Brody Stevens

Brody Stevens

The actor (The Hangover, The Hangover 2) and standup comedian (Comedy Central PresentsChelsea LatelyTMZ) talks about his very public manic episode in 2011, the blurry line between his onstage persona and his real life demons and how he is learned to live with his diagnosis of Bipolar I.



Episode notes:

Visit Brody's website or follow him on Twitter @Brodyismefriend

Episode Transcript:

Paul: Welcome to episode 100. Motherfucker! 100! That is so, that is so cool, that 100 episodes in, this show is still going strong. Who’d of thunk it? Who’d of thunk it? I’m so happy to have you guys as listeners, I can’t even tell you. And our guest today is Brody Stevens and he is gonna talk mania and a manic episode that he had, probably more in depth than we’ve ever talked about mania on this show before. And I know we’ve gotten some emails before from people that wanted some more discussion of mania, so hopefully you’ll get something out of today’s episode. But I digress. My name is Paul Gilmartin. This is The Mental Illness Happy Hour, 90 minutes of honesty about all the battles in our heads. From medically diagnosed conditions and past traumas to everyday compulsive, negative thinking. This show is not meant to be a substitute for professional mental counseling. It’s not a doctor’s office. It’s more like a waiting room FILLED with conversations you’ve always waited to have but maybe didn’t know how to start. The website for this show is Please go there. There’s all kinds of surveys to fill out to let me know who you guys are better. And I frequently read those on the show. And there’s forum you can join too and actually I’m going to be reading later in the show a little excerpt from the forum, giving some love to the great people in the forum.

What did I want to mention? I’m constantly trying to find the perfect way to describe what depression is like to the people that haven’t experienced it and one that I think might help people understand is: you know that feeling when there’s a pool and the water isn’t really warm? It’s not freezing cold but it’s a little kind of cool and people are jumping into it and are like, “That’s so cold but it’s good once you get used to it?” And you’re standing on the edge in your bathing suit and that kind of trepidation you have about jumping into the pool? Depression is like that but with every single activity that you have on your plate. So suck on that, huh?

I want to read something from the Struggle in a Sentence survey and this was filled out by a woman who calls herself Serena. She’s straight; she’s in her 20’s. And if you haven’t filled out the Struggle in a Sentence survey yet, please do because it really, it helps me understand how you experience some of the things that you struggle with and I think will help other people also understand that. Describing her depression, she says, “My depression feels like if an angel put a magic wand near and said if I waved it all my problems would be solved, I wouldn’t have enough energy to try to get the magic wand.” About her anxiety she says, “I can go from making dinner and singing along to the radio of thoughts of I want to die, why am I here, in a matter of seconds, sometimes without a trigger.” About PTSD she says, “My PTSD makes it difficult to hear my husband say how much he loves me and not laugh.” I’m assuming and for her to not laugh. Cause that would be pretty fucking mean if he was stifling a laugh as he told her he loved her. She says, “Love has been taken away so often in my childhood that I protect myself through insincerity. Anger issues, she says, “I often dream about my mother dying and I wake up happy every time. Ugh.”

She also filled out a—Serena also filled out the Happy Moments survey and I just kind of liked this one so I wanted to read it as well. She says, “One of my favorite crystal clear moments was being on the top of the Zugspitze,” oh the Germans. They can make everything sound like a turd. “I was on top of the Zugspitze, a mountain in Germany, I was skiing and happened to be one of the first in the early morning. The snow was untouched and I could see down all the sides of the mountain. I felt like I could touch the sky and that the sun was embracing me. The air was cold and felt cleansing when I breathed in. I started to ski down and made the first tracks of the day. The snow was soft and fast and all I could hear was my breathing and the edge of my skis in the snow. I was so present in that moment that I remember whispering to myself, ‘Record this moment in your mind. Remember the smell. Remember the smell of the air, the taste, the sight, the feel.’ I knew it was special. That happened over ten years ago and I can recall it with perfect clarity.” That’s beautiful.

And before we get to the interview with Brody, I want to—the last thing I want to read is an email from a listener named KJ and she’s a lesbian whose family has not accepted—kind of refuses to recognize her sexuality or accept it. And she had written me an email and I’m going to kind of pick up about halfway into it. She says, “It took me a while to get to the point of realizing I can’t control their actions, I can only control how I respond. For years I tried to be extra good in all other areas of my life to compensate for their disappointment in my sexuality. It never worked. Add to it the sting of a seven-year relationship never recognized during which my stepbrother married three times. Every wedding attended by my folks. Ah, but there I go, feeling bitter again.” Who wouldn’t feel a little bitter about that? She continues, “I just want to thank you for the suggestion to reach out to a support group. Turns out there’s a huge organization here in San Francisco called the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I never thought I’d be the support group type. But my girl is so important to me I want to make sure she is safe, happy and healthy. They hold courses for loved ones to help recognize warning signs, learn about medication, etc. A great resource. My partner is very self-aware and super open about where she is mentally. But the part I worry about most is that I won’t recognize when/if she is going downhill and I’ll be alone with her at the bottom, fingers crossed. Signed KJ.” And the website for—and I can’t believe we’ve never mentioned this website before or this group, but the National Alliance on Mental Illness, NAMI, is the website. So go to it and I’m sure you can find a support group in your area. They also have educational materials; probably can answer any question that you’d have. And the thing that I’d go back to KJ too was I wrote back, “That’s awesome that you found a support group, yay. And here’s the cool part about support groups: If you become a dedicated member of one, and give and receive love there on a regular basis, should the ‘shit hit the fan’ in your personal life, you will never have to deal with it alone. That’s been my experience in my nine years of support groups. They’ve held me when I cried, soothed me when I panicked and guided me when I was lost. That is all there for you. And the even better part is when you get to hold others when they cry, soothe them when they panic and guide them when they feel lost.”


Paul: I’m here with Brody Stevens, whom I’m very excited to finally have as a guest. We’ve been talking about this for the longest time and for some reason we just never got around to putting it, picking a date and doing it, but for those of you don’t know Brody, he is a funny man, an original voice in comedy. You may know him from the Hangover movies. You were in Hangover 2 or 1? Both?

Brody: 1 and 2.

Paul: I haven’t seen either. Yeah, yeah, you can talk.

Brody: I can talk now. Oh, I thought you were doing intro. I do long intros on my podcasts, like I go long purposely. I run the light on my own podcast. With my intros especially. Could you run the light on an intro?

Paul: You can. You can give yourself a light on anything.

Brody: Yeah

Paul: A lot of times when I’m taking a piss I’ll give myself the light. I’ll go, “I gotta wrap this up.”

Brody: Gotta wrap it up. Night-light. Got a nightlight. See, I’m doing word association.

Paul: You are originally from Seattle?

Brody: No, originally from the San Fernando valley, where we are right this very moment.

Paul: In your apartment.

Brody: In my apartment. In the valley. I was born in the valley, Panorama City, Kaiser Hospital, and for the first three years I lived in Simi Valley, which is not the San Fernando Valley, and then three years after that Sacramento, still in California.

Paul: Still in a valley.

Brody: I guess the San Joaquin valley? Is that in Sacramento?

Paul: I think so.

Brody: And then I came back to Tarzana in the valley and that’s where I spent my grammar school years, my high school years. And then I went to college in Arizona. And then I came back to LA and that’s when I began doing comedy. Not officially. My official start was Seattle, yes, thank you.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: My official start—to make a long story short, my comedy start was in Seattle. My life start was here in southern California.

Paul: And all the valleys. Fear of heights?

Brody: Um, because I’m in the valley?

Paul: Always picking a valley.

Brody: You know, actually I do have some fear of heights.

Paul: Do you?

Brody: You know, not—jumping off of something, like if I was in a like we were swimming in a hole, a swim hole and there was a boulder to jump off and everyone’s jumping off easy, I would like have second thoughts. I’m not good at that – just going for it. I’m good at going for it in some other things, but not jumping off a rock into the water.

Paul: You have an athletic background. You were a pitcher, was it Arizona?

Brody: I went to Arizona State.

Paul: Which is a Division I baseball powerhouse. So you must have been a hell of a pitcher in high school.

Brody: Well, I had a good arm. I was competitive, I would say. And I went to Reseda High School. I was a competitive pitcher. Our program in high school wasn’t all that strong. There were better baseball programs that may have been able to utilize my talents more so, but I had a decent career I like to say—you put me out there, I did a good job. And Arizona State did recruit me, cuz the coaches there thought I had a good arm and I would fill out and I would get stronger, and I did. They were right. I went there and I wasn’t a star on the team, but I was on the team, and I pitched some games. For the most part I was not that much of a on-the-field contributor. But I did have a good arm and I pitched—threw the ball very hard.

Paul: What was your fastball?

Brody: Back then I got clocked at high 80’s, 91, 92. I mean, I threw hard; I struck out a lot of guys. But the way I threw the ball, I think I put extra strain on my elbow and I ended up having elbow surgery and from that point on it was downhill. But the first couple years I really made improvements. They changed my mechanics and how I threw the ball, but eventually I ended up putting strain on my elbow. But I had moral victories there as—which they say there aren’t moral victories in sports, but for me there was. Just what I went through there. You know, my journey there, you know, I didn’t walk away bitter at all because I hurt my arm or anything.

Paul: Do you think having that arc of getting better and seeing that if you put the work in you will improve, were you able to bring that to your mindset when you started doing comedy? That ok, I just kind of need to be patient with this, I’m gonna improve.

Brody: Exactly. You know, that’s what—I knew that I wanted to handle comedy like I did baseball. Like I said, I walked away from baseball not bitter. I felt I gave it my best effort, I got the most out of it, I coached there, I got my degree, I lot of things happened in the five years. I red-shirted one year, it takes five years to graduate, but a lot happened there and I saw, I saw, yes, how hard work would pay off and when I went up to Seattle, to essentially start comedy I said I’m gonna take it and approach it like baseball. Knowing that it’s a repetition. Putting the time in, and failing and learning and taking criticism and having people hopefully be honest with you and you know, some people are, some people aren’t. Show business—they are similar. There are some similarities between sports and show business. But in a lot of ways they are completely different.

Paul: Yeah. I think when kids grow up and they’re—and they play sports in a way that isn’t sick, you know, where you don’t have a dad like pushing you or a mom pushing you, I think it can be a really great experience. It can not only kind of build self-esteem, but it can show you the arc of things that will happen later in your life and there’s just a great outlet for angst and, you know, other things. What do you remember about being, uh—let’s go back to the beginning. You were born here in the valley, any brothers and sisters?

Brody: Sister, older, five years.

Paul: What was your relationship with your folks like?

Brody: It was pretty good. Got along with my mom, she would yell at me a lot. I can remember her with her high-pitched voice at times yelling.

Paul: Like what would she say?

Brody: Steven! Steven! Yelling at me, just Jewish mother type stuff.

Paul: And I guess that is the—Steven is your first name, Brody’s your middle name.

Brody: Brody’s my last name.

Paul: Oh.

Brody: And that’s another thing. My real name is Steven James Brody. Everybody calls me Brody. Everybody thought that was my first name in fact when I would introduce myself, “Oh, your name’s Brody.” So I put that in the back of my head like people like saying the name Brody. And when I went to school, I played baseball, I was Steve Brody, Steven Brody, mostly Steve Brody. That’s what I was. I was the baseball player. But when I went into comedy I just felt Steve Brody wasn’t a comedian. Steve Brody in my life, I know it sounds weird, Steve Brody was the athlete, was the baseball player. And I just felt I wanted to keep the Brody name, people liked saying it and I always thought—they thought it was my first name so I go, “Why don’t I just make it my first name?” That’s clever. And so I just switched my name around. And at the time, I mean the name Brody Stevens is a cool name, at the time there was only maybe like two other Brody Stevenses out there when I did it but looking back on it it kind of makes me cringe as I get older because it’s not who I am. I’m not Brody Stevens. I am on stage, you know, that was a time in my life, and people liked saying Brody Stevens and I know it is part of me but the real me is Steven Brody. That’s who I really am. As I get older and more mature and more confident in myself I feel as though I can be more honest and say that. So I say that for seriousness, Steven Brody, but for show business I just kind of combined the two. So that’s why I go by Steven Brody Stevens. Yes!! So it’s a combination. It’s so silly but it makes me feel better, actually. Because I’ll say Brody Stevens, and I’ll respond, but I never liked, like when you order coffee or you go, you’re ordering food, you put your name down, I never put Brody. Brody, they didn’t know the name, or I always put Steve and then just through the years, the last few years especially, I just felt like I need to be—I don’t like bumming people out when they hear, “Oh Brody, it’s not your real name?” Well, you know.

Paul: I think that it’s kind of cool in that it can help you delineate who you are on stage from who you are offstage because I think there’s an inherent danger when we are our own product that we can begin to take ourselves too seriously, that we can take criticism of our comedic persona as criticisms of us as human beings. And having that delineation, I would think in some ways, would be kind of freeing.

Brody: It—you’re saying having …

Paul: A stage different from your real name.

Brody: Right. And I don’t mind that, I like that. Yes it is freeing, the thing that bothers me is that I feel it’s kind of hacky thing. It’s been done before, number one. I mean, when I—and no knock, I’m good friends with Orny but Orny Adams; his real name is Adam Orenstein. And then I feel like a couple other comedians did that, like Steven Fisher, his name is Fisher Stevens. I mean, Fisher Stevens, his real name is Steven Fisher. I just—it just made me cringe. I just never—like I said, as I get older, and I feel as though I have more of a foundation to say, hey, I want to go back to this, it does make me feel better and that might be part of some the issues I have with things. Maybe nobody cares. But I care. And I feel as though by doing Steven Brody Stevens, it’s not completely different but it’s different enough to where I feel good, the audience feels ok about it, and then maybe there’s a new audience that’s into Steven Brody Stevens.

Paul: I got ya. I got ya. Like John Cougar Mellencamp.

Brody: Yeah, something like that. But, yeah I am free on stage. It is—I mean I’m not completely—you know when I’m on stage I’m more kind of a—you know, a little more animated, a little more, you know, at another level but not—it’s pretty much me.

Paul: Yeah. For those of you that have never heard Brody’s comedy, it’s kind of hard to describe, but it’s a, um, there’s a personality, you are a personality up there that I think is so hard for comedians to achieve, because you’ve achieved that thing where it almost doesn’t matter what you’re saying, you’re just funny. And that to me is why people get hired to be in movies, because they’re not just funny writers, they’re funny in the way they deliver things and how they carry themselves. And it’s not phony with you, it feels very organic and it’s kind of this—I always get the vibe that it’s kind of like a mock pomposity. Is that a fair …?

Brody: Yeah. There’s some of that in there. And the reason why I do that, I feel as though this is such a credit-driven society: oh, you’re in this movie? Let me pay more attention to you. Or you hang out with that guy? Now I’ll laugh at you. So I beat them to the punch. You’re not getting me? Well, Zach Galifanakis gets me. They put me in The Hangover. You’re not—I’m gonna listen to The Hangover people. I’m in that world. So it’s like, there’s that boasting, but it’s a character, I’m not like that in real life of course. I don’t walk into a coffee shop or a store and go, “I’m in The Hangover. You do this, do that.” That did happen to me. I did go through an episode of that and maybe we’ll touch on it, maybe we won’t.

Paul: We’re definitely gonna touch on it.

Brody: Oh wow!

Paul: We’re gonna molest it.

Brody: Gilmartin - putting it down! And I’m ready for it, in a positive way. It’s all about positivity, pushing it forward. Yeah I’ve combined, um—I guess you’re right about the pomposity. And I think a lot of it has to do with, you know, just the people I grew up with. The baseball players, the comedians early on. You know, I’m influenced by—I am an original voice but I am also influenced by certain people of course, I think we have our early influences, and different periods in our life, and different things, and you listen to the audiences and you get a feel for what works and what doesn’t work and you try to—you gotta do it for yourself.

Paul: What I like about what you do too is you will be like really pompous one minute then reveal some incredibly humbling thing about yourself the next minute and kind of make fun of it, and so it’s—I just enjoy that.

Brody: Oh, thank you. Well, yeah, you don’t want to go too far and beat them over the head with that “I, I, I” stuff, I’m this, and then you gotta, you know, you have to turn it towards you and make fun of yourself and that’s just part of being a comedian and learning and feeling and playing off the audience and knowing when it’s right to be in that self-deprecating mode also. These days I do it with a smile and I think because I’m just more—I’m mellower, so the audience, before they’d go, “Oh, is this guy really mad or is he really upset?” Whereas now it’s like we kind of get it, he’s not that way. And I feel better that way and it just keeps—it brings the audience in a little bit more.

Paul: So let’s talk about the—I want to talk about the episode you had, whatever you want to call it – meltdown, what do you say, crisis?

Brody: I would call it an episode.

Paul: Ok. What mental illness do you suffer from?

Brody: Well, they’ve labeled me with bipolar. How dare they?

Paul: Bipolar one or two?

Brody: One. I think I’m called bipolar one because – this is what my psychologist and psychiatrist say, and other doctors said. Because I had a manic episode, which I did, I’m not denying that, I am bipolar, because I had the manic episode. My argument, my contention with that, is that the right word, contention?

Paul: I think so.

Brody: My issue with that is that I felt my episode was triggered, you know, people have episodes that, you know, there are triggers, was triggered from me stopping a medication cold turkey, taking an antibiotic, traveling, and basically confused because I got sick and it may have been a withdrawal and I stopped taking my meds, and they gave me an antibiotic and I felt great, then I like spiraled upward, and so anyway, I had a manic episode. But I feel my manic episode was initiated with me stopping my meds cold turkey. I was on Lexapro 20mg, therapeutic, basic level, a lot of people do it, doesn’t make it—it’s not wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it, but I’m saying a lot of people did that, it seemed to take the edge off, but when I stopped it cold turkey it just spiraled me up. Typical, if you saw what a manic episode was, the definition, I hit them all.

Paul: We’ll talk about that, but I also want to talk about something that it feels like has been left with you, which is the fear that people are gonna think you’re a fucking ticking bomb, you know what I mean? I imagine that’s what—that’s not what I perceive of you, but you qualifying what led to that episode makes me think that you—that there’s a fear there that you’re going to be stigmatized because that happened to you, and that’s gonna be “Oh, that’s who Brody is,” instead of what really happened, which was this was the confluence of the perfect storm.

Brody: Exactly. Perfect storm. That’s what was—that’s what one of the psychiatrists, one of the doctors said. This is a perfect storm, what happened to me. So …

Paul: I just want to interrupt for one second. That’s one of the things that—when people have difficulty having compassion for themselves who suffer from mental illness, or loved ones who don’t understand what the person is going through, they don’t just suffer from the mental illness, the suffer from all the social ramifications of also living with a mental illness, you know, the societal implications of, “Oh that person’s now kind of afraid to be around me.” Or people are treating me with kid gloves. Or people are just telling me to suck it up and be grateful about what I have. Do you know what I mean?

Brody: Yeah.

Paul: So it’s—all of that is on top of also living with mental illness, and I just wanted to—I just wanted to point that out because some people feel like, oh I’m making too big of a deal about living with mental illness. No, it’s a fucking pain in the ass sometimes. Complicated.

Brody: Yeah. It certainly can be. You know, I don’t mind the stigma, I don’t feel I have a stigma, I feel it actually helped my career, in fact I used it—that episode that I had, I used it in the HBO digital series that I did, that was one of the arcs of the show, was me getting out of the hospital and getting my life back together and getting back on TV.

Paul: Is it scripted?

Brody: No. I mean, it was scripted real—we call it “sketchality.” Scripted reality, but …

Paul: Based in reality but just kind of a recreation with comedic …

Brody: A lot of that, yeah, yeah. Comedic tones but real stuff. My mom, my sister and me.

Paul: Your actual mom and sister?

Brody: Yeah. They were in it.

Paul: So it was like a doc?

Brody: Technically it was a documentary.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: But it was on HBO and it was, I think it’s still up there on their digital HBO Go. Six 10-minute episodes. But I didn’t, you know, because when I was in the hospital, I felt like I was there because I made a mistake, it wasn’t like something just snapped in me. It was that perfect storm, not taking the meds. And then I felt like I was in there and you know, my friends would come visit me, you know, and they were cool and I just felt like it was kind of a cool thing almost like this is a badge of honor. Like how many comedians—I mean I’m sure there’s a lot, a lot of them don’t talk about it, but I was open talking about it. I think what made it easier for me was when I was having the episode I was on Twitter so people were already aware, a lot of people at least that something was happening to me. So I kinda already gave them a heads up that something was happening, and then once I got in the hospital I felt like I already did this stuff on Twitter, might as well take it to the next level. Because I felt I was in there because I stopped my meds cold turkey. Now later on I’ve learned that, you know, maybe it would have happened anyway. You know, now I go through therapy. Now I have a therapist, now I have a doctor, I have a support system, everything is in place. But it’s taken a lot of time to adjust. When you talk about mental illness being hard, I went from euphoria—I was doing fine, I mean I was fine for the most part. Then I had that episode and then after it was just like a downhill. I became depressed. That was the real hard problem for me, is becoming depressed. Nobody told me, “Ok, Brody, once you have this manic, euphoric episode, you go to the hospital, they put you on different meds, you do some therapy, you’ll be fine. Nobody warned me about the depression really coming to get ya and then the anxiety and then me personally living in a different situation. All the while I was doing good thing – my comedy was getting better. But …

Paul: Isn’t that funny?

Brody: Yeah. It was like—I did Conan. I’d been doing Chelsea. I got a half hour. I shot the HBO show after I was out of the hospital. But I just wasn’t feeling good. I think part of that had to do with the medication I was on. They switched up my medication. The situations I was in, and I had to, you know, teach myself new habits, stay busy. And that’s part of it. I mean, I did warm-up for nine years. You know, I was busy every day. I’m sure people thought ….

Paul: Warming up for sitcoms.

Brody: Talk—like variety shows.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: Chelsea Lately, a lot of shows on Fox Sports, Comedy Central pilots, not sitcoms, those guys make pretty good money, but I’m not in that high elite world of it. But I was—yeah people probably thought before all this happened I would be the guy who—this guy may snap. I feel like right now, because I’m in a better—I am in a better place, I mean I am on different medication now that I was before. So maybe the medication—the doctors are saying the Lexapro alone that I was on was not the right medication for me. So the fact that I had this episode and they switched up my meds, and it took a while to find the right combo or cocktail, and that’s why I think—there’s one—you know, getting that it was hard to balance out. But it did help my comedy. And it did keep from going into that red zone and frightening the audience. So these meds helped my comedy but were making my life more—it was more difficult because they can kind of like bring you down a little bit, slow you down.

Paul: Dull you kind of.

Brody: They can dull you and they can give you anxiety. Meds can give you depression. It takes you time to adjust, so it was finding the right cocktail. But all the while my comedy was good. I was grateful for that, but my personal life, me as, you know—I just had—it’s been tough. And it’s been getting better—I’m not saying that I’m healed and I’m perfect, but man the depression was really hard for me.

Paul: Before we get to that, let’s talk about the manic episode because it’s not something that we get to talk about a lot on this podcast, and I get a lot of emails from people that want people to talk about the mania side of bipolar, so can you talk about that manic episode began, what it felt like, how it progressed, etc., etc.? WALK ME THROUGH IT.

Brody: YOU GOT IT, PAUL GILMARTIN. YES! Hold my hand, follow me with a flashlight. Um, just a little buildup. The only thing that was really bothering me that wasn’t—that was out of my normal issues was how I left Chelsea Lately. And I left that on bad terms. I left that maybe in a manic type behavior. I was very—you know, I did my job good but I would sweat, I’d get on the audience for not clapping, I was like uptight and focused, coming from that athletic background. So it could be polarizing at times. That’s what I’m saying people thought, “Well, maybe this guy will snap one day.” And then I did. And so anyway, did the warm-up. So that was the only thing that was really bothering me.

Paul: Were you let go?

Brody: No, but I was afraid I was gonna be let go. So I quit before I was fired or reprimanded and I felt I was being reprimanded for, you know, I don’t want to go all into detail on that.

Paul: Sure.

Brody: But that one was—because it’s better now. Those relationships are—have been smoothed over. It was just basically an issue with the crew and I went out in the hallway and I vented to one of the producers and he felt it was unprofessional and I felt I had worked there for 400, you know, I’m allowed to vent one time the hallway, and he kind of pushed his weight around a little bit and upset me so the second show that day for warm-up I kind of like reeled it in. I didn’t give it the Brody energy which I do every day, that’s my job, it was harder for me just to sit there but I had to make a point, like you can’t push me around, I have to be in a good mood and you have to let me vent. I mean if I’m doing it and saying, “You gotta do something!” I was kinda like; “These guys are bugging me in there.” And anyway it ended bad and it bothered me how the situation was and how I went from being part of the family to being an outsider. So that was bothering me. On the good side, I had this HBO opportunity, you know, and the opportunity to get out there and hopefully do some more standup, buildup—get out of the warm-up. Because I had always—I didn’t mind doing warm-up, I like it actually, but I feel like I could take half that energy and make twice as much money. You know, it’s like warm-up you’re banging your head against the wall sometimes but if you get the right gig where you’re with your friends, whatever, it’s fine. But there are hell gigs, you know, in that warm-up world. I owe it to myself, I owed it to myself to really try and go for it outside of warm-up. So, anyway, left Chelsea Lately, it was bringing me down, if that was one negative, other than my just like normal insecurities. But I knew I had an HBO show, I was doing festivals, I went to Ireland, I went to Montreal. So I was pitching these shows. I was actually like doing these pitch meetings. I was confident. They put me on TMZ every week. I went to the Hangover 2 premiere, they put me in front of the Comedy Store, the Improv, so I was on that all the time, I was feeling good. I was being myself. I was exercising. I was happy and I felt like—at that point I started thinking maybe I don’t need the Lexapro so much. Like now maybe I can drink a little bit, because you really can’t drink on it, and there are some side effects—sexual side effects. I felt like I was doing well, maybe I could cut back. But again I wasn’t under doctor’s care on it. So that was—I didn’t go off it at the point, but it was like implanted in my head that, yeah, maybe I can get off this thing. Because things are going well and I want to go to another level. So (I’m starting to think about the story here) went to Montreal, actually Ireland. Did well in Ireland. Feeling good. Go to Montreal. Feeling good. And then I was kind of like—I rationed my meds a little bit in Ireland because I wanted to drink and be a part—I still took them but I rationed them. I got to Montreal—went straight to Montreal from Ireland, I got to Montreal and I might have taken my—I felt great the first day I got there, and then the second day I felt like a sickness coming on and I got this 24-hour flu, body aching, throwing up, really bad, and I didn’t even take—I didn’t take my vitamins, I didn’t—I stopped with Lexapro, I was weaning off kind of like you know, not the proper way, but then when I got sick I couldn’t even swallow. I couldn’t eat. So then I ended up like after 48 hours of being bedridden, sweating and—which may have been withdrawal because I wasn’t taking Lexapro consistently like I should have. That’s what it may have been but it also may have been the flu. Like a 24-hour flu. So I go downstairs at the hotel, it’s free healthcare and the guy says I have strep throat, the doctor. He says, “You have strep throat. Here’s—get this antibiotic and you’ll feel better in 24 hours.” I took it. I felt better in 24 hours. My mind was clear. I was feeling good. I did a show that night. The next night—the next day, I take the antibiotic, I’m not taking the Lexapro because I feel like, ok, it’s out of my system, I’m good. And I took the antibiotic. I had good shows. And a couple days there, I had a great time partying, it was fun.

I come back to LA and I go see my mom, feeling good. I come back to a Dodger game, and then I see Zach, and Zach is like, “What’s—“ this is like three days, so it’s been—I’d been off the Lexapro for like six days. And Zach sees me, Galifianakis, and he goes, “Your teeth are white, what are you, on cocaine?” He thought I was on cocaine. And I was like, I was happy. I was taking like a victory lap. I was really like in a good mood. Like I went to Ireland, I went to Montreal. The HBO show they bought, the bought the HBO show, the pilot we did. I did see the pilot before we went to Ireland, but I didn’t love it. I thought it looked good but I didn’t think it was super funny and then I heard back the people—HBO didn’t get it but they’re gonna still give me that opportunity, I felt a little pressure. So I had the Chelsea stuff bumming me out, and I had some pressure from this HBO show, only in the sense that it felt like it could have been funnier and I didn’t like the way I looked on camera, a lot of issues. So I had that on my mind. So I do Montreal, the day’s going great. I come back, Zach sees me with the white teeth, “What are you on cocaine?” I end up yelling at Zach, or getting into like an argument with his girlfriend, fiancé at the time, and then that just set me off, when Zach was like yelling at me.

Paul: What was he saying to you?

Brody: Just like don’t—just things like, “Don’t talk to me like that at my house.” And, you know, like, he was mad.

Paul: Yeah.

Brody: And I felt like I was like hyped up. I wasn’t on my meds and I was like I was on cocaine almost, which I wasn’t on, but that’s what it seemed like. And then it just—the more th-they would check on me, it upset me and I remember like (I’m trying to retrack the story) they said they called like the—Dave Rath was calling me, my friends were calling me.

Paul: Dave Rath is a manager.

Brody: A manager, yeah, and a friend.

Paul: Dave’s a great guy.

Brody: Calling me, checking in on me and I said, “I’m fine, I’m doing great, I’m having a good time.” Because they were seeing stuff on Twitter, and they were worried about phone calls, that they were calling. I said I was fine. And then they sent the cops over to my house, like on a Monday night. This is—and I had been back since like Friday, so like on Monday they sent the cops to my house. I go, “What are you—“ it like upset me. You know, the cops, I saw them, and they said, “How are you doing? Do you want to hurt anybody or hurt yourself?” I go, “No, I’m feeling great.” And I was hosting TMZ, that’s what I did I hosted TMZ that week. So I hosted TMZ, I knocked it out of the park like on Wednesday. On Monday—I’m getting the timeline confused a little bit—but the next Monday is like—once I did TMZ, that kind of set me off too. I felt like I had super powers. “I’m with TMZ now, don’t mess with me.” So that like gave me super powers, I got to host it. Remember, they’re like showing me every week so like four straight weeks I was on. Harvey Levin goes, “I like this guy, he’s from the valley, just like me.” And they asked me to host it. So I knew when I was in Ireland and Montreal I was gonna get a chance to host TMZ, which is like, you know, I’m not gonna bash celebrities but I’ll do it in a fun way. You know, I don’t believe in the whole paparazzi and upsetting people but if I can get a chance—I’m a comedian, put me on, I’ll goof around. So I ended up doing that and I did well and that gave me super confidence. And already tied in with being off meds for like four days, five days, probably five days at that point. Do that, feel super confident, and then I started yelling at people like at Starbucks. I went into the Starbucks and like people were giving me like weird energy and I felt like F you guys, I’m on TMZ, I’m in The Hangover, don’t talk to me that way. You know I was like saying—I was talking loud on the sidewalk and kind of disrupting them and they complained to the manager and he came out and said, “You gotta calm down” or something. And I like, I sat down and I started crying but I was happy. It was tears of joy like I’m doing well, this is my—things are going great. These people better respect me. You know, these are like actors giving me bad attitude. Fuck them. That’s kind of what I was saying and like—

Paul: So there was kind of a paranoia in there too?

Brody: A little bit, yeah. Like, paranoia.

Paul: Cuz it sounds like you were reading things in to how people were looking at you, or do you think you were so jittery that they were kind of looking at you because of that?

Brody: I wasn’t jittery. I wasn’t jittery, but I was hyped up. I wasn’t jittery.

Paul: Were you loud?

Brody: Yeah, I was talking loud, enough to where they complained and, you know, I went to another Starbucks—and this is after the cops like on Monday, they called the cops on me. So the cops came to check on me and that’s when I said, “Why would I be—why would I want to hurt myself? I’m happy!” I mean, I just, I was in The Hangover, I just hosted TMZ, things are great and then one of the cops was kind of a jerk and the other one was like laughing, and I asked the laughing cop, can I talk to this other cop, and he goes, “Yeah, go ahead.” And I go, “Why are you being so mean to me? Like why are you being—you don’t like Jewish people?” I was saying that. “You got like a bad attitude. I’m a good guy. I work out too with Joe Rogan, why don’t you take…” I said, “Why don’t you take off your badge and belt, come out back and we’ll fight. I’ll fight you.”

Paul: Oh my God.

Brody: I said that to the cop. And he like backed down, he like—I don’t know if he thought it was a joke or what, but he didn’t like—I backed him down a little bit.

Paul: Really?

Brody: Yeah, a cop.

Paul: They didn’t cuff you?

Brody: No. No, no they did not cuff me. They did not cuff me.

Paul: What were you—did you—at that point did you really want to wrestle him?

Brody: No, but I was, you know, I felt like I could.

Paul: Did you—I’m just trying to get into the mindset of what it feels like to be in mania, because I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced anything like that. Does it feel like you are—like people are slowing you down?

Brody: Yeah.

Paul: Ok, cuz that’s the feeling I get, is it just seems like …

Brody: You’re invincible, people are slowing you down. How dare you not think I’m funny? How dare you give negative energy towards me? How dare you look at me weird? How dare you not respect me?

Paul: So is it kind of an irritable euphoria?

Brody: A little bit. I mean, that happened at that Starbucks, so actually that was on Monday when the cops came over.

Paul: I love that you’re getting coffee (laughs).

Brody: Yeah, of course. Coffee, caffeine, keeps me going. I only have a couple cups a day anyway.

Paul: And are you sleeping at this point?

Brody: Not much. Like four hours. And people think I’m up all night. I’m tweeting up a storm, I’m just going nuts on Twitter, so that’s why people know like something’s not right with Brody. Is it a bit for his HBO thing? Is it real? And then I mentioned something about a gun and that’s when like—that caught the eye of a lot of people. That scared people.

Paul: What did you say?

Brody: I said I had a gun, back off, leave me alone, I got a gun. Somebody said I may have said I have a gun in my mouth. I don’t know. But I didn’t have a gun. I didn’t want to hurt myself.

Paul: But you tweeted that …

Brody: I tweeted that because I was getting these calls from all of my friends worried about me. I was like, “I’m fine. Guys, I’m fine. Trust me. I’m happy.” I was out of character, you know. So then I said something about—the gun was later on. They started calling me on like Sunday, because—what was it—Saturday I came back, so it’s already been like a week, and I go—I’m going down to—I’m friends now with the TMZ guys. They’re at the Angels baseball game in Orange County. So they say, “Why don’t you come down?” And I know some players where I can get a pass and meet them, so I said, “Yeah, I’ll go do that.” So I’m feeling great, I’m like eyes totally wide open, feeling good.

Paul: Nice white teeth.

Brody: Yeah. Nice white teeth of course. Then I go to 7-Eleven and I know that I’m putting out these weird tweets, and I’m walking in and in the parking lot I see this guy who looks like he may be an actor or something. And I go up to him, because I’m like going up to people, I go, “Are you on Twitter?” He goes, “Yeah.” I go, “Listen. I’ll buy you a beer, I’ll buy you a case of beer if you tweet something like ‘Brody Stevens is a good guy. He just bought me beer.’” That’s what I asked him to do. He said he would do it. Because I said I need—I’d been doing some crazy tweets and I need like a stranger on Twitter to say something positive about me. And he agreed to do it. So we go inside the 7-Eleven and he gets like a six-pack. I go, “Get a case of beer! Get a case, no problem.” Because I was just gonna get him whatever he wanted. I said, “You work out, get some protein shakes. Get whatever you want. I’m here for you.” And then we’re waiting in line and I’m like—behind me he’s, “Dude, you’re freaking me out!” I go, “I’m offering to buy you beer and workout drinks and all you gotta do is write a tweet and you’re being a jerk to me?” I go, “No wonder you don’t—you’re not in any movies. No wonder—I’m in movies.”

Paul: Oh my God.

Brody: I go, “You’re got a bad attitude, man.” I go, “I’m a nice guy. And you freaked out. That’s why people don’t hire you. You said you were an actor. I wouldn’t hire you.”

Paul: Wow.

Brody: And then I like was yelling in there, I was like yelling.

Paul: Now was any part of yourself going, “I am sounding like a pompous crazy guy?”

Brody: Not really. No, I was like in Brody mode.

Paul: Because when you’re not in that manic stuff, you don’t believe that stuff do you?

Brody: No. No, I don’t—do I believe it?

Paul: That you’re better than other people because you were in The Hangover?

Brody: No, absolutely not. Absolutely not. But I will say in warm-up, I’ll go like, if a crowd isn’t bringing energy or a guy is slouched over, I go, “Don’t be slouched over. Positive energy. Sit up.” Look, I mean, it happens for me. I’m working. Why am I working? Why do they call me? You know, why? Because I sit up, I bring positive energy, and I accept blame for everything. And that’s why people want me there. And that’s—cuz I do these shows with these audiences and sometimes they’re paid audiences, or they’re, you know, a football team, or a baseball team. I’ll give them a little advice on life and, you know, make it funny or whatever.

But, um, yeah, I yelled at the guy there in the parking lot at 7-Eleven and then I went to the baseball game, drove down there, and I was combative with security guys.

Paul: Now at any point are you thinking to yourself, “This is the sixth or seventh person in a row that is telling me the same thing.”

Brody: They’re all wrong.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: I’m right.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: You’re wrong. I’m feeling good. I’m doing things. And then on top of that, yeah, I was tweeting up on like I’m the next hundred million dollar guy, Hangover 3, I signed—because everything was related to me, you know, HBO was Warner, you know, Time Warner, and then you had Hangover was Time Warner, and then something else was Time Warner.

Paul: HBO is Time Warner.

Brody: HBO, Warner Brothers, and something else. But I was like tying all this—oh TMZ, TMZ’s with Warner Brothers. So I like tied them all in, like I’m signing a deal with them, which I wasn’t, but I was just putting out all this crazy, positive energy. And people were like following me. And then they didn’t know if it was a joke or a meltdown or whatever.

So anyway, I went to the baseball game, I was a little combative—not com—I mean, combative with security, but not bad. I’d been down there a bunch. But I said like, “I’m with TMZ Sports now. Treat me with a little bit of respect.”

Paul: (laughs) Oh my God.

Brody: That’s what I was saying. So I was like turning my Brody life into like reality.

Paul: Right.

Brody: It was like really blending in. And I was combative if you weren’t with me. If you were against me, it’s like you’re wrong. So I went to Sarah Silverman’s party that night and I was basically just cornering people and talking and I thought I was fine. I mean, I was goofing around with Marilyn Manson; he got a kick out of me. David Cross and Robert Smigel (sp?) and, you know, all these other people, I was joking. Some people I cornered and I spoke to, and some people thought I was like my eyes—I was acting weird. People who really knew me thought I was acting weird. People who kinda knew me thought I was funny, and then people who didn’t know me at all thought I was like annoying or whatever. And Sarah had told me to calm down or whatever and I go—I was like mad at her for having her tell me that. But I didn’t like snap or anything. So then I go downstairs and I’m in a good mood. That’s Saturday. And then Sunday back to tweeting. Then Monday they sent the cops. Tuesday I go to another Starbucks and that’s where I walk in, I see a couple of people over here on Coldwater and Ventura and I see couple people in there, with their laptops and they’re writing, and I ordered a drink and I was waiting at the cold bar, and I see this guy and he has the same kind of shoes on as me, and I’m wearing a Dodgers shirt and he’s wearing a Dodger hat. So I’m waiting in my line and I’m friendly, I’m Brody, I’m a friendly guy, I’m on Hangover, I host TMZ, good things are happening, and I’m in the valley, and I see the guy, I go, “Hey—“ he’s got like an earpiece in, he’s on the laptop and I point to the shoes. I go, “Hey, we got the same shoes.” And then I go, “Dodger, Dodger, it’s kind of like—“ and he had an earpiece on, he goes, “I’m on the phone.” I go, “I’m just being a nice guy.” I go, “Why are you such a jerk, man?” I go, “I’m doing—you’re writing a movie, I’m doing movies.”

Paul: Oh my God!

Brody: I said something like that, you know? And I go, “I’m a good guy and you’re being a jerk to me. Hey, this guy’s a jerk!” And then he told the barista, he said, “This guy’s harassing me.” And then I said, “This guy’s a jerk. I’m being nice. And he was being a jerk.” So then I walk out and I go, “See this guy in the back? He’s a jerk and he’ll never work in this town.”

Paul: Oh my God. What do you feel as you recount this? What does it …?

Brody: I don’t want to do it ever again. I mean it’s kind of funny if you like, you know, I mean looking back on it, thank God I didn’t get hurt. Or nobody else got hurt. And, I mean, that’s a positive.

Paul: That’s fantastic that that didn’t happen.

Brody: That’s fantastic. But I went outside—

Paul: I’m not saying that sarcastically.

Brody: Oh I know.

Paul: Yeah.

Brody: It’s fantastic that nobody got hurt.

Paul: And the potential for that seems HUGE.

Brody: Well, yeah, I had a couple more. So I go outside there and these Armenian guys, they recognized me from doing comedy at the Comedy Store. So I sat outside with those guys cause they talked with me like a couple of minutes before, I go, “I just yelled at a guy. I’m gonna get in trouble, I know it. Like he’s gonna call the cops or something.” Cause they already sent the cops to my house and I feel like—so they’re laughing. I go back in there. I open the door, I go, “I’m still out here waiting for you.” And then some girl goes, “Hey, why don’t you just mellow out.” “You mellow out!” and then her boyfriend started to come after me. “Ok, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I apologize.” Because I didn’t want to fight. I didn’t want any, you know—I wasn’t like wanting to fight. So—also, after the Sarah Silverman party, I went to the Comedy Store and this was like 2:30-3:00 in the morning, they’re hanging out in the back parking lot. So I come in there, I’m in a good mood. Drive my car in and talking to my friends or whatever. And there was a drunk guy, he was like annoying people, he was annoying my friend Matt. And he started coming at me like to touch me, and I like front-kicked him, I go, “Get the fuck out of here! This is my lot! I don’t know who the fuck this guy is! Move him!” I front-kicked him. I kicked him. Because he was coming at me trying to touch me. So I did get physical there. So I did Sarah’s party.

Paul: Did you let him know that you were in The Hangover?

Brody: No I did not actually, not—no, I know I didn’t. I just front-kicked the guy and I said, “Get him the fuck out of here! This is—I perform here, not this guy. You know, you don’t fucking touch me. You’re bugging everybody. Get the fuck out of here.” So it was like, whoa, Brody’s cursing, it’s like—nobody said anything at the time, really, they were just probably kind of shocked that I was acting that way. But then, so that was on that Sarah Silverman Saturday party. Monday I tweet. Monday the cops came the first time, and Tuesday I go with—I go the Starbucks, and that’s where I say the guy has the same shoes as me. And he tells the barista.

Paul: And you’re talking to the Armenian guys outside.

Brody: Right. And I yelled at the girl and her boyfriend was gonna come after me and I said I’m sorry, so I’m sitting there are the cops show up. Actually, the guy runs out. The guy I yelled at like ran out of the Starbucks, took off. And then I hear like cops coming. And I’d dealt with the cops last night, so I’m like, “Ok, I’ll talk to them again, I don’t care.” So it’s different cops this time and they came up, and I go, “Guys, film this.” I told the Armenian guys, “Get your cameras up. Film everything.” I told them that before. So they took me and I go—the lady officer—there’s two officers, and he goes, “Can you stand up?” And I go, “Yeah.” And he started putting the handcuffs on me. I go, “Brody, being arrested. Film this.” And she goes, “Brody’s not being arrested, he’s being detained.” And this is right out there on Ventura and Coldwater essentially. And she’s frisking me, I had my hands up. And they brought me off to the side like between the Ralph’s and the Coldwater and I’m sitting there like nothing was—it didn’t bother me at all, that I was in handcuffs and I was out in public and people were staring at me. It didn’t bother me at all.

Paul: You were probably enjoying it because this was like, this is more stuff to talk about onstage, I’m gonna get some clips out of this.

Brody: Exactly. Yeah, exactly, they’re videotaping it. You know, I wasn’t violent, I was just telling her the whole story, the girl holding my arm, the cop, I told her my whole story, I asked her about her, I told her exactly—I may have mentioned I stopped taking my meds. I may have mentioned that. But I was basically telling her, “I’m in a good mood, I’m happy. This guy—I was being nice to this guy, and I’m sorry and I overreacted or whatever, and I’m not a bad guy, the cops came to my house last night. Things are going well. My friends are worried.” And they started like loosening up—

Paul: And The Hangover, did you let her know you were in The Hangover?

Brody: I’m sure I did.

Paul: You probably did (laughing).

Brody: I’m sure I did. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I can almost guarantee I said that. And they had me in handcuffs and they started like loosening up their grip on me. They kept the handcuffs on me but they’re waiting for their supervisor to show up. So I was there for like fifteen minutes, out on the sidewalk, being nice, not fighting, and they started to like ask me if the cuffs were too tight and I go, “No. They’re fine.” And then the head guy showed up like 15-20 minutes later, he pulled me aside and he says—you know, he was briefed on what happened. And I said, “I won’t do it again, I’m sorry. I lost my cool, the guy was bugging—and let me go.” I go, “My friends have been worried about me but I’m fine. The officers came to my house last night. I’m ok.” He said, “Just promise me you won’t cause any problems.” I go, “I promise.”

So anyway that was Tuesday. And I went back on Twitter. I said I got detained or whatever. And then Wednesday I went—Howard Kramer, you know Howard Kramer?

Paul: Mm-hmmm.

Brody: Who Charted? He came over to visit and I was just like all hyped up but, you know, excited. I knew I was on a bender. I knew I needed to get out of town, like I was causing problems, I was out of character.

Paul: So it was starting to sink in that maybe they’re not all wrong.

Brody: Correct. And I needed to take a quick vacation, you know, go down and see my mom, but I couldn’t go down there, she was busy or whatever. And so I was with Howard and we went to McDonald’s because I just wanted to update him on what was been going on. Like we were gonna go to a different Starbucks, but they were remodeling, so we went to McDonald’s, just to go there and I was telling him my problems—or telling him what was going on but I was so like hyped up. So then we go back to my apartment and I guess at this point the guys are all like following me around, like checking up on me. My friends were like secretly, “Brody’s losing it. We gotta follow him, make sure he doesn’t get hurt.” And they were like really researching all this stuff. And so I come back and Howard’s phone rang. I picked it up, it was Dave Rath. I go, “Dave, this is Brody, I got a gun. I’m kidding! I’m doing great! I’m positive. I’m happy.” And then I was in a good mood. And I went upstairs and I took a shower. One other thing, one other thing. Like two nights before I went to another 7-Eleven and I saw this guy there, like not a home—might have been a homeless guy, but he was like harassing a girl like you could tell she wanted to go in, and he went up to her window and she was like, “No.” And she was like creeped out by him, and she left, she didn’t go in, she like just left. And I was in my car—he came up to my car, wanted money. I go, “No.” I like rolled my window up. And then I’m leaving, I’m seeing him, I go, “You creep. You just scared that chick, you better fricking—“ I was probably cussing, “You better fucking watch it. I live around here, I’m watching you. You just scared that girl, you better—you mother—“ I was—f-bombs and all that stuff. And I taped it and I put it on YouTube or MySpace or whatever. So people saw that, and it’s like I’m making these crazy videos.

So anyway, the cops they detained me at the Starbucks and the next day I go to McDonald’s with Howard Kramer, I go back home, everything’s good, Dave calls, I’m joking that I had a gun, which I didn’t have. I never had a gun, never intended on having a gun. And then I go in to take a shower, and I’m still emotional, I’m crying and I’m laughing. I’m feeling good, but it’s like tears of joy. And I told—I saw my landlord and I say, “I owe you my rent,” because it was like day three, I owed rent. And so I go up and take a shower and I’m in the shower and I’m washing off and I see like—I hear like the door shut or open, I thought it was my roommate. Joe Wagner was staying with me at the time. And I see it’s police officers. Like three cops in there. So I get out of the shower and they’re in my apartment, like four cops and they handcuff and they throw me down like on one of these chairs here. I was naked basically, so I practically sat on my testicle.

Paul: Always nice for a manic person.

Brody: Yeah! And he wouldn’t give me a towel. I had my towel and the cop was being kind of a jerk. He was audiotaping me, and he was like laughing at me and like—I go, “Look, I’m not a crazy guy.” I go, “I work at Chelsea Lately, I work on these shows, I’m a comedian. I’m a good guy. I don’t have any guns, I have nothing.” And I think they knew I wasn’t taking my meds. I may have mentioned that but the guy was just being a prick to me, this head cop guy like the other two cops were like holding me down hard, and like they weren’t very nice at all. The other cops the night before were nice. The cops at Starbucks were nice. So the four other cops that I dealt with were fine, these guys were kind of jerks. And like egging me on a little bit, like making me negotiate for like my shoes and my underwear. I go, “Can I at least—“ I said, “I’ll do whatever you want me to do, I’m not fighting that. I’ll go with you if you want take me away. But at least can I put on some clothes?” They go, “No, I don’t touch men’s underwear,” like they wouldn’t let me get up and get my underwear. And then he like kicked my shoes towards me, “Here’s some shoes.” He like pushed them. And I said, “Fuck you!” And I kicked my—he was like treating me like a jerk. And he goes, “That’s it. We’re done.” And then he threw like a comforter on me, like it was a piece of crap bed comforter or whatever. And they took me out in handcuffs and like a—restraints, and my whole apartment building is looking at me and the cop is like following me, the supervisor, just being like a dick but smiling, like egging me on a little bit. And I was going, “Fuck you! Fuck you and your acne scars! Jerk!”

Paul: Wow

Brody: I was like pissed off, and he was like laughing. So anyway, then they took me down to Torrance because there wasn’t a bed at UCLA, so they took me down to like the fricking—where they take crazy people off the street. So I went there and I spent like 35 hours there and they wouldn’t talk to me. I said, “Look, I went off my meds, that’s all. I’m a normal guy. I worked at Chelsea Lately, I hosted TMZ, I just got back from Montreal. I’m a normal guy.”

Paul: Like any of that matters to them, you know what I mean?

Brody: Well, but I mean it does a little bit, like when I went to UCLA later on and they checked the computer, they’re like, “Oh, you’re famous!” I go, “Yeah. I’m normal. I’m not a bad guy.” So they were kind of like weird to me at this, you know, the county place I went to, UCLA county one, it was bad. They were—again, they don’t treat you special, they just treat you like anything, and then I was asking questions, nobody was answering me. And then this guy was like crapping his pants over, and I’m like, “I’ll crap my pants! I’ll act like a wild man unless you—I see this guy doing it.” “You need to take a break.” I go, “This guy’s doing it. Why don’t you tell me anything? Let me make a phone call.” They put me in like a solitary room for like a half hour.

Paul: Wow.

Brody: An hour, I was like doing pushups, I was banging on the door and I was looking at the guy, I go, “I’m gonna—“ I was like playing it up, like I was like Robert DeNiro in uh …

Paul: Taxi Driver.

Brody: Not Taxi Driver but the other one.

Paul: Cape Fear?

Brody: Cape Fear, more Cape Fear. Because actually I never wanted to shoot anybody, and I didn’t want to shoot myself. I wasn’t, you know, that was just—you know, you do comedy at the Comedy Store, you do crazy stuff, you know, the craziness, it doesn’t—you know crazy comedy kind of like prepared for this kind of stuff, like doing these crazy late night shows at the Comedy Store. Now I’m like locked up in a, you know, in a hospital. I’ve seen it all. But I mean because it’s a crazy story how I got in the hospital, so that just…

Paul: I can’t imagine how frustrating that’s gotta be for somebody who feels like they have the energy to be God and everybody is not only not agreeing with you, but they are impeding your progress.

Brody: Yeah! Exactly. They’re wrong. You are wrong. I’m doing the right things. I’m taking the victory lap. It’s about time I have a good time. I’m gonna be nice to myself.

Paul: Now these things where you talk about, you know, I’m doing these things, I’m accomplishing these things, do you in talking with your therapist about that, is there like some type of like childhood trauma or issue where you felt like you—where like power was taken away from you or your kinda needs weren’t met or you were belittled or something?

Brody: Um, I would say I was belittled, I was picked on a little bit, I’m very sensitive. I’m a nice guy. I’m a little selfish but I’m a nice guy. And I am sensitive and I analyze things. So I—

Paul: Who were you picked on by?

Brody: Just like other kids growing up. I feel though—I went to public school. A lot of kids probably went to private schools. I went to public schools. I was bussed. You know, and you deal with it—not that private school people didn’t get picked on, but I felt like I was kinda out there in a tougher environment. And I’m a nice guy, and I just picked a lot for being a nice guy. But I also played sports so people respected me and I didn’t consider myself a funny guy or a funny kid, I just thought it was like—I thought it was weird actually. So I didn’t have any like, you know, anything too traumatic happen to me. Couple things, but, you know, for the most part …

Paul: Can you talk about those?

Brody: Um, I’ll save it for another podcast. I was just kind of like taken advantage of. And, you know, you can look at it any way like that. So I was taken as a kid—not like an adult, maybe like a—I was pushed around a little bit. You know, I didn’t have an older brother, I had an older sister who did her own thing. But I rode BMX bikes, I played baseball, but I was in apartment building where it was probably like a lot of kids, and single moms, and again I wasn’t—I don’t think I had that protection. I just remember guys picking on me, “Oh you’re gay, you smile, you’re a nice guy.” They took my niceness for being gay. You know, like, “Oh you’re gay.” I was like, “I’m just a nice guy.” Open-minded, nice kid. And I don’t think they appreciated that or got that. So I started getting picked on, so maybe I am gay, they’re all saying I’m gay. So that bugged me. And that kind of like—the fact that I was thinking about that bothered me. And then people would—and I talk about this on other podcasts, just like how I walked, or I had like gay mannerisms, but I wasn’t gay. And I’m still not. I’m 10% gay and I talk about that on other podcasts. But I’m not flaming, I just wish I was—I’m a Jewish guy. Jewish guys are goofy, you know, comedians are goofy. Artists and actors are goofy. I came from that jock world where everything is—you’re not goofy, it’s conform. And then when you go in the alternative world, not the alternative world, the, uh, you know, show business or arts, people are so more open and so …

Paul: Yeah, you’re encouraged to be different.

Brody: You’re encouraged to be different, and they’re accepting, whereas when you’re playing sports you’re dealing with that jock mentality. And I get it and it means they like you for the most part, but it can wear you down. And you can feel like I don’t want to be around this, I’d rather be around smarter chicks, girls, doing that sort of thing. But—I mean, I love baseball, but I wish I was more graceful. I wish I was a better athlete, like I walked better, I carried myself better. And I do things, like I’ll do yoga, I do stretching, I feel like there’s things I can control but it does screw with me. It messes with my head a little bit. Cuz I wish I was a more graceful athlete.

Paul: So it’s fair to say then that there was kind of a—when you were in this manic episode, there was also a chip on your shoulder from your adolescence that, “No, I am enough,” you know. They were wrong.

Brody: Yeah, I don’t know so much about they were wrong, more—but I did have a chip on my shoulder. I think the TMZ thing did it to me. I think the HBO show, selling that, having them buy that idea and having other networks agree to buy it too. So I had confidence with that. I was doing Chelsea Lately up until when I left. I was appearing on that. I did Hangover 1. I did Hangover 2. I was doing these festivals, so I did kind of develop a chip on my shoulder a little bit, but I wasn’t like, you know, I wasn’t rubbing it in people’s face or anything like that. But I didn’t do that.

Paul: In your manic episode you were.

Brody: My manic episode, definitely I was just—you know, everyone would say I was out of character and I was, I was out of character and I had that—you know, it was euphoric, I felt good. I felt like I didn’t need sleep, I could exercise, and I just felt good about myself. I was lean and I just—but by day six I knew something was off and I needed to kind of like pull back.

Paul: So let’s go back to you’re in solitary.

Brody: Yeah, I am!

Paul: So you were in solitary.

Brody: Doing pushups, banging on the wall. I was mad at this one doctor because he wouldn’t tell me anything. Wouldn’t tell me like when I’m gonna leave, or I told him like, “I just stopped taking my meds.” And, “Why don’t you tell me more?” And he wouldn’t. And it’s like, “Can I just ask you a question?” And he’d walk by me. I saw his badge and I go—you know, questioned his name and where did he go to high school. I knew all the like—he told me before and I go, “I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna look for you. I know where Harvard Westlake is.” Or whatever school he went to. I go, “You’re not treating me right. I’m a person, not a patient. You better learn how to do that. I deal with regular people. I’m not some crazy guy off the street. And the way you’re acting ain’t cool, ain’t right.” Stuff like that. And then I was just like getting upset, and then he put me in that room because I—I mean this guy just shit in his pants or threatened to shit in his pants, I go, “OK, I’ll do that, I’ll threaten that.” And then they put me in the room. It’s like to me, it was just fun and games. To be honest with you. I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t gonna fight anybody, but I was like, I was amped up, but I wasn’t a threat to anybody. It was weird, it’s like I’m in this, I’m in this situation.

Paul: So when did you begin to realize that they’re right and I’m the one that’s misinterpreting?

Brody: Um, probably after about three days at UCLA because the same kind of thing happened. Once I moved to UCLA Medical Center about a day and a half after the public downtown, the south bay or whatever it was.

Paul: And this is all against your will. You don’t have the …

Brody: Yeah, I had no say, I believed I had no say. And I was doing—I was compliant, I was saying, “Ok, if you think it’s best, I’ll do it.” So they got a bed at UCLA and I go to UCLA and the first few days I was having some issues with the nurses there, for having them—again, for having them be treating me like a patient and not a person. I was like letting them know I’m a normal guy. I mean, this—it wasn’t like I was a return visitor. You know, they have a lot of people that go in and out of that place. Or in and out of psych wards and hospitals. It was my first time. I stopped taking my meds. I made a mistake.

Paul: You know, looking at it from their perspective, it gotta imagine to do their job they deal with so many people every day that can’t see that they’re in their illness, that they get tired of trying to reason with them and you just have to ignore them.

Brody: Right.

Paul: You just have to shut down and walk past them, and that’s got to be a little heartbreaking, but they probably have to do that to protect themselves emotionally. Or just energetically, because you would just be talked to death if each and every person you tried to make them see, “No, see, the reason that this is this and this is that is because this happened and that.” So it’s probably just easier to just shut down.

Brody: Yeah, I figure that too, like they have a lot of, you know, they’re just trying to do their job. But again, I was just kind of manic at that point and I wasn’t able to think, like think that way.

Paul: You still couldn’t see that you were in mania.

Brody: Right. I couldn’t see.

Paul: Were people telling you, “You are in mania right now?”

Brody: No. Nobody was saying like you’re mania, nobody was saying like, “You had a manic episode.” It was just like you’re here.

Paul: Had you ever had a manic episode before this one?

Brody: Not that I know of.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: I mean, I’ve had, you know, I’ve had some like—I mean I’ve gotten mad at a couple of things, but I don’t have road rage, I’m not a confrontational person, I’m not that kind of guy. It’s like I don’t yell at waiters, I don’t yell at people. I never had that issue. I didn’t front-kick guys in the parking lot at, you know, the Comedy Store, yell at people at 7-Eleven. I never did that.

Paul: Ok.

Brody: My comedy sometimes, I would go into that area, that red zone, because I was so fired up and I would be upset if I had a bad set, so those were things, but those were real. Like that’s what made me real, like is this guy real? He’s so passionate; he’s going for it.

Paul: And it keeps them guessing, they’re like where is the—what is he exaggerating, which part of this is really him and which part is being pumped up? Which is compelling to watch.

Brody: Yeah, that’s probably why I got a lot of fame—not fame, but like fans or community.

Paul: Attention.

Brody: Attention, because I did that early on, but it didn’t—you know, it’s like stressful for me a little bit. That’s why I’m saying that now that I’m on a different medication—I take a mood stabilizer right now, which I never had taken, and it’s taken—it’s been a while for me to get adjusted to this.

Paul: What are you taking?

Brody: I take Lamictal. 300mg, it’s a mood stabilizer but anti-epilepsy too. A lot of these drugs are like off label, they use them for …

Paul: Anti-seizure.

Brody: Anti-seizure would probably—could work as an anti-depressant at certain levels or work as a mood stabilizer. Anti-seizure. So I take this Lamictal and that seems to mellow me out a little bit. Then once you get to 300mg which is where I’m at now—you have to bring it up real slow because there could be a skin rash. But you get to that, and that, to me, has kind of softened my edges. I don’t go in the red zone, I’m more mellow, I’m at peace, you know, and I can think straight. But the problem with that is that it’s hard to work out, it’s hard to take action on some things, or be—it slows you down a little bit. But like I said, I’m getting used to it. I’m getting used to it and I’m learning life lessons that are helping me adjust with that, like having more structure. You know, developing positive habits, having a support system. So, yeah, I’m on these meds, and my body’s adjusting but all the positives are: I have a therapist now, I have a psychiatrist, people know that what I went through 16 months ago or whatever, there’s a history of that, so I have the support in place. So, yeah, the meds have helped me.

Paul: Did we miss anything at UCLA?

Brody: Ok, back to that?

Paul: Well, I—if there’s anything to touch on.

Brody: And that’s why you’re a good host, Paul because you brought me back in.

Paul: And that is—when you were at UCLA, that’s when I became aware of what was happening with you. So people were like, “You should get Brody on your show.”

Brody: Yeah, get him on.

Paul: “He’s gotten hospitalized at UCLA.”

Brody: Straight from the hospital.

Paul: I was like, maybe right now isn’t the best time, but maybe at some point in the future. So you were at UCLA.

Brody: So I’m at UCLA. The food is actually good, the shower works great. I had my own room, comfortable bed, TV.

Paul: How ‘bout the pants shitting?

Brody: Um, no I stopped that. That was a threat.

Paul: Ok. Didn’t follow through.

Brody: I didn’t follow through. But I guarantee you people crap their pants a lot. I mean, a woman showed me her lactating nipple there, and she wanted to give me her phone number.

Paul: I take it a fellow patient.

Brody: You would take it?

Paul: No, I’m saying I take it that was a fellow patient?

Brody: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was a lady and that was like, yeah, that first night I was staying with crazy people off the street, essentially, and the—because there wasn’t a bed available at the real UCLA on campus, at the hospital there. So anyway, the next day they brought me in and took me a few days to adjust and I felt like, “Ok, I can’t fight it.” I thought I’d only be there for three days and they’d let me go, but when I realized I was gonna be there a little bit longer, I was OK with it. They moved me around a couple times. Like I was at—first I was like in intensive care I think, and then I went to where they’re like crazy, and then I went to like the addiction wing and that was more mellow. That’s where I should have been – everyone was mellow over there. So they had me like the processing one where who knows, like were crazy people in there and they kind of like made you feel weird a little bit. Then they moved me to one where it was like—

Paul: When you say crazy people, do you mean people who were fully broken from reality where they’re like hallucinating?

Brody: Yeah, I mean, not hallucinating, but you see a guy and go, “This guy’s nuts.” Like you would talk to maybe a guy at a comedy show or something or a guy on the sidewalk outside at a comedy show. And like had that kind of energy. This guy named Nevada, that was his name, was kind of like, you know crazy, weird. Yeah, and then they had, you know, everyone had their own little issues. Then I had problems, like I said I had problems with the nurses there at first so they moved me to intensive care and that was where you were dealing with people who had like attitude problems, you know, acted up. So they put me in there and after a couple days—cuz I felt I didn’t belong in that one, they put me in the addiction place where people were, it was more mellow, much better. So I figured I’m gonna stay in here, I’ll eat. They feed you well, I did not get involved in any activities. I wasn’t doing any like arts and crafts, or therapy because in my mind I was there because I made a mistake – I stopped taking my meds cold turkey. And that triggered everything. So in my mind I was completely set on that. So I didn’t need this therapy. I didn’t need to do arts and crafts. I didn’t need to talk it out.

Paul: But while you were there it dawned on you then, ok, this is all a result of me having gone off my meds, this is—they’re right. There is a problem here with how I’m acting.

Brody: Yeah, there was, yeah.

Paul: So that did finally occur to you when you were in UCLA.

Brody: Correct.

Paul: Ok. And so then were they giving you drugs at that point?

Brody: Yes.

Paul: And was it coming down from those that allowed you to see what they were trying to tell you?

Brody: Probably, yeah. They were giving me Depakote and Seroquel, which is—Depakote’s like a Lithium, and Seroquel is an anti-psychotic and it makes you sleep. So they put me on meds to mellow me out, stabilize me, which it did. Like I said, like after a few days I said, “Ok. I’ll be here for a while—a little while at least, and, you know, there’s no Internet. I can call on the pay phone, there was no—you know, I ate alright, the food was good. And they wake you up in the morning for breakfast and then I would go out on the patio and relax, but I kind of kept to myself. I read books, I journaled, that sort of thing. And then like after nine days I met with the—you know, you have like a little meeting, like a process, see how you’re doing with your doctor and your—like a family representative. And he wanted me to say basically that I won’t attack anybody ever again at Starbucks. And I said, “I won’t attack anybody at Starbucks. I promise.” And he like didn’t believe me. Like he says, “I still—I don’t believe—“ and they decided to keep me there longer, “I’m gonna keep you for more days.” And that pissed me off. That was the one time where I felt like—I mean I can go, I’ve been here nine days, I get it. He goes, “I don’t believe—“ you know, he didn’t believe me. And that’s when I did like a hunger strike. I didn’t eat for like a half a day.

Paul: (laughs)

Brody: I did a half a day hunger strike. And then again after that I just kind of sucked it up, and I wanted to get out, yeah, or you want to get out back into society, but it wasn’t torture. Because I had a TV, I had food, I had magazines.

Paul: And who’s paying for all of that?

Brody: Well, I—I mean, I have insurance, so insurance paid a big chunk, and I still owe, I myself, personally, I owe a sizeable amount but nothing that’s insurmountable. So yeah, I mean…

Paul: I shudder to think how much that would be for somebody that didn’t have insurance.

Brody: If I didn’t have insurance, I think the bill was $47,000, but I have insurance and it paid for quite a bit of it, so that was—a lot of it was obviously the night spent at UCLA, and then it was the ambulance, and then a couple doctors. But I owe about $8000, which is a lot less than $47,000, so my insurance did a great job on that and I do have to pay them, and I have to pay them and set that up. So I was there.

Paul: When you pay them are you going to meet them at Starbucks?

Brody: (laughs) Meet them, prove to them that everything’s cool.

Paul: I’m a nice guy. I’m a nice guy.

Brody: I take Lamictal. But I also take Lexapro again. I’m back on that, you know. And that’s part of the depression, you know, I mentioned that earlier, how nobody warns you that what goes up comes down. And I came down, and I came down pretty hard. And I think a lot of that had to do with the meds, the meds they put me on and the living in Hollywood, getting out of the valley where I’m comfortable, and then moving to Hollywood to a studio apartment where I just never really felt comfortable. So adding that on to new meds, kind of really brought me down, and not having the structure like I used to have here. When I was living here a couple of years ago, I would have my routine, I’d get up, I would go to Starbucks, I would write, I’d walk back, I’d exercise. And I would go do audience warm-up at Chelsea and then eat dinner, go shopping, do a set at night, and then repeat, do the same thing. I was doing all that. And when I got out of warm-up, for that year or two I was doing festival gigs and picking up other things and becoming a better comedian, and still exercising. And when I went to Hollywood, I didn’t have the space in my apartment, I didn’t like the tour vans, I didn’t like the noise, I didn’t like all the actors and actresses, all the people fresh to town, the Swedish rock bands, the crazy energy that was just right down the street, near, you know, Hollywood and Highland.

Paul: There’s a—

Brody: It’s a bad energy.

Paul: There’s a feeling of desperation that kind of pervades Hollywood. And even though the valley is just over the hill, and only five miles away, I’m from the mid-west and the valley feels like the mid-west to me, it just feels suburban, it’s—yeah, it’s not as hip, but it just doesn’t feel—I don’t feel that desperation like I feel on the other side of the hill.

Brody: I mean it’s palpable, and you see it, even at the Coffee Beans I go to now, the Coffee Bean on Fairfax and Sunset there, and it’s like yeah, there’s hot chicks and there’s actresses, and I guess there’s actor guys and there’s—everyone’s got a laptop. And then you got the crazy people, and you can only park for an hour, and then it’s like everyone’s trying to be somebody, then I come to the Starbucks out here and it’s like I can park forever, however I want long, and there’s none of these—a couple actors, but it’s mostly families and, you know, and Orthodox Jews. And I sit there, I feel a lot better. And I think—I was talking about being down and how nobody warned me about that, I think one of the solutions, I think a big part of it was moving out and getting a different apartment, coming back to the valley, and so far so good. It’s worked but, I mean, I’m far from, you know, I feel a lot better to be honest with you, you know, just doing more comedy, and working. You know, work helps. I mean, everybody would say work helps. And I’ve had some anxiety. Things I haven’t had before, thinking about, you know, I’m older now, I’m 42, I don’t have a kid, I don’t have a wife, I don’t have a girlfriend. I’d like to have a girlfriend. I wouldn’t mind having a kid one day. I wouldn’t mind being married. I wouldn’t mind owning some property. I wouldn’t mind doing those things, but I also have my own little personal issues that I need to take care of first. You know, it’s like you really have to like yourself or love yourself before you can love others, and I’m starting to like myself more and more. And that’s part of doing a podcast, I do my own podcast.

Paul: What’s the name of your podcast?

Brody: The Steven Brody Stevens Festival of Friendship. I also do one with Joe Rogan and the Deathsquad Network, I do a couple over there. And I play different characters, it depends. Like if I’m a guest on somebody’s podcast, I keep it real and you know, I can be funny if you wanna be funny. And then I’ll have ones where, you know, I’ll play a different role. And then there’s my podcast, The Festival of Friendship, is basically me doing a monolog for 30-40 minutes, I just talk, whatever is on my mind. And then I bring on a friend or a guest. Usually a friend, not necessarily a famous friend or anything like that. And then we just talk, I-I-I-I turn into an interviewer. So I mellow out and I interview, and I turn into like this guy. As opposed to YES! Positive push! But I’ll do that too on the intros. And so I do that and that feels good, and why did I bring that up?

Paul: I was asking you about your podcast. And you were just talking about the different, the different podcasts. But the one thing that I just want to kind of end with is h-how are you feeling today and what are you—what issues are you addressing in therapy that you feel like are helping you get closer to being comfortable in your own skin?

Brody: I think for me structure’s been a big deal, getting out of the house, not isolating, not that I had a problem isolating, but getting out and doing that. So having structure. Every day I get out, you know, comedians they write every day. Writers write every day. So, saying that I’m a comedian and I’m a writer, that gives me an excuse to get out of the house, go to a Coffee Bean, stay there for two to three hours if I have to, email, tweet. You gotta do all that crazy stuff now – email, tweet, Instagram, have some coffee, relax, make phone calls. I treat it like my office, because it’s good for me to be around people and I do that. So that helps me, taking action. I mean the big thing for me with my therapy was getting me out of my apartment, getting back to having a home, to come to a home. Like I have a home, an apartment here right now and it feels good. And it has carpeting and I have a refrigerator and I have cable TV, you know.

Paul: Stability’s nice.

Brody: Stability’s nice. But, I don’t have, you know, financial stability necessarily, and I know a lot of people don’t, and that’s something where, you know, I’ve had some anxiety. You know, I’m suffering from normal stuff.

Paul: People listening are like, “How can a guy who was on The Hangover and hosted this and did that, how can he have financial instability?” People, a lot of people think that once you’ve been on TV, all of the sudden you’re set for life.

Brody: Yeah, I used to think the same thing. I see you on TV or a movie or you’re on radio, it’s like wow you’re doing well. That’s not the case, probably for most actors or most people. So yeah that’s a real reality, being able to, as a comedian, believing in yourself, feeling that you’re an actual commodity where you can go to clubs and make strangers laugh and travel the country. That’s daunting for me. Like I said, at the core I’m a baseball player, so I feel that—and I’m starting to feel like I’m a comedian. It’s taken me 20 years. And I just feel as though it’s—yeah, it’s a stress—it’s stressful. Some people go and do six shows at the Orlando Improv and think nothing of it. I would be, you know, terrified right now, just not ready to do that, on top of that I have my normal issues. So, I’m trying to work on these things, just like everybody else. I’m trying to make myself feel better about things, take action, stay busy, believe in myself.

Paul: Stay on your meds.

Brody: Stay on my meds, and, I mean, I would like to taper them off. I would like, I mean, I would like to be on less meds, but there’s no stigma. There’s no stigma. But the anxiety is stuff is like—I think I’m through the depression right now, but I have some anxiety and I take Klonopin for that, I’ll be honest. I take a Klonopin, which seems to chill me out and—but I can’t really tell the difference with it, and maybe that’s a sign like oh it’s working. And that’s the thing with meds – like, oh, I don’t need them anymore. Well, you need them because of how you feel right now.

Paul: And the other thing too is sometimes you don’t feel the effects of going off your meds for months.

Brody: Oh really?

Paul: Yeah, the last time I tried to go off my meds, I felt great after three months, so I was like I don’t need meds anymore. And then at the five-month mark I was crying all of the time and thinking about suicide. And I was like, oh my God. And my psychiatrist was like, “Yeah, that’s why you’re supposed to call me when are thinking about going off meds.”

Brody: Did you taper off?

Paul: I tapered off, but then it was five months after taking the last of the tapers.

Brody: Wow.

Paul: I tapered off over like two months.

Brody: I mean, yeah, meds are a scary thing. You can get freaked out. I mean if you go on the Internet and read up on stuff, you can get freaked out by meds. And then I had a personal experience with it, so I’m a little—it’s a traumatic thing to go through. To go through a manic episode however you got there, is a traumatic thing and it’s something that I do deal with every day, and I am getting better. And I know it sounds weird take it day by day, but that’s kind of how I’m doing it, and I’m lucky that I’m able to work, that helps. Like being able to do warm-up and being able to do different kinds of shows. The podcasting has really helped me out because I use it as a therapy. I don’t dump on people, but the podcasting has definitely helped me out, getting it out, and that’s part of like journaling and to do lists, you want to get these things off your chest and out of your head and it really does feel better. And that works towards a better mental approach.

Paul: Well I appreciate you being so open and honest. Do you want to wrap up the episode Brody style on our episode about mania?

Brody: YES! Episode about mania here with Paul Gilmartin, good guy, buzzed in, showed up on time! I had fun! We could keep going for hours, but we’re professional, we know that you’re busy, but this podcast is gonna help somebody; it’s already helped me! It’s my first podcast in my apartment; it’s given me confidence to be able to do a podcast in my apartment for another occasion. But I’m here, I’m happy. Paul, thank you. Am I going nuts, because I feel like I’m going to disturb my neighbors if I yell too much.

Paul: I enjoyed it. Ok Brody—Steven Brody Stevens.

Brody: Steven. Brody. Stevens. You got it, yes! Push, believe, #YES. I said yes twice but, damn it! That’s the comedian writer in me. You gotta edit it down.

Paul: Thank you buddy.

Brody: You got it.

Paul: Many, many thanks to Brody Stevens. Before I take it out with a survey and a forum thread, I want to remind you guys that there are a couple of different ways to support the show. Those of you that have listened to all the shows or a lot of them, I apologize for this broken record of me saying this on every episode but, yeah, it’s necessary. So here goes the pitch. A couple of different ways to support the show. You can support it financially by going to the website, and making either a one-time PayPal donation, or my favorite, a recurring monthly PayPal donation. You can sign up for as little as $5 a month, you only have to do it once and then it takes care of itself from then on until you decide to cancel it. You can do it for as little as $5 a month, which may not be a lot to you but it means the world to me. Brings me closer to my dream of doing this fulltime. You can also—oh, another financial way is you can—when you shop at Amazon go enter through the search portal on our homepage, right hand side about halfway down. And then if you by something at Amazon through that, Amazon gives me a couple of nickels. Doesn’t cost you anything. You cheap bastard! You can support the show non-financially by going to iTunes, giving us a good rating, and by spreading the word through social media.

All right. That’s out of the way. This first survey I want to read is from a woman called Oska and she is bisexual, she’s in her 30’s. About her bisexuality, she writes, “I’ve yet to act on my bisexual impulses and haven’t yet dated or done anything with a woman. Also I haven’t told my family about my feelings. And this makes me feel like I’m ‘in the closet.’” She’s in her 20’s, was raised in an environment that was a little dysfunctional, never been the victim of sexual abuse. “Deepest, darkest thoughts?” “I think a lot about genital mutilation and death. I don’t know why, but I am fascinated by both concepts and can’t go a single day without thinking about either. I don’t want to have my genitals mutilated, but I think a lot about other women who have suffered through the process, and I’m ashamed to say get off on the idea. It’s disgusting and sick and I feel like such a monster for masturbating to those kinds of thoughts but I can’t seem to not think about them. I love the idea of women in pain and those kinds of images seem to dominate my sexual thoughts.”

“Deepest, darkest secrets?” She writes, “I have several deep and dark secrets but the one that I deal with on a daily basis is my very severe bulimia. I spend thousands of dollars on food each month. And I have on several occasions stolen food and money to meet the needs of my compulsion. My bulimia has so taken over my life that I’ve had to start vomiting in gallon sized Ziploc bags and storing them wherever I can find a hiding spot so that no one becomes suspicious about my frequent trips to the bathroom. I hide them outside my window, in my car, under my bed, in my trashcan in my room, and boxes in my closet, and anywhere else I can find a place before I can finally throw them out in a dumpster around town. I have to plan my dumpster runs so that I can sneak all of the bags out of the house without anyone knowing what I am doing. Sometimes there are so many that I forget about them. I’ve actually left a bag in my car for over a week because I forgot about it. The stench was almost unbelievable by the time I remembered it. I also suffer from bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety, all of which feed, if you’ll forgive the wording, the eating disorder. One of my deepest fears is that someone I love and respect will find out about my eating disorder and be completely disgusted by what they find. I have nightmares about my loved ones finding containers overflowing with vomit, causing them to finally see what a disgusting pig I really am.” You know, I just have to pause here and say it makes me so sad that you call yourself a disgusting pig because any human being with compassion would see that and not see you as a disgusting pig, but see you as a very sensitive, young woman who is in a tremendous amount of pain and is struggling to cope. And somebody who needs more love in their life and is worthy of it. That’s what I see, I don’t see a disgusting pig. She says, “I feel like no one will understand and that I’m completely alone. I try to educate myself on my disorder and do what I can to keep from acting on my impulse to binge and purge, but I feel like I’m trapped in an endless cycle that I will never be able to break away from. Sometimes I feel like the only way to stop would be to kill myself. I’m very proud and have a hard time asking for help.” That is at the core of most of us that have an addiction, that is at our core, is—we have a hard time asking for help. She writes, “Which makes the whole situation even worse. One thing that does help is finding other people out there who are like me. I try to find books and podcasts on the subject, and can say that podcasts like these have really helped. I would ask that you have more people with bulimia/anorexia on the show. Maybe even some therapists who can talk about the subject to help people like me.” Let’s see…

“Would you ever consider telling a partner or close friend your fantasies?” She writes, “No. Absolutely not. I’m sure that whoever I told would think I was a total lunatic if I said anything about it.”

“Do these secrets and thoughts generate any particular feelings towards yourself?” She writes, “Yes. I feel disgusting and wrong for thinking them. Especially the thoughts about genital mutilation. I try to be and advocate for female equality and feminist ideals and this is completely contrary to the philosophical traditions that I embrace.” And to that I would say probably half of the surveys that I read that people fill out, they have a sexual turn on that is contrary to what their morals are. And it causes them great, great distress. And you are not alone in that, and that does not make you a bad person at all. At all. So stop beating yourself up about that and start asking for help. Because you deserve it. You absolutely deserve it.

And along that line l wanted to read this next thing, this is a thread from the forum that was sent to me by Sam. And the topic is “Why not just stay home?” And that pool analogy that I talked about at the top of the show, I think that fits perfectly here, of that fear of going out. And the first part of the thread, this is from poster who calls himself JazzAndBlues, and they write, “Every time I get invited out or have some event I want to go to, I get all excited and then as it creeps closer, I get anxious. I start to worry about the money I will spend at the event, I worry about how to get there, the subways are annoying, I don’t know enough people there, this person doesn’t like me. Then about a half hour before I need to get ready and leave I just say, ‘Why not just stay home?’ It will be easy and simple, I can have two dinners, drink some wine and watch documentaries and Law and Order reruns until I fall asleep or decide to jerk off.” Then KitKat posted after that, and said, “I go through the same thing, except my anxiety will start at the very mention of an outing. I think about all these things I want to do like go to concerts or parties or whatever, but then I think, ‘I can’t do that. I’ll have a panic attack.’ There are so many restaurants I want to try but I know I wouldn’t enjoy it because I’d be too anxious. It’s kind of sad, so most of the time I avoid it altogether or I’ll say, “THIS time I’ll go.’ But end up curled on the couch the whole day worrying about it. But there are some times when I think, ‘Fuck it.’ And I decide I will just go out for a little bit or I will go out and tell myself I’m allowed to leave at any moment if I get uncomfortable. Of course, it’s not that often, but the more it happens, the more I feel like I’m improving somewhat. So yeah, it’s easy to stay in but sometimes it’s more rewarding to force yourself, which obviously way easier written than done. But you know.” And then JazzAndBlues wrote back, “I completely agree. I told myself to shut up and just went out last night and it was great. I didn’t drink and I didn’t feel the pressure to drink. I arrived when I wanted to and left when I felt like it. POWER!” And I just think that’s beautiful and so I wanted to read that.

If you’re out there and alone, or are feeling alone, there’s hope. There’s always hope. You just gotta get out of your comfort zone and ask for help. Say, “I can’t do this anymore.” It’s the most powerful phrase I ever said, July 21st, 2003. I asked for help. And my life has been getting steadily better since that day. So if you’re out there and you’re suffering, big hug. And thanks for sticking with me for 100 episodes. It means the fucking world to me. Thanks for listening.