A few months back, one of my favorite people on the planet, and VERY smart "Merry Houeswife", Roz Browne, asked if she could interview me for The Comic Bible. Like many interviews I've done, it was first through email with phone call catch ups afterwards. Love that technology- takes people completely out of it sometimes, and the way I was dressed, it was for the better.
Having time to mull over questions was a bit of like a walk through the memory photo album. I rambled on about the early years in Boston, the on and off again years between marriages, and I figured they would simply edit the stuff they didn't want, which I also expected to be most of it. Why not thank everyone I could, and just be as straight forward as I wanted?
Turns out the editor, Lori Valenti, was a fan of the candor. Roz let me know she loved the interview, and instead of just a few paragraphs of Gimpy Babblle from Comic X in Vegas, it will be a multi-parter! I was even more tickled- some of my favorite comedians are in the same magazine issue- Tim Minchin, Wendy Liebman, Marc Maron, and eye level to my name on the cover? voice guru Patrick Warburton, cover boy.
Now I make NO claims that I deserve to be more famous than anyone else, because of seniority, talent, or content of my shows. I know that 97% of those who are famous are that way TRULY because of dumb luck. Sometimes luck is dumber than other times, and some who have the asshole gene slip through. Sadly, the latter seems to be more prevalent than the former. If you spend ANY time in Hollywood, just sit, for one afternoon, in the latest hot club- during the day when it's relatively priced for the hoi paloi. Sit and listen, (Melrose is a great place to hear this kind of crap), listen to the people who are THENEXTBIGTHING.
It's usually the person who is mostly a platinum member of the Botox club. (Male of Female) It's oftentimes the guy who loves himself so much that any one not actually listening to ONLY him is considered an "idiot". There's also a scent of desperation so deeply thick, that if you breathe in too deeply, you'll find yourself begging for change on freeway exits. You DON'T want to peer behind the curtain around some of these wizards for the simple fact of finding the troll rather than the prince or princess you thought lived there. Most of the famous people in Hollywood have "people" who develop personas for their clients, and very few of these people are who you'd expect them to be when the make up comes off.
I've learned way too much about fame not by being on the edge of it for so long, but by being around those who are stuck deadfast in the center of it. Musicians, artists, rock stars, (big difference between musician and rock star), comedian, actor, radio hosts, politicians-- I've been around all of these people for work, or for the simple fact of knowing who they were before they tripped over the right toes. I've known some folks for years and I won't visit them when they have the sycophants around simply because they are in Full Persona mode, and aren't reallly being the people I know. They have a tough life for that very reason.
Fame also means giving up just about ANY semblance of reality for yourself. People become "yes" men and that's just stupid to me. It's exactly why I hated the corporate world- the whole sucking up to someone just because of a title or potential "raise"- gagged down a lot of intelligence for the opportunity to play in that sandbox. Someone forgets to realize that the sand box is only a 4' x 4' x 14" box of SAND. No reality. None. Cat litter. Most sandboxes fill up with crap, get unusable, and forgotten, so that the bigger better next thing can be the new focus. (Do you still have your slipnslide? Pogo Stick? gnip gnop?)
Also, to be famous, you have to stop being yourself completely. You have to become the Public Image of Yourself. None of us are able to live 100% image. Nobody. When we are just being ourselves, if famous, it becomes "OH did you hear about Sally? She got a boyfriend a week after being dumped? What a ho!" Meanwhile in real life, Sally and her ex split about a year before, and she was afraid to date anyone in the interim until she found soemoen who wouldn't make a bad appearance in public. Some of these folks leave Hollywood all together to raise their families. Who wants to hear one more story about Suri picking her nose in the toy store as she was wearing Chanel? I mean really?
Come backs are another delusion of fame. If I am working on a project, such as Meekers' Manners- the comic I have going right now- and I finish the drawings, then work on the color, then work on the website, no one tells me, "Oh you're back after three years! What a strong come back!" (not that they would, but still). If an actor, musician, sports star, anyone who has life mangled in magazines, takes 3 years to work on something, (like raising a kid away from Hollyweird, for instance), suddenly it's a "Wow this comeback will decide the future of her career!" Tarrantino made comebacks for so many actors who were STILL WORKING, and hadn't stopped. The difference was the ability of the press, the public, or someone who seemed to matter to the public now noticed that person and gave them a high profile posiition. NOT a come back- a continuance. Ask anyone about their "comeback" and you'll hear SO many people answer with the exact same thing: "I didn't go anywhere, I'm not coming back, I'm already here!"
You can't just have friends, you have to have a bunch of people who are a tad sycophantic. You can't have family, you have to have a screened partner, a pre-nup, special schooling for the kids, and oh, yes, by all means if you plan to have a family pet you better have a veterinarian who signs a no blab waiver. In fact, anyone who works for you has to sign that waiver. You give up going down to the local where ever, do to whatever, unless you want a flock of people coming up to you saying "I don't want to bother you but...". And, by all means, if you leave the house, you MUST be willing to be photographed by anyone for any reason. Fame Sucks, and I would NEVER say that was a goal for doing comedy for me.
I'd rather be the fan, than the famed one. At least if I say or do something nutty, or normal, no one judges it but me, and reallly when it all comes down to it, I'm the only one who needs to do so. Yes, this all has to do with the topic at hand. I'm a devout Atheist. I'm also in the Comic Bible this issue. Atheist in a Bible! Love that! If I was famous as some of my friends, that would be fodder for MSNBC, Foxnews, and who knows what that Hilton blog would say? If you just want a life lived well, live it for YOURSELF, and forget all the fame crap.
My husband, on the other hand, is FAR more talented in music, has an amazing stage persona, is hilarious, and would be someone able to handle being loved far and wide. I recommend it. Visit JonesJazz.com! OH and Pick up the COMIC BIBLE, to learn why some of the funniest, smartest folks end up famous, and why Roz Browne should be! (That gal is ALL Roz ALL the time.. LOVE her!)