“I’m addicted to placebos. I could quit but it wouldn’t matter.”
I know I don’t usually do this and I apologize in advance because this post has very little to do with filmmaking, but… well… I guess I can make a case for it being somehow related. My grandmother occasionally asks me where I get my ideas from, and I never really know the answer. But they come about when I am in a particular mindset, and I can be reliably transported there by Steven Wright, a man with whom I am honored to share my birthday (not like that discombobulated no-account Dave Brubeck), a man who is one of the few remaining true American geniuses. To call him a stand-up comedian seems to somehow diminish him. Instead I prefer to think of him as a surrealist Robert Frost, or possibly Salvador Dalí on horse tranquilizers.
“…I said ‘take off your shoes’ and he said ‘what do you think?’ and I said ‘I don’t know, I’ve seen bigger feet on a bird.’ Then he started dancing really fast and whistling really loud. Then I left.”
Steven Wright put out his first album, I Have A Pony, in 1985. Befitting his comic timing, he put out his second album, I Still Have A Pony, 22 years later. I’m listening to I Still Have A Pony right now, and it is perhaps the funniest thing I have seen, heard, or read in years. Remember that weird guy you saw on the bus the other day? Imagine what it would be like to sit down next to him and have a conversation about birds and hitchhikers and lighter fluid and canned peas, and that should give you a pretty good idea of what this album is like to experience.
But why not just experience it yourself? Now is a perfect time to try out Amazon’s new music download service, because you can get the entire album in high-quality DRM-free MP3s for nine dollars right here.
“If worst comes to worst we’re screwed.”
Fun fact: Steven wright is perhaps the most unlikely Oscar®-winner in the history of the Academy. He won for co-writing and acting in the 1989 short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings. He also wrote and directed the poetic, funny, sometimes-macabre short film One Soldier (1999), which is itself packed full of terrific lines like, “I hope I’m not dead because I have a lot more woodworking to do.”