Episode 175: "Barbershop Quartet of Bullying Doom"

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July 11, 2014


Jamies Poniewozik

Origin of the episode title[edit]


Happy Ryan "Hot Lips" Houlihan Day! This week's show features TV Critic JAMES PONIEWOZIK, who is here to tell us what to watch this summer.

Also: A street harasser expresses his desire to scratch Julie's summer scalp, an open call for Coen Bros-themed tattoos, Robin Leach's fascinating wife, White Castle and its disgusting food and enigmatic "Hall of Fame," an extensive discussion of Denis Leary's new TV show, how looking back is a thing one does when one is depressed, rejecting the notion of watching a new thing, damnit!

Plus: Welcome back, Rosie O'Donnell's trutherism on The View! CATS: The Musical, now returning to the state with rapping! Why they shoula hired Paul Giamatti for AMERICAN HUSTLE. And Baby Boomers' Terminator vision.

Hey! There are t-shirts for sale now at HowWasYourWeek.com! That's a bonus thing as well. Enjoy!


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Monologue Transcripts[edit]

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

As you hear this in your ears it is Hotlips’ birthday! July 11th belongs to Ryan Hotlips Houlihan. Please remember that. It’s his day--Happy Birthday, producair, comrade, trusted loved one, owner of a cat. Cats, cats, cats.

Since I spoke to you last I had a five day weekend. July 4th was a long weekend. When your birthday is on a holiday weekend, my birthday is on July 3rd, when you have a birthday that falls on a long weekend it ends up being 5 days of eating stuff you never eat. Why am I eating mini-Kit Kat bars? Why am I in my pajamas? Oh right, I’m celebrating.

I hope you had a nice fourth. I went to one barbecue. Nothing is more depressing to me than a barbecue on a roof, in an urban environment in Manhattan or Brooklyn or what have you, when there’s a grill but it’s small and every once in a while somebody comes around with vegetables on skewers. No thanks. There’s something so depressing about the scarceness to it. The sight of a green bell pepper chopped in quarters and slightly blackened really makes me jump off the roof.

I hope you guys had a good fourth it was very hot here in the city. Jimmy Jazz is still into Jeff, “Call me Jeff.” He says he wants to move to ‘Silicone’ Valley. He has an idea for an app. I asked what is it? He said, “Play with me.” “You’re changing the subject.” “Am I?”

It was hot in the city and I was walking around with a sweaty scalp. It’s kind of the worst. I guess there are other things that are ‘worse’—your armpits, your groin, under your other privates. Free the nipple. Celebrities daughters who want to show their tits, as if that’s ever been something this country has gotten in the way of beautiful women showing their breasts. Free the nipple—why is Instagram taking down this photo of me topless. I don’t know, I’m sure you can find somewhere else to post it. Find another cause.

Walking around, again, this is gross and I am sorry, it was hot. I ended up on 6th Avenue scratching my sweaty scalp. Ugh, scratch, scratch, scratch. It is all gross, human bodies being bags of garbage. But I was in public and I did that. Sorry Countess Luann. I know that is not the right thing to do, but it was so humid. While I am scratching my scalp a guy goes, “Hey, can I do that?” Dude, you don’t want to do that. You don’t want to scratch my sweaty scalp. If you do, keep it to yourself. That’s weird. First of all keep it to yourself because women have the right to walk places in public in broad daylight without being harassed and reminded at every single turn that they are objects of sexual desire first and foremost, until they are not in which case they are useless. Also don’t’ say that because if a pretty girl were carrying a thing of diapers, like she had Huggies or something, and a guys said, “Can I wear those diapers?” That would be weird right? Equally weird? Only Nicholas Cage can say for sure. Nicholas Cage with Huggies—such an iconic…

Who has a Raising Arizona tattoo? Who has a tattoo of Nicholas Cage running with Huggies and a panty on his head? What do you think would be the best Coen brother’s tattoos? Let’s open this up for conversation. If you were going to get a tattoo and it had to be something derived from a Coen brother’s movie/project--not that book, it can’t be from that book the Eden one—short stories, no thanks. There was also a play, forget that. What would be a good Coen brother’s tattoo? I’m not in the market for one, although you never know. I’m not. But if I were what would be a good one to have? Would it be Richard Kind with an ear infection from a Serious Man? No. I could see an ink drawing of Barton Fink, but that would be better as a dish towel on Etsy. That would be a good embroidered dish towel.

I’m lying, sitting on the floor on my yoga mat, which is very rarely used for yoga recording the monologue into the laptop right now and Jimmy keeps coming over sniffing, distracting, investigating whether or not I’m interested in playing with him. He makes up games. He just makes up the rules as he goes. Mostly the object of the game is chase me but sometimes you can’t. I’m sorry, I’m getting distracted. Coen Brothers’ tattoos send me ideas for them. No wood chipper stuff, actually fine you can send wood chipper stuff I don’t care. I’m as bad as Jimmy. I’m making arbitrary rules.

I got a lot of emails and tweets. I woke up and thought what happened? My twitter mentions are exploding something must have happened with either the Cannibal Cop or… It turned out to be an Alice Cooper related thing. I guess Alice Copper was inducted into the White Castle Hall of Fame. I don’t know what that is but sounds disgusting. However, because Alice Copper is in it I condone the White Castle Hall of Fame. I am not qualified to add people to the White Castle Hall of Fame. I don’t think I am, but if I were, I’d make sure Alice Cooper remained in the White Castle Hall of Fame. Who else would I add to the White Castle Hall of Fame if I had the authority to do so? Seann Williams Scott, Robert DeNiro, Melissa Etheridge—that’s it. That’s all I’m going to do now. It’s all hypothetical though. Oh and Kissyfur, Kissyfur the cartoon bear. They are all in the White Castle Hall of Fame if I could dream it. Anyway congratulations to Alice Cooper for being the best in every way. White Castle, your food is disgusting. There are flavors and textures that are on your revolting burgers that will hopefully fade out like blood stains on so many linens one day. White Castle, in particular, is very offensive to me. Most fast food places are but if I had to rank them White Castle would be pretty low on the list because I find their aesthetic offensive. First of all they only target men, as they should because I have never met a woman who says, “Oh! White Castle, yessssss!!!” Every person I have ever spoken to about White Castle who doesn’t mention it with some sort of disgust is a male person that says, “When you’re drunk, holy shit!” All right, all right, but their whole ‘What you crave….’ I can’t go too into that stuff because then I have to contemplate the Red Head Roaster at Wendy’s and the AM Crunchwrap, and I don’t have time for that. I can’t do that. I can’t sit here and talk about fast food while the world burns.

I’m a little depressed. I’m going to be completely honest with you. I am in a place right now where I feel I am looking down on myself experiencing things. I am very removed. A lot of that is protective. If you are removed you don’t experience pain, but then you also don’t experience joy. You also don’t really like leaving your house a lot. That’s something I am experiencing right now. I am going to be honest about it. The nice thing about it is, the great thing about knowing you are depressed is that you realize it, then you can do something about it as opposed to just feeling shitty all the time and thinking, boy I feel shitty. I should exercise. I don’t want to do that, I feel shitty about not wanting to do that. It’s nice to know, oh! I’m depressed. Ok. Let’s figure out how to treat that.

That’s why I am going to walk on coals. No, I’m not going to walk on coals. But I promise if I did, I would podcast it. I would live blog my coal-walking experience. Whether or not I’m a numbers oriented person, my attitude toward age is really fluid. I don’t really believe in numeric judgments. That said, I always get depressed around my birthday. Just a thing that I have noticed happens. I remember a year ago dating this shit-bird monsoon, just a monsoon of shit-bird this guy was. The Emmy’s were nominated today. Congratulations to everybody who was nominated, especially those who have never worked as hard as me. I remember this time last year when he said, “I got nominated for these Emmy’s.” I just thought please be nicer to me. There’s a certain déjà vu. There’s a déjà vu to a terrible ‘non’ relationship. I was seeing this guy and the beats of the dating we were doing (this is gross) revolved around comedy events. He was a comedy writer so he’d be like, “Montreal is coming up.” “Oh, Montreal.” I got a text from Montreal. Ugh!

There’s no relief. It’s not like thank god that’s over and I am in a better place. When you are feeling bad it is very hard to be in the present. I think you tend to look backwards more than perhaps one should. It’s almost like you can transport yourself to a different time you felt shitty or use it to make yourself feel guilty about not being further along. Remember when you felt shitty before? That’s because you are never going to change. None of those voices are good voices. We want to replace those voices with the singing voice of, I don’t know, Brain Stokes Mitchell or Kelli O’Hara, or Iyanla saying, “You can do what you want to do if you believe in you.” Those are the voices we want, not a barbershop quartet of bullying doom. If you recognize it you are on your way to making it better. Let us repeat that as a mantra.

Let us pray, “Oh heavenly Satan above and below us. Please bestow us with your magical powers embodied by White Castle Hall of Famer, Alice Cooper. Please Satan, let us one day look as good in unitards as Alice Cooper did in the early 1970s. By the way Super Duper Alice Cooper the documentary with more beautiful footage of Alice being legendary is available on iTunes. It’s $20. You buy it. Then you have it forever. I don’t know why you wouldn’t do that. Honestly, do I get a cut? No. Do I want a cut? Absolutely not. Hail Satan. Hail Alice Cooper. And a shout out to my family. Definitely get that documentary. I love it! I stayed up late watching it again the other night. I said, “I’m so naughty.”

Neil the drummer looks so much like Neil from the Young Ones that it’s straight up silly. If there was a wig switch…If there were something like photo shop and you could switch the hairstyles on those two Neil, oh wouldn’t that be fun. Another thing I got sent, link-wise, is the item that Andrew Lloyd Weber is reviving Cats in London and Rum Tum Tugger’s part will be rapped. There were insane quotes in this write-up of this insane as yet to be experienced event. At one point I think Sir Andy said, “I invented rap,” or “This has always been a rap,” or “It was always meant to be rapped.” Something where you’d hide things made out of plastic if your grandmother started talking like that because you wouldn’t trust her with a sippy cup. He was gibberishing about rap this and rap that, rap, rap, rappity rap, I’m a rapping cat and I also tap. Jimmy is going to prepare a monologue. It goes like this, “Wake up. Feed me. Play with me. Go away. Feed me again.” He’s a good boy. That’s going to happen and I can’t wait.

I also watched a lot of things on the holiday weekend. That includes every episode of wife swap you can get. I watched the celebrity wife swap where comedienne Judy Gold’s wife switched places with Penn Jillette’s wife. They looked freakishly similar. Penn Jillette’s wife, as you know is an atheist. She lives in the slammer, which is what Penn Jillette calls his compound in Las Vegas. If you’ve ever seen wife swap or celebrity wife swap you know that the goal of the show as far as the producers are concerned is to make the audience realize that the two families they are dealing with are very different. That is a sentiment that is really, really hammered home to the extent that at one point I thought is this a show for children? Is this like that Louis CK thing when adults complain about Barney, and it’s not for you? Is Celebrity Wife Swap for children? At no point do they address did Judy Gold finger Penn Jillette’s wife, frankly. That’s’ what wife swap means on dirty porno sites. Wife swap.

The main thing they did which really bummed me out because I’m a compassionate feeling thinking human being is that they made Judy Gold’s wife try to do a Shabbat dinner at Penn Jillette’s compound. Penn was not comfortable with anything religious. She covered her head and lit candles. It was a bummer because that’s not what Jews do. Jews are not in the business of bringing our schtick to your Las Vegas compound. We don’t look to convert. We’re not recruiting.

I’m aware of reality television and how much of it is not even reality but it was really awkward. Then Penn’s wife’s atheism was treated as though it was similar to we don’t eat meat. It was very matter of fact. The producers used it as a point of difference. At one point Penn Jillette’s wife looks in on Judy Gold’s teenage boy’s bedroom and it is filthy and she goes, “Oh my no god,” as though it were a rooster crowing good morning. That’s how natural it came from her lips. Do you know what my take away is from Wife Swap and Celebrity Wife swap? To each their own.

Also the one with Robin Leach and Eric Roberts is art because Robin Leach is married to a former model that has a really fabulous website. On it she sells a game she invented where you take tiles and spell out words. They don’t need to be spelled the way words are spelled…? I spent a lot of time on her website. Her name is Joan Severance. Severance is spelled like severance if you were laid off. She’s an actress and former fashion model. She was in See no Evil; Hear no Evil and Bird on a Wire. Joan Severance’s website joanseverance.com is really worth visiting. A lot of former models, obviously all age beautifully. I don’t mean to blow your mind but they have freakishly good genes and bone structure as they get older. Sometimes they look more beautiful. Often you’ll hear TMZ breaking the news that Cindy Crawford looks great! She looks like she looked years ago. Good genes or good docs? Remember her?

Joan Severance is an example of a model that has straight up become a character actress version of a frigid wife. It says on her website she was on Master’s of Sex. If I were casting Masters of Sex, I’d have to see an entire episode but I understand it’s good and Lizzie Caplan can do no wrong. But, I would say let’s cast her as a frigid person from the 50s. She looks like she’s from another era. She’s very uptight and I am completely fascinated by her.

The name of her game is txtylz™ and she’s also a certified healer. If you click on that link you’ll go to re-Belief.com and you’ll learn about SeverancePlay. I don’t know what it is. She says, “Act your way to a new you. SeverancePlay™ uses character development to set the stage for a new direction in conscious change. I don’t know what this is. She says it’s a seminar focused on role play in a staged setting to create the next act of your life. She’s using production terms to apply to her life.

Pre-Production - focus on all you wish to change about yourself and life, write it down and put in your baggage-this is your opportunity to start creating the new you. Production - commences at seminar, bring in your "baggage" and leave with a suitcase full of tricks to assist in your new path- continues with your updates, photos, films etc of your new character "off stage" Post Production - monthly check in to see how your new character is holding up in the real world-- progresses Theatrical Release - 6 month soiree with attendees as their new character, hear other's success stories of change as guests with the most dramatic change are awarded and "Oscar" for their performance of a lifetime.

If anybody can afford to enroll in this and take this seminar you will be a guest on this show. I will spend however much time. I will ask you everything about the experience. If that appeals to you. I strongly encourage that you do it. She also does DNA Theta healing. I don’t know what that is. Psych-K and something called T-H-I-N-K. Joan Severance contains multitudes. She and Eric Roberts didn’t get along that well. Their lifestyles clashed. Apparently Robin Leach only eats caviar and drinks champagne. That’s literally all he does, “Welcome, have some caviar and champagne.” Eric Robert’s wife doesn’t drink alcohol or eat meat. Robin Leach goes, “Oh boy.” Also at some point Robin Leach in the last 35 years has become morbidly obese. I don’t mean to say that in a let’s all laugh at him way. He looks like a sea mammal in a tuxedo. He lives in Las Vegas I suppose. They go out to dinner every night. What a bore. Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Leach. We have some specials. Could you imagine if that is every night of your life?

Celebrity Wife Swap--I watched the one with Dweezil Zappa and David Justice. It was a lot of Celebrity Wife Swap. I’ll say this about Dweezil Zappa. Dweezil Zappa is incredibly good looking. I will go to the mat with you on this one if you are Dweezil Zappa. I think he is so god damn handsome. That’s all. I think he’s handsome and I think he’s sexy. At one point David Justice’s wife picked up his Grammy and said Peaches and Regalia huh?

Celebrity Wife Swap is a good show. What else did I watch? I watched Jaws. I watched Wet Hot American Summer and They Came Together. Christopher Meloni has a great ass by the way. I strongly recommend you gawk at it. I watched Death Trap starring Michael Caine and a young lithe Christopher Reeve in his boyish prime, and so handsome you think he might be deformed. He’s either the best looking guy in the world or there is something wrong with him, like he has some sort of disease—wasting disease or deformity or that thing that Richard Keil had. Death Trap holds up honestly it’s a lot of fun. It’s a romp. Dian Cannon boy, ugh! She’s someone who clearly one time from a director or acting coach heard, “Shriller, shriller, make it shriller.” She took that note and applied it to the rest of her career. Saw that. At one point Christopher Reeves takes his shirt off and you are like, “Gaga wahahah aw…he’s dead. Poor Christopher Reeve. My god he’s so dead.” He might be our deadest celebrity because it just took so long and it was so public. That Rear Window he did with Darryl Hannah. My voice is this way because my face is like ,’enough’ I am not Opie and Anthony making jokes at the expense of people who are disenfranchised or people who are fellow human beings. Opie and Anthony my god. We are to believe that Opie is an upstanding good man. That’s what I take away from this, Opie and or Anthony.

I watched the beginning of Death Becomes Her and it depressed me. That scene where Goldie Hawn is in a fat suit and they are cats everywhere, it’s too much. I know what you are thinking—nothing is too much when you are a gay man and I agree but something is too much when you are not building it on a solid foundation and that’s when the cake caves in. That’s like when you say I’m going to put a pie in my scene partner’s face for this clowning act but instead of a pie it’s just a foil pie pan with whipped cream in it designed to look like some sort of dome shape. Guess what? It’s not a pie. That’s how that movie made me feel, or at least the beginning of it. Oh you’ve never seen the whole thing? You’ve never seen all of Death Becomes Her? I’ve seen bits and pieces of it guys. I’ve seen bits and pieces and I’m in a place right now where I am comfortable admitting that. There is a lot of shit I haven’t gotten around to seeing. There’s a lot of stuff I want to re-watch instead of seeing new things. How about that? How about me feeling comfortable in my skin to say that? I don’t want to watch a new thing. I want to see the Alice Copper documentary again. I want to watch Working Girl. Legally Blond is on? Let’s watch it to the end. Oh good, Misery! Let’s watch the end of Misery. It’s half way through, I don’t care. Kathy Bates, there’s no perfomance that can touch Kathy Bates in Misery.

Here’s the thing about Misery, Kathy Bates was an unknown. She came from nowhere and she killed it. Holy God you watch her in that movie. It’s so easy to make it broad and funny. She tows the line. She’s just perfect. Anyway those are all things I want to see before I see a Kurosawa movie. I have been exposed. I have been exposed as a Charlatan. I think last week I said I was going to talk about the Dennis Leary show on FX where he plays Johnny Rock, but it will get me too angry.

There is a reference coming up in this interview with our guest James Poniewozik about Rosie O’Donnell coming back to The View. Rosie O’Donnell is coming back to the view and I am very, very glad. I’m also very sad that our friend David Ozanich isn’t around to enjoy that because Rosie O’Donnell every once in a while lapsing into her philosophy that 9/11 was an inside job in between celebrity interviews and casual conversation going into commercials in front of a completely befuddled live studio audience was probably...it’s in the canon of best television moments of the last decade.

Denis Leary plays Johnny Rock- FX has ordered Denis Leary‘s music comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll That’s all one word. There’s no comma between the words and the ampersands, to series with 10 episodes. Good! It goes right to series. Don’t do a pilot. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is centered on Johnny Rock, played by Leary, a middle aged rock and roller who desperately wanted to be rich and famous so far he’s 0 for 2. As the magnificently talented lead singer of NYC’s legendary early-’90s band The Heathens, Johnny was on his way to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. His best friend Flash (which is one letter away from Slash) was being called the next number one lead guitar player on planet Earth. The critics love them. Their live shows were selling out but Johnny had a problem with booze, and coke, and weed, and pills, and cough medicine, and oh yeah he slept with Flash’s wife, and his bass player’s fiancée. The band broke up the same day their first and only record was released. I’m on board! What happened to the Heathens?

Twenty five years later, Johnny is trying to get the band back together. Why? Because his soon to be ex-manager Ira Feinbaum, I get it he’s Jewish tells him, “Johnny you’re fifty, broke and completely anonymous. In Rock and Roll do you know what that makes you? A bartender. Twenty Five years later the sex might be harder to find, the drugs might be Luvox and Crestor and Cialis—I don’t know what the first two are so congratulation copywriter that came up with ‘magnificently talented.’ I assume those are all erection drugs covered by our federal government. But Rock and Roll will never die; it just has a bigger prostate.

Bullet through my fucking mouth-past the first layer of my skull, into my brain, out the other side of my brain, past the other layer of my skull and out the back of my head through my beautiful, beautiful hair. It just has a bigger prostate! Fuck everything. Baby boomer led patriarchy, they are marching us right into the fire. Dennis Leary, Anthony Bourdain, Alec Baldwin, Bruce Willis, anyone who plays at the House of Blues, men in leather jackets will be our demise. Do you know why? Because they don’t listen, they don’t see things. It’s like they have Terminator vision and their only targets are other men. By targets I mean objects worthy of consideration and challenge. They’ll see a guy being a doofus and think what an asshole and then they’ll see a woman being a doofus and think she’s pretty, I’m going to marry her. That is fundamental inequality. That is seeing woman as need fulfilling objects and it bums me out. The sexual revolution was not our war to win. That’s what Gloria Steinem said, I’m just repeating her. That’s what all of these men are nostalgic for. I know this is something you all know and have heard me talk about for a million episodes or however many episodes we’ve done by now but it is important to reiterate that these are all men that are nostalgic for the sexual revolution and the sexual revolution was men fucking everybody and not having to be loyal to a partner.

Women would fuck people too but when she would maybe say something to her boyfriend like I’m not into you sleeping with my friends, she’d be called uptight. Feminism came after the sexual revolution. Feminism came after the sexual revolution. Why? Because we needed it. We needed equality. So I talked about Johnny Rock and that wonderful theming show.

I have written down I don’t like it when actor’s stretch like Colin Farrell in Horrible Bosses. That’s something I don’t like. When actors put on a lot of make up and do a crazy character, I don’t like that. I didn’t like when Colin Farrell had comb over. Same thing with American Hustle, isn’t it crazy that Christian Bale looks like total garbage? Not really. What was Paul Giamatti doing? You should have hired him, he’s a better actor. Paul Giamatti is a better actor than Christian Bale. If you disagree with me you are so full of bushes baked beans.

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