by Ryan Meehan and Andy Round
Greg Behrendt should be known for many things. He’s a brilliant lifelong comedian who accidentally became the best selling co author of the inescapable He’s Just Not That Into You. He was the host of the oddly named Greg Behrendt Show, the musical force behind America’s instrumental surf and ska combo the Reigning Monarchs, and the foremost collector of small glass pig figurines or (“pigurines”). It is because of all these unique, memorable accomplishments that he is singularly recognized worldwide as That Guy From That Thing! He is also the co-host of the popular podcast “Walking the Room” with fellow comedian Dave Anthony. Enjoy him in person or at a great distance but enjoy him just the same, and check him out today as our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: You wrote “He’s Just Not That Into You” with Liz Tuccillo and it was published in 2004. However, the feature film based off of this book didn’t end up hitting theaters until early 2009. What ended up being the biggest hurdle when it came to getting that project on the big screen? Did casting have a lot to do with it since there are so many big names in that film? And how integral was Drew Barrymore when it came to getting the people in place to make that happen? And what was your initial response to the movie the first time that you saw it?
GB: No hurdles for us at all…they bought the book and a script from Liz and I pretty quick. 6 months later we turned in a script and that was that. They rewrote it (which we expected) and then put together an amazing movie w a stellar cast. I thought it was great for what it was/is. It misses the point of the book in places, but the general message is there.
RM: What were your first experiences with ska and surf music, the main genres of entertainment which are showcased in your band The Regining Monarchs? If you had to give yourself a score as a guitar player on a scale from one to ten; what would that score be? Is your love for the styles of music that you play a big reason why there’s a link to Gretsch’s website in the links section of your webpage? How many of those do you own and what’s your favorite guitar?
GB: My first favorite pieces of music were Zorba The Greek and the theme from The Good The Bad and The Ugly. I liked dramatic theme music which lead me to surf and rockabilly. While in college however in 1982 all you heard all day was the second wave ska stuff like The Specials, The Beat, Madness but also The Clash, Oingo Boingo and the police all has the reggae ska thing going as well. I just thought and still think the White Falcon is the Cadillac of guitars. But I’ve been playing a Schecter Ultra III quite a bit and my newest fascination is with taking old Epiphone korina flying Vs and putting Gretsch (TV Jones) pickups in em. I’m a 3 at best. But I’m a 10 dresser.
AR: In one episode of Walking the Room, you alluded to Shakespeare when you told Dave you’d like to “unseam him from the nave to the chops.” So, you have references like that, and then you’ll go on to talk about kegel exercises for men or a girl with 19 vaginas. How do you account for the range of your humor?
GB: It’s a simple answer. When I’m with Dave I’m just trying to crack him up. Whatever it takes. And I’m not doing an “act” so I can talk about Dave Eggers and picking up stuff with my butthole. I couldn’t do that onstage. Although I’m starting to.
AR: Speaking of violence toward Dave, joking about harming each other comes up pretty frequently on the podcast. Could you explain the effects the podcast has had on your relationship?
GB: It’s made us even better friends. We’ve been through some personal hells together as adults. The violence is a cover. Well for me. Dave has fucking issues!
FOH: As someone who has a lot of different ways to express himself creatively, will you always see yourself as a stand-up comedian first and foremost? And how has Walking the Room helped enable you to do the things you enjoy like doing stand-up, writing, and playing music?
GB: If I learned anything in the last year it’s that I am all those things. When I’m giving relationship advice then that’s who I am in that moment, if I’m on stage with the Monarchs there’s no place I’d rather be, I’m about to do 7 weeks of stand up in Australia and cannot wait. Early in life I tried to define myself. You don’t have to. The sooner you stop trying to make sense to others, the sooner you make sense to yourself.
RM: For those who might not be familiar with your work, what is it that makes you “The King Sweater”? What are some pieces of advice regarding basic sweater maintenance that you would give to anyone who is interested in becoming a man of your own wardrobe?
GB: The King Sweater has one rule! Own a sweater and wear it!
AR: On the podcast, you and Dave are frequently very frank about how things are going professionally and personally for you. There was one episode that I wouldn’t be surprised if it left listeners concerned for your well-being. Is the podcast therapeutic for you? You always seem to get right back to a sunny disposition after visiting the depths. How have you maintained optimism during the low points of your professional life?
GB: The podcast is the most nakedly honest think five ever done and I recommend everyone find something like that and do it. I’m maintaining happiness by not trying to be happy, but working to not be sad. Seems to work most days.
RM: What’s up next for you in 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
GB: Possibly recording a special in Sydney.
Greg on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Greg-Behrendt/18934830605
Greg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/gregorybehrendt
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