of tears and blood

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Jamie Kennedy is an actor, writer, producer, and stand-up comedian. He wrote and starred in "Malibu’s Most Wanted," and created / hosted the hugely trendsetting "Jamie Kennedy Experiment." He has played leading roles and appeared in dozens of feature films and TV shows including Wes Craven’s "Scream," "Criminal Minds," "Funny You Should Ask," "Ghost Whisperer," Baz Luhrmann’s "Romeo + Juliet," and the "Tremors" film franchise. Currently, Jamie hosts his own podcast and performs stand-up comedy worldwide.

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Disclaimer

Just a quick note: The episode you are about to hear was recorded when the world was pretty different. Things change, perspectives shift. If a little more context would be helpful, please feel free to check out the first episode of this podcast, the preface.  And, just FYI, this episode contains a few curse words here and there. Thanks, and enjoy the show.

Intro

This is "Of Tears and Blood," where we explore the raw truths of the creative process. I'm Nicholas Ryan Howard.

I’m face-to-face with a man who’s seen all sides of Hollywood. The captivating. The insipid. The cruel. And the inspired. His iconic voice rips through the halls of his Hollywood home. Together, we are searching for the ideal location for our chat. We pass through rooms packed with memorabilia from his life. Walls adorned with framed posters representing the bold ventures from his audacious career. Boxes of somewhat-organized clutter, foretelling of a man who is in transition—or possibly who is always in transition.

Interviewee Bio

Jamie Kennedy is an actor, writer, producer, and stand-up comedian. He wrote and starred in Malibu’s Most Wanted, and created and hosted the hugely trendsetting Jamie Kennedy Experiment. He has played leading roles and appeared in dozens of feature films and television shows including Wes Craven’s Scream, Criminal Minds, Funny You Should Ask, Ghost Whisperer, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, and the Tremors film franchise. Currently, Jamie hosts his own podcast, Hate To Break It To Ya, and performs stand-up comedy worldwide.

Where to chat, where to chat? He dismisses the couches next to a roaring fireplace in his living room—too obvious, too cliche. He waves off the idea of the courtyard, a setting that has a reputation for having hosted some quite garish gatherings. And, eventually, we find ourselves in his office, a small room, simple, with white walls, a basic desk, and a couple of chairs. A place where, as far as I can tell, he takes his calls, handles his paperwork, and deals with the business side of the industry. There are no distractions here. Nothing ostentatious. It’s a place where glamour seems to be banned, and the realities of the creative world are dealt with.

In the midst of Hollywood’s unpredictable complexities, this small office seems like a sanctuary of simplicity. A place that feels direct. To the point. And, well, honest.




Interview

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So the point of this podcast, the whole point of this thing

Jamie Kennedy: yeah

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Is, this is about -  not necessarily the inspiration. This is about the perspiration.  Right. And the reason I gotta talk to you, is because you embody that.

Jamie Kennedy: hahahaha

Nicholas Ryan Howard: When I watch your comedy, there’s grit there. And..and there’s a history.

Jamie Kennedy: mmhmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And, uh, I’m wildly curious about your creative process. There’s this idea that like creativity and the creative process is this like beautiful thing.

Jamie Kennedy: ohhh

Nicholas Ryan Howard: it’s like this candy cloud

Jamie Kennedy: oh god! Hahahaha! No. It’s actually not. Um. The results of it are.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: But to get there is usually not easy. Insane. Uncomfortable. Unpredictable. You know there’s a great quote in The Social Network, a great fucking quote man, he says,’ if you would’ve wanted to make facebook, you would have made it.’ And that’s what it is. I can’t tell you anything other than that. It’s like, there’s so many people that say it...but it’s the follow through.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Jamie Kennedy: It’s the do it. It’s the maybe Larry Bird had a good jump shot, but you know, he’s always been reported to shoot the most 3’s in practice. You know, maybe Kobe had the most amount of skills on the team, but he’s always been reported the first to go, the last to leave. You know and same with LaBron. And they’re all different avenues of creative. Create..Sport is creative, painting is creative, music is creative, cooking is creative. It’s all forms of how you express your whatever it is...your muse. And the reason if somebody likes it is because you took your time to craft it and you took the time to put it out there.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: It’s an obsession.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmmhmmm yeah. Yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: Like you know. You’re at my house right now and it’s a little messy. And the reason is because I’ve had like a life change, and i’m changing a lot of things in my life with people and stuff, but the time to be creative in terms of getting your stuff out there is now...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmmm

Jamie Kennedy: and there’s all these different services and apps between Netflix and Hulu and Toobie and the PlutoTv and so I’m repurposing all my old content to make sure it gets out there, and I feel like some of my things I worked really hard on did not get out there. So for the last 15 years I’ve been fucking frustrated.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: And people are like, ‘Dude just focus on the new,’ and it’s like I will, and I have those lined up, but I can’t do that until I know all of my babies have proper homes.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: I can’t make you watch it

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: I can not make you buy it. I can not make you consume it. But I can put it so it is accessible to you

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s a huge part of the process that people don’t talk about I think enough or very often. Especially for people that are independent spirits and independent thinkers. The idea is the one thing, the perspiration and the creation of, of it is the second, but the third is the man hours and the sweat and the elbow grease that goes into giving your stuff a good home or putting it in the right place. That is a full time gig in and of itself. Am I ...am I wrong about that?

Jamie Kennedy: It’s huge.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: It’s huge. It’s like I did this special, my first special, Jamie Kennedy Unwashed. It’s not going to change the face of comedy by any means, but it’s within my brand, and you know, it was my first one. I was getting my sea legs. And people liked it. And I filmed it at San Jose, and it was a great week. And we independently did it. And we received the money, and listen, I made money on the special.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmnhmm

Jamie Kennedy: But, you know it only aired on TV twice, once at 8pm and once at 3am, and then all the dvds, there were 50,000 dvds, only 6,000 of them were sold. The rest were never placed. The company switched hands twice, you know, Chapter 11, all this stuff...so I bought all the old merchandise twelve years later. It took me a couple of years, and now I got with a guy, and now we put them out through Dollar General.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: And so I have 30,000 DVDs of a twelve year old, thirteen year old special that are gonna be on shelves. So when people are buying a pot or a pan or a bargain you know bin...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Jamie Kennedy: They’ll see it. I can’t make ‘em buy it but at least it’s out there.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Jamie Kennedy: And it’s like, I can at least go thank you -  and I just got it put on all these platforms, and all I can do is tweet about it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Jamie Kennedy: That’s it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmmhmm.

Jamie Kennedy: This is another thing. DO NOT...I want to tell people this...put your dreams in someone else’s hands.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmm

Jamie Kennedy: Because they’ll never care about them as much as you.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Would you trust someone to raise your baby? Probably not.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: And it’s...that’s...it’s..that’s a big part of now I’m in a good place, and now I’m just cleaning up a lot of messes, but just so many people do this for the wrong reason. You don’t pick it. It picks you. It’s obsession. It’s borderline psychoses. You have these things. Mozart probably wasn’t well balanced, but he couldn’t stop. You know John Lennon said “Imagine” hit him in the middle of the night, Stephanie Meyer wrote Twilight from a dream, she couldn’t stop writing...I don’t know, these are all different examples but it’s like, like, if I don’t get onstage sometimes, I start getting really irritable.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: So, that’s my thing and I feel better. I feel like I was of service.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: I think a lot of people, like friends, family, peers, colleagues, have trouble understanding from people that have a creative consciousness that like you don’t do it because it’s like a laugh, or it’s something you think will bring you fame or fortune. You do it because it’s in your DNA and it’s something inside you that’s hardwired, and you have to do it.

Jamie Kennedy: Yeah! Those who do it will do that.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: What is it...what does that...what does ...like...you have to do it. What is that? Do you know what that is?
Jamie Kennedy: It’s an uncomfortablity in your skin. It is a pull, it’s a calling...the thing keeps rising to the top. And then as you chip away and chip away at who you are, you’ll realize that, it’s always at the top. It’s the thing that gets you up. It’s the thing that doesn’t let you sleep. It is the...it’s your muse. I don’t know..it’s your...whatever your thing is. Whether you’re a drummer and you always catch yourself (drum roll sound) obsessively drumming and you become this great drummer, or if you move and you’re a dancer, whatever it is. For me I always wanted to perform in some facet. And then when I found acting, I was like, this is a great feeling of just being able to do it in front of people, and then found, found out with a camera, and I was like ok, it’s like it was recorded, logged, categorized, now it’s out there forever. I completed it, that’s a great feeling, but this thing doesn’t go away...this nagging whatever it is, and that’s why I started comedy because, I like, I have to keep doing it and I can not wait for other people, I can’t for holidays. I can’t wait for your child to get over his sickness. I can’t wait for your, you know, banker hour. I have to...and that’s what comedy lets you do. And that’s why I started. It’s on your terms.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: You can always write a joke. You can always edit your set. You can always, now, you can always put it out. So it’s that ...need to express.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: Whatever that is for me it’s, it’s ‘yo let me tell you this thing,’(email sent noise) let me put it out there, (email sent noise) you received it, (email sent noise), let me come and bring it out of me ...maybe I need this... the love, and to know I expelled it from my system? I don’t know. It could be many things. Whatever it is..it’s a feeling.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You’re this interesting challenge right, because comedians and people who do comedy, it’s so important that it looks effortless.

Jamie Kennedy: right.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm. That it looks like you’re, you rolled out of bed, you found your way to the stage, and the stuffis  just sort of just rollin’.

Jamie Kennedy: Yes

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And like, that’s an art, right? And there’s this misperception that you’re not working to have the best material and the best set that there is. That part that looks so casual and relaxed for your whole career right, your persona and your abilities are very much rooted in the natural. It looks like it’s so natural and free, and it’s like, you didn’t have to do anything. You just woke up, and you’re funny. But the truth I suspect is very different.

Jamie Kennedy:  There are a lot of people that look at comedy as  like (whiny voice) ‘oh you just got up there’

Nicholas Ryan Howard: right

Jamie Kennedy: (whiny voice) “and you just said that, and..’ Like when people say like , (whiny voice) ‘Could you just wing it?’  Yeah, like, I wing an hour and a half. I mean listen, could I wing a lot? Yeah sure. Do I have a lot of riffs? Of course I do. Do I have a lot of go-tos? A ton. Right? Do things happen? Yes. But it’s like...it’s, like complimentary, but also like, disrespecting at the same time. It’s basically like, (whiny voice) ‘oh, okay, anybody can do it,’ and it’s like, it’s weird. Like I had a lady recently ask me, uh, she said, (whiny voice) ‘hey before your shows, me and my husband would love to come out and buy you a couple drinks.’ Well A) I haven’t drank in a year, just because I’m being more focused, and B) I’m not going to drink before my job.

Nicholas Ryan Howard:  Right! Right, right.

Jamie Kennedy: It’s my fucking job. And she’s like (whiny voice) ‘Well I’m sorry, it’s just some comedians like to drink and they party.’ And I’m like ‘they can. You know. Some can. And some do it and they’re very good at it. So I understand that’, and I was a little..overshot my wad with her because I was like, look she’s right, there are people that do that, but I just feel like sometimes people think that all comedy is, is just a loose party. And it’s ...it’s not. It’s fucking war.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: right.

Jamie Kennedy: You gotta go out there, and have your bullets and your gun and you gotta be fucking interesting and funny, and thought provoking, and fucking good, and you have to do it in 15 minutes. But that’s what I’m saying. A comedy seems like...because everyone can laugh. And everyone thinks they can tell a joke...a lot of people do. So I think it’s like the least barrier-to-entry art form in people’s eyes, but it’s very difficult.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: And there’s a lot of pain that comes with it. And…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: What’s the pain that comes with it?

Jamie Kennedy: Oh my god dude, there’s fucking so much pain...it’s like..Comedy is the last fucking stop on the road before McDonalds and fucking..needles, dude. I’ve always been hyper. I’ve always been a little bit of a spaz. I’ve always been a little bit off. And I didn’t conform to the boxes that people wanted me to conform in and... I didn’t take it...so then I would rebel, and that would get me in trouble, but sometimes it would be entertaining to those who watched me rebel. Which then built up my confidence as a funny person. And then through time, you know, enough people were telling me this, and...well you gotta fucking do something, right? And then I started realizing, it’s like, you know, if I was in a restaurant I would get better service if I said something funny.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm.

Jamie Kennedy: A girl would like me if I made her laugh. Ummm...I would get better tips at my job if I said something funny. So it was reinforcing that over and over again, and it’s just like AI, self learning, okay maybe this funny thing on the mind of enough people... It wasn’t like I studied comics, although I loved them, it wasn’t like I had a dream of being a comic, it was that people told me ‘you gotta try it. You gotta try it. You gotta try it.’ And then I did. And then it went very well. And then it went very poorly. And then it continued to go very poorly. Because no one wants you. No...Everyone else wants it. They’re all going for the same bottle of water and there’s only one. Now times have changed, but when I started there was only one bottle of water and there’s a fucking hundred people trying to get a sip.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, yeah..

Jamie Kennedy: And so it’s like, nobody wants you. Oh great, fucking grab a broom asshole, like, sign up. And that’s ok. Because if it was easy then everybody would do it. But I had nothing else. And people say, ‘don’t you wanna, like, give it a try and then go back to your life?’ My life was nothing anyways.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: hahahahha

Jamie Kennedy: My life was not...so I was already at my...what am I gonna do - go to school? I wasn’t going to stay in school. NEVER! I think school was terrible for me. So no I was like, why not try it, and was right.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Well the first time I met you, you said something that, like, stuck with me. I’ll give you the interpretation first, and then I’ll tell you what you said. The interpretation I took was that ‘if you believe you have a voice, and believe you have the talent, you have to sort of demonstrate it, put it out there, and be your own advocate.’ That was my interpretation of the following thing that you said. ‘Hollywood doesn’t want you.’

Jamie Kennedy: mmhmm

Nicholas Ryan Howard: We were talking in the context of, like people who, who are really gunning for it and trying to be successful versus the people that are sort of aren’t putting in the real work to make it happen. That phrase really just stuck with me...that ‘Hollywood doesn’t want you.’

Jamie Kennedy: Yes.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Is my interpretation accurate?

Jamie Kennedy: Hollywood does not want you at all.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: Hollywood does not want anyone.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: yeah

Jamie Kennedy: Think of Hollywood as the girl at the party that everyone wants to take home. It has millions of choices. And it has it in every art form. Think about that. Acting, directing, writing, dancing...I don’t care...even fine art. Hollywood does not want you, it does not care about you, it does not need you. And so the first thing I would say is to anybody that embarks on the road...if you want to create, you can create in Toldeo, you can create in Tacoma, and you can do it for yourself, you can share it online, you don't need to come to Hollywood. But if you want to come to Hollywood, then you have to look at why because now you don’t have to. Everyone can make their own little movies. Everyone can make their own little songs. RIght? And you can put it up on SoundCloud, you can do this. If you come to Hollywood, that is because you want to get in the big pool, and you want to get in the game, and you want validation, and you want to test yourself amongst the best, or the perceived best. It doesn’t mean there’s not a great filmmaker in Peru that’s better than anybody. That’s probably ...who knows right? You never know! So like people have to have these opportunities. But if you do that, and you come, you have to be prepared that no one owes you fucking anything. No one knows your name. No one gives a fuck. No one cares. And I’m telling you man, whether people like that or not, believe it or not, I’ve bought four homes, all from money I made in Hollywood. I didn’t make my money as a plumber, ok. I’ve made millions, I’ve lost some millions. All in the sense of Hollywood. I’ve made some great things. I’ve made some terrible things; all in Hollywood. I’ve had great relationships professionally, I’ve had terrible relationships, but they’ve spurned great relationships personally, terrible relationships personally. It’s all within Hollywood. It’s not the town. Hollywood is beautiful. It’s the people it attracts. There is great people. There is wonderful people. And I love Hollywood. I love Hollywood, but I have a perspective on it. And I’ve also been through it. I’ve been squeezed and rubbed and hugged and spit at - all those different things. And people have these, these notions of like they’re owed something. And you have to prove it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mm

Jamie Kennedy: And I’m going to tell you something...listen man, I’ve been in Scream, ok. You can look at all the people I’ve worked with. I’ve been in movies with George Clooney, Will Smith, Brad Pitt. I’ve done my own movies in studios, like two, three, four movies that I’ve starred in. I’ve had a record deal. I’ve done comedy specials. I’ve produced seven shows that have been on network TV. I mean I’m not telling you to S my own D but what I’m saying is, I’ve done a lot. I’ve written a book. It’s been published by a New York publishing house. And I still have to audition for a guest spot on the thirtieth fucking season of CSI: Cleaveland. Is that my rep? Probably. Is that me playing the game with no ego? Yeah. Am I upset about it? No. It’s annoying sometimes that they just don’t say - and I do sometimes just get offers - I just got movie where I got a straight offer with great people, Jeremy Piven, Taryn Manning, Bruce Dern, Kathy Moriarty - I mean that’s a wonderful cast. So sometimes it is, but sometimes I have read. A lot of times I have to read. So, if I have all that experience, and I’m a member of SAG and AFTRA and the WGA and the PGA, and I still gotta go pick up sides at the guard gate, what the fuck’s going on with you?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: Now people can call me names, or people can really look at it. Go through my history. I’ve done a lot. I’ve done a ton. If I go into a supermarket, somebody will say ‘what’s up Jamie?’ I’m not saying anything...I’m just trying to do comparables.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: So if I am still out there having to be you know, ‘yo man you gotta play the game’, then I think people gotta realize that there’s a lot of people that gotta play the game.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: See I don’t get that from you - the takeaway that people shouldn’t do it, or that they can’t do it, the takeaway that I get is that you can...but you having to be willing to understand the realities of the business, and the realities of the work that goes into...

Jamie Kennedy: If you’re one of these people, or you heard anybody say. ‘Oh I give myself a year and if nothing happens then um…’ When somebody says that near you, take an old piece of fruit and throw it at their head. Because that’s just disrespectful, ok. It’s disrespectful to the process. Your heroes, just to name a few, Dustin Hoffman, was fifteen years in theater before he got The Graduate. Al Pacino I believe also fifteen years before he did Godfather. Gene Hackman - the people that raised me. Jack Nicholson, B Movies for fifteen years. And you have to love it. RIght, so, you have to love it. And you have to understand that you’re doing it because you have to do it. And there’s nothing else you can do. And you got to enjoy it. You gotta LOVE auditioning for, you know, a Pizza Hut commercial, and you gotta love if you don't get it. You gotta love that you're in the game. You gotta love that you’re close. And have ups and downs. And you gotta love auditioning for you know Disney Channel or an Indie or driving to the West Side through traffic  - and you gotta love - ‘cause it’s awesome. But you also have to love when people are talking bad about you. You don’t love it but it’s part of it. Or When people are talking good about you. So it’s like you won’t do it. It’ll do you. So many people don’t realize that. It will do you. You will be so fucking obsessed that you will not stop. Now, maybe there are people that aren’t like that. I’m only speaking through my system. I don’t know though.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: I don’t know. The people that you like...they’re probably obsessed.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: You’ve said, and I’ve never heard anyone say this before..that you still love it because you’re in the game.

Jamie Kennedy: YES!!! You’re in the game, dude! You’re IN the GAME. And that’s what it is. It’s about being able to get in those rooms. Having an agent or a manager that believes in you. Having a lawyer that believes in you. Having a casting director, you know, having a network, whatever, having a fellow actor, a writer, whatever, but you’re in the game. If you’re going against people that you see on TV, or that you see in movies, or see comedians that you recognize, or other singers, or….your IN THE GAME.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: You’re in the game. You have to know that we’re all a move away.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: The people that you like are probably obsessed. I, I, I could probably tell you that Joaquin Phoenix is probably obsessed. Okay? If you look at his performance in The Joker he probably wasn’t going home at 5 o’clock every day. And going to pilates, and then…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: heh

Jamie Kennedy: You know, getting a fucking, uh, hair appointment...NO! He was probably living that role uncomfortably for six to eight months. It probably took him a lot of time to decompress. The Rolling Stones Black Door album or whatever that album was where they filmed at that castle...there’s a lot of stories about how they just every day rolled out...that’s what it is man.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: But you know most people live and die by this. They need to create, but it’s also not something they need to create. That’s just a very small part of it. It’s the mommy issues. It’s the validation. It’s the love. It’s like why...I do it because I love the validation. I want to matter. I feel like this is where I matter the most. This is where people understand me the most, you know?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a...you can see it in the eyes, right?

Jamie Kennedy: Yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: There’s something in the eyes that say…

Jamie Kennedy: hahahaha

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It’s like a.. it’s almost like a…

Jamie Kennedy: What do my eyes say to you?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: There’s a, there’s a...your eyes say to me: you do it because there’s something deep inside.

Jamie Kennedy: Oh yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: I see...when I look in your eyes I see something way below that’s…

Jamie Kennedy: YES

Nicholas Ryan Howard: That’s primal...

Jamie Kennedy: YES

Nicholas Ryan Howard: And needs to come out..

Jamie Kennedy: YES! And I’m still chipping away at that.

Intermission

Welcome back to the show.

“Living uncomfortably.” Jamie used those words to describe the mental state of artists when working on a project. As we talked, those particular words hit me somewhere deep, and I reflected on my own mental state during this interview. How was I doing? Truthfully, I was uncomfortable in this house, in this chair, in this unfamiliar environment. On top of that, did I set the levels on my microphones accurately? How were their batteries holding up? Was pressing too hard in my line of inquiry? Or not pressing hard enough? That’s when something else hit me: For not feeling comfortable, I was still somehow completely relaxed. How could two people click so quickly, so effortlessly, and go straight into our most vulnerable truths?

My theory is this: It was because of a simple, but rare, connection that we both appeared to share. Here we were, two men vastly familiar with, and very used to, living uncomfortably for our crafts. The truth is, the creation of art—including working behind a microphone, in front of a camera, or on a stage—often means living uncomfortably. And getting accustomed to living uncomfortably. How was that even possible? At what point did he—and did I—embrace that way of living? I’m not sure. But I am certain that I read that in him, and I suspect that he read that same thing in me.

Let’s hear more.

Interview

Jamie Kennedy: When I was really poppin’...doing things, I realized I was happier doing a fifteen minute set in the Belly Room or the Lab in the Improv than I was, like, going to One Oak and listening to a DJ, not that you can’t do both, but what I’m saying is, even if I had done seventeen sets that week, I would feel better doing something in a little club - those are amazing clubs, but let’s just say...Like instead of going to the Superbowl, like I could go to, this upcoming Superbowl, I would much rather go to the club where I’m going...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: ..and do comedy. Where you will go, ‘oh the Superbowl’s a big event.’ Yeah, I’ll go sometime, but I have this great club….heh

Nicholas Ryan Howard: heh heh heh

Jamie Kennedy: ...and I want to do my jokes. Does that make sense?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: I’ve tossed away a lot of things that I....because I enjoy this more.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: It makes sense to me. It makes sense to you. I think it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.

Jamie Kennedy: Well, well, well, that’s because they’re not made for it. And that’s why they shouldn’t do it. And I’m not going to name names, but I’ve seen very successful people, much more successful than me, much more known than me, who I see, you know, at clubs, I see on the road, they have no reason to be there financially, they have no reason to be there for the career accolades…

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: They’ve done it all.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: And they’re still out there. WHY? It’s what they do.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: I guess it’s like we’re fucking fish

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: We breathe through our gills

Nicholas Ryan Howard:  I study the creative consciousness. One of the key tenets of the creative consciousness...and I think I might need to call it the Jamie Kennedy Superbowl Theory of this ….right?

Jamie Kennedy: You like that?

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Because, because I think it’s a great barometer. If you would rather go with your buddies to the Superbowl..

Jamie Kennedy: Yes

Nicholas Ryan Howard: ...than work on your craft, I think that is a good indicator...

Jamie Kennedy: Yes

Nicholas Ryan Howard:... that you may not have a creative consciousness. And by the way the goal isn’t for everyone to have a creative consciousness.

Jamie Kennedy: Yes...it’s such a good term, but it’s true. And that’s the Superbowl. Like I’ve...would rather go to a club and do jokes than go to a bunch of Superbowl Parties.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: And, there’s people that don’t even...would that they would do...would blow off everything for that. There are people that would blow off comedy to watch a college game. So yeah. So the Superbowl is something big...and I wouldn’t care.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: And so..Some people are so creative that you’d...they’d rather do a play on the night they might be up for an award

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Right.

Jamie Kennedy: Do you know what I mean. I mean like actually, some people make a statement, but some people just don’t even go to the award shows, because they’d rather just do an off broadway play or whatever...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah.

Jamie Kennedy:...I mean that’s pretty intense. But...what...you’re exactly right. I mean what...if this is easily pushed to the side, then there’s your answer. No one should try to put a circle in a square.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: You know and there are people that have had blessed lives, that have, that may have out kicked their coverage, and been blessed into it. There are some people like that, but, you know, I don’t know if comedy is the art form that is like that. I think that it requires massive amounts of work to be good. I don’t care how naturally funny you are.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: heh

Jamie Kennedy: So...but there have been people that maybe have been a model and been discovered, or discovered as an actor and been able to parlay that...maybe? But, listen, for the majority, you know the drill.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah

Jamie Kennedy: So if it’s not ...if it’s not calling you, then don’t do it. I mean it’s not ...I don’t know if it’s that...to say that...the great thing that we’re talking about here, the creative consciousness is like, you don’t have to give a warning. People will just fall off.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah...right, right.

Jamie Kennedy: A lot of people will try it...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: They’ll fall off.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. I think someone who is on that cusp of falling off because maybe they’ve bought into the things that it’s going to be effortless, that it’s going to be easy, that they’ll get their break, that creativity is the joyful thing: it’s always fun, maybe you just created a new artist because for the people that are on that cusp of falling off to hear it might not be sunshine and roses, but there’s grit, and there’s hard work, and there is eventually embracing that creative consciousness and just living into your craft.

Jamie Kennedy: It’s just not something to take lightly if you want to be successful at it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: And, it..it. you can’t take it lightly. Because I’m not giving advice. But I hope no one thinks I am. I’m just expressing my views, and I’m just telling them in my opinion, if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen. And it’s that simple. It’s like, because I’ve watched it. I’ve watched people die. I’ve watched people commit suicide. I’ve watched people be bitter. I’ve watched people become super successful.  I’ve watched myself..go through all different things. There’s a great saying, and Stanislovski, who’s like the original guy of all this stuff, but he says, ‘Enjoy the art in you, not yourself in art.’ What Stanislovski was saying, and what I see is in - it’s the people that are in the doing - it’s the DOERS. It’s the people in the arena, not the people hanging around them. Not the people that say stuff. Not the people that always talk about it. Get away from all that. That’s all toxicity. If you’re successful, and you’re in a movie, and you become a star, or you become respected, and you want to go to a premier, or you want to go to a party because of it, that’s great. You’ve earned that. But if you haven’t earned shit, then I don’t want to see your ass at a party or a club. If you say you want to do this, earn that shit before you start getting off the perks; and there’s a lot of people sucking off the perks who haven’t earned it. And what, why does that get my voice raised? Because there’s a lot of people that disrespect. That’s why I got mad at that. I was thinking about this the other day. It’s because there’s people out there that disrespect the hustle, because they have no idea, because they’ve never done it. And so their buddy may have blew up, and they’re fucking hanging off his balls, and they’re staying at his guest house, or their friend’s a big star and she’s lent them a car or two, I mean there’s all types of those stories, there’s all those types of stories of people, like there’s a person I know, I’m not going to say their name, who came up with a very successful person. Now, the person who’s successful now is wildly successful and is a face of American TV. And this person feels that that person was lucky because they started at the same time. NO!!!! That person was not lucky!! Her path was her path, and if you know who this person is, you can see all the work that she has done. (heh). And you have spent your whole life complaining that that person took your spot that was never there. This person made her own spot. Don’t be that person who’s complaining about it. Be the person that’s doing it. Be here to express your creativity and to get all the fun stuff out of it after you do that. But if you come to Hollywood to have a good time, and to laugh, good luck.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So, the name of this podcast is Of Tears and Blood because creatives shed their tears and blood in pursuit of their craft.

Jamie Kennedy: Yeah.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, right? You hear the phrase all the time: blood, sweat, and tears.

Jamie Kennedy: yep

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So, I’m going to ask you the questions that I ask every guest, something like this: tell me about the tears of sadness, tell me about the tears of joy, tell me about the blood of pain, tell me about the blood of passion.

Jamie Kennedy: (sigh) okay

Nicholas Ryan Howard: So first, can you tell me about the tears of pain?

Jamie Kennedy: I think the tears of pain - I’ll give you a real one. I think the tears of pain for me, one of them, was you know some people say about the roles they didn’t get or something they were so close on, I think the tears of pain for me is, you know, the role I did get. You know. I got the Son of the Mask, which was the sequel to the Jim Carrey movie and there was a lot of not doing it, and probably not gonna do it, not gonna do it, not gonna do it...and I was pursued very heavily for this. And I was very flattered and lucky to get the opportunity and when they finally said, ‘ok, we’re going to do it,’ it went horribly wrong, and we..we missed. AND there’s a lot of people in town that when they miss, you never see them again, and there’s a lot, there’s a few people in town that when they miss they get more chances, you know. I’m in the middle, you know, I’m around, but it wasn’t easy for me to keep going in film the way I had the same amount of power. And I think the tears of pain is that you know, the support group I had at that time, and the people that were around me, and the different studios and you know, my team and such...I’m not gonna say too much, but really didn’t say ‘ok, let;s fucking pick up these pieces and get back at it.’ You know, in my opinion, a lot of people ducked and ran for cover.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: hmm

Jamie Kennedy: And I’m out there holding the bag. And yes, I was compensated very well, but if I knew I was only going to be compensated, and not really used as much in my life as I wanted to be, maybe I wouldn’t have done that. So, that was an eye-opener.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, yeah.

Jamie Kennedy: That’s a tear of pain.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Tell me about the tears of joy.

Jamie Kennedy: Tears of joy, I was thinking of, you know, an idea or a character when you’re in your apartment, literally on Hollywood Boulevard, and it’s a studio, and it’s run down, and right off of Highland. And it’s the mid-nineties, and you start doing the character in your stand up and you know, you get with your friend and then you start writing out a script. And then you start getting more successful, and you try to sell this movie, and you almost set it up a couple of times independently, and it just doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. And you get more, and you take it to a studio, and then you pitch it, and they rework it, and you make the movie. And the movie is Malibu’s Most Wanted, and you stand at Mann’s Chinese, and you look at your name on the marquee, the same place where Clark Gable has stood, and your mother is with you. That’s a tear of joy. It’s incredible to see your name up there...

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmmhmm

Jamie Kennedy: It’s, you’ve made a mark. And it’s worth every Goddamn rejection, no, pain, missed Thanksgiving, missed party, whatever, it’s worth every...because you’re doing something that not a lot of people have done, and people are enjoying it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Tell me about the blood of pain.

Jamie Kennedy: Let’s just use a movie for example. Let’s just say you, you make a movie, and you’re really involved in the process of you know, maybe you’re helping produce it, you’re starring in it, you helped get the writers, you really, really have put so much effort in it. It’s taken a year, a year and a half of your life, and it comes out on a Friday, and by 2pm, which is 11am West coast time, they’re telling you that your movie’s tanked.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: mmm

Jamie Kennedy: Because the, the matinees on the East coast aren’t doing great. And they can project that you have shit. That’s the blood of pain, because you’ve put so much into it. I’ve done that a couple times...and that’s, God, that will send you deep, deep down a spiral. And you’ll just have to just sit there for a while, and the only thing you can do is - eventually see that other people go through it. But that could send people definitely off a cliff.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah. On the other end of the spectrum, the last question - will you tell me about the blood of passion?

Jamie Kennedy: The blood of passion is seeing something through, like, you know, I’m doing that now with a movie that I bought fourteen years ago. I’m gonna get it made. So that one. But let’s just take a thing I did...Heckler, I did this documentary, and it was all about heckling and criticism, and I didn’t have to make it. But, it was making me. I invested my time, my money, crew...I kept doing it and doing it...and it was literally a movie I was making - it was just how I was feeling. And I was just so passionate to find out what makes people, you know, not not like you, but HATE you or just constantly want to take you down. Constantly, I was fascinated by it. And I was, you know, made it, and I couldn't stop making it. It got into a lot of film festivals, and you know, it was pretty well received. And you know, it did ok, and it was...was the kind of thing that people...it sticks around; people will talk about. And it was purely made by itself. Meaning it kept coming up in me that I gotta do it.

Nicholas Ryan Howard: Yeah, yeah. Then, unless there’s anything after that, we are complete my friend.

Jamie Kennedy: (hahaha) I think it’s good. I mean yeah, I was pretty honest with you.

Nicholas Ryan Howard:Dude.. Then I will stop the rolling. Thank you so much.

Jamie Kennedy: Thank you, dude!

Conclusion

When the interview was done, I didn’t take off right away. He and I hung for a bit. I took his portrait in front of some art. When he mentioned one of his computers was on the fritz, I dug in to give it a diagnosis (I’m a tech nerd, I can never help myself). We geeked out over some audio gadgets—he was gearing up to start recording his own podcast, which he has since launched and released long before mine, totally lapping me in the process. But throughout the evening, I couldn’t stop reflecting on that idea of living uncomfortably. How just outside the door was Hollywood, an entire city built upon living this way. Uncomfortable bartenders penning screenplays. Uncomfortable servers taking acting classes. Uncomfortable baristas hitting every open mic night. Uncomfortable authors, like me, recording podcasts. And uncomfortable entertainment icons, like Jamie, pushing the limits day after day.

Now, when I finally did depart, I savored the view from the house’s hillside perch. The sparkling city lights. The trees dotting the landscape. The famous Hollywood sign that never gets old to look at. And, the irony wasn’t lost on me… the irony that the view of Hollywood, from high up, is gorgeous. But to love it means that one must be comfortable… with dangerous heights.


Credits

A huge thank you to my guest, Jamie Kennedy. And a very special thanks to Perri Cohn, Elyssa Mai, and Jamie’s wonderful publicist, Carrie Wick.

Before you go, I have a question for you. Are you feeling stuck creatively? Do you feel trapped and can’t seem to break through into the realms that you dream of? If so… I get it. I really do. We’ve all been there.

But… maybe I can help. Here’s what I suggest. Drop me a line by going to oftearsandblood.com/sharing. Feel free to vent, express yourself, or ask questions directly to me, and I’ll do my best to get back to you with some guidance, or words of support. It is always my pleasure to be of service to those in need.

Again, that link is oftearsandblood.com/sharing. I hope to hear from you soon.

And now, some acknowledgments:

Music is by Glitbiter. (music plays) You can hear more, including the full theme song to this show, at Glitbiter.com

Cover art portrait by Madena Koybaeva. To see more of her work, follow @madena.art on Instagram.

The producers for this episode have been Perri Cohn and Rosa Nadine Xochimilco Gevaux.

Special thanks to SabineTek. The interview you heard was recorded using their SmartMike+ wireless microphones.

Sound engineering by Karen Yee.

For more about the show, please visit OfTearsAndBlood.com, or follow @OfTearsAndBlood on social media.

You can learn more about me by following @NicholasRyanH on social media, or by going to NicholasRyanH.com.

Thank you again for listening, and thank you if you’re spreading the word about the show. Every time you tell a friend about it, it means so much to me, you have no idea.

This has been "Of Tears and Blood." Created by Nicholas Ryan Howard.