SPP: Today on the podcast we welcome Jamie Flam who is from the Long Shot podcast and you can find them at the www.longshotpodcast.com. Jamie, how are you doing?
Jamie Flam: I’m great. How are you guys?
SPP: Hanging in there. So I guess to start off this interview I wanted to talk to you about how you got into comedy? When you knew you wanted to do it? I mean were you always doing funny stuff as a kid or was it later in life?
Jamie Flam: Yeah I started making comedy videos when I was in elementary school and junior high and I always had problems with that. Then I always regretted and no one told me “Hey, keep doing this and you can do it for a living.” So finally after college I was always interested in comedy and I grew up watching Saturday Night Life and the Simpsons, and all that kind of stuff. Then I started getting into Mister Show and all that right after college.
Actually a friend of mine got onto the show Saturday Night Life and I was like “Dude, if this guy can get on” – I’m not going to mention his name. It’s not to discredit his humor he’s a very funny guy – I was like if this guy can get on Saturday Night Life then maybe I can make a career out of this. I think it was 2001 me and my friend just started writing sketches. I was living in San Francisco at the time, started doing these multimedia sketch comedy video shows. That was about it. It was right before the video kind of YouTube thing really took off.
So at that point it was kind of novel and cool that we were doing videos, because I watch some of those videos now and they’re God-awful. Back then just the novelty of the fact that we weren’t using final cut products making videos was really cool. So then I think it was about 2004, 2005 I was like, alright time to move back to LA and really pursue this. I moved back, my first major job was running a comedy theatre, and really it’s been ongoing since then, it’s been a fun ride.
SPP: I guess you’ve done standup, you’ve written for videos you’ve done sketch comedy, what’s your favorite form of comedy?
Jamie Flam: That’s an awesome question, let me think. I mean at the end of the day my favorite part about comedy is sitting in a room with one or two, or however many people that you think are funny, and just laughing while you come up with the most inane ridiculous stuff in the world. With standup I’ve done it so intermittently like I’ve definitely had some fun nights but just as many awful nights doing standup.
So I wouldn’t say that right now but I also enjoy producing shows and working with other comments. And I really have of course a ton of fun doing this podcast. It’s like another new kind of outlet for comedians and people to have fun and get their comedy out there.
SPP: Hey Jamie when you were, or I guess when you are doing standup, do you ever worry about just absolutely bombing? What do most comedians think about if they go up there and just get killed? Because Jon and I were just actually out in LA I don’t know a week ago, and we went to the comedy store, and the first six comedians or saw were really funny, and then it just literally turned awful.
Jamie Flam: Well I think a big part of it is once you’ve gotten past that sixth comedian mark… SPP: Yeah exactly.
Jamie Flam: …the audience is like, okay I get it.
SPP: Yeah they hope they’re drunk by then or something.
Jamie Flam: Well that’s true too, by then people are drunk but that can go either way. Yeah I think every minute in preparing, every minute on stage for me is in that fear mode, which sometimes drives you to do funny stuff and sometimes it just the audience can sense your lack of confidence at any given moment.
Now I’ve probably done standup over 100 times and there’s been nights when I’ve been a little drunk that’s been fun, or like in gym and finally you get to know the audience. I think that’s part of I would say half my shows have been in front of an audience of mostly my friends, which is kind of an unfair way of gauging.
I mean from what I’ve been talking to all these comedians that are much more established than I am, for most of them the fear never goes way, that just becomes part of it and you accept it and let it fuel you.
SPP: Now do you write by yourself or do you, like you said earlier, sit down with somebody to write? Because I know you probably do that with writing sketching and videos, but with standup I mean do you flush that out with people or do you just write it by yourself?
Jamie Flam: Mostly by myself. Although a couple of years I got a job working for a lady named Judy Carter. She wrote a book called “The Comedy Bible”, which if you decide to get a standup at any age and any country like that’s probably the book you’re going to get. So for the last couple of years, I actually no longer work there, but I was booking all of her standup classes. She teaches classes and I would have never ever in my life taken a standup class I think there’s such a stigma about it.
As I was working for her she was like yeah, why didn’t you take my class for free? So I was all right there’s nothing to lose. I took it and it was actually really great. Not as much so for like learning the rules, although I think there are some great rules that you can learn, but in getting to really flesh out ideas with other people. And just like sketch or video or whatever else sitting with other people you think are funny and watching ideas evolve and grow, it’s the funniest, and just laughing that’s the most fun part of it.
SPP: I guess to build on that sitting in a room with a bunch of people, the Long Shot Podcast how did you get involved with all those guys.
Jamie Flam: Well I’ve actually known Eddie for probably about four years now. We met each other when I was managing this comedy theatre in Santa Monica and you had performed there all the time. Then when I started doing more videos professionally he’s such a funny and easy to work with guy. So we did a bunch of videos together and I guess it was just over a year ago we were getting pennoni at our favorite Pennoni Garden. Shawn would be cringing right now if he heard me talk about the Pennoni Garden.
We were just going to kind of brainstorm ideas for new videos, new things that we could and the idea of doing a podcast popped up. We’re like all right, let’s start doing a podcast and see where it goes. Then a couple of weeks later he said that he was actually also talking to Shawn Conroy, who was also interested in doing a podcast. They have a long history together they’ve been working together for 15 or 20 years. So I was very open to bringing him onboard and working with them. Then Shawn worked with Amber in the sketch writing class that he taught and thought she would be a great dynamic to bring, and she certainly is. So that’s kind of how it all came together.
SPP: Is she really that happy all the time?
Jamie Flam: Yes.
SPP: That’s amazing.
Jamie Flam: She really for the most part she is. Like any comedian I think there’s the peaks and valleys, but yeah she definitely is always happy and/or caffeine laden which helps.
SPP: So I guess some of your other projects we have we spoke on the Immaculata for your second and you’ve got the Web site www.immaculatize.com.
Jamie Flam: Yeah I can’t believe I got it.
SPP: I know I figured that would have been gone. Why don’t you go ahead and tell everybody exactly what the Immaculata is and what the Web site does.
Jamie Flam: Sure. Well the Immaculata actually is a ridiculous word that I gave, for lack of a better word, a cleanse that I did back in the year 2000, so over 10 years ago. I had just graduated college and I’d worked my first job in San Francisco and was miserable. I’d put on a ton of weight and I was just really depressed and I was like I’m leaving and I’m going to move to Spain. Then I realized I had no money so I moved to Berkeley instead.
Anyway and I was like, all right I got to get in shape. I read this book called I think “8 Weeks to Optimum Health” and I was like all right for the next month, next 30 days, I’m going to live immaculately. I’m going to call it Immaculata and I’m going to cut out all the sweets and caffeine and cigarettes and marijuana and, what else, and try to meditate, booze.
SPP: Oh God.
Jamie Flam: Yeah booze was the big one. And sure enough after 30 days I’d lost some weight, I was feeling great. I got like a couple of great jobs that I look back on fondly really that just kind of jumpstarted where would it be the next three or four years just more of a moderate lifestyle. It’s not to make any sort of judgment or any of that other stuff, but for me anyway just doing it more moderately was great.
Then over the last few years it started to kind of creep back up. I started doing all these things more, not to the point where I would say I’m a crazy alcoholic or I’m like this crazy pot guy, or anything like that, but just to the point where shoot I’m like in my mid 30s now, I’m miserable again, and I got to make some changes.
So I was like all right I’m going to do Immaculata again and it coincided right with the beginning of our second season of the podcast. It started with just all right I’m going to do a Web site, I’m going to do the same things I did 10 years ago, I’m going to cut out drinking and pot and sugar, and what else and caffeine and cigarettes I mean that’s the biggest one.
So I did it for 30 days and again I lost some weight; felt so good. Then my friends over the course of my doing that became inspired a lot of them and they decided to do it themselves without me even asking, it was just really cool. They were like oh my God; let me get in on this. They started seeing the effects as well, started blogging about it, starting talking about the podcast, and before I knew it this past November I’d over a 120 people from across the country, a lot of them podcast fans that decided to do it for two weeks along with him.
So it’s kind of grown into this cool thing that I’m putting a lot of time and energy into and right now I’m preparing for January. I’m trying to do my first 30 day one. I think it’s going to be, of course in typical Jamie Flam wait to the last minute bashing it’s like two weeks before the end of the year and I still haven’t made the big push, which is one of the big things I’m going to be working on in 2011 is in productive, getting things done.
So long story short I don’t know where it’s going to go, but it’s all about personal development and working on yourself to really accomplish your goals. I’m sure you guys are creative people, you hit roadblocks and there’s just issue with actually getting things done and actually making that idea come to life. I think it all intersects with how you treat your body and your mind and that kind of stuff. So basically, I’m no expert on this stuff I’m just kind of learning. I’m just thinking my own kind of journey and putting it out there, but I’m not trying to claim I know what’s best for anyone.
SPP: Yeah but I think that everyone would agree cutting out some things is always good. It’s funny because I hadn’t heard of the Immaculata until Jon told me about it. We’re out in Scottsdale kind of just basically trying to be creative and doing our podcast and everything. We recently were like we need to do something similar to this. So trying to cut out the sweets and everything and I think it’s impossible. I don’t see how it’s realistic. This morning we went to some diner and ate pancakes with M&M’s inside and sausage dipped I waffle batter.
Jamie Flam: This place sounds amazing.
SPP: It was.
SPP: It’s incredible.
Jamie Flam: Well if you can avoid that place you might be off to a good start, but my first reaction is like beg to differ or I disagree. SPP: To quote Jon and I.
Jamie Flam: Yeah I mean that’s part of what I’m trying to do is it’s difficult to do on your own this kind of stuff, but within the community of people that are also doing it, it makes it a lot easier and more fun. Really it’s about getting pass those first for me anyway, those first 10, 12 days, once you get to that and you actually start to feel how good it feels to not have M&Ms in your pancakes. Because that was the hardest thing for me was the Skittles and M&Ms.
SPP: Take the M&Ms out yeah.
Jamie Flam: In my breakfast food.
SPP: Well all right I’ve got two quick questions then for the Immaculata stuff. The first you mentioned meditation.
Jamie Flam: Yes.
SPP: You keep up with that. The second question do you find that you’ve been writing funnier stuff and been more creative while doing Immaculata?
Jamie Flam: As far as mediation I wish I could say that I’ve been keeping up with it. When I first did the first Immaculata in September I made it about two weeks with doing every day, my goal was 20 minutes a day. It was amazing, it was great. Since then I kind of do what I like to call just quick two second meditations throughout the day, which for me is just like as soon as I noticed that I’m in my head and my head is starting to do all the crazy things that my head does, which is judge and hate myself, I take that step back and I’m like, all right it’s just my brain talking. It’s not true, true meditation but it works for me. That’s one of my big goals for January is to get back on that and start doing that every day.
What was the second part of the question?
Jamie Flam: That’s hard to say. That’s another thing when I’m in the Immaculata certainly writing every day, nothing else is journaling and writing about what’s going on in my life, which ultimately will turn into a lot of the good comedy stuff, but it’s about focus and it’s about having a routine, and that’s a big part of what my goals are for 2011 working on methods of productivity. Because I don’t know if you guys are like me but I have no lack of ideas.
In fact, I probably have 50 ideas the day that I either email to myself or I record into my voice, record on my iPhone or I message myself on my iPhone or I put into a Word document, any number of things. So I’ve scattered in a million places all these ideas but I’m trying to work on how do you put those all in one place and actually have kind of a method to the madness of trying to be creative in this world and make a living.
SPP: Yeah when you figure that out let us know too because, especially for this podcast. I’ve been wanting to do a podcast for the last two or three years, I’ve always been a big fan of radio and podcasting, and finally Chris came up with the idea for the podcast. He was like hey I want to do this. That was finally the thing that pushed me over the edge and I was like all right cool I can finally get on board and do this now. I do the same exact thing, have a list of ideas in a Word document and they just sit there.
Jamie Flam: Well you did it though. Kudos to you. I mean it’s so cliché but just doing it and forgetting about the rest let everything kind of fall into place, but taking the first steps. So high fives all around.
SPP: I really appreciate all the time that you’ve given us for this. I just wanted to see if you want to plug anything your Web site the www.immaculatize.com Web site. If you wanted to point our listeners into any creative outlets that you have feel free.
Jamie Flam: I appreciate it. Well, definitely www.immaculatize.com is where most of my energy’s going, as well as of course the www.longshotpodcast.com. We just released our season finale with Paul Tompkins and go to JamieFlam.com, it’s kind of a mess that needs to get cleaned up, but there’s links to lots of the old stuff I’ve worked on in the past. I think between
the three of those. Oh and it’s a site that I don’t update anymore but I’m really am fond of the idea of it, but it’s called Stuff Psycho People Like and it’s kind of a take on what’s called The Stuff White People Like.
Jamie Flam: It’s kind of an outdated parody now but I’ve never plugged it, so www.stuffopsychopeoplelike.com.
SPP: Nice. Are you guys definitely planning on doing a Season 3 of the Long Shot?
Jamie Flam: Yeah I’d say it’s very, very likely we’ll take a little two or three week break and hopefully jump back in toward the end of January.
SPP: Awesome. Well thanks so much Jamie, I appreciate it.
SPP: Yeah thank you very much.
Jamie Flam: Yeah thank you guys and good luck with this podcast. I’m sure I’m going to get like 10 million hits for you guys.
SPP: It’s definitely going to happen.
Chris: So that was Jamie Flam, really cool guy, fun to talk to. As promised we are now going to do our first Listener Segment as Jon mentioned at the beginning with Casey of Arlington, Virginia. Casey you have the floor.
Casey: Well I wrote in to your podcast because I happened upon it from some friends of mine who said it was interesting, so I took a listen. I thought it was cool that kids my age were taking it upon themselves to sort of do what they wanted to do because they always thought it would be cool. So it interested me because it was something that I was kind of doing in my life and taking on this blog that I’ve always sort of wanted to write, and I always thought it was cool that people would blog.
So about a month ago I started my own blog called Happiness is the Way, because I try to write about things that make me happy or make somebody have a better day if they read about my stupid adventures, usually in the kitchen, which sometimes turnout good, sometimes don’t. But my blog sort of started as a place for me to pose pictures because I got a new camera. I’m a very amateur photographer and thought it would be cool to like test things out and a place to post the pictures that I took. It’s sort of evolved in the last couple of weeks into sort of a folly of recipes and cooking and other random things that I get into. So that’s my blog, that’s how it relates to your podcast and if you guys have questions go ahead.
SPP: Well I was wondering why you chose kind of cooking and things like that. Is that your source of happiness?
Casey: Well eating is my happiness, that’s sad to say but it’s true, and I’m a historically awful person to be in the kitchen even helping. I thought it would be kind of cool to sort of relate to the public in that way because I think cooking kind of intimidates a lot of people. I like to eat a lot so that’s where the happiness part came in and the rest of it is just trying to relate to people that read it because it intimidates a lot of people like it did for me.
So I tried to say if you don’t have this you can use this, if you don’t know what it means to cream butter all that means is mix it with sugar. So I’m learning as I go and trying to share some knowledge with the people out there and hopefully whether that makes them happy or not I’m not sure.
SPP: Have you had any responses from random people? I mean has anybody stumbled across a blog and said something you think to you?
Casey: I think there’s no one completely random has come and said, no one that I don’t know personally, or someone that I know personally, but there are random people from other – I don’t know if it’s people that are on the blogger site or whatever, but it seems as though I’m getting some random attention, which I don’t exactly know how.
SPP: So does the physical process of blogging make you happy to as happy as eating or a little bit less?
Casey: Well there’s other things that make happy, like trying to make people laugh and sometimes I’m the only one who thinks it’s funny.
SPP: Like you said about random people stumbling across your blog, I think this podcast has made me realize that if you create a good product that you believe in and you do something you enjoy it’s going to happen. People are going to find it and going to appreciate it. So definitely keep going if it makes you happy and everything. I think it’s awesome.
SPP: Casey thanks for being with us today. Why don’t you go ahead and tell the listeners where they can find out about your blog and about you.
Casey: The name of the blog is called Happiness is the Way and you can find it by going to www.casey’shappiness.blogspot.com. SPP: All right. Well thanks again for being on and we hope that numerous people go check you out.