she is, but Hidey is not coming out to say hello this week. She has the physical mannerisms of Truman Capote.

For those of you who don’t know Hidey is a character I created. She likes hiding.

I have been frustrated by how not famous I am in the last five or six days. Maybe it’s the dolls man. I finally watched Valley of the Dolls. I was embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t seen it. I have seen Beyond the Valley of the Dolls more than twenty times and I figured that counted but it didn’t. So I watched it. Sharon Tate, although her destiny was to be a ghoul pin-up. Had she had the opportunity she would have been the American Brigitte Bardot. Those aren’t etchings or drawing, those are giant painting, those Picasso eyes… What are great actress too, yeesh! Sparkle Neely sparkle, sure fine. Beyond the Valley of the Dolls is a better movie.

Let me put this in perspective. Today I got a voicemail that I tweeted about so if you follow me on Twitter you will know about this. If you don’t strap yourself in for something very silly to me, but in the grand scheme of things is just a beacon of privilege. I got a voicemail from a producer at the Comedy Awards. They are a thing, it is silly but it exists. I did the red carpet a couple of years ago for Comedy Central. It was at The Hammerstein Theater. I got to interview people and it went on the internet. I got to interview people. It was fine. It was fun. I went with Spoony. We gave Spoony some cocktails and he kept going up to Chris Parnell. It was good time. I have gotten a couple of emails—save the date, the American Comedy Awards. Got it, got it got it.

And then I get this phone call. I am going to play this voicemail. Hotlips please bleep out whatever material might be harmful personal: Hi Julie, this is (bleep) calling from the Comedy Awards checking in on your availability to do stand in work next Friday and Saturday. I don’t know if you are still doing this kind of work. I have a name from a list from a few years ago. My name is Michelle and the dates are next Friday and Saturday April 25 & 26. Thank you.

Ok, so I got a phone call from the Comedy Awards asking me to do stand in work. For those of you who don’t know stand in work is what actors do when they can’t be extras. They show up and usually they wear a sign around their necks that either says the name of the character they are meant to play or says their actual name so the director doesn’t have to say, “Hey redhead,” or, “Hey green jeans.” Both of those things, I just mentioned that are embodied by the act of taking an 81/2 b y 11 piece of white paper. Positioning it horizontally, putting holes in it and a string to connect it and then looping it around a human being’s neck that either says what that that human being’s name is or the character or celebrity that human being is standing in for, so that the actual more important human being won’t need to waste his or her time when the crew just needs to know where they’ll be standing so they know where the lights will be.

I did stand in work in 2002 or 2003. It was for the MTV upfronts. I was a dumb dumb in her early 20s and I took all of the jobs because I wanted to meet all of the people. I wanted to work because I couldn’t keep a job. The longest I have ever kept a job is a year, like a desk job. I remember that gig and I remember it being a trip. I thought it was funny. There was a day when I went to Madison Square Garden and they said, “Ladies and gentleman please welcome Jewel.” I would come out and stand by the podium and they would light me and run Jewel’s teleprompter. I didn’t have to say it. It was useless, they just wanted to see where Jewel should stand so they knew where to put the…you get where this is going.

It was fine at the time because I was 23 and I got to meet Sherman Hemsley. He had great stories about how Norman Lear went to see him in a play and that was how he got his break. He used to work at the post office across the street, and now Sherman Hemsley is dead. The producer who called me, I don’t know if she knows Sherman Hemsley is dead, I do know-I extrapolate from her voicemail that she does not know ‘Who I am’ which I say in a funny way, you notice if you I want to back it up a little, you’ll notice I used a funny voice, Norma Desmond-style ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ I use that voice because I want it to sound like I was kidding, but I am not kidding because I am not important enough. I know I am not famous but I am a valued member of the comedy community god damn it. Michelle doesn’t know that and it is not Michelle’s fault. It’s really not.

None of this is Michelle’s fault. I am not angry at Michelle. Did I call Michelle after letting this soak in for a couple of hours and then tell her matter of factly that she ruined my day? Yes. That was something I did do. By the way, I was very even tempered. What I am trying to say is just because you don’t do what you do to be known, but you do what you do to be heard as far as how I approach what I do. That said I wouldn’t love getting a phone call from something that I worked on before. If somebody called me and asked me to be a seat-filler at Key and Peele I guess I would be disappointed, but this was also a bad day to get that call. If I had gotten it another day I would have been hooting and hollering. I don’t mean to make that story like some sort of potato famine ballad or anything of substance in the starvation department or otherwise. I only say this because I know so many of you have freshly taken the Buzzfeed How privileged are you? Quiz. Is that the ultimate unnecessary thing of all time? If you are taking a quiz on Buzzfeed to see how privileged you are, you have time to commit suicide. Am I wrong? You don’t even have to take an Uber to the Brooklyn Bridge. You can just drink cleaning fluid.

I have been recovering (I am fine. I’m fine. I’m fine.) I am out and about walking around, I am just wouldn’t go to a party, unless it was an American Comedy Awards party. I’m just kidding. I have nothing to say to Tig.

Because I have been schlumping around the house I have been watching television that I ordinarily wouldn’t be watching. In particular I am referring to daytime television, including but not limiting it to, The Today Show, the forth hour of The Today Show and The View. I should not be doing any of these things. I saw a girl on The Today Show who I believe was fifteen. She had written a book on how to be popular using the values she found in an old etiquette book she decided would be a fun point of departure for her blog which became a book. Sooner or later she’s opposite Savannah Guthrie. We like Savannah Guthrie right? She’s pregnant without being married, which is good. Who is the other one, Natalie Morales?

This fifteen year old girl is sitting on a director’s chair in pearls and a corseted waist with an A-line skirt and cardigan saying, “I tried these tips to be popular and they worked. I chronicled it in this cheeky memoir and now it’s optioned to be a film.” Nathalie Morales asked, “How did that feel when you found out that your book was optioned to be a film?” “It was surreal. I thought my parents were joking when they told me.” I said to myself after that, I said, “All right, all right. That will do pig. Time to go back to el beddie bye.” That’s too much. Don’t give fifteen year old girls any kind of reward for emulating these accoutrements of the patriarchy that are antiquated. They are not even kitschy. Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you!

Why aren’t you having lipstick parties, which I know aren’t real. But they could be if you threw one! Teens, teens and girls with book deals. If that becomes a movie and any of you go and see it I will find your IP address from the deep web… By the way I finished House of Cards. Ugh, what happened? What happened on that show? I thought the first episode was great, then it got silly, then stupid and then it got weird. Then it was awful. Bad news bears everyone, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler-Freddy, BBQ place that was going to be a chain but then wasn’t a chain because Freddy had a son with a criminal rap sheet. Freddy was poor. Freddy sees Kevin Spacey in a fleece. There’s a photo of Robin Wright sleeping. Kevin Spacey explains that he commissioned that photo of his wife sleeping because every man wants a photo of his wife asleep. Then the Chinese people and Remie is having sex with Karen? Jackie. Fine. She has a tattoo. Then Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have a three-way with a secret service dude. I didn’t see that coming. There was some tap dancing, some choreography that makes it so that the President was like duh. Spoiler, spoiler spoiler Kevin Spacey becomes the president. He goes to the oval office and he sits behind his desk. He takes his hands and caresses the desk like some sort of Ethan Allen pervert. At the end of the shot he takes his fist and bangs it on the desk! Credits HOC Season 2. That's a wrap. Terrible.

After the Today Show where that little girl sold the terrible book, The View commenced. It was 11:00am and I turned to The View. They are going to kill Barbara Walters next week on camera. Those are her wishes. They are going to dice her up. She wants to die on that show and they are going to kill her. I read that all of the past guest hosts, everyone who has every hosted is going to be there for Barbra Walters last day on the show and on the planet. They are going to eat her. They are going to dice her up. It will be just like the end of that Tom Petty video Into the Great Wide Open. My jokes! My jokes are jokes. Do know what they do? They say one thing, then you expect what you'd expect and then I say screw you buddy and I give you something else.

Barbara Walters is sitting around a table with an entirely new staff of morons. The View began with four or five morons and now the only moron left from the original lineup is Barbara Walters who is extremely old and loves and worships her oppressors. She loves terrible men. That's her thing. The View, originally called Eavesdropping on Dumb Women Having Brunch, opinionated dumb women, is still up and running. It is the worst show in the world. I decided this recently. This is interesting to me, I decided in the last week or so I really like Whoopi Goldberg and I really like Idina Menzel. Those are the two things I have realized in the last week. That's where I am at right now.

Idina Menzel I salute you. Your singing voice has an athleticism that I say hurrah for. Whoopi Goldberg is great. The thing about The View is that it really is a sketch. Every character is on their game. They only have one thing they do. They only have one agenda no matter what the topic. Whoopi's is just being Whoopi. That involves writing a first person op-ed on a cannabis website that I just read about how much she loves her vape pen. She has a vaporizer pen and she named it. She named it 'Sippy'. She named her vape pen Sippy. Whoopi has a vape pen Sippy and she calls it 'Sippy' because she takes a couple of sips whenever she gets a headache and she is fine. God bless Whoopi Goldberg. Fine

The morons on The View talked about this movie with Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman where they upload Johnny Depp's personality to the internet. Why would anyone want to do anything with Johnny Depp's personality? That is a terrible example of a person whose personality you'd want, right? Of all the personalities to preserve! They are talking about it because they are being paid large amounts of money by the movie companies. They put so much money into it that they have to put in as much to promote it. It is awful. It is the worst thing. You should be so lucky to never see a minute of it, it is so bad. They are saying the technology for it is only thirty years away. First of all that is such bullshit. That came with the PR materials for the move. Did you know the technology for this movie is only thirty years away?

That’s like saying when is my food coming out waiter? And he says, “Five minutes.” Because that’s what the waiter says, and then you forget it and it comes twenty minutes later and you don’t care because time is a construction, man. What is that L. Ron Hubbard? L. Ron Howard? Time matter energy and mass? I am reading Going Clear, but I couldn’t get through the first chapter so I put it down and read My Friend Dahmer in one sitting, it was so good.

They are talking about this topic. Every moron goes around the table and is putting in her two stupid moron cents. Sherri Shepherd says, “I don’t want them to do that to me.” Jenny McCarthy says—visually, “Look at my huge breasts, but with glasses on my upper parts so it balances out. It’s a new brand for me.” That’s what she says visually and, “Oh I never said anything about vaccines,” and, “Oh, I’m going to be Mrs. Wahlberg soon.” Fine. They get to Barbara Walters. When she’s on that show everybody listens to what she has to say, she’s the grand dame. Nothing she ever has to say is informed by anything but her own personal experiences which are insane. All of her personal experiences end in 1981. She doesn’t have anything else to draw from and yet her opinion is solicited when it comes to current events.

So she starts talking about cryogenics. She says there was a thing where you used to freeze yourself and one day when they have the technology to bring you back they would do so. You could live forever. And she says, “Sometimes you could just freeze the head.” Thank you.Then Jenny McCarthy makes eye contact with America because we have permitted her to do that. We have never taken away her right to do that based on a series of failings. Between that and the Oligarchy article that everyone is sharing on Facebook, at least in my network, we’ve got a lot on our plate. Jenny McCarthy says, “Moving on to the next item, Christina Hendricks has recently admitted…” I am listening-what did she admit to? Breast implants? What’s going on? The end of the sentence does not justify the beginning of the sentence. She says she admitted to not wanting to have children. She says her dog is good enough for her. Jenny McCarthy says, “They are calling it Generation Rex,” which I think is funny. That begat a new…they all start harmonizing like the Beach Boys but with stupid, stupid thoughts instead of melodies.

Sherri Shepherd says, “I love my dogs. You know I love my dogs but when my son hurts his knee because he falls down and he comes to me crying Mama, Mama, I say to him baby you are going to be ok. I sue that opportunity as a way to teach him a lesson about life and I can’t do that to my dogs. When my dogs hurt themselves I give them a treat. They go lick themselves and forget what happened.” The audience laughs Hamah, Ha, Ha, and Ha. That insane thing that a woman was paid to say spawns a reaction from Professor Cryogenics at the end of the table, “Well I love my dog Cha Cha…,”That’s when I just stopped what I was doing. I was combing my hair or getting dressed but I stopped and turned to the television to listen to what was about to happen. To be honest I don’t remember what the rest of the sentence was. All I remember taking away was Barbara Walters has a dog named Cha Cha and I am just learning about this now?

One more thing about that stupid ‘Artificial Intelligence’ conversation when the cackle birds were bandying about the idea of putting our personalities into outer space as though space is not having a hard enough time without all of the garbage we jettison into it daily. Whoopi Goldberg, she at the helm and takes them to the breaks, she’s the ringmaster, she says, “Well according to Battlestar Gallactica you all know that once you start putting intelligence into artificial forms they become smart and it’s a problem. Then the audience claps. Even though, I assume, the audience doesn’t watch Battlestar Gallactica. I think it is great that Whoopi Goldberg brings it back to things she knows about. Every other thing about those women and that show I want desperately to if not, deteriorate immediately or eventually, at least not define anything about my gender at all.

Then FYI Morgan Freeman who was on The View went on Katie Couric’s show. People think Morgan Freeman has something to say. He has nothing to say. He’ll show up and play WISE OLD BLACK MAN and he will memorize his lines. He will act out his dialogue beautifully and go home. Everyone will ignore weird news stories about people he was in car accidents with, that’s his thing. Don’t expect him to go on a show and be one of his characters because he’s not. He’s a weirdo. He’s not charming. Katie Couric was doing her best: the smile on her face was like a death mask. She asked him, “Do you ever get star struck?” “All the time.” The audience laughed because they were so anxious, there’s no relief. It’s like hanging out with a cranky old guy who hasn’t talked in a while but he still has the talking stick. She asked him who some of his idols were. He said that Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab was just absolutely transcendent. It was a performance he looked up to. Katie Couric said that she loved Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird and Morgan Freeman completely ignores her.

I know what it is like to interview someone you can’t connect with. How many real housewives have I interviewed on this show? Enough! Plenty. By the way Mad Men was a snooze. I was disappointed. I am looking forward to whatever Masonry is going to ensue. I don’t agree with the stuff online that Megan Draper is Sharon Tate, obviously the similarities are that she is in isolation, and I think she is in Benedict Canyon, is that correct? I know that where she’s living recalls Cielo Drive but I think the point of that has more to do with Don Draper acknowledging the differences between LA and New York as an ‘80s stand up would, which I believe is going to be the ending of the series. He’ll be what is it, Live at Caroline’s; we’ll have to ask Andy Kindler. I am looking forward to seeing how the show deals with the Manson murders and I am also very excited to see that it is ‘Gump’ week. During the commercials on Mad Men AMC was very proud to let America know it was ‘Gump’ week meaning they would be showing Forrest Gump constantly on their network during the week. I think they considered letting a woman recap it after-Talking Gump I believe. But then thought what are we crazy?

I just want to say late night talk shows, the whole thing, I don’t know what it is, maybe it is just a phase but I don’t want to read another fucking thing ever on the internet about late night talk show, if only just because late night talk shows to me are really boring right now. I think Stephen Colbert is a worthy successor to Letterman who is a genius. Beyond that why would I watch the John Oliver Show? I like him. I think he is good at what he does but who gives a shit at a certain point. Do we need this? At a certain point the white male talk show host thing just becomes a failure of culture. What is it going to be? Are you going to talk about the lost plane and have a joke? Ok. Have a good time with that. I will be on twitter reading jokes. Why would I watch that? I just don’t give a shit anymore. I really don’t. I don’t care. IT’s not an exciting medium. Also those poster of John Oliver around New york City where he is wearing a pair of glasses and also in addition is holding a pair of glasses in his mouth. Get it? He’s got an extra pair of glasses. That is gently funny ladies and germs.

I saw Alice Cooper on the street. It changed everything. I couldn’t believe it. He’s in town for the Tribecca Film Festival. There’s a documentary in town about him which I am going to go see. I strongly recommend walking past Alice Cooper on the street. He was coming from John Varvatos, the John Varvatos that used to be CBGBs. He was with a bunch of people all dressed in black and they all had John Varvatos merchandise. It made so much sense. Alice Cooper is here for the documentary. Alice Cooper was at John Varvatos because Alice Cooper has done ads for John Varvatos—Alice fucking Cooper! Alice Cooper, Alice Cooper Alice Cooper. Do you think his snake is staying with him in the hotel? I should have asked.

Happy Passover to all of our celebrating listenairs. I went to my family’s Seder. I hope that if you did go to a Seder you had at least one hurtful encounter with someone that you are too close to, that’s the holidays! I went to my family’s Seder. It was nice. It was fine. For those of you who don’t know there are two big Jewish Holidays. There are the high holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in the fall and Passover in the spring. I can’t not go to my mom’s house because something is going to happen that lasts for six months so I have to be there. Is it interesting that the big holidays happen during transitional months? Maybe. Do I like Easter? No. I love Easter! Easter is the best because Easter is a gay holiday. I’m not just saying that because of pastels and bonnets, I’m saying it because it’s a lot of fun. Easter rules. I don’t want to say Passover drools but Passover is very complicated.

I want to congratulate Jessica Seinfeld for pulling off her Seder. The thing about a Seder is that it is a very complicated multi-course event. Usually there are more than 4-8-12 people. It’s a big meal to host. On top of it being a meal there are other considerations. There’s wine. There are things past around the table. There’s a Seder plate. There’s a script essentially. There are personalities. If you ever get the opportunity to listen to a Jewish woman stress out about how much she has to do in order to prepare her Seder, I strongly recommend that you reconsider how you got into that room because women who take it upon themselves to put together a Seder… Jessica Seinfeld, married to Jerry Seinfeld, on Instagram, her claim to fame was that she left her husband Eric Nederlander, another very wealthy famous NY Jewish desirable person for a type of woman that goes to the Reebok Sports club wearing makeup. She left him for Jerry Seinfeld. Then she wrote a book about how to sneak spinach into whoopee pies. She takes helicopters from the Hamptons to midtown whenever she needs to take a meeting. Her instagram documents her crazy kooky life with her children and with Jerry Seinfeld and her terrible new haircut.

She’s just the worse. She’s living the dream of a particular kind of woman that I despise. And Jessica Seinfeld instagram is so fucking dumb-Oh my god! How am I going to pull of Seder? I feel like you will figure it out. I feel like between your resources and your other resources you’ll manage to pull this one off Jessica Seinfeld. I want to say congratulations Jessica Seinfeld for pulling off your Sedair.

We have our second knighting, I wish to knight Danielle Henderson. She is now Sir Danielle Henderson or Lady Danielle Henderson. There are only two people knighted in the HWYW family. They are Sir Jon Lawless who has contributed over $1000 to tip Spoony and hot tips for Hotlips and seem like an upstanding gentleman and our friend Danielle Henderson. She is a superlative person. She will be joining me and Ted Leo along with other guests on June 1st at HWYW Live at the Bell House.

Abe Reisman is initiated into the Red Head Hall of Fame. He is my collaborator at Vulture. He’s a good man and very thorough.

We have one guest…