Hi Paul & everyone at the Mental Illness Happy Hour blog & podcast Your podcast has been on my rotation ever since I began listening to podcasts around 2011. There are episodes you can laugh at, episodes that’ll make you cry, they always make you think. Episodes that can save people’s lives. I have been a sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Adhd, and have dealt with PTSD & horrible anxiety attacks, so your podcast & the guests that you obtain have resonated deeply with others and myself.
Q1: Paul, I know you have dealt with lots of anxieties, depression, PTSD, etc. You have never been afraid of giving your story of surviving hopeless moments, and trying your best to turn them around. When did you decide to do the podcast full time? How many episodes in? PAUL: I think about six months into doing the podcast, my tv gig went away and I had lost interest in being a touring standup, so I felt like a door was open to the next phase in my creative life. I didn’t know if I would be able to support myself, but fortunately I have been able to so far. Q2: I know with the loss of some guests through the years, listening back to some of those interviews can be even harder to re-listen to. When listening back to those shows, could you detail certain verbiage that could have been warning signs of what were to come? Or with Brody Stevens for instance was there a feeling amongst the comedian community that his life would have spiraled towards the outcome where he took his own life? PAUL: Yes, it’s always hard when someone you’ve had an intimate conversation with loses their life especially thru suicide. The thing I always take note of when someone is telling their story is how serious they are about staying on top of their illness, addiction etc. I don’t remember feeling like “oh Brody is in trouble” but I do know that BiPolar I is a very heavy disorder that requires a lot of vigilance, patience etc. There isn’t necessarily any verbiage that I look for, it’s more of an attitude about the seriousness of what they’re up against and what their daily/weekly measure are to manage it - meds, therapy, support groups etc. Q3: When interviewing someone for the show, (or doing the questionnaire section of the show) do you ever have to pause the recording of the show because the stories become too emotional? PAUL: It’s pretty rare because the emotional moments are always my favorite parts. Sometimes people will ask that a part be cut out b/c they’re embarrassed about getting emotional, but I try to assure them that those are what make an episode great and inspire listeners to try opening up and being vulnerable, but ultimately I will take something out if my guest wants it taken out. Q4: I know you are a big fan of Hockey, and playing hockey. Has hockey always been your biggest release when anxieties become too strong in your life? PAUL: I’d say hockey, guitar and woodworking are my favorite hobbies. And, yes hockey is probably the best for releasing anxiety and getting some endorphins going. Plus, I think it helps with my self-esteem and helps me remember the positive things about my body rather than my expanding gut etc. The unhealthy ways I sometimes use to try to cope are sweets, video games, binge watching Netflix, etc. Fortunately, those are pretty in-check these days. Q5: What do you find is the most common afflictions with other comedians you've interviewed? What about comedy draws people who have came from depression, or anxieties? PAUL: With comedians I think addictions, anxiety, low self-esteem (gotta look behind the bravado), insecurity and depression are the ones I see most often. Those are, actually the ones I also see most often in non-comedians. I don’t think comics are any different per se from the average person with issues it’s just that more comics seem to suffer than the average population. Q6: Please promote your website, your podcast release times, and any specific episodes in which you'd like to promote for new listeners of your program? Myself, i've always been drawn to the episodes with Maria Bamford. Oh, and what is the worst movie you've ever had to promote on Dinner and a Movie? Why isn't there a Dinner and a Movie channel like on Pluto TV like MST3K? Thanks Paul & Mental Illness Happy Hour for the interview. PAUL: Worst movie I think might have been Problem Child or Mr. Destiny. I had to break down and use the fast forward button which I almost never did. There were also movies that were awesomely entertaining b/c they were bad in the right way, like Roadhouse and Top Gun. Those were my favorites to air b/c they gave us something to satirize. I don’t think there are any particular eps to highlight, it just depends on what someone is looking for. Googling keywords and including “mentalpod” is a great way to find eps although some might be on the back catalogue which is currently unavailable. Any eps post Jan 2017 are available though. My pleasure David. http://mentalpod.com