The original post for this episode can be found here.
Craig Mazin: Hi friends. Today’s podcast contains some salty language so if you are in the car with the young ones put their earmuffs on or wait to listen to it later.
John August: Hello and welcome. My name is John August.
Craig: My name is Craig Mazin.
John: And this is Episode 420 of Scriptnotes, a podcast about screenwriting and things that are interesting to screenwriters.
So on September 9, 2019 at 1:09pm Chris Overcash tweeted, “@johnaugust @clmazin Can you guys have @sethrogen on for Episode 420?” Now, at 4pm Craig replies, “I’m down if he’s down.” And then at 4:03 I replied, “I’ve held off asking him until a live show, but this is a good idea.”
Then at 5:27pm Seth Rogen replied:
Seth Rogen: What did I say? Sure. I said, “OK.”
Craig: Yeah, OK.
Seth: Sure. Yeah, OK. Sounds like me.
Craig: Why move your fingers on a keyboard more than you need to?
John: Seth Rogen, welcome to Scriptnotes.
Seth: Thank you for having me.
Craig: This is great.
John: So I thought we might get into why was Chris Overcash even recommending you be on for Episode 420. What does 420 mean?
Seth: Well, I think to people who smoke weed it is a number associated with weed. It’s funny, you have some sort of explanation here. What I had always heard actually was an explanation more akin to like 187. Like I had heard that it was the police code some random place for weed.
Craig: For marijuana possession.
Seth: So like the code 420 and because of that people started smoking weed at 4:20 and it became an appropriated kind of thing.
Craig: But it’s not like, I mean, I guess you can’t really get an equivalent of 187. There is no 1:87 o’clock.
Seth: No, exactly.
Craig: So it wasn’t like there was a time to—
Seth: 2:27 I guess.
Craig: But this explanation actually – well, first of all, one question is but why would they be thinking of you, Seth Rogen? [laughs]
Craig: What do you have to do with this?
Seth: I get the joke.
John: Strong believer in like strict drug laws.
Seth: Yeah, exactly.
John: Craig, talk us through. We got this off of Wikipedia, so of course it’s 100% accurate.
John: But there were actually a lot of citations I removed from this. So, Craig, talk us through this explanation of 420.
Craig: I’ve got to tell you, it sounds credible. So as the story goes here on Wikipedia in 1971 there were five high school students. And I’m going to say their names because if this is true—
Craig: Steve Capper. Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich—
Seth: Or they’re just the people who edited this Wikipedia post and they’re like literally three 23 year olds who were bored.
Craig: Totally. Well there were four guys and then Mark Gravich just stuck his name on there. But this actually does sound like a group of guys I would have hung out in high school. I mean, I can actually see myself calling up Larry Schwartz.
So they were in San Rafael, California, and they called themselves the Waldos because they liked to hang out by a wall outside the school. This is like my friends. And they had a plan. This is cool. To search for an abandoned cannabis crop.
Seth: This sounds too cinematic.
Craig: Well, I mean, in 1971 I would imagine if you wanted to get high and you were in high school you had to find an abandoned crop. There weren’t dispensaries. I mean, what I went through in 1986 to get weed was kind of convoluted. So, they heard that there was this hidden cannabis crop and there was Beniamino Bufano’s 1940 Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School. That was their meeting place. And at 4:20pm, and their meeting time was 4:20pm, and so they referred to this plan with the phrase 4:20 Louis, or Louis if they didn’t have good accents.
And big surprise, they never found the secret crop. But, 4:20 just became a code word for getting high.
John: Getting high.
Craig: Yeah. And you know what? That’s as good of an explanation as anything.
Seth: It has a nice story to it. It sounds very – it sounds like some shit some people made up on Wikipedia. I don’t know.
Craig: Probably after getting high.
Seth: Yeah. Maybe I’m skeptical. Call me skeptical. It sounds too romantic for a story for that.
John: Well, it does sound like a movie. It sounds a little cinematic.
Seth: It would be lovely if that’s why it was called that. But it’s probably more likely that in Dayton, Ohio that’s the code for getting caught with weed.
Craig: Yeah. There was some very boring reason.
John: I thought we might start with that because it feels like if you saw this story How Would This Be a Movie. And so you have a group of characters together. They have this quest. There’s a thing they’re trying to do. It all falls apart. But they become folk heroes.
Seth: Instead they create a phrase that 50 years later.
John: Lives to this day.
Craig: And weirdly all of these guys work in the attorney general’s office now.
Craig: What a sad, sad thing for them.
John: Seth Rogen, you are a writer. You’re an actor, producer, and a director. If we listed all of your credits it would be longer than our hour-long show. So, just screenwriting wise Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End. Neighbors 2, Sausage Party. TV credits, Undeclared, Preacher, The Boys. If you meet a stranger, and people probably recognize you, but every once and a while you probably meet somebody who doesn’t know what you do, they say what do you do, what do you say you do?
Seth: It depends. Probably, I mean, I say usually I’m an actor just because I seem crazy if I don’t lead with that in the off chance that they recognize me. I seem like I’m being elusive or a dick or something like that. So I don’t want like to do that. But I probably associate most with being a writer because it’s the thing I’ve done the longest and it’s the thing that I honestly think I’m the best at out of all those many things that I do. And I think, yeah, like the movies we’ve written I think specifically have probably stood the test of time more than the things that, you know, more than other things, you know.
Craig: Just like your acting, but you’re not the writer of it so you haven’t participated in the creation of the script.
Seth: Exactly. But a lot of the movies that we – that I make I’m a producer on in some capacity and so I also, you know, heavily – I’m involved in the writing process. [laughs]
Craig: That has to be pretty frustrating if you’re a writer and you’re given something and you don’t – or is there any kind of relief if you’re ever handed something to just go, “You know what? Just today I can just be an actor.”
Seth: Yeah. Definitely. For sure. If I like completely have a lot of faith in the people that I’m working with then it’s a real – it’s doing less jobs which is just easier. You know what I mean? So, yeah. Less work is easier. That’s my big revelation.
Craig: Is acting easy?
John: Craig is acting in a show now, so is it easy for you?
Craig: Well, I mean, but I’m not like an actor-actor.
Seth: I think like anything it’s what you make of it. So I think some people you can not work hard, or you can – I think some people don’t work – I’ve worked with some actors where I’m like, wow, this person is doing a lot more than I am. [laughs] But that doesn’t always translate into–
Seth: Into good.
Craig: Yeah, like quantity is not the goal.
Seth: No, effort isn’t necessarily – some things just like with writing. Some people can spend years working on something and it’s not good, and some people can write something over the course of a week and it’s a classic movie that you watch for years. So, I think, yeah, like anything, like for some people it’s easy. I’ve also worked with some amazing actors who like it’s a very labored process for them. And it’s not easy. And it’s not like something they casually do. It’s something they like really dump a lot into and the result is good as a result of it, you know.
John: So I have no understanding of where you actually started as a writer. So were you on – was it while you were doing Undeclared? What was your first writing-writing that you were doing for movies or television?
Seth: Well me and Evan, my writing partner, started writing Superbad like in high school basically. So that was our first, like we got – like my mom bought us Final Draft when we were like 13 or 14 basically. And so we would like go home after school and write, like yeah, we were trying to write a movie basically.
John: And so you’re that, but what was the first thing you got paid to write?
Seth: Undeclared. I got hired as a writer on Undeclared when I was 18. And I was an actor on the show as well. So I was like a writer and actor.
John: So it was that classic kind of The Office situation where people were hired as both actors and writers on the show? Was that always – you were always going to do both?
Seth: No. It was like wildly uncommon at the time. It was several years before The Office, so it was like not at all – it was 2001. So like I was probably one of the only like people who was writing and acting on a comedy TV show at the time that wasn’t like a sitcom, you know. And it was hard, but it was fun. But, yeah, no, that was not at all the case. Fox, because the show Undeclared was done in the wake of the cancellation of Freaks & Geeks and the Fox Network specifically was like we don’t want any actors from Freaks & Geeks on the show. And slowly Judd got like all the actors from Freaks & Geeks onto the show.
But like I just slowly worked my way in there basically and got myself–
Craig: You wanted to be in front of the camera I presume? I mean, it wasn’t like they were like, “Come on, man, you’d be great for this.”
Seth: No, not at all. When you look like me you have to really wield yourself in front the camera. [laughs] It doesn’t just happen.
Craig: The thing is I think—
Seth: It doesn’t just happen.
Craig: I do look like you, I think.
Seth: Exactly. And it doesn’t just happen. I created the climate where people like you can just stumble in front of the camera.
Craig: I suspect you are as inbred Jewish as I am.
Seth: Exactly. We have all the same problems.
Craig: Just like generations. Hip dysplasia. The usual.
Seth: No, I was actually just saying that the other day. The Cossacks really did their thing. Like they might not have wiped us all out in like 1919, but they made it that none of us can enjoy like a cup of milk.
Craig: That’s right.
Seth: And so the effects were long-lasting. Because you killed so many of us we all have to fuck each other and now we can’t have pizza and enjoy it really. It’ll give us a cold for days. So like you did your thing, Cossacks. Like in the long run you really did well.
Craig: I mean, they did sharpen our minds for certain things.
Craig: The medical field.
Seth: Yes. We inherited trauma that really did give us a fight or flight.
Craig: We can’t enjoy anything really. A cup of milk is the least of it. I mean, even good news is a problem.
Seth: Yeah, they got us.
Craig: They got us good.
John: So Undeclared you’re writing, Judd Apatow is executive producing that show?
Seth: Yes. He’s the creator of that show.
John: And so was it through him that you started writing your own stuff, or something like Superbad?
Seth: No. I had been working on Superbad for a long time. I got hired as a writer on Undeclared because of Superbad.
Craig: Because of Superbad.
Seth: Like I had shown Judd Superbad and Judd was at the time trying to help us produce it, but like no one wanted to make it. So, my whole approach – it was like slightly different, but I grew up – it was the era of sitcoms.
Craig: Seinfeld and—
Seth: Yeah. So there was like a real roadmap for like if you were a comedian like you could write your own sitcom and become an actor through that. And I didn’t love – I liked Seinfeld and stuff, but I didn’t love sitcoms. I loved movies. So I was like I’ll be a comedian who writes their own movies and maybe that can become my avenue to success basically. And that’s why – Superbad I wrote – I was supposed to be the lead of and it just took us so long to make that I aged ahead of that role and Jonah Hill did a much better job than I would have playing—
Craig: You were so good.
Seth: Playing my role. Exactly. And it was one of those things where I’m like, oh, Jonah is a much more talented actor than I am. And like he did much better than I would have with the same role. Honestly. And we had done many readings with the material and like, yeah, and he really brought it to life in a way that I wouldn’t have.
Craig: Which is so strange because you’re writing, I mean, you’re a 13-year-old. First of all, you and Evan are the only 13 year olds who ever came home from school and wrote something that actually was good. You’re the only ones. Two. Two of you in the history of mankind. Not that 13 year olds shouldn’t try. You should.
Seth: It took a long time. There are some jokes in the movie that we wrote when we were 13.
Craig: I am so obsessed, particularly in comedy. So, you write god knows how many drafts, but then they’re also just revisions of individual lines and then the day comes along and there’s a billion versions that day, and then editing happens. And I’m obsessed with those very few jokes that make it all the way from the very beginning to the final cut of the movie. It’s like there’s three usually. So the fact that you had one from 13. Do you remember which one it was?
Seth: There was a lot actually from when we were 13.
Craig: That’s amazing.
Seth: That were like – because it was stuff – some of it was just stuff that would happen to us in high school. So like we would write it into the movie when it happened. And so it just hung out basically. Like a lot of the fake ID stuff, we were all trying to get fake IDs. So a lot of that was ripped from our lives. And the McLovin thing, honestly I think the idea that a guy–
Craig: McLovin was real?
Seth: No. But the joke that a guy goes and gets a fake ID and comes back with one word and it’s McLovin on it, I think we came up with that when we were 13 or 14 years old. It was from one of the very early incarnations of the script. So yeah, there’s stuff like that. Every once and a while on social media someone reposts a scene from Superbad or something like that and for some weird reason gets a lot of attention. And, yeah, me and Evan were talking about. It’s so weird. We thought of that McLovin joke when we were fucking children.
Craig: That’s incredible.
Seth: And it’s still a joke people really seem to enjoy.
Craig: I do.
John: So we’re talking about Evan a lot. So Evan is Evan Goldberg, your writing partner back from age 13 up till now. So you guys are still writing together. When you guys were writing together back then or now, what is the process? Are you together in a room working on stuff?
John: OK. So it’s not like you’re splitting up scenes and taking different stuff.
Seth: No we inherently like and always have kind of led different lives. Like I moved to LA when I was 16. He finished high school and went to college and that whole time we were working together. I’d go off to act in movies sometimes. He has a family. He has kids. I don’t have kids. So inherently there are moments in our life where one person is out of town for a week so the other person is writing the stuff we were both supposed to be working on just alone. And then we’ll send it to each other. But like 90% of the time we’re like in the same room with each other. Or we’ll talk on the phone with the same thing.
Craig: With the same thing. Which you can do now.
Seth: And work together.
Craig: Which is nice.
Seth: It is nice. Because we’ve been doing that for 20 years and it was not as graceful of a process.
Craig: Not as easy to do. Put two of you together in a room, who is on the keyboard?
Seth: We take turns.
Craig: That’s cool.
Seth: Totally. We write very similarly to how we have for a very long time. I think we try to write different things, so like inherently the process changes because we try not to just write like high school movies over and over. And then like with Pineapple Express, it was like an action movie so that was very different and it was like a whole different set of kind of muscles that we had never done before. And we worked on Sausage Party for years, it was an animated movie. So that was very different as well.
Craig: So sick. So sick.
Seth: So yeah, This Is the End was kind of like a horror movie that was very different and had a lot of different elements. So, yeah, I think every time we write – and we just wrote an adaptation of a comic book Invincible which is not really a comedy, which was fun to do. And we’re writing right now what’s largely a silent movie. So it’s like been a really different process because there’s no talking. And we’re basically storyboarding the whole movie.
Craig: That’s cool.
Seth: The script is like storyboards basically.
Craig: It’s kind of interesting that the two of you grow together. Because human beings, no matter how well they fit together at any point in their lives we grow at different speeds and our interests change and our minds change. And even when it comes to writing I think some people are the kind of people that are just who they are right out of the gate and that’s how they stay. And other people sort of grow and change and go up or down. It seems like you guys just have been moving together.
Seth: Yeah. I think like any good relationship, we’ve been growing together.
Craig: That’s kind of great.
Seth: I also think we’re very respectful of one another in that sometimes our tastes do change a little bit. And there are probably things that we both maybe would have been enthusiastic about making ten years ago and now one of us is like, “Meh, I don’t really want to do that now.” And it’s like a veto thing. If one of us doesn’t want to do it then we don’t do it.
Craig: It’s over.
Seth: And it’s fine. We only want to work on things that both of us are enthusiastic about so I think inherently things come up every now and then. But that’s also why it’s nice to have a production company because then there can be projects where it’s like, OK, I’ll kind of head up producing this if we’re not going to write it or direct. It’s something we can still make and you don’t have to work on it that much. You know what I mean? And that goes both ways as well.
So, yeah, it’s been nice. The production company has been a good outlet for us to kind of express ourselves in ways that maybe aren’t as interesting to the other person.
Craig: Right. So you individualize.
Seth: And allow us that when we focus on something it’s really because we both want to spend years and years of our lives, you know, working on.
John: Well let’s talk about production because like you guys made The Boys for Amazon which was fantastic. I just loved that.
Craig: That thing has taken over. It’s pretty amazing.
John: That thing was great. But also I felt like it was a really challenging adaptation I’m guessing because the comic book was from a certain time but the series that you ended up making was very, very 2019. It was in a universe where there is the Marvel universe and it was very aware of that. So, how do you approach that as a producer or as a person coming in to make this television show? Where do you start?
Seth: I mean, you start by hiring a showrunner who seems like they have a good handle on the material honestly. Like we, you know, the producers can help guide things and we have obviously loud voices in any given room, but we’re also respectful of the fact that like kind of whoever spends the most time working on a thing should have like a proportional say over that thing. Unless you think it’s just like things are going off the fucking rails basically, you know.
So Eric Kripke was just really – honestly when he first – I don’t think he had ever read The Boys before we met him. And he just seemed like a guy that at first we really liked and then when we started talking to the show about him we really seemed to be on the same page and it changed a lot. And that’s the other thing is also like with TV the thing I’ve seen more than anything is where you start is like nowhere close to where you end. So the specifics honestly are irrelevant. It’s really could you see yourself working with this person for years and years and years to come.
Craig: For a long time. Right.
Seth: And that truthfully is like when I look at the TV shows we’ve done has been like what we’ve done a good job with. We have very good relationships with the people who produce them and we are respectful of them. And with The Boys, you know, we had a lot of opinions because we were huge fans of the comic and it took us years and years and years to get the comic. So, meeting with – finding someone who had aligned tonal sensibilities with us was very important. And that was most of the work on our part was like meeting Eric, being like, oh, the version of the show he seems enthusiastic about making tonally is something that we would be psyched about.
And that was a large part of it. And all the specifics changed and what the pilot was that we went out and pitched. Like completely does not resemble the thing that we ultimately ended up making, you know. But it was more like, OK, I like this person and they seem to have a grasp – they seem to want to make the same show we want to make in general. And that is mostly it. And then it’s, you know, I think helping hire people. We have a very movie-ish sensibility and so I think that was like something that we could help out with was just making sure that we hired a great director and great costume people and great cinematographers to really set a tone of quality that would and production value that would last throughout the series. And that was something that we helped out with a lot I think was really just trying to instill the should and can if we hire the right people look as good as the things we’re kind of making fun of which it needs to in order to really function in the best way possible.
Craig: Well it seems like, and I’m wondereth, the way you guys do this is a function of the way you were kind of raised in the business which is to find people that you creatively trust and let them do what they do and support them as you can. It doesn’t always work that way.
Seth: It was one of the most interesting moments of my career that I really remember is like I was – I had been working with Judd a little bit on Superbad as a writer, like during Freaks & Geeks. And there was a few months between when Freaks & Geeks ended and Undeclared kind of got going. And he would help and he’d give notes and stuff like that. And then I started writing on Undeclared and I would turn in outlines and he would give notes. And I didn’t get that now I had to listen to the notes.
Craig: Right. It was a job now.
Seth: I remember going into his office and being like, “Do I have to?” I had like a marked up script that he had given me on something I had written. I’m like, “Do I have to do all this stuff?” He’s like, “Yes. My show.” Like you’ve got to do it. And then in parallel to that–
Craig: That’s kind of adorable actually.
Seth: Exactly. Parallel to that we’d be working on Superbad and he would give suggestions and he would always be like, “But it’s your movie. So if you don’t want to do it, don’t do it.”
Craig: That sense of this is mine, that’s yours.
Seth: Exactly. And so that was actually something that I totally got and that I really liked and that made sense to me and that we have kind of tried to bring forward in our producing was like, OK, whoever has ownership over it has ownership over it. And you should respect that. And it’s not always the person who is writing it. Sometimes it’s the producer. Sometimes it is the writer. Sometimes it’s the director. It’s different on different movies kind of.
Craig: Figuring out who that person is sometimes is a little tricky.
Seth: Yeah. And that has been the thing that has been like what we look for more than anything when we now produce a movie or a TV show is who has ownership over this. Who is the person who is fighting for a specific perspective here? And only in very rare instances can it be like a collective people. There are some people we’ve worked with where it really can be. And it is like, oh, the three of us have ownership over it and it is some combination of the actor and director and producer. They’re the ones who get this. Or it’s the writer and the actor and the director and they’re the ones who get it. And as long as people are respectful of that and seem to recognize it. And I have seen that work. It’s just a lot harder than if there’s one person who is like I get this.
John: Craig and I have gone in on productions where a movie is just a difficult situation and there are multiple people who all have power and control. And some of the reason why we are the kind of people who are brought in on those situations is we can navigate those power structures and can sort of understand what’s happening there. And that’s not easy.
Craig: That’s the job right?
Seth: It is a lot of the job is to see like whose is this.
Craig: Whose is this?
Seth: It’s often not whose you think it is.
Craig: It almost never is who you think it is. And the problem is that person who you think it is, they think it’s them too.
Craig: But it’s not. In fact, that’s probably why the movie is in trouble. And then people – there’s so much – I’ve always said like at least in features there’s a certain level of screenwriter when you come in for a movie that’s in trouble. You actually have to become all of these things at the same time. You have to become a producer. Like a quiet producer, quiet director, quiet studio executive. Without letting anybody know that you’re doing that and without stepping on anyone’s toes. Do you guys do some of those weeklies?
Craig: And do you like that experience?
Craig: The money is good.
Seth: It is. Yeah. We do it sometimes. I did some last year a little bit after Evan had had his baby just because I had nothing to do for a month. It’s interesting. It’s fun. It is fun. In a way it’s not something that like I love. Like sometimes it’s a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes. But it’s also very educational. As someone who just like is interested in movies and how they get made and what goes wrong and what goes right and, you know, the various obstacles that things overcome, or don’t. Yeah, like it’s always fascinating and that element of it I like. And they’re often the types of movies that we don’t make. And we’re like being brought in to add comedy to this thing. The type of thing we would never do in a million years or things like that. Or help structurally with something that is again something–
Craig: I like it when they say add comedy because they’re understanding is you can just add it like a glaze on top. I’m like that’s not how comedy works.
Seth: You can add a little like that. But you can’t add a lot like that.
Craig: No. It just doesn’t work that way.
Seth: That’s what we say. We say that. Truthfully we can make anything a little funnier, just with dialogue. But we can’t make it a lot funnier unless you have fundamental conflict that is interesting–
Craig: Characters, conflict, tone.
Seth: That’s the thing that people don’t seem to get the most is like without conflict nothing is funny. And they’re always trying to get us to make things funny in scenes where there’s no conflict. And so it’s always just like it’s a struggle – we’re more than happy to make this funny but we have to start structurally changing things.
Craig: They think lines. That’s my favorite. They’re like maybe there’s some ADR. I’m like let me stop you right there. There isn’t. Ever.
Craig: Why would you have a funny line off-screen?
Seth: I won’t say never. I don’t think that’s true honestly. We’ve had–
Craig: You can do it?
Seth: I know for a fact that some of – there are ADR lines in our movies that get as big laughs as any line in the movie. You would never in a million years–
Craig: But they’re in your movies.
Seth: Yes. Exactly.
Craig: You see what I’m saying? You go into somebody else’s movie–
Seth: Hard to add to someone else’s. We’ve done it a few times here and there. But it’s hard. And it’s like not something I would rely on.
Craig: No. Not at all.
Seth: If anything it can just help a little bit. But, yeah, it’s tough.
John: All right. Well rather than fixing other people’s movies, let’s think about some movies of our own. So we have a segment called How Would This Be a Movie where we take a look at some stories in the news and figure out how to make them into movies.
Craig: The news is so boring right now.
John: Nothing is happening. So we’re recording this on Tuesday and like as we’re recording a little news alert came up saying Pelosi recommends impeachment.
Craig: Yep. Maybe our president is getting impeached.
John: Yeah. So, that could be next week’s topic.
Craig: That’ll be next week’s story.
John: Four stories. Only one of them is long. This first one is the long one. Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence. So more than two dozen current and former Liberty University officials describe a culture of fear and self-dealing at the largest Christian college in the world. So it centers around Jerry Falwell Jr. who is the son of Sr., big Jerry.
Seth: I think like a lot of dramatic movies this article felt like it deserved more length than it did. [laughs]
Craig: It was lengthy.
Seth: It felt as though it was a little more interesting than it was. Like the headline could have been like Con-Artist Idiot is Con-Artist Idiot. Conned many. Was idiot.
Craig: Yes. I have to agree.
Seth: Wow! Jerry Falwell Jr. isn’t all he said he is? Oh no!
John: Cannot believe it.
Seth: Liberty College is a scam? Oh no!
Craig: I kind of had the same vibe. I was like this is – oh, it’s still going.
John: There’s a lot there.
Craig: I mean, once you have the one incident of him self-dealing with his friend, sending money from Liberty University to a friend’s business and then doing weird kickbacks, you know, and you know what? It’s actually good to see that there’s a pattern. He does it twice or three times. By the ninth time.
Seth: Yeah, you’re like, “I get it.”
Craig: You’re starting to wheeze a little bit.
Seth: And if you ever thought that Jerry Falwell was – like who thought this guy wasn’t doing this?
Craig: Who is this article for?
Seth: Well, it was written by someone who went to Liberty College.
John: That’s also what I found so fascinating.
Seth: That was the whole thing where it’s like, A, that doesn’t seem like it should be allowed. That’s allowed? It’s like is that how journalism works? Where it’s like I got conned by this guy. I’m going to write an article about how messed up that is. I thought that’s not how that works. But apparently it is.
John: So the article is by Brandon Ambrosino writing for Politico. He was a student there. There were some good quotes in there that I singled out. This is one about Becki Falwell. “You know there’s a head of every family,” said a former university employee who worked closely with Becki Falwell for years.
Seth: I liked this line. This was a good line.
John: “But what turns the head? The neck. She’s the neck that turns the head wherever she wants it.”
Craig: She’s the neck.
Seth: The neck.
Craig: I like The Neck. It’s like a mobster name.
Seth: Becki the Neck.
Craig: Becki the Neck Falwell.
Seth: Becki the Necky.
Craig: That was pretty good. You say a mobster and it also reminded me a bit of Succession. The sense of like who is going to take over the mantle of Jerry Falwell Sr.?
Seth: What a mantle!
John: Yes. But I mean growing this business from $259 million to $3 billion.
Seth: That’s true.
Craig: Do you know I met Jerry Falwell? When I was in college I worked on like a public affairs radio program and we would just interview anybody we could. And we got Jerry Falwell. And we met with him. He was like in an airport. So we recorded him in an airport and, you know, I was 18.
Seth: Known for their sound quality.
Craig: Correct. So you can imagine. Well we were in a lounge.
Craig: We weren’t like at Gate 30B. But, you know, I’m 18 and I don’t like Jerry Falwell and maybe that’s why subconsciously my brain malfunctioned and I introduced him as Jimmy Falwell. I think it’s probably because Jimmy – what was the guy, “I have sinned.” Jimmy Swaggart.
John: Oh that’s right.
Craig: He was in the news. Anyway, it started poorly.
Seth: Started bad.
Craig: And it just didn’t get better. It just didn’t get better because most of my questions were basically thinly veiled 18-year-old college kid questions like why are you a dick.
Seth: Why don’t you do anything good?
Craig: Why do you keep saying bad things and doing bad things? So yeah, you know, there is a slight Succession. The problem is Succession has this amazing set up where you have these viperous children who are all incredibly competent in their own ways and incompetent in their own ways. In this case you’ve got these two sons, one of whom everybody is like, “Well he’s kind of the religious one.” That one immediately gets his head lopped off in a very anti-Christian way. And then the sort of like snakey one wins instantly. And it doesn’t even seem like the other one put up much of a fight there did he? Like Jesus would not have put up a fight.
Seth: And then he just got caught. And then a big Politico article came out exposing him.
Seth: Like two years later. Right after it all happened.
Craig: I do like that he goes to clubs.
Seth: I know. With those glow necklaces. That was the funniest part is like—
Craig: That’s the other problem is that it’s so – like their problem at Liberty University is you’re not allowed to have coed mingling or drinking. So the big scandal for that is that he’s somewhere with – but he’s not like snorting heroin off of somebody’s mouth.
Seth: That’s the whole thing. The revelations are pretty tame honestly.
Craig: It’s run of the mill fraud.
Seth: Yeah. Like you’re silly for not thinking this is happening.
Craig: What is it? Idiot con-artist is idiot con-artist? [laughs]
Seth: Yeah. It’s just like, yeah, that to me was like – it was a lot to explain a little.
Craig: Well, sometimes when you have a personal connection to something you will – your ax grinder will take over and you go like I need another 40,000 words.
Seth: For sure.
John: So RedFinch which sounds like a made up company but is actually a real company, they do SEO and sort of search engine fixing. So basically sweeping away data things.
Seth: I liked that.
John: That was an interesting angle on it.
Craig: That was the guy that spread the money out on his bed?
Seth: Also idiots.
Craig: I mean, my god. Your job is to get rid of bad press and you think you should put that on Instagram? That’s kind of disqualifying.
Seth: People are not smart. The older you guy you realize how stupid everyone is.
Craig: Idiot con-artists.
John: Instagram is also a factor with this trainer Ben Crosswhite.
John: Who is through this and what the relationship is there. And why you’re giving your 23-year-old trainer a gym?
Craig: You sell them a cheap gym and also Jerry Falwell Jr. allegedly sent pictures of his own wife, Becki the Neck, in a French maid costume to the trainer which feels super like three-way to me. It just feels three-way.
Seth: But again it’s not all there. It’s such a tame scandal.
Seth: It sounds like a scandal that’s really like sketchy to a dude who went to Liberty College.
Craig: That’s honestly so true. Because we live in a time where Anthony Weiner gets busted for sending dick pics twice. This is like, no, no, she’s clothed.
Seth: Exactly. In a French maid costume.
Craig: Right. From a 1950 Playboy.
Seth: It’s like a Looney Tunes scandal.
Craig: That’s actually an amazing – you know what? That is an interesting movie is the idea of–
Seth: Guy thinks a scandal is really tawdry when it’s not.
Craig: Yes. You’re a Liberty University reporter on the verge of blowing open the biggest scandal in history. It’s actually kind of sweet.
John: Like he was caught smoking or something.
Craig: It’s legitimately sort of sweet. I like that.
Seth: I like that, too.
John: All right. Next one, very different. This is about mysterious cattle slayings.
Seth: This was a good one.
John: Mysterious cattle slayings in Oregon.
John: Mutilations alarm ranchers. When the first bull was found dead on Silvies Valley, 140,000 acres ranch, the farm thought nothing of it. But when they found four more bulls dead within the same 24-hour period they knew something was awry. The bulls were between four and five years old, the prime of their lives, each lying on their side as if they’d laid themselves down to die. But all the bulls had their tongues and genitals precisely removed.
Craig: That was genitals he said. Genitals. By the way, the first time they saw one of their bulls–
Seth: With its tongue and genitals removed.
Craig: They went, meh.
Seth: This shit happens I guess. Four of them? No! That’s weird.
Craig: This is actually cutting into inventory.
Seth: And it’s tied to – it happened in the ‘70s.
Craig: It happened before.
Seth: That’s the cool part.
Craig: That is the cool part. So the first thing is like, OK, tongue and genitals, this feels sort of satanic.
Seth: Alien. I think alien. Well because the whole thing is they’re like they don’t know how they killed them.
Craig: That’s the question. How did they – because a bull is kind of hard to lie down gently.
John: Yeah. You think poison, but there’s no toxicology evidence so far.
Seth: Who is out there poisoning bulls? That’s fucking crazy. You’re going to poison a bull? What? Has that ever happened?
Craig: Apparently thousands of times.
Seth: Yeah. But I don’t think – it seems weird.
Craig: I think it’s gas.
Seth: People are out there gassing bulls?
Craig: You can chloroform a bull. If you come up right behind him.
Seth: That’s crazy. No one is doing that.
Craig: With a rag.
Seth: That’s not what it is. Aliens. 100% aliens.
Craig: People are talking the bulls into it. That’s what it is.
Seth: They’re talking them into suicide. Self-mutilation.
Craig: You know, with enough negging, kind of manipulation you can get a bull to lie down.
Seth: It’s fully alien. This is alien shit.
Craig: But why would aliens want tongues and bull dicks?
Seth: That’s the question.
Craig: That’s the real question. Because you’d think they’d have enough.
John: Yeah. That’s the question you ask in the trailer so people will have to see the movie.
Seth: They’re perverted aliens. I’m the guy to write this movie.
Craig: Yeah, I feel like you are actually.
Seth: If aliens are stealing things dicks. This is way up my alley.
Craig: Get me Rogen.
John: So there’s an X-Files version of this movie. But there’s also a weird – there’s a Sausage Party animated version of this movie.
Seth: There is. There’s a funny comedy movie version.
John: Like there’s an accidental bull fighter movie. Like there’s actually a mistake.
Craig: There’s a Silence of the Lambs but it’s just with bulls.
Seth: Is it a serial killer? Like a Mindhunter.
Craig: It’s a bull that’s a serial killer. Or a cow.
Seth: It’s like a cross between Sausage Party and Mindhunter.
Craig: Correct. It’s like Babe meets Silence of the Lambs. So, like the cow lures the bull, lies them down.
Seth: That’s not a successful movie. But it’s a movie I would like to go see.
Craig: I’m just talking to the audience in front of me. No, I mean, this is actually–
Seth: It’s a cool story.
Craig: The problem with these things though, it feels like an episode of something right?
John: It does.
Craig: Because it’s so gross.
Seth: It is gross.
Craig: They showed a picture, which was the tamest possible picture they could show. And it was still gross.
Seth: Yeah, it’s gross.
Craig: I mean, I don’t want to think about bull balls.
Seth: See, I do.
John: Is there a cow-tipping quality to it? Is there something like–?
Craig: Is that real by the way? I don’t think it’s a real thing.
Seth: I don’t either.
John: We can look on Scopes right now.
Seth: But chloroforming bulls is very–
Seth: People are out there doing. [laughs]
Craig: Sometimes when you need to move a bull along.
Craig: The key is sneaking up.
Seth: It’s almost too weird. It’s one of those stories that someone would tell me and be like this happened. You should make a movie out of it. And I have to explain that just because it’s real doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. And sometimes real things are so weird that they couldn’t be a movie. And that’s what this is. This is too weird to be a movie. You would never write that. You would never be like, “You know what would make a cool movie? Bulls’ dicks and tongues are gone from the ‘70s and then now again.” It’s too weird. People would be like that’s too weird a plot.
Craig: That’s what 13-year-olds write and it doesn’t work out.
Seth: And it doesn’t work out.
John: I think this could be a moment in another movie. Like this is a scene or a—
Seth: It’s a Close Encounters.
John: It’s a small segment within a bigger movie.
Seth: It’s the boat in the desert in Close Encounters.
Craig: All of their dicks are gone.
Seth: Dun-dun-dun. Point where they took the thing and then it’s a whole village of people pointing at their dicks.
Craig: And then one person goes, “Also gone.” Well once you said dicks we don’t really care about the tongue. The tongue is – you should have led with tongue and then go to dicks, because this is the least dramatically aware village.
Seth: Their tongues are gone. And their dicks!
Craig: Yeah. Now we’re talking OK. Yeah. I agree.
Seth: It’s too weird.
Craig: It’s like that thing in Canada where feet keep washing ashore in Vancouver.
Seth: Oh, I’m from Vancouver and so I’m very aware of that.
Craig: So you know the feet thing?
Seth: Yes, I do know the feet thing.
John: They know what’s happening there.
Seth: Do they?
John: They do. Actually that’s a true thing. That’s actually been solved.
Seth: No it hasn’t.
Craig: I don’t think so.
Seth: So what happened?
John: I believe.
Seth: Was it you? They solved it. It was me. [laughs] You guys didn’t hear? I’m using this podcast to confess to the foot thing.
John: Craig knows that sometimes when I hear of a murder I’ll stop and think like, “You guys do that?”
Seth: You confess to it.
Craig: I mean, admittedly John looks like a murderer.
Seth: Caught myself confessing to it.
Craig: He definitely looks like a murderer.
John: Here’s what’s happening with the feet and why only feet are washing up. People are dying somewhere. That’s true. But when bodies decompose under water they break apart.
Seth: And the feet—
John: And the sneakers. They’re all sneakers. And sneakers float.
John: And so sneakers float up and that’s why only sneakers are washing–
Craig: Why are – so in other words—
Seth: So someone is killing a lot of people.
Craig: Dumping them in the water and then the feet come out.
John: Yes. But it could also be people on the other side of the world drowning or like trying to cross—
Craig: Can’t you tell from the sneakers?
John: Sometimes they can.
Craig: My wife always knows when people are from another country because she goes, “Look at their sneakers.” Weird off-brand sneakers.
Seth: A lot of weird sneakers.
Craig: Like the colors are wrong.
Seth: Weird. So this one spot has just become like a riptide for decomposed feet.
Craig: So Kitsilano.
Craig: Kitsilano. The severed foot capitol of the world.
Seth: My sister lives blocks away from there.
Craig: I love that area.
Seth: It’s a great neighborhood.
Craig: That’s your UPC right?
Seth: Yep. Very weird.
John: The Holiday Burglar. 82-year-old Samuel Sabatino spent his holiday weekends driving from his home in Florida to Manhattan where he would slip past doormen in luxury apartment buildings to go on burglary sprees.
Seth: This one is the best movie.
John: Yeah. He would carry an empty black bag. Take the elevator to the top floor and then look for signs that a resident was out of town, like stack of packages or newspapers. He’d break in and steal jewelry, watches, wedding rings, and gold. Committed at least 10 burglaries. Over $400,000 in stolen goods. Law enforcement agents finally found him living under a fake alias. They used nanny cams and tracked his car and tracked him down in Florida. Tell us about this movie.
Seth: I think it’s a good movie. I think this is a good movie. I like anything like a lonely old person is great right off the bat.
Craig: You’ve got a character.
Seth: About Schmidt. Imagine About Schmidt and he decided to start robbing people. That would be such a great movie.
Craig: Plus there’s something really interesting about the invisibility of an—
Seth: Of an old person. Yeah.
Craig: Of an old man. Because doormen generally don’t just let you waltz in.
Seth: But people ignore old people. Especially like, hey, I think thematically it’s great because we live in a culture where especially old people are very undervalued.
Seth: And a guy decides to use that to his advantage and starts to rob people.
Craig: Then the question is like, he’s 85?
Seth: What does he do with it?
Craig: And also just the effort.
Seth: Yeah. But he’s just trying to live. He wants to live one more time.
Craig: This is his job. He doesn’t want to quit. He doesn’t want to lay down. The second you stop working you die.
Seth: Or he finds himself good at it. Maybe he always followed the rules his whole life. And he wants to finally do something for himself as he gets older or something like that.
Craig: There you go.
John: It’s also happening at Christmastime, so that feels like a good environment for this to happen. So what is our story though? We have a situation – we have a central character.
Seth: I picture it being like The Mule. It’s like a Clint Eastwood movie kind of maybe. Yeah. I picture it being – maybe it’s kind of like that.
Craig: I mean there is that Sunshine Gang, you know, it was a ‘70s like three old guys, George Burns, Art Carney.
Seth: There’s been a bunch of movies where old guys. Remember Wise Guys with who was it, Kirk Douglas.
Craig: Old Criminals. Burt Lancaster maybe?
Seth: Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas maybe.
Craig: Possibly, yeah. Old guys doing crimes.
Seth: Old guys doing crimes is a genre. That’s that graft movie that came out with Morgan Freeman. That was an old guy crime movie.
Craig: We’re probably due. But I like the Christmas vibe of this, because that’s when people are loneliest.
Seth: But I think The Mule is actually a better old guy crime movie than any of those other movies because it takes itself quite seriously. It’s not like – it’s a little wacky, goofy old guy crime, but it’s mostly about that it’s a sad old guy that’s trying to feel important again, which is way more interesting than “let’s see if we’ve still got it.” You know?
Seth: And I think that’s a better angle I think.
Craig: It’s like a Walter White in 30 years. He doesn’t die. But 30 years after retirement he comes out of retirement.
John: So we have one character. Who else is in the movie? Who are the other characters we’re going to follow?
Seth: His family? Obviously his family. I basically want to rip off The Mule.
Craig: They stashed him in an old age home.
John: Except the family is in the 50s mostly.
Seth: He’s in Florida, so it seems like where you would go to retire basically.
Craig: You’re forced to retire.
Seth: Yeah. I think he lived in New York and he was stuck away in Florida and no one visits him and he’s alone.
Craig: I think, you know—
Seth: Maybe it ends with him robbing his own family. Maybe that’s the third act.
Craig: Oh, I like that.
Seth: Maybe that’s like the big set piece.
Craig: I like a romance. You know, they keep saying that there’s this explosion of sexually transmitted diseases—
Seth: Among old people.
Seth: Old people can get it now.
Craig: Which gives me hope. I mean, not that I want an STD.
Seth: You want an old person STD. It gives you hope because you’ve been hoping to get an STD from an old person. [laughs]
Craig: I’ve been chasing.
Seth: Yes, finally.
Craig: Haven’t had a nibble.
Seth: For years you’ve been saying.
Craig: Where’s my rash?
Seth: Get a rash from an old man.
Craig: Never happened.
John: David Robb, when you synopsize this podcast on Deadline, the headline is—
Seth: Oh good.
John: Craig Mazin, “I want an STD.”
Seth: Exactly. From an old person.
Craig: I mean, I live a pretty sheltered life. You know, I’m clean.
Seth: Yeah. Exactly. Old person is your best shot.
John: All right. I really like the idea of a romance in this story. And essentially what is it like to break into people’s lives, into people’s apartments, and sort of imagine their better life than what you have.
Seth: Is it that he meets someone as he’s robbing them? He meets a single old lady as he’s robbing her?
Craig: That’s a really good idea.
Seth: He falls in love with a woman as he’s robbing her or something. He sees all her stuff and is like, “I like this person.” And then he goes and tries to meet her.
Craig: She finds him and then says, “I want to do it with you.”
Seth: Or he becomes obsessed with the lady because he steals some of her shit.
Craig: Now it’s getting creepy.
Seth: And it has some meaningful element to it.
Craig: Starts lopping off bull penises and sending them as trophies.
Seth: We tie them all together. It could be a lot of different movies.
Craig: There’s fertile territory there.
Seth: It’s a good one.
John: The last one is a very short one. It’s a profile in Slate by Jeffery Bloomberg.
Seth: Don’t say that.
John: Ah. Hustlers’ Naked Guy and Being the Go to Guy for Nude Stunt Work. So our friend Lorene Scafaria made the amazing movie Hustlers. I’m so proud of her and I really love the movie. But this guy is in the movie. His name is Rob Stats. And he’s the guy you call when you need nude stunt work. So he calls it hyper exposed is his favorite thing.
So he’s basically a stunt guy but just for being the naked guy.
Seth: He’s giving himself a little too much credit. It’s exposed.
Craig: Yeah, no, it’s hyper exposed.
Seth: I think you’d have to tear your butt open for it to be hyper exposed. We’ve got to see inside there to be hyper exposed.
Craig: [laughs] Yeah, it’s sort of a binary thing. You are or are not exposed.
John: But I remember when I saw the movie I thought like, man, that dude is – he’s in a very vulnerable spot. Not only because he’s naked, but because he has these women who have to carry him around and they could drop him at any point. And he’s got nothing to protect him.
Craig: Do you believe him when he said – so in the article he said to the actors that we’re carrying him, he said, “If you have to drop me, just drop me. Because I don’t want you to be hurt. They need you for this movie.”
Seth: For sure. Stunt people would for sure say that. 100%.
John: Oh yeah.
Craig: I guess they’re like kill me. If you need to kill me, kill me.
Seth: And it’s like a skill. But a lot of stunt people’s skill is that they don’t mind pain.
Craig: They don’t mind pain.
Seth: Yeah. And they are also physically very skilled and gifted and some are gymnasts and fighters and different things.
Craig: This is why there’s not a lot of Jewish stunt people.
Seth: The one common thread is that they process pain much differently than you or I do.
Seth: There’s a lot of like – like people who worked in rodeos and stuff. Once I heard that I was like, oh, I get it now.
Craig: Yeah. Like when they get spiked by the horns.
Seth: Like it’s people who don’t have the same relationship with pain as I do.
Craig: So the nudity part is the thing that sets him apart is that he’s willing to just let it all hang out. But, you know, I mean, is that weird? I mean, we had a thing in Chernobyl where we had 50 guys with their dicks out.
Seth: They were great.
Craig: They did a good job. They all did a fine job. And nobody seemed to care.
Craig: I mean, women have been doing this forever, right, and nobody is like, oh my god, but their–
Seth: I find people are less weird about it then. Like if it’s not weird and it’s like a part of the thing and everyone feels like, yeah, this is like what we all signed up for. We all agreed. Hundreds of us agreed that this was good. And we should do this. Then it’s not weird. But you just want people who are super comfortable.
Seth: Doing it. That’s the important thing. So that everyone is super comfortable doing it.
Craig: I mean, Ken Jeong was not supposed to be naked in The Hangover when he came out of the back of the car. And he proposed. He goes would this be funnier if I were naked? And Todd said—
Seth: That guy loves getting naked.
Craig: “You don’t have to ask me twice.” They had him sign a waiver and off they went.
Seth: We hire adult film stars a lot if we need nudity. Because we know they’re – it’s just like one less thing to make me be uncomfortable.
Craig: We did the same thing in the second Hangover when we had a scene where we had a lot of transgender people who were I guess sort of pre-op or only had had top and not bottom. And most of them were, well, I don’t know about most of them. A key one was definitely an adult movie performer.
Seth: Much better that way.
John: I was on a podcast with Dana Fox last week.
Seth: Dana Fox!
John: She’s the best.
Craig: The best. The greatest.
John: She used to be my assistant.
Seth: That’s so funny. I’ve known her a really long time.
John: So Dana was saying that a thing she’s found in comedies is that a boob—
Seth: You kind of have a similar vibe to her husband a little bit.
John: Quinn? Thank you. I’ll take that.
Craig: Nope. Not getting it. Nope. Love that guy. Just two different people.
John: Her point was that male nudity, funny. Female nudity, not funny. In her experience when female nudity is on screen people will not laugh. And so you cannot stick a joke at the same time that you have a boob, except in Airplane which was a rare exception.
Craig: Because the joke was where did that person come from. That was the joke. It’s distracting.
Seth: Yeah, I agree with that. Our movies have very little nudity.
Craig: Yeah. I think that female nudity can be distracting because it’s the most interesting nudity and male nudity is funny. I mean, the dick and balls are funny.
Seth: Yeah, it’s tough to have – I’m trying to think. Yeah, it’s funny. When we were making Long Shot there was like a scene where me and Charlize are in bed post-coital and she, god bless her, was like I would probably be topless in this scene and I’m very comfortable doing that if it seems like it’s more realistic. And we were like you can’t do that. No one will pay attention to anything anyone says. It will make – none of this. It will take all focus. Trust me. Yeah, and it will just – I think the point of this moment should be funny and sweet and unfortunately your breasts are too powerful. I cannot compete with that.
Craig: And I don’t think there’s a single flaccid penis that would ever do anything like that. I agree with Dana. I think male nudity is just inherently amusing to us. And, yeah, female not so much.
John: So getting back to this guy or a movie with this guy as a central character. You know, Love Actually has that as a small plot point. One of the through lines is like there’s nudity, but it’s just a recurring it. It’s not the centerpiece of the movie.
Seth: I think also movies about Hollywood are tough. Movies about the movie business in general are tough. Boogie Nights kind of did this kind of thing really, really, really well. There’s been enough. As someone who has made many movies about Hollywood and about making movies and about the entertainment industry I can say people should stop doing it.
Craig: Yeah. It’s an uphill battle for sure.
Craig: We just had a Tarantino movie where you had a stuntman. And I think this is kind of – it’s an interesting character but I don’t think – I don’t see a movie there.
Seth: It’s a tough one.
John: So recapping. It feels like the holiday burglar is our top choice for making it into a movie.
John: And you should know Seth that we have a pretty high track record. The things we pick–
Craig: The shit is getting optioned tomorrow. That’s how it works.
Seth: Great. Clint Eastwood, get on that shit.
Craig: If you want it, like on the way home get it.
Seth: I want Clint Eastwood to make it. Because I liked The Mule and I want more like The Mule.
Craig: You want Mule 2 is what you want.
Seth: I want a holiday burglar Mule.
John: It’s time for our One Cool Things, so where we recommend something to our listeners. My One Cool Thing is a post from 2013 by Captain Awkward entitled How to Tighten Up Your Game at Work When You’re Depressed.
John: And it’s a long but really useful article about sort of, OK, let’s say you’re actually experiencing depression but you have to go to work and have to get through your day.
John: And really practical tips for sort of like how to kind of fake it and get yourself through that day. So it’s not saying like don’t deal with your depression. It’s saying that sometimes while you’re dealing with your depression you actually have to hold down a 9 to 5 job and not lose your job. It’s a really practical guide. It’s an old post but it was new to me and I think it would be helpful to a lot of people who are probably listening to this podcast.
Craig: I like that. Well, my One Cool Thing is another thing that possibly can help get you through your day, although it’s not as healthy as I’m sure this article. But somebody recommended – I haven’t used it yet, so I just like the recommendation. It’s an app called Saucey. Do you now Saucey?
John: I don’t know what Saucey is.
Craig: Saucey is you’re having a dinner party and you want to bring some food over. You call Grub Hub or you call one of those people. Saucey is that but for booze. So you need some wine—
Seth: Dial a Bottle we called it in high school. It’s how I drank between the ages of like 14 and 19 basically.
Craig: McLovin on the line.
Seth: Yeah. Exactly. We would call and they would deliver it to our houses in Vancouver. Yeah.
Craig: Wow. Vancouver. God, anything. You get feet. You get bottles.
Seth: These guys invented Dial a Bottle.
Craig: So they basically invented the app for Dial a Bottle.
Seth: Exactly. That’s good. Congrats.
Craig: So there it is. Saucey.
Seth: Saucey. Good name.
John: Seth, do you have a One Cool Thing?
Seth: I’ll take about Hilarity for Charity, which you can donate to. We are trying to cure Alzheimer’s but also we provide in-home care for those people who can’t afford it. So if you’re someone who is dealing with someone with dementia and you need help and you can’t afford help, you can go to hilarityforcharity.org and apply to get a grant for free in-home care.
Craig: That’s awesome. And that’s where we would go to donate?
Seth: Yes. Also hilarityforcharity.org.
John: Can you recap what National Expungement Week was? Because I saw your PSA for it and it sounded great. So just tell us what that was.
Seth: I was working with a few organizations about, Cage-Free Canada is one of them, about setting up ways for people to get their records expunged for minor offenses, especially for crimes that are no longer illegal, specifically weed related crimes. Like a lot of people have been arrested for weed and they can’t vote and they can’t get jobs. And it’s literally not illegal anymore and it shouldn’t have been illegal in the first place. And a lot of that is racially motivated and really was targeting marginalized groups in the first place. So I was helping support programs that were setting up physical places people could go and work with people to get their records expunged. Yes, exactly.
John: That’s great. In the 2018 elections I went with a group of other writers to various Comic Cons and we were trying to register people to vote, sort of when we all vote. And so I was shameless about just like every single person, “Are you registered to vote in California?” And at least 10 people it’s like, “Oh, I can’t vote.”
Craig: “I’m a felon.”
John: That is ridiculous.
Seth: So many people. It’s crazy.
Craig: If you’ve murdered, I understand it. I get the point there.
Seth: Yeah. Then don’t vote.
Craig: Maybe don’t vote.
John: Actually I would disagree.
Craig: Of course you would, you fucking murderer.
Seth: You get half a vote.
John: Half a vote.
Craig: Half a vote should be a thing.
Seth: Depends how many people you murdered. You get one-tenth less for every one.
Craig: That’s a good idea.
John: I would say the same systematic things that are getting a person convicted of something would probably be a factor in terms of their voting.
Craig: Yeah, but a murder?
John: But if they’re free now.
Craig: You’re saying they did their time.
John: They did their time. I think they should be able to vote.
Seth: I think if you are free you should probably get to vote. Is that a weird thing to say? I don’t know.
Craig: I mean, the trend is like in Florida for instance they overturned the whole thing—
Seth: If you’re like out there in society paying taxes and living in the world then you should get to vote.
Craig: I was just thinking about the murderers.
Seth: Murderers should get to vote.
Craig: There’s your headline, Deadline.
Seth: I said it in a high voice. I said it in a tone of noncommittal. Murderers should get to vote.
Craig: It’s definitely a rising pitch.
Seth: If you are currently in jail for murder you should probably not vote.
Craig: Yeah, it’s probably best to not vote.
Seth: I’m not going to draw a hard line in my murderers’ voting stance.
Craig: It’s not a hard opinion.
John: There are problems where there are places where prisons are built and they’re counting the people who are in prison as citizens of a county. And that’s not cool. [Because they’re not allowed to vote].
Craig: That’s not cool. Because if they are counted then–
Seth: It depends who you murdered and what they were like.
Craig: Oh, that’s an interesting idea.
Seth: If you are going to vote for the same person that the person you murdered was going to vote for then maybe you get to vote.
Craig: Right. Just don’t cancel out.
John: A proxy.
Craig: If you kill some guy, don’t cancel his wife’s vote out.
Seth: Exactly. You get his vote.
Craig: You have to vote the way he would have voted.
Seth: Exactly. You get to vote but it has to be how the person you murdered voted.
Craig: That’s actually the best possible solution.
Seth: It only makes sense, yeah.
Craig: And so easy to enforce.
Seth: Their vote lives on through you. This was a horribly offensive conversation. But I like it.
John: Scriptnotes is produced by Megana Rao. It is edited by Matthew Chilelli. Our outro this week is by Rajesh Naroth. If you have an outro you can send us a link to email@example.com. That’s also the place where you can send longer questions. For shorter questions on Twitter, Craig is @clmazin. I am @johnaugust. Seth, you are @sethrogen?
Seth: I am @sethrogen.
Craig: That’s easy.
John: That’s how this whole episode came to be. You can find the show notes for this episode and all episodes at johnaugust.com. That’s also where you find transcripts.
You can find the back episodes of the show at Scriptnotes.net. You need to sign up there and use the Scriptnotes app for iOS or Androids. iOS or Android.
Craig: Androids. You were talking about your own family there, weren’t you? My androids.
John: You can download 50-episode seasons at store.johnaugust.com. Seth Rogen, thank you for coming on the show.
Seth: Thank you so much for having me.
Craig: Thank you Seth. So great.
Seth: Glad to be here.
- 420 origins according to Wikipedia
- ‘Someone’s Gotta Tell the Freakin’ Truth’: Jerry Falwell’s Aides Break Their Silence by Brandon Ambrosino
- Mysterious Oregon Cattle Killings, Mutilations Alarm Ranchers by Diana Kruzman
- An 82-year-old Man Slipped Past Doormen in Upscale Buildings for Years and Stole $400k in Jewelry, Police Say by Madeline Holcombe and Joshua Girsky
- How to Tighten Up Your Game at Work When You’re Depressed by Captain Awkward
- Saucey: Alcohol Delivery App
- Hilarity for Charity
- National Expungement Week, Seth’s PSA
- John August on Twitter
- Craig Mazin on Twitter
- Seth Rogen on Twitter
- John on Instagram
- Outro by Rajesh Naroth (send us yours!)
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download the episode here.