Roadside assistance with Andy Haynes
Andy Haynes called me back while he was in a car on the side of the road in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Haynes, a stand-up comic from Seattle who lives in Los Angeles, was on a ski trip and I don’t know what led to him being in a car on the side of the road in the mountains of California when we chatted on Wednesday afternoon, nor do I want to know.
All I know is that Haynes apologized for not being able to talk when I called him and assured me he’d return my call when he found “some place quieter.” A few minutes later, Haynes rang me up and we got right into a discussion about his immediate safety on a mountain roadside, the job President Barack Obama has done and searching for spontaneous moments on stage.
TC: Are you OK?
AH: Yeah. I escaped from the sexual assault.
TC: Did I hear you say you’re at Mammoth? Are you skiing, snowboarding, just hanging out?
AH: I’m skiing, although I’m just hanging out today because there’s no snow. It wasn’t worth it for me to spend $100 today. I went skiing yesterday. I got my fill. I’m also an old man. I used to ski a hundred days a year so all my joints are shot. One day of (skiing) pretty much reminds me why I limp.
TC: I saw you live-tweeted the President’s State of the Union address. What do you think of the job Obama’s done during his tenure?
AH: I like the guy. I know people on both sides who are unhappy with him, but I’ve been pretty happy with him. It seems like we’ve done less warring and it seems like jobs are coming back. Gay people in my life are getting married. I think he’s done a pretty good job.
Everybody does this shit like, “He’s the worst! Can you believe he did this one thing?” And it’s like, “Yeah, but you can’t do all these things.” He can’t, with a sweep of his hands, legalize gay marriage, legalize pot, close (Guantanamo Bay). He also had a ton of kickback coming from the Republicans.
He has his setbacks. I’m not a huge fan of all the economic things he’s done favoring big business, but I like him. I think he’s a pretty intelligent guy.
TC: You mentioned the Republican backlash and considering that every Republican on Earth pretty much is against anything he says or does, I’m amazed that he has gotten as much stuff through as he has.
AH: I’m a liberal person, but I don’t necessarily affiliate with one party or another. I think it’s so unfortunate that some people, to make sure the President fails, they’re happy to see Americans fail. They would let a bill that would give healthcare to, let’s just say, single moms. They’d be happy to see that bill fail if it meant the President looked bad, not thinking about the fact that this single mom is just trying to, I don’t know, raise her dumb kid or whatever. (interviewer laughs)
TC: The tracks from your “Greatest Hits” album were uploaded to YouTube on Monday. Did you know about this?
TC: OK. Did somebody breach a contract there? Is that supposed to be on YouTube for free?
AH: I’m guessing probably not. I wasn’t told about it, but I also don’t really care. I don’t make any money off that album and I just want people to hear me and get more familiar with my act.
Also, I’m a sober person and that album was so stoner-friendly. It’s not the same act that I do anymore because I’ve kind of changed some things in my life so I don’t care. I don’t think anything sells that much. You can steal, so if it’s out there, God bless whoever put it on the Internet.
TC: On the “I’m an alcoholic” track, an audience member yelled out “awesome, not alco” and you played off that beautifully without having to berate her. Was that one of the rare instances when somebody yelling out actually kinda, sorta helped?
AH: You’re always looking for spontaneous and unique moments in your set to kind of differentiate them. We have our acts, but we don’t want to do our acts. We want to do something original every time we get on stage. At least, this is my own conceit. If they don’t yell out anything disruptive, then I’m happy for people to yell stuff out. I like that.
It has to be the right time and I have to be able to work with it. Sometimes somebody is just drunk and they yell mean stuff and that’s not helping me at all. You’re just being mean and you’re messing up the flow of my jokes. You’re hurting the show.
But sometimes somebody just yells something stupid. Like that was pretty stupid what that lady yelled. She was drunk, but it was in good spirits so it was funny. It was a spontaneous moment in a set.
TC: Your “True Barista” video cracks me up and this is cool for me because in the last month, I’ve interviewed you and Whitmer Thomas, two guys who do spot on McConaughey impressions. Is that something that came easy for you?
AH: I definitely worked on it. I’ve never done impressions in my act so it’s not something I was used to doing, but what happened is…I have a new joke about this. I’ve never been compared to McConaughey before in my life. Like, I never got “Fool’s Gold” McConaughey. I never got “Dazed and Confused” McConaughey, but the second he became Rust Cohle — sociopathic, possible serial killer — people were like, “You know, you’re a lot like Matthew McConaughey.” (interviewer cracks up) The second “True Detective” came out, I started getting Facebook posts: “I love Andy Haynes in ‘True Detective.’”
So I just started practicing around the house and I said (to Billy Wayne Davis, who plays Woody Harrelson’s role in the clip), “Hey, you wanna try to do this thing?” I don’t really do sketch. I always want to, but I’m too disorganized. It takes a lot of work. You’ve got to put together a team and you’ve gotta edit and all that stuff, but that one just kind of came together.
TC: You’re a Seattle guy. Are you excited about the Super Bowl?
AH: I’m very excited. Full disclosure: I’m one of the most bandwagon fans in the world. I don’t even think I watched a professional football game on television until the 2005-2006 season, when we went to the Super Bowl against Pittsburgh. After (Brian) Bosworth and (Steve) Largent (two high-profile former Seahawks), nobody watched the Seahawks. It was probably a good 15 years of nothing. It was like being a Utah Jazz fan.
Now that they’re doing so well the last three or four years, I’ve started to watch a lot, but I’m still sort of new to the sport. The sport that I know and that I follow is soccer. I watch English soccer, which just confirms every insult that good ole boys throw at me.
So I’m still the guys that’s like, “What was that flag for?” “Who was that?” “What’s happening now?” But I learn quickly and on Sunday (when Seattle completed an amazing comeback to win the NFC championship), I gotta say that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had watching a sporting event, just because we were all so distraught and so ready to be like, “OK. It’s over.” Honestly, that was better than any blowjob I’ve ever had. (interviewer laughs)
Here it is, The Best Tweet I Can Find In Five Minutes:
— George Wallace (@MrGeorgeWallace) January 22, 2015