Episode 167: "Unable to Close Her Eyes"
May 16, 2014
Origin of the episode title
Barbara Walters is and will continue to be...
This week, Mitch Hurwitz joins Julie to discuss the commedia dell'arte influence on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, what Bea Arthur was like, how it's more important to be heard than seen to certain humans, and also there is a lot of joking around and a million tangents.
Plus, Julie celebrates the upfronts, figures out the patriarchal implications of Mothers' Day being a big deal, casts THE MUSIC MAN, eulogizes Barbara Walters, explains what Vietnam was like, and expresses a great deal of sadness over the fact that we will never hear H.R. Giger's beautiful speaking voice again.
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Transcription by Amy
Hello everybody. It’s Julie Klausner back for another episode of HWYW.
It’s mid-May, after our April showers and our golden showers. How many times is Jim Norton going to be on shows that I watch? I really like his stand-up and I think he is really funny. Louie started up last week and he’s on that. Amy Schumer has interviewed him twice. I watch Inside Amy Schumer, I like it. But there’s a lot of Jim Norton in my eyes these days.
Guys I hope you had a good Up Fronts week. Let’s just get right to the meat of the matter. Up Front s week for those of you who don’t know is an ancient practice in which a tribesman rubs sage on a menstruating woman’s tuchis and they recite a few incantations about Norman Lear. Everybody calls, what’s his name? Who created Cheers? Is it Christopher Lloyd? Jimmy Burrows, everybody calls Jimmy Burrows a genius and then they go ooga chaka ooga chaka. Then they order 17 episodes of Meshugganah Town on channel two and they cancel the things they dreamt about last year that would work out but didn’t. The definition of insanity is green-lighting Undateable over and over again.
For those of you who don’t know the Up Fronts are magical time in New York City where lots of Hollywood weasels come in and pollute our streets with their terrible ideas about what they have decided to do and what they have done. They make a lot of business inside jokes about 18-24 year-olds. Advertisers eat high on the hog. Basically they say these are the shows coming up that America, at one point, had to watch because there was no cable and internet. That’s not the case anymore but nobody told them. So everyone has a big investment, more Americans watch CBS than other stuff. Maybe your friends talk about Mad Men a lot but I hate to blow your mind, it is not as highly rated as CSI as my enemy Pauly Perrette. I think she was here, which is unacceptable. She should not be allowed on my coast.
People were here presenting their program and new schedules to advertisers who said, “Give me all of the commercials. I want to buy all of the commercials for that selfies show. What’s this about a coming of age? Gimme those commercials.” The network weasels would say, “You bet.” This year things were a little different. This year NBC decided to pull a Jonestown. They gave a lot of Kool Aid out to a lot of comedies. I don’t think they told them it was Kool Aid, they said it was cyanide. Is it even grape flavored? Yeah, define grape-flavored. By then the person has already drunk the poison. I’ll see myself out.
There are no more comedies on NBC Thursday night. This is something that is a big deal because there have been comedies on NBC since the Cosby Show, and Cheers. Before there was must-see TV which was coined by a guy named Jeff Hitler who was not related to Hitler but he loved Adolph Hitler so he kept his name. He was born with that name; he didn’t change his name to be more punk. I am learning so much about punk by the way. I am reading Please Kill Me. It was one of those things where I am embarrassed to tell people I hadn’t read it before. And I am getting to that place where I am closer to forty than thirty. It is time to be ok with things I haven’t done yet. It is better that I am doing them. The point is Iggy Pop and Nico had disgusting sex.
The Must see TV tradition of Thursday night son NBC has been replaced with episode after episode of James Spader playing Red Reddington going after one criminal and then going after another with the help of his trusty ambiguously related probably daughter. Would you like to see him fuck her? I would. Megan Boone. That is going to be you Thursday night show. What else? The Voice. Everything else is different. Sunrise Sunset for Two and a Half Men. These are all changes. You can teach old dog old tricks.
I did a show on Sunday. My agents asked me to do a showcase. Nobody likes a showcase because it feels like you are being ogled. They are not fun people who are there to laugh; they are like narcissists having conversations with you. Does a narcissist listen to the other conversation? Actually they do. They are listening for opportunities to advance their agenda. “Oh this person had a terrible experience with this dermatologist. I am going to make sure I don’t go to that dermatologist. I am also going to tell a story where I had worse experience with a doctor. I am more important than you.” It was a lot of fun. I was grateful to do it. I really love my agency. They have done well by me. I was pleased as punch to be asked. I hadn’t performed in a while and I was a little rusty. I had these old jokes, and I did my best. Hotlips and I were talking before the show about NBC canceling all of their comedies. He said, “NBC had a red wedding.” I said that is so funny can I talk about that on stage. He said absolutely. Right around the time when I hosted the International Cat Film Festival in Minneapolis at the state fair, I was experiencing horrible heartbreak last year, it was the weekend of the fourth of July I believe, I was on stage doing cat related lousy stand up. The people right in front of the stage started chanting, “Cats, Cats, Cats, Cats, Cats” I said to a crowd of industry slime, which I mean in a loving way, “So are you guys excited tomorrow to go to NBCs red wedding?” You could hear crickets. “You know they killed off Must See TV and all of the comedies on Thursday nights?” There was total silence. Then one woman in the fourth row went, “Aw.” So I am sending her love and light.
I am also sending love and light to Barbara Walters who as of this week is dead. I thought it was weird that she wanted to televise her own execution but every doddy old broad deserves a final wish. Hers was to go out the way she came in with eyes that don’t close and a disturbing amount of sympathy for whatever powerful man is involved in a sex scandal. RIP Barbara Walters; please use the hashtag #CelebrateBarbara for all of your tweets going forward in general. The View has been using that hashtag this week. Please, even if you are just puttering around your kitchen, walking down the street, riding the subway, thinking about what it would be like to blow somebody you work with, celebrate Barbara in that time.
The other thing that happened is that NBC announced that they were successful when they did the Sound of Music so they are going to do The Music Man. I think that Kevin Spacey should not be allowed to play the lead. I think that role should go to an openly gay person. If you’re not going to put an openly gay men in the lead of The Music Man what else do you have to say to Tommy Tune? Jesus! The Music Man—76 Trombones and the like, fascist nostalgia. I’m not saying I don’t like it. I’m not saying it ain’t catchy. I’m not saying Shipoopi didn’t score many a nightmare in fourth and fifth grade. I went to see my friend Tamara dance at a recital. After I endured a group doing Shipoopi I got to watch her do some modern interpretive swing. The Music Man was like that Mark Harris book what is it called Movies at the end of a Revolution or something? I know what it is called I just haven’t read it. I want to read it. I wish I could read books like Johnny Five from Short Circuit, but I can’t. I have absorbed The Music Man.
What else? Marion the Librarian, that’s was what librarians were like before they became etsy-fied. I have lots of respect, sister to sister, to the librarians listening to the podcast. I say rock on sisters. The Music Man is going to be great. America is in a really good place for it. America needs The Music Man. The Music Man was a movie when we were still in Viet Nam. Everyone was dead. Easy Rider had come out, and everyone you knew was either on acid or about to be on acid. The people you didn’t know who were not on acid wanted you to die in the worst possible way, meaning the swamps in Cambodia. I know the Dead Kennedys sang about it, it has to be relevant to what I am saying. My point is I think it is a beautiful distraction from the Viet Nam of our day which is to say Jessica Seinfeld’s Instagram. I really shouldn’t harp on her too much. I have nothing but respect for her husband who does not seem like he has a big head in any way and his legacy. Larry David is my idol. I mean that. I don’t mean to be facetious. Look, I am not very successful. Do you know what it is? I was described in articles about the pilot I am doing with Billy and Amy as ‘cult comedian’. There are times when that would have been fine as long as I am rolling in cash. The problem is I am not. That is not the problem as much as it is my problem. I don’t want to be as famous as, Carson Daly he lucked out. My point is maybe I should talk less shit about people who can help me. Although I don’t think Jerry Seinfeld is breaking down my door to offer me some gentle mentoring. With that I will remind you that his wife is such a fucking twat.
If you don’t know Jessica Seinfeld instagram is instagram.com/jessseinfeld. Here we go, she’s wearing fancy kitten-toe pointed shoes and she’s crossing her legs on a bench on the subway. I can’t wait to see this caption. She writes, “I tried so hard to make that yellow line level.” What does that even mean? Fuck you! Do you know what this photo says? I am riding the subway and I have fabulous shoes on. She’s a woman who thought Sex in the City was incredibly edgy. I don’t like people who shit on Sex in the City at all. I think it was an important show at the right time. It’s well written. I saw an episode the other day where they all went to a raw food restaurant. Samantha was flirting with a waiter who asked if he could start them off with an amuse bouche. She said to the table of women, “I’d like him to amuse my bouche.” That was all we needed.
We got what we were given and we said thank you. Those were better times. Maybe they were just simpler times. Jessica Seinfeld seemed to have had a nice Mother’s Day. She went to see the Mets with her husband. She takes photos of her food and her husband. Her hair looks really bad. She’s the living embodiment of YOLO, I can’t even begin...I am still grappling with why she is my nemesis. She’s the road not taken. She’s ambitious in her own right, and she’s ambitious about the man she married and the lifestyle she wanted as opposed to having a vision for something that would bring a lot of joy to other people. I know that isn’t the only reason why people make art. Maybe you can’t compare the two or maybe one isn’t better than the other, but that’s not true. One is better than the other. There are so many basic bitches. The worse thing is when you intersect with them and you are in the same place. You think to yourself how did this happen. Aren’t I supposed to be in my enclave of the Bee People at the end of the Blind Melon video and other weirdos? Nope, that’s not what adulthood is. That’s not what being a human interacting with other humans is. I guess what I am saying is you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both. There you have it.
Remember the episode on The Facts of Life when a hammer was missing and Jo was using it as a dildo? Oh, that’s Orange is the New Black. Whoopsies. I have been thinking about Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was this week. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms listening. More importantly happy Father’s Day to all the fathers listening. When I said that just now how did you feel? Did you feel like I was being funny? Julie’s being silly? Julie’s saying something she’s going to expound upon. You are not wrong. Father’s day is stupid. I think everyone agrees that if you remember, “Oh my god I forgot to call my father on Father’s Day” versus “Oh shit I forgot to call my mom on Mother’s Day” it’s a little weird. Mother’s Day is as fake of a holiday and Father’s Day. Neither of those days have anything to do with the Solstice nor with the Pagan Calendar which is what I consider to be an authentic holiday. But this country makes such a big deal out of Mother’s Day. Father’s Day may as well be Grandparents Day or frankly Secretary’s Day. I am saying Secretary’s Day and this is all going to come together in a beautiful kaleidoscope of ideas.
The reason why this country made Mother’s Day such a big thing and doesn’t give a shit about Father’s Day, Father’s Day it is almost like isn’t that cute? They have the equal rights amendment. Father’s Day is ridiculous and Mother’s Day is important because there is an institutionalized patriarchal view of women that says if you have children you are doing something not only wonderful but really really special. It is almost as though women aren’t expected to have children. To celebrate women in the way that Mother’s Day does is an extension of the attitude that Mommy Bloggers and Yuppie women who Instagram way more food than they should have about themselves. Not only am I heroic for raising children but I am unique, special, that I am in the minority, when in fact there is nothing revolutionary about wanting to have children and being a mother. I hate to blow your minds. The reason why Mother’s Day is such a big deal is that the patriarchy wants to encourage women to breed. Why is that so hard to understand?
I’m not saying that if you have children you aren’t great. I don’t know maybe you are. I know people who have kids and they are fantastic. They are, I don’t know their kids. Mother’s Day like Secretary’s Day—Here’s your box of chocolates and some flowers, now continue to demean yourself with lesser work even though your IQ may well be triple mine, including emotional intelligence. I also think it is a way of distracting us so that we don’t earn equal pay. I really do. Ugh. I don’t know. This is important. Whenever I see photos in the Sunday coupon section and there’s one for a Carvel ice cream cake with a jacket and tie that says Happy Father’s Day and you think who gets those? Nobody, nobody gets those. There are a lot of families in this country that don’t have fathers or male figures present. It hasn’t been a value that we as a patriarchal western assemblage of different religions, except for Hail Satan. I am going to go ahead and say I am a Pagan. Why not? All of them maintain that Plastic Ono Band’s philosophy about a woman’s place in the world. I hate to break it to Jessica Seinfeld but she didn’t invent motherhood. That’s all. That’s all I am going to say. That’s all, except for this—H.R. Giger is dead. I found out after I read Spoony’s tweet. He said I wonder what HR Giger’s idea of heaven looks like. I read that before I knew that HR Giger had died and thought oh Spoony has gone off the deep end. I also considered what if at the HWYW Live June 1 we just put Spoony out on the stage with a guitar and he sings Garbage Dump by Charles Manson over and over again? Would anyone be disappointed? No. Especially not Squeaky Fromme who will be giving you your wrist bands, “Are you drinking tonight?”
HR Giger has passed away and I am having a hard time reconciling the notion that I will never be able to hear his speaking voice again. I saw Jodorowsky’s Dune recently and HR Giger is interviewed in that movie. I am familiar with his work. It’s not my thing, but I respect it. Hey, I’ll give you this, it was very new. New is important. Different is important. I hadn’t realized that he had a terrifying speaking voice. It was German and robotic, now he is dead. We will never be able to hear him sing which I understand he loved to do. I hope that his version of heaven involves a lot of biomechanical stalactites and stalagmites impaling things with teeth. God Bless America.
Hero Cat is I do want to mention that Hero Cat is the best cat. If you haven't seen this video it says, "This might be disturbing." Oh no! Does the dog attack the cat? No the dog attacks the kid. Play, play, play, let's go. It might be disturbing for somebody else. I'm not a monster. The kid is on a tricycle. The dog walks past. The dog considers it then goes for it. The dog attacks the kid. Within an instant Hero Cat runs out of the house, attacks the dog and the dog runs away. The cat is heroic. Hero Cat is interviewed. Hero Cat is a big tabby. She rules! She's in the Red Head Hall of Fame. Hero Cat is not a red head. She's not even close to being a red head but I am putting her into the Red Head Hall of Fame because she is Hero Cat. That's all I care about and Alec Baldwin being in jail. They should just throw away the key. Put him in Rikers. Alec Baldwin got arrested for riding his bike in the wrong direction on some avenue or street or junction. The cops said, "You get off your bike and you go into jail." He caused a stink. I am just glad he's no longer in the public life because otherwise that would have been really hard.
I think Casey Kasem has been found. Or is he still missing? I'm not sure. I think he was found.
Finally, next week I am shooting my pilot with Billy and Amy. It is going to be a crazy experience and a crazy week. I am so excited and frankly grateful for the opportunity. I will continue to keep you posted in that department as well.
I encourage you to tip us by going to paypal.com and sending us some money. As Eugene Levy says in Guffman, "Contrary to popular belief, I do not have great vision. Contrary to popular belief having internet heat does not pay rent."
Are you guys excited about the Tony's? I am. I'm excited about the Tony's and I haven't seen one of these goddamn musicals. I am excited because the man who designed the hair and wigs for Aladdin is doing my hair next week. So if I look a little Jasmine-y that's why. The Cabaret Show is coming back next month. The Billy on the Street show is ovair. Louie is on. I really loved that fat girl episode. I thought it was great. I thought it was imperfect, I thought it was great. Sarah Baker is an incredible actor. My god when you see people really acting it makes you remember that you are kind of an asshole for thinking acting is stupid, and yet it is.
My guest this week is a really brilliant, funny, friendly, smart and nice person. He is the person who created Arrested Development one of my favorite TV shows ever. I remember it was about a year ago when season 4 came out on Netflix and I spent all of Memorial Day weekend in my apartment watching it. His name is Mitch Hurwitz. I had the pleasure of interviewing him in LA. You can tell I interviewed him about month ago because Mickey Rooney is still alive and we talk about him. I say he's an asshole. I would never speak ill of the dead.