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Episode 15: Jimmy Dore
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Comedian Jimmy Dore talks to Paul about growing up Catholic in a violent and segregated Chicago neighborhood with 11 siblings.   Who knew that attending mass could lead to depression, panic attacks, fistfights, robbery and an empty feeling following success?


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Episode Transcript:
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Jimmy Dore
Episode 15

Paul: Welcome to Episode 15 with my guest Jimmy Dore. I’m Paul Gilmartin. This is the Mental Illness Happy Hour, an hour of honesty about all the battles in our heads, from medically diagnosed conditions to everyday compulsive negative thinking, feelings of dissatisfaction, disconnection, 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.

But first, a few notes. Please visit the website. It’s mentalpod.com. If you would follow me on Twitter, that would be awesome. My Twitter name is @mentalpod as well and the fun thing about doing that is now, when I’m interviewing somebody, I’m gonna start tweeting, asking you guys for your fears so when I do a fear off with somebody, I’ll be able to use your fears and you can compete against the person. That would be pretty cool. I recorded this episode with Jimmy Dore, actually a couple of months ago, before I started doing fear offs. So unfortunately there’s not one here. Take the survey on the website, that helps me get to know you better. And, you can also look at the results and see how other people have responded. And, I think—oh, we’re no longer able to have a search engine for Amazon because I guess some law passed, and Amazon has cancelled it, at least for California where I live. So, but you still can financially donate to the show if you so wish. If you’d like to support the show non-financially go to iTunes and give us a good rating. That helps boost our ranking and brings more people to the show, which we like. And speaking of the survey, in response to the question ‘If there is a God, what would you say to God?’ responder #614 on the survey said, “Man, did you fuck this one up.”

[show intro]

Paul: I’m here with longtime friend Jimmy Dore. I’m glad you could find time in your busy schedule of getting high and making fun of right wing people to come.

Jimmy: I make fun of left wing people too.

Paul: You do too. You actually get angrier at left wing people.

Jimmy: Of course.

Paul: But this is the one thing that I do know about this podcast is I want it to be apolitical, so we’re gonna avoid talking about that because [announcer voice], ‘mental illness crosses all boundaries, Jimmy.’

Jimmy: Well, ok, I mean, all art is political. Even a decision to not be political is a political decision.

Paul: Yeah, but my—

Jimmy: I’m making a joke.

Paul: Oh, ok. I was gonna say, ‘cause my intention isn’t necessarily to make art with this podcast. If it happens to be, that’s awesome.

Jimmy: Oh really?

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: Oh, ok so this is more of a news/information...

Paul: No, it’s more of just something that feels good to me and I hope feels good to other people and makes them feel less alone.

Jimmy: Oh, ok.

Paul: That’s kind of my hope.

Jimmy: Ok.

Paul: I’m not really sure what it is. I’m kind of finding it as I go. But you and I have been honest with each other over the years. We’ve known each other 20+ years and we’ve always been pretty honest with each other about what we’re feeling, about our foibles, our shortcomings. We make fun of each other, we make fun of ourselves. And you know, that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy your friendship. You were sharing a story with me the other night as you and your wife and I were walking to dinner, and—Is there a way that you could give us a condensed version of this story? Because I think it might be an interesting place to start.

Jimmy: Well, I was just talking about my neighborhood that I grew up in? That’s the story you were talking about?

Paul: No, the one that happened a couple of days ago. And then we’ll get to your neighborhood.

Jimmy: [laughs] Oh, that one.

Paul: Because I think they’re related.

Jimmy: [laughs] Ok. I was packing to come to this comedy festival and I’m standing in my living room. I live in Pasadena, just a couple of blocks down from the Rose Bowl, right by the Ice House Comedy Club. Anyway, and so I look out my window and I see this guy just walk up my driveway, get in my car, open my passenger side door and start going through my glove box. And so I didn’t know what—instead of just calling the cops, I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do?

Paul: Right. [laughs]

Jimmy: It just seems silly, like I was supposed to sit there and let this guy go through my car and wait for someone else to show up? It just seems silly to me. So I went out there. I just went out there.

Paul: Uh huh.

Jimmy: And, you know, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: And I did not go out there with a plan.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: I didn’t know what to do. I was just confronting him. So I come out and he sees me as I cross in front of the car, and he starts laughing and he’s about 25 years old, about 6’2”, 185, and he starts to get out, he says, ‘dude, I was just looking for a light!’ So, long story short, I—

Paul: And what kind of energy did you greet him with?

Jimmy: I was swearing at the top of my lungs, and, you know, ‘what the eff are you doing here?’

Paul: You can say ‘fuck’ here.

Jimmy: Oh, ok. ‘What the fuck are you doing here?’ And ‘motherfucker, get out of my neighborhood!’ And he’s like ‘oh [unintelligible]’ I went through his pockets to make sure he wasn’t—he had a stolen cd player from somebody else’s car.

Paul: Well, you’re assuming it was stolen. I think most people probably agree. The chances are it was probably stolen if he was looking through that stuff—

Jimmy: He had a screwdriver in his pocket. Which, that sounds—

Paul: He must not have been too hardened of a criminal because he’s letting you go through his pockets.

Jimmy: Yeah, he was letting me go through—I was really like, ’wow.’ There was part of me watching me do it, like ‘wow, you’re pretty ballsy, what are you doing?’ But the other part of me was like, ‘well if you don’t do this, you’re a pussy, you’re not protecting your house and you’re not—you’re gonna let this guy walk all over you?’ And ‘what are you doing?’ Well, you know, I forgot that I’m not the guy who I was five, or ten… or even five years ago, who when I used to be strong Jimmy. I used to be 5’10” 180 pounds myself. And some people would say that’s overweight. I don’t. I was very happy. Looked good in a suit.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: And so I had—

Paul: How would you describe yourself now?

Jimmy: I would describe myself as shorter and skinny.

Paul: Ok.

Jimmy: I went from probably 5’10” to 5’8.” [laughs]

Paul: You had some issues with bone degeneration that was really, really trying.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Paul: I remember coming over to your apartment when you were in the worst of it and it was hard to watch because you were in so much mental and physical pain from this.

Jimmy: It was unbelievable.

Paul: I can’t imagine what it was like. You were in excruciating pain all the time and they didn’t know what was the matter with you.

Jimmy: Well, that’s the thing, you find out that doctors will tell you—they’ll do three things. They’ll either tell you what they think they have—they’ll guess—or they’ll make something up, or they’ll blame you and tell you ‘it’s all in your head.’

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: So they’ll never just say “I don’t know. I don’t know, you should go see this guy. I don’t know.’ And I found that out. But, you know—anyway, so long story short, again—

Paul: So that’s how you lost the two inches of—

Jimmy: Yeah, so I had—

Paul: And you know you have a little bit of arthritis, you don’t move like you used to.

Jimmy: Yeah, right, so I’m not myself. So, I’m probably 35 pounds lighter, and lost some bone in my spine. [laughs] That’s nice. But in my head I’m still my old self, and then this guy quickly realizes that he can overpower me and he does. And he throws me down and I dislocate my finger [laughs] and skinned my knee pretty badly and hurt my hip like a son of a bitch. And as I’m down, I’m like ‘what am I doing?’ What are my—

Paul: You should mention too, that up to this point you just kept shoving this guy and yelling at him. And not that he didn’t deserve it, but it might not have been the smartest move, tactically—

Jimmy: Oh I didn’t know what I was doing. And then he took my phone ‘cause I was calling 911, and he goes around the corner and he throws it down. I just hear him go, ‘your phone’s right here’ as he’s leaving. I can’t believe the guy didn’t turn around and run. Just run! You know, run. You can outrun me.

Paul: I’m a criminal but nice enough to let you know where to find your phone, that he didn’t ruin.

Jimmy: Paul, I’m—

Paul: I could have punched you.

Jimmy: That’s what bothered me. Yeah, he could have punched me in the face. I think he knew, though, that—he might have had a record and he knew if he got violent with me. That’s what I was thinking afterwards, ‘why didn’t he?’ and  ‘why didn’t he do that? If he’s a big enough jerk to be going into peoples’—so I’m like ‘Why didn’t he do that?’ And I’m thinking ‘Maybe he has already a record and he knows if he gets caught with another violent...’

Paul: Yeah. My guess is that he’s a little ashamed about what he’s doing and part of him wants to stop because he could’ve—your phone wouldn’t have added anything to it.

Jimmy: Right.

Paul: And he was nice about your phone, which makes me think—he sounds like somebody that’s maybe just kind of in over his head financially, or something. Anyway—doesn’t matter—so continue. It’s a puzzlement to me though, what—all this stuff that happens.

Jimmy: So that happened, and that’s the end of that story, right?

Paul: Right, but then we were talking and, of course, I immediately have to, you know, be opinionated and I said to you, “And when you were pushing this guy and yelling at him, did you just picture your dad’s face on him?” You know, and then I apologized afterwards ‘cause I was like, ‘Ah, that was such an asinine thing for me to say.’ But I know your story—the childhood that you went through. Anger was peoples’ tool for dealing with everything.

Jimmy: Yeah, I think that—what I got in common—like, in my neighborhood, I grew up in a—

Paul: Describe your neighborhood.

Jimmy: Southwest side of Chicago, it’s a really blue-collar neighborhood. And I think people would—it’s kind of like Southy in Boston.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: And so there’s a lot of racism and—I’ll give an example of it. It’s democratic. They used to call it the ‘democratic party machine’ in Chicago. And it was always democratic and everybody in the City Council was a Democrat, the mayor was a Democrat, everybody’s a democrat. And then, one year, two white guys—people—ran for mayor in the democratic primary and the third guy was a black guy, Harold Washington. Well, the two white people canceled each other out and the black guy won the democratic nomination. So now we were gonna have a black mayor, ‘cause it’s a democratic city.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: Well, for the first time ever, everybody in my Ward—in the 23rd Ward in Chicago—90% of them voted for a Republican.

Paul: Really?

Jimmy: Yeah. Remember that, Bernie Epton? Do you remember that—Bernie Epton?

Paul: I do.

Jimmy: He lost. It was a close race. I mean, a Republican never got more than two votes for mayor in Chicago, right? You know, it would be 12% of the vote every year—would get the republican vote in Chicago for mayor. And it was just like a token thing, and they would give him press coverage. But this time, he almost won.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: And it was really close.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: So that’s the kind of—

Paul: ‘Cause Chicago is still to this day—especially the South Side—

Jimmy: It’s segregated.

Paul: —extremely segregated.  There are neighborhoods where, if you cross the street, all of a sudden you’re in danger, as opposed to the other side of the street and—

Jimmy: There was the 47th street was the dividing line in my neighborhood. If you crossed 47th, you got what was coming to you, I guess.

Paul: Yeah. And, I grew up in Homewood, which was more suburban, but mine was the first predominantly white community as you headed south. It was all African American until a half mile before mine. Oh, it was literally on the other side of the tracks. [Jimmy laughs] And it was. And we grew up with this fear instilled in us that ‘they’re different, you know it’s dangerous, it’s bad,’ and you don’t know any better. So, you and I were both raised in that environment, until we began to hang around people that were different than us and see that it was a lie.

Jimmy: Comedy, you know, comedy—I grew up on the South Side and everything on the North Side was gay. I mean, really. It was unbelievable. To the point it made it hard for me to perform in my neighborhood. Because I would watch the comedians who went on before me, and it would make me, like angry at them. The crowd for laughing at— you know, the whole—it was just—I don’t want to sit here and denigrate my neighborhood because there were a lot of great people in my neighborhood. It was just how people react. They had problems with race in Chicago. They had scattered site housing and they would put—which sounds good on paper but it didn’t work. I mean, it’s just a hard thing to deal with. They’re still dealing with it today. So I’m not saying that there’s anything in their DNA that makes them react any different than anybody else would react. I’m just saying that was the reality I grew up with. There were dividing lines of neighborhoods between black and white. You know, I went to a Catholic school and there was a few black kids in our class, just a few—maybe three—and they weren’t treated—none of us were treated that well. But they were certainly treated a little differently.

Paul: And we should also talk about the police, the Chicago police, who don’t have a history of being the most progressive and, while I’m sure there are tons of great people in the force, I’m just gonna give you a couple examples. I had a friend who was a lawyer and had to deal with police a lot. And he said that they would refer to the blacks as ‘shitskins.’ Police. They’re supposed to be protecting the people. I got thrown in jail one time. I was underage, we were drinking outside a Blackhawks game, and we had to bail ourselves out of jail. And so we only had enough money for one of our guys to get out, and then he was gonna go get more bail money for the rest of us. And it was at 35th and Wood, which is a tough fuckin’ neighborhood. And he asked the white police sergeant how he could get back to his car, could he walk to the stadium, back to the car. And the policeman laughed at him and I apologize I’m gonna use these two words. But the cop said to him, laughing ‘if the niggers don’t get you the spics will.’

Jimmy: [laughs] Yes, that’s—

Paul: So this—

Jimmy: But I don’t think that’s unique to just Chicago.

Paul: I don’t either, but a lot of people think that once you get into a big metropolitan area it’s not the sticks and there isn’t that KKK mentality. Yes, there absolutely is, it’s just, it’s in pockets. And you were raised in one of those pockets. That’s what I’m trying to get to. To give people a taste of—yes, it’s a cosmopolitan city in many ways but there are also these entrenched little islands of intense hatred and ignorance.

Jimmy: Yes that is true.

Paul: But let’s get back to the neighborhood. So, you were kind of raised with this—your tool for everything was just a big, blunt tool of anger.

Jimmy: Well it was—

Paul: Am I wrong in saying that?

Jimmy: Well, I didn’t realize—I was happy and I was lucky to be—I was healthy, handsome and [chuckles]—

Paul: Still are handsome!

Jimmy: — I had good parents and so—and I was athletic and I had a sense of humor. I think, I certainly developed it at a young age, of constantly wanting to be funny, to get attention because—

Paul: Yes, you come from a family of—

Jimmy: 12 kids. So I had six older brothers. I was the youngest boy and I couldn’t beat them up or be a tough guy. But looking back at it, you know, I certainly was in a lot of scrapes as a kid and everybody fought in my neighborhood. Everybody beat the shit out of each other all the time.

Paul: What was the name of your neighborhood?

Jimmy: Vitham Park. You’d get in fights with people just because they were from another neighborhood. But it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t, you know, we’d all play football, we’d all—you know, no pads, tackle football, no pads—

Paul: Oh yeah, so did we.

Jimmy: And that’s crazy but we did it and then, you know, I was on the wrestling team and all that stuff. I mean, we were men. And so, when I get to Hollywood—or when I got in comedy, I started to meet these people who grew up on the North Side of Chicago, who were in comedy, and they were really like—to see that my energy really kind of scared them, could make them uncomfortable, put it that way. I don’t know if it scared them—

Paul: Yeah, you were known as a hothead when we were starting out. It was like, ‘oh, Jimmy got in another fistfight tonight. He got in somebody’s face because they wouldn’t book him.’

Jimmy: [laughs]

Paul: I remember you went after—Aro Donald was booking the Improv and, ‘Oh yeah, Jimmy took a swing at him at Burton Place. Jimmy took a swing at Pat Francis because it was something about a girl.’ You took a lot of swings at a lot of people.

Jimmy: Yeah, I wasn’t afraid to take a swing at people. That’s just how, you know, somebody does something to you, you confront them. Or else you aren’t a man, that’s how I was socialized.

Paul: And what do you believe today? Do you still think that there’s an element to that? ‘Cause I mean it just happened last week, but were you just kind of in a moment of not really being conscious of it? Or was it ‘this isn’t the right thing to do but I don’t know what else to do. I’m gonna go ahead with it?’

Jimmy: I didn’t know what—yeah, I didn’t know what I was doing, obviously. I have never confronted a criminal before.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: So yeah, and I was like—I just wanted to make sure I was covering it. I was doing it correctly.

Paul: If you had to go back and do it again would you have called 911?

Jimmy: Yes, immediately. I would have called 911 right away. I would have went out there, got a description of the guy, and say ‘Ok, I know what you look like. I already called the cops and I’m not gonna fight you.’ That’s what I will do next time. ‘I already called the cops. They’re on their way. I know what you look like. Ok, I’ll see you.’

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: That’s what I should have done.

Paul: Right. Well that’s good that you can see that because for a lot of comedians, I think our choices in life for probably our first 30+ years are driven by anger, sadness, loneliness, you know, whatever our demons are. We just—we don’t even think. We’re so narcissistic, we don’t even consider the world around us or the greater implications of what we’re doing in the moment, because we’re so driven by our emotions. We’re so damaged emotionally, in a lot of ways. Maybe I should just speak for myself. Is that something that you—

Jimmy: [laughs] You know, Paul, I didn’t have any awareness. And it was comedy that gave me that awareness of the kind of guy I was.

Paul: And your comedy is so different than it was when you first started out. You started out kind of just as a joke teller but there was no soul to it. And, sometime around, what five, ten years ago? You started taking on issues, kind of championing the underdog, and I was blown away that you had kind of morphed into this comic with a conscience. Which is not easy to do on the road, where people just want to hear dick jokes. And you were up there talking about political stuff and kind of making a stand and I take my hat off to you ‘cause I know sometimes—you were just saying the other day you watched Kyle Kinane kill and he’s a great comic. He tells jokes and you had a—

Jimmy: I was envious of him because I’m like, ‘oh you know what, he’s just having fun.’ He’s just going up there and he’s just telling—it reminded me of myself when I was at the Aspen Comedy Festival. And I was just a guy going up there telling funny stories about my life. And it was, and life was good. And people wanted to be around me. And it was great. And then, now I feel like sort of burdened almost, like I have to—I can only talk about things that matter all the time. And it made me think, it made me—like watching Kyle Kinane—made me think about what I wanted to do more.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: And I’m not sure, you know, I’m never sure.

Paul: Well, it’s funny because you’ve built a career. You have a one hour Comedy Central special that airs—

Jimmy: Award winning.

Paul: Yeah, award winning.

Jimmy: Thank you.

Paul: And I’m sure your parents gave you all the accolades you fantasized about.

Jimmy: [laughs] That’s another thing.

Paul: Let’s talk about that.

Jimmy: Can I say, though, we talked about—I had a reputation as a hothead. It was through comedy that I became aware that I had anger. I didn’t know I was angry.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: And it was only through people reflecting back to me—and I didn’t know I came off as a dummy. I think I had a—well I know I had a very thick—

Paul: I don’t think people could see your soul because it didn’t come through in your comedy, and it certainly didn’t come through in all the bridges you burned and the fights you picked.

Jimmy: Right...no, Right. I didn’t—and that’s why I think Graham Elwood and I became such fast friends, because we had the same temperament. And, it didn’t like—anger doesn’t scare us. It doesn’t make me uncomfortable, you know. Somebody’s angry—

Paul: Feels familiar.

Jimmy: Feels very familiar, yes. And so my dad’s dad was an alcoholic.

Paul: Yep. Were either of your parents alcoholics?

Jimmy: No, so my dad did much better than his father. My dad was a good guy.

Paul: Did your dad ever get help for the—

Jimmy: No he grew up in the—before any of that stuff. He didn’t get help, he didn’t even know what—you know, the guy lost the presidential election ‘cause he cried once. You know, when my dad was already a grown man. So, no—

Paul: Who lost the presidential—

Jimmy: Muskie, he got off the vice—he was the vice president, remember, for McGovern and he cried once because he, anyway, in public and that was the end of it. So no, my dad—the joke part I tell about it is ‘my dad didn’t drink at all so, he had two emotions: angry and not angry yet.’

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: [laughs] And because, you know, he didn’t drink so we never got to have any of those fun drunk times.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: We just had all the miserable—

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: But my dad had 12 kids, he was a blue-collar guy, he worked two jobs, sometimes three, to support everybody. And he did, he supported everybody. And then he managed to take a month vacation every year. A month! But that was, you know, when people used to get a month off from work. My dad was a cop so you have a month off.

Paul: Now you get a vacation, it’s called being laid off.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, you just don’t go anywhere and you sit around and worry all day. It’s not really equivo—So we were all—and we grew up at a time when people—it was normal to hit your kids. And, you know, ‘cause people had more kids. When you have one or two kids you obsess on them and you treat them more like real people, and you care about their emotions. When you have 10-12 kids in the house, you don’t have time to care about someone’s fuckin’ emotions. You don’t have time. You know, people always ask me ‘what’s it like growing up in a big family?’ I don’t know ‘cause I didn’t grow up in a small family and I have nothing to compare it to.

Paul: I always fantasized about having a big family and thinking how great it would be.

Jimmy: There are great parts, yes.

Paul: I had two—it was just me and my brother and there was always a quiet—you know, I joked that my family was like the movie Ordinary People without the big laughs. You know, it was just kind of devoid of—

Jimmy: [laughs] I had to remember that movie, that’s why it took me a second.

Paul: Devoid of joy, a lot of tense silence and when I would visit, because we had a lot of large Catholic families at my grade school, when I would go visit there it was everything I wanted. There was noise, there was laughter, yeah there was drama—

Jimmy: Yes, a lot of drama.

Paul: —there was fighting and yelling but at least there was something. And there was also a dynamic, and I wonder if your family had this. The large Catholic schools—the Catholic families—that’s where trouble was made into an art form. Because the younger brothers watched the older brothers and they were the ones that told us ‘oh, here’s how you drink beer, here’s how you smoke cigarettes, here’s how you break into this or you do that.’ So, was your family, did you learn how to get into trouble from your older brothers and share it with your peers?

Jimmy: Oh, definitely. We were all, you know, we all felt like we were part of a criminal class and when you go to a Catholic school and you’re the youngest boy, you’re a marked man because you already had six Dores go through in front of me plus my sisters, and they weren’t all angels either. So, that’s why when I went to St. Lawrence it was great because I got to make my own reputation, not any of my siblings went to that school. So I got to make my own reputation. It was a really good experience to do that because I found out people could like me, who were an authority. But I still have a problem with authority today.

Paul: Really? I’m saying sarcastically. Why did you go to St. Lawrence and your other siblings didn’t? Were you smart?

Jimmy: I don’t know why. Yeah, I felt like I was smarter—

Paul: ‘Cause Catholic schools are not cheap.

Jimmy: Yeah. So I felt like I was—and my mom wanted me to go and so I went. I took the entrance exam and I went and I knew I was gonna go to college, I don’t know why, I just always—so I was like I don’t want to go to the public school. They weren’t that good in my neighborhood.

Paul: Let’s talk about depression a little bit because anger is so closely related to depression. There’s a saying that ‘depression is anger turned inwards.’ Do you feel like you’re somebody that has depression?

Jimmy: Yeah.

Paul: Ok, can you talk about it a little bit?

Jimmy: Yeah, I didn’t know it runs in my family. Of course, they didn’t bother to tell me that until I was in the middle of a major depression and I was like, ‘wow it would have helped me out if you told me this.’

Paul: Who had it in your family?

Jimmy: You know, aunts, uncles, my dad had it, a sister—

Paul: Did anybody get any kind of treatment for it?

Jimmy: Yeah, my sister—I had an older sister who did and um—

Paul: And how did the family view that? They didn’t feel any kind of shame or looked down on her or think, you know, ‘you’re weak—‘

Jimmy: My one sister had some hard times, you know, she was always a little more unstable than everybody else. We always kind of looked out for her and worried about her and what have you. And but that’s just because she went through depression at a younger age than the rest of us, I think.

Paul: How is she today?

Jimmy: She’s—she’s a born again Christian. And she doesn’t take any meds and she’s had some big tragedy in her life. She had a daughter who died.

Paul: Wow. And does it seem like she has found something that helps her in—

Jimmy: Yes, her religion. I have a niece also the same way. She was bipolar and hard to medicate and always having episodes and then she found God and she’s born again and that seems to do it for them. I don’t know how but that does seem to do it. I think it’s, you know, I know with me, that it’s my anxiety that leads to depression. Like, I get into worrying and anxiousness about the future. I live in the future or the past. And I’m either living in fear of the future or regret about the past. And those are two really fun places to be.

Paul: Yeah, there is such a link, in my mind and a lot of other peoples’, between depression and spirituality. There is a depression that no amount of spirituality can cure, you know, a physical depression. But there is also, I think, a situational depression that spirituality is the only thing that can cure, in my mind.

Jimmy: Well, it makes me you know—it’s kind of like—I mean I wish I could go back and not—I wish I could be religious but I can’t.

Paul: But I don’t think you have to be religious. I think you probably got a feeling when you started doing your material that meant more to you. You probably got a little bit of a feeling of peace and self-worth when you started talking about things that you thought maybe might just make the world a tiny bit better. Am I wrong?

Jimmy: Um, Paul, let me just put it to you this way. My life has exceeded my dreams in many ways.

Paul: Yes.

Jimmy: And I still manage to be miserable most of the time.

Paul: [laughs] And I get the sense that maybe there is something in you that is wanting something that’s maybe not good for you?

Jimmy: [laughs]

Paul: That’s just going to make you want more of it.

Jimmy: Yeah, well you know I’m finding that out. You know, like I didn’t plan my life past an hour special. That was it. That was my goal—

Paul: And you got it. And you were probably happy for a little while, but now it’s ‘what next?’ right?

Jimmy: Well, I thought, yeah I didn’t know there would be a ’what next?’ It didn’t dawn on me. It’s like Brett Favre—‘I don’t want to win the Superbowl.’ Once you do you’re like, ‘ok, well whatever happens after that I’ll be ok, I already won one.’ That’s how I felt but I still have the rest of my life to live now. I can’t retire and announce comedy.

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: Which is what I want to do.

Paul: And you have a gift, so why should you? Hanging around with you at this festival, so many people have come up to you and just gushed over your podcast and how much they love it, and your radio show. And yet you are still have this deeply unsatisfied thing in you.

Jimmy: It’s rotten. You know, they say ‘depression is anger at the self,’ right? So I noticed that—again, only through working with other people—that I’m hard on myself. I didn’t realize—I just thought that’s how you, I guess you internalize stuff from your parents, right? But it wasn’t just my parents, it was my neighborhood, you know. And I talk about how we do this physical discipline in people’s houses in my neighborhood where I grew up. But, you’d go to school they’d hit you, they’d hit you in church. Depression is anger at the self, right?

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: And don’t you think most comics—

Paul: Have you tried therapy?

Jimmy: Yeah...it’s just hard to find a good therapist. They all seem just as screwed up as me, and nobody seems—

Paul: What’s the longest you’ve ever stuck with therapy? With a single therapist?

Jimmy: Ummm...I don’t know, maybe six months. I saw this one guy. He was alright. But they’re all, you know, I had one psychiatrist [laughs], she would fall asleep. She would fall asleep every time—

Paul: Really.[laughs, whispers] Really?

Jimmy: Her eyes would start to kind of close and I’d go ‘Pamela, what are you doing?’ And she’d say, ‘no I’m just thinking.’ and I’m like ‘you’re not thinking.’ And I was really in a depression so it took a while for me to be able to talk back to her and then like the third time I just go, “PAMELA!” and she was like ‘huh?’ and I was like ‘I’m gone.’

Paul: No! Wow, that had to be—really hurt!

Jimmy: And she wanted to do and episode over—not an episode… [announcer’s voice] ’We’re gonna do an episode of Jimmy’s Therapy. And the next episode—’

Paul: It’s an all new Jimmy—

Jimmy: ‘—on the episode of Jimmy’s Nuts.’ So she was—she wanted to do our weekly therapy—she couldn’t be in the office, she wanted to do it over the phone. And I didn’t want it, I hesitated and she was like, ‘no I’ve done it before, it’s ok.’ I was like ‘ok.’ Well of course. Of course right in the middle her phone cuts out. Of course. Of course! And then I had to get her back. And I was just like ‘what the f—’

Paul: Yeah, you gotta try a different therapist. ‘Cause there’s good ones, there’s really good ones out there. Ones that have really helped people find what they need.

Jimmy: I can’t believe, Paul—since a young man, I don’t know why I was always a seeker, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra. It all started with Leo Buscaglia. I used to see him on PBS. And so I get interested in that stuff. And there’s a lot to that. Like if you can focus your thinking—it’s all about being able to focus your thinking, but it’s amazing that all that knowledge hasn’t helped me.

Paul: ‘Cause it’s not about knowledge. That’s the thing that took me 40 years to realize, is there’s the physical world, there’s the mental world and then there’s the spiritual world. And the spiritual world is completely unconnected to intelligence. And trying to reach that through intellect is a dead end street and it’s why a lot of—

Jimmy: I know. That’s why the smartest people in the world can build nuclear bombs.

Paul: Yeah, exactly.

Jimmy: It really is, right? It’s why Christopher Hitchens can defend the Iraq War, right? That’s what that’s about. And so, yeah, so that’s why—I was just talking to somebody about that movie, The Matrix. And they were saying how it ruined it for them that Keanu Reeves was the central character in that. And I was like, ‘No, that makes the movie.’ And they were like ‘How?’ Because it shows you that you’re not gonna reach enlightenment through intellect. You’re only gonna reach it through courage.

Paul: Wow.

Jimmy: And that’s—he didn’t have intellect, he’s a dope and he isn’t even a good actor—no, I think he’s a good actor. But to me, that really is a metaphor for—even that guy that is like ‘Oh, don’t you think the studio made them choose him?’ Well even if they did it was a happy accident for me. Because yeah, there could have been a more interesting actor in that role but I liked the fact that he’s kind of dimwitted.

Paul: Yes.

Jimmy: And that’s not what it takes to save the world, intelligence. It’s courage and soul.

Paul: It’s not. And the most courageous act, to me, is to say ‘I don’t know and I need help.’ Those are the two most courageous things that I’ve done in my life and they’ve been the most beneficial to me. And I wonder, if that isn’t maybe where for you to reach the next level of finding who you are, or what you need to be happy, that might be.  Because I believe there is a matrix—that’s funny that you mention that movie. I feel like there is this matrix to the universe that guides us, that helps us do what it is that we’re meant to do if we can get to the point where we get out of our own self will and try to see what it is. But only by connecting to other people, like you and I are doing right now, can we begin to see—to have that matrix reveal itself. Does that make sense?

Jimmy: Yes, I was going along just fine, figuring things out and then I realized that—oh, the way to feel fully—Joseph Campbell says, I asked him what the meaning of life was and he said, ‘There is no meaning to life, there’s only the meaning you give it. And that ‘People aren’t looking for a meaning to life anyway. What people are looking for is the sense of having been alive.’

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: And that’s why people take drugs and ride rollercoasters and see scary movies. And for me, it’s because those things throw you into the present. And when you’re in the present moment is when you feel the most alive. But it’s the hardest place to get to.

Paul: It is.

Jimmy: And I just thought of that myself, like well that must be why people like roller coasters and people like scary movies. Because you aren’t thinking about anything else—

Paul: And why we like standup comedy.

Jimmy: Why we like standup comedy, ‘cause I’m right there. And it’s the best for me when I can, not drop my preconceived ideas of how I want the show to go, but how I can let it kind of unfold instead of forcing it. And that’s the hardest thing in the world for me to do. I love to hide behind my jokes. And that’s why going up the other night at that show, you know, really scared me and I didn’t want to do it but I—

Paul: Can you talk about that?

Jimmy: Yeah, so I was on this show and it was all people from Chicago and I was going up last because I had the most credits. But these guys were doing this kind of comedy that is very raw and edgy and it was a long show. So by the time you get up there, they’ve heard a lot of comedy and they’ve heard some really over the top, raw, edgy things. And so now anything I say is going to sound kind of silly and trite. And so it’s hard to be that different and still get bigger laughs than everybody else. And in my mind, I always—be careful what you wish for—I always wanted to be the guy, I always wanted to be the headliner on the show, I always wanted to be the guy that people came and listened to. And then it’s like, ‘Oh shit, now I’ve gotta be funny. Now people expect me to be funny.’ Before it used to be great, I used to surprise people. I used to be able open for other people and they’d go, ‘Oh, did you see how funny that other guy was? I didn’t expect anything.’ Well now, when you’re the guy, boy is it fuckin’ different, man. And it’s—

Paul: And that’s the thing about living in the future is you get this idealized version of how things are gonna be. You don’t get any of those details, so you think ‘I’m gonna go last.’ You forget that checks are going out while you’re up there, when you’re headlining. You forget you’re following a better comedian than you were when you were the middle guy. All these things, you have to do more radio in the morning, there’s all these responsibilities that come with it. And that’s one of the many dangers of not living in the present moment is, you get that double edged sword of fantasy. The fantasy allows us to create these great, creative lives for ourselves but it’s also this terrible thing when we misuse it.

Jimmy: Yes. Yes, how did you feel about that show the other night? I mean—

Paul: I thought you did great.

Jimmy: I meant you [laughs].

Paul: Oh my set? Um, I didn’t go up with much in the way of expectations. I weaseled my way out of going up last. I was originally scheduled to go last and—

Jimmy: Sure. Because you have a TV show.

Paul: And I haven’t done much straight standup in a while, just on my character.

Jimmy: You still do gay standup? They’re a better crowd.

Paul: [laughs] Yeah, that’s right. And I didn’t feel like I would be the funniest person, so I said ‘Can you put me up earlier in the show?’

Jimmy: Oh, ok.

Paul: And I wasn’t the funniest person in the show.

Jimmy: You’re very funny.

Paul: Well, thank you, but I was a little insecure about going last—

Jimmy: I think everybody was insecure going up there.

Paul: And you followed a guy who was very, very drunk and was getting very, very graphic. And it was—I would have been a little pissed off if I were you. And you were pissed off, and you vented a little bit and it was right on the edge of appropriate and inappropriate. And that was what was edgy.

Jimmy: [laughs]

Paul: So it was funny because you were edgy, and yet you didn’t lose your composure, you lashed out a couple of times. It got a little uncomfortable where it was like, ‘Is Jimmy gonna have a fuckin’ meltdown and start yelling at people here?’ But you didn’t and you ultimately kept your composure and it was cool. And I was so glad when you went up to the guys who you were kind of snapping at from on stage and kind of shook their hands and laughed with them afterwards.

Jimmy: You know what, Paul? Before I went up, I actually, you know—while I was angry at him for making it hard on me, I wasn’t angry at him for doing what he was doing. If I wasn’t going up, I would have been enjoying the shit out of it.

Paul: Yes. Well this guy was—

Jimmy: So I told him that when he came off stage, I go, ‘Hey thanks for making it hard for me, that was great you motherfucker.’

Paul: Oh ok.

Jimmy: So I went up. And that was more out of like—I would never in a million years, ever take you on the road with me. But I would have enjoyed this had I not had to follow you.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: Yeah. That’s how I felt. So it was more out of, like, ‘You prick, made it hard on me.’ And he was very graphic and very raw and he was actually drunk.

Paul: Oh, he was hammered.

Jimmy: Which put it in another, like—so there was this excited uncomfortableness during his set too. So, there was a heightened emotionality about his set that I couldn’t repeat, I knew that—

Paul: Or top.

Jimmy: Or top. So now, where do I go with that? And now I got these young comics who’ve heard my name since they started comedy and now they get a chance to see Jimmy Dore, and they get to see if he can do it or if he’s gonna fuckin’ fold like a house of cards.

Paul: See, and that’s such a sick way to look at it because I’m back there thinking, ‘Jimmy is way wittier than this guy and he’s way more honest than this guy.’

Jimmy: Oh, really?

Paul: And you brought that, and that’s ultimately what great comedy is.

Jimmy: Oh, ok.

Paul: But I would have been in the same headspace you are, because when it comes to us, sometimes we’re the worst perspective we have. Because, we are filtering everything through our low self esteem, and our past.

Jimmy: Yes.

Paul: You know, somebody said to me one time, I was having a bad day, and they said, ‘I wish you could see yourself through our eyes.’ And it made me start to cry ‘cause I was like, ‘Wow. I am really hard on myself.’ And I think most artists really are and that’s why we have to go into the fantasy world, because it’s too painful to deal with the reality of the present moment and how we feel about ourselves.

Jimmy: Well, I always try to tell myself—it’s very easy, for whatever reason—and I think it’s mental illness—that your day to day becomes not special to you. And I think if—a technique I try to use, doesn’t always work, is to try to think of myself at my first open mic and if someone would have handed me my resume from today—

Paul: You’d have shit yourself.

Jimmy: I’d be like, ‘That’s gonna happen? I’m gonna be on a first name basis with Norm MacDonald, are you kidding me?’ It would just blow my mind, so that’s why I make that joke ‘My life has exceeded my dreams many times over and I still manage to be miserable.’ And I thought about that the other day and I was like, ‘Well, I really have to change that.’

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: I guess I’m at that age where people go through that stuff. I’m 45, so now I’m like trying to re-evaluate, you know, maybe get a new wife—

[both laugh]

Paul: Jimmy’s kidding, of course, he has a lovely, lovely wife Stefane.

Jimmy: I love my wife. We just got married last summer. She’s great. But, so I’m actually thinking about starting a family with her. You, know, I never thought—it’s so funny how comedy is such an unstable life. You always think that—you know, they say guys don’t think about raising a family or starting a family until they feel secure in a career.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: Well, you never feel secure in your career as a comedian, I don’t think. Until you have a television show. I’m like, ‘Well yeah, I want to have kids as soon as I have a television show.’ What a crazy way to live your life. No one told me—maybe that’s my, maybe I’ll write a book for young comics or young people getting to Hollywood. ‘Don’t wait until you have a TV show to start a life. Start a life.’

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: You don’t have kids, I don’t have kids. You don’t have kids because you’re dead inside a little?

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: Me too!

Paul: [laughs] No, it’s just never been something that my wife and I really wanted badly. I have moments where I think, ‘Oh, I’m really missing out.’ But they’re fleeting. They’re fleeting.

Jimmy: See, that’s what I’m—

Paul: I’m too selfish.

Jimmy: [laughs]

Paul: I’m, I’m not making a joke.

Jimmy: Yeah, but it changes you. That’s the point.

Paul: But I don’t want to find out when the kid’s three, ‘I don’t really like this.’ I’m sure the chances are 99% that I wouldn’t, but my dad was that way. My dad had kids that he wasn’t interested in. And he wasn’t present. My dad could never really reconcile himself to be comfortable in his own skin, and when you’re not comfortable in your own skin, I don’t think you can be present for your kids. And so I would say to you, wouldn’t it be good for you to become more comfortable in your skin before you pull the trigger on having kids, so you could be really present with them?  Because when you’re in the future—

Jimmy: You know, yes, Paul, on paper yes that makes sense. But as we all know, they say ‘If you wait ‘till the right time to have kids you never will.’ And so—

Paul: I think that’s more true financially than it is emotionally.

Jimmy: Mmm, yeah, I mean I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t even know if I’m gonna do it. I don’t know, we might not ever—still not do it but it seems like—it seems like I would have half a life lived. Like, that seems like such a big thing, like I’m starting to look for meaning in life because comedy, while it does bring meaning to my life in a certain way, it’s not enough anymore.

Paul: No. It’s a compartment.

Jimmy: It’s not like, ‘Oh this didn’t do it.’ Like I did it. I guess you know, that thing—

Paul: Maybe it does bring you that perspective. I don’t know because I don’t have kids and I wonder what—

Jimmy: I’m tired of thinking about myself all the time.

Paul: Yeah. It’s such a dead end street and that’s where we think we’re gonna find the answer but we don’t. I’ve found, through connecting to other people, that’s the only way I can ever get gratitude in my life and get the perspective that I need. You know, Joseph Campbell, I’m glad you brought him up, he said something—I’m mangling it, paraphrasing it—but basically in a nutshell he said ‘When we decide to do something for the betterment of society, for other people, something altruistic, magical guides will show up to assist us.’

Jimmy: Yes, 1000 tiny hands.

Paul: Is that what he—

Jimmy: All the doors—one door closes and—

Paul: And I completely agree.

Jimmy: I’ve experienced that and it’s amazing. So that makes me realize that we are actually not separate, we are all connected. So there’s that kind of spirituality but I wanted to make one more point.

Paul: Except Phillipinos, they’re not connected.

Jimmy: I’m not sure. There’s some Samoans I can certainly exclude.

Paul: Yep.

Jimmy: But so I was on this path and I realized that, through emotions, through not being afraid of emotions and not being—growing up in that neighborhood I grew up in, it makes you only comfortable expressing certain emotions, you know. Joy, anger, rage and more rage.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: And so those are the things that you—you know, you can cheer for a team, you can laugh, you can be angry and you can fuckin’ punch someone.

Paul: Yes.

Jimmy: And that’s it. But then I realized, ‘Oh no, emotionally connecting to people, that’s the way.’ And—

Paul: And showing vulnerability.

Jimmy: Being vulnerable, yes, being open..yes.

Paul: That’s where real intimacy begins, to me, and I have been afraid for most of my life because I was afraid it would put me in a weak position, but it does—but that people love when you approach them with vulnerability. Most people. Because, then they can let their defenses down. But it’s the scariest thing in the world, and this goes back to that courage that you were talking about.

Jimmy: Yes, but what I think—I want to say because this is about mental illness—so my first depression, what happened, I didn’t know what it was and it came out of nowhere.

Paul: How long ago was this?

Jimmy: This was 1999. And it was more—

Paul: Was it based on the Prince song?

Jimmy: [laughs] Yeah. And I had the anxiety. I had the anxiety. That’s what really led to the depression.

Paul: Describe the anxiety if you would.

Jimmy: It’s just- everything, nervous about everything. Things that I wouldn’t be nervous about—and a tightness in my chest that I can only describe as a million pound tourniquet being turned against my chest, that was constant. Constant.

Paul: Wow.

Jimmy: I couldn’t believe it. Like, I couldn’t believe my bones weren’t broken. But what happened, the consequence of that, is it made me scared to open up—to feel emotions again ‘cause I was afraid I was gonna go crazy.

Paul: They were gonna kill you.

Jimmy: Yes, so I’ve been—

Paul: So what did you do? You shut down?

Jimmy: I’ve been fighting that ever since.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: I’ve had two depressions since then. I had one in ‘06, ‘07 and then currently.

Paul: Do you think, and I’m sorry if I come across as an asshole for bringing this up, but you’re my friend and so I want to say it. Do you think smoking a lot of weed is good, given that you have that?

Jimmy: No.

Paul: Ok. So, what keeps you from giving up the weed? You don’t know anything better to bring the—

Jimmy: I just keep thinking I’m gonna turn a corner and [laughs]...

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: No, I’m noticing now—no, I’ve cut back. I’ve noticed that, you know when you—I quit smoking pot one time for my first depression, for two and a half years I didn’t smoke pot or touch alcohol or caffeine ‘cause I did not want to feel that again, ever again.

Paul: So what was that like?

Jimmy: I wasn’t on the right meds, so I was just—

Paul: Do you take meds, currently?

Jimmy: Not any more. I’m gonna go back. Cause I’m figuring out now that I have ADD, which can also lead to depression, which I think is what I have. Which I never noticed I had because I was a comedian and you don’t have to do a lot of tasks. Your life is simple but complicated in other ways, right? As a comedian, the flaws didn’t show. But now that I’m having to produce two shows by myself. Write produce, edit—

Paul: You’re a busy man.

Jimmy: It is really showing up.

Paul: You’re starting to feel the chest tighten?

Jimmy: The ADD is showing up. I’m missing stuff all the time and stuff falling through the cracks, and I can’t manage—my life is becoming unmanageable.

Paul: Yes.

Jimmy: So I’m like oh I have to get—

Paul: It’s too bad there’s not a program for people that can’t give something up and their lives have become unmanageable.

Jimmy: [silence]

Paul: I’m making a joke. That’s the first step of the 12 steps program.

Jimmy: Oh you are? Oh no it’s not—

Paul: It’s not related to the weed.

Jimmy: I don’t think so, Paul. If it was, it’s not like I couldn’t—I don’t think so.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: But no, now that I’m anxious I can’t smoke pot like I used to. I can never—I used to always smoke before my shows because it helped me.

Paul: Which blows my mind.

Jimmy: Oh, it really helped me.

Paul: The one time I performed high, I got such cottonmouth. My upper lip stuck to my teeth, I ran out of water and I couldn’t remember what my next line was until it was uncomfortably awkward and then I would remember. So it was this half hour of just jolting, lumbering—oh, so awful. I don’t know if I should say ‘My hat is off to anybody that can perform stoned’ but, I don’t know how you do it.

Jimmy: It had to be a certain—it’s all about headspace, you know. I was at a club that I didn’t want to come back to and so somebody had offered me some pot—and I would always say no ‘cause my fear was I’d have a bad show and people would say, ‘Oh, Jimmy was high on stage, that’s why he had a bad show.’ Well this club, I didn’t care. I didn’t want to come back and it was the best goddamned show I ever had in my life. And that’s because I was comfortable and I didn’t care. But if I was going up in a nervous situation and I was high, it would be horrible.

Paul: So what about trying to find a way of living where you can go up sober—

Jimmy: I go up sober all the time now.

Paul: And have that same relaxation. ‘Cause that is possible.

Jimmy: Yeah, I gotta get— yeah, that’s what you gotta figure that out.

Paul: And I don’t mean sober in every aspect of your life, but just for that show.

Jimmy: Yeah, I don’t really need weed anymore on stage. I can get there without it.

Paul: Good.

Jimmy: I know I can remember how I need to be in my head to be there.

Paul: Right.

Jimmy: That’s all.

Paul: And I’ve probably said this before on the podcast, I’m not anti-alcohol, anti-weed. I’m anti that for me. But if other people can use it in moderation and it enhances their life, God bless you.

Jimmy: It did for a while. But let me ask you this, though, did you find that about—what I mentioned about—like I’m afraid of emotions. I was afraid to open my heart.

Paul: Mmhmm.

Jimmy: To a woman.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: To me I pushed—and I was on a freight train of opening my heart until my depression. I was everything, open big, and my life was expanding and things were really—life was rich. And then when the depression hit, I just shut down and I was afraid to do that, and—did you have that experience?

Paul: I didn’t know how to. I didn’t understand that there needs to be emotional intimacy before there can be physical and sexual intimacy with someone. I just learned this in the last two years. And the biggest ‘aha moment’ for me came a couple of months ago—

Jimmy: On a submarine?

Paul: [laughs] —on a submarine. I was going through this health issue—and I’d gone off my meds—and I was miserable, I was listless, I was depressed, and I was having to be on this diet where I could basically only eat vegetables. And my wife was kind of questioning the way I was going about this diet. And I wasn’t really being fully honest with her about how much pain I was in. And my initial instinct when she questioned what I was doing—’cause I was going to buy a food processor so I could start making myself more soup, which is one of the things they recommend. But it was like 400 bucks or something for this food processor. And I wanted to buy it but I knew that she didn’t really think we needed it, and she was questioning about my diet, and the old part of me started to come up and I was about to go into ‘I’m gonna win this argument.’ And I had just started to learn how to be vulnerable and instead I broke down and I cried. And I told her ‘I’m so tired of feeling the way I—I’m tired, I’m confused, I’m scared.’ you know, and she gave me a hug and she went online and she bought me the food processor. And I immediately started getting healthier. And it showed me that—and I shared this with someone and they said ‘That’s where intimacy begins.’

Jimmy: Oh really?

Paul: And I’ve been afraid of that my whole life because, for one reason or another, I wasn’t shown the tools how to do that as a child. I didn’t see it happen in my family, so vulnerability was a scary thing to do. But I’m learning how to do it now, and the energy that I’m greeted with—and this podcast is an excellent example of it—blows my mind and it brings me such peace and happiness. And I think it encourages other people to do it, you know. There’s people that go on the message boards and are opening up about things that are happening with them. And they’re sending me emails, and it’s just—I’ve never been so high on life as I have been since I started doing that thing a couple of months ago. That vulnerability, which used to scare the fuck out of me.

Jimmy: Really?

Paul: Yeah. And my marriage is starting to become healthier—not that it was ever bad but it was lacking something, that I knew—

Jimmy: It wasn’t good. The word was out.

Paul: It was lacking something and I knew it was my fault but I didn’t know—and so I had to start to get some therapy for it and ask for help.

Jimmy: Really? Ok. It’s a good thing that Carla’s parents raised her to embrace weak men.

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: I mean, hat’s off to you. My wife was raised Mexican. She wouldn’t put up with that shit. She was like, ‘Keep trying to get what you want, pussy!’ That’s what she would say.

[both laugh]

Paul: Stefane, your wife, is one of the sweetest, most gentle people that I know. She is—obviously Jimmy is kidding.

Jimmy: She’s a mama bear, as Sarah Palin would say. She gets very protective of me.

Paul: Yeah. I love looking at her face when you are performing or doing something.  She just beams. She just beams and it’s such a beautiful, such a beautiful thing to see.

Jimmy: Oh really?

Paul: Yeah, she is just a really positive, sweet, sweet person. And—

Jimmy: Yes, I was very lucky to meet her. I remember—it was really a nice story. When I was in Los Angeles I had just gotten out of a relationship with a woman who didn’t have the courage to find out who she was supposed to be. And that’s one of the things that—anyway. And I was lonely and I wanted to find a woman who I could share my life with. And I went to the Acme Comedy theater one night and I saw this girl on stage being hilarious and I was like, ‘Why can’t I just be with a girl like that? See, look at how she’s dark like I like, she’s funny.’

Paul: Dark as in personality, or complexion?

Jimmy: No, complexion. She’s dark haired and she’s Mexican and I was like, ‘Oh I just love that.’ I don’t know what it is, just gets me. And she’s funny and—I thought she was Italian. She makes a joke about that in her life. She goes, ‘I’m 100% Mexican but whenever people meet me, they think I’m Italian ‘cause, you know, they like me.’

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: And we didn’t get together for probably, I don’t know, three or four years after that. Maybe five years after that. We didn’t hook up. And it was great. And I love to tell that story. It’s a good feeling for me to remember that, seeing her, and now that’s my wife.

Paul: You know what’s so funny? You just described Carla and I. I saw her on stage three or four years before I ever asked her to go out. And she’s Italian.

Jimmy: Ah, really!? You thought she was Mexican? [laughs]

Paul: She’s not a dirty Mexican, Jimmy. That’s the point that I’m trying to make.

Jimmy: I remember the first time I saw your wife on stage.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: I never saw somebody work a pole like that.

Paul: [laughs]

Jimmy: I couldn’t believe it- I was like, ‘Wow, she’s so tiny but she’s really sure of herself.’ No, I remember the first time I saw her on stage at the Comedy Womb. I remember what she was wearing. She was hilarious. I couldn’t believe that a girl could be that funny.

Paul: Yeah.

Jimmy: I’d never seen anybody—you know, she’s the funniest person I had seen up to that point, I think, live. She was amazing. And she doesn’t perform anymore, which I—

Paul: She always hated performing. She just liked writing jokes. Made her very nervous to perform. She doesn’t like to be the center of attention.

Jimmy: [laughs]

Paul: She doesn’t. She will not be on this podcast because she—well for one, she’s not mentally ill—other than the fact that she chose to live with me. But she shies away from that kind of stuff. Let’s go out on this note: I think you and I are both pretty lucky to have found the patient women that we have. And, you know, I’d be interested to know what people think about some of these subjects that we brought up on the podcast. So, if you’re out there and you feel like going on the message boards, go to mentalpod.com, that’s the website for this podcast. And is there anything you want to plug before we go?

Jimmy: Just that I have a website. Yeah, go to my website jimmydorecomedy.com.

Paul: And Dore is spelled D-O-R-E?

Jimmy: Correct. And if you like The Daily Show, I do a radio version that Paul is on called The Jimmy Dore Show and—that’s how I would describe it. Is that a good descriptor?

Paul: That probably makes it sound like it’s a knockoff, which it’s really not. It’s just a kind of a comedy, political pundit show. Kind of a humorous Left, Right and Center. But more lefty than anything.

Jimmy: And then I have a podcast where I interview other comedians called Comedy And Everything Else along with Steph, my wife. And those are the two things.

Paul: Yeah, great. Well, I want to thank you for coming on. It was great getting to know a guy I already know. Getting to know you a little bit more and thank you for opening up and if you’re out there and you think you’re alone, you’re not. You are not alone.

[end of interview]

Paul: I think I’m going to send you guys off with an excerpt from survey responder #640. To the question, ‘If there is a God, what are some of the things you would say to God?’ He said, ‘Pretty good job overall, next time try to make people a little more compassionate. And small batch whiskey a little cheaper.’ I can’t disagree with that one. Also, interesting, to the question, ‘Do you have any comments or suggestions to make this show better’ he wrote “I’ve only heard a few early episodes so I’m not sure if Paul has gotten more comfortable with podcasting, but I did feel at certain points that he could stand to let his guests talk a bit more freely. It did occasionally feel like he was steering the conversation to reach conclusions he had in mind. Overall, it didn’t hurt the quality of the interview and I’m totally still a fan. I just felt that occasionally Paul was getting in his own way.” I think there’s a lot of people that would probably agree with you. And you’re not the first person who has sent me that email so I’ll try to keep it in mind. And try to not let that gnaw at the center of my skull as I lay awake tonight staring at the ceiling—I am not alone. Thanks for listening. [music]

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