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Review of ARIYNBF in The A.V. Club

The Onion’s A.V. Club reviewed Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend and I couldn’t be happier. I am truly humbled, and by that I mean I’m very full of myself. Here’s the review:

NEW (TO US)

Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend

Dick Cavett is fond of quoting Jack Paar’s comment about how the ideal talk-show appearance should be a genuine conversation rather than a scripted and controlled Q&A. Cavett embodied that advice on his television talk show, and the cream of the current crop of podcasters share Paar and Cavett’s commitment to advancing the lost art of conversation. Among them is Alison Rosen, the newsgirl on the wildly popular podcast The Adam Carolla Show and the host of her own Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend on Carolla’s podcasting network.

Pete Holmes was the first guest on Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend and Rosen has appeared as a guest on You Made It Weird, which is fitting, since the podcasts have a lot in common. Rosen and Holmes both combine big personalities with genuine curiosity about both their guests and the world around them. On Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend, Rosen exposes her neuroses, anxieties, and insecurities in a way that never overshadows her guests. The latest episode features Greg Proops, a popular presence in podcasting as both a host and a guest, but Rosen gleans some new insights from the familiar face and effete voice. Proops is loose and lively as he discusses how he’s able to not just function but thrive while being essentially high all the time, shares the rare stoner anecdotes of genuine interest to people other than those involved, and examines the ego-threatening perils of reading comments on the Internet. In the best Cavett/Paar tradition, this is a true meeting of complementary minds. [NR]

–The A.V. Club

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I had a temper tantrum in my head and other sad junk

Oh hi. Today I feel pent up and miserable and I’m angry at people for no good reason and I feel like I’m having a tiny temper tantrum in my head which is fine except I’m too old for temper tantrums and it’s a fairly unpleasant feeling. I took a shower earlier hoping to wash it away but I was mad at the way the water came out of the shower head. Now I’m writing about it here hoping to put some of it somewhere instead of all of it everywhere. I think the most unsettling part is that my emotions are so disconnected from my thoughts right now. Except for the asshole of a shower head, none of the targets of my cranky anger are deserving, at least not for any reason I know. I think I’m just mad. At everything. And at nothing. But more at everything.

And perhaps it’s hormonal because I think I’m pre-menstrual. And that makes me mad because of all the complications to my cycle from endometriosis which is a whole big thing which is out of my control and which involves  other people telling me I HAVE to do this (have surgery) or HAVE to do that (take hormones) and I HATE anyone telling me I HAVE to do anything.

But I don’t really even think it’s that. I don’t know WHAT it is.

And I spent time yesterday trying to list in my head all the things I’m grateful for. And there’s a lot. But I’m also in a whiny irritable shitty mood and I’d rather focus on the pile of bullshit sitting on my ottoman that I’ve been thinking I need to go through and clean up (in fact I wrote it down on my to do list) instead of the good things. But I don’t want to actually go through it. I just want to hate it.

And I’m thirsty and there is a drink sitting two feet away from me but I don’t want to drink it, I just want to feel sorry for myself that I’m thirsty and angry that I’m feeling this way.

Okay, the actual thirst just overtook the metaphorical thirst.

I spent last Saturday at the hospital with my parents because my dad was experiencing atrial fibrillation which is where your heart starts beating erratically. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s something that needs to be treated with either a big jolt of electricity or drugs. In some cases the heart will correct itself. The emergency room opted for the electricity which involved sedating my dad until he was asleep and then giving him a jolt that would cause the heart to contract and then begin beating normally. Like restarting a computer.

I’m not someone who likes to see people altered–I don’t enjoy seeing them drunk or on drugs or basically suffering anything that changes the person’s fundamental boundaries/awareness and so I probably should have left the room as they were sedating my dad because–and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this–people become chatty and uncensored as the layers of higher brain function are peeled back, ultimately revealing the person’s undefended core. I should say that my dad didn’t say anything nuts or weird–it wasn’t like that. Instead he talked, with increased slurring and enthusiasm, about where he was born, about the food in Brooklyn, about an anaesthesiologist he thought was fantastic because he “didn’t pay attention to the rules.” The doctors and nurses in the room were only half-listening, murmuring an occasional “uh-huh,” just waiting for the drugs to take effect enough to go through with the procedure. I was nervously hanging on every word though, wondering where it was going to go, preemptively embarrassed and uneasy.

I felt sorry for my dad and sad that he’d been chemically reduced to a state where no one was listening, where he was an old man rambling about the past, mentioning names of people he loved and telling stories about what they were going through, names which held meaning for him and for my mom and me but may as well have been imaginary friends to the doctors and nurses. “He keeps talking about someone named Shelly,” you could imagine them thinking.

Though I’m growing to accept the increasing frailties that come with age, I’m still not ready to see a parent half naked on a gurney with big adhesive paddles stuck to both sides of the chest, tubes everywhere, pawing at the seemingly uncomfortable blood pressure cuff (the result was about 7 people quickly admonishing  him as you would a wandering drunk you ordered to stay in a chair), disconnected from reality enough that instead of addressing the actual situation (the closest he got was at one point announcing, “I forgot I was in the hospital. I had a dream I was fishing!”) he was instead taking disinterested listeners on a trip down memory lane. In the same way that a scrapbook holds significance for the person who keeps it and their loved ones but likely leaves strangers cold, in the same way it’s ultimately just a collection of ticket stubs and pressed flowers and yellowed newspaper clippings which, divorced of their context, are just so much paper– just so much energy–so too are the memories kicked up by a brain that’s under duress. And though you see countless YouTube videos documenting people coming in and out of anesthesia, for some reason, to me, it’s just unbearably sad. People, in their most vulnerable state, clinging to their collections of prize memories, associations and names, to me are just unbearably sad.

Perhaps most shocking was that after they’d administered the final dose of anesthetic, when the slurring was most intense, when he’d already announced “it’s working” and let his head fall back for a few beats, his jaw rhythmically opening and shutting in his closed mouth as if he was dreaming he was eating a hamburger, he popped back up to talk some more and said two perfectly formed sentences about his love and concern for his family. Beyond the chatter about where he interned as a young doctor, the food in Brooklyn, the hospital where he was born, beyond all of that, at his most naked and reduced, was this very real and raw statement about what’s weighing on him and what matters to him.

And even though there’s nothing tragic on the face of it, it’s actually kind of sweet, every time I think about it I end up crying.

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See me perform live at Meltdown Comics. TONIGHT!

Oh hi! I will be doing my podcast LIVE at Meltdown Comics tonight and I hope you’ll come if you’re a nice person who enjoys laughing and having an amazing time.

My guests are Paul Gilmartin and Michael Rosas. I just call him Mike but I think he’s trying out this Michael thing which he’s been trying out for over 10 years. By trying out I mean that’s what he goes by. As in, his name is really Michael and everyone calls him that but when I met him he was Mike and now I’m that asshole who can’t call him by his real name because my brain is like cement that has set already. You know, but totally open and flexible. I’m just going to call him Jeff.

Also Producer Gary and Dustin will be on stage. We’re like a ska band but without horns.

Ok, see you there!

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Here I am on Red Eye

While in New York I appeared on a show I used to frequently guest on, Red Eye. It was super fun and made me miss the old days, though I love the new days. I just wrote a couple more sentences and deleted them. Anyway! I found this video online of the recent Red Eye episode. Also, unrelated:  Adam Carolla is getting some guff because of recent comments he made about women not being all that funny. I know he thinks I’m funny so therefore I’ve deduced he doesn’t think I’m a woman.

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