david heti - thoughts

David Heti - thoughts

I don't know

I suppose it's just one of those days sitting in the empty kitchen of another comic's place in a residential neighborhood of New Hampshire. There isn't much food here and I've no house key, so I can't really do much but wait for him to come home again. Three English muffins as of about four in the morning from a couch to just now, and then all that's left at this point is a beer. Laundry is going, the second time, the first time not knowing that you'd have to turn on the water, so perhaps there's some staining now, what with the liquid detergent soaked into the clothes, though perhaps that doesn't happen (anymore?), I don't know.

Like one of those days as a kid, away from school and sick or sort-of-sick at home, alone, feeling grosser and grosser as the day goes on, alone, knowing/feeling there's nothing only. Others are working; others are moving along, going places, perhaps; other are in their own spaces, sitting in their own spaces. In a sweater on a hot day, in your only laundry.

[Beer.]

Too much/so much seems to happen when moving around like this but then nothing too. In a sound booth, sleeping on the wrong pillow the nights before in Boston, waking up to a washroom better than other washrooms before. Something to share.

Hegel to his bride

Nürnberg, Summer 1811

...I have hurt you with some of the things I said. This pains me. I have hurt you by seeming to condemn as principles of your way of thinking and acting moral views that I must condemn.--About this I now only say to you that on the one hand I condemn these views insofar as they cancel the difference between what the heart likes and duty, or rather eliminate the latter altogether and destroy morality. But just as much--and this is the main point between us--I beg you to believe me that I do not ascribe these views insofar as they have consequence to you, not to your self, but that I look on them as lying only in your reflection without your thinking, knowing, and realizing them with their consequences--that they serve you to excuse others (to justify is something else--for what one can excuse in others one does not therefore consider to be permitted to oneself; but what one can justify is right for all, including ourselves).

Regarding myself and the manner to my explanation, do not forget that when I condemn maxims I lose sight too easily of the manner in which they are actual in the determinate individual--in this case, you--and they stand before my eyes in their generality, in the their consequences and ramifications and applications of which you are not thinking--much less that all these were for you contained in them. Moreover, you know yourself that even though character and the maxims of insight are different, it still is not indifferent what maxims insight and judgment employ. But I know just as well that maxims, when they contradict the character, are still more indifferent in the female than they are in men.

Finally, you know that there are evil men who torment their wives only to have constant visual proof of their behavior, namely their patience and love. I do not believe that I am evil in this way; but if such a dear soul as you are ought never to be hurt, I might almost not regret how I hurt you, for I feel that the deeper insight that I have thus gained into your nature has further increased the intensity and thoroughness of my love. Therefore be comforted also by the realization that whatever in my replies may have been unloving and untender vanishes insofar as I feel and recognize you ever more deeply to be through and through lovable, loving, and full of love.

I must go to class. All the best--dearest, dearest, blessed and fair Marie.

Your Wilhelm

man

Man, I swear to god, if you tell me three times to show up to your stupid fucking bar show at 8:15, for an 8:30 start, and to post about it, and share about, and tell people about it, and then you show up at eight-fucking-forty-five, for a show which you'd always known the whole entire time wouldn't start before 8:45 (never at 8:45), I don't give a fuck.

Ask me in that tone, feigning and faking caring, "oh, do you have somewhere else to be?" [comic-speak for "do you have another set and have to go up early?"] Yes, I have somewhere else to be. I always have somewhere else to be (other) than waiting for your stupid fucking show to begin, waiting on account of making/having made decisions based on misinformation. Your lying to me or the ethics or permissibility thereof is not conditional on my having another stupid fucking show to go to or not.

[Even in Grade 4--leave the fucking kids behind who didn't show up for the bus on time. They didn't want a Ski Day; they shouldn't get a Ski Day. Every day, every time waiting for the one stupid student, everyone (else) having to wait and be punished for their respecting others. No one learns/has to learn anything in this society (a bit much), no one cares.]

Anyway, if you bitch ("bitch")/complain about it enough (i.e., explain it to him in sufficiently simple language as to why he's being a ******* *****/entirely thoughtless), then you'll/may get to go home early for having been put up first so he doesn't have to deal with the reality of his/the situation. (Calling people on their shit is important, as it makes them feel uncomfortable, and they won't want to feel uncomfortable in future.)

There is so much disrespect. This is one of the ways.

(It does not matter being put up first. It matters nothing. Accepting, and understanding the fault, the wrongness is what counts. Articulating the acceptance and understanding is what counts.)

sweet home

Of the one Chicago comic I was most curious to meet, I asked another outside of a show one night, "do you think he might be at one of the clubs tonight?"

"Haha," he said, "no, no. ******* doesn't get up to get up at the clubs much too much. He's too divisive a comic; he offends too many people. He's not really what you want to put up on your stage if you're trying to sell food and drinks and stuff."

 "Hahaha...right, right...yeah. So, then, where do you think I might find him?"

"Well, probably over at ******, this bar, where his girlfriend works. Whenever he's not doing a show, he's usually there, drinking."

 "Haha, yeah, right." Obviously.

* * * 

Meanwhile, over at the Internet, academic and social critic Camiille Paglia writes or speaks,

"I think Stewarts's show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark.  Comedy, to me, is one of the major modern genres, and the big influences on my generation were Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Then Joan Rivers had an enormous impact on me--she's one of my major role models. It's the old caustic, confrontational style of Jewish comedy. It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope. Lenny Bruce used stand-up to produce gasps and silence from the audience. And that's my standard--a comedy of personal risk. And by that standard, I'm sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He's certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse. I find nothing incisive in his work. As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then  he's partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States."

 * * *

Post-script, I found him coming in for a drink at one of the clubs at the end of the night, just for a drink with friends. It was a really pleasant, easy, friendly meeting.

US tour, be in touch

In October I'll be in New Orleans for the Hell Yes Fest!, and so I'm putting together shows on the way down there. If you know of any good venues or people/comics or places to stay in the following cities, please feel free to get in touch, at heti.david@gmail.com. I'll be putting in the work for bookings, certainly, but I thought this could only be a mutually beneficial thing (you like comedy, I like comedy). This should be a good, exhausting time. xo

Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Shreveport, Alexandria, New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami, Tampa, Savannah, Atlanta, Charlotte, Raleigh, Baltimore.

in heaven there are no jokes

Oh, man. Getting to talk about comedy theory and lines and the problems with politically correctors etc. on the CBC was wild. [The CBC, for those who don't know (Canada), is our/Canada's national broadcaster.] Most hilariously and significantly, on so many (every) other occasion the CBC turned down whatever opportunity to air my stand-up or me as-comic. Who knows for what reasons why exactly in the past they'd decided to/not to, but, it should be fair to say, it was, on at least some account, on account of the very kind of comedic nature (which was) the reason for (having) this conversion.

It makes sense.

(I suppose it is really a very different thing to be talking about comedy than to be performing it, but, this is still all quite lovely, if differently. This is what grandmas watch and listen to. This is what little old ladies in wall-papered paisley Prairies etc. kitchens and etc.) (Nothing wrong with little old ladies or grandmas.)

Here it is on the tv. Here it is on the radio.

proces/s

Hi one thing which it is which I often always/almost fail to do is anything with the sets which I record for myself for the purposes, ostensibly, of returning to, and learning from, them. Below, though, is a transcription of a set from maybe a few months ago from a Montreal room, Ladies & Gentlemen, which you maybe ought to consider/check out when in Montreal it is weekly.

It's in these little rooms where most comedy is. It's where comedy lives. Not at the festivals or tv or things like that. ('Give me your best (best) five/seven/fifteen.')

 

LADIES & GENTLEMEN

I don’t know, I’m not really one of those, like, I’m not the kind of person who, when I meet others, I see the colour of their skin. and so it’s uh, really that, uh, all the more distressing, that I’ve never, uh, liked a black person I’ve met [laugher]

- - -

no, 'cause, you know, you get/meet all these people, you know, First Nations and African-American groups crying out, like, cultural appropriation, but then when you look at, like, Horkheimer, and Benjamin and Adorno…like, the…Jews invented critical theory, you know? [laughter] // if you can’t file, like a civil suit on your own…then [laughter]…I don’t know, like, what if I’m getting off, like what if I’m like enjoying some Nina Simone number, or something. then uh, because, like—is that wrong?, like, who, who’s, to whom—to which demographic belongs, sort of like, you know, the culture of—like, slave culture [laughter]—anyway, the problem is that race is a social construct, not a comedic one

- - -

really the problem is that oftentimes a comic comes on and tries new material and it doesn’t work, and they’re a bad comic but when I don’t get it just right I’m like a terrible human being [laughter]

- - -

no, what’s really difficult is that comics are, more often than not, rewarded for, our efforts not with money, but with booze. and, part of me can see the logic, like, you know, as joke tellers, we sort of, we sort of provide you with this distraction from, like, you know, a world, too difficult to, to face…and so then we get, some, uh, some sort of intoxicant, to anesthetize, uh, you know—to dull our minds, which actually is what at the root of creating these ideas and from which you take such pleasure from [laughter]…so, uhm…at the same time though...if you gave us some fucking money, and we we, you know, we wouldn’t be forced to, like, you know, barter our drink tickets with audience members every now and then, you know, to take a bus home [laughter], the humour wouldn’t be so fucking dark. I don’t know…

- - -

I mean the thing is—I don’t know, it’s always—it’s always weird/when performing for different kinds of audiences, like um, you know, you get, like, I was performing before like, uh, an all, all-lesbian room, and I got all this flak, and I was like “really?, like, even according to, like—I don’t know, what, like, third-wave…post-…structural, you know, theory—there’s no fixed meaning and gender, identity it’s all relative, like to you like…I’m a white, heterosexual male, but to a-nother room I’m like some fag kike Jew, you know? [laughter] so like where’s the anger coming from? [laughter] have a little self-awareness, you know?

- - -

‘cause I think comics basically are just totally amoral.  you know?, like, what do I, what do I do? I…tell jokes, and I fuck, and I swim, and I drink and I have coffee. and that’s a life, you know?, there’s no greater—I care for jokes basically. and like, I don’t know, like, and things—like, this whole issue of consent, really…is very straight forward. uh, but I think what’s most sort of, alluring, is, like, sleeping with like minors, uhm [laugher], because then at least, like—legally, speaking—the consent doesn’t…doesn’t exist—there’s no possibility, you know, you are, you are without [lost word!]

- - -

I don’t know I didn’t choose this life more than you chose yours—you know, I didn’t choose anything, you know—what I’m into and how, and so, what am I supposed to, like, do away with, with like the privileges that I have?, like, is that the best way of being respectful? no, so, when I tell, like, my, you know, able-ist..racist and misogynistic jokes, that’s really…the eth-ical joke, it’s my way of sort of giving back to the universe or god [laughter], or whatever you want to call it, and embracing, you know, like the life—you, you you would want to tell the jokes that you could tell [laugher]. anyway…

- - -

I’m going to say one last thing. what I really don’t like about the homeless [laughter]. is when—is when they extend to me their hand [laugher], in the expectation of my, like, my taking it and my shaking it, as of like, some sort of sign of our shared membership in the community [laughter], because like I’m ok with—like, like they’re people, you know, down on their luck, whatever—but if you can’t recognize that, as someone who’s not homeless, I don’t want…to touch the filthy hand of a homeless person [laughter]…anyway, thanks very much that’s my time

stanhope

It's maybe a bit stupid to have the respect of one whom you respect so early, because then what the hell's the point of the rest of it, no? (To enjoy oneself?) At least if you're working and scrounging around for your food and clothing and shelter then there's some sort of necessity to the whole thing, but, if there's then maybe not really anything else, then what's the point?

Recognition/confirmation of or by one whom you see as amongst the least insane that you too are similarly not insane, and that you're confirmed in your understanding and sense of comedic self, then for what else is there ever then to be striving? Doug Stanhope says some very nice things, below, at around 48 minutes in. All of his podcasts are here. If you've never before heard his stand-up, you ought to.

not without

Well, sometimes my sister comes over to visit me and decides once again that we're doing something or it'd be fun (for her or me too) to do something. All through the ages like this.

She's put together her very first podcast, Podcast With Raisins, which is basically just the two of us talking. If you don't know of my sister, she is the brilliant, much loved writer, Sheila Heti.

. , ;

Schopenhauer's magnum opus, the original one-volume edition of The World as Will and Representation, had fallen stillborn from the press in 1819, without attracting any attention. On the last day of that year he applied to the philosophical faculty at Berlin and asked to be included in the next catalogue (Vorlesungsverzeichnis), with a course of six lecture hours weekly on "the whole of philosophy"--and that before he had fulfilled the usual requirements for habilitation. He left it to the faculty to fix the time, but added: "the most suitable time is presumably whenever Herr Prof. Hegel gives his biggest course [sein Hauptcollegium]."

The dean, while specifically commenting on Schopenhauer's "no mean presumption and extraordinary vanity" favoured approval of the request, provided the requirements were fulfilled before he actually began to lecture. Hegel went along with this; other professors did not. One protested against inclusion of the announcement in the catalogue before the requirements were fulfilled, while another wrote: "I confess that the exceptionally great arrogance of Herr S. does not incline me very much to declare myself in favour of any special exceptions on his behalf by action of the faculty"--and several others subscribed to that.

Nevertheless, the government representative looked favourably on Schopenhauer's request, the dean so informed Schopenhauer, and the young man came to Berlin to confer with Hegel on the title of his test lecture (Probevorlesung). March 18, 1820, he wrote the dean that he had asked Hegel the day before for permission to lecture on a subject he himself had chosen, namely on four kinds of causes. "Herr Prof. Hegel very graciously granted his approval with the greatest readiness...."

It is indeed "unmistakable that Hegel placed no obstacles of any kind Schopenhauer's way." as Hoffmeister puts it. He also says: "In the whole decade from 1820 to 1831 we do not find anything more miserable regarding the lecturing by Privatdozenten of philosophy than the total of Schopenhauer." He never completed a course. After his initial approach, he was absent from Berlin for many years, then in the spring of 1826 asked permission to lecture again. He again chose the time when Hegel lectured, but not a single student showed up to hear him. The next semester he did not lecture because only one student came; after that, because only three appeared; after that, because only two came. The next three times--the topic always being the same "Foundations of Philosophy, comprehending Dianology and Logic"--nobody came; in the summer of 1830, three students; the following winter again nobody; and then Schopenhauer left again. Later he published a famous diatribe against "University Philosophy," and again and again poured out venom against Hegel in bitter polemics.

-Hegel: A Reinterpretation, Walter Kaufmann

what was ok

People,

Please accept this invitation to what should be something of a way to bring in the New Year or just enjoy yourselves on an evening just like any other.

On January 1st,  around maybe sometime before it gets far too late, stand-up comic David Heti* will be recording an album of stand-up comedy at his, and possibly your, beloved Grumpy’s. David and Ram, though maybe more David most likely, would absolutely love for you to be there. A warm, intimate, possibly enjoyable and even hilarious night is envisioned.

Ram has been kind and incredibly generous enough to open up the bar and then close and lock the door behind you, making it a speakeasy thereby, so please note that this is an invitation to you—special you—you alone, and possibly someone you’re sleeping with. That said, though, of course, there’ll be indoor smoking and drinking (“I won’t be open to the public, but I’ll still sling hooch,” Ram really wanted me to include), so that’s something. Also, there should be only good/better people present.

Please note that the doors will be open for only a half-hour—7:00 to 7:30—after which time laughter and thoughts, etc. until the doors open again.

Also, importantly, please do be so kind as to let us know whether you intend to come. (Obviously, it’s January 1st.) The idea is to plan an ideal album-recording environment, and then let it all go to shit from there.

It should be a hell of a good time. No one else will know.

Sincerely,

David and Ram

 

January 1st, 2014

7:30 to 9:00

Grumpy’s

 

*David Heti is a stand-up comic who floats around between different, truly important cities telling jokes that many people enjoy very much. Ram knows what you like.

don't let these things slide

I just want to apologize for all the nasty things I may have said about Megabus. Indeed if you write them a demand letter threatening legal action, they will in fact send you a cheque for $42.50. 

Sometimes you’re on a bus trip from L.A. to San Francisco and then the bus breaks down a lot of times in the middle of the desert. Some passengers chose to make a big fuss and complain to the driver about the fact of the mechanical failure which was undeniable and not his fault, while the rest of us just kind of bought a beer from the gas station, took a seat on the ground and took in the sun.

Eventually, though, it got to a point where the breakdown was really putting in jeopardy my missing my show, and so it ended up that I ended catching a cab, running into the room, and getting there with just one comic left in order to close out the night. But those nights make for good nights. 

Later I contacted Megabus asking for the reimbursement of my ticket and the loss suffered of the cab fare. Megabus denied that they were four hours late to arrive in San Francisco, even though they were, and said that they provide restitution only for delays upwards of two hours.  

So I emailed them back, they emailed me back, I emailed them back, and they just lied and lied and lied and refused to acknowledge their responsibility. Eventually I mailed them the following letter.  Apparently the cheque is in the mail.

(It’s the principle of the thing. Also, I need the money. Writing these kinds of letters is what makes the world a better place.)

 

April 1, 2015 

Via First-Class Mail

 

Megabus

2001 S Manchester Ave

Anaheim CA, 92808

 

Re: Demand for Payment

 

To whom it may concern,

Please be advised that Megabus owes me the sum of $42.50 because your bus, identified in the Appendix, broke down on account of mechanical failure en route and arrived to San Francisco approximately four hours later than as advertised. According to the Terms & Conditions on your website, for such a delay I am owed the reimbursement of my ticket, for which I paid US$27.50. In addition, because of your delay, I was forced to take a cab to an appointment, which cost me US$15.00. Had your bus not been delayed more than two hours, I certainly would have had time to walk the US$15.00 distance, as I had planned to do, when purchasing my ticket in reliance of your advertised arrival time. This too is a loss and delay for which you are liable. You are not, as per your Terms & Conditions, exempt from these losses or delays. 

I have been in correspondence with Megabus via email over this matter. You acknowledge that the bus was delayed on account of mechanical issues, but claim falsely that the delay was for 1 hour 23 minutes. In fact on account of these mechanical issues the bus arrived approximately 4 hours late.

This will be Megabus’ only chance to settle this matter before I file suit against Megabus in Small Claims Court. I am agreeable to a lump sum payment or to a payment plan. Please contact me on or before April 6, 2015 for the purpose of settling this matter. If I do not hear from Megabus on or before April 6, 2015 I will file a lawsuit against Megabus without further notice. It is in Megabus’ best interest to settle this matter before a lawsuit is filed. 

Based on the foregoing, I expect payment in the amount of US$42.50 made payable to me, My Street Number and Name, My City, My Province, My Postal Code no later than April 13, 2015. (I can be reached at My Number.) If Megabus decides to ignore this demand for payment, I will pursue all its legal remedies without further notice to Megabus. This letter serves as evidence that I have attempted to resolve this matter informally.

 

Sincerely, 

David Heti

ingrate

"First, what is meant by anguish? The existentialists say at once that man is anguish. What that means is this: the man who involves himself and who realizes that he is not only the person he chooses to be, but also a lawmaker who is, at the same time, choosing all mankind as well as himself, cannot help escape the feeling of his total and deep responsibility. Of course, there are many people who are not anxious; but we claim that they are hiding their anxiety; that they are fleeing from it. Certainly, many people believe that when they do something, they themselves are the only ones involved, and when someone says to them, 'What if everyone acted that way?' they shrug their shoulders and answer, 'Everyone doesn't act that way.' But really, one should always ask himself, 'What would happen if everybody looked at things that way?' There is no escaping this disturbing thought except by a kind of double-dealing. A man who lies and makes excuses for himself by saying 'not everybody does that,' is someone with an uneasy conscience, because the act of lying implies that a universal value is conferred upon the lie."

No external speakers on public transit, people.

three-letter word seven-letter word two-letter word three-letter world four-letter word

Two-letter word one-letter word three-letter word six-letter word seven-letter word four-letter word four-letter word two-letter word three-letter word three-letter word four-letter word three-letter word six-letter word five-letter word two-letter word three-letter word four-letter word, “three-letter word five-letter word, five-letter word four-letter word three-letter word six-letter word two-letter word two-letter word nine-letter word three-letter word?” Three-letter word one-letter word three-letter word, “three-letter word two-letter word five-letter word six-letter word; five-letter word five-letter word four-letter word five-letter word four-letter word four-letter word four-letter word!”

RBC

Goddamn douche bag of a bank manager greet me with "hey buddy" again?!? Never in the most wildest of mental(ly) defective dreams could I imagine ever greeting a client in such a way (in a professional context). Is it because of the way that I carry myself? Dress myself? Wear my beard?

Going back to the bank to tell him that he inspires zero confidence in his whatever official duties, the just plain old and simple stupidity of his look only confuses and serves to confuse. (Am wrong? Is it what others like?) He doesn't even have the good sense to just sit there and listen and be spoken to.

"Oh, no, it's just the way I talk with everybody. It's just my manner like that. It's friendly like that."

Last time he gave me the wrong numbers because he's incompetent, and I had to figure it out myself. But then maybe he's right about other things? Am being too uptight? Bus drivers call me sir.

So you leave without saying much of anything because 1) he really may be sincerely mentally impaired, and 2) who's to know what's right? Who's to know what's wrong?

To commit (a) genocide. Just to have that sense of self. The pride and self-certainty.

no choice

So many complicated emotions, arguably, about not taking the flight that I could have taken. Supposed to be in L.A. for a show this evening but then there were strong headwinds (apparently) and then passengers with some sort of random designation on their boarding passes were told that they could not board. I was not one of those designated randomly and there was a moment of relief, but, then, they went back and announced that those others who were not designated and would give up their seats would receive an $800 voucher for future air travel. (Whether for one purchase or flight alone could not be verified.)

There is show tonight (on which I am booked), but not a great show tonight, though it's in a great room apparently. I don't have much money, and a flight is a flight is a flight, but, money comes and goes, yet, a voucher for a future flight isn't really so much of a money-saving event as it is a promise of the eventual spending of more money. Will this voucher flight be one I'll have had to have taken anyway? (How so?) Will it be or have been a wholly elective flight? Will it lead to more stand-up? Will it lead to more, better stand-up adventure?

I had no place to sleep tonight and the plan was to arrive at the show and make friends and go to another show and then be taken in for the night. That would have led to some show and some friends and community, possibly, whereas now I have a hotel room (complimentarily) and I will be sitting there alone in a room that could be anywhere (i.e., not in the heart of the entertainment world). But, isn't that the whole point of the trip? That is, to be out and doing weird things? (But, then, cannot a whole new flight allow for so much other adventure? A whole new similar trip?)

It's easy not to do stand-up. (It's easy not to travel.) What if work soon comes naturally which will demand too much flying? What if I won't have any other flight to which I will want to put toward the voucher? All of these (Hollywood) stories are about taking weird chances and getting on weird shows, but, then, as well, I was mistakenly booked on the *previous* month's show, though, odds are I would have been let up at this night nonetheless.

Also, $20 in airport food vouchers isn't bad. That I can use. And, then, this wouldn't have been written, but who cares. Then, something else would have happened. Not worth thinking about. It's probably not worth thinking about. Don't even like L.A.

on even too much on comedy and comics on comedy

'If you name the behaviour of an individual, you reveal it to him; he sees himself. And since you are at the same time naming it to all others, he knows that he is seen at the moment he sees himself. The furtive gesture which he forgot while making it, begins to exist beyond all measure, to exist for everybody; it is integrated into the objective mind; it takes on new dimensions; it is retrieved. After that, how can you expect him to act in the same way? Either he will persist in his behaviour out of obstinacy and with full knowledge of what he is doing, or he will give it up.' - Sartre, yep

they should have sent an attorney

Sometimes you've a super lovely and beautiful, and amazing and crazy smart, and intelligent, etc. and famous sister, and they write articles about her. And then a fact checker gets in touch with you.

Hi R. Please see the answers I've inserted. (Also, I've only tried to answer honestly. Sorry if what I've written comes off as otherwise!)

Best,

David

On Tuesday, January 6, 2015, R. wrote:

Hi David,

I work for R. and am fact-checking a profile on your sister Sheila by R. I wonder if you'd be able to answer the following questions just to ensure everything is factually correct:

 

1.     Are you Sheila Heti’s younger brother?

 Yes.

2.     Did Sheila always have a strong artistic vision growing up?

I'm not really able to speak to what another person's vision is, or was, always. Also, I was born after Sheila. (Colloquially, sure, I guess, but, I can't give this question a straight answer.)

3.     Would you say you are comfortable presenting yourself as an unsavoury character?

I'm not sure what you mean by my "self." As a person? A comic? A comedic persona?

4.     Is Sheila also?

I would ask the same question as above. (That said, I'm not sure I'm able to speak to what Sheila feels.)

5.     Do you take pleasure in presenting yourself in this way and don’t care what others think?

 See above.

6.     Does Sheila also?

 See above.

7.     Do you have any regret about any of the content of your stand-up?

Sure.

Thanks very much,

R.

back to the steak

Over about maybe seven or eight months ago now I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for a steak dinner. It was come up with and run and executed at a time in the midst of a slow summer of stand-up and nothing much to do, and, in all honestly, I wanted a steak.

Nothing more, nothing less than a steak dinner is what I wanted and what I asked for and what I got. I think it was $83 I asked for, and, lo and behold, within the six days or so for which the campaign was to run, I raised more than I would need for the $83 (perhaps it was $86 in the end, though I don't remember), and I just want to say that I am sorry right now for not having fulfilled my "rewards" or whatnot to those who contributed two or more dollars to the campaign, to whom I had promised to provide a written account of my experience of the steak. It just so happened to be the case that the very next morning after the steak dinner I left to go on a very long and arduous and hilariously fun and time-consuming comedy tour, nothing of which of it so much allowed me to feel too terribly about the my having failed to meet my obligation. Thankfully, none of my two-dollars-or-more steak dinner backers (enthusiasts) chose to complain to Kickstarter or demand their money back.

Also, another reason for having failed to provide the written account was because in my grand ambition I actually arranged to have the entire meal experience captured on film--which I did--but which then left me with so much goddamn footage of me eating and ordering assessing that I was effectively paralysed from taking any action in light, and in the face, of such near-infinite editing possibilities.

It's come to a time, however, that I think a part of the video ought to come out, if, for no other reason, than that it is the end of the year and it's a time to cross things off of one's thousands of lists and this one in particular has been weighing on me especially heavily over the last very long while.

n.b. I would like to make it ridiculously clear that a very good and lovely friend of mine was so kind enough to record the steak dinner herself that I felt terrible for her then having either to i) not eat at all while I was eating, or ii) pay for her fine steak dinner at a fine steak dinner-eating establishment, that I generously or respectfully or fairly paid for her dinner, which ended up costing me far more than what I'd raised online (that is, my dinner was covered by the funds, but then I ended up paying for an-other entire steak dinner entirely). Indeed, and, in fact, I ended up spending far more on that one night than I had in so many, perhaps several years prior. Still, here we are.

(Oh yeah--and, of note--this whole steak dinner thing was done long before that whole egg salad thing. The guy raised, what, $50,000 or something? I mean, fuck him, kind of; but, more importantly, contrary to whatever Morgan O'Shea might have to say, it's not that he did the same thing but more funnily (a terrible adverb, incidentally). Rather, asking for a steak dinner is a thing different altogether than asking for an egg salad. The entire spirit and hilarity and idea are other. Perhaps he did something wholly better, but, certainly we didn't do the same thing but differently. I never wanted, nor was the intention ever, to raise much money ever (in fact, at one point I asked or told people, please, to stop giving me money), but, then again, so did too maybe the other guy.)

 

 

convort

me:  hello?

anyway, you will send me something to make me feel better than all of the dep wine in the world or dep.

if we're only here to be happy, doesn't that make happiness seem a bit ridiculous? how're you supposed to enjoy happiness? 

Morty:  david, hello! trying to impersonate the uncle on seinfeld. i was going to send you an email telling you that i walked by a homeless person eating a burger in front of dick's (you loved that place!), and i guess i was staring too long, which i do sometimes, and he said, "what, you've never seen a homeless man eat his breakfast before?" anyway, i just kept walking but felt that i should tell you about it. you and i do talk about the homeless a lot

me:  good, this is nice. so it seems like it's other people or something which makes life better. (and, incidentally--yes--I in fact have seen a homeless man eating a bag of dicks)

wait! get someone else to read you that last line

it can't be read!

as in "red"

well, oh, shit.

Morty:  are you drunk? it's ok if you're drunk 

me:  I finished off last night's wine this morning, but, no, not drunk

Morty:  aww

me:  If I were drunk, would I be able to...be driving a car right now?

I took my logic 

Morty:  last night's wine is the album title

no driving!

me:  oh, I had a good title the other day! all I write down now are the next album titles

can we talk about your rape here?

Morty:  me too

me:  is that ok to put online?

Morty:  oh that's unfair!

now i’ve been flagged

me:  I don't want to get you in trouble or nuthin

oh no!

Morty:  as long as we can talk about your rape too

me:  let's talk about each other's friend's respective rapes

Morty:  our rape

yes, yes, i agree

me:  I never agreed to share that with you

Morty:  well, you can never tell with rape

me:  is this like improv or can I just stop this now?

Morty:  can stop anytime

me:  sometimes I remember that if you stop trying it doesn't matter. then it gets bad

me:  I wrote this joke about listing things that aren't funny. Then I list things. And then I say that it was in some way a rape joke.

Morty:  i like it!

me:  oh the album title:

It's ok to enjoy yourself

enh

also, for a tour, I was thinking: Fat Love Hope

Morty:  you've no business using the word fat! but it works

me:  or love or hope, really

thanks! I think it's a weirdo title and people won't know what to take from it

Morty:  it hits all the demographics

me:  do you want a partner or do you want to be single?

Morty:  haha. what the hell kind of question is this?

is dying alone an option?

me:  first, dying alone isn't an option. we all die alone

Morty:  i know!

me:  second!

it's a question that's come up from having an apartment to myself for two weeks and no shows in this city

Morty:  did you order a wife for me for christmas?

me:  a rental. she'll only offer affection, though. it's nothing sexual

Morty:  boo

you suck at presents!

me:  I kind of had this realization that what a comic does is go out every night and look for love and confirmation and recognition, when most people just get that de facto by walking in their front door every night

so, my point is, why not just get that de facto?

Morty:  god that's a horrible thought

me:  plus, you don't even know these people

what do you care what they think? you think anyone really cares what they think? you think they care what you think?

I've got three more rhetorical questions to complete my treatise

Morty:  please stop

me:  hahaha

why exactly?

Morty:  i don't know

me:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiiyq2xrSI0

because of the truth this idea holds?

Morty:  fucking make me watch a video

me:  haha

I was typing--I think this is the new form: I think that we're bringing back the dialogue. dialectic, Socratic method, everything

feel it

Morty:  hey, shut up! i'm trying to listen to this song

me:  can I post this on my site as some sort of -- haha -- as if it's a piece or something? I'll redact your name or change it to a similar name

Morty:  enh, this song is only ok. it works in the movie ghost, but i don't know

this conversation?

me:  It's sort of, like, giving me something to put into the world under the guise of being a comic, without having really done anything

yes

but it would be for art and David's sake

sakes

art's

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWqax9iHfRU

Morty:  i don't know, i can't have my name appearing next to word rape in google searches, not again at least

me:  look! that never went so far!

it almost looks as if Elvis is jerking off two dicks at the piano kind of

Morty:  haha. fat elvis

me:  have you seen that video where fat elvis dies on top of Lenny Bruce?

Morty:  link?

me:  uuhhh....

Morty:  let's have it!

me:  I'll type it in!

Morty:  k

me:  nah, not funny enough

Morty:  i agree

me:  oh, George Carlin comes up

not funny enough

Morty:  so predictable

me:  haha

Morty:  no accusation of rape, though

me:  and what's a chained melody, you know?

that's what they were saying about Cosby

Morty:  good point

well, carlin's dead. he's got that

me:  right, like that Jimmy Saville guy

I thought that when all those hundreds of allegations came out after his death, it was a chilling lesson for anyone who hadn't committed any sexual improprieties

you miss 100% of the shots you never take

Morty:  let me look up jimmy saville fucking hell

me:  just don't send me a link

Morty:  fucking wikipedia with their fucking fundraising

oh i remember that guy

ok

haha. to your earlier joke

me:  thanks

Morty:  99 percent of life is showing up

me:  is there tax on this?

Morty:  i don't know. ask woody, that's where i heard that line

me:  wait, but you never responded to my comment about comics are just looking for love

you just said it was a horrible thing to say and then moved on

Morty:  yes, david, i am looking for love. jesus christ

me:  hard to type you're laughing when doing that clapping laughing

but your work isn't looking for love

Morty:  yes it is!

me:  and it's not a gamble every night

Morty:  many lines of work are seeking attention, and yes it is a gamble every time, but in a different form

me:  right. I guess the idea's to have happiness elsewhere

Morty:  yes, otherwise you put too much weight on the career thing, and then if that doesn't work out, you're fucked

see: every comic who's died

me:  ergch.

Morty:  yes, well

me:  but some died with loved ones

Morty:  some

me:  but not many?

Morty:  williams did

me:  is that a terrible joke?

Morty:  even hedberg, technically. had a wife

me:  oh, you mean died prematurely?

Morty:  no, i meant he had love in his life or something, but still destroyed himself

not sure what the joke is

me:  right, right

Morty:  now that i think about, i'm not sure how love play in

me:  ?

that was half a heart

Morty:  ah! i'm lost now in this conversation. we should be on the phone

me:  I don't know. I like this

Morty:  this is fine

i'm saying that perhaps finding love doesn't always help comics survive

me:  wait--so your sort of starting out position is that comics are in terrible places?

Morty:  not all. i always think of famous ones, but there are plenty who this doesn't apply to really, like seinfeld, gaffigan, regan, etc.

me:  right. as a side note, I don't like any of those comics

Morty:  so predictable!

i knew that

i do

me:  I think I'm just starting to see the endpoint of being single. I think the older you get the less interesting it becomes

Morty:  who is she, heti? and when is the wedding?

me:  well, we broke up ten years ago. she's getting married next week

no, I have no idea

Morty:  aww

anyway, i don't disagree with anything you said

me:  ok

I mean, humans don't make much sense, and life doesn't make much sense, but, if human life, humans like other humans

me:  it's not unethical to be in a relationship, is it?

Morty:  what? no

sillyhead

me:  but, if they make you happy

that's not selfish?

Morty:  oh stop it. like you care

but no, not selfish

me:  I think I care. (ok.) like, I'm not sure how having a kid is anything but selfish

far more selfish than actually just finding someone who's already alive and making them somehow a part of your life

Morty:  i think basically it's just nice to have someone to get meals with

me:  haha. well, kind of, yeah

you're kind of just killing time together

Morty:  yeah

me:  I don't think it's much more complex than that

otherwise you're getting together for other reasons? (e.g., the Clintons)

Morty:  i'm worried that we're both going to disappear into the next world or something

me:  another world!

no thanks

Morty:  yes, there are very few power couples in the comedy world

me:  no, but I think that's what a marriage is: just someone you want to sit around with

Morty:  look, are you going to find me a wife or not?

me:  actually that's my ok cupid tagline or whatever

I can try to find you a wife

Morty:  good

me:  do you have minimum legs requirement?

is it negotiable?

Morty:  haha. two preferably. also two arms, two ears, two vaginas, etc.

me:  because one leg these days--one leg!

Morty:  ewww

me:  you know that old song: one leg per vagina...

Morty:  who am i, paul mccartney?

good song

me:  paul once actually asked me that himself

Morty:  lucky

me:  greatest day of his life

Morty:  of course

me:  I wonder if when a celebrity gets alzheimer's, can they remember themselves as celebrity after they've forgotten themselves as self?

Morty:  na

me:  all I’m saying is, it's worth signing your headshots while you can

Morty:  haha, jesus

me:  who knows?

it's like Pascal's wager

are you looking for a person/wife/wife-person?

the funny thing is: when you want a wife, you can't look for a wife

that's the oldest Chinese wisdom in the book

Morty:  yes. i generally feel better around women

fucking chinese

me:  haha

me:  alright

Morty:  agreed

me:  last question

maybe

what should I do with the impulse not to put out things into the world? it's paralyzing, especially for someone who's basically trying to do that for a living

sometimes saying or contributing anything seems so terrible. there seems to be so much, too much shit out there

Morty:  david, a comedy career is like a shark. it has to keep moving or it dies, and what we have here is a dead shark. anyway, i don't actually feel that you have a problem with that since you put out more stuff than most people i know. people i know who actually have a problem with that don't put stuff out there. if you want to tell jokes to drunk people for money instead of telling jokes to coworkers in an office than you will have to keep putting stuff out and stop this needless introspection about it. just put good stuff out, that's what matters

me:  I guess you pare it down. I suppose needless introspection. and, yes, good stuff

ok. thanks

me:  (that last line about putting out good stuff, too, is pretty much a Woody Allen line. when the aliens come down and tell him to just tell better jokes)

Morty:  haha, didn't realize that

me:  and, honestly, though, if I cut out some stuff, could I post this conversation to my site? I'm just thinking that it might be some neat new thing. we have podcasts now, which is oftentimes just a conversation between two people. this is the same, but in text, and might have a different appeal

Morty:  ha, i love that you're concerned about putting stuff out into the world and yet you want to put up a chat which is the most narcissistic thing in existence. don't everyone think the chats they have with friends are interesting, but i guess i'm okay with it. would need to see it first, i think

supposed to say don’t forget...

me:  well, but we're objectively funny people

Morty:  you know it!

me:  I'll run it by you. plus, I can give you an old Jewish name if you lie

like

Morty:  morty

me:  I might be M F!

I was going to be morty!

Morty:  no way!

me:  totally!

we can both be morty

Morty:  deal!

me:  perfect