21 Questions with Tom SimmonsBy Tom Simmons
January 08, 2011
Please explain what just happened.
I was playing Nintendo 64 College Basketball with my five year old son. I was Kentucky and I dominated Utah. I got him this Nintendo because I helped a guy move and he gave me the entire unit and about twenty games.
What is your earliest memory?
I was maybe four and gave my little sister Jennifer a rubber band to play with in her crib. She had it wrapped around her finger a bunch and it was turning an awful blue color. Someone in the family saw it and there was general chaos in the house for many minutes.
Or maybe it was the time I wrote all over the walls and stuff with a permanent marker and my mother was super furious… beat your ass with a wooden spoon furious. She yelled, “What is THIS?”
“It says I love you mommy,” I said. Then there was a moved heart that couldn’t possibly punish me. So I guess my earliest memory is using others’ emotions to get myself out of trouble.
If you weren’t a comedian, what other profession would you choose?
I have no idea what I would be. Believe me, being a comedian and living this business, I have asked myself that a number of times. I can think of nothing except what I was doing before — running my own landscaping business or working in a restaurant. I hope it never comes to that.
Describe a typical work day.
I get up super early, or what most people call a reasonable hour, go to the hotel lobby and get picked up to do morning radio. I go to the station, promote the shows that week, then go back to hotel room and write for a couple hours. I take a nap. I make phone calls to friends and other comedy writers, then get ready for the show. Finally I go perform, sell my merchandise, hang out for a while, and then go back to hotel room to watch television and write some more.
Is there a time you wish you’d lied?
Not that I can think of. I wish there was more times that I had not.
What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time and have a conversation with yourself at age thirteen?
Hey, itʼs me/you in many many years. Yes it is. Remember the first time you touched yourself to that Cheryl Tiegs picture in Sports Illustrated? See I told you it was you. Computers are not a fad, learn about them. Stop being shy. It works now and people think it is cute but it will really hurt you with girls in the future. Don’t drink. You are a drunk who can’t handle it. Work harder and save your money better.
If you could have only one album to get you through a breakup, what would it be?
Whichever one was her favorite. I would keep it just so she couldn’t have it.
What are three websites—other than your email—that you check on a daily basis?
Facebook, Atlantabraves.com, Google News.
From what or whom do you derive your greatest inspiration?
My inspiration comes only from going to the page and writing. If I can make myself get there, then the inspiration usually comes. I am inspired by random things. A performance by Rage Against the Machine, an interview with Springsteen, whatever book I am currently reading.
Name three books that have impacted your life.
A Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King Jr. definitely affected the father that I am to my son.Lately though, I would say it has been Collapse by Michael Ruppert and The Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins.
I don’t recommend the Fed book — it is a painfully slow read — but it made me aware of a thing I didn’t even know existed and one that seems insane to me, so it sent me off on this weird path of reading and comedy writing. I never realized that money was just made up and owned by a small group of powerful bankers. It was like in my twenties when I realized that God wasn’t real… or at least my view and beliefs weren’t.
If you could relive one moment over and over again, what would it be?
The four days I spent with my wife Serena when we first got together and fell in love.
How are you six degrees from Kevin Bacon?
I am not. I don’t even like regular bacon.
What makes you feel most guilty?
Not reaching my potential or working hard enough and not being a good father and preparing my son or family for the collapse I know is coming or the revolution that will need him.
How do you incorporate the work of other artists into your own?
Are you calling me a thief? I think that I just observe and absorb from them. I am inspired by them to try to reach higher and care more. I am informed by them, humbled by them, and shown doors by them.
Please explain the motivation/inspiration behind organizing the Aspen Comedy Festival next March.
This idea began many years ago. A month or so after 9/11 happened I got together for a month with three other great comics and we had a comedy camp of sorts where we wrote every day, worked on jokes, and hung out. And that’s the idea behind this week of comedy – to get a bunch of comics together that I admire and can laugh at, comics that inspire me to be better.
I want to make it non-competitive and just about all of us being both on and off stage together talking about this crazy thing that we do and love. I have always wanted to change the world with jokes. I don’t think that is going to happen, but this week, at least, will be full of comics that will make me work towards it.
What is the best advice you’ve ever given to someone else?
I told an open miker I worked with that he should watch comics and realize that the guys who are killing onstage are hardly ever the best comedians.
List your favorite in the following categories: Comedian, Musician, Author, Actor.
Bill Hicks. Dave Matthews, Richard Bach, and Bill Murray or Johnny Depp.
If you had complete creative license and an unlimited budget, what would your next project be?
I’d like to make a documentary that examines the parallels between addiction in individuals and the addiction that our country/society has to oil. I want to look at the consequences of this addiction and what we can expect to happen. I’d interview experts in the drug rehab field, in sociology, in the study of peak oil, and the leaders of the country and energy industry who continue to push this “drug” on us. I would also incorporate comedians, social critics, and addicts to keep it informative, interesting and funny.
What do you want to know?
How to stay constantly connected to the version of me that is my highest self, the one that cares about people, that lets art and ideas flow through me to the page… and I want to know why the masses prefer the comedy of Jeff Dunham over so many greats.
What would you like your last words to be?
Wow, this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
Please explain what will happen.
The use of oil will be become destructive not just to the planet but to the culture and the economy.People will become aware of the fact that they are being fucked by the few and will then promptly change the channel and do nothing. Citizens will have to work harder and harder for less and less. Eventually the entire system will collapse because growth and consumption are just not sustainable… then we will evolve somehow into a greater humanity that lives with one another and the real world we are a piece of.
Or, we will destroy ourselves and leave the planets to the insects… and those motherfuckers ainʼt funny.
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