Good People, Cool Things
Good People, Cool Things

Episode 140 · 2 months ago

140: Crafting Jokes, Touring with Seinfeld, and Asking Why Not? with Mark Schiff

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Seinfeld went off the air nearly 25 years ago, and yet it's still one of the most popular sitcoms ever. That's largely thanks to Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David creating terrific characters and storylines about the odd quirks of our society. 

Even though Seinfeld isn't airing new episodes, Seinfeld is still touring. And this episode's guest, Mark Schiff, has been touring alongside him for decades. In fact, Seinfeld wrote the foreword for Mark's new book, Why Not? Lessons on Comedy, Courage, and Chutzpah.

It is a wonderful read with plenty of cool people in it (fitting for this podcast) and it explores far more than comedy alone. And wouldn't you know it, this episode does the same: Mark shares some terrific life lessons and what he's picked up along the way. Plus, we have SEVERAL jokes at the end, instead of just one.

This episode is presented by MyLifeInABook.com. They offer a super fun way to get to know your loved ones better, collect timeless memories for future generations, and bring the family together! Use code "GPCT" at checkout or click right here and save.   

My introduction to the show Seinfeld was the very last episode of the show, the series finale. It's probably one of the most divisive finales in history. I personally think it's very well done. It's pretty brilliant the way they did it. But if you've seen the finale, you know that there's a lot of callbacks. There's a lot of characters we've seen in previous seasons that make appearances, and having never seen an episode before, I was kind of like, I'm not so sure about this show. Thankfully, I gave it another chance, and I have since seen just about every episode, eight hundred and thirty two times. What the hell, I'll just day some trash. My sin Feld experience is largely encapsulated in those nine seasons. But my guest today has been touring with Seinfeld for more than twenty years. Mark Scheff, comedian and the author of the new book Why Not. Lessons on Comedy, courage, and Chutzpah. It's got a forward from Jerry Seinfeld. Mark chronicles all of his experiences throughout comedy, but he's going beyond that. It's the perfect mix of humor and vulnerability. We love seeing some of that gives us an inside look at the comedy world. But he's also talking about how his Jewish community in New York and Los Angeles have given him a rich and fulfilling life, how he's had journeys through veganism, weight loss, and mindfulness recovering all kinds of lovely stuff. In here, Mark also has a tip that he has started doing in his life. I'm going to start doing it in my life, and I think you should as well. It's very simple to do, and I'll let him explain it in the episode, but it's pretty wonderful. So I hope taking mental notes. I'm Joey held. This is good people, cool things. And here's a conversation with Mark Schiff. To start off, can you give us your name and your elevator pitch, but also the type of elevator that we're riding on. Mark Schiff stand up, comedian, actor, writer, podcaster, husband of thirty two years, three boys, all working, love it. And you got into comedy at a at a young age, And was there like a particular moment where we're like, Okay, this is what I want to do for my career. Did it just kind of build up over time? So I had an epiphany. At twelve years old, my parents took me to see Rodney Dangerfield. You remember him at all, great great, one of the greatest, probably the greatest talk show comedian never lived. On Johnny Carston Show. He was absolutely spectacular. My parents took me to see him live when I was twelve. I saw my parents laughing the head off like they've never left before. Everybody around was just dying at their tables, and I said, that's it. I'm going to become a comedian. I was twelve years old and I knew it, and I never looked back. Were you laughing too at what you were saying? Or were you just kind of observing what everyone else is doing? You know, it's fantastic question. So I was laughing at jokes. I did not even understand, you know, your twelve. So Rodneys to talking about marriage and he goes, I'll tell you my wife is like a car. Sometimes I can't get a turnover in the morning. I have no idea what that means. But I laughed along with everybody else because it just sounded funny. He was funny, and again, he's one of the funniest people that ever lived. And I began I became friends with him later on in life. Do you remember what that what that first meeting was like. So he came into Catch a Rizing Star, which was a comedy club in New York on seventy seven and first, and he did one liner. So it was kind of easy to his style. It was easy to write for. It wasn't easy to write great jokes, but it was easy to write for his style. And I came up with a couple of jokes and I said when he came in, I said, hey, Rodney, my name is Mark Schiff. I got a joke of two for you, I wrote. And he goes, let me hear it, kid, And uh, the...

...joke was, you remember Rodney's kind of old looking, He's kind of disheveled. So he goes, I'll tell you it's rough. I went to the cemetery to visit my father, and you know, you're getting old. Two guys chased me with shovels. So he did that show joke on the Tonight Show. He sent me a check but twenty five dollars, and he knew who I was, and then, um, he kind of became a fan of my comedy. That's fantastic and You've met a lot of people over over the years, and a lot of them are mentioned in your new book Why Not lessons on Comedy, Courage and hood spot. Is there a kind of favorite comedian experience that you've had and the book has lessons in the title. So what's a lesson that you hope for you to stake away? M hm, Wow, you ask good questions. You should do this for a re And plus we were similar shirts. I mean only I can't afford to have many colors, you know, stripes. I just got the plaint. They didn't have to do work on my before I got it. Yours there They went to town on that shirt. Thank you. It looks it makes me look either slimmer or wider writening on your angle. Yeah. So um. I started with Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Riser, Richard Belzer, Gilbert Gottfried, Joe Piscopal. We all started around the same time, although Richard Belsa was a generation before us and Richard Lewis was a little before us. He was unbelievable. Larry David I saw every knife of five years. He was there every night doing trying to do stand up. He was considered the funniest guy there, but the audiences didn't understand what he was doing it. He was kind of ahead of them. Um. Probably one of the most memorable moments is when Seinfeld denied. We had our first road gate together and we rode from New York to Washington, d C. In my nine seventies six Toyota Corolla. Now he has a hundred purses and I still have a Toyota. UM hopefully newer than much newer. Yeah, seventy seven now so um. And we introduced him to Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands. One of the best live recordings ever is called Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands. And we just drove down to Washington singing and got a hotel down there they gave us and we had great shows. And that was a really memorable experience for me, my first one. And he was not Seinfeld. He had nothing to do with you. He had never even done TV yet, but we had just started out. We were young kids, and that first road trip means a lot to you. So lessons I've learned. One thing I do, and I recommend everybody do this, actually if you want to. UM. As you get older, sometimes you don't see some people for a certain amount of years. You know, you may see a kid from high school, right, you know that you haven't seen and I don't know when you got out of high school. But what I do is when I see some body I haven't seen a long time ago, Mark, how are you? I said, and listen, good to see you. Was I kind to you when we were hanging out? Why owe you in a men's for anything? Were we okay? And I like to straighten out anything that's that's kind of if I put a bad taste in somebody's mouth, that's a lesson. I people appreciate when you say that to them. And every once in a while you get somebody to say, you know, you could have been a little nicer. You know, you shrugged me here or shrugged me there. So that's something I learned. I think that's important. I like that I had that happen. I don't know, it's probably like five or six years ago now, but the same type of thing where I was kind of like, you know, I feel like the last time we hung out, I was not you know, I could have been a better person to you. They were like, yeah, I've kind of felt that way too, And I was like, well, thanks for thanks, I'm telling me eventually, yeah, and it's nice. You can clean it up if they let you. And now if somebody owes me, you know, if I bumped into somebody that wasn't kind to me, I tend not to go after them for it.

That's a different thing to learn how to let go of you. By the way, you hear a noise, no, I just hear a car outside my my house. So there's a helicopter over my house. Now, this is what happens in l A. Helicopters go looking for criminals like that are in your area. That's like running around and you hear them over You're right over your house, Like if you look out the window, they're gone now. But that's the pleasures of living in Los Angeles. You get helicopters over your house and you can't go out for about twenty minutes until they scare the guy out of the Catchum, have you ever been watching the news and you see your own house on there? I have not. But what did happen to me in New York was I was having dinner in a restaurant on First Avenue, and that was on a Saturday night, Sunday morning, I get the newspaper and a car had rammed through the restaurant and killed everybody. I was sitting where I was sitting just a few hours earlier. So I missed that one too. Goodness, Yeah, that's that's harrowing. Yeah, I missed a couple of them. I was on a flight once when I called my wife, I thought we were going to go down, and the pilot had made an announcement. He said, we have severe engine problems, so we're gonna try to land, and I took my cell phone out. We were low enough for me to call my wife and I said, listen in case I don't make it, you know, uh, take care. I love you. I didn't ask her if I owed her an Evans by the way and he goes there it was nice to you years. Uh No, I didn't say any of that nonsense. But and when we came in for landing, they were standing there in these aluminium suits, you know, these fire suits, with big hoses in her hand. But we landed safely and everything was okay. Nice. Was it a smooth landing after all? Well? Bouncy? Yeah, at worse on on regular ones. He wasn't sure if he got the wheels down. He wasn't sure he was gonna be able to get the wheels down too. That was a combination engine and wheel problems. But we're here, We're it's a good time. I don't I don't think I've had anything that quite that severe. I do remember being flying. I think I was flung back to Austin and the captain came on just and we had been circling for a while because it was just you know, crazy thunderstorms and weather going on. So there were circling for maybe thirty or forty five minutes, and the pilot comes on and just very casually says, another plane tried to land and they were unsuccessful, so we're gonna circle and probably land in Dallas and refuel and and we're all just looking at each other, like, wait, what do you mean by unsuccessful? And as far as I could tell, was that maybe they started the descent and then we're like nope, and and pulled back up. Because I didn't hear about any kind of horrific crash or anything like that. But I've had a few of those where they take off and then they they got to come back and drop the fuel off, you know, over the ocean, and I've had two or three of those. Yeah. Just the wording of it was very, very nerve wracking. Well, you know what I hate about the wording we'll be making our final descent. What do you mean final? I don't like that word. You know. No, it's not your final You're gonna take off again and you're gonna land somewhere else. This is not your final trip, okay, not with me on the plane. Yeah. So I'm always afraid if the pilot's like, well, this is my last flight before I retirement, it's just like you've got nothing to lose. I don't like that. You know. I was in a restaurant. Um, we went to visit my kid in college, he went to University of Maryland, and we're in your restaurant and uh we said to the guy, Uh, what time you open tomorrow? He goes, I'm not. So I said, what do you What do you mean you're not? He goes, uh, next day it was like Tuesday, Wednesday. He says, I'm going out of business. So I said, when he goes right after you? And I...

...said really, He goes, yeah, you're the last customers here in the restaurant and after you I'm done, close and shopped. I'm thinking, how fresh is this food that I'm eating now? When this guy's going out of business in twelve minutes. I know he didn't go out the morning and buy the stuff, that's for sure. Was it still a good meal? I'm here like that, right, I'm still here. That was not. As the pilots say, this is our final descent. This is our final meal, ladies and gentlemen. I'm glad you persevered. Um. Yeah, we we can hop back a little bit too. You you're telling the story about on the road with Seinfeld, which I think goes in nicely with a question I always like to ask, which is a question you wish you were asked more frequently. So what's it like touring with Seinfeld? Aside from teaching him about great live albums? I'll be with him again in two weeks in uh Kentucky and some I've been with. I've been on the road with Jerry for twenty over twenty years, and I go out now about twenty times a year with him, and it is the number one best gig in the world. It's super a travel we we we we fly in his plane. We stay in the top hotels. No matter what town we go into, we try to stay in the most modern, nicest hotel or or anything you want to menu. The crowds could not be better. Thousands of you know, about two weeks ago I played nine thousand people with them. They're so happy to be there, so happy to see him, and they respect the opening act. They know it's going to be good and it can't be better, and some of the most fun people would tried to be able to do this. I'll sit and watch Jerry's act and then I'll make some notes and we'll try to, you know, get some stuff in his act, help him out. Comedians always need help. We can always use help, even if even though we write this stuff by our selves, most of us um you can always come up with a joker to to fix something that you know. You know, that's why a doctor doesn't do surgery alone. Got a whole bunch of people around him going, you know, maybe you should a movie hand over to the right beaus. Now you gotta kill this guy. So yeah, so so. Working close with Jerry, and then we always take a nice forty minute walk thirty minute walked together every time by ourselves and just chat about life. He's married, he's got a wonderful wife, kids, I got married, got three boys. We talk about marriage and real I mean, he's been a friend forever. And the most important thing is when you hang out with major stars, they need to be able to trust you. And Jerry and I have and and and he has other friends just like me who he trusts. He can say anything in the world too. And we're not gonna call you know, any of these shows. I guess what about Jerry looking next question, give me all the salacious details. Yeah, now there's there's. The truth is it's one of the straightest, straight laced tours in the world. Nobody gets to us. You know. We have a producer, Kevin Dorman. He's with us. We fly in, go to the hotel, check in. We don't go out after the show to bars or nightclubs or anything. We just hang out with each other and then we wake up in the morning at breakfast and go to the next gig. Look at that sounds lovely and very efficient. It's incredibly Jerry is a very efficient guy. He's a minimalist. He doesn't like access anything. So it's just you know, we get to the gig, there's certain foods that the orders that we like, and he's got some car magazines waiting for him and Um, I always get to take home an extra jar of peanut over to day is not going to use. That's a win win. Then it's an unbelievable thing. Now he gets this um protein powder because he has a machine that we make shakes at the gig and a lot of time saying you know these...

...are you know you may I use it one gig So I'll just take that jar home. So I'm killing the baby. I'm doing it. It's like a home shopping network with no ability in Do you have a favorite favorite venue that you fled? Israel has to be one of my favorite places. Jerry and I went to Israel twice together, seventeen thousand people each show. We did three shows there and the audiences could not have been happy to see us. I mean, you know, every and like I said, every audience he pulls in is just fantastic, just incredible. But Israel was was was very special because even though he wasn't born there and I wasn't born, there were like hometown boys to them up with Jews from New York City. That's there's Israel, and then the Jews from New York. That's the closest thing to coming from Israel's in New York, New York. Did you did you get a lot of New York or accents? Then throwing at you? You know you there. We met people along the road, very nice people. It's just incredible. So the road is fun, you know. I mean, I spent so many years on the road, just even tomorrow. You know, every every gig is different. Tomorrow, I get up at three three in the morning and start heading towards Cleveland Hopkins Airport by myself. I gotta show Saturday night. And that's not what Jerry. So it's a little tougher. I gotta get it from there and go rent the car and then drive fifty miles and you know, but I don't mind it. I the road is great. But a lot of people can't take the road. You know what's bid you sitting on a plane, you read a magazine, You get the car and you go tell some jokes. What's bad? Yeah, it doesn't sound too bad, are you when you're in the car, So you've got a fifty mile drive, are you going over your set at all or is it just like at this point it's second nature. So you're like, hey, I'll listen to you know, another album or something like that. Now it's UM. I will tape my sets, especially when I'm doing new stuff, and then re listen to it over and over, and then if I haven't performed in a few weeks, I'll listened to a set I have to UM, And I listened to the comedians UM, some podcasts. UM. But you're gonna stay on it. You gotta stay on it because there are nuances which stand up comedy, like who do things you do that can't be written on paper, they're they're just stamped on your brain, like twist here, or say this word longer or shorter that only through practice can you really lock it in your brain. Did you have any quirks from earlier and maybe quirks at the wrong word, but something from earlier in your career that you weren't as big a fan Like for my example, which I just used it right there, I say like way too much in these interviews instead of you know, not as an analogous cut type of thing, but just you know, throwing a like in beforehand. Is there anything like that that you kind of had to work out of your set or you were just like, I'm going to embrace this. Yeah, um um, I had to get rid of arms so anyway, Um, yeah, you can't do that with up comedy. So I was talking to my mother. Um, Now, shin up comedy is like the essence of poetry. It's it's every word, every nuance, every syllable is important and if you if you blow it out, you may lose the whole routine. I I feel like a couple of stand ups I won't name drop, but I know I've heard this use the arms or uz almost as a laugh break instead of just letting the laughter happen. They'll say the line, They're like, I know this is a funny line, and then they'll go like, I'm about to start my next sentence, but really I'm just giving you time to laugh. And I think there's and and maybe you have a good tip for this, because I think even outside of stand up, just on a meeting or something, people embrace...

...silence. It's kind of hard to do. And I think letting that kind of you know, letting what you just said sit for a little bit it's really impactful if you can do it. But did you when you were getting rid of those ums? How did you kind of train it out of yourself? Repetition? Just keep doing over and over and over and over and over again. Uh ellen de generous stumbles and stammers like Bob new Art in his comedy. That's a style for some people. Some people it's just maybe to think themselves to the next place. Um, I just did it. I don't really like it. I don't do it in my writing. I don't write anyway. She walked into the room. Um, not doing any of that. So it's it's all practice. You know. People don't understand how many times you have to do a routine to get it right. If I say a hundred, I'm coming up short. It takes take years to a year or two to perfect. Yeah, a longer routine, you know, not one. You're not doing one line. You're doing little stories and lou vignettes and stuff like that. Takes a while pless you're perfecting it live, you know, like a writer who writes a book and they're sitting in the room and nobody hears it and sees anything. You write the book in total silence. Here. You you know, you're like a surgeon performing in front of an audience. If you're nervous about your performing skills and you're trying to work out a routine, it's and I was, I'm a nervous performer. It's a it's a little harder. And so maybe that that seguents nicely into another question. I always like to ask anyone who does any kind of performances, but what's your worst gig? Well? I had, By the way, how do you like that? I came totally prepared with a headphone and yes, because you couldn't even hear the helicopters, you have great sound profecto. Yeah, you gotta. You know, when you do a podcast, you realize a lot of people have no idea. You go, you need chrome and that they had right there in the water, or do you have a headset the head you know? And they come and they got a dixie cup with a string. It's terrible. Um, there we go. You screwed me. Now I'm saying twelve years I haven't said um So I have stage right and I've dealt with it my whole life. And I had some really rough sets that the audience did not know about, but I knew. One night I was working with Diana Ross in Las Vegas, Dinah Ross and it's Caesar's Palace and it's like people, and I started having a anxiety attack and I felt like I was going to pass out on stage. It was old nerves, was all crazy nerves. And I had a glass of water on the stool and I picked up. My hands were shaking, so I had to put it down my mouth. So that was a horrible, uh situation. And my first Tonight Show, I was like a guy coming off the Mojabi desert who hadn't had water in two months. My mouth was so dry, and thank god, my laughs was so big that I could actually take a swallow in between the laughs. And that was probably the most frightening moment of my life as a performer. Tonight Show Johnny Carson sitting to the right of me and me, I feel like at any moment, I could choke. Yeah, that sounds that sounds like a little pressure filled situation. Horrible, horrible. It's hard not to be nervous performing live in front of all these people. You know, you say you say to yourself is like Seinfeld said, you know if you're gonna ask three thousand people to keep quiet when you're when you're talking, you better have something important to say, because otherwise they're not going to shut up. You better have something better than what the king. So that's the deal. You gotta have the goods. Howdy...

...howdy. Today's episode is sponsored by my Life in a Book dot com. We're coming up on the holiday season. Maybe you're like, I don't know what to give my parents or my grandparents. This is probably one of the most thoughtful gifts I've ever come across. His families get together to celebrate. It's perfect for parents and grandparents, and it's basically a very powerful way to connect emotionally with them, preserve the most precious memories, and show them you really care. And best of all, it's an instantaneous gift. Here's how it works. Every week, my Life in a Book dot Com lets you choose from a list of thought provoking questions or even write your own, and that gets sent to your relative by email. Your relative, whether it's your parent, grandparents, someone else, they write their answer and they can choose to add a meaningful picture. This happens every week, and at the end of a year, all the stories get combined in a beauty, full keepsake book that can store your relatives memories forever and past them on the future generations, which is printed and sent to you. Request as many copies as you want, and even get them an audio format as well. With My Life in a Book dot com, you can give those you love most a personal gift that tells them they're meaningful to you and all future generations. And as you're communicating throughout the year, it's a great way to keep in touch. Save ten dollars off your first purchase. Use discount code g p CT that's g p c T to get ten dollars off My Life and a Book dot Com. And now back to the episode, kind of going back to the process of having everything you know planned out, like how long you'd stretch a word or a certain word that you'd use. Have you ever had to alter that on a Tonight Show appearance or any kind of other appearance, Like have you been asked to change a joke for any reason? When I was doing the Tonight Show, I was doing so well and getting so many big laughs that I decided to get out a joker too early. I said, why risk it now there, you know, they're screaming the heads off. Not that the other joke would have blown it, but I got out a little early, twenty seconds early. I don't like that I did that because that's a sign of insecurity, and like they can sniff it if if you're if if you're nervous and you're sweaty and you're really holding back, they can tell. So you don't want to do that. You want to try to be secure about what you're doing. Is possible. Do you remember the jokes you didn't tell? No, I can't remember now, but I remember I said, I'm I'm stopping right now. This is too good to you know, And it was fine. They never knew the difference, and I was fine with it. You mentioned how you've got the headphones, You've got the quality microphone. I'm sure people can tell from just the clear smoothness of your voice here that you have a podcast as well. So how did that get started? Tell us about it? Yeah, it's called you don't know Shift and it's a good name, right I were I have I have a co host, Little Benjamin so Lowe's wife. Her name is Kathy Heller, and Kathy as a podcast called Don't Keep Your Day Job, and it's very popular podcast. She said, like twenty four or more million downloads, very popular, does very well. So she gives podcasts workshops and her husband, who's a writer and a comedian. Uh. We we got along very well, and Cathy thought that the two of us should do a podcast. I didn't. I didn't want to do one by myself like you do. I wasn't interested in doing one by myself. It just seems like a tremendous amount of work. You are correct, Yes, I didn't. Yeah, I didn't want...

...to get involved with editing and show notes. I just didn't have the time because I'm a performer, traveling, I'm writing, had a family. I just don't have the time. So well became my uh co host, and we have a producer, and we're new at it. We're about eight ten months in. We've had some tremendous people on the show. We're doing well. But you know, so it's good. And I'm pretty good at interviewing because I'm decent at listening like you are. You're a very good listener. So that's a big part of it. Um, it's it's it's enjoyable, but it's a tremendous amount of time and work. So um, I'm enjoying it. Yeah, we're doing it. And I got some nice equipment. I was just robbed recently. My office was was cleaned out. They took my I'm at computer and it took all my podcast equipment, including all my wires and stuff like that. So what you're looking at now is a whole new set I just got last week. Do you like it more than what you had? You know? You know what I like about it. It's much more portable. The other one I had to leave in the office. This I can I can just unplug and take with me. It's it's about four steps easier. And I got rid of um some other I went to a zoom box. You know what zoom is that? You know, I'm using that now instead of something elseide here, So it's it's it's much easier, much better. Yeah. I like the zooms too. It confuses people when you talk about it because they think it's just the video chat. We had a guy on today on the on the podcast. I think I told you, Jamie, i'llcroft just had a he's a recipient of a heart and liver. They put a new heart and liver with him into him at the same exact time. That's wild. Yeah, so and he's doing well. So that was a interesting departure for me with the podcast because I've been talking to mostly show biz people and artists, but I never talked to somebody who had a new heart put in. Is there a guest or maybe a type of guest, like a heart transplant recipient that you haven't talked to you yet, that you want to We're gonna put it out on the airwaves and maybe it'll come true. Well, we have a bunch of people coming up. There's a good question. Seinfeld is gonna come on. We have Judd Apatow coming on, Jay Leno's coming on October. We're doing a live one with John Lovitts from Saturday Night Live and many movies. We did a live one two weeks ago with um Jake Johansson, the comedian and it went so well. We're doing another one. It's gonna be great. It would be great. So we're heading in that direction. And I wrote a book called why Not Lessons on Comedy, courage and chutzpah. I know I forgot to I forgot to get the deep throat sound when I when I said it earlier by apologist, it's the flegm. You gotta pull up every ounce of flem since you were trying to. Yeah. So on my COVID vacation, when I found out that we were being locked down, uh, my work. You know, it's a stand up comedian, that's it. You know. I can't go out live to people. I can't do my shows. I don't know. I got to do something, and I didn't want to be one of these people that just sat and watched TV all day and eight bond bonds. I decided to stay creative. So I said, I'll write a book. Why not? Why not write a book? And why not call it? Why not? So I wrote this book. I wrote it has sixty essays in it. Uh, some of them were produced already a place called the Jewish Journal, which has a real nice readership here in Los Angeles. And I had an agent. I wrote a book. I called my agent, Murray Wie. I said, I think I wrote a book. I think I wrote when and he goes, I said would you like to read it? And he said why not? So he read it. Then he calls me up and said, I like it. Do you mind if I send it out to public. Was sures to see if anybody wants to buy,...

...and I said to you, you know what, why not? And then we got a call from Apollo Publishers in New York, a wonderful little boutique publishing company. I was with another company before I have. I have an earlier book called I Killed with Random House two roads stories of different comedians. I Killed True stories of the road by America's top comedians. So Apollo Publishers read the book. They called Murray, they said why not? And they called me. We made a deal and now the books coming out in less than a month. Amazing. I was trying to think of why not response to it, but I'll just say amazing. Well, I'll give you one. You know. So I got a phone call that you wanted to have me on your podcast, and you know what I said, I hope it was why not? Why not? Yes? And here you are? Here we are why not as an interesting two words because it's the closest thing to a year. But you still have a little breathing room. See when when you say yes, somebody goes you know you you want to marry me? If they go Yes, that's it. You're locked in. But if they go why not, there's a little bit of thing in there that you're not a million percent sure, but there's a drop that maybe why and you still need a few seconds to figure it out. So why not is is a little more comfortable than yes. I like that. I'm gonna get some more wine. I already say why not? A decent amount, I think, but I'm gonna get more. I'm working it in more. Two words can change your life. You know, when you get married, it's I do did you try? Why not? I mean, I guess this was thirty two years ago, so maybe you didn't have to know. When the Rabbi said you take her to be your long learning my wife, I didn't say why not? I said, uh, yeah, I do. You can't say why not? There I want to get a big laugh. I should have said why not? You know that would have been very funny. So Mark, do you take her to be your wife? Why not? What the hell? Maybe you can do a thirty five or forty year anniversary? Uh, you know, a remarriage type of thing, and you can. You can pull it out. Then I can't. We'll go to Vegas we'll redo it and the justice piece of you take her why not. I'll be a little older then, so I won't be as big with the one why not. So Yeah, this book's coming out. It's got a terrific review already from Publishers Weekly. Bill Moore is on the cover of the book. It says starting out in stand up comedy with Mark Schiff was a blast, and the humor he brought to the stage back then is now between the pages of this book plus wisdom, plus the wisdom you get when you add time, Bill Moore. Jerry Seinfeld did the forward in the book, and I got a lot of really great blurbs from a lot of very talented people that read the book. That's fantastic. I've I've admittedly only read a couple of essays since I just I just got it recently, but I I would second that I've enjoyed what I've read so far, and more to come for sure. Yeah. No, there's there's plenty of two seventy pages of stuff in here. And there's a story about when Jerry Seinfeld gave me a car as a gift. There's a story about me becoming friends with Captain Hepburn. There's a story about Bob Dylan coming to my house one night, just when I asked him, I said, you want to come over and hang out and have some tea? And you know, he said why not? And he came over to my house. Bob Dylan and Anthony Hopkins is a story about how he taught me acting. In the book a lot of stuff about growing up in the Bronx, about my parents having to put my dog down. That was a very story that moved a lot of people to tears, and a lot of funny stuff in there. Did you get to you? You have sixties stories and there was that always kind of a goal you had...

...it. You just wrote stopped and it's and this is a good stopping point. So that's what publishers do. I when we submitted to Apollo and we made a deal and we said okay, there was a stipulation. They said, Mark, we really like it. Funny stuff, moving stuff, but it's not long enough. The book is not long enough yet. We need another between ten and fifteen thousand words. So most of my stories are seven hundred words there sure like stand up, I get to the point. There's there's no blabbing and you know, muddling around. I get right to it. So it's seven hundred words you're talking about maybe another fifty, you know. So I wrote some along one st that, but I had a hand in another fifteen stories and that. That's a lot of writing. Especially each story is its own world. It's it's its own little vignette, a life vignet. But I did it. I did it, and you know it's interesting. I'm very proud of myself. And I'll tell you why. My teachers growing up told me I was going to go nowhere. And I don't blame them because I was. I was kind of a rotten kid in class and I disturbed everybody. And I wasn't a class clown. I was just acting like an idiot. I didn't know better. But I was destined not to go anywhere, and I pretty much dropped out of school. But I took to the arts and I would go to the libraries and I educated myself. I would sit and read and listen to plays on record tape, and I learned on my own. And this is all. I took some writing classes, but I didn't grab it. How I did it was I just said, like becoming a comedian, you just kind of do it on your own. You just say I'm going to do this, and you start doing it. And I've been successful at stand up and this because is uh something that Remember one time I did a show at Yale and I'm standing on stage. I'm thinking I barely got out of eighth grade and here I am entertaining people at Yale. It was a nice feeling. I didn't let it go to my head. I just said, you know, you can, you can make your own way. It's really good. I'd like that. I like that. Well, we'll put a link to why Not in the show notes, And in the meantime, you're almost off the hook here why not? We got one more question for you. It's our top three and for you, what are your top three Beatles songs? So that's a good question. But let me tell you I've met three of the Beatles. The only one I did not meet was George Harrison. I met Paul McCartney on if the Avenue at the time was a long time ago. He's with his wife Linda, who passed on stopped him and spoke to them. Couldn't have been nicer. I met John Lennon at the bottom Line in New York nightclub there and I met Ringo a couple of times in Beverly Hills. You actually want to call him Richard. And I do transcendental meditation t M. You know what that is, and so to see. So when you open a conversation with the Beatle, it's good to try to open it with other things than about music, because they hear that from everybody. So I said to Ringo, you know by the way I might I I meditate just like you. And then we had a nice time in a conversation about meditation. My favorite Beatles songs I Love It, If I Fell If I Fell in Love with You Too, Plumas TV Too, and help Me and I Love, I Love, I Love Help. Help is a deep song help I need somebody. It's it's calling out for you. Do It's saying in life you don't have to do it on your own. I need help, somebody help me. So at the deepest dark moments in life, and we all have them sometimes sometimes it's good did not sit in it yourself, but reach out for...

...a little help, whether it's a therapist or you can get just as much sometimes from a good friend. So that was a big deal. That was a big deal, and I love um. John Lennon, not with the Beatles, but Beautiful Boy, he wrote a song to his son Sean about just just what a beautiful boy he is. He was a little kid when he wrote that song. His son was a little kid. And I got three boys, and I always wanted to write something as beautiful about my boys as he wrote about his. So those are those are the three Beatles songs that meant a lot to me. Fantastic list, and I mean I'll go, I'll go listen to them after this recording. That sounds great. They listened to Beautiful Boy. It's a sweet, sweet song. Yeah, I don't know. I'm actually not sure if I've heard that one, and at least in a while if I have, But yeah, look at that sounds and listen to the lyrics of help help me if you can. I'm feeling down. Let me get my feedback on the ground. That's such it's powerful. Yeah, I've always enjoyed that song. I've always thought it kind of gets lumped in with some of the other more poppy like and I want to hold your hand type of It's always like I don't know, it seems deeper than that. Yeah, yeah, there's a lot there, There's a lot there like that. Well, Mark, this was a fantastic time. You had a helicopter. I don't know if you heard I had police sirens going on in the background, or an ambulance or something. So we've both got lots of chaos going out outside of our walls, but we powered through. Why Not? We did? Why Not fantastic. If people want to pick up a copy or learn more about you, where can they find you? So the book is on shale now it's a pre order. It comes out in a couple of weeks, but you can get it and on Amazon or anywhere anywhere folks that books are sold. You can get why Not lessons on comedy, courage, and Chritzbah. It's also on kindle, but buying on hardback and make more money. I gotta make some money. I got it my my wife, you know, I got this Jewish wife. I gotta buy your diamonds and all kinds of things. So you gotta help me out, to help me help you feeling down? Yeah, So anyway, yeah, it's on Amazon. You can get the book, and I think you'll really enjoy it. It's it's it's nice, it's it's a book for everybody. And it's also very positive. There's a lot of positive messages and it's clean there. There's hardly any cursing in it. Like we just did forty five minutes, nobody said, nobody cursed. So that's what my act is. I work clean, I write clean, and I think filthy. That's that's the deal. We all. Yeah, I can't get built out of my mind, but I don't say it out loud in front of other people. So that's the deal. You're I can tell by looking at and you've got some thoughts going on, Eddie, yours are unbelievable man, not fit for consumption. No same here, absolutely well. We always like to end with a corny joke here. I feel like we've already had. We've been you know, lots of jokes on here. But I've got one for you as well. You're also welcome to tell another one if you want. It's all right, I'll go first, so we can end on a higher note. But what happens when a grape crossing the street gets run over? I don't know what happens when a grape crosses the streets. Cross the street to get run over. You get a nice little traffic jam. Oh man, oh, so what did one peanut? What? One peanut said the other what happened to you? And the other one said, I'm assaulted. I was assaulted. I think that that's one of Jerry's jokes. He remember telling me that he told his kids that joke. I got one for you. I think. So this this guy is driving in this old man he's driving his car and all of a sudden com pulls them over. It's like five...

...years old. N Coops says, do you know your wife fell out of the car about two miles back? And he looks to the right and he looks at the cop and goes, thank god, I thought I was going deaf. M that's good. I like that one. That's a good wife joke. Yeah, we started with Rodney danger Phil with a wife joke. We're wrapping full circle. I love it. Thank you, thank you for having me man, absolutely absolutely, and best luck with the book. We'll drop we'll drop links in the show. That's all that good stuff. It'll be fantastic. Good people. Cool Things is produced in Austin, Texas. If you're a fan of this episode, go ahead and hit that follow button that helps more people here the show. You can send me a message Joey at Good People, Cool Things dot com. Thank you to all of the guests who have been on Good People, Cool Things, and check out all the old episodes via good People, Cool Things dot com. As always, thank you for listening and have a wonderful dex oh.

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