On this week’s episode, we have actor Jamie Kaler (My Boys, Tacoma FD, Robot Chicken and many many more) and we talk about his career path as well as his experiences doing stand-up. There’s so much more so make sure you tune in.

Show Notes

Jamie KalerIMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0435695/

Jamie Kaler on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Kaler

Jamie Kaler on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamiekaler/?hl=en

Jamie Kaler on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jamiekaler

A Paper Orchestra on Website: https://michaeljamin.com/book

A Paper Orchestra on Audible: https://www.audible.com/ep/creator?source_code=PDTGBPD060314004R&irclickid=wsY0cWRTYxyPWQ32v63t0WpwUkHzByXJyROHz00&irgwc=1

A Paper Orchestra on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Audible-A-Paper-Orchestra/dp/B0CS5129X1/ref=sr_1_4?crid=19R6SSAJRS6TU&keywords=a+paper+orchestra&qid=1707342963&sprefix=a+paper+orchestra%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-4

A Paper Orchestra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/203928260-a-paper-orchestra

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Autogenerated Transcript

Jamie Kaler:
He goes, Hey, just so you know, when you do watch it, we were running long for time. So we cut the tag. I go, you mean the reveal where I kissed the woman? He goes, yeah, we ran out of time and we cut it. I go, then everything I did up to that moment has no justification whatsoever because this is the craziest thing. He goes, I know. He goes, what are you going to do with tv? I go, all, whatever. And I moved on and I was like, couldn’t care less. But

Michael Jamin:
You are listening to What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about conversations in writing, art, and creativity. Today’s episode is brought to you by my debut collection of True Stories, a paper orchestra available in print, ebook and audiobook to purchase And to support me in this podcast, please visit michael jamin.com/book and now on with the show.
Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? Well, today I’m talking about acting with my guest, Jamie Kaler. This guy, before I bring him on this guy’s credits are crazy. He works a lot and so I’m going to blow, yeah, blow through. I’m going to do the abridge version. If not, we’ll be here all day, but I’m going to go way back. I’m on IM db now. I’m only doing the ones that I decide are highlights. But Jag, he’s been on Fringe Friends. Suddenly. Susan Carnival, third Rock in the Sun, king of Queens, grounded for Life, married to the Kelly’s Arrested Development, Spanglish, seventies show. What else Will and Grace, the Family Stone? Who remembers that? Monk New Adventures of Old Christine Sons and Daughters. How I Met Your mother, my boys. We know ’em from that. And then did I say Parenthood? Did I say shake it up? Did I say Austin and Allie? Did I say Teachers of the Year? I don’t remember. I’m skipping crazy Ex-girlfriend. Jesus, dude. It doesn’t end the middle Dads in Parks. Oh, we’ll talk about that. Heather’s robot Chicken. American Housewife. Most recently Taco fd where my partner and I created the character of Polanski. Jamie, that was exhausting. Are we done with the interview now?

Jamie Kaler:
Honestly, it was so much fun being here, man. All right, everybody, take care. See you later.

Michael Jamin:
That was such good advice. Sorry, you guys all missed it. Dude, you’ve been around. How did you get into acting? How does someone get into acting? By the way,

Jamie Kaler:
People ask me nowadays, and I go, dude, it’s nothing. I mean now it’s like don’t even move to la just start a YouTube channel in upstate Minnesota and try to blow up. And then once you have a following, then you’re set.

Michael Jamin:
But we were talking about on your podcast, the parent lounge, but I know you think it’s like a burden, but I think it actually works in your advantage to you, to your advantage because you’re really good at it. You’re good. You have a great social media presence. You’re quick on your feet. It seems to me this, even though it requires more work for you, it actually works in your favor. No,

Jamie Kaler:
You mean social media doing it this way? Yeah, of course it is, but I already did it. So now I’m kind of the same way that I used to go buy wigs and glue on mustaches and actually lit myself on fire on stage at Acme Comedy Theater when I was doing crazy shows on Friday and Saturday nights in the nineties with that fervor of what are we doing today? We’re going to Goodwill, we’re going to get some costumes, here we go. And I remember renting equipment, trying to shoot shorts and trying to clerks, and Ed Burns had made the brothers McMullan or whatever, and it was like, come on, we’re making film. It was super hard and it was painful and it was costly. And nowadays you can do it with your phone. But I’m older, I don’t quite have the drive. I also am watching two little kids.
So the time in the day is where I used to go, this is my day. I’m going to go do this now. I’m like, I dropped the kids at school. I had to go to the cleaners. I taking care of the two kids. I got to pick them up. I’m coaching soccer today. So yes, I will say though, especially watching you and you’re a writer, but now you have to become a social media guru to get people to see what you’ve created and you’re an artist. But nowadays, gosh, I was posting something this morning about the pregnant pause is gone pretty soon. Humans are going to evolve where the eyes instead of side by side are over the top of each other because horizontal’s over everything’s vertical. We need to flip our eyes. And years from now, no one will take a breath because we’ve dictated that. The breath makes people lose attention though. You can take a pause. People go

Michael Jamin:
Done. I

Jamie Kaler:
Can’t. He took a breath. I can’t.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I mean, here’s the thing. So I just had this conversation yesterday. I dropped an audio audiobook, and so some woman said I was doing a live, she goes, oh, I bought your audiobook. I love it, but I listened to it on one and a quarter speed. But I’m like, but when I take a pause, it’s because I want to put a pause there. I want to give you a moment to soak it in. It’s not arbitrary.

Jamie Kaler:
I wanted to take a Richard Pryor act from his comedy special and cut all the air out of it. And so you would take a 50 minute, one hour special where there’s a groove. He’s in the moment. It would be like if you took Buddy Rich and you took all the space between the drum beats out. You’re like, a lot of the art is in the space, and we have forgotten that. And now it’s like it’s a machine gun or people’s brains shut off.

Michael Jamin:
This is something when we’re shooting a sitcom, often, we’ll tell the actor, make sure you hold for a laugh here. Hold for the laugh. You will get one. Yeah. What do we do about this?

Jamie Kaler:
Well, I don’t know because I was watching, have you watched Show Gun?

Michael Jamin:
No. Am I supposed to watch that?

Jamie Kaler:
It’s new. It’s based on the book. Oh my gosh, it’s glorious. I had never read the book. 16 hundreds. Futile Japan, A simple, brutal, vicious life of it’s gorgeous. They had a full society. It’s like the 16 hundreds. Wait,

Michael Jamin:
Where am I watching this? What can I get?

Jamie Kaler:
It’s on FX and on Hulu and Portuguese and Portugal and England are the two powerhouses on the earth, and they are at war, and they’re basically fighting for ownership of the east, even though the east are, they’re like, wait, we’re here. No one’s going to own us. So it’s all about that, but it’s just this beautifully, I mean, it’s like art. It’s like going to the museum, seeing this story unfold, but people’s brains nowadays, some do just riddling. 30 seconds of garbage on TikTok will get a gillion times more views than that. Because I talked to somebody who said, Hey, have you seen Shogun? Someone’s like, oh, it just seems slow. And I was like, it’s one of the greatest stories of all time. It’s one of the bestselling books of all time. It’s history and gorgeous and art, and it’s beautifully shot. And they’re like, ah, boring. I don’t have time for that crap.

Michael Jamin:
We have, right? So what do we do

Jamie Kaler:
If everything accelerates? There has to be a point where the human brain, it’s like when they go, oh, this TV’s 4K, and you’re like, dude, I’m in my fifties. I can’t even see 5K. I can’t see any K anymore. It’s like so resolution. It doesn’t really matter. At some point your brain can’t accept

Michael Jamin:
It. Well, worse than that, so my TVs, I have a nice plasma plasma, but it’s probably 15 years old at a cost a fortune when I got it. But the new ones, the resolution’s so clear, it kind of looks like you’re watching a bad TV show. You know what I’m saying? You watch a expensive movie and it looks like it’s bad TV because I’m seeing too much.

Jamie Kaler:
The human face is not supposed to be seen with that much resolution. You see people and you’re like, oh, that dude had a rough night

Michael Jamin:
Where you

Jamie Kaler:
Used to be able to hide it, and now you’re like, no, no, no, no.

Michael Jamin:
Right? But then now have you had these conversations with your agent and your managers, or is this just when we were talking about building your social media following, are they telling you this or are you just like, your friends are doing it now? I got to do it too.

Jamie Kaler:
You mean why try to build this? Well, it’s also, listen, it’s funny because my wife will give me grief sometimes, and she goes, your stories are too slow. Which is crazy because I’m one of the fastest speakers who’s ever lived. Sometimes when I’m working, people go, you need to bring it down a little bit. But on social media, if I don’t want to sit and take a 92nd video and edit it down to a minute to take out the 30 seconds of pauses, because some guy, but that’s the dilemma. Everything’s the lowest common denominator. The jokes are I see something that blows up and I go, that was a great joke when George Carlin told that in 1972, and it was really well written and scripted, and now you’ve kind of bastardized it and you’ve put it into a ten second with no, your speaking voice is intolerable. But I get it, that’s what people want. They’re scrolling through and you’re like, that’s how it works. So I’m also a dinosaur man. It’s like my daughters are 10 and they’re already do flying through stuff. I mean, I don’t know how to stop it.

Michael Jamin:
Do you know people, I mean, obviously back in the day when you’d go to auditions now everything’s you submit. But back in the day, I’m sure you were going to audition and they’re the same 10 actors that you would see trying out for the same part. Do you think they’re doing the same thing that you’re doing building of social media presence?

Jamie Kaler:
Well, I think you have to. Nowadays, honestly, I see that the social media presence, it is number one, you don’t have to go learn how to act. You don’t have to learn how to be a standup comic. You don’t have to learn these skills and slowly build your way up the top. You do it because you’re a personality. People are intrigued, not by people who are, they’re intrigued by humans. It’s a voyeuristic thing, I think, where people are like, you’ll see somebody and they’re just talking to camera. They’re not even good speakers. There’s something off. There’s a crazy story. And maybe they’ve just been doing it for 15 straight years and built up a following and put some money behind it, put some ads, made sure they got some clicks. Maybe they bought a few followers, and you’re like, but the craft, the art of what you do as a writer. I mean, is it slowly falling? But that’s the problem nowadays with my kids, we just got the report cards and really good grades, but you can see on the standardized test, they’re reading is starting to slip because kids don’t read. It’s too slow for them. Their brain is like, well, they just can’t slow. People cannot slow down anymore. And it’s Where does it go

Michael Jamin:
From here? I dunno, but I have to say that. So a lot of this is, I don’t think this is coming from producers. I was on a show a few years ago, maybe let’s say 10 years ago, and the studio or the network rather wanted us to cast a guy with a big social media following for this role. And I’m like, wait, really? Why? What about an act? Can we just get an actor? This Hollywood? Aren’t there actors everywhere? And it’s because networks are having a hard time marketing their show. And these people with followings, they can market their own show.

Jamie Kaler:
Kevin Hart. I mean, I remember something. They were like, well, you’re going to post about the movie. And he’s like, if you pay me, and they were like, why would we pay you? You’re in the movie. He goes, yeah, you paid me for my acting services now you want me to be your publicist. If you want me to publicize this film, you will pay me for it because I accumulated these 50 million followers on my own. Why would I just give it to you?

Michael Jamin:
But here’s where I’m curious about that though. I’m not sure if he doesn’t post, I get his point, why should I do the marketing as well? But if he doesn’t do the marketing, it’ll hurt him for his next movie because it won’t perform as well in the box office. You know what I’m saying?

Jamie Kaler:
Yes. It’s a double-edged sword. But I also think he doesn’t care.

Michael Jamin:
He

Jamie Kaler:
Doesn’t care. He doesn’t care because he has that following. He will, and they’ll put it into the budget. I’m sure the agents and managers are like, all right, so this is his money that you’re going to pay him. This is part of the marketing fee you’re going to. And listen, I totally understand it. I’m sure I’ve lost parts because people have gone over to go, his following is not as big as this guy. At the end of the day, could a ton of other people played Polanski? Absolutely. Would they have huge followings? Yes, of course. So I feel lucky anytime I get a job to promote it, I feel like I’m qualified for that job. But I also know it’s, you look back at the history of film and Philip Seymour Hoffman died, the five projects he had ready to go, they just replaced him.
He’s arguably one of the greatest actors of our generation. Nobody missed a beat. So are we all replaceable? Absolutely. Are we lucky to be in the business? Yeah. I mean, I would argue writers are more necessary because you’re creating the project to start with. But as an actor, unless you’re Daniel Day Lewis or somebody who’s that crazy of a craft, then it’s about chemistry, I think. Anyway. But you have to, those people are trying to get their films out, and so there’s so much white noise on a daily basis that to cut through that, they’re like, well, if this guy has 5 million followers and he puts up one post, what they don’t see is that only 3% of those 5 million people even see. But this

Michael Jamin:
Is where I think the studios and the networks have really screwed up royally, is that they haven’t figured out a way to build their own brand. So my wife and I will watch a movie or a TV show, we’ll get halfway through it and all the night, we’ll say, let’s watch the rest tomorrow. Almost all the time. I forget where I watched it, and now I have to search, was it on Netflix? Did I watch it on Amazon? Where did I watch this? Because there’s no brand anymore without a brand. They can’t market their shows. They have to rely on other me and you to market their shows. It puts us in the driver’s seat, not them. This is like a major blunder on their parts, I feel.

Jamie Kaler:
It’s not just them. I’d say standup clubs, back in the day, you did a bunch of shows. You finally put a tape together, you sent it to a club. The club had a following, the club had the following. And you knew if you went to that club, you were going to see Richard, Jenny, Brian Regan, Jerry Seinfeld, you knew these guys. Whatever show you went to, you were going to be surprised, but you’d be like, man, those guys are really funny. Nowadays, the club is literally a rental space that you bring the following to. That’s why they book influencers who have millions of followers, and then they get on stage. And I guess some are good and some maybe don’t have, it’s a different skill level

Michael Jamin:
When you go, do you still perform comedy stand

Jamie Kaler:
Up? I do. I used to tour a ton before the kids, and I was on the road all the time. And then once the kids were born, I didn’t really want to do that as much. So now I stay home. So I kind of cherry pick gigs to go out for. And the road’s a lot different, I feel like, than it used to be.

Michael Jamin:
So do you feel the quality of the standups, they’re not quite as good anymore? Some people are, would you sound like old men? Which one is it?

Jamie Kaler:
Absolutely. And I say that all the time. I’m a dinosaur. But I will say that maybe the skill nowadays is not being a standup comic, but being a social media manipulator. And I mean that it’s always been the skill. People used to hire publicists even back then, and I never did. And they’d be in People Magazine and I’d be like, what’s the point of all that? And then as I got older, I was like, oh, fame allows you to do the jobs you want to do. That’s really the trick. But I mean, to be Tom Cruise, I never wanted that because that dude can’t leave his house. He can’t just go to the supermarket, can’t go to a park. I never wanted that. But that makes him and DiCaprio, those are the guys that are Johnny Greenlight. They get the first choice of scripts. And so they are allowed to do these amazing jobs that because how many people do you think nowadays can sell a picture?

Michael Jamin:
Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s the whole thing. Or can open, I don’t know. Do you think it’s more or less, I guess I would imagine it’s probably less now. I mean, because celebrities changed. What do you think?

Jamie Kaler:
I think the era of the movie Star is over. I

Michael Jamin:
Think Tom Cruise

Jamie Kaler:
And Brad Pitt and DiCaprio, are they going to be the end of, and Damon are going to be the end of it? I mean, no. You see one of her on Netflix and it’s like a TikTok, Charlie Delio. I haven’t seen it. Maybe she’s a wonderful actress. I don’t know. But you go up through that ranks and all of a sudden you have 12 million followers or whatever, and then you could sell, I mean, it’s Kardashian really was, we all gave her grief, but in retrospect, they were the smartest people in the room. They saw it coming to their credit and made a gillion dollars off of it, whether that’s what you want to do with your life. But my kids kids want to start a YouTube page and a TikTok, and I’m like, she’s 10. She’s 10 years old. That’s

Michael Jamin:
Too soon.

Jamie Kaler:
Yeah. I mean, can everyone on earth just be, can we keep an economy running if everyone’s just an influencer? I don’t know.

Michael Jamin:
Well, there’s the big question, right? If everyone’s trying to, yeah, I

Jamie Kaler:
Mean, look at what you’re doing. You wrote a book, you sat down, probably took quite a while. It’s a very good book. Thank you. I’ve read it and it’s like, but the point is, almost everybody’s wrote in a book now, and everybody’s a standup comic and everyone’s a performer. And back when I did it, it was like people were like, oh my God, you do standup. I’m would never do that. I’m terrified now. I’ll be it like a supermarket. And some woman’s like, some grandma’s like, oh, I do stand up every Tuesday night at retirement home. And you’re like, it’s

Michael Jamin:
Not. But I also feel like you’re reinventing yourself, though. I mean, that’s got to be exciting and interesting. No, or

Jamie Kaler:
Of course it is. Of course it is. I do listen. I love doing it. And everyone else, it’s a love hate relationship because I’ll think of something immediately, I’ll put together a little funny bit that I, it’s like a standup bit or something, and then I’ll be able to share it with all my fans and they will respond accordingly. And you’re like, oh yeah, this actually is a pretty good, I just also think we’re the learning curve. We’re the first generation to go through all this.

Michael Jamin:
Wait, let me tell you how I hoard myself out this morning. So I wondered, because I’m posting a lot to promote my book. I’m doing a lot of lives, and I’m like, I see other people do lives, and I’m not sure what that magic is. They’re cooking eggs or whatever. Are we watching this person cooking eggs? Is this right? So I’m like, all right. I told my wife, today’s pushup day. So I’m like, all right, I guess maybe I’ll just do pushups and people will that work. And I did pushups on live and I don’t know, 20 people watched. And I was like, I felt kind of stupid about the whole thing, but people were watching, I don’t know, is this what I got to do now,

Jamie Kaler:
Pushups, I fear it is. If that’s what you want to do for a living, I think this is, if you want to be in this business, I think that’s the necessity of it. To be honest, I’m not sure I would’ve ever signed up for this if I knew, although when I was younger, I probably would’ve like, Ugh, I would’ve been Truman shown the whole

Michael Jamin:
Thing, right? But you wouldn’t.

Jamie Kaler:
I do wonder, my kids, I think they were at their friend’s house or something, and they Googled me. They told me, and they’re getting to that age, and I’m like, uhoh, what did you watch? And they watched some crazy video I did where I said something stupid or whatever. And I don’t know if every moment of our lives is supposed to be captured. I don’t know what the answer is. I have such a love hate certain days. I wake up and I go, even this morning I was telling you I was writing a bit about something or other. And then another day I’ll wake up and I go, I don’t want to do any of it. I just want to go golf. And that was the beauty. I became an actor because it was the easiest thing. I worked hard to become a good actor. I took classes, worked on my craft, but I wasn’t, I wasn’t on 24 7 trying,

Michael Jamin:
Tell me if you feel this way, because if I don’t, I try to post almost every day. And if I take one or two days off, that turns into three or four. You know what I’m saying? It gets easy not to do it.

Jamie Kaler:
Of course, of course. But do you feel guilty after those two or three days? Do you have any guilt or do you actually go, oh, what am I doing? This feels great.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, it is mixed like you’re saying, but a lot of it is like, this is my job. This is how you get a book out there. This is how you can, I work so hard not to work. You know what I’m saying?

Jamie Kaler:
I’m working harder now than I ever did when all those credits were being made. Yeah,
I would bust my ass. I would get ready. And also acting is about physicality. I would make sure I was in shape. I’d work out, I’d do all this stuff, and then I would go either do an audition and then there’d be downtime, and you’d be like, all right. All right. And then you’d kind of ramp it up again. Now it’s like just constant blinders on of, and then the problem also I see is the follow-up. When you performed on stage, you either got to laugh right then and there, and you moved on. But now my wife, we have long conversations on Instagram as well.

Michael Jamin:
What does she do? What does she do on Instagram? What does she, I don’t even know what does, she

Jamie Kaler:
Works in the pharmaceutical industry.

Michael Jamin:
So why is she, oh, I think you told me. Why is she on Instagram? Oh, does she post on Instagram?

Jamie Kaler:
She posts, but she has her own page, and then so she’s very specific about it. She’ll edit and quiz me and I go, do you want to hear my, I don’t care. Nobody cares. Just post it. But it’s like, well, what do you think this picture or this? I go, nobody cares. What song do you think this song? Is this song saying too much about me? Or should I feel like maybe I should use it? Should it just be instrumental? I go, okay, I don’t care. The trick is to post and walk away. And then people will, for the rest of the day, scroll, because it’s the dopamine of like, oh, so-and-So ooh, did you know? So-and-So just like that post I put up this morning, I don’t know where this ends, but I find that some days if I just do something physical where I’m digging in the garden in the backyard, it’s the greatest three hours of my life where I’m like, I didn’t think about anything. I don’t know. I don’t know where it ends, but yeah. But we’re also too, get off my lawn old guys who are like, why? You might have kids,

Michael Jamin:
But how much time do you think you put on social media every day, either way that you’re working on or thinking of working on it or whatever?

Jamie Kaler:
Well, so I wasn’t really, I never cared. I never cared. It was just recently that I’ve started to make an effort during the pandemic kind of destroyed me. I stayed with two kids. I had a kindergartner and a second grader, and my wife was working 12 hours a day. We have an office in the house where she was gone. Oh, wow. We didn’t see her for 12 hours a, and I think part of it, she was hiding because it was the pandemic. We also having construction done on the house, it was arguably the worst time in my life. So I was trying to maintain the kids. So I printed out schedules. I made them put their school uniforms on. I took two desks. I set them up on opposite ends of the house. They were doing it on Zoom, but one’s in kindergarten and one’s on second grade.
So they weren’t old enough to really go. I got it at nine 40. They’d be released for recess. I’d have to get them snacks at 1130. It was lunch at two 50. School ended, and then we were trying to maintain sanity. So I started this kind of parental mental health zoom at night. And obviously we were drinking extensively pandemic mental health, but drinking, it was mental health, and we were sipping hardcore and sharing horrible stories. And so it grew into this. I started this thing called the Dad Lands, and it just grew. It was just Zoom. It wasn’t even a podcast or anything. And that kind of caught on. I mean, there were guys, I was like, dude, don’t kill yourself. We’re going to get through this thing guys. Were hanging on by a thread. And we made ourselves all feel better because we were seeing that everyone else was going through this nightmare.
And that eventually grew into the Parents Lounge podcast with my other buddy who was in it. He was doing Dad Apocalypse. I was doing Dad Lands. We started a podcast. I’m not a promoter, so I really love doing the podcast. We were doing it live. You’ve come and done it. The parents lounge, it’s super fun. It’s a parental mental health night. I’ve kind of laid off the sauce since then, and all of a sudden it kind of grew into this thing, but we never marketed it. We would just throw it out there and then the other dude would put it up on iTunes, but we wouldn’t even put a post of like, Hey, Dave Ners on this Monday. Nothing. Just threw it in the ocean, because I don’t want to be a marketer. I didn’t move to Hollywood to be a publicist. It’s not what I do.
So finally, we’re at the crap or get off the pot phase of look, we have a pretty good following, considering we haven’t put one ounce of work into the promotional part of it. And so finally, everyone’s like, look, dude, you either have to become a promoter or you are wasting your time. You need to monetize. We could do some live gigs here and there, but all of a sudden ruffle came in, Justin ruffle was our partner in this thing. And all of a sudden everyone’s like, all right, so I committed. I’m committing to trying like you with a book where I feel like we have a really great product. How do we get people to see it? And you’re like, this is the way to do it. So we went out and I enjoy stuff like this where we have conversations and we get in depth on stuff. But as far as just constantly putting up a story with a link to the podcast to do this and stuff, well,

Michael Jamin:
That you can outsource, that’s easy. We’re

Jamie Kaler:
Outsourcing it. And so we finally started outsourcing it, and I hadn’t outsourced it at all, but it’s like I equate it to the Gold Rush. It’s like the people who really got rich during the Gold Rush where Levi Strauss and Woolworth and the guys who sold the Pickaxes. So at some point, I should become the outsource guy or something. But yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Do you see, okay, what are your aspirations with the show? What would you like it to become, if anything?

Jamie Kaler:
So I love doing the show. I would love a strong following where we’ve kind of branched off to do other stuff. But honestly, live shows. We have done a few and we’re starting to book more. And then to monetize it to a degree, once you start putting all the work into it, you’re like, well, maybe we should at least see something. But the

Michael Jamin:
Live show, you have to produce, you got to bring in equipment mics, you’ve got to mix it. No, just

Jamie Kaler:
Literally as comics, we show up. I can’t tell you the last time I soundcheck, oh

Michael Jamin:
Wait, wait,

Jamie Kaler:
We’re doing the podcast live. You’re talking about, but we do it as here’s the beauty of what we do. We’re already standups. That was a headline in comic touring the country. I did Montreal Comedy Festival. I’ve been on late night tv. So for me, that’s the easy part. When I used to do standup, it was never about the show. It was more I would peek out and go, is anybody here? And the smartest guys on earth were s, Agora Rogan, Cher Joe, coy, who not only were great comics, but they were also really good at marketing themselves. And so those guys were doing mailing lists for 30 years and building, and I wasn’t. I would go sets went great, crush it, and then go have a couple cocktails at the bar. I didn’t have kids either. I didn’t really care about trying to blow it up. So it was never about the show. It was about getting eyes on it. And I feel like that’s where we’re at now. We have such a strong, every time we go do it, we crush live. And the question is, how do we get other parents and people to go? This would be a great show to come to. That’s really the marketing part of it.

Michael Jamin:
The tour as Right? Is it all, so it’s improv or is it scripted, or what is the

Jamie Kaler:
Show? We have acts, I have two albums on iTunes.

Michael Jamin:
Oh, okay. So it’s a comedy show show.

Jamie Kaler:
It’s a standup comedy show that the Skis is a podcast, really. And we would bring our guests with us, maybe we talked about having Lemi and Heffernan come out and do the podcast live with those guys, but it would be billed as the parents lounge live with these special guests. But it’s really a standup show for the audience with under the guise of a podcast. And we have bits and we would do improvisational stuff set up and questions with the audience, for the guests and for everybody else. But we just did, and we did it in Sara, Pennsylvania in the fall. And it was like two hours of just, I’m not even sure I touched that much of my material. We were, we were riffing hard, but we always had the material to step back on. It’s like that’s my favorite is you have these tracks, but you get off the tracks, you fool around. And if all of a sudden it starts to lag a little bit, you go, all right, here’s some bits and then bring ’em back in.

Michael Jamin:
You are listening to What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? Today’s episode is brought to you by my new book, A Paper Orchestra, A collection of True Stories. John Mayer says, it’s fantastic. It’s multi timal. It runs all levels of the pyramid at the same time. His knockout punches are stinging, sincerity. And Kirks Review says, those who appreciate the power of simple stories to tell us about human nature or who are bewitched by a storyteller who has mastered his craft, will find a delightful collection of vignettes, a lovely anthology that strikes a perfect balance between humor and poignancy. So my podcast is not advertiser supported. I’m not running ads here. So if you’d like to support me or the podcast, come check out my book, go get an ebook or a paperback, or if you really want to treat yourself, check out the audio book. Go to michael jamin.com/book. And now back to our show.
I mean, I don’t know. I see people doing it online. I’d be doing exactly what you’re saying. They take their podcast on the road and somehow, how do you think they’re selling tickets though?

Jamie Kaler:
Because their followings are so strong that people, a lot of times also, I see these shows, and to me, the shows, I go, there’s no show here. It’s just this guy showed up. It’s basically a two hour meet and greet. But honestly, that’s what some people love. They don’t even care. They just want to be in the same room. The guy will tell a couple stories, they’ll play some bits on, they’ll play bits on a screen and make it a show and they’ll record the podcast live. But people are so enthralled by people chatting, I really missed my window. It really was my strong suit back in the day of just riffing and going along with stuff and being in the moment and chatting. But podcasts wasn’t happening. And at the time when podcasts started, I was like, are we going back to radio? Why would people listen to podcasts? I was shocked. And yet off

Michael Jamin:
They were. But your brand is, you’re trying to aim it towards parents or men dads, is that right?

Jamie Kaler:
Well, it’s all parents and no, we’ve toured with moms. We usually take out moms. We’ve had Tammy Pesca, Kira svi on the show, Betsy Stover. We just had Nicole Birch. I mean, I think you need a mom’s point of view. So when we do live shows, we typically bring out a mom as well with us.

Michael Jamin:
But you’re talking, but is the focus basically on kids and parenting?

Jamie Kaler:
It is to a degree. But I also, sometimes we’ll watch some of those shows and it’s like sometimes parents don’t want to talk about kids, so we kind of go where we go, and it’s about life. The whole thing was trying to get people to understand that you see Instagram and you think your life. You’re like, why isn’t my life like that? The point of our podcast is really to go, nobody’s life like that, dude. I mean, when’s the last time you met someone who just was not absolutely full of shit? Have you met anybody who’s not just full of shit? Anyone? Well,

Michael Jamin:
The thing is, especially in Hollywood, a lot of people were trying to hype themselves up. And I discovered early on, this is 30 years ago, that was the people who were talking most about their career really had nothing going on. And the people who didn’t talk about it, they didn’t talk about specifically, they didn’t want people to hit ’em up for a job.

Jamie Kaler:
Know what I’m saying? And I said that exact 0.2 days ago, I was talking to Lori Kmar and she was just saying the same when I got here, if you were the one who were like, look at me, look at me. People were like, that guy’s a loser.
It was almost, and then all of a sudden, humble, I blame it on humble brag, humble brag. Do you remember hashtag Humble brag? That was the first one where people, it’s really just a brag. You see humble, but you’re really just bragging. But back in the day, I remember doing Friends and Will and Grace, and it was big. It was big. And I really didn’t tell anybody. People would come in and talk to me and go, dude, were you weren’t friends last night. And I was like, I was. And they go, why wouldn’t you tell us? And I go, it seems dirty. I felt dirty bragging about what I was doing. But nowadays, if you’re not constantly brag, brag, brag, brag, brag. People are like, well, I guess he doesn’t have anything to promote.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, I remember even just people, I’m in the business, they’ll say, so humble to accept this. I’m so humbled to accept this award, whatever, where they might’ve been in sales or whatever. It’s like, but you’re using the word humbled wrong. That’s not what humbled humble means. You’re literally bragging.

Jamie Kaler:
I feel that way every time when I’m acting and the director goes and cut, that was perfect. We’re going to do it again. And I go, you’re using the word perfect improperly. Perfect means there’s nothing better. I think that’s exactly the meaning of perfect. And you’re not using it correctly. I know

Michael Jamin:
One of the things that I always get, this is my pet peeve about being a writer. You’ll turn in a draft of a pilot you’ve been working on for months, and you just turn it in and then they’ll say, great. We’re setting up a notes call for Wednesday. Isn’t it possible you love it? You know, don’t like it? You already know there’s something you want change. It’s like

Jamie Kaler:
You didn’t even read the title and you’re like, I have notes.

Michael Jamin:
I have notes. Of course you do.

Jamie Kaler:
Well, listen, if they didn’t have notes, they wouldn’t have a job. And so I think they’re like, well, I mean, we have to find something wrong with this thing. They would get the screenplay for the sting and go, I mean, does the guy have to have a limp? I don’t get the Robert Shaw limp. It’s like, dude, can you just go, this is pretty great. And also you’re not a writer. It’s not what you do.

Michael Jamin:
It’s hard to, now you’re killing me.

Jamie Kaler:
I did a show one time, I won’t say the name of the show, but I did a show. It didn’t go anywhere, but my character is a car salesman. I see these two guys come into the showroom and I want to sell them a car, and I think they’re gay, so I pretend to be gay. This is of course, back in the time when I guess you could do that without being canceled. So I act gay to them to get them to buy the car, and we’re going to be friends and stuff. And at the end of the episode, my character then kisses a woman who’s another salesperson as the reveal. He’s not gay. He was doing it to do that, whatever. So all week, all week, the studio execs keep coming over and they go, dude, you got to gay it up. You got to amp it up. We are not getting the joke. You have to play this extremely gay. And then they would walk away and the showrunner would walk over and go, dude, I want you to play it dead straight. I don’t want you to play gay whatsoever. So after every take two people kept coming over, giving me completely opposite notes, and I didn’t know who.

Michael Jamin:
Wait, I a little, go ahead, finish your story because I want to

Jamie Kaler:
Jump on it. So I’m in the middle. I’m doing it. I’m not pleasing either of them, right? I’m right in the middle of guess, maybe a little after. I don’t know. And I have played gay characters numerous times in tv, and usually I don’t do anything. It doesn’t have to be that way. And so I would play it dead straight. And so the show goes, it’s a train wreck of a week. I’m just getting eviscerated on both sides of like, I’m not pleasing anybody because I’m trying to ride the line in the middle of between these 2 180 degree notes, whatever. It’s a train wreck. We finished the shoot, I’m miserable. I run into the showrunner maybe three months later and he tells me, oh, he goes, Hey, just so you know, when you do watch it, we were running long for time. So we cut the tag.
I go, you mean the reveal where I kissed the woman? He goes, yeah, we ran out of time and we cut it. I go, then everything I did up to that moment has no justification whatsoever. I goes, this is the craziest thing. He goes, I know. He goes, what are you going to do? It’s tv. I go, all right, whatever. And I moved on and I was like, couldn’t care less. But you’re like, again, art, you wrote something. Your brain had this beautiful story you wanted to unfold. And then commerce and everybody has to prove that they’re part of the mix and they can’t be hands on.

Michael Jamin:
I’m very surprised that you got notes directly from a studio executive. That’s inappropriate. They’re supposed to go through the director. I

Jamie Kaler:
Thought the exact same thing. And people, it’s not how it worked. They came right up to me. Oh, I’ve had that many times. I’ve had studio people talk to me all the time. Yeah, well, also, I wasn’t a star. I was a guest.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, but still you’re not, first of all, the DGA can file a grievance over that if they were to complain the DGA, I think that’s part of the thing. But here’s how I would’ve, if I were you, this is what I would’ve done. I would’ve done one take over the top and one place straight. Okay, I’m going to do two different takes, two different. And you decide later which one you want to use.

Jamie Kaler:
I think I did do that to some degree. I don’t think I said it out loud about you have fun and edit, and also you as a guest star. It’s the greatest job, but it’s also the worst job. It is. These people have been locked and loaded. I did friends the week I did it, they were on the cover of Rolling Stone. They’d been burned in the press when they spoke. They weren’t outwardly mean to me, but they also weren’t like, Hey, welcome to the, they spoke to each other in hushed tones away from, and I didn’t blame them. They couldn’t go to a supermarket. They were just famous beyond belief. But the set was tense, super tense because a lot riding, not a lot of money on this thing. The shoot was eight hours long after four, they got rid of the first audience, brought a whole nother audience in, and you start to watch the sausage get made and you’re like, this is supposed to be fun and comedy, but sometimes these things are super tense.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, yeah. So interesting. Do you have any experiences that were great sets that you love working on?

Jamie Kaler:
So many and listen, even that set the cast was great and friends was great. It was here was the greatest thing about doing friends, or even honestly Will and Grace. I watched Will and Grace, I watched the four of them. Dude, they were a machine combined with the writing staff and Jim Burrows directing. It was like a masterclass, the four of them. And they would rewrite on the fly, they’d do one take and almost rewrite the entire scene. And then you would, they’d go, Jamie, here’s your new lines. And I did six episodes over the years and each time I went back it was like, you better bring your A game. Because they would change the whole scene. And they go, so you enter here now you say this and then he’s going to say this and you’re going to go and you’re playing spinning at the four of them. Man, they were honestly maybe the best cast I’ve ever seen. Really. It was like a Marks Brothers. They just were so perfect in their timing. It was pretty impressive.

Michael Jamin:
I had Max Nik on my podcast a few weeks ago talking the showrunner. The funny thing is I was touring colleges with my daughter years ago, not that long ago, whatever. We were touring Emerson. And the tour guy goes, oh, and this is the Max Munic building. He goes, anyone know who he is? I’m like, max gave you a building. Yeah. Does anyone know who he is?

Jamie Kaler:
They were both great. And again, I was overwhelmed because I was so new. And my very first one, gene Wilder, played the boss. I’m the dick in Will’s law firm, and I had only done a sitcom or two. And then I got Will and Grace out of nowhere on a crazy afternoon. It was supposed to be another big name guy. And he fell out at the last second. And I got cast and was shooting in the morning and I was terrified. And then I show up in Gene Wilders playing my boss, and I had to do a scene with Willy Wonka. I was like,

Michael Jamin:
No kidding.

Jamie Kaler:
By the way, I didn’t start acting until I was 30. I was a Navy lieutenant.

Michael Jamin:
Oh,

Jamie Kaler:
Really? I was the US Navy. Yeah. That’s why I played cops a lot. I was a Navy lieutenant. I got out at like 28. I hung around San Diego. Bartended had fun.

Michael Jamin:
Why did you get it so early? I think you’re supposed to stay in forever and get a great pension.

Jamie Kaler:
Oh my God. It’s like I’m talking to my father. My father banged me. I still have the letters. He and I wrote back and forth where I told him I was getting out and he was so pissed

Michael Jamin:
Because

Jamie Kaler:
He was a pilot. My dad flew in World War ii, my brother was an admiral, and I got out to become an actor, and my father was just furious.

Michael Jamin:
Whatcha doing? You can one time.

Jamie Kaler:
Then I booked Jag. One of my first TV shows was, well actually my first show was Renegade with Lorenzo Alamas and Bobby Six Killer though, whatever his name is.

Michael Jamin:
I know I’m jumping around, but did you know Kevin and Steve before you got booked on? Yes. Yes you did. From what

Jamie Kaler:
I had done, we bumped into each other once a couple times doing standup. I was doing Thema or something, and then I forget how it’s all blurry. I did their podcast, chewing it, and then just kind of hit it off with them. And then they came and did mine. And you talk about sets My boys was my greatest four years of my life. It was just, I met my wife, I bought a house. I was on a billboard on Times Square. We traveled the world. We shot on Wrigley Field in Chicago. I mean, it was glorious. Because of that, I started a headline clubs. It was just this like, oh, here we go. And it wasn’t until Tacoma FD where I was on a set where, oh, people came early, people stayed late. You were almost going. It was like it brought you back. A kid being going to theater camp, going, well, here, I’m making a show. But again, as you know, it goes by the eps and number one on the call sheet and that dictates the tenor of the show tone. And they were

Michael Jamin:
Both the same. Yeah,

Jamie Kaler:
Yeah. And those guys, that sets a family, literally everybody. And that’s why you also have to be really careful. You can’t say anything because everybody’s related to everybody and they’re all friends. And then Soder came and played Wolf Boykins. And I will tell you, I was super, I love those guys. But there’s also a little jealousy of, I’ve always been a team sport guy. I love Sketch probably more than I like standup because there was something about being on stage with other humans and this chemistry. And then you would get off stage and you’re like, can you believe how great that just went? There was this, when you would do standup, it’s just you. And when you walk off stage, if you bomb or you crush, you own it. But when you are with a group, I love the group dynamics. Interesting to those guys credit the whole broken lizard.
I wish I had the state. I’m jealous of those guys a little bit. Kids in the hall, when I first got out, I had an improv group in San Diego and we ended up doing, we got on the front page. I had been out of the Navy like a year. It was in this crazy improv troop, had no idea what I was doing. And there was three other dudes in it. And the comedy club, the improv, started to hire us to be the feature act. And we would get up. We had no mic, so we’d kind of eat it and then the headliner would come out and go, what the blank was that jackasses? And then do his standup act. But I always wanted that group. You have a comedy partner, you write, you partner. I like that more than the solitary thing. And honestly, to go back to the podcast really quickly, the parents lounge, we didn’t have a team.
We had no team. And so it wasn’t until I brought Phil Hudson and Kevin Lewandowski and then Justin Ruppel and his guy Taylor. And all of a sudden I had a group of people behind me who were like, Hey man, this is a really great product. Let’s go. So I guess I’m just a team guy. And when I got to that set at Tacoma fd, I’m so sad it’s gone because I just, that and my boys are probably the two highlights of my career, really, personally of joy, of going to work, not feeling pressure like Man Will and Grace. It was fun. It was invigorating, it was exciting, scary. It’s a little scary, man. You’re like a lot of money. There’s a huge audience. There’s superstars who are making a million dollars a week. I’d leave the table read and go, that dude just walked with 200 k Monday.
Thank you. Monday, 200 K what it must be, same on basketball teams where it’s like LeBron James and then that dude from Australia. There’s a dynamic there where you’re like, yeah, you’re not flying home in a jet, my friend. I am. It was weird. So Tacoma fd, those guys never once ever made you feel bad about trying stuff, doing a take where you just explore and you could be funny and you let it rip. I equate it back to Seinfeld. I don’t know what it was like on the set, but Seinfeld was one of the few shows where they let the guest stars actually get sometimes bigger laughs than the main cast, which I always find in shows to be the true genius of a show where everyone’s there, it’s a play. Let it rip. I’ve been on shows where they, I’ll blow it up. I was on the seventies show and I had a couple scenes, and I played this goofy guy with a wig on or whatever, and crushed. I mean, I was a nerd. I was a comic book nerd. Huge laughs. And they took me aside and were like, Hey man, just so you know, you will never get a bigger laugh than the main cast,
So you might want to tone it down or we’re going to be here all day shooting. And I go, really? And they go, I thought they were joking. And they were like, nah. Yeah. Wow. I probably shouldn’t say I’m the worst too. I’ll burn myself to say stuff. Well, it’s interesting. This business is crazy, man. And you sit there and you think we’re just making comedy, but people are,

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, some people are like that.

Jamie Kaler:
Yeah. People get their feelings hurt. Those little memos where it’s like, don’t look so and so in the eye. And you think they’re joking. They’re not joking.

Michael Jamin:
You’ve gotten those memos.

Jamie Kaler:
I haven’t personally. Well, I worked on some big movies where it was like, but I also am not the crazy person who walks up to Christian Bale on Vice and goes, Hey man, dark Knight. Huh? You crushed

Michael Jamin:
It.

Jamie Kaler:
I sat next to Christian Bale for a day shooting and he was Dick Cheney unrecognizable. By the

Michael Jamin:
Way, this guy might be the

Jamie Kaler:
Greatest actor who’s ever lived. And he leaned over and he was so nice. Everyone was super kind, but he was nice to meet you. And he talked like Dick Cheney. He goes, nice to meet you. I’m Christian. I go, it’s nice to meet you too. But I’m kind of laid back and I try not to, but other people will walk up to Bruce Willis on a set some extra and be like, Hey man, can you read my screenplay? And you’re like, dude, read the room. What are you doing?

Michael Jamin:
What are you doing? What are you doing? People

Jamie Kaler:
Are crazy. That’s the problem. And crazy people are drawn to this business. So yeah, I mean, if I was Tom Cruise, I might be the guy who look, just keep everyone away from me. I’m trying to get my job done here.

Michael Jamin:
Well, you know what though? I mean, I was working in Paramount doing a show and they were shooting, I guess some scenes from Mission Impossible. And he had his trailer, Tom Cruise had his trailer, a giant trailer, and then he had a whole tunnel that he would walk through from his trailer to go to the sound stage because he didn’t want people in on the lot looking at him when he walked to the set or bothering him, I don’t know. Which I thought was very strange. I was like, but we’re all even on Paramount in the business. I guess were bothering would harass him. I’m like, Jesus, this is supposed to be a set studio

Jamie Kaler:
People. And it’s even worse now. You go to a broad, remember when people dressed up to go to Vegas? I remember going to Vegas in the eighties and nineties and we brought a sport coat right now it’s like cargo shorts, flip flops and beer hat or something. And you’re like, there’s just no decorum anymore. And people are so, and they’re trained by their videos that they can yell and do whatever they want. People go to Broadway shows and just yell out and you’re like, what are you doing, man? It’s a plane. Whatcha

Michael Jamin:
Yeah? What are you doing? People

Jamie Kaler:
Are horrible. I know when people, I always laugh when people are like, no, I think deep down people are good. Some, I would argue a good hunk not no have no manners.

Michael Jamin:
That’s probably a remnant from social media where they feel like they can just comment and be mean because they’re anonymous, I guess.

Jamie Kaler:
Well, I think the good thing about social media is that everyone can have their opinion heard. But the worst thing about social media is that everyone can have their opinion heard. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah.

Jamie Kaler:
I love when people like they’re uneducated. They’ve never left their small town America. And they’re like, no, no, I am 100% certain this is a fact. And you’re like,

Michael Jamin:
Yeah,

Jamie Kaler:
When’s the last time anyone has said you’ve raised some really strong points. I’m going to rethink my position.

Michael Jamin:
When you do see that, it always stands out to me. It’s like, wow, look at you and humble. It does stand out. We’ll do

Jamie Kaler:
That. Listen, we’re all guilty of it. Even just recently, my wife said something to me, I can’t remember exactly what it was, and I think your spouse is the one who can really cut you to the bone. And she said something and I was like, what do you know? And then later I thought about it and I was like, no, she’s right. I have been, oh, here’s what she said. Here’s what she said, something about a post I had. And she said, you just come off angry. And I said, no, no. I’m a comic. I’m pretending to be angry. And I think I went back and I watched the Post and it reminded me back to early on at Acme Comedy Theater, I had this sketch where I was with woman and we were on a date, and it was very Jerry Lewis props humor where I kept getting hurt.
I kept getting hurt. The window smashes in my hand, it ends by me lighting a candle and I actually lit my arm on fire and then would roll it out as the lights came down or whatever, and it crushed. It did so well. And one night it just absolutely bombed, just bombed. And I kept pushing harder and harder and it was bombing, and I got off stage and I talked to the director and I was like, dude, terrible audience. Tonight goes, no, no. He goes, your problem was you didn’t play frustrated, you played and it didn’t work. And I go, what a specific note. And I’ve always thought about that because me personally with my angular features, you have to go with what you look like as well. And if I play frustrated, I’m super funny, but if I play angry, I come off angry. And so she was right and I had to go. I think maybe in life everybody needs a director because you forget. It’s really hard to self-direct yourself because you get lost in these megaphones of your own things that you’re like, no, no, I’m on track. This is going great. Instead of going, I wonder how the outside world perceives me.

Michael Jamin:
That’s exactly right. Yeah. When I recorded the audio book for my book, I needed to be directed. Even though I direct, I don’t know how I’m coming off. Yeah, I mean that’s actually probably the most profound thing I’ve heard today. Well, the day just started, but everyone needs to have a director.

Jamie Kaler:
Yeah, it is kind of crazy. Yeah, it’s weird because we also get caught up in our own, listen, I will say the world is, and I know I’m an older cat and I look back at simpler time. I don’t want to be that guy. I was like, it was easier, but it was easier. I equate it to even crosswalks lately when you were younger, if you were going to take that right turn and the dude was crossing the crosswalk, everyone would make eye contact and they’d hold their hand up and then they might even jog a couple steps to go like, no, no, we’re in this together. We’re a team. No. And nowadays I go, dude, are you trying to get hit by a car? You didn’t even look up? Didn’t even look up deliberately, and it feels like you’re slowing your walk down. It’s so odd what’s happening. But I do think, listen, back in the day, people used to, if you were in front of somebody’s house and you were waiting for them, you’d pull your car over and slide it up, maybe a few cars up. Now they just put it right in the middle of the street, hit their hazard lights and just wait. And you’ll be behind them and they go, I don’t care. I don’t even know why they sell cars with rear view mirrors. They should just get rid of it. No one’s looking behind them. Nobody cares about anybody

Michael Jamin:
Else. That’s so interesting. Yeah, I mean, you’re right about that lot people crossing the, I always think that, boy, you really are trusting of me. You really trust me not to hit you with my car. Jesus. Isn’t that

Jamie Kaler:
Crazy?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, sure you get a payday, but I might kill you.

Jamie Kaler:
I think it was safer back then too because you knew, listen back in those days, you knew to be off the road between 10:00 PM and 2:00 AM when everyone was drunk. Right. You knew it and everyone was like, oh, drunk driving was terrible. Nowadays, 10:00 AM yesterday morning the dude next to me getting high on his phone, so now it’s like twenty four seven. That’s why I can’t believe people, I never crossed the street without making eye contact and going, dude, are you on your phone or are you going to hit me?

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, you got to look for yourself.

Jamie Kaler:
Exactly. But again, I’m old, so what do I know? It is weird trying to teach my kids and I mean, we’ve talked because your kid’s a little older, but trying to impart knowledge of the world to them to be aware of their surroundings. I always say they’re probably years from now, they’ll go, like my father always said, read the court. You got to have full court vision. I see it in cars. My wife will be behind one car and I’ll go, you can’t see that three cars up. That dude stopped. You are changing lanes. I’m looking five cars ahead.

Michael Jamin:
But

Jamie Kaler:
People nowadays, it’s just this one little, they just keep their heads down and you’re like, pick your head up, man. But people don’t.

Michael Jamin:
Yeah, be careful. I need to know. So I want to know business right now I’m jumping around, but business is still slow for you in terms of acting gigs because from what I see, they’re not shooting a lot. Is that what you were seeing?

Jamie Kaler:
That is true, and I’ve had a handful of amazing auditions lately. Oh, you have? Okay. So yeah, a ton. Not a ton, but here’s the dilemma is they’re all self-tapes, right? And I’m pretty good at self-tapes. You can see there’s the lights behind me. There’s a curtain right above me that comes down, and then I shoot it that way and they’re pretty great. And I’m again about trying to be directed. I’ve asked my agents and my managers and been like, Hey, am I self taping these? Right? And they’re like, dude, your self tapes are solid, but even there’s no feedback. And I do think back in the day, I got a lot of jobs because I was great in the room. I was probably better in the room than I was as an actor. You could take it. I would get hired because a lot of acting is chemistry, and you want to see that the person you’re working with is going to be cool and able to hang and also

Michael Jamin:
Take a note. Can you take a note?

Jamie Kaler:
It’s so funny you say that, dude. So lately I was, for a while I was just putting the one take on where I was like, this is how I see this part. But this one I had the other day, it was so good, dude. It was handsome. Adjacent was the breakdown, which I was like, all right, because I’ve always been, I’m lumberjack good looks. I’m like, I know I’ve walked into rooms, I’ve seen Brad Pitt in a room, and I’ve been like, yeah, that’s beautiful. I’m a little al dente. That guy is so gorgeous. I’m on the cover of a paper towel roll. I get it. I know. I’m Portland. I’m Portland. I’m a Portland 10. Portland. I’m a Portland nine maybe. So it’s handsome adjacent, early fifties jerk cop. I go, dude, this should be offer only. Why am I reading for this?

Michael Jamin:
Right?

Jamie Kaler:
So I did the first take. I submitted one where I was like, more Tacoma fd, I was. I go, well, maybe that’s why I got in here. They know me from that. And then I was going to just submit that one and I said, you know what? Because you can’t go in a room, dude, the casting directors are so good that I’ve had the pleasure to work with Wendy O’Brien who did that one is one of my faves. She’ll give you notes that will kind of give you a nuanced performance where you’re going, oh, I see the change. Yes, yes, yes, yes. Because hard. And so I did a totally separate take. I had a friend over here and I did another take that was so the opposite extreme of he wasn’t big at all. He was very underplayed in tone. And when I sent them in, my agent said, he goes really great that you did two separate takes.
And I said to him, it’s a new show. I’ve never seen it. I don’t know what the tone is. There’s no direction. You’re literally reading this hoping that your take jives with the guys who are going to hopefully see this tape or not. I don’t know. And I also submitted it. The audition came out on Monday. It was due Thursday. I memorized it submitted on Tuesday. The other thing they tell you, they go early, bird gets the worms. So the business has changed so much. You’re working really hard to pump these things out, but you’re like, is anyone seeing any of it? It would be nice if somebody once just called and was like, Hey man, you’re not getting it, but I got to tell you, you did a really good job, man. You what you get in a room or if sometimes you don’t, sometimes. Yeah.

Michael Jamin:
So interesting. The life of an actor. So what is left for you as you wrap up, what is left for you today? What does your day look like today, an average day for you?

Jamie Kaler:
So we are relaunching the podcast. We have an advertiser that’s just come on board. We are currently on Buzzsprout, but we’re going to jump to megaphone and we’re actually, we’re still doing the live ones on Tuesday nights 7:00 PM Pacific Time. It’s on right now. It’s everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, it goes out live. We’re going to slowly bring that back in and we are jumping to Patreon. So come find us. The parents lounge on Patreon, and then we are, so we’re doing all the marketing right now, and then I’m still working with the same guys you work with who have been eyeopening. It’s like a master’s class in this business of social media about getting people on. Because again, I feel like we have a really solid product that people not only and enjoy, but I think it helps parents kind of understand that it takes a village and not to get consumed in your day-to-Day. This is not to end on a terrible note, but we went to a funeral yesterday, one of the parents at my kid’s school passed away, cancer Young with young kids, and we were all having a meltdown early in the day about whatever garbage problems we had on. And then we all got there and we were like, this is eye opening, right? This is like what? I can’t believe I was bitching about
Such and such earlier in the day then. So especially as a parent, I mean, I became a parent late in life, and so I lived a glorious thirties and forties, but now my life’s kind of consumed by others, and so I see people in the middle of the country are hanging on. It’s tricky times. The government’s in disarray. It’s an election year. Prices are through the roof with all these fires and everything, insurance rates are going up and people are literally day to day of like, Hey man, I don’t think this is tenable. I don’t know how we’re going to get through this. So on the parents’ lounge, we try to bring in a little seriousness, but a lot of humor and make everyone go, all right, I guess we’re all in the same boat. So that’s kind of our mainstay. Now we’re building everything towards the relaunch of the podcast in a few weeks. Parents Launch, come check it out.

Michael Jamin:
And they should also follow you where

Jamie Kaler:
At Jamie Kaler on Instagram, I usually do some daily posts about my kids and all comedy. All comedy. And then we’ll be touring. So the website will be up. Actually, Phil is, our boy is building it as we speak, Jamie kaler.com will be up. But come find us at the Parents Lounge and Social Media on Facebook at Jamie Kaler and excellent.

Michael Jamin:
Thank you so much for joining me today. This was a good chat.

Jamie Kaler:
Thank you so much. Honestly, again, this has been cathartic in a way of, I do think especially what you do, conversation is an art form, and I think it’s falling by the wayside because people are so enthralled with these tiny little morsels of entertainment, and so the spoken word is being lost. I’m making my children read out loud a lot. We read out loud a lot because I think it’s a dying art and hopefully the pregnant pause will come back one day.

Michael Jamin:
Excellent. Jamie, thank you again. The parents’ lounge. Go follow ’em on social media. It’s a great talk. Alright, man. Thanks.

Jamie Kaler:
Thanks brother. Thanks for having me.

Michael Jamin:
Wow. I did it again. Another fantastic episode of What the Hell is Michael Jamin talking about? How do I do it week after week? Well, I don’t do it with advertisers supported money. I tell you how I do it. I do it with my book. If you’d like to support the show, if you’d like to support me, go check out my new book, A Paper Orchestra. It asks the question, what if it’s the smallest, almost forgotten moments that are the ones that shape us most? Laura Sanoma says, good storytelling also leads us to ourselves, our memories, our beliefs, personal and powerful. I loved the Journey, and Max Munic, who was on my show says, as the father of daughters, I found Michael’s understanding of parenting and the human condition to be spot on. This book is a fantastic read. Go check it out for yourself. Go to michael jamin.com/book. Thank you all and stay tuned. More. Great stuff coming next week.

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Michael Jamin, Showrunner, TV Writer, Author

Michael Jamin

For the past 26 years, Michael Jamin has been a professional television writer/showrunner. His credits include King of the Hill, Beavis & Butthead, Wilfred, Maron, Just Shoot Me, Rules of Engagement, Brickleberry, Tacoma FD and many more.

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