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Episode 59: Phil Hendrie
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The groundbreaking radio personality opens up about the childhood and adolescent pain that informs his stable of highly detailed, irreverent character voices.   He and Paul bond over sexually inappropriate mothers and distant fathers.    Whose mother acted creepier?  You decide.  It’s Ick-a-palooza!


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The Mental Illness Happy Hour

With Paul Gilmartin

Episode 59 - Phil Hendrie

P. Gilmartin:   Welcome to episode 59 with my guest Phil Hendrie. I’m Paul Gilmartin, and this is the Mental Illness Happy Hour. An hour of honesty about all the battles in our head. From medically diagnosed conditions to everyday 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 substitute for professional mental counseling. It’s not the doctor’s office; it’s more like a waiting room that, hopefully, does not suck. The website for this show is mentalpod.com, that’s also where you can follow me at on Twitter.

 

And, uh, what else did I want to tell you about? Oh, the T-shirt link is back up, so if you guys want to buy a T-shirt go ahead and do that. Please sign up for the newsletter. I’ve got almost 500 people singing up for the newsletter, and once I hit 500 I’m going to start sending stuff out regularly. Um, assuming my depression isn’t, uh, got me in bed or staring at the ceiling.

 

A couple of notes about this weeks episode, Um, it—how do I explain this? First of all, um, for those of who that listened to last week’s episode with Dr. Jessica Zucker, I decided not go, uh, back home and help my mother move. As much as it pained me to, uh, to dump all of that on my brother and my cousin and have them help her move. Um, I just felt like it was the best thing for me to do to feel better. And, um, I got so much support from you guys it was really, really nice, it really—even though I kind of made the decision before I started getting emails from you guys, it just, it made me feel solid in my decision, and that was, that was really, really nice.

 

This week’s episode is with radio personality Phil Hendrie, and it was recorded, actually, a week before the Dr. Zucker episode. And I’m gonna say—you’ll hear, in that episode, I say something of the same things I wound up saying in the Dr. Zucker episode, recounting things from my life. So I’m sorry that I’m repeating those things, but I felt like I wanted to air this episode, because this was the episode that, uh, helped kinda jar something loose in me that, uh, came falling out in the episode with Dr. Zucker. So, um, bear with me for the repeating of stories from my childhood. But I think you’ll understand the context that this show is taken in. One of the bad things, too, about not going back home to Chicago was I was planning on interviewing another radio hero of mine. A guy named Steve Dahl, who was, and still is, a pioneer in radio. But I did get to appear on his show today by phone, and it was really, really cool. So I want to thank him, um, for having me on and he tells me that he’s now listening to this show, so I—gives me goose bumps, I love it.

 

Um, what did I want to say? Oh, um, yeah the emails that I’ve been getting from you listeners this last week, it’s just—I can’t describe the feeling that it is. Well you know that fantasy that you’ve heard me describe many times, and I described last week with Dr. Zucker. The feeling I had when I was in first grade and I didn’t know what it was about and it was, well I’d be on the playground playing, and I just had this deep, deep need for an older girl to come over and hug me, and then I would just be able to wrap my arms around her and cry and I never knew what it was about. And the Dr. Zucker episode last week I, you know, realized that, you know, what I really wanted to do was say the things I felt about my mom. That she was tricking me, and manipulating me, and using me, and um, and that it hurt. And the emails that I’ve been getting from you listeners, and especially the women, and especially the moms. It was, each one—this is going to sound corny, I know, but each one was like that girl coming over on the playground and giving me that hug. And it just, it soothed me. And I want to read one email in particular that kind of struck me that way. This is from a women named Julia and she writes,

“Dear Paul,

I just listened to your episode. I was crying. My heart goes out to you. I know how much courage it takes to stare down a painful truth. In many ways it’s easier to avoid, self-medicate, distract, but at some point it will be in your path again. Now that you’ve faced it you can move forward. One funny/weird moment was when you talked about your mom wanting to share her list with you” and Dr. Zucker gasped. So did I. I pictured hundreds of us sitting in our cars, our cubicles, our treadmills, walking the dog, etc., all gasping at the same time. Wowsers!—I’ve never seen the word ‘wowsers’ in print. “That story really crystalized the dysfunction for me. I’m so sorry that you have to navigate that minefield of a relationship. Secrets can be the death of us. Good for you for showing us all how to shine the light on the truth.”

 

Thank you so much, Julia. That email really, really means a lot to me. It, um—I would probably be wasting my time by spinning my wheels and going on and on, but I swear to God, I feel like I could talk for another hour about how good it felt to have people email me and tell me that I’m not crazy. That’s how fucked up our mind gets when we’ve experienced a parent who is at the extremes of both things. Because there was many things about my mom that were good. She taught illiterate adults how to read, you know, she, she would, you know, cared about poor people, she was a volunteer. It’s not like she was this, you know, this awful person. She’s just really complicated and that’s what makes it hard to say, ‘you’re unhealthy and I need a, and I need a break.’ Um, but thank you guys for supporting me, and oh my God, the shoulders I’ve cried on this last week! It's been awesome. There is nothing, there is nothing like knowing you can just let it out with somebody and just hug ‘em for minutes. There was people that I hug and cried on their shoulder for minutes and that is a friend. It feels good. If you’ve never done that and you don’t have friends like that, I suggest—I suggest trying to surround yourself with people that are that safe. You know, I don’t know who said it but “Crying is just your soul blowing a load.” I think it was the Dali Lama, or Sammy Hagar.

 

[SHOW PREAMBLE]

 

PG:                  I’m here with Phil Hendrie, and you know the word—I’m gonna stroke you right out the gate so you might want to ease your pants off.

 

Phil Hendrie:   [laughs]

 

PG:                  The word genius get’s thrown around a lot in the comedy world, but your—

 

PH:                  In our business—

 

PG:                  You are somebody who I am very comfortable using the word genius to describe, as most of my peers would describe you.

 

PH:                  Wow, well, thank you.

 

PG:                  I’m so—

 

PH:                  Although, that sometime interprets, in my mind, to idiot savant or something, you know.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Like, ‘you’re very autistic, Phil,’ you could say that too, you know.

 

PG:                  Right, well, I like to, how you could take that and you gotta find something bad in there.

 

PH:                  Isn’t it true?

 

PG:                  Yeah, isn't that fun.

 

PH:                  Because, well, you know, cause you know that’s where you come from. Everybody, well maybe not everybody, but that’s where I came from: decidedly negative. I betcha, this is a common experience: humor in everybody that is professional, or maybe otherwise, or anybody that, you know, stakes there identity on their humor or on their art come from a negative experience.

 

PG:                  Mhm.

 

PH:                  You know, come from—The first thing was, “You, how dare you do that?’ or, ‘You sound like a jerk,’ or ‘How weird,’ you know?

 

PG:                  And then you go into your head and try to break it down, ‘Why?’

 

PH:                  And then you go into your head and you try to be a better person and not do all that weird shit.

 

PG:                  Yeah, and yet that, that feeling that I’m wrong, or I’m not right, I’m not doing something right. I’ve gotta really keep my wit’s about me to catch up to fit in—

 

PH:                  Yep.

 

PG:                  I think that’s kind of that little piece of sand in the oyster, you know?

 

Oh yeah.

 

PG:                  That makes the pearl later in life—

 

PH:                  Is that what it is? Cause you know it can also go the other way I think for—It almost went the other way for me. You know, I spent 20 years, up into my late 30s, trying to fit in artistically.

 

PG:                  Mhm.

 

PH:                  And socially to a large degree. Although, I think I socially got the idea of what to do earlier.

 

PG:                  Mhm.

 

PH:                  But by my late 30s I was still fucking around. If you—oh, I can’t say—

 

PG:                  Oh yeah, no, no, no. We—

 

PH:                  Okay, um, and—the FCC of the Internet I know is. Anyway, yeah—

 

PG:                  [laughs] Let me tell—

 

PH:                  Go ahead.

 

PG:                  For some of the listeners that might not be familiar with what it is that you do. Phil is a broadcasting pioneer who has been on the air for 40 years? 30 years?

 

PH:                  40, yeah. ’73—39...

 

PG:                  But came up with a format, around 1990, that was and is groundbreaking, and no body else can really do the way you do what—what he does is—Do you want to tell them?

 

PH:                  Yeah, I mean, it’s a satire of talk radio whereby I play my—a character which is myself. It’s the character that I play on the air. You know, the character most hosts play. And then I also play a variety of other characters who are on the phone, generally. And I play them from reality, I play them from absurdity, but reality, and people call who actually think they’re real and interact with them. As recently as Friday night we had a lady calling, and [imitating] “Well I have a”—this women said, “I have a special needs dog,”—and I forget who the character was, it might have been Bob Green, he’s a grocer in—[imitating] and Bob talks like this because he’s based on real guy I know in Miami and he says, “You have a special needs dog?”

“Yes I do, uh huh.”

“Well, I mean, you know what the bottom line is you’re gonna run it over in the road. So what difference does it make?”

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  And he comes off as a callous asshole where people can just—‘How dare??’—You know, people who are that myopic about their dogs—God bless anybody who would take care of an injured animal—

 

PG:                  [laughing] Right, right.

 

PH:                  But some of those people scare me because they think, they believe that, you know, dogs are better than people.

 

PG:                  Right. To me the joy of listening to your show is hearing what the inflammatory stance—

 

PH:                  That’s, yeah—

 

PG:                  That the character has taken—

 

PH:                  And then the people call and—

 

PG:                  And people will call in, of course, because they’re inflamed by this. Not knowing that it’s you doing a character, talking to yourself.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  And you’re so adept at switching between the character on the phone and you moderating on the microphone as yourself, it almost, almost, sounds like you’re overlapping which it gives it this sense of reality that when you’re in on the joke as a listener, it is, uh, it, ah, it’s so—

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  It makes me giddy. One of my favorite ones was—and I suppose one of the things that makes it so enjoyable is that knowing that as a satirist what you, what the artist feels is usually the polar opposite of what this character is saying.

 

PH:                  Right—

 

PG:                  And, you know, you're doing it to get a buzz out of people and to say, ‘Hey, here’s my, here’s my view on, you know, what I think about this subject.’ And one of the things that you did that I always tell people about is you were doing, um, was it Bobbie Duly who was?—Bobbie Duly‘s from the Western States Homeowners Association.

 

PH:                  [imitating] Yes, yeah and she has her own Twitter account and she talks like this and she’s a Nazi, you know? Based on my mother if you want to get psychological—

 

PG:                  Very controlling. Very class-conscious.

 

PH:                  Oh very much, very class-conscious, very controlling, and very empty and very tragic in a lot of ways. Because there is no future for Bobbie. Her husband and her sons are just a wreck and she doesn’t get it, and she’s all about her fashion shows and her fucking gated community. And I—

 

PG:                  Absolutely.

 

PH:                  She’s like the—you know, the early 2000s and the 90s when everybody was buying their big “McMansions” and of course now there’s a whole new perception of that, but we got Bobbie still locked in that little bubble where she’s just going on—[imitating] ‘Well, you know, the recession didn’t effect us as badly, because my husband has a wildly successful landscaping business,’ and on and on. So what did she do?

 

PG:                  She—it was right in—Phil will often base the theme of the call-in on a topic that was in the news, generally, in the week or so previous so people are familiar with it and they have an opinion formed on it. And the surgeon general had come out with a finding that the average American child was becoming increasingly obese, and so you had Bobbie Duly call in saying that she’s a substitute teacher, I think it was Bobbie Duly, and the way that she is combating obesity is by bringing some of the heavier girls to the front of the class and comparing them to pictures of Courtney Cox—

 

PH:                  Courtney Cox, yeah that was Bobbie Duly. Yeah.

 

PG:                  Oh my God—

 

PH:                  Parent teacher organization…

 

PG:                  And you can imagine how upset people, that don’t know it’s a joke—

 

PH:                  That’s right, yeah.

 

PG:                  would get, but injected in it is this great satire on health and women’s bodies and all these other thing, and it’s just this amazing potpourri of observation and pulling the emotion out of what people in society feel about things, and a comment on our celebrity culture and all done so subtly. You know, the part that I really enjoy about it is the reel-in because—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  it starts out, umm, subtle.

 

PH:                  Well, sure, and there’s a problem with that, but you know I’ll get—I’ll differ all of the commentary about, you know, the radio methodology, radio business, radio audience thing and just go to the art. Which is, yeah, it’s subtle. You also need to drop the shoe. I found over the years you’re continually learning. Subtle is great. Subtle is what hooks people, but it also can be a turnoff to anybody that isn’t, uh, interested in the topic. ‘Oh he’s interviewing this woman and she’s talking about something. I think I’ll turn the channel.’ So you have to sort drop the shoe a little bit, and by dropping the shoe I mean Bobbie will throw these firecrackers—

 

PG:                  Right.

 

PH:                  [imitating] ‘You know, we have a 6000 square foot. You’re aware of that right?’

‘Yes, I am, Bobbie.’

‘All right, well, you know.’

So she drops the little fire cracker of ‘aren’t I hot shit,’ and that person will go, ‘Wow, wait a second. Why don’t I turn this up a little bit,’ you know?

 

PG:                  And I have to make an apology to you, cause I do a republican character, and I do a satire with this guy. And I was on Adam Corolla’s show one time and he lives in a gated community, and I do—

 

PH:                  Ooh, of course he does [laughs].

 

PG:                  I do improv with Adam sometimes as this character—

 

PH:                  Yeah? Cool.

 

PG:                  and I quoted a Bobbie Duly line and was immediately like, ‘Oh my God! I just ripped off Phil!’ This ultimate—

 

PH:                  You can say—

 

PG:                  This ultimate fucking crime for—

 

PH:                  ‘I heard Bobbie Duly say this once.’

 

PG:                  Well that’s what one of the producers of Adam’s shoe said, ‘Oh Bobbie Duly.’ And I had to pretend like I didn’t know who Bobbie Duly was—

 

PH:                  Who Bobbie Duly was…

 

PG:                  And I was so ashamed. So I just wanted to publicly apologize to you for channeling—ripping off something that—

 

PH:                  Ooh, You know, you—no, that—you know, what I might have a little reputation on that and the reason is I was told early on in my career, by guys bigger than me—you know cats like Jay Thomas would say this or, you know when I was coming up—”Don’t ever let anybody take credit for something you do in radio. Own what you do in radio, because in radio cats are ripping each other off all the time.” And now with the Internet there’s are all kinds of copyright infringement and shit. So I get a little jumpy, but I don’t want people to think I’m a complete asshole about all that stuff, you know? But I do sometimes will worry you know—like I saw this thing CrossBalls, on comedy channel which was a complete fucking lift of my show once. It was about 10 years ago and it really sucked, but it really pissed me off. You know…

 

PG:                  Yeah. Well what you do is so unique and so detailed and so you, uh, I could tell you as somebody from the outside looking in. You don’t ever have to worry about anybody ripping you off. Because they could rip, they could rip off your premise but the execution of it can’t be ripped off because it’s too unique and it’s to well executed, so you know there...

 

PH:                  Well thank you. Yeah thanks.

 

PG:                  Enough of kissing your ass.

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  Let’s take you down; let’s strip you down and, uh—

 

PH:                  Let’s brutalize me a little bit here.

 

PG:                  Yeah so, let’s talk about, um, what it was like growing, because I’ve always been fascinated as I listen to you, um, do your thing, I think, ‘What kind of household did Phil grow up with?’ For some reason you strike me as having an authoritative Dad.

 

PH:                  Mhm, mhm.

 

PG:                  Yeah?

 

PH:                  Yeah, you know I was a very exuberant child, I remember. And I’ve seen home movies. I loved life right out of the gate, I really loved—I remember loving life. I remember looking at the sun coming through the mail slot. Remember how they used to have mail slots on the front door? I could see the—

 

PG:                  Right.

 

PH:                  —sun coming through it and the dust particles. And just being amazed trying to grab those. The first time I ever sat in water, we had a little play pool, and I was—the greatest thing in the world is water. I’d never seen anything like this. You can sit in it, you can pick it up, but you can’t pick it up. You know? And my father was bigger than life. Big, handsome, and when he was happy he was just the most fun. But when he was in a bad mood it was like, you know, batten down the hatches, you know? But early on, from the time I was born and we had this little house in Arcadia, California right over here in, you know, south of Pasadena. We were a little family of four, and I remember life just being barbecues and sitting on a chair behind my mom and using her head as a steering wheel pretended I was a street sweeper. I used to love those big street sweepers, you know?

 

PG:                  [laughing] Yeah.

 

PH:                  And my brother Dara, who is my older brother, he was a little bit of trouble. I can still remember this big boot, cause that’s how small I was. This guy, he was an L.A. County sheriff. He had a boot that looked like it was about as big as me. And I looked at this guy and he got—he caught my brother shooting a bb gun or something in a rock quarry, and I remember looking up at this guy and hearing the radio, the squawking radio in the police car, and my brother’s standing there with his head down, and that was my first inkling of, ‘Ooh, you know something intrudes form the outside that’s not the family routine,’ you know? But I don’t remember anything in those early years being upsetting, until my father got some success. We moved to a larger house, I turned 7 or 8. And then—

 

PG:                  What did he do?

 

PH:                  My dad was a salesman and he worked for a—he sold business machines, before there were computers that were business machines—

 

PG:                  International Business Machine.

 

PH:                  IBM, yeah. NCR, National Cash Register: these were the big names. He worked for a small company called Friedan. And they sold these business machines, you know these calculators and everything. He came home one day he says, [imitating] “Yeah, and if you see the movie”—I think I went to the office with him one day. I was about 10; he goes, “Look at that Phillip. See that, that’s Jack Lemmon in the movie they just did, The Apartment—” I think they just did—”That’s a Friedan machine right there, see that. That’s a Friedan.” They had a picture of Jack Lemmon working a Friedan machine, and I thought, “Wow, that’s cool dad,” you know? So, in going downtown with my father, used to see the city hall, I’d say that’s the Superman building cause that was the building in the TV show Superman that was the “Daily Planet.” They would show the LA city hall. I’d go, ‘that’s the Superman building. So, these are the little memories I’d have, but my father got some success we moved to a bigger house and, uh, now came the real strife in the family. There was a lot of arguing with my father and mother. A lot of that going to sleep at night listening to them arguing—

 

PG:                  What would they mostly argue about?

 

PH:                  I don’t know other than, you know, I could hear my father’s big bellowing voice, you know, [imitating] ‘Marge, you know, God damnit this and that and God damn. And then I’ll tell you something…’ and it’s when they lowered their voice she really got scared cause—‘And I’ll tell you one other thing, when I went to that Goddamn—and you didn't.’

‘Oh, Herb, I—’

‘[Gibberish!]’

And you know, a lot of that informs my show now, you know. Bobbie Duly is my mom. Oh yeah in many ways—my mom—my mother was a piece-of-work. But, uh, that got to be really sad and scary and our family really disintegrated, you know, at that point. I think my father started having an affair, you know, with a woman at our church.

 

PG:                  Ugh.

 

PH:                  Yeah, you know, and my old man he left the Catholic Church—he was a Catholic and when he married my mother converted. And we were raised Catholic, but there was a point there where I saw, you know, how my family was treated after my parents were divorced. My mother—I think it turned me off to—

 

PG:                  How old were you when they were divorced?

 

PH:                  I was 12. 11 or 12. And I got—I didn’t see anybody at that church reach out to her. Maybe, I don’t know. I don’t know what happened, but I just sorta—I think, I think what happens is you get soured on the bourgeois life really fast when you’re a kid and your parents get divorced. Unless there’s a strong rooting adult there who says, ‘Okay, this happened, but we’re moving on. We’re still a family. Do your homework.’ I didn’t—

 

PG:                  ‘It’s gonna be ok.’

 

PH:                  ‘It’s gonna be ok. We’re’—you know, you really need that adult. That’s where adults are really important.

 

PG:                  Is it fair to say that as a kid, when things start to disintegrate you don’t know where the disintegration is gonna end, so your mind just sort of extrapolates?

 

PH:                  Well, I blamed myself, you know. Of course that I—I think kids do that, you know. Don’t they? ‘What am I doing wrong?’—

 

PG:                  Absolutely.

 

PH:                  ‘What did I do wrong?’  You know, and I did little things, like I tried to pull the family together. I did little silly things that—I say silly things now. When I was a kid they seemed big. I wrote—I’ll never forget. I wrote a Hendrie family charter and it was an agreement that all the family members would sign to get along.

 

PG:                  Awe, that breaks my heart.

 

PH:                  Yeah, and I think about it now—and my father signed it and my mother, and everyone was very touched by it.

 

PG:                  This is before the divorce?

 

PH:                  This is before the divorce. And, uh, you know I wonder who that kid is.

And I found since, Paul, in therapy, for whatever reason, I became the kid that took care of everybody. I was the one. I was third in line, but I took care of everyone. It’s like the Richard Nixon character in Nixon. I don’t know—did you see that movie?

 

PG:                  I did.

 

PH:                  Remember him as a boy? [imitating] “Oh, he doesn’t respond well to humor,” you know. That was sort of like Richard Nixon without a sense of humor. That was me, I was like the one who would, ‘No, no, no, no, no,’ you know. And uh, ‘Don’t say this, ah so…’ But I was very emotional so I don’t think it was quite as controlled. But yeah, you know…

 

PG:                  So humor wasn’t immediately there for you?

 

PH:                  Oh it was there all the time. I’m not mentioning it because I guess it seems odd—Humor was there all the time in my life. My father was very funny. My brother was extremely funny. I was—My brother was whack—Like, “How now, brown cow. What is that brown stuff hanging form your knee?” This was my brother’s poem that he wrote in my sister’s autograph book. “What is it? Rice pudding?” [laughs] This is the kind of whacked out guy Darrell was. And he drew pictures of guys with axes in their heads like any kid put on his book bag and then have some limerick. My dad had names for guys: Bananas Branagan and all these very funny people. And, uh, immediately humor was part of the equation. But…so that’s what makes it kind of strange.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Because it really—Humor didn’t save us.

 

PG:                  And do you remember, after you wrote that charter and then your parents still got divorced was there any kind of conscious thought that you, ‘I didn’t do a good enough job?’

 

PH:                  Yeah, and I rejected—at that point what I think what happened was I thought, ‘I didn’t do a good enough job as a son and now I’m gonna reject this life. This sort of bourgeois life. Cause I don’t wanna face my failure. Of course as I’ve gotten older and I’ve learned—I didn’t fail, you know, and I’m not a bad son. But that haunted me for years, and years, and years, and years, man. That I was bad a son, and I wasn’t a good kid and I failed somehow. And so from that point forward I rejected the bourgeois life but still tried to fit in. That’s why one of my favorite early books was Steppenwolf, you know? Steppenwolf was that character, you know, who was odd but wanted a bourgeois existence.

 

PG:                  Do you think your feeling that you had failed the family, was that conscious or just kind of a deep buried messaged that kind of informed everything, or somewhere in between?

 

PH:                  Well, it was in between. I mean, I just felt that—I felt ashamed and sorta humiliated…

 

PG:                  Because, you, in this—

 

PH:                  And silly and stupid and I looked dumb, you know. I always was afraid of looking dumb because I already was a very awkward looking kid. I had big ears, freckles, really skinny. Just freakin’ Tom Sawyer, man, you know. And everyone told me, [imitating] ‘don’t run to fast you might take off. Har har har har.’ You know, and, ‘Look at those freckles. I could count all those freckles,’ you know, and, ‘He’s skinny,’ you know. So I already felt kind of like a dork and then on top of that I’m a freakin’ failure, look at my family. And I couldn’t do anything. So I sort of throw it off a little bit, reject it a little bit, you know?

 

PG:                  And how would you begin to rebel?

 

PH:                  Oh, it just so happened you know, by the time I turned 14 it was like 1966 so it was the beginning of what—there was lots of stuff to rebel to, you know. There was music and there was, you know, hippie shit, and weed, and—which I didn’t start smoking until like my sophomore year and not my freshman year. God knows I tried to find some.

 

 

[both laugh]

 

PH:                  Yeah, so I didn’t—all of that stuff, man: hitchhiking, leaving the house, going places, trying to find strange shit, you know?

 

PG:                  Did you stay at home until you were 18?

 

PH:                  Yeah, yeah.

 

PG:                  And who did you live with, Mom or Dad?

 

PH:                  My mother. And then I lived a year with my dad. They divorced so I was with my mom for a couple of years. And then I was with my father for a year, and then I was back with my mother. And then I turned 18 and I was freakin’ out of there. I turned 18 and I was in and out of my mom’s place for about six months and then off living with friends in Pasadena.

 

PG:                  Who is the closest character to your father?

 

PH:                  That’s a great question. Vernon Doescher, probably. But Vernon doesn’t have the sense of humor, you know, but Vernon is like, [imitating] ‘Let me tell you something’—and it’s funny because Vernon is actually based on a football coach that I know, Bob—Bill Redell. He just retired, he’s a terrific guy.

 

PG:                  The voice is based on him?

PH:                  Yeah, the voice is based on—lets see, “Let me tell you something, Phil.” These guys—I had a coach in high school, Duffy Lewis, who was,[imitating] “Let me tell you, man, something. Okay? Egyptian fever is when the iron in blood turns to lead and settles in your ass. And a lot of you got this—”

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  Oh yeah, they had a million of them, you know. Somebody had carved in the back of desk, once, a phrase and he said to this kid named Pay Frey, he said, [imitating] “Hey Fray.”

“Uh, it’s Frey, Mr. Lewis.”

“Fray, come here,” you know.

 

PG:                  [laughing] Just—

 

PH:                  He‘s like the coach—

 

PG:                  [laughing] Nothing wrong—

 

PH:                  Yeah nothing wrong with—‘Bootcher.’

‘Bottcher, Mr. Lewis.’

‘Bootcher,’ you know. So, he’s just, [imitating] ‘Read what’s carved into this desk.’ And I’m telling you there are a hundred guys up there just, ‘Pft, because Mr. Lewis was into hair cuts, always making us get haircuts—“Lewis plus haircuts suck and fuck.”

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  [laughing] And we’re all, ‘PFT!’ I swear to this day, I knew Lewis knew we were laughing and just stood there like, you know. Didn’t bust us on it. So I think that Vernon Doescher in a lot of ways, [imitating] “Let me tell you something, and uh, oh boy. There’s a lot of these guys,”—You know, there’s a thing that I get with Vernon where he get’s his blood pressure up, you know. But, um, the other one is—

 

PG:                  I can almost picture the flattop that he has.

 

PH:                  The flat—the other one is Harvey Warman who is a war veteran, because my dad is a World War II veteran. Harvey’s uh, [imitating] you know, there’s a lot a things: he’s an attorney and he’s forgetful—by the way my dad is an older guy who’s, [imitating] ‘But I don’t know, let me tell you, those Japs. I shouldn’t say Japs cause I know you don’t—but that was a tough deal, you know?’ So they’re a little bit of him, and then the flattop guy who’s more of a neighbor was, [imitating] I’ve got a character named Lloyd, and he’s the guy—

 

PG:                  Lloyd Bonafide.

 

PH:                  [imitating] Lloyd Bon—‘now the southern portion of my property. The southern. Which borders Wisteria. And then the eastern section’—

‘I don’t know what you mean.’

‘Are you listening to me?’ You know, so he was like another—I grew up a lot—

 

PG:                  And he’s a Korean War vet.

 

PH:                  He’s a Korean guy. I grew up—on my street there was a lot of flattop war veteran guys. Early years, 7th avenue. That period of idyllic. They all drank the fluted glass of beer, they all had the flattops, they all had, maybe one or two had a navy tat, all World War II. Our next-door neighbor was a Navy guy, my father’s in the Army. All of these guys shared—and I use to love to just creep around and take a sip out of their beer glass and sneak away and listen to what they were saying and hang around them, you know. But I would say that Vernon, and Lloyd, and Harvey combined—and I gotta think of a… I think that those three guys—and it’s very interesting because it’s harder for me to identify the characters who are rooted in my dad. It’s really easy to identify the characters that are rooted in my mother.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  You know Bobbie and Margaret. There’s—oh man…

 

PG:                  Um, and Margaret fancies herself a columnist?

 

PH:                  [imitating] Yes, umm, and she talks like this. She’s much more outgoing. Probably a bit healthy, a lot healthier than Bobbie—

 

PG:                  Very haughty, too.

 

PH:                  [imitating] Very haughty. But very Hollywood and she’s like one of these gals, you know, she had a couple of auditions in Hollywood, and then she met Frank who was producing some TV and married him and they’re loaded. And Franks an entertainment lawyer, but also produces TV shows and so she has that one foot in the entertainment world thing and she knows being—[imitating] ‘I saw Linda Evans the other day. God she looks—She really doesn't—God help her.’ You know, this kind of shit. And, you know, Cloris Leachman—[imitating] ‘Oh Cloris, how’s she doing? You know—no no no it was Mary that was in the bottle. Not in the bottle, but Mary, you know’—You know, that whole thing and she’s also very inappropriate, as is Bobbie. But Margaret is like my mom—Bobbie’s my mother from the standpoint of this sort of pointless—pointlessness—dumb blond. Blonds are not dumb. Blonds pretend to be dumb to protect themselves from the world. So the dumb blond thing is like—guys should get that right away, you know? Cause that’s what I think. Cause that’s what my mother was. Margaret was my mother form the inappropriate thing of like, ‘Jesus, Mom, flush the toilet!’

[imitating] ‘Oh, what’s wrong?’

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  You know, ‘what the fuck? What the fuck do you mean “What’s wrong?”’ you know?

‘It was a bowel movement. It’s normal,’ you know I swear to God, man. My mother would not flush a toilet or something. ‘What the fuck? Mom!’

‘Oh…’ you know, it was always like making a big deal out of nothing, you know.

 

PG:                  Yeah! Right, right, right! My mom did that too.

 

PH:                  Oye!

 

PG:                  She would be inappropriate. Not necessarily with that, but with other things. And would make you feel like you’re the one that—

 

PH:                  My mother was the same way, man.

 

PG:                  That had the issue with it.

 

PH:                  I’ll tell you something right now that I learned about my mother, cause this was a huge fucking breakthrough for me, man. I didn’t like my mother. Okay? And I didn’t like my mother my whole life, and I loved my mother as a little boy. I loved her. But there was a point that I stopped. And there was a point that I started to dislike her. And of course, coupled with that was, ‘what’s wrong with me? I don’t love my mother. I don’t like my mother. I can’t get along with my mother. What is wrong with me? What am I not doing right to get along with my mother? I mean she this and she that and she gave birth to me and she…’ You know? ‘And why don’t I like my mother? And Why? You know, why?’—And I kinda got a taste of it when she came to visit me in Minneapolis, cause when I went out to Atlanta and Minneapolis it’s always building my talk show, I flew her out to be with me.

 

PG:                  This would have been, what, 30 years ago?

 

PH:                  Uh no. This was actually in the early 90s.

 

PG:                  Okay.

 

PH:                  And I actually had a ball with her in Atlanta. My mother came with me to Target and helped me furnish my little duplex. And she went out with me and my girlfriend down to de-convert—my mother was hanging with us at a soul food grill, which...Things that I would have loved to have known about her when I was younger, you know? She’s hanger there eating chicken deep fried in peanut oil, peach cobbler and drinking Coca-Cola’s out of a freakin’, you know, soda machine and...But by that point the women was not real to me. It took a lot, but I went into therapy and my doctor, a great gal named Dr. Lu Katzman here in Beverly Hills, because of course, that’s where we go to have therapy here. At any rate—no, I happen to know here because that’s where another doctor of mine was. But anyway, Lu says to me, “Have you ever heard of the seductive mother?”

I said, “No.”

She says, “It is the most common way that mothers,” forgive me, “molest their sons.” Father’s are physical. Mothers do it by treating their sons as if they are equals or their lovers or their boyfriends.

 

PG:                  Oh my god.

 

PH:                  Yeah, and it’s equally damaging. And you can see the subtlety of it, Paul, because my mother never touched me. She never laid a hand on me. She spanked me maybe once. So, ‘What the fuck?’ You go through your whole life going, ‘What the fuck is wrong with me?’ And it wrecked my life—it didn’t wreck my life, man, but it slowed me up. It fucked me up. It—I got every instinct I had to be Phil Hendrie, this guy that talks to himself all of these things that such wonderful people like you now will say to me, “Phil, that’s good, that’s okay. You’re not fucked up.’ Those instincts I buried. Because they were weird and they must be a part of what makes me a bad kid. Cause I don’t love my mother. I come to find out, you know Lu says to me, ‘Phil, there’s no bad—no kid just dislikes their parents for no fucking reason’—you know, she didn’t talk that way. But...She said, ‘Talk to me about what you want.’ Talked to her about my mother and what and—she said,

“Your mother was a seductive mother. She was inappropriate with you. She treated like a boyfriend, lover.” And, uh, yeah, I don’t know if this is striking home with you, man or, you know what I’m saying.

 

PG:                  Oh my god, Phil. I’ve been emailing and talking to people about this very same issue—

 

PH:                  Wow.

 

PG:                  Almost non stop for the last month, because it’s—

 

PH:                  Whoa!

 

PG:                  It’s really been getting brought up very intensely in me, lately. And the more I compare notes with people about it the more I realize the depth of the seduction and the manipulation, and how things were—like, you know she, my mom—this is an embarrassing thing to say. I like to compare notes with listeners, and hopefully, you know I’m not segueing too much, but you know—

 

PH:                  No no.

 

PG:                  My mother took my temperature rectally until I was 8 years old. I used to, I used to keep saying, ‘Why can’t I do it like other people—

 

PH:                  ‘In my mouth,’ yeah.

 

PG:                  under my tongue?’ and well, and there was just a procedure for the whole thing that was just—

 

PH:                  It was uncomfortable for you, man.

 

PG:                  That was uncomfortable and her demeanor would change when she did it and, you know.

 

PH:                  Was that the only thing you can recall of her physical being—

 

PG:                  Oh no. No. There was another thing. There was another time too, when I was 11 years old and I wiped out in some gravel and she told me that, that um, I needed to get in the bathtub for her to clean my knee and so, you know—

PH:                  And you’re 11.

 

PG:                  My first thought was, ‘but then she’s gonna see me naked.’ So then I was like, ‘I wonder, should I wear a bathing suit?‘ And then I was like,’ But people don’t where bathing suit’s—so I was really kinda conflicted. And there was just this way that she went about it that—and this is really fucking embarrassing to talk about—

 

PH:                  Of course it is, yeah.

 

PG:                  It was, it was exciting to me and I got an erection and I felt fucking guilty about it—

PH:                  Right.

 

PG:                  And I felt like I was a pervert.

 

PH:                  That really fucks you, dude—

 

PG:                  It really fucked me up.

 

PH:                  Oh, dude. I’ve had dreams about fucking my mother.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Like all my life. And Lu said to me, “No one dreams about having sex with their parents who haven’t been, in some way, molested or inappropriately treated by those parents.” She says, “It doesn’t happen.”

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  I said, “Cause I had a hell of a dream last night, Lu, do you wanna—”

She said, “No, Phil, I don’t want to hear it.”

I said, “Well, I liked to film it.” No, I [laughs] but yeah you’re absolutely right, man. My mom—

 

PG:                  Thank you—thank you for being so honest about that I get a lot of emails from listeners—

 

PH:                  It’s huge, it’s huge, man. It’s huge for men cause men will sit there—women—I shouldn’t say women are lucky cause of course they’re not. If your father molest you it’s a—it’s a—Christ I, it’s brutal, it’s horrible—there’s not a women I know, who has been in my life who hasn’t been treated that way, in some way, as a kid. Maybe it’s, probably, the women that I pick, cause this gets into the whole ‘I take care of people thing.’

 

PG:                  Mhm.

 

PH:                  But I can remember my mom, when I was about three or four, saying these words, “How are we down here?” looking at my dick—

 

PG:                  Really?

 

PH:                  Oh yeah, dude.

 

PG:                  Really?

 

PH:                  Oh and, “How are you doing down there?” Yeah. Like—and at the time I thought, ‘Oh wow, yeah that’s my penis, and that’s really kind of a vulnerable place, so yeah, my mom’s gotta check me there.’ Now, as an adult I’m thinking, ‘Why would she like make a point of how are we doing down there? I was four or five years old. What am I doing, jerking off already?’ You know?

 

PG:                  And I don’t know if you can identify with this, but a feeling sometimes of being around my mom and feeling like I want to cover myself. Like I want to cover my junk cause it just…

 

PH:                  Yeah or just nothing at all—you don’t want to talk about anything physical—you don’t want to talk—you don’t want to know about anything she’s interested in—

 

PG:                  Yes. Yes!

 

PH:                  Yeah. My mom came back one time from the doctor—this is all fucked-up shit, but hey whatever, you know, it’s… She came into the doctor and she had some surgery for hemorrhoids and she’s like, “Well doesn’t anyone want to hear about my surgery today?”

“No. We don’t wanna—I don’t want to hear anything about it mom.” You know. I don’t want to know anything about what you have—do.

 

PG:                  Right. And here’s the other thing that I’ve been exchanging an email with a listener, because the more I talk about this the more I can kind of, uh, make sense of it. The part that is, I think the most damaging, the part that fucks with me the most is the intensity of her interest in my body. That’s—

 

PH:                  Yeah, man.

 

PG:                  And what—just things that, that just shouldn’t be, shouldn’t be—

 

PH:                  Right.

 

PG:                  The intensity is what feels so molesting so many times.

 

PH:                  Is she still around?—Is she?

 

PG:                  She is. She’s 83 years old and I’ve asked her not to listen to the podcast, because—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  I don’t think she’s was probably even conscious of what she was doing.

 

PH:                  Well, or she’s conscious, but she’s not conscious of it being wrong or she—it was done to her. No question.

 

PG:                  That’s what I think.

 

PH:                  I was in Canada last—my family from Toronto. I was in Toronto in June of last year. I saw my cousins, Fran and Elaine, for the first time in over 40 years, man, it was really heavy.  Cause I was—when I was 10 I had a super-crush on Fran when they came to California to visit. They was two blonde beautiful chicks drop into my life at the age of 10. I’m like, ‘Wow!’ You know? She was gorgeous, man. Boy—Elaine was too, you know—so I go back to Canada—and of course they were, we were really excited to see each other and I’m my God—and they go, “You know something, we haven’t seen you since 10 and we knew it was you right away”—as I was walking through the lobby of the hotel. I said, “That’s, that’s interesting.”

She goes, “We knew it was you right away.”

I was 10 and now I’m 50, but anyway, as we walked up Wineva Ave. We were in the beaches section of Toronto, beautiful neighborhood, and that’s the matrix of the Hendrie family. My father played football for the club there and so on. She said to me, Franny said, uh, “That’s the house where we think it happened.”

And I said, “What house is that, Fran?”

She’s said, “That’s where our grandmother had a boarding house and where Mom,” their mother, my aunt, uh, Gladdy, ”and Aunt Marge,” my mother, “stayed as children and we think they were molested there.”

I said, “You think Gladdy was—your mother was—”

“Yeah, oh yeah.”

I said, “That’s heavy, man. Cause I always figured my mother was too.”

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  And she said, “We think it makes sense. That’s a boarding house, men were coming in and out.” It was back in the day, way the fuck back in the day, man. The 20s and 30s when, uh, nobody gave a shit about children being treated that way.

 

PG:                  Yeah and, and—

 

PH:                  And all kinds of shit—in family lore my mother supposedly walked in on her stepfather having sex with or making out with a female family member while her own mother was dying of Rheumatic Fever.

 

PG:                  Oh my…

 

PH:                  Weird shit! Nobody ever put it that way—it was always like, ‘Oh he was kissing Gladdy.’ My mother always blew it off.

 

PG:                  Right.

 

PH:                  My mother was—the denial, you know, “What happened to my (grand)father?” He died before I was born. No. He was alive and for the first time in my life I saw a picture of him, last June, when Fran and Elaine had a picture of my grandfather, on my mothers side. He was basically told to get lost by my step-grandfather, Frank Crowe, he was a cop. He said, “Get out of here. Don’t ever come back and you can’t see these girls either.”…I don’t know, man. It’s too heavy. Sorry, if I’m interrupting you, but I just remembered that.

 

PG:                  No you’re not interrupting me. It’s, you gotta… My mind is racing with thoughts of shit—stuff I’ve been talking to other people about and, uh, um, this is such a common thing that I’m, I’ve been talking to other listeners about, because we correspond through email.

 

PH:                  Right.

 

PG:                  And people have these questions. And I often say this on the podcast, “The stuff that fuck with us the most is the stuff that is in that gray area that we can’t file away. Where we don’t know exactly where the truth is.” And that, you know, I think a lot of times the molesting, um—for a parent that can’t come right out and fuck their kid, what they’re gonna do is they are just going to chip away at the boundaries—

 

PH:                  Yes!

 

PG:                  Of that child.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  And there is a satisfaction they get from that.

 

PH:                  Yeah and the child is being harmed and I don’t know if they know it or not.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Or they don’t—

 

PG:                  Cause you don’t have anything to compare it to.

 

PH:                  No. When you’re a kid—You talking about being a kid or a parent? Not having anything to compare it to.

 

PG:                  As a kid you don’t—

 

PH:                  As a kid—

 

PG:                  You know, you don’t know it’s wrong.

 

PH:                  Oh exactly! Oh wow.

 

PG:                  You just have a feeling in your gut that it doesn’t feel right to hug my mom. I’ve always felt that when I hug my mom that I am hugging her for her.

 

PH:                  Yep!

 

PG:                  I’ve never, ever felt like—

 

PH:                  Solace from it…

 

PG:                  I’m getting anything from her

 

PH:                  Right. Me too. Me to. Opposite of my father. My father, I got—I love to hug my father, I love to kiss my father, you know, and I love to be with my father. Cause I tried to check that out too. Believe me man, you know, ‘Okay, let me just check all this shit out. How do I feel about Dad really?’ And this is a guy that abandoned his family.

 

PG:                  Now what do you, what do you mean by that, you check that out too?

 

PH:                  Well I wanted to make sure that, uh you know—

 

PG:                  You’re not blaming it all on Mom?

 

PH:                  Yeah, yeah exactly.

 

PG:                  Okay.

 

PH:                  I wanted to know, uh you know—and by God, my father was a miserable father by the standpoint of loyalty to his family. He fucked around on my mother. He left he moved to Europe with another woman and four kids. He, uh, basically abandoned his kids. And I was shoplifting food my high school year cause I was fucking hungry, man. There was child support coming, but I think it was like 15 bucks a week or some shit. And I use to shoplift food—and for years I thought that was me being a rapscallion, ‘I think I’ll go down and shoplift food.’ I was fucking hungry. I wanted something to eat besides this shit that was in the refridge—My mother would by this thing of cottage cheese. You know, ‘Well, what the fuck? I’m a seventeen year old boy.’ If you have a 17-year-old boy in your house wouldn't you be shoving food into that refrigerator like, you know?

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Those kids eat, man. Kids eat, and if you’re a parent and you have a growing boy… You know, I think my mother, at some point, had this problem with me cause she used to say, “You remind me of him,” meaning my dad. And, uh, “God help me when you’re 16,” was another one of her favorite phrases. Cause I used to get really angry, uh, as I began to advance into adolescents. I would get really fucking pissed. God, maybe it was probably when my folks were—I was acting out maybe. And my mother’s favorite, “God help when you’re 16.” She used to put her hands over her ears. Just, you name it, man. She pissed me off [laughs].

 

PG:                  You know, Phil, as I’m listening to your story I’m thinking, ‘How could you not feel fucked up?’ Cause, you know, the two messages that you parents, it sounds like, have embedded in you is that you don’t matter. You know, they don’t come right out and say it to you, but there actions towards you say, ‘You really don’t matter.’

 

PH:                  Exactly. My father, too. You know, I was very proud of myself my first couple years in radio. I came back with a special I had produced on The Beach Boys for a local station in Florida. And, uh, it was, actually, Dennis Wilson. I had interviewed him and I tried playing it for my dad, you know?

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  Oh fuck, nobody was listening to it, you know, and, uh, they shut it off, you know. I felt really humiliated, and you know. He didn’t give a shit. What are you laughing at [laughs]?

 

PG:                  [laughing] Cause I did the same thing with my dad!

 

PH:                  [laughing] Did you really? And he didn’t give a shit?

 

PG:                  [laughing] He didn’t. Well no even worse he criticized it.

 

PH:                  Oh swell. [laughs]

 

PG:                  I had—

 

PH:                  [laughing] At least he listened to it though.

 

PG:                  Well, I had him trapped in the car [laughs].

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  That’s how I did it. He picked me up from the airport and I had learned how to do ProTools. I had, you know when Comedy World had a radio network?

PH:                  Yeah that’s right.

 

PG:                  So I had a show there and I would prepare all this stuff.

 

PH:                  Were you up in Thousand Oaks?

 

PG:                  Uh, no, it was in Marina del Rey.

 

PH:                  Okay cool.

 

PG:                  And, um, and so I mean, I worked my ass off creating this two hour show every week. So I put—I thought, ‘I’m gonna put together a compilation of the very best.’

 

PH:                  Aw.

 

PG:                  ‘I’m gonna have a 45 minute ride with my dad.’

 

PH:                  Awe. That’s great, yeah.

 

PG:                  ‘I want him to hear all of it.’ Completely silent. Said nothing.

 

PH:                  Didn’t give a shit, huh?

 

PG:                  And I said…

 

PH:                  “What do you think?”

 

PG:                  “What do you think?” and he just said, “I just didn’t think it was your best work,” and I just remember looking out the window and thinking, ‘Why do I keep going—’

 

 

PH:                  “Why do you do it?”

 

PG:                  ‘to this person that can’t give me…’

 

PH:                  Yeah. He’s worried about his life and what he failed at—

 

PG:                  He is. He’s in his own head.

 

PH:                  Yeah, what he fucking failed at and what he didn’t do right and what he didn't get to do, you know.

 

PG:                  You know, and—

 

PH:                  And there you are younger than him and you’ve got the world by the balls.

 

PG:                  And he’s a step better than his dad who would abuse him verbally.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  And so, now I can look at it and say, ‘Hey, my dad was doing the best that he could.’

 

PH:                  Right.

 

PG:                  He had demons in his head. He had a lot of rage. My mom did the best that she could.

 

PH:                  Mhm.

 

PG:                  She was, I’m sure, molested and she probably wanted to do way more than she did.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  Um, they were probably better than the people that raised them.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  But it still fucks you up [laughs].

 

PH:                  It still fucks you up and you can’t deny it either. You can’t use it has the old excuse—I love that scene in the Fisherking where Tom Wait’s plays a crippled Vietnam veteran in a wheel chair and Jeff Bridges’ character walks by and they get into an exchange and he says to Jeff Bridges, he’s in a wheelchair and he says, [imitating] “You know, I’m like a moral traffic cop. A guy looks at me and he says, ‘Oh shit, it could be worse I could be that guy.’”

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  “So he decides not do to the things he should do, because, at least he’s not me,” and, uh,  I thought that’s one of the heaviest things I’ve ever heard, man—

 

PG:                  That’s deep.

 

PH:                  Exactly. Cause I’d say, ‘Oh shit, you know my folks had this bad, this, that and that. Well I better not complain about how they fucked me over.’ No, fuck it man. Because, as somebody once said to me, “Even if you’re cut with a knife by accident you’re still bleeding.” You know, ”and that son-of-a-bitch that cut you by accident. ‘Be careful, man. You just cut me.’

‘Well I didn’t mean to.’

‘I don’t give a shit. I’m bleeding.’”

You know. Our folks—

 

PG:                  Are your parents still around?

 

PH:                  No, they’re both gone. My mother died in ’06, my dad back in ’87. Umm, you know I watched my father go. My mother died—I did not go to my mother’s deathbed. I didn’t have, uh, any communication with my mother much past, uh, after I—she left Minneapolis in ’93 when she came to visit me that was the last real—Oh and then I saw her again at my wedding, but I didn’t have a lot of communication with her. I didn’t call her outside of that.

 

PG:                  And you didn’t feel guilty about that?

 

PH:                  No. I didn’t—

 

PG:                  Did she try to make you feel guilty?

 

PH:                  About which? About?

 

PG:                  About not having communication with here

 

PH:                  No. Not—

 

PG:                  Was she trying to communicate with you?

 

PH:                  Yeah, a couple times she tried to call. Joann my older sister would be with her and place the phone call. I would say, ‘Hi Mom.’ You know that’s it. By that point my younger sister Maryann and Joann—I don’t think Joann understood as much and I shouldn’t, you know, Joann’s a great gal and I’m not trying to talk about those guys in anyway other than very positive ways, but Joann’s very loyal, but we all have our difference—just different relationships. My younger sister Maryann understood me better, cause we were closer in age. But, uh, I did not shed a tear. I don’t feel guilty, you know. I didn’t do it to be cruel. I just didn’t want to go to her, and, uh, when you say you know, ‘Well, they came through their shit.’ I think of Margery—you know, that was her name. You know, I say, ‘Well I can say my mother, but let me think of her as Margery because then I can see her as this person who past her life, tough, tough thing, you know, the way she came up, and the years that she lived, and the husband that abandoned her, and the children that she had, and the travels from Canada to California, and setting up homes, and—

 

PG:                  And the boarding house.

 

PH:                  And the boarding house growing—you know as a little girl. But you know what, she had these little people, and she had to be good to them or else the little people turn into big people that don’t want to have anything to do with you.

 

PG:                  Don’t feel safe.

 

PH:                  Yeah and I got to tell you something though, PG. I still paid for my mother—we put her in assisted living in Laguna Beach, a very nice place, you know. And I paid for that myself until I had a falling out with, uh, my siblings over some things and then I stopped. I just stopped. You know that’s a lot of Goddamn money and, you know, I just don’t feel like I want to carry that myself so I just stopped. But I did the same thing with my dad when he was dying. You know, he needed a bed, ‘Phil’s the guy that goes out to buy one,’ you know. Um, but I spent time with my father when he was dying. I read to him. He had, uh, he didn’t have Alzheimer's but he dementia because he was having a series of strokes. And, uh, one of the funniest things, I thought he was getting better until one day we were watching Monday Night Football, and it is, it’s humorous. We’re watching Monday Night Football I’m thinking, ‘My dad’s getting—he’s getting sharp’

“What you think of that Frank Gifford?” Cause Gifford was doing the games at that time.

I say, “Yeah I think he’s pretty good.”

“I think he can still play.”

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  [laughs] That’s when I knew—Okay, “Excuse me, Dad?”

“I think he could. He could get out there and play. Don't you?”

I said, “No, Dad.” Frank Gifford, at this time was in his 50s. “I don’t think so, Dad. He’s in his 50s, think about it, Dad.” I was worried, you know, ‘Oh shit, he’s slipping.’

“Think about it, Dad. Frank Gifford’s in his 50s.”

“Yeah, yeah okay,” but you know, what they do then they just answer the way they want you to, cause they realize, ‘Oh I said something bad.”—

 

PG:                  Right [laughs]. Cause that connections severed in their brain.

 

PH:                  It’s gone, man. It’s gone, yeah.

 

PG:                  Do you think it’s easier to—Cause I was always comfortable being around my dad. The worst thing that my dad did was he ignored me, and that certainly inflicted it’s own kind of pain, but that pain doesn’t feel as bad as the violating of the boundaries.

 

PH:                  Right. Yeah! That’s—It’s evident in the way you speak of your father, and me too. My dad did a lot of stuff that was fucked—

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  But I still loved him, and wanted to be with him, and wanted to hang with him, and wanted to talk to him. There was a point where I let it all hang out with my father. I mean I—in my early 30s I let him have it. I just fucking let him have it. Cause he was still—My dad was a dictatorial guy, like you were saying, an argumentative guy, and a temperamental guy. And like a father’s wants to tell everybody, you know. And one day I just let him have it. And I told him what I thought of him, what I thought of his fucking life. What I thought of what he did to his family. And so we had a falling out, but it wasn’t based on anything other—it was based on him as a man and a father not on him kicking my ass, or, uh, committing crimes of violence against my sisters or anything. But when he was dying—

 

PG:                  He had beaten your sisters?

 

PH:                  No, no, no. He hadn’t. No, no—

 

PG:                  Okay. I see.

 

PH:                  In other words, I was angry at him for his, just his shit job as a father. Um, but it wasn’t about molestation or anything.  So I was with him when he—I spent time with him, and uh, it’s, uh, it’s what my therapist at the time, a guy name John Cannon, used to call ‘duty.’ You know, “We have duty as a son and if you feel then you should do it.” So I was with him. And I was sad when he died and I’m proud of aspects of his life today. My mother, not the same. Not—didn’t wanna be with her. Didn’t wanna—Didn’t give a shit. My mom [UNITEL] say it to ya, man. I didn’t give a shit. She died. You know, I hope she’s in a better place—I don't know, man, you know. But, uh—

 

PG:                  What, if you could have said anything to her while she was around, what would you have liked to have said to her? Or did you say anything that—do you feel like there was nothing left unsaid?

 

PH:                  I wanted to say things to her, but my mother was super into the denial thing—

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  “Oh, Phillip. No,” you know. “Uh, no. I don’t want to. No,” or it would be like, ‘Mom, what can—’ it would be like, ‘Can we have a pleasant Sunday?’

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  You know, this Bobbie Duly. I had that character had to come out, you know, somehow and it did with Bobbie. [imitating] ‘Can we not talk about’—you know. But I would say to her—so back in those days there was no way I could say it cause it would always turn into an argument

 

PG:                  Sure.

 

PH:                  You know, and my mom used to say, [imitating] ‘Other sons take their mothers to the movies, and other sons’—And there’d be a big one, [imitating] ‘You know, other families take care of parents, why don’t you kids?’ You know? But I would have set to her, ‘you know, Margery [pause] you know, what happened to us? You know, I loved you, you know when I was a litter boy. You know, you and I were like that, man. You know, what happened? What, what did you do?’ You know? And I—but I didn’t—even now that seems like an impotent question because I think she would respond, if she was responding in all honestly, I think she would say, ‘I don’t know, but I know I did some—’ I mean if she was being honest, ‘I know I must have done something, but I don’t know what it is other than—I, I, I didn’t love you right,’ you know, ‘I didn’t treat you right,’ but I don’t know if my mom was, would even identify as being, quote, ‘inappropriate as a seductive mother.’ You know, cause she never touched me. Um, but she would probably say if she was being honest, ‘I wasn’t a good mom to you. I didn’t take care of you.’ You know, but, uh. I don’t think she would be able to identify that…

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  Sexual thing. If, you know, I think—

 

PG:                  I think kids, kids don’t imagine a sexual vibe from their parent.

 

PH:                  huh-uh.

 

PG:                  Cause kids aware of that—

 

PH:                  No, and they shouldn’t be either, you know—

 

PG:                  You shouldn’t be, but you know, I just always got that vibe from—

 

PH:                  Me too.

 

PG:                  I don’t think kids make that—

 

PH:                  You don’t make that up, man. I mean, if you’re a kid—there is such a thing as being born a sociopath or psychopath. That’s, you know your brain chemistry is and you know, nurture versus nature. But that’s got nothing to do with—that’s something where you hate the whole human race, you know. That’s got nothing to do with a particular relationship with your parent that is bad and the other one that’s okay. One is more based in a worldview. The other’s based in a very personal situation. Yeah—

 

PG:                  Did you ever feel like you—like your mom wished that she was married to you more than your dad?

 

PH:                  Jeez. I don’t know. I don’t… She used to say all the time, used to make me sick too, she used to say, [imitating] “Oh we’re very much alike, you and I, we’re both Virgos.” I hated that. I hated when she’d say that we were alike. Um… Yeah, I don’t know about that. She didn’t marry anybody after my father. My mother was, strange, man. I don’t know what her trip was.

 

PG:                  I had to—there was about a year period where I had to hang up the phone if—cause I asked my mom to stop doing this, because I would answer the phone and say, “Hello,” and she would say,”

“Hello Mr. Gilmartin. This is Mrs. Gilmartin.”

 

PH:                  Ooh, dude, yeah.

 

PG:                  You know, and I would say, “Please don’t say that it makes me—”

 

PH:                  That’s really—That’s where it’s at, yeah with her. Your parents still live together or did they—

 

PG:                  My dad—they separated, the never got divorced.

 

Ooh. Okay

 

PG:                  They separated when my dad got sober because I think he realized, ‘I can’t live with this controlling woman.’

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  ‘and not drink,’ and I think she realized you know, ‘I can’t live with this guy who pays no fucking attention to me—’

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  ‘who’s just self absorbed.’

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  So they remained married, um, but, yeah my dad passed in ’06. My mom’s still around. In fact—

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  I’m going back to Chicago in, uh, two weeks to move her in to a retirement home, assisted living—

 

PH:                  Assisted living, yeah.

 

PG:                  And I’m dreading it—

 

PH:                  I know, man. Can’t you bring somebody with you like a sibling or something?

 

PG:                  My brother lives there, but—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  My brother’s relationship with my mom is completely different because she didn’t treat him the way— they never got along. So there wasn’t—he wasn’t the good son

 

PH:                  Sure.

 

PG:                  So I don’t think she felt like she could manipulate the way she manipulated me

 

PH:                  Is he older?

 

PG:                  Uh, he’s a year older than me. And he knows how to yell at her—

 

PH:                  And stop her.

 

PG:                  and establish boundaries,

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  and he’s not afraid to piss her off.

 

PH:                  And he ain’t moving her into that assisted living place [laughs].

 

PG:                  No he’s actually very, very—he’s gonna be helping out with it.

 

PH:                  Is he gonna help? Okay.

 

PG:                  He does a ton of stuff. He’s a really, really giving son.

 

PH:                  Ooh. Good, good yeah.

 

PG:                  And I thank him all the time for picking up the weight, because I think I’d probably go crazy if I had to share the whole, uh, thing of it, but—I’m sorry if I’m making this all about me, Phil, but

 

PH:                  No. No it’s cool.

 

PG:                  this is like the biggest issue that fucks with me and—

 

PH:                  I don’t hear men, a lot of men, talk about it, man, and—

 

PG:                  I don’t and I’m just starting to.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  And it’s so liberating.

 

PH:                  It hung me up for a long time—see it’s—you know, what we’re talking about here, man, for me and probably for you, Paul, but for me I know was the thing that began the, the stalling of the Phil Hendrie engine, because if I hated my mother then that’s really fucked up. That’s really fucked—so anything else that’s fucked up about me I’ve gotta bury. Which—

 

PG:                  ‘It must be my fault.’

 

PH:                  Must be my fault and anything else, like this tendency to want—my goofy sense of humor, my crazy ass fucking sense—I didn’t bring it to my work. I didn’t bring it to radio until my late 30s. I was the worst fucking disc jockey (you) ever heard in your life. I was sterile. I brought it out with my friends. Um, or sometimes with my family, but by that point I was like, ‘I don’t give a shit,’ but it really it stopped me professionally. It also stopped me in my personally life, because I was trying to be a good guy and a knight in shining armor, and a savior. Which is the least sexy fucking thing you can be, and—

 

PG:                  And so unartistic.

 

PH:                  Yeah, so unartistic. It’s all fucking wrong and on top of that, um, I heard this thing that fucked me over for another few years. Which is: women always look at how a man treats his mother, because that’s how they’re gonna be treated, and I thought, ‘Oh, shit! So I better treat my mom good.’ To make it look like I—you know. So talk about going in reverse—[laughs] you know the wrong—that’s what I did, man. Because of that [Pause] thing that—that—that was a part of my growing up. Somehow I got loose of it creatively, but it wasn’t until, you know, very recently, man, within the last couple of years that I figured out why. I just knew I didn’t like her and I stopped feeling guilty about it when I—it’s interesting I stopped feeling guilty about it and that’s when creatively I started to come out of my shell. I didn’t know why I felt that way, but I stopped feeling guilty about it. I figured out why when I went back into therapy this last time… you know, at 58—7.

 

PG:                  Wow. That’s so great.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  That’s so great that you could get to that place where—

 

PH:                  It does—there’s no guilt.

 

PG:                  Where you took care of yourself

 

PH:                  Dude, that’s what it’s all about right now. That’s what I’m—you know, I’ve taken care of people my whole life. You know, I’ve taken care of women, I took care of my family… and if I wasn’t taking care of anybody, I wasn’t taking care of anybody, including Phil Hendrie. So I would sit in a house with, you know, fucking McDonalds bags laying around and just, the house is a wreck, you know. I’m not a great housekeeper and I always wondered why. It’s cause there’s no one to take care of. It’s just me.

 

PG:                  ‘And I don’t give a shit about me.’

 

Yeah, and I don’t give a shit about me. Exactly, you know and—so I’m ;earning now, like that’s the one guy you gotta—I know it sounds like a bunch of froufrou frickin’ psychology and shit, but that’s the one guy I never took care of, you know. And so, that guy I’m doing now, man, like—I’m doing a diet right now, man that’s, uh, 2000 calories a day, you know, and uh, I got back to practicing, uh, Buddhism which I had, uh, been initiated into when I was in Florida back in the 90s, which is, uh—actually really helped me, man, helped center me. And that’s just the little things, you know. And plus I’m, now, sorta getting honest with myself about my radio career and I’m taking more acting jobs, you know. Cause I figure I’m going to have to really be a full-time actor I think in a couple of years. Cause I just don’t think radio’s gonna—I think radio’s changing too much, you know

 

PG:                  It’s a dinosaur.

 

PH:                  It really is, man, you know, and so—

 

PG:                  You’re show is the only show. Seriously—

 

PH:                  [laughing] And I can’t sell it

 

PG:                  On radio that’s no embarrassing.

 

PH:                  The rest of it’s really shit, you know, and they can’t sell it! Radio can’t sell it, you know—my website makes money, but so anyway, what I’m saying all this for is to say: it’s really hard, man, to stop taking care of people. When I hear—my ex-wife, Maria, when I think of her I think about, ‘How’s she doing?’ and, ‘What can I do?’ and I think, ‘No! You gotta stop doing that shit, man.’

 

PG:                  You know I heard somebody say yesterday, this guy I know who is a caretaker, very much life you.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  Been sober a long time, helps a ton of people and he was going through some shit and he was having a really hard time, um, giving himself the care that he needed and somebody said to him, “When you’re on an airplane and the plane gets in trouble the two oxygen masks drop, and they tell the parent, ‘Put your oxygen mask on first,’ because you can’t help your fucking kid—”

 

PH:                  Yeah

 

PG:                  [laughing] “if you don’t have any oxygen.”

 

PH:                  It’s the truth, man, it’s the truth, and uh… I’m learning stuff now that I don’t know if I could have learned it when I was in my 20s, you know. I mean we all think, you know, ‘If I could go back, if I could go back. Shit.’ We’d use to say—I always like to say to people, cause I’m a history freak, you know. When we look back with arrogance on the past and we say, ‘That generation of America sure didn’t know shit.’

‘Well, dude, if you were back then you’d be just as fucking dumb. So don’t’—you know [laughs].

 

PG:                  Absolutely!

 

PH:                  Let’s stop, you know, kidding ourselves. So it’s the same thing I mean—but now I know, [pause] it’s not unchristian. The Christian thing hangs you up to cause you have to love your neighbor and be compassionate and help, help, help. Nothing about this guy here, you know, but then when I think about that I get into my cynical role and I see all kinds of episodes of, I don’t know, you know, sitcoms where, ‘You know I’m really doing me.’ You know, what the fuck?

 

PG:                  [laughing] That’s the fear. That’s the fear—

 

PH:                  Yeah

 

PG:                  We’re gonna be the self-absorbed, new-agey person that—

 

Yeah!

 

PG:                  ‘I need to go discover myself in Sedona.’

 

PH:                  ‘I gotta discover—It’s all about me. It’s, ‘I’ve never done anything for me.’ Yeah, you know. ‘I’m doing me.’ So—yeah, in Sedona [laughs].

 

PG:                  Where is that line? But you know

 

PH:                  Yeah

 

PH:                  Maybe it’s just do it and don’t tell the goddamn world about it. We’ve got so many people advertising their self-awareness that—it’s just boring, you know.

 

PG:                  Yeah, and when it’s presented in a way that is, um, kind of like here’s a program that—

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  you know, to follow. ‘You do this and you do that,’ it becomes to regimented and it becomes to precious for me

 

PH:                  It’s to fucking precious, yeah. It’s almost like, it’s um—it’s pain—it’s easy. You know, let’s face it, man, growth, self-awareness: this is all painful. I mean it’s real pain—

 

PG:                  And awkward and clumsy.

 

PH:                  It’s awkward, yeah.

 

PG:                  Never comes when you think it should—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  Its always a day late, its…

 

PH:                  And you’re not going to be smiling and sitting there at Passes—Passages Malibu and just, like, you know with a waterfall, just, ‘Mhm.’ That’s how it looks man. That commercial just cracks me, because I think that’s how we package self-awareness: It looks like Passages Malibu—

 

PG:                  [laughing] Right.

 

PH:                  with the fucking waterfall and the guy’s just like, ‘Over here you’ll see our rock formation.’

‘Why, I—thank you.’

But where is the Molestation? Where is the violence? Where’s all that shit that brought us to where we are, you know? Um… I wish, man, that I was part of the three percent, you know. I had a very wise man say to me once, and I believe it’s true that, “Only three percent of the human race is aware of the world around them.” Only three percent of the humans doesn’t think about themselves all the time, but they actually see… That’s—

 

PG:                  Do you think its that high? [laughs]

 

PH:                  [laughing] Yeah probably not. Everything is coming from our point of view, you know.

 

PG:                  Filtered through the prism of our needs and our fears—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  and our anger.

 

PH:                  I mean I saw the guy, when I worked in at K-WEST in 1980, Murray, this guy was a stereotype right out of fucking central casting, but he had the little, the little fucking candy stand downstairs. And I came in for Morning Drive Radio on Sunset and Cahuenga, and I was 28 years old. Every morning I would buy a Hershey bar. ‘Phil, what the fuck are you eating? This fucking candy, you know. What? In the morning, man? Why would you do this, Phil?” It was just a, just this—I don’t know why he showed me the tattoo on his wrist, one day, but there it was. “So yeah, I came over here. Yeah I got it.” Like… [pause] You know, that was a concentration camp that man came out of, man, and he’s selling me candy in the morning and just as an after thought he showed me the—”Oh, yeah. Sure. I don’t, don’t, don’t talk about it.”

So now my mind starts thinking about this guy Murray, and I went to that movie The Pawnbroker with Rod Steiger who plays this pawnbroker with this whole history, and I begin to think of—everybody’s history, and every single person that I see, and the history that is there. People say they don’t like history? Yeah they do. They like the history of their lives, you know. They know where they’re from. They know pivotal dates in their life. And that’s good, you know. But I don’t want to think more about them, and less about me. Not that I gotta take care of them. I just want to be aware now, man. Before I croak, I’d like to really open my fucking eyes to this world, man. See what’s there…

But you know, I was doing Bobbie Duly long before I really understood my mother as fully as I do now. Right then, all had there, was the ugly reality of Bobbie which was, [imitating] ‘you know I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a mother breastfeeding her son.’

‘At 15?’

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  ‘How dare you make it sound dirty!’ You know. [laughs] How dare you make it sound—

It’s like Bobbie is—this is my mother all the way. Bobbie one time said, uh, [imitating] ‘you know, once a year I let Steve break out the liquid butter. And—’

‘Oh my God, you’re talking about anal sex—’

‘How dare you!’

‘How dare me?!’ She brought up the butter! That was the thing my mom did!

 

PG:                  That’s the manipulation—

 

PH:                  That’s the manipulation.

 

PG:                  That’s the genius—

 

PH:                  Yeah. The genius of that, insanity—

 

PG:                  Manipulation is to make you feel like you’re the one with the problem.

 

PH:                  You’re the one, yeah—

 

PG:                  My mom used to, she would go and she would buy all these clothes, and then she would want me and my brother to, um, try them all on—

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  But she didn’t want us to go in the bathroom and change. She wanted us to do it there.

 

PH:                  In the store?

 

PG:                  No, no no. She would buy them, go out and buy them and bring them in the family room—

 

PH:                  Ooh.

 

PG:                  All of the clothes. And if we didn’t like them then she would return them. My brother and I are like, ‘We don’t wanna—’

She’s like, ‘Oh, it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,’ But it was like…

 

PH:                  Yeah, man, I can hear ya—

 

PG:                  You know? You just—

 

PH:                  You gotta respect that, if a child at a certain age is saying, “Mom, I don’t want to do this,” you gotta respect that.

 

PG:                  Right.

 

PH:                  And not to respect it’s really weird.

 

PG:                  But to make you feel like you’re the one with the problem—

 

PH:                  You’re the one with the problem—

 

PG:                  For not wanting to take your clothes—

 

PH:                  Exactly.

 

PG:                  off in front of your mom.

 

PH:                  ‘Ooh, what’s wrong with showing your mother your penis?’ You know…

 

PG:                  [laughing] Right.

 

PH:                  Oh God that’s really sick.

 

PG:                  Yeah I mean, you know, it was just in, you know, our underwear, but still you know, you’re 12 years old. You don’t want to be walking around in your underwear when your mom…

 

PH:                  You’re right, man. That’s why when I read of guys, and I read of guys, uh, you know, uh, who had these wonderful relationships with their mother, and ‘my mom, and the greatest person I know is my mom, and my mother was a saint,’ and all this, and I’m thinking, ‘What was that like for you, man? That must have been great.’ You know?

 

PG:                  Yeah. Oh my god!

 

PH:                  Or mothers that were so strong that they were like mother and father. My best friend in the world, uh, Don Olender, uh—and I’m Godson (father) to his son, I’m very proud to say—was raised by a waitress. Five kids and she came home in the morning at five AM, six, seven o’clock cause she worked the overnight shift. She’d take all the tip money out of her pocket, she’d throw it on the table, ‘Kids, go get breakfast.’ So it was a very haphazard—there were kids, there were people sleeping on the floor, friends, and all this stuff and yet, not one of those kids was in jail. Not a one of them was in trouble, they all went to school, they all got their educations, they all are devoted to her. She’s passed on now, but they all were devoted to her to the very, to the bitter end. Um, and they’re all great people. They’re all, every one of them is great people. But she was terrific.

 

PG:                  Yeah.

 

PH:                  She was terrific.

 

PG:                  Do you—

 

PH:                  Anyway, so let’s do our...yeah—

 

PG:                  Yeah, let’s do uh—

 

PH:                  Sorry, man.

 

PG:                  Yeah, let’s do, uh, um, let’s do a, um, lets do a fear, uh fear, a fear off first.

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  Do you feel like you can, uh, Miles Davis some fears for me?

 

PH:                  Yeah, man, I’ll try. Yeah.

 

PG:                  All right. I’ll, uh, I’ll start off. Uh, I for gear—I fear that I will, uh, forget to ask you something and then kick myself later.

 

PH:                  So now I say what I fear?

 

PG:                  Yeah. Doesn’t have to be related—

 

PH:                  Oh—

 

PG:                  to this at all. Um…

 

PH:                  I fear heights.

 

PG:                  I fear that I’m addicted to women’s secrets.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I fear that I, uh, I fear that I won’t be able to get it up the older I get.

 

PG:                  I fear that I will never get the discipline or structure I think I’m working towards.

 

PH:                  I fear that, uh, I fear my show tonight.

 

PG:                  Yeah?

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  You feel like it’s unprepared or you feel this way—

 

PH:                  It’s always—

 

PG:                  Always this way.

 

PH:                  Always, always, always. It’s getting better though. It’s getting way better. I’m learning to really enjoy it. I’m really enjoying my work, but it’s that block at the end of the day, you know?

 

PG:                  Mhm. Uh, I fear that the quality of what I do is slipping and no body is telling me, because they don’t want to hurt my feelings.

 

PH:                  I fear not having success. [pause] I don’t need to be famous, man, you know, I just like what I do. And, you know, I—in my best moments that’s how I think. You know. Yeah [laughs].

 

PG:                  [laughing] Catch you in a bad moment and—

 

PH:                  Catch me in a bad moment I’m just so pissed off at ‘how bad life has treated me.’ Which is not bad at all, really. I do get really frustrated with my industry, the radio industry, there’s a whole lot wrong with it, but I—

 

PG:                  Dude, it’s the worst.

 

PH:                  Yeah—

 

PG:                  It’s the worst—that’s not your imagination

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  It’s run by dullards and lawyers—

 

PH:                  oh, dumb motherfuckers—

 

PG:                  and idiots.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  Um, let’s see how we’re doing on time.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  You know, why don’t we—why don’t we go go—

 

PH:                  Let’s do some—

 

PG:                  into, um, uh—let’s do a couple more fears—

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  and then let’s do some loves. I always like going out with love.

 

PH:                  Love.

 

PG:                  Um…

 

PH:                  [singing] Exciting.

 

PG:                  [laughs] Uh, I’m afraid that, uh, I will never get the number of listeners that I’m hoping for.

 

PH:                  I’m afraid of that too.

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  For you. No [laughs] For you—um, I fear for you, Paul. No, I’m afraid that I will be a… I’ll just be a footnote. I’ll be a nothing, a footnote. Just, ‘Oh, he was,’ you know?

 

PG:                  Right. Oh, and by the way, if I ever stopped to tell my guests how off based their fears are, this show would be eight hours long.

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  So I just let—I’m not going to stop and tell you, uh, that you’re, that you’re wrong.

 

PH:                  Awe, you’re kind.

 

PG:                  Um, I fear that even though I’ve worked hard on my issues people still think I’m arrogant.

 

PH:                  I fear not loving anyone ever again.

 

PG:                  Uh, I fear that my wife is going to turn into a hoarder.

 

PH:                  Oh, it’s a good thing you put D-E-R at the end of that

 

[both laugh]

 

PH:                  You did that on purpose to—no, I fear not having a wife.

 

PG:                  I’m afraid my sex life is downhill from here.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I fear I will not be able to be monogamous.

 

PG:                  Uh, I’m afraid the guys I play hockey with think I’m a controlling, asshole baby.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I fear never having, uh, my friends with me again.

 

PG:                  I’m afraid I will never get the emotional closure for the things that fucked me up.

 

PH:                  [sighs] I fear death.

 

PG:                  Uh, I’m afraid that I’m kidding myself, uh, about whether or not I still objectify women.

 

PH:                  I fear not getting laid [laughs].

 

PG:                  I fear I—

 

PH:                  It’s so funny your stuff is influencing mine. Is that right or wrong?

 

PG:                  [laughs] Oh, that’s all good. It’s all good. Uh, I fear I will not gain the courage needed to do live shows.

 

PH:                  I fear, um, that. No, I fear not being a good actor.

 

PG:                  Uh, I fear that I’m gonna be the coupon-clipping-old-person eating shitty, generic food because I underestimated how hard I needed to work in my life.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I fear violence.

 

PG:                  I fear my memory and hearing are going to be debilitating bad, shockingly soon.

 

PH:                  Mhm. I fear going blind.

 

PG:                  Yeah. Let’s do, uh—

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  some loves.

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  Um, I’ll kick it off. I love, this one is in honor of you, hearing great satire that is so detailed and nuance, other people don’t get it that it makes me feel special and smart—

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  for getting it, and that spending my life in my head and studying people might have some benefits.

 

PH:                  Wow. So when we say these it’s just coming from me?

 

PG:                  It can be any—It can be anything that you—

 

PH:                  I love, I love having sex with women.

 

[both laugh]

 

PH:                  Shit.

 

PG:                  I love bluesy, early 70s ZZ Top.

 

PH:                  I love my, um, my youth.

 

PG:                  I love seeing, uh, an African American person thriving at a job that only white men were allowed to do before.

 

PH:                  Mhm. I love the ocean on a, uh, sunny day. I like to look out and see the sailboats. I love the sound of sea lions.

 

PG:                  I love the feeling after I fix something instead of calling a repairman, or woman.

 

PH:                  I love doing a great show.

 

PG:                  I love playing hockey with a teenager who isn’t a puck-hog.

 

PH:                  [laughs]

 

PG:                  Fucking teenagers are such puck-hogs—

 

PH:                  Puck-hogs [laughs].

 

PG:                  Oh my God.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I love, uh watching, uh, Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor—

 

PG:                  Yeah?

 

PH:                  Soldier Spy. Yeah

 

PG:                  He’s a fucking genius.

 

PH:                  Yeah, he is.

 

PG:                  I love scoring a goal that hits the pipe before going in and hearing that noise that says, ‘Yes, you shot so perfectly it couldn’t have snuck in any better.’

 

PH:                  I love documentaries about World War II. [laughs]

 

PG:                  Hm. I love be able to embrace, instead of hate, the things about me that are not mature.

 

PH:                  I love that I’m taking my weight of, finally.

 

PG:                  I love when a great TV drama fades to black, and you feel respected for your intelligence as a viewer, less alone as a human being, and just plain entertained.

 

PH:                  I love, uh, reading history.

 

PG:                  Hm. Uh, and I’m going to end with this one—

 

PH:                  Okay.

 

PG:                  I love getting able to meet great artist, uh, great artists who aren’t assholes.

 

PH:                  [laughs] I would agree with that one, yeah.

 

PG:                  But I want to thank you—

 

PH:                  Thank you!

 

PG:                  for all the laughter that you’ve brought into, uh, my life. It’s very hard for comedians to finds stuff that makes them laugh in a, uh, in a broadcast medium and you are one of those rare things. So I wanna thank you.

 

PH:                  Thanks, buddy.

 

PG:                  I especially want to thank you for being, um, so frank, and so open and honest. And coming and trusting this show that you weren’t familiar with and just rolling the dice and being you.

 

PH:                  Well, I like anything, uh, of a broadcast nature, of a public performance, or of a public-information nature that’s unique, man. Paul, you’re doing a great service. People need to talk about this. And, uh, people need to talk about this, man.

 

PG:                  We do. It—

 

PH:                  You know, you can watch The Tonight Show and see these down and dirty Charlie Rose interviews, but they aren’t really, they aren’t really—

 

PG:                  It doesn’t really get into—

 

PH:                  It’s not, you know—

 

PG:                  the shit that fucks with us.

 

PH:                  Unless you’re talking about shit that scares you, then you’re not really talking about shit. You know, you’re just, uh—it’s like I used to say, you know, “Unless we’re doing something that scares us, we’re not doing our show right.” You know, we ought to do something that scary, but your show, your podcast here is, in essence, great entertainment, if I may use that word. Cause it is, uh, going places that are scary and that’s the essence of being interesting.

 

PG:                  Well, thanks.

 

PH:                  And we’re doing it here in your lovely living room.

 

PG:                  [laughs]

 

PH:                  And your wife’s keeping the dogs at bay.

 

[both laugh]

 

PG:                  Well, trying.

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  Trying to keep the dogs at bay.

 

PH:                  Yeah

 

PG:                  Thank you and—

 

PH:                  Thank, oh—

 

PG:                  and Phil, people can listen to your show, if you’re in Los Angeles it’s uh—

 

PH:                  KTLK AM 1150 in LA and, uh, we’re on about 120 stations, philhendrieshow.com is a great resource. You go there, you can see the affiliate list and, uh—

 

PG:                  And Hendrie is spelled H-E-N—

 

PH & PG:       D-R-I-E

 

PH:                  Hendrie, yeah. It’s the original family spelling. We probably should have changed it, but we didn’t. There wasn’t an Ellis Island in Canada, so they—uh, yeah, so that’s why they have all those weird names in Canada and we don’t. You know, names like—you ever see that hockey?

 

PG:                  Oh yeah.

 

PH:                  “Bob Norrash, and uh”—What kind of name is Norrash?

 

PG:                  And  a lot of names that end in “Chuck.”

 

PH:                  In “Chuck,” yeah. I think it’s cause they didn’t have an Ellis Island. Some guy fuckin’ with the names.

 

PG:                  Probably [laughs]—

 

PH:                  But—[laughs]

 

PG:                  Well, uh thanks—

 

PH:                  It’s been my pleasure brother.

 

PG:                  Thanks for being my—

 

PH:                  Can I ask you something, man?

 

PG:                  Sure.

 

PH:                  Where do you get mail from, man? Where do you hear—people all over the world?

 

PG:                  All over the world.

 

PH:                  No shit.

 

PG:                  Yeah. It’s really—

 

PH:                  It’s heavy.

 

PG:                  it’s really—there’s nothing like knowing that you are connected to a human being on the other side of the planet that feels the same pain that you’re feeling—

 

PH:                  That’s going through the same thing, man. Yeah—

 

PG:                  its, its deep—

 

PH:                  Yeah.

 

PG:                  It’s deep, and it takes away that lonely, broken feeling like nothing else.

 

PH:                  Awesome.

 

PG:                  Yeah. Thanks—

 

PH:                  All right, Paul. Thanks, buddy.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

PG:                  Many thanks to, uh, to Phil Hendrie that was, uh, really treat for me. I hope you guys enjoyed that. Fucking boundary chippers. Man! Nothing wears you down like a boundary chipper, and, uh, if somebody’s doing that to you, uh, stick up for yourself. [laughing] Listen to me. I waited till I was 49 years old. What the fuck am I talking about. Oh my God. It’s like the guy with sand in his face going, “Hey! What the fuck, man?” Stop gettin’—stop gettin’ sand kicked in your face.“ [laughs] Oh, uh my God.

Before I take it out with a listener survey I want to, uh—oh I got an email from a woman, um, named, where the hell is it? Her name is Rebecca, and she sent me an email. I’ll just read you a little bit of it:

 

“Dear Paul,

I want to start of by thanking you for creating this podcast. I just listened to your most recent episode and found it to be immensely supportive in terms of what I’m currently dealing with. Your recent struggles also struck in me a very deep chord. Thank you for sharing. Although our life experiences are different, I found that our need for validation and reassurance to be in congruence.”

 

She then goes on the explain that she’s 25 and she’s in therapy, but she’s gotta verbally abusive father who’s constantly raging at her, cutting her down, makes her clean the house, you know, late into the night and then no body in the family talks about it. And she doesn’t really know how to, um, talk to her friends about this: she’s afraid to open up about this. And I understand that, because there are certain friends that we have that we never get below a surface level. And if we don’t have those other friends, what do we do? That’s an interesting question and I’m not sure I have an answer for that. You know, my first instinct was to say find—well you know, maybe ask them to listen to this show and ask them if its something that interests them. If they think this show is hokey and a bunch a horse-shit, then no, I wouldn’t open up to this person, but if they enjoy this show then I would think that would be the type of person you could have a conversation, uh, about something like that. And if you don’t want to ask to listen to this show, you know, if you see an article in a magazine, or something that somebody has written get their take on it, and then use then that, maybe, as kind of a way in to open up that conversation instead of just, you know, sitting down at coffee and going, you know, ‘My uncle used to put his thumb in my ass. So uh, how’s your cappuccino?’ You know, that would definitely freak people out.

[pause]

 

Um, a couple of different ways that—I like that awkward pause after that weird thumb-in-the-ass-cappuccino thing that—now I’m really self conscious when I make a sexual joke cause I’m thinking that everybody in the audience is going, ‘Awe, that’s the Paul that was diddled with, that was—that’s broken, that’s broken Paul, trying to cover of the pain with a dick joke.’

I want to remind you guys that there’s a couple—Before I—I have a survey response I want to talk it out with, but before I do that OI want to remind you that there’s a couple of different ways that you can support this show. You can go to our website mentalpod.com, we have an Amazon link there. So if you’re going to buy something in Amazon, buy it through our link. We get a couple of nickels, doesn’t cost you anything, and that really adds up especially since I’ve been unemployed for a while. Any income coming in from this is greatly appreciated. I’ve shared before that my dream is to make this my full-time job. I gotta really, really nice email from somebody—because the other two ways you can support this show: you can support us non financially by going to iTunes and giving us a good rating and writing something nice that boosts our ranking and brings more people to the show, and the third was you can support us is the financial way and you can make a donation to the show. And I got an email from a woman named Stacy, and—where the hell is it? Here it is. And she writes,

 

“Dear Paul,

With some million downloads on your podcast I can guess you are feeling something love form your listeners, but when I went to your website to show my love in terms of a donation it wasn’t a full experience. One of my lessons I have learned form creating my own community building project of a bread oven and a park here in my village, is that you need to make it easy for people to give easy and continuously. I tried to give to your podcast monthly and there wasn’t a button for this. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m guessing your humble-self is not feeling comfortable asking people to commit to supporting you. So rather that you someday giving up the podcast I am wondering if your tech dude could sort this out. As an artist I make about 12 cents an hour on a good day, but for me one or two interviews a week, at maybe two dollars a show, times four weeks of the month, for me is a 10 dollar a month value. A worthy amount I would like to organize giving to you, because I can’t get that kind of free insight into my own psyche for that cheap. Truly. I am sure there are others who concur with my frustration and be moved to donate to your podcast on a continuous basis. We all know that you are humble to the core”—I don’t know about that [laughs]—” but enough of that now and at least get your website workable and provide the opportunity to donate what you can, as you can monthly. You should ask these questions, Paul. People want to give in this way they just need to be reminded what the possibilities could be. Not suggesting anything to us actually takes away an opportunity for people to give. Warmly, from Stacy in Elora, Ontario - The prettiest town in Canada.”

 

Stacy, thank you so much. I took your suggestion to heart and I had Stig Greve, my web guy who works for free, who I’m so grateful for, he put a monthly button up there now. So you can do a recurring monthly donation anywhere from five to 25 dollars a month. I didn’t know what to make the window. Um, but I thought that that was a—whatever people wanted to do on a recurring basis, it would probably fall within the window. So that would be awesome if you guys felt so obliged to go do that. That would make me very happy, and if not, that’s okay too.

 

I’m going to take it off with a survey respondent, and this guy calls himself “I am me.”  He’s straight, he’s in his 30s. He was raised in a dysfunctional, little dysfunctional environment. Never bee sexually abused. Deepest darkest thoughts, “I know a lot of older single women who live alone. Either by divorce or just lonely. Sometimes I think sex with these type of women would be gratifying and would rejuvenate their desire. Unfortunately, I believe I would get off on this.” I don’t know why you have to qualify that as being unfortunate. If older women turn you on I say, “Have at it!” I don't really know how you would break the ice with a women who is much older than you. Maybe you bring by a nice Danish, um, I don’t know how you get her out of the housecoat. You know, maybe you say something like, “Is the fish fresh?” and then you know, she’ll say, “What?” You do like they did in The Marathon Man. “Is the fish fresh?” Eventually she’ll know what you’re talking about. [whispering] They all do. [laughs] Oh my god. [laughs] It feels good to laugh after—after almost two weeks of—and I’m not out of the woods. I am not out of the woods by a long shot. I am still—it is a fuckin‘ roller coaster. But God damnit it feels good to have you guys on my side, and you know the coolest thing about last week is that it felt like the show was reversed. It felt like my show was the letter and your guys‘ emails to me was the show in response and, fuck it felt good. And so maybe not I know how you guys feel when you write me those nice letters and tell me what the show means to—oh know now you’re probably think I need to donate to you. Fuck that.

 

All right if you’re out there and you’re stuck [laughs], you’re not alone. So not alone. Don’t give up. Thanks for listening.

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