By Brandon Wetherbee
Brandon Wetherbee hosts the talk show/podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody the first two Friday’s of the month at the Wonderland Ballroom and in Brooklyn and Chicago once a month. Subscribe to it online at youmethemeverybody.com. He’ll be at the Wonderland Ballroom on Febuary 3 hosting YMTE Live! with guest Marcus Dowling, stand up comedian Andy Kline and music from Soft Punch.
I thought I was too old to be shaped by pop culture. I’m nearly 30, not mentally disabled, have friends and no big phobias, yet certain music, literature, film and television shape my world view as much as it did at 14. This can’t be good. Thankfully, I tend to stand by my taste. I am not ashamed of my Nirvana, Hemingway, Johnny Cash, Mr. Rogers, “Mad Men,” “The Thin Man” or Bo Diddley phase. They’ve filled the role of family for quite some time and while that’s not too healthy, at least none of it is regrettable. The current obsession, once again, is claiming a larger and larger sense of self.
I’ve been watching too much “Twin Peaks.” I didn’t think this was possible. I still don’t. I’m just a little worried I’ll begin talking in code and think every father of a blond teenage daughter has the devil inside them.
It began two weeks ago. I was lucky enough to get a pretty cool radio station to preview our first Philadelphia show. A very nice public radio reporter interviewed me about the upcoming appearance. Directly before the interview I drank a bottle of wine and watched two episodes of the ABC not classic drama. During the interview I spoke about the importance of the artist in popular culture, how necessary it is for auteur’s to push boundaries. I compared myself to David Lynch, Bill Hicks and Lenny Bruce. I alluded to brutal rape and murder. A horn section came up. I laughed maniacally every five minutes. I went in depth about the importance of good coffee. I made bold political statements about how I’m smarter and better than all religious people. I made fart noises with my tongue. I was a fucking mess. Thankfully, the kind journalist only used a handful of my insane ramblings so I only appeared slightly off. I owe him a drink.
Time to clarify.
- I do not consider myself an artist. I’m just a guy that’s fascinated in others and likes to be on stage. The talk show, first and foremost, is here to be a reflection of myself in a social setting. It isn’t abstract or timeless, nor is it a vessel to make shitty jokes about shitty current events. I know the classic late night format us boring, but the structure can be used to make something new. We’re trying to do that, just not so artistically that it isolates the audience and requires public grants to work. You know that friend of yours that considers himself a poet but his poetry is awful and you get a weekly Facebook invite from him for an event that costs $20 at some weird space that no one likes? That guy considers himself an artist. I don’t want to be that guy. I’m also from a town that considers art a cop out so that probably has a lot to do with it too.
- I know I am not on the level of David Lynch, Bill Hicks or Lenny Bruce. Those guys are/were great. They’re all people that created timeless works and good people to aspire to, but I know I’m not there. Rambling in bars and theaters in the Midwest and East Coast does not make greatness. I’m slowly shaving off the bad to get to the decent which will lead to the good.
- I don’t need a horn section. The show gets by with a pianist and/or drummer and/or guitarist and that suits me just fine. It’s not 1949 and I don’t need a Big Band.
- I’m not going to rape or murder anyone. No shitty joke or the word yet. I’m not. Also, when a comic tells a rape joke and gets no laughs and then blames the audience and says, “Come on, that was funny!” that guy (it’s always a guy) is single.
- I laugh a lot when I drink. It’s not a bad thing, I’m just having a good time.
- I’m not a coffee connoisseur. I prefer Trader Joe’s extra dark blend, which costs $5 a pound, and Italian sweet cream creamer. I like coffee that’s one step above 7-11 swill. I am not here to judge, just stay awake.
- I’m not smarter and better than all religious people. Everybody poops so we’re all equal. Unless you use a colostomy bag. Those people and the folks that help change the bags are better than everyone. Any couple that helps change one’s bag is proof of true love and I do not have the constitution to be that godlike.
- Making fart noises with my tongue has nothing to do with “Twin Peaks.” I like doing it and have no plans to stop.
- I will continue to enjoy the works of David Lynch. Just be warned that if I begin speaking backwards, lip sync to older songs while wearing a ball gown, change identities and style my hair in a tall pompadour, I’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole. Make a fart noise with your tongue and I should be shaken back into reality.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.