Sunday Matinee: Second Nature [Film]

I just have to kick things off here by clearly stating that this a film that absolutely does everything CORRECTLY! And unfortunately, for me to truly demonstrate this point, there will be spoilers. There will be spoilers. There will be spoilers. Have I effectively gotten through to you? There will be spoilers. Okay, let’s begin.

I was initially drawn to this film based solely on presence of the two top billed performers. Collette Wolf has always been amazing in my mind ever since I first saw her amazing interactions with Patton Oswalt in Observe and Report almost a decade ago. It was comedic genius, and I have been dying to see her able to take on a leading role. And obviously, she crushes it to be purely minimalist about it. And then there is Sam Huntington, who I feel as though I have grown up with over the last 20 years. In fact, His first three films were all released when I was between the ages of 12 and 16. And all three of them came out at exactly the right age that I could relate to them the most. For those of you who are not up to speed, this films (in order) were Jungle 2 Jungle, Detroit Rock City, and Not Another Teen Movie. Three solid, yet very different, films that were all bettered by Sam’s involvement.

So yes, with two brilliant lead stars in this film, I definitely knew it wasn’t going to be horrible. The premise is also very noteworthy. The direct and some-what campy visualization of what it would look like if roles were reversed is brilliant concept, no matter how we land with said visualization. In this case it is a magic mirror. Sure. Why the hell no? It is a great way to go right to the story, which is what is most important.

Now, as of yet, I may not have really spoiled anything for you fine readers. But here it comes. Are you ready…..okay, here we go……THIS IS NOT A ROMCOM!!! I can not tell you just how wonderful this is to me. I seriously thought it was coming for quite a ways through the film. I had this terrible suspicion that while writer/director Michael Cross was giving us a lovely little film about women’s empowerment, he was surely going to have to cave in and make these two lead roles fall in love with each other and live happily ever after, thus negating the empowerment element that was so prominent. But it doesn’t happen!! It seriously wasn’t even an issue, I was actually left feeling pretty dumb for not believing it could be done. This just isn’t something that happens people!

Now look, I have nothing against a good romantic comedy, if that is what it is supposed to be about. But a film like Second Nature wasn’t about romance, it is a hilarious film that addresses seriously real issues through comedy. And Cross made the absolutely perfect decision to not let the film turn in that direction. This very fact alone makes me truly admire the film, and makes me want to tell all of my more open minded friend.

So, with that point in mind, there is still even more to love about this project. The storyline is on point, and the writing is absolutely genius. And will could gush of the dreamboats that are Collette and Sam, it would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention a few others that really blew me away. People, please be on the look out for Riley Shanahan. He was absolutely fantastic in this film, and has one of the most brilliant “embarrassing in your underwear” scenes I have ever seen. Honestly, I would love to get the behind the scenes take on what it was like to shoot that scene. I was literally howling with laughter at this beautiful bit of awkwardness. And I can’t forget about Carollani Sandberg, who is somebody I will definitely be on the look out for in the future, as she gave the finest emulation of what the film’s “role reversal” would truly be like.

So get out there and see Second Nature, folks! It is a gem of a film with a very important message!

Theatrically, the film is scheduled to open in theaters on September 8 (beginning with Ark Lodge Cinemas, Seattle). It will also play at the Catalina Film Festival (Sep 27-October 1) and Ellensburg Film Festival (October 6-8).

Second Nature will also be available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Blu-ray and DVD on September 19.

 

 

Jack Helmuth [Interview]


Another great interview right her for you fine folks! Today we are talking with Jack Helmuth, who has been working in the world of comedy for a very long time and has been a major part of a batch of varied and very hilarious projects. He is no stranger to the legendary Upright Citizens Brigade comedy that appears within these digital pages very regularly. He has worked on other classic shows like Saturday Night Live and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, and was one of the masterminds behind the short-lived but legendary Larry Wilmore fronted show The Nightly Show.

And I have to say, I had a feeling that Jack would have some hilarious tales to tell and some great insight to give. But I had no idea just how great he would be. I guarantee you are going to love this man’s responses. I can say that I was personally left with a whole new train of though on some matters, and also left wondering what type of gang member Jon Stewart might have been should that have been an option. Intrigued? You should be! So ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy some great words from the brilliant Jack Helmuth!

When did you realize you wanted to write for a living? And more specifically, writing in the world of comedy? Were you always a funny kid who was destined to make people laugh as a way of life?

In 9th grade two major things happened to me (three, if you count getting pubes). The first was discovering David Letterman. I would stay up as often as I could to watch his old 12:30 show (Late Night) and it mesmerized me. It was the coolest and funniest thing I had ever seen.

The second was that I was required to hand in 30 pages of journal writing every month for my English class. Like most kids I wrote a bunch of filler and occasionally wrote about my feelings, but that ultimately left me bored. So I started writing funny stories (a Jack London parody called “To Build A Fire 2: This Time It Starts”) to entertain myself. Well, my teacher, Mr. Kennell, thought they were good enough for the school literary magazine and published them. I would get stopped in the hallway by people telling me how funny they thought my pieces were, and there was no better feeling in the world than that. It was then that I knew that writing comedy was what I wanted to do with my life.

Important side note: I had tardiness issues for a few years starting in 9th grade, in part due to my discovery of Mr. Letterman and staying up until 1:30 a.m. as a 14-year old. I got into all sorts of trouble for this, but Mr. Kennell always supported me. “For you, that is homework. One day you’re going to write for Dave or for Saturday Night Live. My first job out of college was at SNL.

Other important side note: I lied. Still haven’t gotten my pubes.

When was the first time you can remember seeing your name appear on a screen, large or small, with your credits as a writer? Do you remember how you felt when you first saw it, as well as what you might have been doing at that exact moment?

It was October of 1999. I had gotten a staff writing job at Who Wants To Be a Millionaire back when it had hit it BIG. We were the number one show in America, and since we were on four nights a week, it was also like the 3rd, 7th, and 9th ranked show in the land. It was a short deal (something like a 10-week contract) since they didn’t know if the show would be permanent or not, and my boss at SNL, Steve Higgins, who had always been incredibly kind, generous, and supportive of my dream to be a writer, held my job for me in case I wanted to come back. So even though I had gotten jokes on Weekend Update, I was not a staff writer on SNL, so Millionaire was the first time I had ever seen my name on TV as a credited writer. I watched the show with my girlfriend at the time and felt like I was floating on air. It was a dream-come-true moment.

As a hardcore comedy fan, I absolutely adored Bonne McFarlane’s Women Aren’t Funny, that you were a part of, along with our old pal Joe DeRosa. So, I have to ask something about it. When you are blending satirical content with a very touchy subject like was covered in the film, what would you say is the most complicated part of the process? What were some things you attempted to avoid, if any?

I’m so glad you saw Bonnie’s film! She is so talented and funny and amazing. I encourage everyone who’s a fan of comedy to go out and check out that film. Unfortunately I don’t have a great answer to this question – I just helped her with a few specific parts of the movie and she was very kind (too kind) and gave me a writing credit.

I have lots of opinions about how to handle touchy subject matter like politics and race if you want to chat about that, but for Women Aren’t Funny, I’m the wrong person to ask.

I really enjoyed The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, and was pretty sad to see it disappear. You were an extremely prominent figure on the show during its entire run, and did an amazing job. What was the atmosphere like behind the scenes with such hilarious people like Larry and Mike Yard, and more? Besides being a shit ton of work, was there some fun to be had? Any good stories you can tell us about?

Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the show. My mortgage was also sad to see it disappear. I did have a fun, somewhat-prominent role there as a writer the very first day to the last, a senior producer, and as one of the go-to “evil white douche” for sketches (play what you know).

This is a hard one to answer, because I have a lot of complex emotions about my time there. My experience on that show changed me and still affects me deeply.

The atmosphere there was great because of the people. That’s how it always is with shows – you get good people and then hopefully become a family. Behind-the-scenes it was a little more buttoned-up than some comedy shows I’ve been around because there were a lot of people who were either new to the business or new to their positions. But that also made it very special, seeing people learn and grow and have their dreams come true for the first time ever.

My favorite story was when the Bloods and Crips stopped by to visit (thank God I didn’t wear my Latin Kings colors that day). It was about a week after we had aired an episode where Larry went down to Baltimore to hold an on-air “summit” with the two groups during the aftermath of the riots following the Freddie Gray incident. Apparently Larry and the producers told the members of the gang to stop by if they were ever in NY and sure enough they did. All of a sudden these gang members were hanging out in our offices and getting tours of the set and stuff. But the best part was when Jon Stewart stopped by to chat with them, since it was a Friday and our show and The Daily Show didn’t tape on that day. Somehow I wound up on a couch sandwiched between two fellas and got to watch Jon, with a day’s worth of stubble and in street clothes and a Mets cap basically interview these guys. It was such a beautiful thing. Jon had such sincere intellectual curiosity about their lives and gang life and their role in Baltimore moving forward. He was so sharp and funny and well informed and he held their feet to the fire, man! He asked them about the economics of selling drugs and questioned them on their relationship to the drug trade. And he wasn’t afraid at all to call bullshit on them if he thought they weren’t being truthful. To me it just showed what a once-in-a-generation talent Jon is.

My personal highlight was when one of the Crips answered a question from Jon & I immediately chimed in, patting the two dudes on either side of me on the back and declared, “Yup, that’s how the three of us feel” (or something like that). Keep in mind that I’m a 40-year old white comedy nerd with hands as soft as silk. I got a huge room laugh and an approving nod from Jon. Only at The Nightly Show could you have a “hang” with the Bloods, Crips, and Jon Stewart.

As a complete outsider who knows nothing, I have to assume that a writing gig on something like the White House Correspondence Dinner has to be a bit of a challenge. But yourself and a team of great writers managed to pull it off swimmingly in 2016, with one of the most memorable WCDs to date, in my opinion. So, can you give us a bit of insight on what it is like to write for something like this? Is the process different given the nature of audience members involved?

To be honest it was pretty straightforward. Larry invited the writers of the show to write for the WHCD, but we were in no means required to. We basically just wrote a ton of jokes and they were culled down by Larry. As we moved closer to the big day we would get emails saying “we need more jokes about CNN” or “we’re set on Trump jokes” so we could fine tune what Larry was looking for. I remember staying late the Wednesday night before the event and hearing Larry rehearse in the 3rd floor conference room. Boy there were some damn good jokes in there.

I am very intrigued by a great book I came across entitled The United States vs. Santa Claus. Can you tell us a bit about this book that sounds absolutely amazing? What made you want to tell this story?

Well, this is kind of a crazy part of my life. I was the showrunner for a sketch comedy show called The B.S. of A. with Brian Sack on a network called The Blaze. Yes, that’s right – Glenn Beck’s network.

I know, I know, you all hate Glenn. I was the same way, as an Obama-donating liberal. But let me tell you something about that show and that experience. I met with Glenn before the launch of the show and he said this to me: “This is a bit of an experiment for a news network. (The execs) asked me if I wanted to read the scripts of what you guys are going to do and I said no, I trust those guys. I just have one rule for you. Make fun of Republicans, make fun of Democrats, and definitely make fun of me – just be fair about it. There are no sacred cows.” And that was it. We had complete freedom to do whatever we wanted on that show. And we did just as he asked, and made fun of anything in the news that we thought was bullshit. It was probably the best creative experience I’ve ever had and I learned lessons about my audience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. As mostly Tea Partiers, our audience were mostly people I had made fun of in my career up until that point. They were rubes in my mind (“deplorables” as some non-presidents might say)…until I got to know them. Turns out these are people who are desperate to be entertained, desperate for comedy that doesn’t talk down to and about them and mock their beliefs. Turns out they have the same delightful, weird sense of humor that you want your audience to have (like MST3K type of stuff). When they see there’s no agenda behind what you’re saying they open up and are willing to laugh at anything. We would have a show that had a cold open making fun of Rick Santorum saying that college is for “snobs” and then, in the very next sketch, make fun of the disastrous Obamacare roll-out. No agenda there – just things in the news to mine for comedy. There should be much, much more of that these days, in my opinion, especially in late night.

It was one hell of a balancing act with our almost entirely liberal writing staff and company of UCB actors. I had to find material that the liberals who created the material could live with but that our audience would also enjoy. So, for example, the Obamacare roll-out. That was a complete disaster. I mean, how could they screw that up? No show did sketches about that, in part because the people behind those shows were pro-Obamacare, so it didn’t suit their agenda to make fun of it. But the key is to find that universal truth to make fun of, which was the roll-out. It wasn’t about whether or not people believed universal health care was a good idea or not. That’s ideology. What comedy SHOULD be able to do is make fun of the circumstances surrounding a hot-button issue in a way that everyone can agree with. Whether you supported the bill or the president (or not), reasonable people should be able to laugh at the failure of the government’s execution of the Affordable Care Act. That was our key to success.

From the success of that show we got some awesomely weird benefits that I would’ve never dreamed of. We went on tour with Glenn and did a live stage show at various cities across the country, culminating in a live Fathom Event. And we also got a book deal. Glenn came to me and Brian (Sack, the host of the show) with the idea to do a big government versus Santa Claus comedy book. Basically it would show how the government would regulate Santa to death. It’s a fun concept and we packed that thing full of jokes. But because the evil Glenn Beck was peripherally involved people will have made up their minds about it before reading it.

What does the future hold for you good Sir? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Hopefully getting back into showrunning jobs. There’s nothing I enjoy more nowadays than helping develop talent and sharing talent with the world.

There are a few projects that I’m working on right now that aren’t at a stage yet where I can promote them. So I’ll just promote my wife’s business, Affordable Interior Design! Need a high-end look while not wanting to spend a lot of money. Just visit Betsy Helmuth’s website (www.affordableinteriordesign.com) and check out the wide variety of plans that are right for you! Mention this interview when booking and nothing will happen! Sorry. It’s still a real good deal, and she’s crazy good at what she does.

Hey, my kids gotta eat.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

I saw a highlight tonight of Cincinnati Reds 1B Joey Votto giving a bat he had just hit a home run with to a 5-year old kid with cancer who was sitting in the front row. Gave him a jersey, too, and the kid was smiling from ear-to-ear. Made me smile and cry. Hard.

I like being in the smile business.

Stevie Ray Fromstein [Interview]

Today’s interview subject is just about as perfect of a fit for Trainwreck’d Society as we have ever had. Stevie Ray Fromstein is an absolutely amazing writer and producer in the world of television (which you all know we love and support) AND is a hilarious stand up comic! Over the last year alone we have spoken with dozens of comics and comedic writers, it is sort of becoming our thing. A lovely, lovely thing.

And today’s generous interview subject happens to have worked on three of my favorite sitcoms of all time. That’s right, not just a couple….THREE! And that is just in my personal opinion. He has worked on several other brilliant shows that definitely somebody’s favorite, but it was his work on shows like Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, and the severely under appreciated Two Guys A Girl and A Pizza Place. The last one was what really drew me to try and get some words from this great fella. When I was a teenager in the late 90’s and early 00’s, there was no one cooler than Ryan Reynolds to me. Obviously, he has become a massive star since then on a whole new level, but to me he will always be Berg! There was also my strange fascination with Suzanne Cryer, but lets not get into that.

Yes, Stevie Ray Fromstein is a man who has been making people laugh in different capacities for decades now, and he is showing no signs of slowing up. Whether he is on stage interacting directly with an audience, our putting his wit and wisdom of what is hilarious to the proverbial (or literal?) page to be acted out by others, this man is a god damned national treasure, and we are so happy that he was able to give us a few words and a bit of insight into the amazing world he has contributed so damn much to. So without further blabbering and bumbling, please allow me to introduce the great Stevie Ray Fromstein!

So how did you get into the world of comedy? Was stand up your first passion? Is it still so?

Growing up in the 60ʼs, about the only items I ever borrowed from the Public Library were comedy albums. Anytime a comedian was on television, I ran to the set. But becoming a comedian wasnʼt one of my dreams because I never thought it was a possibility. I was a class-clown throughout my childhood which concerned my father because my grades were also a joke. Beside himself, he told me my classmates werenʼt laughing with me, but at me. Perhaps it was the budding comic in me, but that lingered. Months later a kid I knew said to me, “Too bad youʼre not in my class

this year. You were so funny.” And I thought, they were laughing with me.

Your work in television has been amazing and stacked with greatness. My personal favorites were Grace Under Fire and Roseanne, but all of them have been amazing. So how did you get your start in the world of television writing?

The Roseanne show was my first sitcom writing job, all from a chance meeting with Tom Arnold & Roseanne, who recognized me from my appearances on Late Night with David Letterman. Writing on Roseanne was an incredible learning experience, and obviously, a career-making opportunity. But it was also intense and grueling. I went from working 50 minutes an evening to 14 hours a day. And there were never any women hanging outside the writerʼs room, waiting to compliment me on one of my pitches. But my first dream was to be a writer, and I took to it. (Although standup was always, and will always be, my first love). My first day on the job I got a joke in the show. Returning home from grocery shopping with her young son, Roseanne notices heʼd swiped a candy bar and says, “I told you, DJ, unless you finish it in the store itʼs stealing.”

You were also behind the amazing Two Guys, A Girl, & A Pizza Place that so many people agree was cut short to early, but not without creating a lot of flourishing careers. So, how did the concept for this show come around? And what do you think it was that made it unique from other somewhat similar show set ups?

I enjoyed writing on Two Guys and a Girl. As well as talented, it was one of the nicest casts Iʼd ever work with, second only to Reba McIntyre, who is in a class of niceness all by herself. “Nice” on a sitcom cast is something that has to happen from the top down. If the star never acts out, no one else dreams of doing so. Two Guys was a much better show than was given credit, I think partly because the original Pizza Place title became an easy one to mock. Weʼd even be mentioned in another showʼs bad reviews. But I liked that show and the cast quite a bit.

When you look back on your career as a comedian, writer, etc., what would you say you are most proud of?

I guess what Iʼm most proud of is my standup. A comedian is responsible for everything from conception to delivery. And no one has the authority to rewrite your act. If a joke bombs, at least it bombed the way you wanted it told. Youʼre not writing for someone elseʼs persona (even though doing so does have its own fulfilling challenges). Thereʼs no compromise in standup. I like the writerʼs room and the collaborative process. I enjoyed many fine hours with talented, funny writers. But thereʼs no more helpless feeling for a creative person than someone else making final decisions about your work. For all but a few, thatʼs the nature of film and television. A sitcom writerʼs room can be highly enjoyable, but there are times when youʼd like to strangle somebody.

Can you tell us a bit about The Holy Atheist? How did this come to life?

My original standup act was based on character humor, especially regarding under-assertiveness, especially regarding meeting women. After 12 years of writing sitcoms, I got back into standup because I was doing a lot of thinking about religion from a skeptics point of view. The challenge was to make a topic like that funny. The first time I tried it was a disaster. Normally if a joke bombs, itʼs the joke the audience didnʼt like. But a joke about religion goes flat and they donʼt like you. Youʼre a bad person. But one of the jokes that first night worked a little, and when I gave it one more try on another night, I opened with that one. That helped a lot, and I expanded from there. Eventually, I was able to do an entire act on religion. My favorite compliments were from traditionally religious people who enjoyed my act.

So what is next for you? Any upcoming projects you would like to tell us about?

Now Iʼm bored with religion. And itʼs no longer controversial. Currently Iʼm obsessed with politics and race relations, and am writing a book on the subject. I seem to be creatively attracted to things which go against the grain. Thatʼs not what attracts me to a subject. I just like to write and talk about the things Iʼm interested in.

Trouble is, youʼre not likely get rich, for example, with a message such as “After you die, you rot.” Iʼm a life-long Liberal who voted for Trump. I tweet about it a lot (still under my @TheHolyAtheist handle — I need a new one), and all my Liberal friends, who are all my friends, hate me.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Iʼm writing this in a hotel room in Boston, opening for my old friend Norm Macdonald. One thing interesting thing about Norm, whoʼs a very interesting person, is that sometimes heʼs being Norm as a character, other times heʼs the same character Norm, but itʼs for real. After all these years Iʼm still often not sure in the moment if he means what heʼs saying, or if heʼs putting me on, but either way, he definitely keeps me smiling.

Martin Guigui [Interview]

 

Today’s interview has been a long time coming. Years, actually. 4 of them to be even more precise. I became interested in the work of filmmaker and writer Martin Guigui around the time his film The Bronx Bull, an alternate take on the life of legendary boxer Jake LaMotta, was being created (later released in 2016). So I hit him up then. But, as it tends to happen, people become very busy and life continues on towards the slow march of death, and both parties seemed to forget it ever happened. But cut to four years later, we have a new (and disappointing) president, the world has changed significantly….and Martin has a new movie out! I hadn’t put it together that I hit him up so long ago, until I received these amazing responses to the original questions that had been buried in the depths of a Gmail Outbox. And let me be the first to say, it was well worth the wait!

Martin Guigui has been working in the world of film for over 25 years, and is also a Grammy Award nominated music producer and engineer, as well as a respected author and so much more. Basically, this cat is an artist through and through. His latest film is the recently released, and to some unnecessary controversy if I must add, 9/11 featuring Charlie Sheen with his return to dramatic acting. The film also features Whoopi Goldberg, Luis Guzman, Gina Gershon, Wood Harris, and Olga Fonda. The story of 9/11 is one of specificity and spectacle. A group of people are trapped in an elevator during one of the most infamous terror attacks in world history. Despite the recent bullshit backlash, I am very intrigued by the concept of this film. In recent years, theatrical depictions of the events that occurred on September 11th, 20o1 have been based around the after effects of the event, rather than the event itself. And they have been pretty good (i.e. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Reign Over Me). But, the films depicting the event itself have been less than noteworthy to say the least. Oliver Stone’s disaster of a film, World Trade Center, was simply insulting to the heroes of this terrifying day. United 93 was slightly better, but extremely rushed to put it gently. So with that, and knowing what Mr. Guigui has created in the past, I am very excited to see what his take will be on a very challenging event to to depict theatrically, with his adaptation of Patrick Carson’s play.

So with that, while we spend the day reliving one of the most terrifying events of not just America, but of the world, please take a moment to understand that through their art, people like Martin Guigui are simply attempting to use their work to express the heartache and terror that we all felt on that fateful day, and the pain that still lives within all of us in remembrance. Ladies and gentlemen, the brilliant Martin Guigui!


You were born to the acclaimed Symphony Orchestra Conductor Maestro Efrain Guigui. In ways obvious and not, how did your father influence your career in the world of film as well as music?

I learned 2 important lessons from my Dad, that still to this day resonate in both my music and film work.

The first; Be true to the intent of the story, or composition. Meaning there is an exact code, map, and blueprint that the writer (or composer) has created for us to channel as we manifest it in either a cinematic story telling process or sonically in a piece of music. By being true to the intent of the writer we proliferate its message, in its purest honest form.

The second lesson; there is a perfect tempo for every story or piece of music. Finding that tempo (or groove) is key to creating timeless art.

If push came to shove and you were left with the possibility of working in either only film or music, which would it be? 

I wouldn’t survive without making music.

Music is the greatest healer (other than love, and laughter).


What was your inspiration behind your debut film My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding? What made you choose to make this film as your debut?

It’s a true story. I lived it, which made it relatively effortless to write, and because it was personal it organically made for a perfect choice as a debut film.

You have accomplished so much in your long running and brilliant career. What would you say you are most personally proud for when looking back on your years in film and music?

My most recent feature 9/11 is certainly the film I am most proud of having had the privilege to make. In music, my collaboration with Billy Gibbons on his first solo record Perfectamundo stands out, and a solo record I self produced called “A Moment In Time” is a project I still enjoy sharing. But my proudest accomplishment is the beautiful family I have.

Would would you say is your most proud non-artistic accomplishment? 

There is no such thing as non-artistic accomplishment. Lol!

There are those moments when I connect someone to another person, and when great things come of that, there is a deep sense of being. Karma etc.

I know my true purpose on this planet is to give.

I understand you spent some time as a stand up comedian. How was this experience, and how has it helped you in your career as a filmmaker, producer, and musician?

Stand up comedy was a blast, especially when I bombed. It taught me to develop and define a voice, a point of view, and an illusive layer of self confidence you can only tap into standing by yourself, on a bare stage, talking to and interacting with an anonymous audience. Stand up comedy is the single most challenging art form to tame. Stand up made me a better listener, because you have to find those quiet short rests in order to have the punch line work. It taught me to read, feel and sense an audience.

Can you tell us a bit about the Martin Guigui All Star Band? Who is the band comprised of, and how did it come to form?

For many years The Martin Guigui Band was based out of Vermont and performed throughout the northeast. Mostly in the 80’s and 90’s. When I moved to LA in 97′ the all-star band became an extension of that musical entity, only west coast version. Over the years it has given me an opportunity to play with some of the best musicians in the world, which I am always grateful for.

One of your latest film The Bronx Bull is another telling of the story of the great Jake LaMotta. Tell us, what are some of the unique characteristics of your film as compared to other films previously released?

The Bronx Bull was a wild and challenging experience in the sense that it touched upon subject matter that had been previously covered brilliantly in a highly stylized and artistic piece. So there was always an air of intensity on the set which translated to an elevated and heightened collaborative creative journey for everyone, whether you were playing a lead, or the office P.A. – and the end result turned out to be an honest emotional portrayal and psychological character study of an iconic boxer – but mostly to me it’s a New York story of the son of an Italian immigrant. In spite of the challenges in making, finishing, and distributing the film, it has been well received, and I’m happy it made it out there, as the producers, Joe Allegro and his Dad fulfilled a promise to Jake LaMotta to set the record straight.

The Bronx Bull is yet another biopic or documentary on a fascinating person in history that you can add to your catalog, and I hear there is even more to come. Tell us, who are some other figures you would like to profile either in documentary fashion or as a biopic?

Jesus Christ; because of his bizarre impact on this particular moment in history.

Groucho Marx; there’s so much we don’t know.

JFK Jr; because he was the future that never happened.

My Dad; a unique original inspiring story, but mostly because it’s my duty as a son.


What else can we expect to see or hear from Martin Guigui in the near future?

I’m just completing a book called The Rythem of The Planet, which contains nuggets of wisdom regarding my point of view on how this funny place called Earth works. I’m also in the middle of writing another book called Between You And Me about my experiences in show biz thus far.

And there’s always a movie to make and a song to play…

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My son’s face.

Sunday Matinee: Hell Ride [Film]

“Veteran AIP genre star Larry Bishop (son of famed Rat Packer Joey Bishop) directs and stars in this gritty revenge tale concerning a biker gang that rallies to avenge the violent murder of a fellow gang member. An homage to such classic biker films as Chrome and Hot Leather and Angel Unchained, Hell Ride was conceived when director Bishop was invited to Quentin Tarantino’s home to view a print of The Savage Seven. Upon realizing that there hadn’t been a true biker film in years, the pair quickly contacted Bob Weinstein and conspired to produce a lean and mean two-wheeled revenge flick that would more than make up for lost time.” – Rotten Tomatoes

Today’s Sunday Matinee is for a film that both new and old readers are sure to appreciate. It is easily one of the finest genre pieces of the last twenty years, especially if that genre you adore is classic biker films. This is just about as god damned good as it gets. The film’s director, writer, producer, and lead star is known other than genre legend Larry Bishop, who we were fortunate enough to get some words from last July. The film also features one of favorite interviewees (can’t believe it has almost been 4 years!) of all time, the wonderful actress, Laura Cayoutte, who was also an associate producer on the film and is somebody I have personally dubbed as the Queen of NOLA. And as you may expect if you are recognized an uncommon theme here at the Sunday Matinee series, we will soon be featuring yet ANOTHER wonderful member of the Hell Ride team. Only not this week, but in coming weeks. SPOILER ALERT: She is an amazing actress from the film, and she is pictured below next to a smiling Michael Madsen. And we are so excited to share it with you! With that, your homework is the watch Hell Ride, if you have failed miserably to do so already. Which is absolutely unacceptable.

 

Hell Ride also features legendary performances from two brilliant actors that have sadly left us. I am obviously speaking of the great David Carradine and Dennis Hopper. Both of which gave dynamite performances in roles that were written so beautifully, almost any one could have done them. But when you have legends like Carradine and Hopper involved, you are going go get brilliance. There are few guarantees in life, but exceptional performances form the likes of these cats is one you could always count on. And while we are speaking of legends, one that is still with us and was wonderful in this film is definitely the great Michael Madsen, who is always phenomenal. In fact, I would say Madsen gave one of his best performances of all time, aligned with his work on Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Donnie Brasco.

 

And I will be damned if this isn’t just an amazing film to look at. It is a brilliantly written and directed film obviously, because Larry Bishop is genius to say the least. But it would be absolutely senseless not to note that cinematographer Scott Kevan did an absolutely brilliant job!

Seriously folks, there is absolutely nothing to hate about this film. Critics tended to be assholes about the film with some serious biased assumptions and unfair judgements. But, this is a film you are either going to enjoy a great amount, or you just aren’t going to understand or care about. Which is fine. Different art forms appeal to different people. I’m just saying that if Hell Ride is a film that appeals to you, you are a person who would probably appeal to me. Because it is an all around wonderful film with a lovely cast and beautiful premise that the world should enjoy. Even if your just looking for a bit of nostalgia in your life, you are going to absolutely adore this brilliant piece of cinema!

Check out this trailer for the film courtesy of The Weinstein Company:

Ron Jeremy [Interview]


Today’s interviewee may very well be the most recognizable figure we have ever had here at Trainwreck’d Society. Simply because, he is one of the most recognizable figures in the fucking (literally & figuratively) world! When trying to make a comparison to somebody being absolutely amazing in their chosen profession, I tend to use sports analogies. Michael Jordan gets used a lot for this. So it is almost fair enough to say that Ron Jeremy is the “Michael Jordan of Adult Entertainment”. But, honestly, that isn’t quite enough because you could still get the point across using names like Kobe Bryant or Lebron James. All great at what they do, and all viable.

But Ron Jeremy is something much more than that. If I were to drop a sports analogy (which I will now, and again in the questions), I would immediately go with Wayne Gretzky. Why hockey, you may ask? Well, the answer may very well be in the question. Many Americans do not watch hockey, in fact I’d say that most don’t. And I am one of them. But, I know who Wayne Gretzky is. In fact, I am willing to wager that millions of people know who Wayne Gretzky is, yet have never cared to sit and watch hockey. And that is how fucking phenomenal he was at hockey, and that is why it feels like an appropriate analogy for one of the most legendary figures in American cinematic history, the great Ron Jeremy. Even if you haven’t watched a second of an adult film in your lifetime, you know who the hell Ron Jeremy is.

There really isn’t a lot I can throw into an introduction for this fine gentlemen, as we all know who he is, and how amazing he has been over the years. I do have a series of “well endowed” puns that I could throw at you all in a rapid fire cessation, but I think I will steer clear of that, as it has all been well established over the years. I am just excited to share some amazing words with one of the most fascinating individuals the world has ever known.

So with that, please enjoy some great answers from the legendary man himself, the great Ron Jeremy!

When did you first start to discover you were THE man in the world of adult entertainment? When did you become, if I were to use a sports analogy….the Wayne Gretzky of the adult film world? What gave you that initial realization that you were the biggest star the business has ever known?

When John Holmes died, the day after my birthday in 1988.

Your notoriety as the biggest star in the adult film business is obviously undeniable, and well deserved. It seems as though whenever there is going to be a biopic, spoof, etc. based around the adult film world…you have to get Ron Jeremy. But, sometimes they do not, and I know I am always shocked! I know you are a seriously busy man, but has there ever been a project that you heard about and thought, “Why didn’t they call me – or – That was all wrong!”? 

Every project that I’m not in I wonder why they didn’t put me on it. That’s pretty much every movie ever made that I’m not in. Ha! [Especially] Wonderland. They didn’t ask me to consult. They asked Mark Wahlberg to consult and I am the one who consulted him for Boogie Nights.

When you have been, which seems to be most of the time, on set of these types of films, what are some general questions you receive and advice that you may give to a mainstream only actor/actress who may be trying to portray a character in a world they don’t quite understand? How do you help bring authenticity to these films?

You teach these actors the ropes. You let them know how things work on set what we would do and wouldn’t do. I always try to let them know that it’s very professional on most porn sets. Professional in the way that it’s a small crew and these guys are not being inappropriate instead of working. Not that that doesn’t happen every once in a while. But people have done porn long enough, know that they are going to work.  We are professionals. I try to teach mainstream actors to think of it as just acting. To approach it the way they would any other role and not feel uncomfortable with what they’re doing. Because as an adult star we don’t feel uncomfortable doing our jobs.

We have spoken with a lot of folks who have worked in the Troma world over the years, which you have also worked with several times over the years. In your opinion, what signifies a Troma production from the other productions, adult or not, that you have worked on? Do you have any fond memories of working in this world?

Two words: Lloyd Kaufman. It’s his class and his talent as a director and a cameraman.  I mean he’ll show heads falling off and you laugh. violence with a twist of comedy.  I was Mayor of Tromaville in Toxic Avenger Four and I am saying that was something great and I love working for Lloyd.

The record business has seen a bit of an unusual spike in sales when it comes to vinyl sales, especially in the UK markets. In your obviously expert opinion on the matter, what do you believe is the adult film industry’s “vinyl”. In a world where so much of the content is free and probably shot on a cell phone…what do you believe could be the saving grace for legitimate adult entertainment? If there is one?

One saving grace I’m doing myself it’s called a Ron Jeremy virtual reality.  RJ VR. All the major agents are working with us. I wasn’t excited to be back directing again because I don’t like directing but I got an offer I couldn’t refuse.

 

When you look back on your historically amazing career in film, television, music, on all different levels, what would you say you are most proud of in your career? After all of these decades in the world of entertainment, what makes your heart feel the most joy?

There are so many things. I have met so many incredible people over the years. I’ve been mentioned at the Academy Awards. I’ve met US presidents. I have appeared in more music videos than any other human being of all time. I’ve acted in more films mainstream and adult than any other actor ever. I’m proud of all of it.

What does the future hold for Ron Jeremy? Any projects you would like to tell our readers about?

Next up is The Roast of Ron Jeremy. This will NOT air on Comedy Central. It will air on another premium cable channel. They’re going to be so many celebrities on this roast. And tons of adult stars. This will be the biggest party Hollywood has seen in years. I also have a new line of socks coming out in October called Dirty Socks! I may write another book!

I am doing stand-up comedy and have my own comedy tour called the Ron Jeremy XL comedy tour. I host the show, the feature is Rebekah Kochan and the headliner is Dante from Last Comic Standing. The company Golden Artists Entertainment, who also manage me, get me in at least 4 movies a month.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

My nieces make me smile. I have some adopted nieces and a real niece and I love all of them. My niece Becca is a grown woman and she is so smart. I love her political passion. She’s always calling me up and letting me know what issues I should be talking about on social media. My other nieces are not actually blood relatives, a good friend of mine her and her husband have two little girls. And whenever I go over to their house I just love watching them play. They are the sweetest.  They always sneak me food.

I also smile whenever I do stand-up comedy. I’ve been doing it since the 1970s in the Catskills. I’m on tour a lot doing stand up with my Ron Jeremy XL comedy tour.

David Joyner [Interview]

I will admit, the character that today’s interviewee may have come around just a bit too late for me to truly understand, but it is a truly fascinating character nonetheless. A true phenomenon, to say the least. A phenomenon that was as commonly known in the 90’s, and has a legacy that lives on today. That character my dear readers….is Barney. Yes, THAT Barney. The big purple dinosaur who touched the hearts of millions, literally MILLIONS, of children during the run of television show Barney and Friends, and the subsequent videos and live performances that would simultaneously take over the living rooms and minds of young children all over the world.

And today’s interview subject was the man who brought it all to life. David Joyner is an accomplished actor in his own right, with roles that don’t require him to wear a giant mask (as you can tell in the photo above, he’s a good looking dude, and should be proud to show the world that mug!). But, a huge portion of his life was spent as the actual life behind one of the biggest phenomenons in the world of not only children’s entertainment, but the world of entertainment as a whole. Without David, there was no Barney.

So, I was extremely excited to talk to him about it! And I will be damned if he didn’t have some absolutely amazing stories to tell about his time as Barney, and also gave us some insight on what he is doing now. He gave some amazing responses, and I want to dive into them right away! So ladies and gentlemen, the brilliant actor, David Joyner!

As an obvious expert, what was it like working with child actors for all of those years. Is the old saying I have heard, “Never work with kids or animals”, a truth or just ridiculous?

I’m sure some people have had some bad experiences working with kids, but I can truly say, I absolutely love it. Kids are great to work with. I also worked as an Acting Coach for 9 years to kids from the ages of 3 ½ to 18. I believe the difference is the fact that when you’re working on a show for kids, about the love of kids, it’s a more wonderful experience than working on an adult set and kids are involved in the production.

When did you first discover your love for acting? When did you realize this was what you wanted to do with your life?

When I was in kindergarten, I was told I had a knack for making people love. I’ve always enjoyed being in front of the crowd, Public Speaking, or just entertaining people. When I was around 7 years old, I wanted to be on TV so bad, I would stand in front of the television, lip sync and act out whatever was going on in the TV show. Only God knew that would be apart of my training to be a costume character. I also starting playing the drums when I was 10 years old. I’m a very good left handed drummer. Growing up, I had many passions. Dancing, singing, drums, sports (football, basketball, track & field), entertainment, acting, modeling, girls, and electronics. I was offered a 2 year track scholarship for the Triple Jump, but turned it down. I told my parents I didn’t want to waste money on a 4 year degree, because I knew I was going to become an Entertainer. So I went to ITT Technical Institute and got an Associates Degree in Electronic Engineering Technology, and massage school to become a licensed Massage Therapist. After graduating from ITT Tech with honors, I was offered a job with Texas Instruments in Dallas, TX. When they asked me what my long-term goal was, I told them I wanted to work their for at least 5 years, then quit to pursue my career in entertainment full-time. Of course they didn’t believe me at the time. I resigned from Texas Intruments on September 28, 1990, after working there for 6 years, December, 1990 is when I had my 1st audition for Barney.

I’m fascinated with your work as Barney for all of those years. Mostly because you spent so much time and energy in your craft bringing joy and love to children across the world. So, what was it like to see a child with a Barney shirt on, and you walk right past them, and they don’t know that you are a huge part of what brought them so much joy for so long?

It was a bit of a struggle at first. Because as an actor and an entertainer is all about the next gig. It’s kind of hard to book the next gig, if no one knows it’s you. (LOL)

Once I was able to adjust to the fact that I wouldn’t be known for what I was helping to create, It became more of an art form to me. It was if God sat me down and said, “I’m going to use all of the many talents I have given you to help bring love & joy to many children’s lives.” At that point, it became an honor to be Barney. I traveled all over the world spreading love & joy and made a lot of money doing it.

What a lot of people don’t know about me is that I started studying White Lotus Tantra when I was 19 years old. White Lotus Tantra is all about pulling in God’s Divine Sacred love from the universe through Spirit, Mind and Body, and sharing it. The foundation is Tantra is love. Everything grows through love, heals through love and evolves through love. Because your sexual energy is also your life energy and your light energy, it’s very important to allow that energy to be in harmony with your spiritual energy. Therefore creating a true space of (Spirit, Mind and Body) within. When you’re able to create that true space within, then you’re able to radiant that Divine loving energy throughout. Children are more spiritually connected than adults, so I knew if I was going to be apart of this Special Purple Character, I knew I was going to have to connect with children on a higher spiritual level. So what I would do every time before I would get into costume is take about 30 minutes or so to meditate and pray. I would ask God to allow his Divine, Sacred energy to flow through me and through the costume, and let that Divine energy draw the children in. It never failed. And let me tell you, when you’re able to witness that type of feeling from my perspective, I must say, it is pretty darn AMAZING!!! Sometimes I will be in the grocery store or at the mall, and a little toddler will start staring at me. Then I would look at them and say, “You know don’t you? You know who I am, don’t you?” Of course, sometimes the parents what ask, Who are you? And I would kindly say, I am the Purple One that your child loves. What an awesome feeling.

And for a question you probably are sick of answering, but I have to ask…..What was it like inside of those damn suit? How much hydrating is required to be Barney or Hip Hop Harry?

The costume weighs about 70 lbs and it could get up to 120 degrees inside. I had to kept my Mind, Body and Spirit in peak condition. I would train really hard. I ‘d lift weights. Do sprint workouts at the track in the heat of the day. I would drive around in 80-90 degree weather with the heat on in my car. To control Barney’s mouth, I would wrap a sponge around a bar attached to the bottom jaw. I would then bite on the sponge to grip it in my mouth and nod my head up and down. So imagine every syllable being a nod. Now when the mouth is closed, I’m not able to see anything, so what I would do is practice being blind. I also trained my senses to be more acute. Through my massage training and reiki training, I am able to feel energy form things without touching them. I was a live mannequin and I would stand in store windows at the malls and move mechanically. Because I would make my movements very precise, it helped me when I was costume. I was able to pick up props or set things down without looking at them. I was able to walk/dance up and down stairs without the need to look down. I was able to jump up and do a 360 degree jump without knocking things or people over on set. And the list goes on.

After my first year of taping the show I took a vacation. A Christmas cruise to the Bahamas. The ship left out of Orlando. When the ship returned to Orland, I met up with the family from Dallas who ran the acting school I was coaching at, the Dallas Young Actors Studio and Performance Center. Owned and operated my Linda Seto. They were vacationing at Disney World. What a great discover I made that day. As I was walking the theme park, I found myself being drawn to the movements of the walk-about characters. How they interacted with the children, their subtle movements and mannerisms. I studied everything I could about them. It was great and I learned some great stuff. I also learned some things I never wanted to do as Barney. I noticed they all needed a helper to help guide them as they walked around. And they could only stay in costume for 20 minutes. Well, I made sure I would never need someone to help me get around in costume and I never wanted to limit myself from being able to stay in costume for as long as I wanted or needed. Because of that, I trained even harder. I remember being in Scotland for some Barney appearances and I was asked to walk in one of their major parades. A 2-mile walk. And the last 800 meters going up hill. Not only was I able to walk the parade without any problems, I found myself running from side to side giving hugs, giving high fives, blowing kisses to the fans, dancing, jumping up and down. Doing bell kicks and 360s. It was amazing. I also remember one year doing a 5 hour Mari Gras Parade in New Orleans. It was very hot and very humid that day. The temperature was a record high that day. But I was determined not to let that get in the way of me having an awesome day. I had the best time. It was truly AWESOME!!!

I was scheduled to do a live appearance show in California as Barney and Hip Hop Harry. I worked out the schedule with the events coordinator so I could do both characters, 2 shows each, with a Meet & Greet, and still have enough time for a little break between shows. Of course I also trained very hard for a month to make sure I could everything and not get tired. Well, a week before the show, I get a call from Barney’s corporate office to let me know they feel it could be a conflict of interest if I played both characters at the same event. I was pissed off. All that hard work. Hours and hours of training and prepping. As it turned out, I was able to stay in the Hip Hop Harry costume for longer periods of time. Which allowed us to walk around the event for photo ops, hugs and high fives. And because of spiritual connection with the kids, more kids gravitated to Hip Hop Harry than Barney. Plus we heard a lot of complaints from parents, about it not being the same Barney their kids were use to seeing on TV. LOL

In more recent years, you have managed to appear on some of my personal favorite shows out there, from Shameless to Veep in some great roles! What is it like walking onto a set of such an established show like these, or Southland, or one of the MANY others, and attempting to leave your own mark on the program? Is there a lot of pressure involved? 

It’s an absolute blast to be casted on some amazing shows. I learned a very important technique years ago. And I use to teach this to the kids at the acting school. I would say, “It’s one thing to book the job, it’s another thing to be asked back.” Sometimes to shoot another episode not originally in the contract. Number one, it’s important to be prepared. Number two, it’s very important to be humble. Number three, it’s important to know that you are not the star of the show, but that you are a star.

Make it a point to show up on set very early. I even ask if it’s possible to come a couple of hours earlier to be a fly on the wall, so I can observe the set. I want to see how the Director is interacting and communicating with the other actors and with the crew. I want to study the harmonious dance the DP is having with the camera and the actors. Seeing how everything is clicking so when it’s my time to get on set and deliver, I am one with everything going on. Total harmony. In my spirit, I’m already apart of the family. So I just blend right in as if I’ve been acting on the show for years. I have a Career Concept I say everyday that harmonizing with my spirit. That describes me to a tee.

 

So what is next for you? Anything you would like to plug with our readers?

Besides Co-starring on some amazing shows as myself, I also doing another children’s character, Hip Hop Harry, Hip Hop Harry is a hip hop rapping, break dancing teddy bear who runs an after school center for kids, called Hip Hop Central. Harry using rap as a teaching tool to help kids learn different values in life. We were on Discovery Kids & TLC for 4 years. You can now find Hip Hop Harry has episodes and music videos on his YouTube channels, English, Spanish, Brazil. And our NEW Hip Hop Harry Toy Review Channel. He can also find him on many of the social media platforms. Plus several episodes and music videos can be found the PlayKids mobile app.

HIP HOP HARRY:
YouTube English: https://www.youtube.com/hiphopharrytv
Toy Review: https://www.youtube.com/hiphopharrytoyreview/
YouTube Español: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXLfSC8P5dFWG1b8PUp7uBw
YouTube Brazil: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5ywKMYZMFJjBdxZxTkcrQA
Facebook FanClub: https://www.facebook.com/hiphopharryfanclub/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hiphopharry
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hiphopharrytv/
Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/add/hiphopharrytv

You can also follow me on IMDB, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter:

DAVID JOYNER:
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0431645/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/djoyner22/
Instagram: @djoyner22
Twitter: @djoyner22

What was the last thing to make you smile?

Even though I smile a whole lot. I mean, a lot. I would honestly have to say, reviewing these answers to your great questions.