Recently I chartered a flight to San Francisco to meet with a good pal of mine, Chris Livingston. He was kind enough to take some time from his hectic schedule to sit down with me at a quaint little cafe and humor me by answering the most juvenile and poorly thought out interview questions ever conceived. Enjoy.
First of all, congratulations for recently celebrating your second anniversary at Not My Desk. We at Lance & Eskimo strongly believe you to be the most consistently funny man on the internet. It takes five of us to do a half-assed version of what you do. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions for us and all the L&Eers out there who don't already know and love you.
No problem. That wonderful intro makes me feel justified in my delivering these answers several months late.
Are you ever in a situation at work where you just know the circumstances are going to lead to an article? If so, do you ever start prematurely laughing at an unfunny situation as you imagine what you may write about it in the future?
Sometimes I realize that something happening to me might be fun to write about later. I rarely laugh at it at the time it's happening, because it is usually causing me great pain and embarrassment. It can be fun to watch something unfold, however, and know that I'll be able to get an update or an essay out of it. I'm usually more relieved than anything, because most days go by without anything interesting happening.
You are notoriously slow with replying to email. How much fan email do you get on the average?
Well, I'd say 10 e-mails a day is probably about average, although some days I get none and some days I get twenty or more. It usually depends on what I've written and posted the night before. Commonly, I get mail if I've made someone laugh a lot, or if they've experienced something similar, or if I've made a mistake or they're simply providing me with additional information. Also, if I get a link on another site and people are finding my site for the first time, they might write to say hello and that they like what they've seen.
I should add that I really love getting e-mail, but yes, I suck at replying. I guess I just feel like my replies are completely lame, and I put it off until I can think of something better, by which time weeks have passed and I haven't thought of anything better. And then I just feel sheepish and rude.
What's the craziest piece of fan email you've ever gotten?
A woman in Florida recently pointed out how I'm always bitching about my trouble with talking to women, and said she wasn't getting any action either, so one of us should get on a plane and come visit the other, and have sex. I guess that's the craziest thing I've gotten, other than some drunken e-mails that I couldn't even decipher, and a few offers to bear my children. Hey, I'm flattered! I just can't pony up airfare.
If the opportunity arose, would you date the face-building lady?
Hell yeah! She's hot. And wrinkle-free! And good with her mouth, it seems.
Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars. Never been a fan of any of the Star Trek stuff, except for maybe the original series. But I grew up with the Star Wars movies, in fact, Star Wars is the first movie I remember seeing. I played with the toys and everything, so it has real nostalgia value for me. The new movies, well, they aren't doing a whole lot for me. I can't see them being classics twenty years from now.
I am to understand that you desire to become a professional writer. What kind of jobs are you considering? Would you write for The New Yorker to make money or are you looking for something strictly humor based?
Despite the New Yorker constantly calling to beg me to write for them, I'm just not good at writing serious articles or anything like that. At this point, I'm not sure what else I could do besides humor. And while I like writing humor, I'd like to write other things. I'm just not sure what, exactly. I am trying to get the fiction bug again, but I don't have many ideas and I don't even really read fiction anymore.
What comics/comedians to you admire? Who inspires your humor the most?
Hmm. Well, I like Robert Schimmel a lot, because he's incredibly crude and funny. I like people who will joke about absolutely anything. People my parents would probably hate. Brian Regan is one of my all time favorites, and I'm not sure why. But no one makes me laugh like he does. I think it's his delivery, he's just such a goofball. An interesting thing about Regan is that I don't think he swears at all, which I don't particularly care about, but I think it's rare.
If anyone inspires my humor, I guess it would be Dave Barry, though I don't read him much anymore. But I think he is brilliant, because his stuff isn't pretentious, it isn't complicated, and he has a great talent at slipping in jokes where you don't expect them and phrasing sentences in funny ways. He's just wonderfully silly, and a lot of my early attempts at humor (which aren't online) were basically me trying to write like him.
Do you think that you would have a future with the face-building lady?
I think she'd dump me pretty early on in the relationship. I have the feeling she's really tall.
What pointers could you give semi-employed humor site writers?
Um, I dunno. Write funny stuff and try to write a lot of it. Post new stuff at least 5 days a week (I rarely do this myself). It's good to have a lot of stuff in your archives before you even put your site up. Othewise, people will read what you have in a few minutes, and even if they like it, they might not remember to keep coming back. I'm not good at giving pointers, because I feel like I need some myself, as I have not become rich and famous.
What's your least favorite food?
Eggplant. I think we humans just eat too many different things. Not every big mushy thing that grows on a plant should be eaten. Y'know?
If you had to marry the face-building lady (like if you got her pregnant or something) would you?
Do you know something I don't? What's going on? Are you obsessed? DO YOU WANT HER FOR YOURSELF??? ANSWER ME.
What is your least favorite element of making small talk and why?
I can never think of anything to say. I can't hold up my end of the conversation, other than the occasional "uh-huh." Plus, it's small-talk. I think people who talk the most have the least to say. Okay, I don't really think that, but it makes a good blurb.
When you have your own sitcom, what will it be called and who will play the part of you?
Knowing the networks, it would probably be called "The Chip & Sylvia and a Pizza Place Show" and I'd be played by Jon Cryer.
Describe your typical day during your high school years.
Cut first & second period and hang out in the Film & Video Room. Take three periods of lunch, then back to the film room, then get shoved by bullies on the walk home. That's about it, other than the constant masturbation.
If you could have one luxury in your apartment, free of charge, what would it be?
A bedroom. I live in a studio, and I hate not having another room.
How would you and the face-building lady support your children? Would you have to, dare I say it, become a PERM?
Nah, her facebuilding would pay the bills and I could devote all my time to napping.
Animals: Cute cuddly creatures to love, or lazy moochers?
Both. And they're delicious!
What's it like living in a solar home, getting your electricity from the sun and being independent from the utility companies?
It sucks. Something needs to be done about all those clouds, as well as this whole "night" thing you've probably been reading about in the papers.
Sorry, that was for my Ed Begely, Jr. Interview.
He'd agree with me.
Where are you and the face-building lady intending on spending your retirement years?
I'd say Florida, but sun promotes wrinkles, so that'd probably be out for her. Maybe Seattle?
Would you consider a bare-knuckle boxing match to settle your dispute with Carol Feltman?
I don't think we have a dispute. And it's not as if I don't admire and respect her. Oh, wait, I don't. I completely loathe her. Anyway, I understand she's very tall, so she'd probably kick my ass. I don't have much of a reach.
What if it was for charity?
Forget it, then. If I'm going to repeatedly punch an aging woman, I want a paycheck out of it.
If the face-building lady died from an unusual tropical disease and you had to pick one female celebrity to marry, who would it be?
Jodie Foster. I know she's a lesbian, but I do love her so. As long as she hugged me once in a while, I'd be supremely happy.
If the Jodie Foster lady died from an unusual tropical disease and you had to pick one male celebrity to marry, who would it be?
Tom Hanks. He seems really nice. And he's loaded.
Did you ever find out who moved your cheese?
Whoever it was did me a favor. I'm lactose intolerant.
Thanks a lot.
No problemo! You know where to send the check.