Q: Whereas you had a blank slate with this one.
Q: What are some of the things you write about?
A: There are autobiographical pieces and then there are commentary pieces. I kind of run the gamut. There are some stand-up stories about the struggles of being a younger stand-up and trying to navigate those waters. There's stuff in there about the disintegration of my second marriage.
There's also a piece in there about randomly going to see the New York Philharmonic and my reaction to the need to understand that music. There's also another piece about my desire to understand opera (that integrates) a horrible personal fight that I had with my girlfriend into that story.
There's a story about me buying a pair of pants at Levi's and I was told that I had to sh— in a bathtub with them on and then let them dry on me in order for them to be perfect.
Q: Wait — what? It sounds like there is some creative license and exaggeration that you bring to these essays.
A: No, all these things happened.
Q: Someone told you to sh— in a tub?
A: No, not sh— in a tub, sit in a tub. Sh—ing in a tub would be very different. I don't think I would get a new pair of pants and sh— them in my bathtub. (Pauses for a beat.) But it's not out of the question. I think I like your story better.
Q: Talk to me about the title. Does it speak to your general mindset? Is that a thread that comes through in the book, of battling your neuroses to be normal?
I guess people think I'm neurotic. It's very hard for me to see myself as that. I think I'm hypersensitive and a little in my head and sometimes I get a little obsessed. So I guess if you looked at that on paper as an equation, it would equal neurotic.
Q: Your podcast isn't necessarily funny. Your stand-up act, obviously, is. Is there pressure to be funny as a writer?
A: There is. Certainly I'm going to go through this second draft and making sure that if there are areas for jokes, that I will explore them. I like things that resonate, and if I can do that with a joke, great. But if it's not a joke, that's fine too.
Q: So you're not selling this as a humor book?
A: I'm not primarily an essayist or even near the realm of David Sedaris or something like that. I think that I'm fairly willing to invest a certain amount of openness and emotion in this stuff. I do believe it will be sold as a humor book and it will be funny. But I'm not going to shy away from heavy sh—.
Q: When I listen to the podcast, I envision you sitting in a home garage of some sort. If I were to picture you writing, where does that happen?
A: On the other desk in the garage. I've got a table here with the mics attached to it, and then I've set up a smaller desk over there by the window. I can't read my own writing, so I wrote it there on a computer.
Q: How did you motivate yourself?