Episode 29: Eddie Pepitone (Voted #6 Ep of 2011)
People may know Eddie from The Sarah Silverman Program, Old School, Conan, and Last Comic Standing. Paul knows Eddie as a friend and fellow performer able to talk about the darkness he grew up with and the crippling angst that still bothers him.
Paul: Welcome to Episode Twenty-Nine with my guest Eddie Pepitone. I'm Paul Gilmartin, this is The Mental Illness Happy Hour an hour of honesty about all the battles in our heads from medically diagnosed conditions to every day compulsive negative thinking, feelings of dissatisfaction, disconnection, inadequacy and that vague sinking feeling that the world is passing us by. You give us an hour, we'll give you a hot ladle of awkward and icky. This show is not meant to be a replacement for professional counseling. This is not a doctors office. I'm a jack ass that tells dick jokes. Think of it more as a waiting room that hopefully doesn't suck. Before we get to the interview with Eddie, a couple of notes. The website for this podcast is mentalpod.com. That's also the twitter name you can follow me at. Go to the website, there's a forum. You can email me through there. You can take a survey, you can see how other people respond to the survey. It's a great way to get to see that you are not alone and that we really are connected and so much more alike than you think we are. There are two ways you can support this show. You can support us financially by donating through the website, there's a pay pal link right there. You can support the show non-financially by going to itunes and giving us a good rating. That helps boost our ranking and that brings more people to the show. Blah, blah, blah.
It has been an interesting week, emotionally and mentally. I went to visit family which is always emotionally taxing for me especially being around my mom. I'll talk about that later at the end of the show after the Eddie Pepitone interview. The other thing that was emotionally and mentally taxing was while I was out of town I apparently had put up the episode with Teresa Strasser with an editing mistake in the introduction to her episode. Without going into too much detail, I said something - I was talking about another person, who I had interviewed that day who had thrown me for a loop. And asked me to edit out stuff because it was too sexually explicit. Made me feel creepy, made me feel bad about myself. So I felt compelled to talk about it. Well in my cutting and editing and not always playing things back I had left a part out so it sounded like I was talking about Teresa. Teresa did not ask me to edit anything out from her interview and anybody that knows her knows that would be very unlike Teresa. The emails started pouring in saying “Why would Teresa ask you to edit anything out? She's so open and honest. She talks about everything in her book.” Yeah, well I realized that when I went back and listened to it on the road. I've since fixed it. The episode with the fixed intro is now up on itunes. Apologies to Teresa for that, she was very confused. As were a lot of people. Her episode was such an amazing episode. It's the only, so far it's been the only episode of this show where I've broken down and started crying while I was editing it together. It was just, where she talked about that moment when she called her dad and she was getting ready to take her own life cause she just couldn't handle the pain anymore – you know her ability to be honest about that touched not only me but it touched a lot of listeners. I got this email the next day from a woman named Missy who writes: “I just wanted to thank you for having Teresa Strasser on your show. Like her I was at the end of my road and listening to her talk about the fact that her father would never be okay with her not being here stopped me in my tracks. I've been preparing to end my life and hearing her say that made me realize that my mom would never be okay with my plans. I sat down and cried like she did and I've decided not to take my life. I'm not sure what to do, but at least I will be alive for the rest of my journey out of misery, if there is one. If you could let Teresa how she helped me I would appreciate it.”
Well I immediately let Teresa know. I forwarded her the email and she and I had a flurry of emails back and forth. Basically talking about how lucky we feel to have had our pain benefit other people. And if there's one message I am happy this podcast gets across it's that keeping our pain locked up inside of us and never sharing it in a healthy way not only makes our lives more difficult but we deprive other people of the knowledge that they are not alone. So thank you Missy and I just feel really really lucky to have been chosen by the universe to do this show. You know, the decision to commit suicide to me is the ultimate example of how time, the perception of time can distort reality and the truth. Because what is suicide but a reaction to the belief that things are never going to get better. And that we know how the universe is going to unfold and it's not going to be good. Ekhart Tolle who you guys know, that listen to the show know I love his writing and his book, A New Earth, really has changed my life. There are so many profound things in it. And I'd just like to read a little bit about what he says about time. He says: “Time is the horizontal dimension of life. The surface layer of reality. Then there is the vertical dimension of depth accessible to you only through portal of the present moment.” That's easier said than done but I can tell you this much. On the few days when I'm able to stay out of the past and the future and just be in the present moment and have my feet, have my head exactly where my feet are and be focused on whatever it is right in front of me - that fear falls away and the feeling that I'm going to be ok comes through. That's where I want to be at. I hope that makes sense and if it doesn't, go fuck yourself.
Paul: I'm here with my friend Eddie Pepitone. I always like to start of by saying how long I've known somebody, where I know them from. I've known you since - we did a show at the UCB called The Red State Raiders. It was a political satire show with -
Eddie: Matt Besser created it.
Paul: Matt Besser. Matt Walsh. Andy Daily. Ian Roberts directed it.
Eddie: It was an all star cast.
Paul: Michael Bush. Who else was in it?
Eddie: You know that's part of my mental illness is memory for me? I don't know what it is. I think I basically have emotional memory. Because that was kind of an even keeled experience and I don't remember even keeled things. Do you know what I mean?
Paul: Really? Yeah. Yeah.
Eddie: Because I have friends who are amazing at remembering this actor was in this, this was in this - and another amazing block I have is I have no idea what years things happened. This has kind of freaked me out recently. A lot of my friends know the chronology of their lives. I have a really bad sense of that. You know? And I don't know what that is. I think it's feeling - I have a lot of anxiousness and I think it doesn't allow me to remember things. I don't know.
Paul: Yeah maybe because you're so - and this is my dime store theory - You're so filled with anxiety during the moment that you don't fully absorb the moment because your mind is always half way somewhere else.
Paul: Is that possible?
Eddie: That is possible too.
Paul: I'm going to go ahead and write that up see if I can't get some grant money to continue that.
Eddie: To continue...
Paul: Write that into a thesis. Either that or -
Eddie: 'Hey, who's this Gilmartin guy with this theory Al? Well throw him a couple of grandbut no more. I mean, it seems like it's been done.'
Paul: People would know you I think probably most recognizably as one of the pledges in Old School. Is that what you get recognized mostly from?
Eddie: Not really.
Paul: No? What do people mostly recognize you from?
Eddie: I think the two most things I get are, it's been changing because of the internet, Sarah Silverman Show where I was a regular, a semi-regular and Last Comic Standing believe it or not which is a show I did not care for but I did it twice to get some exposure and people remember me. I was on the first season of Last Comic Standing and I can't believe I made such an impression. I wish I had better management.
Paul: You do make an impression on people. You are a -
Eddie: Do I?
Paul: Oh yeah absolutely. And a good one. You're a - how would I describe you.
Eddie: Be gentle.
Paul: Volatile in a loving way. The most, you're the most lovely volatile person that I know. Your volatility is never, it's usually self directed. That's one of the things that I like about you. There's many things that I like about you. I don't know, there's an honesty to you. One of the reasons, when I ask people to come be guests on the podcast, I'm always looking for someone that a) has some type of anxiety or battle in their head and you and I talk all the time about stuff like that so I knew that was a no brainer. But they have to be able to articulate it and be able to be kind of, I don't know, brutally honest about things about themselves. That's what makes a great guest about me. I've always known you for having those three things.
Eddie: Well I've cultivated that because of stand up. Like, I am that type of stand up. I'm not a good one linery type of writer. My stand up just comes out of my angst.
Paul: It strikes me as very cathartic because it just comes pouring out of you.
Eddie: You know how I know it's cathartic? When I don't, I've got it down to this. If I don't perform for three nights I actually get depressed.
Eddie: And I've gotten better because I used to have to perform almost every night. Maybe three or four nights, maybe I'm up to to four nights where I don't have to perform. But it used to be I take a couple of nights off and I guess because I wasn't getting my craziness out and getting some kind of validation too for it.
Paul: Let's, you're from where? New York?
Eddie: I was born in Brooklyn. At the age of nine my dad moved us -
Paul: (laughing) I thought you were saying I was born at the age of nine.
Eddie: I was kept in an incubation pod until nine. My dad didn't want to release me. No, I was born in Brooklyn and then at nine we moved to Staten Island which was the country to my dad. Another borough of New York that was actually kind of rural. But it only lasted a couple of years and then I was stuck in Staten Island which is kind of a cultural waste land. And then I moved out of Staten Island and lived all over New York City until I escaped and got to LA at the age of I think it was forty-one, forty-two.
Paul: And what was your family like?
Eddie: My mother unfortunately, very sweet and gentle but very depressed. My mom was clinically depressed. I believe she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she actually she went through some of the horrible stuff because it was back in the late fifties, early sixties electric shock. She went through very briefly -
Paul: Although I guess that can do good some times.
Eddie: I don't know. I thought it was universally thought to be barbaric.
Paul: They still do it today, I think as a kind of a last resort.
Eddie: That's terrible. You know what I realized about mental illness, I was, not to get away from my family but I was at the supermarket here, Ralph's the other day and there was a big guy who had obviously had lost it a little bit and people don't know what to do with people who are untethered. You know what I mean? No one wants to grab them physically, there's all kinds of, you know. It's just a strange thing.
Paul: There was a guy last night, I was hanging out with a group of people and this guy wandered in and it was a semi public place and this guy wandered in. And this person sitting next to me said 'oh that guy's mentally ill. He lives in the neighborhood.' And he sat down and people just started, people who didn't know he was mentally ill, I could see them getting up and moving away from this guy. And apparently he had just farted really loudly and then he would just get up, he would walk across the room to complete strangers and go to shake their hand. He started scaring people.
Eddie: It's amazing how scared people -
Paul: Because you don't know. Is this the sweet loveable guy that wouldn't hurt a fly or is this gonna go get a butchers knife? You don't know.
Eddie: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Paul: So just to hedge my bets I beat the shit out of him.
Eddie: (laughing) You took matters into your own hands.
Paul: I had to.
Eddie: Well you probably have a life coach who tells you to be pro-active.
Paul: No it was funny, some people actually escorted this guy out of the room because he started to freak people out.
Eddie: Where was it?
Paul: It was just a gathering of friends. Support group.
Eddie: Yeah man. It's strange how people are so scared of people who aren't abiding by the normal rules of behavior. I grew up with that kind of stuff though. My mom also was one of the first, not one of the first - she was at the beginning of all these pharmaceuticals like at the beginning of some pharmaceuticals -
Paul: Was this when they would throw Valium and stuff at depression?
Eddie: I think she had that, but she had, you know I wish I could remember what - but my mom was on – oh Lithium.
Paul: They still use that.
Eddie: They still use Lithium right?
Paul: Oh yeah. I think -
Eddie: What's the word on Lithium?
Paul: I think Lithium is used mostly as a leveler for people that are bi-polar.
Eddie: And she was bi - they either called her bi-polar or manic depressive. Is there a difference?
Paul: I think it's the same thing. I like that I do a podcast on mental illness, and I don't know any of, for sure any of that stuff.
Eddie: But I tell you it was a rough, it was rough because I'll never forget, you know my mom was just checked out a lot of the time because of the depression. And I'm still, and now I'm in therapy and I'm dealing with how angry I am.
Paul: That she wasn't there. That just a body was there.
Eddie: Yes. I'm still fucking furious over this.
Paul: Furious at the universe, or furious at her, or furious at yourself?
Eddie: Oh well that's – it all intertwines. I mean, I am not furious, I don't think I'm furious at her as much because she died five or six years ago. And it's hard to be furious, that's another thing it was really hard to be furious at my mom. Because the way it would go is I would get angry and then she would be, instead of me having someone to fight with she would check out of that as well and act very hurt. And so it was a real manipulative thing.
Paul: Do you think she was consciously kind of manipulating?
Eddie: Well you know what - um -
Paul: It felt that way to you.
Eddie: It felt real frustrating. That here I am someone probably with legitimate rage that this person wasn't there. My mother. Never mind this person, it was my mother. And then I would get angry and she would you know be like 'leave me Eddie.' It just breaks my - all of it breaks my heart. All of it just breaks my heart. And it's the reason I'm a comedian. Because, the only way to deal with that is either kill yourself or have a very -
Paul: Or get a tight ten together and take it on the road. Either way killing is going to happen. Right? You're either going to kill other people with your act -
Eddie: No I mean, I think it really does, it really is about me wanting attention. I mean I am like the classic, I've realized, I've realized this, I'm the classic comedian in that sense I am fucking desperate for attention -
Paul: What was the thing you said, you said something about a tweet – was it a joke you had - ?
Eddie: Was it about my shrink? Where I say - One of my tweets was “My shrink committed suicide today. Yes I win!”
Paul: That wasn't it, but that's a great one. It was, you made some really honest joke about needing the validation of people re-tweeting you or something. And I just, I was just another reason to love Eddie.
Eddie: Hey sometimes that honesty on stage freaks people out.People don't want that exposed.
Paul: But that's what makes you, you on stage. And you work quite a bit. You're in demand and I always see you on peoples shows. I see you on tv shows here and there. Apparently I didn't see you on the two things that you're most well known for.
Eddie: Is that right?
Paul: Sarah Silverman and the other thing.
Eddie: Old School I don't get that much because I really was kind of a back ground guy, you know? In that even though -
Paul: Oh ok. But you were in a lot of scenes.
Eddie: I was in a lot of scenes. And it was really a cool experience. It's what brought me out to LA. You know just being in that movie and -
Paul: Wait, wait, back up. You came out here to do that movie?
Paul: No way. I just assumed you'd been here for -
Eddie: No not at all. I was hanging out of course with the UCB – Upright Citizens Brigade theatre in New York and one of the co-writers of Old School is Scott Armstrong and he's co-written stuff with Todd Phillips. And he just said 'Hey we would like you to be one of the guys in the fraternity. Would you be into that?' And I was like - Would I? Yeah.
Paul: That's the whole reason to get into show business is for somebody to ask you that kind of question. 'Hey can I put you in a movie?' Who says no to that?
Eddie: But he was like, and people always do this – 'It's a small part.' And you know, I've never been able to go – 'Well you know what? Fuck you then.' I want to get to that point where I just go around really brandishing my mental illness. Like: 'Fuck you. No. There's only seven scenes with me in it. And I'm not prominent.' I've been reading the old Hollywood biographies of people. And they, it's just insane what goes on. Egos.
Paul: I had somebody call me one time that was doing a movie and it was kind of a self-financed thing. And they called me, and they said 'hey' - and I knew they were doing this movie and my original co-host on Dinner and A Movie Annabel was in this movie. And so I was like 'oh they're going to ask me to be in this movie.' And they thought it would be cool just for the inside joke, that I'm a background extra in this thing.
Eddie: For an inside joke?
Paul: And it just hurt my feelings so badly. Cause I was like, I'm sorry I just can't - I didn't say this to them – I said you know, I can't make it. But the thought of sitting in the background as an extra at a restaurant while my co-host was one of the stars of this thing just....
Eddie: How are you now with ego?
Paul: I still -
Eddie: I know that's a general question.
Paul: I still struggle with it. Because even when things are going good like this podcast is an example of something that is creatively really good and in my opinion kind of pure and comes from a good place and feels like it's the right place for me to be – my ego is constantly trying to get it's little barnacles on it and worry about the popularity of it and this and that -
Eddie: Well we live in such an age of where it can be monitored so quickly. With the counting. The counting. How many followers do you have? How many downloads do you have?
Paul: In so many ways that's the enemy of art.
Eddie: Creativity. Yeah.
Paul: But it's also what drives us. So maybe we wouldn't do it if we didn't know that there would be counting involved.
Eddie: I don't know about that. I mean -
Paul: You would never do comedy if nobody showed up at a comedy club. But I guess that's different than counting because we need their laughter.
Eddie: Right. Right. Yeah.
Paul: But would you consistently show up to a comedy club where you were guaranteed there was only going to be two people? Because you’re still giving people something. Right?
Eddie: Yeah, big time. No, I mean we need people to fucking hear what we do, man. Big time.
Paul: But I want to go back to when you were growing up and you had this depressed mom. How would that kind of - what was a typical day like? Would she just lay in bed all day and you would -
Eddie: That was the saddest thing. Yeah. By the way and then the dynamic, and just to round out the dynamic. My dad, my mom - Jewish. Russian, German Jew. And my dad – Sicilian. So you know, the Italian -
Paul: You got the guilt coming from both angles.
Eddie: Big time.
Paul: Was he Catholic?
Eddie: They weren't overtly religious in any way but his parents were -
Paul: It seeped into your pores. It doesn't matter.
Paul: Even if you don't go, it's just, it's just, it's in your code.
Eddie: Exactly. If your Catholic the pope has harmed you in some way. Vatican City is a country, you know. I just found that out. But, so anyway, juxtaposed, because my mom was checked out and bi-polar it was very very frustrating for my dad. Who then, and this was rough, he put all his emotional eggs in me.
Paul: Oh really?
Eddie: I have one sister.
Paul: Older, younger?
Eddie: She is younger. She is a lawyer and doesn't talk to me. And that's another collateral -
Paul: Because you got all dad's attention?
Eddie: No, no, no, no, no. We just had a major falling out around my mom's death. Yeah. It was fucking intense, like just the family dynamic because my mom – here's what happened. My mom checked so my dad puts all his emotional eggs in the basket and he was like just so – too involved with me. You know like, my grades, and for company, and that kind of thing. And -
Paul: What do you mean for company?
Eddie: Well, he didn't like me leaving.He didn't like me leaving to go out and hang out with my buddies when I was, you know, thirteen, fourteen, that kind of thing. Very kind of like – hey, you know.
Paul: Wanted you in the prison with him.
Eddie: Yes. Man, I've had a lot of work. I love my dad and I talk to him a lot and I'm going home in a few days to hang out with him. He's getting up there, he's like seventy-seven. By the way, my memory's so bad, I don't know when my mom died. I'm not sure how old my dad is. I don't know if I should be laughing at that. And I've been told. I just never fucking remember. My dad I think is seventy-seven. But yeah, but he was hyper, hyper critical of me growing up.
Paul: Your dad was.
Paul: And then wanted you to be his buddy.
Paul: So that had to feel really awkward because A) you didn't want to be in the house because your mom is there in a bummed out mood and did you not feel safe around your dad emotionally cause he had a history of being hyper critical?
Eddie: Yeah. I mean and my dad also could be, my dad also had like Sicilian operatic anger as well. My dad loved opera.
Paul: What was his key range of his anger? Could he hit a high C in anger?
Eddie: I can give you an example. (yelling) “Where are my keys!” It was always about his goddam keys and glasses. Where are my glasses - you know what's really fucked up too? I don't know if you have this experience. But I have this incredible dread come over me because I am now in a monogamous relationship living with my relationship living with my girlfriend and I catch myself being just like my dad.
Paul: Like in what way?
Eddie: I'll be like 'honey where's my glasses? Did you see my keys?' I am looking for the same things that my dad did. And also my temper too sometimes in my relationship. My temper is like I have flash anger and my dad did too. And I'm always like, Oh my God, am I really becoming - have I become my dad? You know? But yeah when I was a kid, I swear to God, I don't even remember that much, the real young ages. Except that it was scary. It was scary because my mom wasn't there to protect me and my dad was a loose cannon. I luckily survived, my grandmother, and my grand parents, my dad's parents. My Italian grand parents were so lovely. And they took care of me in a lot of ways. When I would go over there, I felt like my grandmother was like my maternal figure. I was able, my dad - I always wondered why my dad was so fucked up because I loved his parents. They seemed so – I don't know if it's that thing because it's once removed, you know there's that perfect removal. It's like you're not, whereas the parents are too critical when they're too close. So it was scary growing up in that.
Paul: Isn't it funny how sometimes the - I should just say there have been so many guests on the podcast who were abandoned by both parents. And the thing that wound up saving them was some other relative. Or sibling. But a lot of times it was a grandparent.
Eddie: You know the way families are now, I mean, I'm not a great student of history but it used to be extended families would raise children. Extended families. And I understand the wisdom in that. Because there's so much pressure now on people raising their kids without the help of family around them. It's, I never and by the way because of the way I grew up I have never had kids. I'm fifty two. I feel a little bad about that lately. Lately I've been feeling a little bad about that. You remember the scene in Into the Wild when Hal Halbrook is talking to the kid? Do you remember that? It's like - 'Look I got no one. I want you to be my son.' I feel like I'm going to be Hal Halbrook with some fucking waif, like some waif running through Los Angeles and I'll be at the end of my comedy thing and I'll just have him in my mini cooper going - 'Look I never had anybody.' It'll probably be James Franco or some shit.
Paul: I so get that. I have that – well you know what maybe this would be a good place to do the fear off.
Eddie: I'd like to see the Kardashians do a fear off.
Paul: The listeners – I would imagine the Kardashians, one of their fears is not having constant attention.
Paul: Is that a leap of logic to get there? So people that are new to the show, the fear off is my guest and I trade fears until one of us runs out and because I've listed probably over a hundred fears already -
Eddie: I don't have that many. I listed some but I'll come up with -
Paul: You can improvise some. But these have to be things that we genuinely have anxiety about. Thoughts that we have anxiety about. And because I have done so many of my fears I go and use some of the listeners fears that they have sent in.
Paul: Because I have drained some of my supply. But I've still got a bunch here. So I'll kick it off. I'm afraid that I'm annoying past female guests by asking them to help me find future female guests and one might even wish she had never agreed to do the podcast because I'm so annoying and needy.
Eddie: That is such a specific fear. The ocean. For me.
Paul: Is it?
Eddie: I am so scared. I have kind of a little bit gotten over it. But just the immensity and the unknown in the ocean and I have a huge fear of drowning in the ocean. Currents. Recently I went to Nantucket a few years ago and -
Paul: Was there a guy blowing himself?
Eddie: Is that in the limerick?
Paul: Yes. There's been a rumor flying around about this gentleman and his long penis. That I have been trying to get to the bottom of. So go ahead, you were in Nantucket.
Eddie: There's a lot of money in Nantucket.
Paul: You were in Nantucket.
Eddie: No, it was a thing where I went out swimming and I was like 'oh this is cool. And then I started to swim in and I couldn't swim in.
Paul: I've been there. I've been there.
Eddie: The current wouldn't let me swimin. It wouldn't let me.
Eddie: What happens to me is I immediately get warm with fear. Prickly -
Paul: I think that's called urine.
Eddie: I had already urinated like crazy. That's why I go in the ocean. You know? But just that intense -
Paul: You feel the blood shift.
Eddie: I was put on medication for panic attacks. Many years ago. So that felt like, that was like Whoa! Panic. Intense panic. I feel like I'm going to die in the ocean.
Paul: So how did you make your way in? You just fought it?
Eddie: You know what, yes. Here's another classic thing is my friends, I was screaming to them to help. And they thought -
Paul: And it's so hard cause you're out of breath also.
Eddie: And plus you think you're closer than you are. But they couldn't hear and they were just looking at me waving.
Paul: And you're flailing and they're like 'boy Eddie really love to wave doesn't he?'
Eddie: And then I don't know what happened. There must have been a break in the rip tide and I was able to kind of get in. But I was like, and then once I hit land I am like 'Jesus Christ, why did I panic that much?' Because they tell you just to kind of go with it. You know?
Paul: If you go parallel to the beach.
Eddie: Parallel, that's what they say.
Paul: You'll get out of there, because the riptides are usually at the most maybe ten, twenty yards wide.
Eddie: Right. There's the thing. That I don't have the wherewithal to do stuff like that. Because once the panic hits me I'm the idiot who fucks things up for everybody. If I was in a group situation. I'm the guy in the movies who is like: 'No why is Al, no Al don't do that! You're supposed to go parallel.' Bullshit! Bullshit! That'd be me.
Paul: I know that feeling though. I was about twenty-something years old and my family, we were vacationing in Mexico, and this kind of, this remote beach and I think I might have even been by myself. But I remember there was nobody kind of around. And I was about fifteen yards into the water. And the waves were like head high. And I'm swimming, and I'm swimming, and I'm swimming and I'm not getting any closer. And so I'm putting everything I have into it. And I'm starting to freak out and the waves are crashing on top of me. And I'm losing my breath.
Eddie: I'm getting nervous just hearing this story.
Paul: Somehow I made my way to the beach and I just remember collapsing and breathing as hard as I could. And just shaking violently. Just violently shaking. And then masturbating.
Eddie: You just described my adolescence. Shaking violently and then masturbating. That was a large part of my life.
Paul: I was kidding, were you?
Eddie: Not really.
Eddie: Oh man did I masturbate a lot. I think my fear, I don't know if you talk about this shit -
Paul: Oh I'm sorry we got off on the fear off. But we'll get back to it after this thought. What was -
Eddie: No I mean just the intensity of my fucking masturbation as a troubled kid. You know, I would masturbate till my cock was bleeding.
Eddie: Yeah. And I mean it was a big, you know, it was a big -
Paul: How many times a day would you – Was it multiple times a day?
Eddie: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Paul: I think that's normal for teenage kids. I did it once or twice a day as a kid.
Eddie: Oh ok. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And here's another fear for me. Or do you go?
Paul: I go, I go now. And we don't have to comment on each one as we do it unless you feel like it needs an elaboration or you have a question about mine or I have a question about yours. Cause sometimes it makes it drag on too long. I feel like I will never feel inspired again and everything will be an effort.
Eddie: I feel like every time I hear footsteps near my apartment door I think someone is going to get into my house and beat me to death.
Paul: That's a good one, I like that one. I am afraid that I will start looking at pornography again, especially things that make me feel creepy like Girls Gone Wild.
Eddie: I have a tremendous fear of winding up in jail. Being arrested for something that I really didn't commit. And just being in jail. A tremendous fear of just being incarcerated.
Paul: I have a fear that spammers will destroy my website's forums irreparably.
Eddie: I have a fear every time the phone rings in my apartment. I think it's going to be bad news.
Paul: I'm afraid that I'm a much worse person than I think I am and I won't find out until it's too late.
Eddie: Yours crack me up by the way. I have a terrible fear, I have five cats. I have a terrible fear that one of them is going to die abruptly.
Paul: Wouldn't it be worse if they died a slow painful death?
Eddie: Yeah but what I mean by that is that they're -
Paul: That you won't see it coming.
Eddie: They're young and they’re going to be taken from me.
Paul: I'm afraid that I'm underestimating how long my unemployment will last.
Eddie: I'm afraid of extreme heat. I get really scared when we have a heat wave. I feel like I can't breath, I can't breath. I can. But I feel like, 'wait a minute. This isn't good. This isn't' – like that's my – this isn't good.
Paul: I'm afraid that I've pushed a close friend away by being a know it all.
Eddie: I am afraid of getting a heart attack. Constantly afraid of that.
Paul: I'm afraid that whenever I think I'm being charming I'm actually being annoying and exhausting.
Eddie: I'm afraid, so afraid of aging. And my body betraying me and falling apart.
Paul: I'm afraid people will think that I think of myself as a guru.
Eddie: I'm afraid of being beaten to death. I just think that can happen at any time.
Paul: Yeah. You're right about that one. I'm the guy that just shovels coal into other peoples fears. I'm afraid I will let the nice things people say about the podcast inflate my ego and come to think of myself as being bigger, or better or more important than I am.
Eddie: I'm afraid that I will not have the energy to exercise and take care of myself. In general. I'm afraid that I don't have the energy to live a good life. And I think that's related to growing up with depression.
Paul: Yeah, feeling lethargic and unmotivated.
Eddie: Yeah. I have a great fear of doing what I have to do everyday. I just have a fear of it.
Paul: Fear of responsibility.
Eddie: I have a fear of responsibility.
Paul: Yeah I do too. That's a great one. That can be paralyzing. And I think that's connected to, we've talked about this on the podcast, I think that's connected to perfectionism. The fear that if we can't do it perfectly, we shouldn't be doing it. I think that really is a -
Eddie: Perfectionism is such a crippler.
Paul: It's insidious.
Eddie: And what I am learning is to just put one foot, literally, on the treadmill. Because now I've been going to the gym and you know I feel this anxiety on the way to the gym or thinking about the gym like – 'oh I have to go to the gym today.' And it seems like such a burden. And I can equate that also with writing. I have such tremendous anxiety with writing. Like I love to improvise on stage and that's where most of my comedy comes from. But to sit down and to build something whether it's a story or a joke or a table is crippling to me. But I've been learning literally to put one foot in front of the other. You know, realize that I do what I can do. And it's usually ok.
Paul: And sometimes the mistakes or what we think of as mistakes in the building or the doing of that is where we learn how to do something better.
Paul: One of my hobbies is making furniture. And sometimes I'll design a piece of furniture and I'll be half way into making it and I'll have the afternoon off and I'll be excited at one moment to go in there and build it. Then I'll get this panic that I'm going to ruin it or I'm going to make the wrong decision about the length or shape of something and I'll have to take a nap. And I won't even go in there. And I'll just – I was pointing out to Eddie before we sat down to tape this, about three quarters of the furniture in our living room here is furniture that I designed and built. And Eddie pointed to a frame across the room of the Blackhawks having won the Stanley cup, and it took me a year, because my depression has been back, just to hang that picture. It sat there and I would say, 'I gotta hang that picture.' I couldn't -
Eddie: You know that is an amazing thing. Just to hang a fucking picture took a year. And I totally relate to that. Like right now, this is similar, is that I'm supposed to fax, and I have a fax machine in my place, fax two things in for insurance purposes. It's been three weeks.
Paul: I so get that. I so get that.
Eddie: It's been three weeks. And I am crippled by the fact that I don't know where these papers are.
Paul: Yes. Oh my god do I relate to that. Oh my god do I relate to that.
Eddie: And instead of looking for these papers - they're probably in a couple of spots, they might be in a couple of spots, this is what happens I go: 'Oh my god they're not right next to my bed. Where the fuck could they - and then I've got, Oh my god...'
Paul: The fear of the wasting of the time of looking for that.
Paul: And then the worst is, on the way to looking for that you're going to see that something else needs to be done. And before you know it, four things have been added to your to do list and you can't even -
Eddie: You know that is a very interesting that you just pointed out. That on the way to do something you see something else has to be done. And that has really hit me lately. Every time, I don't know what this is but every time I go to do something in my apartment I'm on - here's just a typical one – I'm going to feed the cats. And on my way to feeding to cats I'm like, oh but first I need some soy nuts. I need some protein right now. And like it's like -
Paul: And there's no soy nuts.
Eddie: All this kind of shit. Like I can never just – I have to consciously will myself: No, just feed the cats. And that's just a metaphor for everything. Just write for an hour. The idea of me writing for an hour is just monumental. You know what I mean?
Paul: I'm going to go pay the electricity bill. There's no pens. You know? So now I've got to go get pens. There's no gas in the car. So now all of a sudden I'm at the gas station. All I wanted to do is pay the light bill and now I still have to fill up the car.
Eddie: You know what I think is behind the whole thing is that we feel like we're wasting our life.
Paul: Yes that we're behind, we're three steps behind the universe to begin with. And all this other stuff is just proving to us that we're so much further behind than we think we are.
Eddie: It's a crazy thing. Like I, I think one – fear off? Biggest fear? Not enough time.
Paul: That's a good one.
Eddie: There's not enough time in my life.
Paul: I am afraid that my dream to write a book will never come true.
Eddie: I am afraid that I will never reach the level of recognition that I want.
Paul: That's a great one. I am afraid that I will write a book and it will be awful. And I will have wasted my time.
Eddie: By the way, and that's a thing that I understand. And I think you hit on it before, is that we have to make mistakes. I've heard from everyone that your first draft of a book is necessarily horrible. Or a screen play. That's another thing because we're out here in LA and one of the things everybody does is write a screen play. But you have to be willing to write something that is far from perfect. And if you're a perfectionist you're screwed.
Paul: And here's the other thing that I think is the second barrel of that shot gun that kills you. The one barrel is the perfectionism and the other barrel is grandiosity. And the grandiosity, the let down of writing something that is not good. The perfectionism is, I think they're just different sides of the same coin.
Eddie: Totally. Because that hits home for me because I have such grandiosity that when I have like a bad set, I - that grandiosity gets punctured. And the flip side of grandiosity, what is the flip side?
Paul: Humility maybe?
Eddie: Yeah – that's the healthy side of grandiosity. But, what happens is that I think – this is what I wanted to get to is that I think I'm so great but if I have a bad set that night or a mediocre set I go from thinking I am the best ever to I am the -
Paul: - the worst ever.
Eddie: Or just a fraud. That I am kidding myself that I am some great comedian. No, no, no, no, no. You are fucking, if lucky, you're mediocre.
Paul: You're so deluded. Ha. Ha.
Eddie: You're so fucking deluded.
Paul: And to me grandiosity is even worse than perfectionism because it's like perfectionism with impatience. You know if you were a patient perfectionist that might be livable because you can work your way to doing something perfectly. You can refine it and refine it. But grandiosity, you want it perfect at the first try. You expect it to be perfect right out of the gate. And that's so draining. But grandiosity, in your fantasy grandiosity is so comforting because it tells us we're special.
Eddie: See that's the thing, that's you know – mental illness. I think that is the root of my mental illness. Is that I never felt that I was special. In a nurtured way. I never got that. And so now as an adult I have this intense desire to be extra special. And to be – basically what I am screaming and this might be a funny thing to scream on stage in my physical form now at fifty-two, just come on stage and be: 'I am special! I am extra special!'
Paul: That's hilarious. That's hilarious Eddie.
Eddie: Yeah I think that could be really funny. Folks, and address them - what were you going to say?
Paul: And afterward say 'folks I just thought it was time my ego got a little stage time.'
Eddie: I've actually wanted to do a one man show of a blue collar infant. Which is just I am a couple of months old but I'm just like: 'Hey Mommy, mommy!' Like I have a cigar and I'm like 'Mommy! Come on, pay a little attention to me!' You know? And I don't know, I haven't developed it yet in my head.
Paul: Maybe mommy is management and you're labor.
Eddie: Oh without a doubt.
Paul: That's where the tension is. I am afraid that an unstable listener will kill me.
Eddie: Oh I have that too. Like a fan, or you know. I have a fear that I am going to be killed for my political beliefs.
Paul: Yes. I do too. I do too. I fear that there will be a civil war and then they will go through all the stuff that exists now on the internet. Take stuff that I've said either in context or out of context, and I will be tortured in a prison.
Eddie: Same here. And we're probably not far away from that in this country.
Paul: I'm afraid that I will have to get a job that drains my soul.
Eddie: Boy do I have that one as well. I am deathly afraid that I am unattractive.
Paul: I think everybody fears that one.
Eddie: Oh well.
Paul: Actually some people probably don't. I'm going to go to a Tweeter. Danny tweets that “I'm afraid that my son will have migraines regularly now that he has had his first one.”
Eddie: Yeah. Afraid, you see, we're so protective of the things we love and the people. We don't want anything bad to happen. I've been working on Buddhist, zen acceptance of things. There are so many levels and layers of acceptance. Like you know, just accept life. You know? I was listening to Ram Dass, I love to listen to Eckhart Tolle Power of Now and Ram Dass and all these like big spiritual thinkers. And Ram Dass said, look embrace it. (lowers voice) And he talks like this too. He's very soothing to listen to in the ipod when I'm power walking, not to brag, in the park. And you hear Ram Dass going, 'You got to love it all, not just the death of an infant but the birth of an infant happens at the same time. The beautiful playful dolphin and genocide. It's all part of one.' You know?
Paul: That's deep. That's really deep. And I agree -
Eddie: But that's life.
Paul: It is life. And you have to - If you're going to be totally, totally be in acceptance - and really find any lasting sanity or peace, you have to be ok with all of that. That doesn't mean you approve of it.
Eddie: That's the trick. To not, the Buddhists say – I think they have three things. They say, do not judge and that's, do not resist - Do not resist anything, do not judge, and I always forget the third one.
Paul: Do not forget anything. That's the third. Now I wonder would a Buddhist say, does that mean you shouldn't resist Hitler? Would they say, you shouldn't resist Hitler or do they mean you shouldn't resist anything you don't have control over?
Eddie: Yes. No, it's like accept the fact that Hitler exists and that - I think this is what it is.
Paul: And do what work you can to stop him -
Eddie: Yes. Yes. Exactly.
Paul: But if he puts you in a concentration camp and you can't escape, accept the fact that you are in that concentration camp and make the best of it and see how you can be a healthier -
Eddie: And by the way, this line of thinking that you're doing right now is what keeps me from accepting anything. I'm serious. Because I'm meditating, you want to do fear off again - I am afraid that I am meditating wrong and that I am wasting my time. And that line of thought about – 'do I accept evil?' It keeps me from accepting anything because if I accept everything then I'm accepting vicious evil people. And vicious evil acts. And atrocities. And I don't want to accept that.
Paul: No, I don't think – I think you accept the evil that you can't control.
Eddie: Right. Right.
Paul: I think that is a sane thing to do. An insane thing to do is to think that you can change something that you have no control over. I think to keep your sanity you also have to work towards stopping evil. Put your effort into making the world a better place. But then let go of the results of what happens.
Eddie: I think the Buddhists always say too that peace in the world starts with you. Because I am very aware of my anger. You know what I mean? In LA especially, driving. Like I can be such an angry guy in the car and do unkind things. Like beep, yell out the window. I contribute to the aggressiveness and the crap that is out there. And so what they say is, no no fix that. When you fix that, then you will be helping the world.
Paul: Right. People that go to, the stereotypical actor that goes to India to become more spiritual.
Eddie: You talking about Richard Gere?
Paul: It makes me laugh because to me, if you want to call it a journey or whatever to be more spiritual, that starts with letting the person in front of you in traffic. On the way to the airport to go to India. There's a hundred things that you could do before you get to the airport to go to India to do that that could last a life time.
Eddie: I think that comes under the heading of, you can do it right now. Like everybody, people are like 'no no I'll get enlightened when.' I'll get enlightened when I'm in India. I'll get enlightened when I finally get the gig that will give me enough money to relax to get enlightened.
Paul: It's insanity to think that something externally is going to bring you enlightenment.
Eddie: There it is.
Paul: I think enlightenment has to come from an inner acceptance of what is and a commitment to principals.
Eddie: Yeah but you know what's hard about that is to do that you have to stop lying to yourself.
Eddie: That's what I've realized. Like I have to stop lying to myself about the fact that I have more money than I have. For instance. I have to have the courage, it takes a lot of courage to accept what is. I have to have the courage to accept that I don't have a lot of money. Just accept that on that level.
Paul: But if you can accept that you're ok with the amount of money that you have, it's easier to accept. But if buried deep in your head is this belief that I will not be ok if I don't have X amount of money then it makes it impossible to accept that you will be ok with whatever. So if you can get to a place where you can accept your worst fears, picture your worst fears and accept them coming true and know that you can find a place in there to find peace and joy.
Eddie: Yeah. Yeah. Well what I've realized, what I have realized is that my fears are all in my imagination. You know that old Mark Twain quote which is: 'There have been bad things in my life and some have actually happened.' And what he means by there is that they're in our fucking heads. If I can just be here – I mean like right now you and me we're on these couches, and we're surrounded by imperfect furniture that you made, and we're fine. You know what I mean?
Paul: One of my previous guests Paula Newman, the woman that taught me meditation, she has a great quote that - 'If life is a hundred percent, one percent of it is the event and ninety-nine percent of it is us obsessing how that event relates to us.' Just how distorted our perception of how things effect us are. When in reality it's -
Eddie: You know what I realized is that I'm really afraid to let go of my ego. I'm really afraid to just let go of this part of me that wants to be recognized and “someone.” Because then I'll feel like – well hold it, what is -
Paul: Otherwise what do I have to look forward to? Other than that dream.
Eddie: What do I have to look forward to, or I don't want to be someone who's just another person. I want to be extra special.
Paul: But what's the matter – and I get it and I totally understand that. I have occasionally gotten a place where I'm ok with being one of many. And the idea that I will maybe die not being special, not being written about, not being remembered by anybody other than close friends. And I've had moments where I am completely at peace with that and it's such a beautiful place to be. And then somehow I get out of it and I get back into: I don't have enough Twitter followers. I'm a piece of shit. My show was canceled. I'm a joke. I haven't planned for the future. I'm fucked. I'm not going to have health insurance. I'm going to be in a rickety wheelchair begging for money and people are going to go: 'Oh my god that's the guy that used to be on Dinner and A Movie.' And then I'm sitting in the living room staring at the wall unable to hang the Blackhawk picture. I'm not kidding Eddie.
Eddie: No I know you're not kidding. And I am laughing out of complete recognition. And I also just finished W. Fields biography, and Fields -
Paul: I like that you dropped the C in his name cause you don't have time.
Eddie: W.C. Fields? What did I say?
Paul: W. Fields.
Eddie: Did I?
Paul: You're behind. You're behind the eight ball.
Eddie: I just read a five hundred page book on W. C. Fiends and the last couple of pages I read last night he -
Paul: Maybe that's why you're behind in doing all the things – you're reading five hundred page biographies on W.C. Fields.
Eddie: I love the, I love the old hollywood stars.
Paul: And there's nothing better than a good biography. Last night I was like I'm going to get some work done, all of a sudden I see that there's a documentary on Spencer Tracy who I don't even give a shit about. Next thing I know I'm eating macaroons at two in the morning watching a documentary on Spencer Tracy and loving it. So go ahead you were reading this thing about W.C. Fields.
Eddie: Well and he - you just told me your fears and Fields was dying of cirrhosis in Pasadena. In a home in Pasadena. Here's a brilliant, vibrant, genius comedian. And he was visited that day by another brilliant guy, a guy named Tully who was a great vaudevillian or whatever. It was related by the woman who used to take care of Fields. There were two women in there who were younger and they both knew these guys life stories. And Fields and Tully were incapacitated in wheelchairs and they couldn't speak but the women were telling the anecdotes for them and they would just kind of nod. And I was just thinking of how life goes. We all will die. Now Fields wound up in that state because he drank too much. He just didn't take care of himself. He was incapacitated in a rickety wheelchair.
Paul: Let's use this as a segue-way. I'm going to say that you win that fear off.
Eddie: Really? Ok. I like to win.
Paul: Because we, you did a good job. I had a pretty long list of my fears and you out lasted me. You made me go into the listener fears so -
Eddie: I knew my fears would come in handy one day.
Paul: They do. They do. I wanted to switch gears and talk about addiction. Because we were just talking about that so I figured this would be a good time to talk about that. You used to - you've been off drugs and alcohol for how long?
Eddie: Well I am now off of drugs and alcohol for sixteen months. But I was off them for seven years and then I went back to smoking pot. I love pot. And I went back. And I then -
Paul: What made you then stop again?
Eddie: I would get panic attacks. I started getting panic attacks every time I smoked. But I think what was really going on was that I was like - if I keep smoking pots the way I smoke it, I will never make anything out of my life. What I am doing is, I am not honoring my gift. I am not honoring the gift I have. The god given gift of being someone who can really take the pain of life and turn it into something to laugh at. Because that's the gift of a comedian. That is why I think comedians are, really, comedians to me, comedians and music are the most important things in life. You hear, you have to have a sense of humor to get through life. So what was going on with me was that I was smoking so much I was not letting my gift live and I was really panicked about that. So I quit. But I am such an addictive person. I am such an addictive person. I'm just laughing because I have sixteen months clean - my latest addiction is frozen grapes. I put green and red grapes in the freezer. But I don't eat them like a normal person. I take them out and I fucking just, one after the other. Because I'm a pleasure - addiction to me is all about, take me to a state of pleasure. That's all it is for me. Take me to a state of pleasure. Green grapes -
Paul: And at the very least, take me out of this state that I'm in.
Paul: I mean who wants to go to a, of course take me to a better state. Ultimately a state of pleasure but sometimes, you know for people, like people who drinking stops working for, but they still continue to drink, it's still better than the state they're in, in that tortured state of insanity.
Eddie: I'll never forget when I tried to quit pot when I was younger, I'll never forget. I had like, I didn't smoke for a couple of days and I'll never forget being on a corner in New York City like in midtown going - being so depressed. I had stopped for two days smoking pot and I was a big smoker. I'll never forget the thought of 'oh my god is this what it feels like to not be smoking? Screw this. I'm going back to smoking.' So for me what's great right now is that I feel so good most of the time, most of the time about being not high. I just -
Paul: I think it gives you a chance to be more human.
Eddie: Totally. I'm really into that lately. Even with the anxiety I'm feeling. I'm feeling a lot of anxiety. I've recently stopped Prozac. I was on Prozac for about fifteen years. I always kind of - Prozac was great when I first went on it. I'll never forget when I first went on Prozac I know I'm going all over the place. When I first went on Prozac. I'll never forget how energized I was. And I was like 'Oh my god, this is the answer. This is what my brain was missing. Because for the first month I was - I started jogging, I started writing. But then what happens, at least for me was that then you level off and you're just like, oh I don't feel particularly any better than I was. And then I get it into my head that wait a minute - this Prozac is keeping me from being all I can be. Like this is the kind of thought process. But anyway, I've had a tough time being off it. I've been off it, I think I talked to you about this, I've been off it now for three or four months and I think I'm passed the worst of it. But just this feeling -
Paul: Sometimes it can take up to six months until you feel what it's like to really be off it.
Eddie: That's not good.
Paul: Yeah I didn't know.
Eddie: Because I was feeling just some times just a horrible sense of doom. That's how I would put it. Like just get up and literally feel this physical weight. But I've kind of gotten through that a lot and what I wanted to relate back to not getting high right now, is that I'm just kind of digging being off of everything and being in my life. And feeling like, this is good. Because I kind of live for being funny. I kind of live for making people laugh. And I just since I have no kids, my kids are my creations. My funny creations that I do. And I feel very -
Paul: I love that piece that you did on youtube. About you, the mountaineering guy? But you're just Griffith Park?
Eddie: Runyan. Runyan.
Paul: In Runyan canyon. And you've got an oxygen tank on -
Eddie: And there's a great example of feeling good about things because that won best short in the Burbank Film Festival. And we're going, and me and Karen who wrote it, my girlfriend Karen, we're going, we're going tonight to get an award.
Paul: Where can people get a hold of you? Is it Eddie Pepitone dot com?
Eddie: Yes Eddie Pepitone dot com.
Eddie: Yeah. E-D-D-I-E P-E-P-I-T-O-N-E dot com.
Paul: What are some recurring negative thoughts that you have toward yourself?
Eddie: Oh God. Recurring negative thoughts. I'm ugly. I'm not getting enough done. I'm a terrible planner. I'm going to wind up homeless. I'm going to wind up penniless. I'm not a good person.
Paul: What are some slices of your life, some snapshots or little vignettes that were especially painful or embarrassing or life changing.
Eddie: For some reason I always remember, you know we talked about my mom not being there for me. I was a little kid and I hit her on the head. I was real little. I must have been like - and this memory has always stuck with me. I don't have many memories from when I was a little little kid. I think I might have been two or three. But I hit my mom on the head with a hammer.
Eddie: Yeah. And I'll never forget the big hubbub it created. I remember my mom screaming 'he hit me, he hit me on the head with a hammer.' And my dad kind of holding me and going you know and bouncing me going - 'all right, all right it's all right' because I was really freaked that I did that. That was like - That was so emotionally charged. And then another -
Paul: See I think you were telling your parents I want to be a carpenter. And they couldn't see that.
Eddie: Read the bible I was saying to them. Read the bible.Jesus was a carpenter. And then I'm trying to think of other - It's usually just these traumatic fucking, I'll never forget being caught sexually exploring with my sister. Like my dad walking in and my younger -
Paul: Well to be fair you were in your twenties. What happened and how old were you?
Eddie: I think I was like seven. Well, I don't know. I don't know something like, yeah about seven. And I was just a kid being curious -
Paul: Totally normal. Totally normal.
Eddie: Curious, my sister, we were taking baths together. But then I don't know I was like, tell me what's that right there? And my dad coming in and being angry and I was just so -
Eddie: The shame things like that. You know?
Paul: I'm sure it was done to him.
Eddie: My shrink right now says the panic attacks that I was diagnosed with are very similar to post traumatic stress syndrome. Like guys get it from war. You know. Stuff like that. Let's see, I would say life is like a beautiful blood bath.
Paul: Is that why you call your show Eddie Pepitone, blood bath?
Eddie: I call it Blood Bath because I really do think life is an absolute blood bath. A blood bath of egos. It's a blood bath of egos. That's what I think. You know, it's so funny about meditation and serenity. It's like I can meditate, and I do this joke on stage, I can mediate and I can feel – 'that was good, you know I feel good, I feel better.' And then I'll just go outside and one interaction with somebody who will say, 'hey you know you were in the garage, you know, in the communal garage where you park your car, you know excuse me you park your car a little close to mine.' I'm immediately like 'Really? Cause you've been doing that to me. That's how I see it.' It's just a bloodbath of like, everybody’s got an agenda.
Paul: So how do you interact with people, the question is, and deescalate instead of escalating?
Eddie: Again I think it comes down to, what we talked about before which is change it in me. Like if that person says that, a healthy me would have said 'I apologize. I'll really try to watch that.' I always then fear that I'm getting taken advantage of.
Paul: And I think that's the misconception makes our world a worse place is we feel like we're weak or we're being taken advantage of probably about ninety percent too much of the time. Instead of giving other people leeway and saying 'you know what this person is just' - I hate to use the phrase because I don't know what other phrase to use - 'but this person is just another sick child of God.' There are definitely times when you need to make a stand and you need to stick up for yourself or confront somebody. But I think those times are few and far between. And I think most of the time we need to let people be imperfect. The days when I'm able to do that and realize that they're not doing it at me. That's their coping mechanism because they're full of fear.
Eddie: Right. They don't even know me.
Paul: And when fear goes unchecked it turns into anger. In my opinion. And so what we feel is that person's anger a lot of times. And we think it's directed it us but they're just letting their fear, the steam of their fear has built up into anger and they're just trying to let it out. And so I try to let that go more than I used to. And I'm able to have good days when I can do that. And not feel - 'I can't look like a punk here.' It doesn't make you a punk. It doesn't make you a punk.
Eddie: Right. Same here. I've had this thing lately also. I don't know I think it's related - boundaries. Like I really, so that screws up my - I've had trouble where or I do have trouble with boundaries.
Paul: It sounds like your dad had no respect for your boundaries.
Eddie: Yeah. Yeah true.
Paul: Wanted you to be his buddy, was hyper critical of you. It sounds like your family life wasn't a place where boundaries were respected.
Eddie: So it's been really hard for me to know what's appropriate, you know what I mean? I have to - without feeling like I'm hurting someone.
Paul: Did you ever get the feeling that your dad was, that there was an authority from him that was safe and good. Or was it always like 'I'm kind of on my own, my dad's kind of needy, sometimes I got to be the parent to him.'
Eddie: Yeah. More the latter. I never really felt that safety.
Paul: That's a really common thing with comedians. And people in general on this – and myself included. It was the feeling, I remember being six or seven and thinking to myself, I feel like I know people better than my parents do. I feel like I understand the dynamics of people. And I remember feeling -
Eddie: When you were six or seven?
Paul: Yeah. Almost feeling sorry and parental towards my parents cause I could see that they were fucked up in some level. Hey. That's why there's comedy.
Eddie: Yeah. Can't wait to get on stage after this.
Paul: Well buddy thank you for coming and doing this.
Eddie: Thanks for having me.
Paul: You're one of favorite people to perform with.
Eddie: Same. Right back at you.
Paul: And if you've never seen Eddie Pepitone go check out his website, I'm sure you've got a bunch of clips there. Watch some of the youtube stuff.
Eddie: My last fear I want to mention before we go off is that I wasn't good on the podcast today.
Paul: That would be an irrational fear because you were great. And I have that fear whenever I go on anybody elses podcast. I am always convinced this was the worst episode ever of their podcast and they're never going to have me on again. Every single time. Every single time. So I get that. But you would be wrong my friend. Love you Eddie. Thanks for coming and doing this.
Eddie: Thanks man.
Paul: You know it's interesting that this episode with Eddie was taped a couple of days before I went home and all the stuff that he talked about is stuff that actually came up for me at home - talking about, he had a lot of stuff, let people be how they are and occasionally you need to take a stand and you need to set boundaries. And for forty-eight years of my life I kind of let my mom treat me the way she treats me because I want her to be happy. And it came to a head this last couple of days, I was staying with her for four days. Which I didn't want to do but I thought this will make her happy. She doesn't get to see enough of me. And I found myself one morning, I got up before she did. And I was walking past her bedroom and the door was open and I saw that she was in bed and the thought occurred to me - it would be such a relief if she didn't wake up. And that's a horrible, horrible thing to think and to say. But that's the fucking truth. And I immediately felt guilty. And then I thought: what can I do so that I don't feel that way? What action can I take? What is the honest loving thing for me to do to address this feeling? And she and I were talking later that day and you know I hope she never listens to this podcast. I do love my mother and there are many things about her that are great. But she has this sick part of her. And we all have sick parts of us, but the sick part of her tries to love me but it comes across as condescending. And it puts me down and it's a thousand different variations on - 'you don't know, I know.' And it kills any joy that I have going. And it makes me shut down and it makes me want to leave. And later that day we were having a conversation and I could feel her trying to get closer to me. And it's interspersed with these put downs of me. Of telling me that I don't know. And I said, 'You know mom, I know that you want to be closer to me, and this is really hard for me to say. Because there's nobody that a child should feel closer to than their mother or their wife. But I don't feel safe around you. And that hurts me to say and makes me sad. Because I know you want a better relationship with me. But these things that I ask you not to do, you continue to do and I have to set up a boundary to protect myself.' And it made me sad to have to do that. But I've finally gotten to a point in my life where I am worth establishing that boundary. I feel I am worth establishing that boundary and sticking to it. And so the ball is in her court. If she wants to begin to look at the way she treats her son, and how it fills him with dread, it's up to her. I've done my part. As we say, I've swept up my part of the street and been honest. And that's all I can do. But It makes me sad that the one person who I should feel the most comforted and the safest by is the person that I feel the least safe around in my life. And I think that there's probably a lot of other people out there listening that have parents like that. And know that they're probably not doing it out of malice. But that doesn't mean you should subject yourself to it if it's making you miserable. And if you don't know how to set that boundary, get some professional help. It's taken me twenty years of professional help and support groups to get to the point where I could do that. But I feel free now that I've done it. And a little part of me really fucking hopes my, a large part of me hopes my mom never hears this. But if she does I'm going to own it. Because that's how I feel. And if you feel like I do, hopefully you know now that you're not a bad person for thinking that and you're not alone. Thanks for listening.