Harris: Gregg Allman is on the line now from Lafayette, Louisiana. He's coming to our town this Saturday to play at the Ballroom and he's got a new album out called Searching for Simplicity, and I'm happy to have him. Hi, Gregg!
Allman: Hi! How ya doing, Paul?
Harris: Thanks for taking some time out to do this. I know you have to get ready for your gig tonight, and I know you have been busy lately. By the way, while I was listening to One Way Out, I was wondering, when was the last time you had to sneak out the back door?
Harris: Can you remember?
Allman: Oh, well, let me see. I never practiced back-dooring anybody which is what the song is about, but the last time I had to sneak out the back door was to go somewhere that my mother told me not to go.
Harris: Okay. While we're talking about things from awhile back, my favorite memory of you is, I guess, about 19 or 20 years ago. I went to see you guys play at the Palladium in New York City, and it was just at the time when the Blues Brothers were hot. Belushi and Aykroyd came down to the Palladium dressed in their Blues Brothers outfits, and you brought Belushi out for your encore.
Allman: And he sang, Hey Bartender.
Harris: That's right! What was your relationship like with those guys? Did you know them or was this something that was just shoved on you by someone at NBC?
Allman: That was...no, they just came because...they just came. It wasn't planned or anything. They just did it because they were out roaring through the town.
Harris: Did you hang with them at all? Did you know them at all?
Allman: After that we did. Nice people. Belushi was just a nice guy.
Harris: Was that a time in your life where you were partying as much as he was? Or did anybody ever party as much as he did?
Allman: That was his own business, bro. I don't really want to talk about that.
Harris: All right. Now, you were in town a couple of weeks ago to do the Muddy Waters tribute here and Washington has always been a good town for you. When you come to town this Saturday night billed as Gregg Allman and Friends, who are the friends?
Allman: Let's see. I got Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie and he also plays now with Hank Williams Jr. Remember that song, Keep on Smilin'? He plays tenor sax and harmonica and he also sings. I've got Danny Chauncey from .38 Special playing guitar. I've got Floyd Miles who I grew up with and literally turned me on to music about 35 years ago, or 37 years ago, anyway a few years ago. He's playing percussion and singing. Then, I also have a band within a band I met when I moved out to California. They were called the Alameda All-Stars, which consists of Tommy Miller on the bass, Tommy Thompson on the keyboards, Preston Thrall on the drums, and Mark McGee on the slide and lead guitar.
Harris: Those are the guys that are on the new album, right?
Harris: You like a big band, don't you? You like to be surrounded by a wall of sound?
Allman: Well, I like a variety. You know, at the Muddy Waters thing, I played the first song by myself on an acoustic guitar. And that was really fun, by the way. I thought that was great that y'all did that tribute to Muddy Waters. I had a real good time.
Harris: We had great reports from that night, that everyone who was at the theater that night, really enjoyed themselves. Let me ask you about movies, because I know you've dabbled. You did the movie Rush and the Superboy TV series a couple of years ago, and I know you have let some of your music be used for movies. One of my favorites is when Willie Nelson did Midnight Rider for The Electric Horseman.
Allman: Oh, yeah.
Harris: Are you going to be doing any more movie stuff? Do you have the acting bug any more?
Allman: Yeah, if they call me, I'll go. That's why I have been going to the gym instead of the bar, trying to get back down to my fighting weight. Because you got to be pretty thin to be in the movies, or it helps. I mean, I would actually love to do it. I'm a little short of time right now. I was a little short of time back then too. Actually, the Allman Brothers were in Memphis at the time when I was filming for Rush, and doing The Shades of Two Worlds. And so I would do 12 days in Memphis recording with them, and then I would get on a plane, go to Houston and do 12 days behind the camera. I mean, in front of the camera. [laughs] I wasn't doing any directing.
Harris: One movie and they're not making any directing offers, are they?
Allman: Just a little slip of the tongue. So, I went back and forth, back and forth and that lasted 14 weeks.
Harris: Wow, that's a busy schedule.
Allman: It was, it really was.
Harris: Let me ask you about another side career if I may, and I have heard this rumor for a long time, and I have no idea if this is true or not. Is it true that when you were young, you wanted to be a dentist?
Allman: Dental surgeon! Right. Because I didn't think we would ever make enough money to pay rent by playing music. Because, the Beatles had just come out in '62 or '63. [loud barking sound in background] That's my dog, excuse me.
Harris: I hope so!
Allman: Gotta take my puppy on the road with me. They're pickin' up my bags. [more barking] That's all right, Killer. So, the Beatles had just come out in '62 or '63 and everybody had a band. And it was just like incredible competition out there. When I got out of high school, I thought, well, I'll take a year or two off and go out and play the clubs and get this out of my system and then go on back to med school. And so after that year went by, I was so in debt, trying to buy amps and guitars and what have you, because we got, I think $440 a night, 6 nights a week, 6 sets a night, 45 minutes a set, and...
Allman: Yeah, and the booking agent had the audacity to take 10% of that and so we wound up with about $100 a week a piece. So anyway, what really won me over, or changed me over, was that I got tired of playing other people's songs. And you couldn't get a job playing in a club unless you played so much Top 40 and so many Beatles songs. I just went into a sort of revolt. I said, other people can write songs, and if they can do it, let's see if I can. So I sat down, and started doing it and the first four or five hundred wound up on the floor somewhere. And then I wrote one called Melissa. And it was about three years before I even showed it to anybody because the other ones were so rotten. I spent two days on this one, and I had it! Oh, boy, I really had it. This was in 1966. And the next morning -- I mean I stayed up all night -- I took it to my brother and I said, "Man, check out this song I've written, I think I've got the hang of it." So, I sat down and played it for him, right? And he looks at it and says, "Baby brother, I've got some very bad news for you." And so I look at him and I say, "What?" He says, "You have just written the words to an obscure Rolling Stones song." And it was, it was the same thing! In my subconscious, I didn't realize it was one of the album cuts off, you know, when Brian Jones was still around. Remember that song that goes, "I'm free to do what I want, any old time..." Well, it goes way back.
Harris: That's funny.
Allman: So, yeah, I wrote another set of words to that and I ripped that up to confetti.
Harris: But Melissa certainly paid off for you. And just about the time when you guys were just getting going, is that about the time when your brother Duane, went off to play with Clapton in Derek and the Dominoes?
Allman: Well, yes, let me see. That was right about the time of the closing of the Fillmore, the Fillmore East.
Harris: Was there some sibling rivalry going on there, were you jealous that he was going off with Clapton and leaving you alone?
Allman: Absolutely not, man! I was damn proud as punch. I was really proud.
Harris: Did you go see those guys?
Allman: Because Clapton asked my brother to come and play on his record, I thought that was the most wonderful thing in the world.
Harris: You didn't ask, "By the way, you don't need anyone to play organ in the background, do you?"
Allman: Well, no. They had Bobby Whitlock playing organ and piano but at the end, we had the jams. It's on record, you can buy it. The Layla Jams, you can buy it. We put both bands together and did some jams there in the studio. My brother played slide, Eric played guitar, Oakley and the bass player from Derek and the Dominoes that I don't remember played bass, Jim Gordon played drums and Butch played drums, and Jaimoe played percussion, and it was a real good jam.
Harris: I don't think that is in print anymore, that's a real rock rarity there.
Allman: That is.
Harris: Speaking of old stuff, on your new album, Searching For Simplicity, you do a remake of Whipping Post. What made you decide to do that?
Allman: That was a dare.
Harris: What do you mean?
Allman: You may have heard of one of our roadies -- excuse me, technicians -- named The Red Dog. You've probably heard of him, but anyway, I was getting ready to go on stage one night at the Beacon Theater in New York City. This is about the time when Clapton re-did Layla.
Harris: On his Unplugged album.
Allman: Right. And he said, "Why don't you do something like that with one of your tunes? You could do the hell out of that!" He says, "Something like Whipping Post, you could do that." And I'm getting ready to walk on stage, so I say, Hound -- I call him Hound for short -- Red Dog, I ain't got time to talk about that right now, you know? Plus, I think it's a stupid idea. I mean the song's been written and god knows we've played it enough times. And so, I'm walking on stage and he says, "I dare ya!" I said, "Red Dog, will you come off this thing? Come on, gimme a break." So they announce us and I am walking out the stage and sit behind the piano he says, "I'll bet you CAN'T!" That did it. And so, 4 days later I knocked on his hotel room door with my acoustic guitar tucked under my arm and I say, "Sit down and listen." And I laid it on him.
Harris: And it's cool. It's a funky version of it. It's very nice.
Allman: Thank you very much.
Harris: The new album is called Searching For Simplicity and it's his first solo album in like 10 years or so. Gregg, have a good show tonight and thanks for checking in!
Allman: Certainly, Paul, thank you.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal.
Friday, December 12, 1997
Harris: Gregg Allman is on the line now from Lafayette, Louisiana. He's coming to our town this Saturday to play at the Ballroom and he's got a new album out called Searching for Simplicity, and I'm happy to have him. Hi, Gregg!
Wednesday, November 19, 1997
Harris: We're happy to welcome back to our guest line Mick Fleetwood, who about a year ago was on with us and I said, "How are things going, are you in touch with the rest of the band?" And he said, "Yeah, Lindsey and I have been working on something and we've been talking to the other three about maybe getting back together again, maybe touring, maybe doing a new album." Six months later there they are, out on the road again, and that tour is going to end at the end of this month right here in our town. He joins us live from Chicago now. Hi, Mick!
Fleetwood: Hi, Paul!
Harris: Welcome back to the show. How's the tour been for you?
Fleetwood: It's been fantastic. It's sort of a musician's dream in terms in terms of it couldn't really be any better. Just the reception the band has gotten on the road and certainly the attendance. It's a sold-out tour for all intents and purposes and we had a #1 album with the album, so it's almost ridiculous. We're having a great time, the band's playing better than ever.
Harris: You were at the Nissan Pavilion just a few weeks ago and you're going to finish the tour here in town. I looked up this statistic: by the time you guys finish you will have played before 800,000 people on this tour alone. That's a nice feeling to get back out there and see a standing "O" at the end of the night from three-quarters of a million people.
Fleetwood: Yeah, it is. We've been lucky with the weather. We've only had one outdoor gig that...it was fine...but it was just about only possible to do it in terms of the cold.
Harris: How are the inner dynamics of the band after all these years? Are you still pals as you come to the end of this tour?
Fleetwood: Absolutely, it's fantastic. The whole work ethic of how this thing happened came from the inside out versus the guy sitting with the big suitcase full of money saying, "Come with me," which had been tried a couple of times to no avail. I think because we had spent time in the studio. Me and Lindsey had a great more or less a year in the studio, which was a surprise to both of us. During this time the rest of the band came in in groups. John did some bass stuff, Chris did some keyboards on the work that Lindsey was intent on doing. Lindsey produced a track for Stevie for the Twister film that I played on with Lindsey. So, we all truly convened musically before any business or any such thing was really discussed.
Harris: Have there been any weird moments with the interpersonal stuff? You didn't walk into Stevie's dressing room and see Lindsey in there and say, "Whoa, wait, hold on a second, not again!"
Fleetwood: No. It's no secret to everyone that the whole band has at one point been emotionally involved as partners. Was it easy? No, we had some rough times in years gone by just like people would have. When you break up with someone, you normally get a little breathing space so you can come back and have a good friendship. That's the best thing that can come out of a broken relationship, that eventually you will be a friend to that person.
Harris: I would think there would be a lot less stress on this tour with none of the turmoil going on.
Fleetwood: Yeah, we're in a whole different emotional place. We're all still very much our own characters in terms of the players in the play and we're also more at ease with ourselves as individuals. Certainly there has to be a humor to the thing and it's a good humor.
Harris: It's easier to look back?
Fleetwood: The journey we've all been on together, you couldn't write a story like this. You would say, "I don't believe it" or, "It's not possible" or, "They could not possibly play music together."
Harris: Mick, I'm looking at the cover of the Rolling Stone that came out when you guys got back together again and it says, "The Lovingest, Fightingest, Druggingest Band of the Seventies Comes Back." Does that describe Fleetwood Mac anymore?
Fleetwood: No, not really. It's making comment to an era that has past. I think the testimony's no different than anyone else's life, maybe a little more extreme and a little more compressed. It is an act of survival and hopefully coming through it with your scruples and being able to reflect and learn from things that have happened in the past and not just sit there like a dodo repeating them which from time to time human beings tend to do. This is certainly a nice testimony that is very well tested. In terms of what we're doing now, this has been complete pleasure. It's got all the sorts of opportunities available for the individuals. Whether we take them or not is somewhat debatable. The great thing is that this band has really truly resolved so many things and been out on the road being very vital and to know that the whole gypsy thing that bands are is still intact. It doesn't feel like the dreaded "reunion" word. It feels very vibrant. I think that's something we liked to enjoy when we were in rehearsals. At that point we knew we would be doing the MTV thing...
Harris: And you were really cooking on that thing. You guys looked like you were really happy to be back together and playing these songs and I guess playing the whole tour has been that kind of feeling. Are you changing the show much from set to set? For instance, if somebody saw you out at the Pavilion and now they go again to see you at the Arena, are there any changes?
Fleetwood: No, it's pretty much the same show. The songs are the same, but there are some songs that are completely different every night, very different. A song called Not That Funny is basically a jam session that me, John, and Lindsey do together, but it's the same show. Earlier on during the tour, we changed it around a bit here and there, but the band played really well on MTV and we were really pleased with the way we played. Having said that, doing whatever number of gigs we did, this is a very well-oiled musical machine now.
Harris: Hey Mick, there's a listener of ours, Doug, from Walkersville, Maryland, who went to the show here at Nissan in August and was talking about you drumming on yourself. He wanted to know if you would be doing this at the next show and he forgot what song that was. What's this drumming on yourself?
Fleetwood: That was on Not That Funny. It's sort of a mutated drum solo where I have, for all intents and purposes, a drum vest. I have electronic, touch-sensitive pads that are very, very dynamic. They're not like normal drum pads that are slightly mundane. These have a lot of dynamics in them. And yeah, I'm feeling myself up basically. I have one on my crotch and four on my chest.
Harris: That one on the crotch, do you save that for just the finale? Is that a one-shot deal?
Fleetwood: That gets quite a few things pushed through it. Some heavy-breathing modules, I go through this whole breathing thing. It's sort of Mick-lunacy and I've been doing bits and pieces of that same type of thing. I always program and come up with a whole new scenario of sounds that get fed to me. It's all in real time. I'm playing it, but I give signals and they give me another five. I go through three or four different sound setups.
Harris: So you might hit the same place twice and it won't sound the same.
Harris: Gotcha, gotcha. So now you're in Chicago and you're not working tonight, what are you going to do? Does the band hang out together on a night off like this?
Fleetwood: Yeah. We're all going out to dinner in about an hour. In fact the note just came under my door prior to this interview. It's not the end of the tour, but it's not far off so we're taking the road crew out to dinner at a nice place.
Harris: And I also understand you're working on a Rumours tribute album that you're producing but the band won't be performing on. It's other bands doing your stuff, right?
Fleetwood: Yeah, it's going very well. I'm basically overseeing it. I'm not actually producing the bands that are on it. I had been available to do that, but my wish and desire was to have then do their own full-on interpretations of the specific songs on the Rumours album. So we've got a lot of great bands. Jewel's done a track, Elton John's done a track, Matchbox 20.
Harris: Did you get that Courtney Love version of Gold Dust Woman?
Fleetwood: No. There was an issue, which is fine. It's almost more appropriate that someone else will do another version of it.
Harris: For people who don't know what I'm talking about, in the movie The Crow: City of Angels, which was the sequel to the original Crow, Courtney Love and Hole do Gold Dust Woman. You liked that version a lot didn't you?
Fleetwood: Yeah I did, I thought it was really spunky.
Harris: But the movie company wouldn't give it up?
Fleetwood: No, they wouldn't give it up. But in retrospect I'm sort of glad because it opens up another facet in terms of having another interpretation of the song.
Harris: When will that be out?
Fleetwood: It will be out next year. We're not sure exactly. We're trying to set it so that it all fits in with what the Mac are doing. It's going to be a phenomenal album.
Harris: Is there going to be a new Fleetwood Mac album? Are the five of you writing new songs and are going to put together something new?
Fleetwood: That's all part of the options, any thing from road option to recording option and also to do-nothing option. I think the motto of today is just really to have an acceptance of that this has been fantastic. It's been more than any of us expected in terms of the reception and the way the project has gone and we can feel very comfortable with that. We're going to just finish up this tour and see what next year will bring in terms of commitments.
Harris: Well keep us posted, and good luck. The rest of the tour is a breeze from here. You're coming to town to close it out on November 30th. Congratulations on this phenomenal year and we appreciate you coming back on with us.
Fleetwood: You're very welcome!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Doug Houser.
Friday, November 07, 1997
Harris: Bob Greene is absolutely one of the best columnists in America. He writes several times a week for the Chicago Tribune, and has just come out with his 17th book, Chevrolet Summers and Dairy Queen Nights. It is a pleasure to have you back, Bob.
Greene: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.
Harris: Before we get to the new book, let's talk about something we talked about last time you were on, when you had written another one of your Michael Jordan books. How is the thirty six million dollar man?
Greene: Well, people are thinking that this may be his last year. As a matter of fact I just wrote a column about that for next week. People are trying to figure out how to react to this, because it's been a run unlike any sports team has ever had and few sports teams anywhere. There is a strange sort of bittersweet feel in the United Center, because people feel that whether they win it or not, this is it.
Harris: Is that because they feel that way about the Bulls or because it is Jordan's last year?
Greene: Well, because it's going to be Jordan's last year and because the Bulls have made it very clear that Phil Jackson is not welcome back, even though he has brought them five championships. It's a very odd feeling, and I think it will get even odder, and come June when the playoffs are in full swing...it's got almost a funeral feel to it and yet there is still the same excitement. For a town that didn't even know how to accept the fact that they had a winning basketball team, it's just very odd.
Harris: How does Michael feel about that? You must talk to him about this every once in awhile?
Greene: That's why I try and wean myself from going out there so much, but he's said all along that he wants to go out when he's at the very top. He did it once when the baseball was going on and against all odds, showed that he could still do it. But what Jordan has always said is that the worst thing for him would be for him to sense that the people in the stands think that he had lost a step or that Phil Jackson would take him out. It is a different game than he has ever played. You watch and you do realize that he is not flying through the air any more. He has reinvented himself once again.
Harris: Do you think he's the kind of guy that would do a Kareem Abdul Jabbar-like goodbye tour or at the end of the season say, "Okay, I'm just going to sell my cologne, run my businesses, and work for Nike and that will be it?"
Greene: He does not want to go around the league and have people give him gifts. He finds something not seemly about that. If there is anybody in the world who does not need a goodbye gift, it's Michael Jordan. We were driving through Sarasota, Florida, once when he was trying out for major league baseball, and he was driving a Stingray, a Corvette. He said that he had mentioned that he might want to have one and Chevrolet sent him down one and let him drive it around in Florida. The irony was not lost on him, that there are so many people who can't even get a car, and here's Jordan who has all the cars he wants, and people are just giving them to him.
Harris: Unbelievable. Let's talk about the new book and going from Corvettes to Chevrolet Summers is a nice segue here.
Greene: Didn't mean to do that.
Harris: First of all, it's a great title, Chevrolet Summers and Dairy Queen Nights. Something that certainly every American can identify with. And reading through the book, this is a wonderful piece of Americana again, Bob, I don't know how you do it. There are shocking stories in here and there are wonderful heart-warming stories that give me that warm goose bumpy-feeling, too. Then again, you have stories like the one about the naked guy.
Greene: Well, Chevrolet Summers and Dairy Queen Nights is made up of the columns people tell me are up on their refrigerator door or put in the drawer in the kitchen for a while, the ones that are not just about that day's news. The Naked Guy...just because the people listening are wondering what in the hell you're talking about...
Harris: It's a story we talked about on the air. It's a kid out at Berkeley who went to school naked.
Greene: Yeah! There was a thing in the paper about it, about how the naked guy was suing the university or was considering suing it. What happened was he was expelled for going to class without any clothes. And you would think, well of course, if you don't wear clothes to class you can not be in school. But, Berkeley could not find any rules to keep this guy out of their classroom. Finally, when they did throw him out of school the great fear was he would sue them. You had parents of freshmen, eighteen year old boys and girls, young men and women, who go away to college and sitting in the next seat is a naked guy. I mean, this guy wore nothing to class. So, I had two columns about the naked guy where he tried to explain to me why he did this.
Harris: And it took them months to get him out of there.
Greene: Yeah, they couldn't figure out a legal reason to expel him from the university. And I'm thinking, well let's see, he's going to class naked! And they said they had nothing in the rules against it. Could you imagine you're the parent of a college freshman and you call and say, "My son or daughter has a naked man in the next chair!" and they say "We can't find any conceivable way to throw him out"? And everyone's in great fear of him ending up owning the university be cause he'll sue them for throwing him out for no good reason except he goes to class naked.
Harris: That's right. Another great column that you put in here, which I first read in the paper and I'm glad you included, is about the cool hotel in Los Angeles that you stayed at but you felt like the uncoolest man in America.
Greene: I checked into a hotel and it was so cool. Every thing about it. Every body was wearing boxing trunks and it was the coolest people in the world. When you check in the hotel, in the room, was a magazine about the 100 coolest people in L.A. So I did a column about being so uncool in this hotel. I was afraid I'd be found out and thrown out. Like the naked guy wasn't.
Harris: What I like about it is, you're like me, you're a burger-and-shake kind of a guy and this was a hotel where there was no chance of you getting either of those things.
Greene: No, it was just so cool. You go to this hotel, and it was very nice, and I felt sort of unworthy the whole time. I did go across the street to a record store, I guess they call it a CD store. My antidote for all this, I bought a repackaged collection of the same fifteen Beach Boys songs I've been buying since 1965.
Harris: Which they just keep repackaging.
Greene: Yeah, I bought another one. I'm just grateful they're repackaging. I took it back to the cool hotel, because clearly they all have CD players in the rooms.
Harris: One thing that's not in the book, but you wrote about this week, is your idea for a postage stamp lottery. What is that?
Greene: Yeah. Actually I'm glad we're talking about that because the postal service is right within your listening area. I got an idea to raise money for the government. All you have to do is...people love lotteries, the postal service is always in need of money, first class stamp prices are always going up, so what if we had a lottery for fifty cents or a dollar and the prize was not money, but for a year you get to have your picture on the front of a postage stamp. Only one person, and for a year if you win the lottery, you're on a first class stamp for awhile. What it could do is, the lottery could bring in enough money that they could guarantee us the first class stamp isn't going up for awhile. But they point out all the reasons they can't do it. For instance, there's a regulation that only dead people can be on stamps.
Harris: So why can't we send in pictures of our grandparents?
Greene: Well, they could change the rules. When they shot that down I got another idea, which I just put out in the column, which is, what if the postal service sold advertising space on the front of stamps?
Harris: Do we want that, Bob?
Greene: Well, I don't know if we want it or not, but if Coca-Cola or McDonald's bought a first class stamp maybe the price would go down! You know, it's not like we're not living in a totally commercial country anyway. I got the feeling the postal service is getting a little sick of hearing from me calling and asking about these things, but I'm just trying to help the government raise a little money.
Harris: But, here's my problem with your idea for advertising on stamps. That takes away from the one place advertising should be, and that's on our show.
Greene: And that's your segue? What if the naked guy won the lottery?
Harris: Oh man, we'd be in trouble. It's a terrific book, Chevrolet Summers and Dairy Queen Nights, by Bob Greene, published by Viking. When we come to the holiday season and you're looking for something to give people that they are going to read and tell other people about, this is the book to get.
Greene: Thanks for saying that.
Harris: My pleasure, Bob. Always great to have you on. Thanks so much.
Greene: See you next time!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Sue Gaegler
Wednesday, November 05, 1997
Harris: And I'm joined on the guest microphone now by comedian Brett Leake, who last year stepped in at the last minute to give a terrific performance at The Paul Harris Comedy Concert for Children's Hospital and who is in town tonight to work at The Improv. On his way to The Improv, he was able to work his way through traffic to get to our studio. I appreciate that, considering you're coming up from Richmond.
Leake: Thank you, delighted to be with you. Yeah, I came up from Richmond. I don't understand the road rage. It's getting out of hand on the beltway. Why are people in such a hurry? There's nothing going on. Slow down! They're waiting for you to get there so you might have plan. Here's what you do. You don't fight road rage, you go ahead and use it to your advantage. Let's say you want to get into the right lane. Put your blinker on to the left and when people go to cut you off, the right lane is empty! That is genius with a J, Paul.
Harris: You're always thinking. That's why we like you.
Leake: I'm a thinking man. Here's something else I saw on the way up here. This window tinting craze has gotten out of hand with all the colored mirrored glass. It really looks silly on a little car. The Ford Festiva limousine? I wonder which leggy starlet will be stepping out of this hatchback. If you spend all this money to look cool, you have wasted your money because we can't see through the tinting to tell that it's you!
Harris: That's a very good point.
Leake: Thank you, Paul. There are some things that are funny and some things that are just very good points. That was a very good point, Brett Leake, thanks for coming up to give us good points. I don't understand all the features on my car. My car has a warning light for the battery. When the battery's weak the light comes on...draining the remaining energy from the car. If the light goes out the battery's stronger...or dead! You make the call. My cruise control has a decelerate button. I can slow down without the brake lights coming on. I know that's a feature the cars behind me appreciate. "Honey that guy we've been following is coming right at us! Lose him, we're being followed from the front!"
Harris: So you don't think that Detroit and Tokyo are working for our greater benefit?
Leake: They're not doing me any favors, let me tell you, mister. I say get off my back. On a long trip the passenger gets more tired than the driver. So next time you're nodding off at the wheel, think how fortunate you are. In my car we put the sleepiest person behind the wheel, that keeps everybody awake. On the way in, I saw a Salvation Army eighteen-wheeler. Who gave them that? I gave them a belt. Who gave them a truck for heaven's sake? I want my belt back! Those guys are loaded. Back to you guys, you can gripe about something.
Harris: Brett Leake is at the Improv tonight and Friday and Saturday. What happened to Thursday night?
Leake: A corporate group thought that another comedian would be more appropriate, so I'm going to go home and read a book.
Harris: Another comedian who we all know by the name of Bob Somerby got the gig.
Leake: Bob stinkin' Somerby gets everything. Sure he's funny, but give me a chance! Brett Leake wants to tell a funny line every once in a while!
Harris: What will your topic of conversation be?
Leake: We are going to have a lot of laughs tonight, it's going to be a funny show. I'm going to do the 'A' material this time, no more fooling around. When I start getting pulled from shows for Bob Somerby, I turn it up a notch. You are going to get some quality entertainment if you come down and bear with me one more time. Here comes showtime. Here comes professional show business. Thank you, Steve Martin. Sometimes the audiences even in DC, as cosmopolitan as it is, require a little set-up to me. I have a type of muscular dystrophy. Unless you're a Christian Scientist, in which case I'm a hypochondriac. As soon as you get my mind straight, my body will follow. I'm working on it. It's an important part of my life but I don't complain about important things because I don't have the little things figured out yet. There's an expiration date on cheese like if it goes bad it's our fault. Why was it aged for eight years if it's not going to make it through two weeks in my refrigerator? I've got an idea. Age it for seven, give me the extra year! You can't tell when Limburger goes bad -- it stinks when you buy it. Buy it and throw it away immediately. It went bad in the cow, for Pete's sake. Things are getting out of hand because even bottled water has an expiration date on it! Okay, I'll play. What's going to happen to bottled water, turn to tap? H-3-O? We get a lot of our bottled water from Canada, isn't that a neat trick? We create their acid rain, they put it in a bottle and sell it back to us. I say we can take 'em. And while we're up there, we'll fix their bacon. It's ham and it's expired. Here's the problem with American bottled water. That screw pattern on the top of the bottle is the same one you find on a hose. I think I've located the spring! It's on the side of my house! Bottled hose water?! I could have made this from scratch.
Harris: So you're saying it's all a big scam.
Leake: That's what I'm saying. That's exactly what's hiding behind these numbers. Talk about useless numbers, how about that cash value on coupons of 1/100 of a cent? Well, come to Poppa! Four hundred thirty more and I'll have a nickel. Here's what you do. Use them as currency. They say it's currency, so play along. Gasoline costs a dollar twenty five point nine? Impress the attendant with exact change -- a dollar, quarter and 90 Velveeta coupons. Tip the attendant! "These three are for you, get something nice. It's for cheese, you better hurry."
Harris: Brett is one of the smarter people to guest on our show.
Leake: That doesn't say much for the other guests. I will certainly avoid those people.
Harris: You actually recoiled when I said that.
Leake: I did, I don't like being referred to as smart.
Harris: Why is that?
Leake: Because you learn some things about the brain that are absolutely fascinating. Do you know we only use 3% of the brain and yet over 50% of our body heat escapes through the head? You know what that means? If we were any smarter we'd be freezing! What kind of choice is that, smart and cold or dumb and hot? All I know is that if I get chilly, I do something stupid fast. There's 3% working for you, Paul. I don't need the other 99%. Hey, another math joke! Come on, fellas, stay with me.
Harris: I never understood the whole heat escaping from the head thing. Putting a hat on, how is that going to make your legs feel warm? It doesn't warm me up. I don't get that whole thing. And as a balding man, I'm particularly concerned about this.
Leake: You've burned off a few follicles, haven't you?
Harris: You know, that's what it is. Too smart!
Leake: You're a brainy guy, aren't you, Paul? And your smart guest can't keep up with you. You're not running up to 4%. This is the fella with 4% over here. This is MISTER 4!
Harris: Oh sure, Mr. Show-off.
Leake: School was not a pretty sight for Brett Leake. Science fair projects? My mom got an A. She waited till the last night. I told her to get on it! "Mom, the other mothers have already started." I felt bad for the kids that failed history class, because if history repeats itself, they're going to get another F. I got a C in Latin. I thought that was bad until I looked it up in Roman numerals. One hundred! Swish! That explains all those X's on my paper, each an additional ten points. Smokin'! Ooh, 2% of the brain, I'm dropping fast.
Harris: I took Latin in high school and I never realized that. Never did the math myself.
Leake: I was amazed that people would actually cheat off me in summer school. Do they not know how I got in here? Make your own F, not mine! Are they afraid they're going to get a G? Only class I did well in was English, my hand writing was so bad they couldn't tell I was wrong. "I before E except after C?" Is that your puny rule? I'll dot 'em both! Sure they caught on, but then I put one dot in between. Two wrongs do make a right. Hey, look who's back up to 3% of his brain! I went to college, I got a degree in economics. So when I'm out of work I can figure out why. You know what I never did? I never used college-ruled paper because it did no good at all.
Harris: Is that the one with the pink line down the side?
Leake: I'll tell you all about it right now, you just sit tight, mister. College-ruled paper, I never would have used this in college, it did no good at all. It's 3 in the morning, I have a ten-page paper due by 8, I am not using paper with more lines on it. I used elementary school tablets -- 4 lines, 10 pages, 23 words. It looked like flash cards going by. Look who's running his brain up to 5%! Thinking Man!
Harris: Yeah! I'm glad you came in this afternoon.
Leake: Use 4% of your brain and come to see Brett, not 2% of your brain and see Bob Somerby. You understand?
Harris: Battle of the brainiacs, and you were here! Thanks, Brett.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Doug Houser.
Monday, November 03, 1997
Harris: We are happy to welcome the woman who will be headlining The Paul Harris Comedy Concert For Children's Hospital on December 8th, a woman who was named Funniest Standup Comic at the American Comedy Awards. Here's Wendy Liebman. Hi, Wendy!
Liebman: Am I the fifth caller?
Harris: You are! Come down and get your t-shirt. Congratulations!
Liebman: Thank you.
Harris: So, how have you been, where have you been, what are you up to?
Liebman: Well, let's see. I'm in L.A. now as you know and no earthquakes. I was in Hawaii.
Liebman: Yeah, I know, beautiful. I didn't know that the show Hawaii 5-0, was because Hawaii was the 50th state. Did you know that?
Harris: I thought it was the police department there.
Liebman: So did I. Well, it was my favorite show, other than Hazel and Arnie, but now I am dating myself, aren't I. But, I got my first bikini because I went to Hawaii.
Harris: Good for you.
Liebman: It's a three piece. It's a top, a bottom, and a blindfold for you. And you can't see, but I don't have much of a tan...because it was raining in the tanning salon. Oh, then I was in Alaska.
Liebman: Sorry, make that "Alaska 4-9." I don't know what Washington is. Washington isn't anything is it?
Harris: We're "Washington DC, not quite 5-1."
Liebman: "Washington Zero."
Harris: We're between zero and infinity, we're not quite sure what it is.
Liebman: Infinity, I think that's what it is. No, you're pi! No, but I was in Alaska 4-9 and I was there for 2 days...and 6 nights.
Liebman: And I can't believe you got that. It was so cold there, you guys, that I saw a dog wearing a cat. I stayed at the One Season Hotel because it was so cold.
Harris: Ooh, that's the four star one, isn't it?
Liebman: Yeah, but only one season. They didn't clean the rooms, they just defrosted them. That's how cold it was.
Harris: Can you even go outside there?
Liebman: Yeah, but you have to keep your tongue inside your mouth or it will stick to anything.
Harris: Well, how did we find that out?
Liebman: Don't ask! Don't ask, don't tell.
Harris: All right, fine.
Liebman: Then I was in Minneapolis. I've been traveling a lot. Oh, my god I'm tired. I was at the Mall of America, have you been there?
Liebman: They have a ferris wheel at that mall, they have a wedding chapel at that mall. A couple was getting married and they went to the Gap on their honeymoon.
Harris: Uh huh, very nice.
Liebman: That was a joke. Do you have a big mall there?
Harris: We have tons of malls. We have the Beltway and then outside the Beltway, we have a ring of malls.
Liebman: Well, I don't stereotype, but like most women, I love to shop...lift. No, I would never shoplift...again. I won't even take the towels from the hotels...unless they're paper. Even then, I feel a little guilty. You know, I'm from Roslyn.
Harris: Yes, Wendy and I grew up in the same town on Long Island.
Liebman: That's amazing.
Harris: That's the reason we're having you on the show this year because you and I have this deep-seeded thing that goes back 15-16 years ago.
Liebman: Oh really? I thought it was because I was funny!
Harris: Well, that too.
Liebman: I didn't know you in high school, did I?
Harris: You were actually in my brother's class.
Liebman: He was a year younger than I am. I had the most typical high school romance. I was a cheerleader...and he was on the faculty.
Harris: How did that work out?
Liebman: Good. "Go, Mr. Jamison!!" No, at this point I have never been married. I'm 36 years old and my father is offering a rebate...because he wants me to stop using his name. My mother wants me to marry a doctor...because she needs the medication. And I myself could use the kitchen appliances. And so I am actually thinking of getting married. You know, you guys, I am on the Keenen Ivory Wayans show this evening.
Harris: Is that right?
Liebman: I don't know what time it's on.
Harris: It airs here at 11:00pm.
Harris: You don't need to know what time it's on, you just need to know what time it tapes.
Liebman: I already taped it on Friday, but I had the flu.
Harris: So, they delayed it a day before it aired for your flu?
Liebman: No, no. I think they tape it a day in advance. And then they edit it and stuff. It's a great, great show.
Harris: It's the hot late-night show.
Liebman: Is it?
Harris: It's getting huge numbers here in town.
Liebman: Well, he is such a sweetheart and he has always been a fan of mine...and I owe him $20.
Harris: Well, that's...
Liebman: It couldn't have been a better experience and the audience was so amazing that they actually laughed before each punchline. So they were psychic as well as amazing.
Harris: That's like a Dionne Warwick audience then.
Liebman: Exactly. LaToya was there...and Kenny Kingston.
Harris: My god! Talk about pulling names out of late night infomercials.
Liebman: Well, I stay up late at night, because I'm a night person. Actually, that's one of the reasons that my last boyfriend and I broke up. We were incompatible in that way. I was a night person...and he didn't like me.
Liebman: You're the best audience. I just worked in New York City at Caroline's in Times Square. While I was there, I saw the show Tommy. Have you guys seen it? Well, I had really bad seats. I couldn't see him, I couldn't hear him, couldn't feel him...I got nothing.
Liebman: I love you, I love you for laughing at that.
Harris: There you go! We love her -- thanks Wendy!
Liebman: Thank you, Paul!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Philip Egenthal.
Thursday, October 30, 1997
Harris: Joining us now is a guy we've known for a long, long time. When we first met him, he was a stand up comedian, then he had his own show on cable, then he went network and now he is the 90th most powerful person in Hollywood. Here's Bill Maher from ABC's Politically Incorrect.
Maher: That's right and don't you forget it. There is fire in my wake when I walk now. I'm number 90!
Harris: When Entertainment Weekly came out with their list, did you look through there or did somebody have to show you?
Maher: Oh, no. I looked through there on the first day it came out. I was very happy about that.
Harris: Now, at what point do you become so powerful that somebody else looks through it for you?
Maher: [Laughs] I don't know, I guess you have to break the top 50 or something.
Harris: Something like that. Spielberg has tons of people.
Maher: You know, I didn't see Letterman or Leno on that list.
Harris: That's absolutely right.
Maher: Not that I was looking for them. Not that it matters.
Harris: Well, you've got the hippest show and definetly the best monologue by far.
Maher: Well, thank you.
Harris: Which we've talked about many times before. You're bringing your show here to Washington next week, right?
Maher: We're bringing it right into the lion's den. And that means you, you are the lion's den.
Harris: We are. And we prove that by delaying your show to the ridiculous 12:30 time slot.
Maher: Hey, Paul, you know what? When we're in Washington next week, they are going to put us on at the right time.
Harris: Is that right?
Maher: Thats right, that's their concession.
Harris: Why don't they do that all the time, not just when you're here for that week?
Maher: I know, but I take what I can get. But, it should be nice, we're going to be on right after Nightline.
Harris: And it will be all Washington people, except me, of course?
Maher: Not all Washington people, but the first night we have Sonny Bono, the Congressman.
Harris: [laughs] I'm sorry, I still laugh when I hear that.
Maher: Donna Shalala. What is her job? Cabinet or something?
Harris: Health and Human Services.
Maher: Yeah, one of those chick divisions. I'm kidding. I'm kidding, people!
Harris: I know, you kid the HHS.
Maher: Exactly. And we have Ted Nugent, who is not really a Washington person, and we have Bill Kristol, who is the editor of The Standard, who happens to have me on the cover this week with the title "Politically Incompetent."
Maher: That's why I love coming to Washington because they hate me.
Harris: Yeah, but on your side of the country, you're number 90 and that's what's important.
Maher: That's right. We know where the real power is.
Harris: And now, while you're doing this, I also understand that you're going to be doing Jeopardy?
Maher: I'm doing Jeopardy on Saturday, right.
Harris: This is Celebrity Jeopardy and, you've done this before, right?
Maher: Yes. Came in third.
Harris: What happened there? Are you going to blame it on the buzzer?
Maher: No, but I could. That buzzer is hard to figure out. No, I was against Swoosie Kurtz, who knew everything about Broadway, which was one of the categories. I think the trick on Jeopardy is to get the right categories. You get the right categories, that's where the lobbying comes in. That's why I am having a series of fund raising coffees with the Jeopardy producers to see if I can get the access. No, but this is like a special political Jeopardy.
Maher: Yeah, that's why they're doing it in Washington.
Harris: So, you're hoping that one of the categories is "The Chicks of the HHS."
Maher: [laughs] Yeah. "The Women of the Health and Human Services."
Harris: Now, I know you've been appearing on all these other game shows. I saw you on Pictionary...
Maher: Oh, "all these other game shows." C'mon. I was on one other game show, I was on Pictionary because my friend Alan Thicke has a new game show that's going to make him as much money as Merv Griffin.
Harris: And you got knocked out on this show.
Maher: Just for a second. I got punched by Erik Estrada, by accident. He's just a very excitable young man.
Harris: Erik Estrada, by the way, came in at number 89 on the Entertainment Weekly list. Talk about climbing the ladder! If you knock a guy down, you go over him on the list.
Maher: It's very basic out here, just like in your town. It's tooth and claw.
Harris: So, Bill, the other night, I saw you on Vibe with Sinbad, and what were those tiger pants you were wearing?
Maher: You know, Paul, it's an urban crowd, wink-wink, and I was just trying to... You know, all my black friends called me up and said, "Bill, those pants were just so fly, they were just the greatest!" And all my white friends called me up and said, "Bill, those pants were so funny!" But I was saying to Sinbad, you should see the stuff Keenen wears every night, and he's not kidding. So I thought, if Vibe is going to compete, we've got to be on the same wavelength. But, if you didn't see those pants, they are not to be believed. They are big, fuzzy, tiger, bell-bottom disco pants with a red devil on the ass.
Harris: Sounds like something from the Marv Albert collection.
Maher: Right! Well, I wanted to wish my friend Sinbad good luck on entering the late night arena.
Harris: Well, that's nice. I saw you welcoming him, and we want to welcome you to Washington as warmly as we welcome Jiang Zemin. I mean, we're not having a state dinner for you or anything.
Maher: They call me "The Butcher of ABC."
Harris: What did you think of the Chinese leader coming here? I know Richard Gere is all upset about it.
Maher: Right, he had a thing across the street. You know, China is such a closed society that they didn't even hear that rumor about Richard Gere. That is what I call a closed society!
Harris: [laughs] Very funny.
Maher: I'm really looking forward to coming there.
Harris: I know you have to run because you have to tape tonight's show. Who's on the show tonight?
Maher: Oh, tonight begins sweeps, so we have a powerful lineup. Tonight we have Cindy Crawford, Louie Anderson, Wynonna Judd, and an author you've never heard of, Martin Gross. But he's got a great book out, called The End of Sanity. He believes that a low-cut dress on a woman is a form of sexual harrasssment to a man.
Harris: Which is why you're having Cindy Crawford on with him.
Maher: It's an interesting pairing.
Harris: By the way, Bill, I dare you right now to introduce him tonight as "an author you never heard of."
Maher: Oh, I've done that before.
Harris: Okay, Bill, have a good show tonight, and we'll see you here in Washington next week. Politically Incorrect usually airs at 12:35, but next week, just after Nightline, just after midnight. Thanks, Bill! I appreciate it.
Maher: My pleasure.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal
Friday, October 24, 1997
Harris: Joining me on the phone now is an old friend, a man who's been on the show in the morning and in the afternoon and sometimes in the middle of the night for a long time now. And he once introduced me to another magician as the smartest DJ he'd ever met -- and then he realized the universe he had to choose from and realized it wasn't that much of a compliment. Here's Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller. Hi, Penn!
Jillette: Well you know, the expression, "Damning with faint praise" comes to mind.
Harris: That was when you introduced me to James Randi.
Jillette: Well, Randi and I have both done a bunch of interviews, and you get to know the kind of people you're dealing with. I would say you're even smarter than that.
Harris: Well, thank you so much.
Jillette: I would say you're just a really regular person who's just a little bit dumb, which is a lot better than the smartest DJ.
Harris: Thanks, I think. The last time I saw you, you were at some Smithsonian thing a couple years ago. You guys had just moved to Las Vegas and I asked you, "Why did you move to Las Vegas?" And you said "Paul, one word: Showgirls!"
Jillette: Yeah, but I think I was wrong about that. I think it's a hyphenated word.
Harris: Oh, is it?
Jillette: I don't know. You know, when you're 6'6", you walk through Las Vegas and women come up to you and go, "Oh, I could wear heels with you." Now what's wrong with that?
Harris: But some of those showgirls with the headdresses, they're taller than you, aren't they?
Jillette: Yeah, they import women who are over 6' and I think like five-and-a-half of that is legs. I don't know how hygienic that is, but it's very attractive.
Harris: How is the whole Las-Vegas-as-family-fun-center thing coming along?
Jillette: Oh, it just bombed. That thing went right in the dumper. I don't think anyone believed that for a second. You know, you go to the MGM and there's the Scarecrow in the lobby and you just go, "We're here for gambling and hookers, why is the scarecrow in the lobby?"
Harris: That's exactly right. And every cab has an advertisement for a topless place on it. "Oh look honey, let's take the kids there!"
Jillette: Not a topless place. It's all Glitter Gulch. Glitter Gulch and The Palomino. They're the only two that bought cabs and they bought every cab. It's 90% Glitter Gulch, 5% Palomino, and 5% Lance Burton and his bird act.
Harris: Well, we're going to get to Lance in a second, but how does this modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah become the home to Penn and Teller?
Jillette: I'll tell you, if you don't drink -- which I never have in my life -- you don't do drugs, and you don't gamble, it is just a cheap holiday in other people's misery. My living is subsidized by bad math. You come to Vegas, you have bad math, you lose your money, and they don't charge me any taxes. Once you get off the strip, you're living in Phoenix only everything's really cheap. And the pawn shops! You can buy prosthetics at the pawn shops!
Jillette: Yeah! You can go in and say, "I'd like a leg." And they go, "You know, some guy pawned his leg." You can say, "Do you have a pacemaker?" I mean it's the best pawn shops in the world.
Harris: How is it to be playing in some of those showrooms out there, places that are Wayne Newton and Tom Jones to the max?
Jillette: We're doing great. When we were put in there, we were considered to be a complete folly, like we were the wrong people to be there. They would say we were too New York, too smart, too everything. And I think a lot of people come to Las Vegas ironically. They come to kind of make fun of it, because they're much too hip for Vegas. So they come and they go and see Siegfried and Roy and they see that glitzy tractor pull. They have these ultra-white cross-eyed mutants, and they've learned to train tigers and they've got these big-haired Germans torturing endangered species and they go and see that. They go to see Tom jones and after two days they say, "Wait a minute, this isn't fun making fun of this anymore," and they come to see us. And we've had great crowds, and the crowds are very smart and every crowd we've had has been too hip for Vegas. It's like playing Off-Broadway in New York. I don't really get it. It was this wacky gamble and it really paid off. It's the city of wacky gambles.
Jillette: You know, I think you'd be one of the people who'd be best in math in Las Vegas as well as being the smartest DJ.
Harris: Well, that's why I'm coming out there on vacation in December. When we finish with this, I want to ask you a couple of things about that.
Jillette: All right. I'll give you the number and you just ask for Amber. Is that the question you wanted to ask? And for another four bills she'll bring Ginger with her. That's all you need to know.
Harris: As long as neither of them has met Eddie Murphy, I'm happy.
Jillette: And the number is 555-
Harris: So anyway, you guys are coming to the Patriot Center for a Halloween show.
Jillette: Oh, yes. But you know everyday is Halloween for us. We don't need a day of amateurs. We'll point guns at each other, juggle broken liquor bottles, we do a lot of new stuff. You saw us last at the Smithsonian?
Jillette: It's a whole new show for you, man. Are you going to come by?
Harris: I'm definitely going to be there. And I also know that you've got a new book out.
Jillette: Oh, yeah.
Harris: It's called How to Play in Traffic. It's laugh-out-loud funny, too. I'm looking through this, and you've got some great scams that people can pull on each other. I'm wondering if at this point -- you guys have been together two decades now -- do you guys still try to scam each other?
Jillette: No. As a matter of fact, we can't get away with jack. We are the boys who cried Three Of Clubs. We have to live vicariously through our patrons. I walk into a restaurant, 6'6", 278 pounds, on TV, and I say "Could I have a menu?" And they go, "Come off it, what are you trying to do?" I say, "Could I have a Greek salad with no green peppers?" They say, "No green peppers, did I read that somewhere?" "No, I don't like them, they make me belch." "They make you belch, is there a trick based on that?" So what we do is, we write these things and you as a civilian who has spent your life building up friends and family, people you respect, people you like, people who care for you, those people are just ripe for the plucking. All you need is our information and you can humiliate people you claim to respect and steal money from people you really love.
Harris: It's the office pool concept. If you can't take money from people you most care about, why bother?
Jillette: Well, you know, they always talk about professional gamblers and there's all this sexiness of taking down the casinos, but all your professional gamblers play in local poker games with friends. That's where all that money is made. And this is the same idea. We can give you these great tricks that you can go in and freak out a stewardess, but when we walk on the plane they pretty much put us in solitary. "Now you two get over there, we don't want any monkeying around!"
Harris: Speaking of that one, will you tell my favorite one in the book, the one with Teller on the plane?
Jillette: Oh, it's a great thing. They have these brittle cups that they serve their little beverages in on the airplane. And once you've drained it, you can put it under your armpit -- it's the dumbest trick in the world and the first time Teller did it for me, it just absolutely blew me away it was so funny -- then you call over the flight attendant, and you say, "You know, my neck's a little stiff. You didn't give me a pillow when I asked for it so...." And you grab the top of your head and the other hand under your chin and you give a little twist to your head and at the same time you bring your arm down and crush the cup in your armpit. It gives this wonderful chiropracty gone wrong crunch that will give you the full attention of the stewardess. After that, she'll be going, "Anything I can do to make you happy? You want to be upgraded to first class?" Because it looks like you're a schmuck who broke your neck on the plane. We like to have people think that people who read our books are schmucks who break their own necks on planes. But it is so easy. A lot of people just want to read the book and go, "I'm not the kind of guy who's going to do these tricks because I have friends." But there a lot of tricks that are in there that are hard to do. There are also a lot of what they would call in science, "Gidonkins." You know, thought experiments. "Wouldn't this be a great trick if you did it?"
Harris: There are a lot of good ones in there, and there's also the eternal card trick. You mentioned the three of clubs before...
Jillette: That was Teller's obsession and I'm telling you, if this were a book that was written by just Penn, you wouldn't have this trick. It was much too much work. Teller scammed, and used lawyers, and a huge amount of money, and a lot of disingenuous speech and he got us a plot at Forest Lawn Cemetery, the most famous cemetery in the country, where a lot of movie stars are buried. He got us a plot and a headstone, and we're not dead. And then in the book we teach you how to do a card force -- which just means to get someone to think they had a free choice of a card where they really picked the three of clubs. Then you have them put the card in an envelope that they think they've freely selected and then you say, "I'm going to divine what that card is, the four of diamonds." Then they say, "No, you're a loser." Then you say, "Well, keep the card in your pocket, I want to go to Forest Lawn and show you around. There are some great graves there." And you go around and there's Stan Laurel and all sorts of cool ones and then you walk over and say, "Huh, I didn't know Penn and Teller were dead!" And you point down and there on the gravestone it says, "Is this your card? 3 of Clubs." And there it is in brass and marble. It's beautiful. It cost us most of our advance for the book. But Teller thought "You know, it will be there forever, Penn, and it's wonderful." My mother said, "What's so funny about you having a gravestone?" I said, "Ma, it's OK." It was incredible, because Forest Lawn called and said, "Well we won't sell this to you because you're trying to do something funny, and this is a place with dignity. You can't make fun of that." And Teller had an evil New York lawyer on the phone with them going, "This is breach of contract! We will own Forest Lawn! You put that in, you put it in now! He has a verbal contract, he has a letter of agreement, money has changed hands, do you want to still own your cemetery? Do you, boy? Do you?" Teller just sicked them on them. You know, you're beating up a poor mortician. He said, "It's going to be a great gag."
Harris: It is great -- the eternal card trick. Always great to talk to you, Penn.
Jillette: Great talking to you!
Harris: Thank you very much.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Doug Houser.
Wednesday, October 22, 1997
Harris: We are happy to welcome back to our guest microphone comedian George Lopez, who was one of the headliners at the first Paul Harris Comedy Concert for Children's Hospital.
Lopez: It was great, wasn't it?
Harris: Wasn't that a nice night? And we've got another great night coming up, that's on December 8th this year.
Lopez: Yeah, I saw your lineup and I urge everyone to go to that one, it's going to be great.
Harris: Wendy Liebman and Will Durst and Jim Gaffigan, Bob Somerby, and The Reduced Shakespeare Company. Thank you for letting me plug that. Now let's talk about you. How have you been? I saw you on Vibe, that Quincy Jones show, a couple of weeks ago. That's on Channel 20 at 10 o'clock here.
Lopez: I jammed, man. Didn't I?
Harris: You were very good on that show.
Lopez: I had just had some material put on hold for The Tonight Show that's supposed to be happening in January. So I had to completely retool, since it's all people of color as opposed to The Tonight Show, which is predominantly the midwest. I was in the middle, I didn't know who I was, and I was like, "What the hell, what am I saying? Who am I?"
Harris: Is that what they'll do? One show will say, "We love this part of your act, hold on to it?"
Lopez: "Hold onto it and don't do anything of this set on any other show." And I had a week to do Vibe, but they replaced my guy, Chris.
Harris: Yeah, Chris Spencer's out and Sinbad's coming in. Why are you laughing about Sinbad?
Lopez: Sinbad is...anytime they need a black man and they need him in a hurry, it's Sinbad. He's the guy, he's the Roto-Rooter. Anytime you're in trouble, call Sinbad!
Harris: I hear Sinbad said, "Yes, Quincy, I'll do the show but only for a couple of months. Find somebody full time to do this."
Lopez: It's too bad that they didn't give Chris a chance because Conan O'Brien ran for at least a year solid and was horrible the first year. He's great now and to replace a guy two months in is just horrible.
Harris: Why didn't they get you? Were you up for the job? You should have gotten that.
Lopez: I'd like to have had it, but I think they weren't going to do anybody that hasn't been proven yet. Plus Telemundo has offered me a talk show. I find that completely interesting that they want to get into English programming.
Harris: Now that's a mistake for Telemundo.
Lopez: Telemundo, the guy who does the astrology is like seventy years old and he's homosexual and all his predictions are that. "Hello, you are lady?" Click. He doesn't want to talk to anybody but men. "I want men, call me, men. Lady, no. Your future, bye." But Telemundo offered me a talk show and I thought that it is the loudest station on TV. You watch NBC, they've got the three little bells going ding, dong, ding. On Telemundo, they scream. That's why if you ever drive by Latino neighborhoods and they're all in the front yard at about 11 o'clock at night, it's because it's too loud in the house! My grandmother would yell at me, "Turn the television down." My response was always the same, "I don't know where the pliers are! What did you do with them? You used the oven last! What did you do with them?"
Harris: Not only is Telemundo a loud channel, but it is also the sweatiest channel on TV. They have to get air-conditioning at that studio or tone down some of the soap operas.
Lopez: The funniest thing to me is that they'll do the same commercials, like Coast soap. "I like Coast because it's the eye opener." And you'll see the same commercial in Spanish a lot louder. It's almost like the way cavemen reacted to fire in "Quest for Fire." They're just so happy to see soap! "We must not tell anyone we have Coast. Don't tell anyone. You are lady." Click. I don't know what's going to happen TV- wise. I love Vibe but I think I'm going to jump and go over to Keenen.
Harris: Well, that seems to be the show of the two in the urban battle.
Lopez: The urban battle is being waged and I'm going over to Keenen.
Harris: Good, that's the show to be on.
Lopez: I'll take a fish for that tank and maybe I'll suck up. That old Chevy Chase tank they have.
Harris: I'm surprised they put a tank on there. Didn't Chevy's fish all die on TV?
Lopez: They all died.
Harris: And so Keenen puts a fish tank on there. Let me ask about one TV thing you did. I always watch this show on Comedy Central called Make Me Laugh, right before The Daily Show. In the history of this show -- and I watch it every night -- nobody ever makes them laugh, and why would they? If you're making money not to laugh, nobody's going to make you laugh. You were funny, but was Marty Putz one of the guys on with you?
Lopez: Marty Putz was one of the guys. I made the guy laugh in 6 seconds. The guy was a bail bondsman. So they go, "He's a bail bondsman who says George, make me laugh!" I said, "So you're a bail bondsman. Do I look familiar to you?" The guy was on the floor in six seconds, it's the record. That's all I said and he starts rolling.
Harris: The idea of that show is that the comedians are trying to be as funny as they can and the people are fighting back laughter. As a comedian, we had Wendy Liebman on after she did the show, and she said that it was the most disgraceful thing in comedy.
Lopez: Right, because they pay people not to laugh for like a dollar a second. Very nice, our egos are completely gone. You're hitting them with bombs and it's almost like you're boxing and you're hitting someone with bombs and they're not going down.
Harris: Not even that, they're not even getting bruised. They're not even turning a cheek.
Lopez: You almost have to do it because you almost have to keep up the money for the insurance. God forbid one of my teeth dies and I'm out there with a gray front tooth. I guess there's always Denny's night manager.
Harris: George, you were so good at the Paul Harris Comedy Concert For Children's Hospital last year.
Lopez: Thanks. It was jam packed and it was a Monday night and it was just perfect. That's what comedy is about. Plus, you give back and people are laughing. I remember some older Republican men coming up going, "You know, we are not really fans of your particular type of comedy, but we thought it was funny." Well, thank you, I guess!
Harris: Kind of a half-hearted compliment there.
Lopez: Then I saw Paul in Las Vegas! I forget when it was.
Harris: About six weeks after that, I was on vacation in Vegas.
Lopez: He called me at the hotel and I was like, "How do I blow this dude out, man?"
Harris: He was playing the Improv over there and I came over after the show and George and I hung out for a while.
Lopez: I made friends with some of the maitre d's at the shows, so I would go over and see Earth, Wind, and Fire and Bill Cosby. I met Bill Cosby and he said, "I saw you man on TV man doing the Spanish thing." That's what he told me, "All right, you're doing the Spanish thing, that's cool."
Harris: "Doing the Spanish thing?" That's a nice compliment from the Cos.
Lopez: "Doing the Spanish thing." Okay, Cos, thank you. But I saw Siegfried and Roy for the first time. The white tigers look more human than Siegfried and Roy. You see the white tigers -- and I don't want to start any rumors -- but the new baby white tiger has Roy's eyes. You didn't hear it from me.
Harris: I heard that Siegfried and Roy have split. That was a story that came out about a week or two ago.
Lopez: Yeah, but Roys are like Lassies man, they'll pull a new Roy out of somewhere. They broke up, right? So that's why all the flags at Dupont Circle are flying half-mast. I was like, "They're flying half-mast, I wonder why?"
Harris: Hey, you weren't here last week for the Louis Farrakhan Day of Atonement. I'm sorry about that.
Lopez: I actually want Latinos to do a Day of Atonement because we do a lot of things in this country and we don't get a lot of recognition.
Harris: Could there be a Latino Million Man March?
Lopez: I think we could do the Million Man Nap, but not the March. I just think Farrakhan is always on, he's always Reverend Farrakhan. If he went to McDonald's he would be like, [in Farrakhan's voice] "Yes I would like...one value meal...super size...with a Diet Coke." And when he gets going, he's a beautiful speaker, but it almost sounds like he's doing 70s songs. He's like, "I can turn the gray sky blue...I can make it rain whenever I want it to...I can build a castle from a single grain of sand...but I can't get next to you, babe, can't get next to you. Just sit right back...and you'll hear a tale...a tale of a fateful trip...that started on this tropic port...aboard a tiny ship...the mate, who was a Jew..." Oh my God! Louis Farrakhan is killing me, man.
Harris: The skipper in a bow tie. I would pay to see it.
Lopez: "Mary Ann, you must atone for your Jezebel ways...why can't we eat something else other than coconut cream pie?"
Harris: If you want to get into the Latino thing, I've got to ask you, there's this new magazine in town called Capital Style and they put Jimmy Smits on the cover of the first issue because he's always in town lobbying for what he calls Hispanic issues. You say Latino right?
Lopez: I just say issues. I don't color code them.
Harris: I know one of the things you're talking about a lot is how Latinos are getting short shrift, especially in the entertainment industry, right?
Lopez: Yeah, so we're on the same page as far as that's concerned. But I think there are good shows. Cheech is on Nash Bridges. That's a great show. Cheech is very fine in that show, and he's also one of my golfing buddies. It's so funny because I never smoke, I never get high. I haven't gotten high in 20 years and Cheech still gets high.
Harris: Is that right?
Lopez: So he says to me one day, "Hey, man, do you want to smoke?" And it's almost like, you don't want to but it's Cheech! It's almost like if Mickey Mantle said, "You want to play catch? Go get your glove." You almost have to say, "Gee Mick, do you mean it?" You almost have to! I became him, man. Two guys, one Cheech and one trying to be Cheech. Just wild.
Harris: Cheech and Cheech, not the greatest act in the world.
Lopez: It was crazy.
Harris: Have you been getting any roles of any kind?
Lopez: I'm gone a lot so I don't get a chance to. My friends are executive producers on the Wayans Brothers Network and they were going to give me a part, but the guy was a robber. I don't want to do that. I'd let the tooth die. I think it's important not to. I travel by myself and you see a lot of things and its always negative. Last week I was in Chicago and I go to breakfast by myself, and the lady looks at me and starts looking around and says, "We only accept applications between 10 and 2 in the afternoon." And you almost have to laugh, man, because it's so funny. So I said, "OK, I'll be back." It's just so ridiculous that we're almost invisible. Those things are funny to me and as long as they're funny to me I'll just continue to put them in the act. I run into all these stupid people.
Harris: I think it's great that you can laugh at that.
Lopez: I think it's important. I mean, maybe one day, who knows? I think that the way you see police, the brutality, like what happened to the guy in New York with the guy and the plunger. And then they say that the guy is recovering slowly. No lie, man! I wouldn't be in any hurry to get back out onto the streets again. "The doctor says you're free to go." "No, I'm OK. This month could we try chocolate ice cream? I just want to sit here and have more ice cream." Because when you see commercials like this for Just For Men hair color, it's hilarious. The cop pulls the guy over and says, "This isn't you, this is an older guy." "Well, that's because I've been using Just For Men." I don't know if that really happens in real-life nighttime scenarios. A cop pulls you over and says "Hey, this isn't you." "Yeah, I know, and in five minutes you're going to find out this isn't my car either."
Harris: So can you picture a day when there is a Latino president who's doing coffees at the White House and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars?
Lopez: Oh no, it wouldn't even be coffees he gets in trouble with. "Did you hear about President Lopez? They caught him fixing his cousin Tooty's parking tickets. He had an aunt who had a Denver boot on and he got it taken off. Man, I think they're going to depeach him."
Harris: George Lopez, thanks for coming.
Lopez: Thank you, Paul!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal
Monday, October 20, 1997
Harris: If you flip around the channels, you may have stopped on CNBC, the business channel. And the reason you may have stopped is our next guest, Maria Bartiromo, who has been at CNBC for a couple of years, but is probably best known for being the first reporter to be live on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange while trading was going on during the day. And she has done so well for herself, she's so hot, that CNBC has given her her own show. It's on at 7:00 every weeknight, it's called Business Center and it just debuted last week. Here is Maria Bartiromo.
Bartiromo: Hi, thanks for having me!
Harris: So, what was it like being the first one on the floor of the Exchange? Were they beating you up a lot in your first week?
Bartiromo: A little. It was really interesting because you had something new to all involved. I mean, here I am, the first person to come down trying to be the person in the middle of all these men and women running around all over the place trying to get their trades done in a hurry. And there are these people who are watching not only a reporter, but a woman, come into their territory out of nowhere. I mean, in some cases they probably thought I was crazy because it appeared I was talking to myself because the camera was so far away from me, because it is up on a ledge, and they had no idea when I was live and when I wasn't live.
Harris: It must be weird for them because, to them, you are just some person staring up into space and talking out loud.
Bartiromo: That's right. So it took a little time for both sides to get used to, but now everyone down there is very respectful and they know what I'm doing and I try and keep out of their way and they try and keep out of my way.
Harris: Is it extremely stressful? Because the other day I was watching this show and it wasn't about business, it was about stress, and you were on it. They showed you doing your makeup on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and they showed all these different flashes of stress. Is it very stressful down there?
Bartiromo: Yes, it is very stressful, just because you have activity and news happening as I speak. So in many cases none of the stuff I come out with is scripted. Often, a story will break or there will be a very large crowd of people standing around one of the posts down on the floor, and it's obvious that somebody knows something because there is all this buying interest in one stock down on the floor. It's sort of finding out what is happening and going with it as it's happening. In many cases, it's sort of breaking news and you just go with it, so it is a little stressful.
Harris: But, it's also a mosh pit, and are there still guys that elbow you as they go by? Have you had to elbow them or kick them as they go by?
Bartiromo: Oh, yes! I'm just kidding. But certainly when someone does bump into me, well, I'll bump back.
Harris: Good for you!. The other thing you are known for, Maria, is being one of the best dressed women on TV.
Bartiromo: Oh, thank you.
Harris: I don't know how you got your company to give you one heck of a wardrobe budget, or did that all come out of your closet?
Bartiromo: Much of it is the Bartiromo closet but there is one company that does provide me with suits -- and that's Kennar -- but often, I really have my own tastes and do often go on shopping sprees myself.
Harris: In fact, I hear it is working so much that comedian Richard Lewis hit on you by phone long distance, didn't he?
Bartiromo: He did! Actually I was doing the nighttime updates, the news updates which is not business at all. They had just asked me to pinch hit for someone else.
Harris: Is that the two minute thing during Geraldo?
Bartiromo: Yes, so I get this phone call from this guy named Richard Lewis, truthfully I didn't really know who he was because the name just did not ring a bell at first. So, I said, I don't really know who you are. And he said what, are you crazy, are you kidding? And I said no. So he sent me an 8 x 10 photo of himself. He wrote on it, "Dear Maria, stop stalking me or I'll get my family after you. -- RL" He then sent me these tapes of him and we've really developed a rapport since then. He is definitely a really funny guy and he has really started watching the stock market action after that.
Harris: So, did you date Richard Lewis?
Bartiromo: No, no. He just came by the office and I just kind of showed him around.
Harris: That's not what he came to see, Maria.
Bartiromo: Well, he did come by one afternoon when he was in New York and I showed him around the office.
Harris: "Oh, this is Joe Kernan's desk! Oh, that's very interesting. Thank you very much!"
Harris: All right, Maria, I have worked up a little quiz for you this afternoon, and I know you have to run because you do Business Center at 7, so let's do this quiz, okay?
Bartiromo: Oh, gosh, okay.
Harris: Here we go. Classic rocker whose money you would like to have one month's interest from: Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger?
Bartiromo: Paul McCartney.
Harris: More powerful woman: Hillary Clinton or Andrea Mitchell?
Bartiromo: Andrea Mitchell, definitely.
Harris: You know, every day I live in fear that Andrea Mitchell will do something that will annoy her husband, Alan Greenspan of the Federal Reserve.
Bartiromo: I hope she's keeping him happy.
Harris: She better be keeping him happy day and night or else the whole world is going to collapse. All right, CBS stock -- that's our parent company -- buy, sell, or hold?
Bartiromo: I'm sorry, I can't comment. I just don't know.
Harris: Are you allowed to own stock?
Bartiromo: We are, but long term and very non-speculative. And given my position, I'm not supposed to make recommendations.
Harris: Have you made any bad investment choices yourself?
Bartiromo: No, it's really just long term, mutual funds and stuff so I can't really think of any big bombs. You know, the market's been so strong.
Harris: Okay. Sexier billionaire: Ted Turner or Bill Gates?
Bartiromo: Ooooh, I'd say Ted Turner.
Harris: You want to go for C, none of the above, right?
Harris: Next, body piercing. We're going to do a Harris Poll on this later. Do you have any pierced body parts?
Bartiromo: Just my ears.
Harris: Body piercing in men: turn on or turn off?
Bartiromo: Turn off.
Harris: More fun: profit taking or bargain hunting?
Bartiromo: Bargain hunting.
Harris: More important: a guy's interest rate or his long bond?
Bartiromo: His interest rate.
Harris: And which is the worse NBC sitcom, Jenny or Suddenly Susan?
Bartiromo: That's not fair! NBC is my parent. I love them all.
Harris: Of course you do. All right. Business Center is on CNBC at 7. And Maria is live on the floor of the Exchange something like thirty times a day.
Bartiromo: Well, I've actually cut it down because of my new show but I am definitely there all day long.
Harris: I hear the ratings were good for your debut last week and good luck with the show. Thanks for coming on with us.
Bartiromo: Thanks for having me. Have a great day!
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal.
Saturday, October 04, 1997
Harris: Keith, it's been a few years since I've talked to you. Believe it or not, the last time was about seven or eight years ago when we all sat down for an interview live from Abbey Road, there in London.
Emerson: Oh, right, yes! I remember that.
Harris: That was a terrific day and you are in London now, right?
Emerson: I'm in London now, yes.
Harris: Now, before we talk about your concert coming up this Saturday, let's talk a little bit about what the mood in town there is like in middle of this whole Diana week.
Emerson: Yeah, right. Well, as you can expect, it's pretty somber.
Harris: Is it weird? Are people all over town, is that the only thing people are talking about?
Emerson: Well, not really. Londoners tend to get on with their life. They express their grief in different ways. For example, I just saw a cab driver, a London taxi cab, and on his aerial he had black ribbons. It's just expressed in different ways, but the whole feeling here is just sort of like very somber. You know, it's just, it's dreadful. You know, I must confess that I was not extremely shocked by what happened. I think it was inevitable by the end of the day, sadly.
Harris: Because of paparazzi or because of other reasons?
Emerson: I think of that for that one reason, yes. To a lesser degree, anybody in the public eye has been exposed to that sort of thing.
Harris: Have you had trouble with that sort of thing?
Emerson: Yeah. Well, to a much lesser degree, yes. What we try and do is, if they want a photograph, then just take it. You know, I think that if that had happened at the Ritz and she'd given one to the photo corps, she would still be here today.
Harris: I know at the height of your tours in the late seventies, where you were playing these big halls, you must have been in a crush of people, not just photographers, but fans. Did that ever get dangerous for you?
Emerson: Well, it got stupid. There was one occasion that I was not actually aware of at the time, where I was in my hotel room, and a personal assistant to the band went after a photographer that had taken some photographs of the band and had gotten into a fight with him. And as a consequence, I was sued. It had nothing to do with me, but there was a lawsuit against me because I employed this person. That must have been a surprise for you when that subpoena came down.
Emerson: Well, it was! I was going on stage and this guy came up to me and shoved this piece of paper in my hand. I had no idea about it but, oh boy.
Harris: When we talked to you years ago at Abbey Road, I asked you if you ever got injured doing stuff, and you told me that sometimes when you were doing those weird concerts where you were flipping upside down and backwards and all over the place, that you would occasionally get bloody hands from playing so hard.
Emerson: Not only that. I've broken my nose, I've broken ribs. You name it. In fact, we just got back from South America and I fell over a monitor speaker on the stage and almost ended up in the front row of the audience. I managed to sprain my wrist on that one but luckily nothing was broken.
Harris: Well, that's not the one you want going into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, is it? "You know I used to play my keyboards upside down and spinning!" "Yeah, so what happened to you?" "Well, I tripped over a monitor! "
Emerson: [laughing] Yeah, right!
Harris: Now, when you come to Wolf Trap this Saturday, for this concert that we're all looking forward to, will you be spinning upside down or are those days behind you?
Emerson: [laughing] I will be mentally spinning upside down. No, those days aren't behind. As far as the Wolf Trap show goes, we'll be doing a lot of stuff, that's musically athletic, I think. The spinning piano, I don't know what is going to be happening with that. I've got to make a call to my keyboard tech and see what's happening about that. It's not a thing that you can do at every venue because it does require a very high ceiling or a very low floor, you need room.
Harris: [laughing] You don't want to be spinning around and see the floor is only eight feet below the stage.
Emerson: No, no. When I did it at the California Jam, I was actually high over the stage and hovering with a twenty foot drop below me. So, there was plenty of room.
Harris: Do insurance agents hang up on you a lot?
Emerson: [laughing] Yeah, yeah. They did when I started my flying lessons. Especially when I landed at the wrong airport. But that's another story.
Harris: Now, we're giving away some tickets to the show and we are also giving away these special invitation-only tickets to your soundcheck that afternoon. What will people see when they come to see your soundcheck that's different from what they'll see during the regular show?
Emerson: Oh, since this our first show, I think they'll see us sweat a lot. They'll see us screaming a lot, going, "Oh, god...how do ya...what chord...what's the note on that one?"
Harris: So you're actually up there practicing and rehearsing stuff and trying to remember how to do it that night?
Emerson: Yeah, I guess so.
Harris: You know, when I looked back over the ELP history, I did not realize that when you played the Isle of Wight in 1970, that was the debut of Pictures at an Exhibition?
Emerson: Well, I guess you could call that the debut. We played a concert about two nights before that at Plymouth Guild Hall.
Harris: But when you guys did this huge Isle of Wight festival, you had only been together for about four days, right?
Emerson: Well, we'd been rehearsing for something like a month prior to that.
Harris: How was that, to go out for one of your first couple of gigs and go out in front of a huge festival audience like that?
Emerson: I felt that the concert we did before that, two days before that at the Plymouth Guild Hall went a lot better than that, mainly because the acoustics were contained. At the Isle of Wight, the sound went out and kind of kept on going. And I wasn't...when I came off stage I was kind of unhappy about how we had played. But now, I listen back to those recordings and it's not bad. In fact, we are releasing that concert and it's coming out this month. The whole concert, the Isle of Wight Festival, ELP live at the Isle of Wight.
Harris: So it's a big fall for you guys, with getting back out on the road. Is everything okay between the team of Keith and Greg and the team of Carl?
Emerson: Well, it's great, yeah.
Harris: Because you guys had some problems over the years.
Emerson: We don't ever say that, quite honestly. No, but if it wasn't good, I wouldn't be going back out on tour. It's because we manage to bounce ideas off one another. Every band fights but at the end of the day, we're very positive about the way we fight. At least we come out with a result at the end of the day.
Harris: One other thing I wanted to ask you about is one of your solo projects. You did the music for a movie called Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone, Billy Dee Williams, Rutger Hauer, and Lindsey Wagner played Sly's wife.
Harris: How did that come about? Was that a one-on-one project with Sly or was he not even involved at all?
Emerson: Well, he was very much involved right from the word go. I was sent the script and a brief video about what they were doing with Nighthawks and came up with a main title theme and flew to Universal Studios in California. I then waited in an office in Universal, and then Sly walked in, and I was amazed. I had only seen him in the Rocky films and I expected this huge guy to walk in. He wasn't much taller than myself.
Harris: I've heard a lot of people say that. He's only about 5'9", isn't he?
Emerson: Well, he's a bit taller than me and I'm about 5'10", but a helluva nice guy. He had heard the main title theme that I had come up with and then he disappeared with the producer for about a half an hour and then the producer came back and said, "Hey, you've got yourself a job." I said, "Oh good." After that, I sat down with Sly and he expressed what he wanted and it was a great relationship. I really admire him.
Harris: It's a terrific sound track, too. Have you stayed in touch with him? Do you want to work with him again?
Emerson: I'd love to work with him again. Yes, I have stayed in touch with him. The last time I saw him was in California at Elton John's AIDS Benefit and I introduced him to Greg and Carl and we all got along great.
Harris: Well we're looking forward to the show on Saturday, where people will be guaranteed a good time at the show that never ends, right?
Emerson: Yep, absolutely. We're looking forward to it.
Harris: We'll call this one...it can't be Karn Evil 9 or 10...at this point we must be up to about Karn Evil 25, aren't we?
Emerson: Well, who's counting? [Laughing]
Harris: Keith, thanks for checking in with me.
Emerson: Okay, Paul. Take care.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Phil Egenthal.
Tuesday, September 30, 1997
Harris: Joining me on our guest line now is one of my favorite comedians, the guy who headlined the first Paul Harris Comedy Concert For Children's Hospital, and has a brand new CD, here's comedian Brian Regan. Hey, Brian, congratulations on the CD.
Regan: Thank you very much, Paul!
Harris: I'm not only congratulating you on the CD but also the title of the CD, Brian Regan Live. See, I like that because you could have named it something silly like Wow That Hippo is Big, or something silly where nobody would be able to find it.
Regan: I had so many different things. I jotted down about 75 to 100 different ideas for titles. Isn't that weird that I would end up with Brian Regan Live? It's the best of the hundred that I came up with.
Harris: But it's fine, absolutely. It works perfectly.
Regan: What I wanted to do is avoid one of those goofy titles. They did an episode on The Simpsons one time where Homer Simpson and his friends wanted to name their bowling team something that was like a funny name. And they said "Let's name it something that's real funny the first time you hear it, and then sort of funny the second time, and then it's never funny ever again."
Regan: So I wanted to avoid that.
Harris: I think you have with Brian Regan Live. Ask for it by name.
Regan: Actually one thing that I almost called it...I have a tag line after the "you too" joke, when you say "you too" at the wrong time. Well, I have a tag line at the end of that bit where I say "Don't anybody look at me, I'm a moron. Don't anybody look at me, I feel like an idiot. Somebody throw a tarp over me." I thought I had said that on the CD and my brother Dennis, who is also a comedian, said "Why don't you call it Somebody Throw a Tarp Over Me?" So I thought, "That's kind of funny." I was thinking about using that as the title and then I listened to the bit and I hadn't said it in the CD. Can you imagine?
Harris: Good thing you didn't go that way then. You know, I was thinking about you this weekend. I was flipping around between football games on Sunday afternoon and ESPN or some channel was doing an Evel Knievel special.
Regan: Oh, man.
Harris: And I know how much you love Evel Knievel.
Regan: I've always been a huge Evel Knievel fan. One thing that I think is interesting is whenever he does the talk shows. He's older now, he doesn't jump so he just does the talk shows circuit, which I think is cool. Everytime he does one they want to show him the footage of him when he fell off the motorcycle and bounced around like 83 times. And they always ask him, "Hey, do you remember that day, Evel?" "No, no I don't remember." And they always ask him what he was thinking right before he hit the ground. What kind of question is that? "What were you thinking right before you hit the pavement, Evel?" "Oh, I remember thinking, hey, did I turn off the iron.? Then my leg cracked in half and I was thinking, hey, maybe I should get a puppy. What do you think I was thinking? I was thinking AAAAAAH!!! or something like that."
Harris: And that's quite a legacy Evel has left to his son Robbie Knievel. You know, he's jumping now.
Regan: Yes, I know. You know what I heard? I heard from another comedian that Evel Knievel heard me do that joke on a TV show, and somebody said he was looking for me.
Harris: You're kidding!
Regan: Well, I hope he realizes that I'm on his side and the joke makes fun of how stupid the questions are. And then the comic said that he tried to explain it to him but he didn't really take it that way. He thought I was making fun of him.
Harris: I think you could take him anyway, Brian. After all, the man's broken all his bones a million times.
Regan: Well, if he's out there listening, I like Evel Knievel. I'm a Knievel supporter. I'm a fan of Evel Knievel. I've got to cover all my bases here, you understand.
Harris: Gotcha. Are you into the baseball playoffs? Are you a baseball player? Did you ever play any ball?
Regan: Did I play? Yeah, I played a little bit. I don't know how good I was. I played out in right field. Is that any good?
Harris: I don't think so. Are we talking Little League here?
Regan: Yeah, when I was in Little League. You're a kid. You don't know, you just show up. The coach asks, "You any good?" And you say, "I don't know, my mom told me to come out here." "Well, get out in right field." So you run out to right field, and I never knew what was going on out there. All I knew was that the coach would yell from the dugout, "Hey guys, let's hear some chatter out there. Let's hear some chatter." What are we, rabbits? [Rabbit noises] If you don't know what chattering is, it's saying, "Hey batter batter." I don't think I ever felt like more of an idiot in my whole life. I'm going "Hey batter batter, hey batter! Hey coach, is there a point to this?" What is the batter going to go, "Hey fielder fielder"? It's ridiculous. Are you going to apply that later in life? "Hey lawyer lawyer! Hey lawyer lawyer! Sue! Hey bus driver! Drive! Shift, bus driver, shift!"
Harris: I would pay to turn on the playoffs tonight or tomorrow and see somebody doing that out on the field. You know, see Barry Bonds shouting back during the Giants game. That would be hysterical.
Regan: You know what I think is weird too, is that you've got the Braves in the playoffs. You know that whole controversy over the Tomahawk Chop? Do you remember a few years ago when the Braves were playing against the Blue Jays? You had all the Braves fans going "oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh." I felt bad for the Blue Jays fans going "tweet, tweet." I don't care if it's 50,000 of 'em. It's just not the same.
Harris: No. Brian, funny as always. The CD is called Brian Regan Live. Simple, direct and to the point. Ask for it by name.
Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Doug Houser.