IMG_8899

I had a great time speaking at Viacom this week on a panel on podcasting for the Junior Hollywood Radio and Television Society. I’ve been wanting to speak on a panel for a while, so I jumped at this opportunity, and it was just as fun as I had hoped.

My fellow panelists were super funny and there were so many laughs. I loved talking about how podcasting is an awesome way that artists can make a living, have a ton of fun, and do things their own way, with total artistic freedom. And I really loved talking to young people who are interested in starting their own podcasts and just needed a little encouragement and guidance.

Even though I have a lot of fun working on the RISK! podcast, and I do it mainly in my pajamas, I really have learned a TON about running a business, podcasting, working in entertainment, managing employees, creating the life I want, and making a great show, and it’s awesome to feel that that knowledge is valuable and powerful and can inspire others to build something awesome of their own and thrive on their own terms.

Thanks to Junior Hollywood Radio and Television Society for having me, and I can’t wait to speak at more events and inspire more people to do what they love!

SEPH - a new play by Tori Keenan-Zelt

A few weeks ago, my good friend Anna Haas asked if I could jump into a play she wrote the music for, and I happily said yes. That’s how I ended up in the Greek Chorus of the off-Broadway play SEPH, which, it turns out, was written by my Harvard ’06 classmate, Tori Keenan-Zelt! You can see me and the rest of the chorus above, belting our hearts out and making paper bird puppets fly.

It was great to be on stage again, and I hope it’s not another ten years before I do some theater, because it’s still a ton of fun!

jc-as-dr-flamingo-p-king-ducklingjc-as-hippo-p-king-ducklingp-king-duckling-jc-cassis-as-dr-flamingo-creditp-king-duckling-jc-cassis-hippo-voice-credit

I’m happy to announce that I played two voice roles on Disney Junior’s adorable new show, P. King Duckling! I was Hippo in Season 1, Episode 10, “Wombat and the Hilly Boyz,” and Dr. Flamingo in Season 1, Episode 13, “Wombat Has Fleas!”

You can watch both episodes on DisneyJunior.com when you click “Watch” and then find P.King Duckling and sign in with your cable provider. Enjoy!

Ok, so this just happened. I walk out of the subway station and briefly catch eyes with a guy who’s standing on the corner trying to catch people’s eyes for some reason. I look away and keep going. He comes toward me and we have the following exchange:

Guy: I like you!

Me: Thanks! (I keep walking.)

Guy: (following me) I like you!

Me: Ok. (I keep walking)

Guy: (walking beside me) I LIKE you!

Me: Ok, thanks. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (Getting slightly in front of me) I LIKE you!!!!

Me: Ok. I’m trying to get home. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (still walking right near me, trying to get me to stop or turn to him) I LIKE you! I think he likes you, too! (points to another, bigger guy, who’s also standing on the street doing nothing)

Me: Ok, I appreciate that. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (Touching my elbow) I LIKE you!

Me: Ok. (I take a step back and go around him and keep walking)

Guy: (Touching my other elbow and walking with me) I LIKE you! (He gets a look in his eye like he’s starting to get offended that I’m not giving him whatever he wants.)

Me: (getting really fucking pissed that this fuckface thinks he can not only insist on talking to a stranger in a hurry in New York fucking City but also fucking TOUCH me and then TOUCH me again and just assume that I’m not gonna fucking annihilate him, but also trying to figure out how to get out of this situation without starting a fight, while also standing up for myself and not taking this shit) You’re invading my personal space. (I keep walking.)

Guy: (starting to look like a sad little puppy) I LIKE you!

Me: You’re invading my personal space. (I keep walking.)

Finally, he gives up. I walk away, checking behind me every few steps to see if he’s following me or what he’s doing. I can’t see him anymore. I get home and watch the door of my lobby to see if he’s followed me until I get in the elevator. I have a couple of things to say about this:

1. Fuck that guy.

2. What the fuck was that about? Is saying “I like you” over and over again the new way to start an abduction, rape, murder, or sale of an indie rap CD?

3. If I hadn’t been afraid of something bad happening, I would have liked to have said, “Dude, do you know how many people I’ve fucking “liked” that haven’t liked me back?! People aren’t gonna like you just cuz you say you like them! Life is shitty and unfair and nobody owes you shit and nobody you like will ever like you back because there’s a design flaw in the way attraction works, but we have to just make peace with that and find other ways to be happy! Also, I’m not some dumb tourist who’s gonna talk to you! I’ve lived in this fucking city in this fucking neighborhood all my life and I know how this shit works! I don’t talk to fucking strange men who harass me on the street! I don’t stop walking, I don’t give you my number, and I’m never gonna see you again! And you’re not gonna kill me, rape me, sell me something or get me to go anywhere! You’re gonna FUCK OFF. I’ve lived in this city my whole fucking life and I’m not gonna die on these streets because of some idiot like you! I’m gonna die on my own terms, probably of cancer, when I’m old as shit! So get the fuck out of my face and find effective ways to get whatever the fuck it is you’re missing in your life. And learn the #1 rule of New York City, which is leave other people the FUCK alone!!!”

4. I am so grateful that I’ve gotten to the point in my life where I can just diffuse these situations and get out of them unscathed. I can do it without upsetting or hurting anyone, without getting emotional, without escalating, and while still standing up for myself and making the bad behavior stop. I wish everyone knew how to do this.

5. Guys like this really, really have to fucking stop doing this shit.

Fuck. Shit. Diffuse. Victory. New York life.

Yesterday, I got a text from my friend Melissa, who has my two favorite dogs in the world (other than my dog), Rufus and Macey, who are Italian Greyhounds. Rufus is a timid, skinny little man who is so light that when he jumps onto a couch, he floats as if he’s in an old timey cartoon. Macey is a butch, barrel-chested lesbian who eats garbage such as used tampons and diapers for pleasure and seems to have no soul except when she smiles or nuzzles her head into you. Both of them are pretty old and have tons of health problems.

I got a text from Melissa saying that after battling cancer for months, Rufus had finally collapsed and died on her kitchen floor after cuddling on her chest one last time. Rufus was the single cutest, most lovable dog in the world. His face could have made Kim Jong Un embrace democracy and a representative government of the people. I used to say that when Rufus died, I would die, because I loved him so fucking much that I didn’t want to live in a world where he was dead. Of course I was exaggerating, but I still hated that he was sick and going to die. So when I got this text, I called Melissa right away.

Me: Hey man, I’m so sorry about Rufus.

Melissa: I know, I know, it’s so sad. But I can’t really talk right now because I’m trying to get rid of the body.

Me: Hey! Just because he was an ITALIAN greyhound doesn’t mean you can talk like a mobster! Stop saying you’re trying to get rid of the body! And what do you mean? What are you doing with him?

Melissa: Well, the law is that you have to put him in a plastic bag marked “dead animal” and throw him in the garbage.

Me: Jesus Christ, you’re throwing him in the fucking garbage?! What kind of a monster are you?! And you can’t throw him away before your daughter and husband get to say goodbye to him!

Melissa: You know, you’re right, I probably should wait and give them a chance to say goodbye. But I’m not going to cremate him because I can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on getting him cremated when that money could go toward Syrian refugees.

Me: …You are one of a kind. Hang on to him. I have to come say goodbye myself.

An hour and a half later, I was at her apartment. Rufus’ body was in a shoe box by the door. I was fine at first, but when I saw Macey, I started to cry, because I hated the thought of her being sad about losing her life partner. Then I opened the box and looked at Rufus and cried some more.

Melissa: Is he definitely dead?

Me: I know he’s dead because he’s not running away from me like usual. The only way he’ll let me pet him is if he’s fucking dead.

We started to laugh. I stroked his pronounced cheekbone and his neck that was softer than angel breath and his crinkly little ear, and looked into his sad, sunken, dead eye. My tears dripped onto my pants.

Melissa: Does he smell?

Me: Yeah, a little. He smells like cookies and death.

We laughed again. Melissa put on sad, appropriate songs, like “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye to Yesterday” by Boyz II Men. Her 6 year old daughter, Bea, said, “Stop playing sad songs. Let’s play some happy songs, like Shake It Off by Taylor Swift.”

Me: We can’t play Shake It Off right now, that’s crazy! What are we supposed to do, shake off our favorite dog’s death?! That’s not what that song is about. But I guess if we changed the lyrics, like…

Cuz the doggie’s gonna die die die die die
And the family’s gonna cry cry cry cry cry
Now it’s time to say good bye bye bye bye bye
Shake it off! Shake it off!

We all laughed. Greg, Melissa’s husband, came home, and soon it was time to take Rufus’ body away.

Melissa: We should sing a song to say goodbye to him.

Me: I can play “Seasons of Love” on the piano!

Melissa: Let’s do it!

Then the four of us, me, Melissa, Greg and Bea, sang Seasons of Love as a farewell to Rufus. “525,600 minutes! 525,000 moments so dear…let’s celebrate, remember a year in the life of friends. Remember the love..” And it was beautiful and sounded great and we harmonized. And when we were done, we laughed. We laughed at being the kind of people who sing a song from RENT for a dead dog to say goodbye. We laughed at how much this dog meant to all of us. We laughed because there was a lot of great humor on this sad occasion. And because we laughed, because we played, because we saw the humor in the horror, we made it through. Goodbye, Rufus. We loved you so much.