May 25, 2021

Jacob Richmond

Jacob Richmond

This week on a very special episode of Friendless, I unfriend the incomparable playwright and co-creator of Atomic Vaudeville and Ride the Cyclone, Jacob Richmond!

Jacob and I discuss the first time he was naked on the stage, the first time I was naked on stage, the comedy of male nudity on stage, and so much more!

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Transcript
James Avramenko:

Friendless is a proud member of the Saskatchewan Podcast Network which is sponsored in part by Conexus credit union and Directwest. Hey there my sweeties welcome back to a brand new episode of friendless The only podcast about how to be a better friend by losing every friend you've ever made. I am as always your host James Avramenko. back once again to ask what it means to be a good friend. And whether or not I've been one. This week is an incredibly special episode I have on the show playwright, actor and co creator of atomic vaudeville and the Smash Hit ride the cyclone, Jacob mother fuckin Richmond, Jacob and I talk about all sorts of fun things, including the first time he was naked on stage. First time I was naked on stage, the comedy of men naked on stage, and so much more. We don't really focus on the nudity as much as maybe selling it but like it's a great episode either way. I just I want to say thank you so much to Jake for coming on the show. It meant so much to me. And I think you're gonna love it. So why don't we just jump right in straight away. So I encourage you to lay back get comfy and turn up the volume so you can enjoy my interview with the income parable Jacob Richmond here on friendless. So Jacob Richmond Holy shit. Um, I am trying something new with this show. And I want to just dive right into a couple questions I have for you. So just to get the the like the memory balls rolling. I want to ask you what is your most vivid memory of our friendship?

Jacob Richmond:

Well, I mean, as I remember, because of course you and I met through Phoenix theatre and and also you did a lot of atomic vaudeville with you and Scotty and you, Jay Mitchell. And then there was one other guy that I was trying to remember his name. Yeah, he was part of your whole crew there. There was one other guy I forget. Yeah. But I think and this is during because the biggest I mean of course atomic vaudeville was kind of like a political cabaret kind of I've been doing for 15 years and So I remember kind of I think it was like during the Bush presidency, just right at the tail end of it. And Britt small was playing Satan, right? She's just this woman who sits, sits around and watches Coronation Street. Yeah, and then the only way to get rid of Satan was balls out patriotism. So you guys all came out and just kind of just showed your balls on stage? Yeah, that's right. Some kind of, to some jingoistic song or something.

James Avramenko:

There was like, it was like, Yeah, I think it was, you know what he was, um, it was a, it was Elvis singing Amazing Grace. It was like him, or like, America, the beautiful or something like that. Beautiful.

Jacob Richmond:

Right. And yeah, and in the audience and absolutely nuts. Right. Because with vaudeville, we always had this strict kind of, we could exploit men's sexuality. And yeah, we want to you know, kind of turn the table a little bit, right. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Well, and that was always that was the thing that really like, inspired me when I first joined up with you guys. And and because I, I had always thought male nudity was really funny. And then you guys were like, yeah, yeah, go ahead, go do it. You know, and I was like, Yeah, my time to shine, right? These fucking things. They're ridiculous. You know? Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

And I remember there was an actor in that bit. I won't name them. But yeah, he said, he said, Yeah, I'm not going to show my balls onstage. Yeah. And, and I was like, I just saw you in a show where you showed your penis on stage. And he said, but the lighting was tasteful. Right. So yeah, it's a question of how tasteful the lighting is right?

James Avramenko:

That VC the VC lighting is pretty pretty aggressive you know, but yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

well it's yeah it's pretty unforgiving. It's like it was like just like to kind of you know, is and also a follow spot right. So So yeah. Yeah, yeah. The brightest light you could shine on anyone's junk Yeah, so But yeah, that's my kind of first memory of a memory that's three nine states but I think like yeah, for those how many like you did you hung out like for a couple summers thing?

James Avramenko:

I was there for a couple years. Yeah, I think I started because my very first one was the the Warriors episode. Yeah, yeah. I had so much fun. And, and then I left summer 20 2010. So I think I probably did about two maybe three years with you guys. Yeah three years yeah, yeah and yeah I it culminated in I got my like, at the time my like life's goal of getting to host an episode of vaudeville with it was me and Justine and you had cooked up this idea that we were going to do a bed in for apathy. And oh yeah. We're gonna sit around to do apathy was Yeah. Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Are you anti apathy or pro yet? No, you were anti apathy. Exactly. Yeah. You guys were in bed all the time.

James Avramenko:

And you had Yeah, you had me. like a like a john and Yoko thing. We set up a bed at the side of the stage. And you had us just in bed the whole show. Yet another opportunity to be naked on stage. I was totally got a whole show. under the blanket And poor Justine was just like, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It's important. It's for the character.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Let me explain something here Brando right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. But, um, so. So yeah, that really kind of doubles us back into, like, how we met was very much like, you know, because your whole family is so connected to the Phoenix theatre. And, you know, I went to you know, I was in I was in the same year as your sister, Celine, but I was really good friends with her. Yeah, just through the program, you know, and, and she kind of, you know, hooked us up through that through that link. And I wonder if you, do you have any memory of like, me showing up? Or like, do you have any memory of like, first impressions of me or anything like that? Um,

Jacob Richmond:

I remember you being like, super bright. And I remember you being into kind of like, you were like, you were I remember marking because you were also wanting to be a poet as well. Right? Yeah. Yeah. So I was like, I was like, oh, man, he's gonna have no sense of humor, right? You're gonna hate everything that we do. But I was like, Oh, it's a poet who actually also like, you know, likes the laugh of it. Yeah. I mean, so yeah. Yeah, but that was my first impression of you. Because Because I had the impression I had impression of you in the group. It's like capital A little posse, you and Scottie and stuff like that. Oh, this other guy that we've totally forgotten.

James Avramenko:

I literally, because like that fourth slot. It feels so interchangeable with so many different guys that I'm like, I don't know. Like, yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

yeah. He's like a mystery guy. Right? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that force man. He makes no impression, but we just know he was there. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

I was always the fourth shadow on the room. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Fourth shadow. Right. Yeah. Yeah. But, ya know, so that was my first impression of you in terms of it. Yeah. And it's funny, because like, over the years with vaudeville, there's just been different groups that came in and everything. That definitely was. You guys Justine Jillian. group? Yeah. And I mean, yeah, I think we all hung out and kind of, you know, had beers after the shows and stuff like that. It's so funny, because I always reflect on friendship, and realize how much if it is built around, say AV or anything felt like it's Oh, yeah. Because we used to crank those things out. Right. Well, yeah. So we kind of, like every hangout was also kind of a brainstorm kind of mean, about the next show. Right? So that was kind of that was that dynamic back then? Yeah. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

It was always, I mean, you know, as a as a as a very, how do I say this as a as a pliable young man at that time? It was so inspiring. And it was so like, Holy fuck, you know, because, you know, my trajectory had been like, you know, from from Calgary high school drama class, to then you Vic and like, but not being in the acting program. So just like so desperately wanting to find avenues to perform, and places perform. And you know, because like, Sacco was around, but like, it was only you know, maybe once you'd like, if you were lucky, you got one. Yeah. And so it just wasn't enough for me. And then so to get hooked up with you guys was just like this. It felt like, I mean, it's a cheesy comparison, but it literally felt like when Dorothy lands in Oz, you know what I mean? And it's just this like, Holy fuck, this is what you can do. And this is what people have been doing and, and and, you know, you you, you know, you came out of the program that I was in so it was like, Oh, shit, like, this is possible. Right? And actually, I'd really like to, I'd really like to ask you about because oh, my God, Jake, you have so many things I want to talk about. And I have to really like I have to really steel myself to figure out where to go in the direction of this conversation. Because where I really want to end up talking Is all the ride the cycle and stuff that's just come out? Yeah, I will, I will right now I'll say congratulations, I've listened to the album several times. And I love it and it feels like it feels simultaneously like a like a bit of a walk through Memory Lane kind of thing because like remembering getting to see those first runs and, but then also it's like its own new product. And so it's just, it's incredible, right? But if we're gonna if we're gonna sort of end the the the story of this of this at, you know, the ride the cyclone album launch, I'd like to rewind way back and talk about like, really where I'd like to start is sort of what got you into theater. And I'd like to talk about sort of, I'd like to ask some things about like, you know, your time in the Phoenix and how a ton about about sort of got founded and those kinds of things. So, yeah, I'll give you a super open ended question to start with of like, what drove you into theater in the first place?

Jacob Richmond:

Well, I mean, I've kind of like it's a cheat because it was my parents, my both my I grew up in it. So both my parents like and me and my sister used to mock them all the time, right and go, can we just go somewhere where we don't have to talk about theater? I was just always there and we go, right, you know, theater, this theater that Yeah. And you know, and as a young kid, I was like, pretty adamant about not identifying. I said that I wanted to be an animal photojournalist, right? Oh, yeah. Just take pictures of gerbils and stuff. Right. You know, and then Dad. Dad put me in a couple plays, and I didn't dig it. Right. Like one was like a made up character. And I Midsummer Night's Dream. Oh, yeah. Okay, Cupid. And I was naked. And then and they invited the whole school and I was just mortified frog.

James Avramenko:

That is that is theatre parent to hazing. That's incredible. Yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

totally. Yeah. He's like, oh, you're naked, like, but I go. Like, by the time you're in grade three, you're really conscious of being like, totally buck naked in front of the mirror. And then he, then I did, Teddy. I feel like I did like three productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream, because they're always just jonesing for kids for right texture for the right. Okay. So yeah, and then in high school, it kind of, you know, I, I, you know, I would be in the theater thing. But, you know, I mean, I just wasn't like I was on totally all in for the musicals or anything like that. I just kind of, and I kind of, you know, but but I think what brought me back to it was ultimately the writing. I liked writing. But I'm not much of a prose writer. So I think I just think in dialogues, so I just started writing. Yeah, writing a lot. And

James Avramenko:

you I asked you about that, actually, because that's something that I find myself struggling with. I I've always had it in the back of my brain of like, the dream of like writing a novel and publishing a novel, right, and like prose, but it's like, every single time I set out to do it, I just, I get tripped up description is so hard. But dialogue, your I think the way you You said it is perfect. It's like I think in dialogue, and so you can play it down really easily. Have you? Is that sort of where you're coming from? Like, have you ever tried writing a novel?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, I tried writing novels. But what ends up happening is I just get really tight and stiff and all of a sudden, and I think that girlfriend the time said, It's like she's reading some kind of Manifesto, right? All of a sudden, all of a sudden that get very Facebook bookie right like, Manifesto, right? You know, and so it can't help it. And I'm like, Yeah, oh, my God, right, you know, and then go, Oh, my God, if this is a character, I'd hate this character.

James Avramenko:

So they're like, this is my this is my worldview I'm so sorry. Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, my worldview all of a sudden, I'm yeah, I'm like, Yeah, the unabomber is not necessarily that extreme. But, but yeah, but but but like a Facebook poster who's like, just kind of going, you know, blah, blah, blah. And so but whereas dialogue always keeps me kind of out of my own process. Right. So I don't feel ever that I'm like, because I mean, I think one of the big things in writing and I do agree with that and dramatic writing. One of the big crimes is called the author intrusion, where you go, this is clearly clearly not the character anymore. This is somebody who this is you pushing an agenda on the character, and you can smell that really easily in dialogue. Right. Yeah. And you know, and so, I mean, and I certainly love prose, and I think the beauty of it is the people that can manage to paint a picture without you But mind you, then there's some novelists I really love who are totally, this is my worldview. Again and again, and do it in a really beautiful, gorgeous way. It's just it's just for me, it just never really it. I don't I don't know. I mean, I just kind of, for me, just just throwing out my worldview was never anything that I I felt was necessary. I don't think it's fascinating. I don't think I've got a really, God take on my worldview. But whereas with dialogue or anything like that, it's just kind of how my brain worked, right? That's an epsilon kinda like snaps along, or I just find myself outside kind of just kind of acting out the character, right? You mean so like, it's funny, because with every writing thing, I usually end up having to walk through the street and kind of, I mean, I'm trying to quit right now, but just chain smoking and going through lines or anything like that. Yeah, that I always come off as a lunatic like people go, excuse me, sir. You can't come in here and go, Oh, no, no, no, I'm not saying, right. Yeah. I'm just, I'm just working on lines right now. Right. So

James Avramenko:

funny. Because I've, I, it's so funny, because I've observed you doing that. And I've always been so like, again, I am going to say this a lot throughout this interview. So just steal yourself. You know, you Jake, also listeners, like, I am so deeply inspired by you. And by the work you do. And one of the elements is how can how you commit yourself to it. And I can remember during vaudeville rehearsals where we'd be fleshing something out and you'd be doing exactly that. And like either, either you'd be like smoking in Britt's apartment driving her nuts, or more up, like, out on the balcony, you know, and like pacing, and you watch you like literally doing all the characters and it was just like, it's funny to me that it's like, yeah, maybe to an outside like maybe to an accountant that looks you know, crazy. But like, to me, that was like, what it felt like it took to create something that was like, alive, you know, because it wasn't just, you're not just stoically typing it out. And contemplating it, like you're, it's kinetic, and it makes everything much more electric. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. And the final form is ultimately the human voice, right? So I look at dialogue as music as much as possible. So you actually also want to be able to hear it, and kind of, and also just go with what the rhythmic connects are. Whereas the sitting in front of a typewriter, it's it's like, it's like practicing the piano without, you know, without any sound, right? Yeah.

James Avramenko:

You're just miming over the keys

Jacob Richmond:

Just miming yeah sorry. Yeah, yeah, I've always found that that's the only way I really can write.

James Avramenko:

You remember? I'm sorry.

Jacob Richmond:

No no go ahead. Go ahead.

James Avramenko:

Do you remember the first script you wrote or like, do you remember your first couple plays? Yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

I mean, I mean, I remember as a kid writing short stories. Yeah. They weren't very good. But but but they were ambitious. Right. So I get good marks for them. Like because they were about the Egyptian Empire or anything that right. The first player I remember writing was about the Marquis de Saad. And it was terrible. It was Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Well. I feel like,were you like what you what, like, probably late teens, early 20s.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Like, every single 20 year old sees the Marquis De Sade and is like, Oh, I'm just gonna write that again.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Oh, man. He into all this stuff, right. You know, like, and it's so funny too, because you have no sexual experience. But you're writing about this absolute. You want like this quintessential kind of creepy, libertine, right? Yeah, write something about it. And I totally respond, oddly enough, very feminist, but also a piece of shit. So he's just writes both those lines. And yeah, yeah. So you read it. And then you I wrote a play called virtues reward. And it was terrible. And yeah,

James Avramenko:

I fee like I heard about that. When did that happen at a was that a satco at all or was that

Jacob Richmond:

no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I think I remember kind of going through my things and throwing it out. Because this is before computers. Right? Yeah, just going into the trash. Right. And I remember my English professor who was a really sweet guy, he Mr. defries. saying, you know, wow, that's what this is. Like, this is terrible. But But you've got a you got a potential I kind of very embarrassed by it. But yeah, then I wrote another thing about I think I've read a couple things. And the biggest thing I think, is like the vaudeville roads is mean, a friend of mine at the time used to put on these very, you know, how you'd have like high school assemblies and they put on skits and stuff we put on stuff that would legitimately irritate people. Like we do like one movement and just play very man manolos like three bars of berry Nanos, Mandy or anything, is that right? Just just kind of tell until the the audience would blew us off stage. Right. So we were going through the booths, right?

James Avramenko:

Yeah. So they just really strange things. Yeah. Did you so so to get you to UVic? No. Okay. I I've actually I've kind of always wanted to ask you this because I don't know the sort of like timeline stuff, but like, you know, we currently live you know, my wife and I we live in Saskatoon, Saskatoon Jennica works for Persephone which is founded by your parents. And, and so like, did you grow up in Saskatoon or were you already gone? Were they gone by the time you were born or no.

Jacob Richmond:

I lived in Saskatoon till I was five. I was born in Saskatoon. So because that's right, at the start of Persephone. Right? Yeah. Yeah. It wasn't like, kind of like the building we all know and love today. It was Yeah, it was it was a kinda very. I forget uh Brian knows exactly where but but yeah, it was funded by grandpa jack who grudgingly gave them a little bit of money from his hardware store, right, leave me alone. And then they put on kind of, you know, Hedda Gabbler and stuff like that. And in the course, they wrote that country western musical kind of based on Othello called Cruel Tears, which kind of had a little bit of traction. I think all of the sisters the Wright sisters were in it as well. Yeah. Yeah. At one time or another, and then and then also all of the rights, even including john, all kind of got involved with Persephone and then yeah, and then I mean, what for whatever happened, they moved away? I think right. And then I think Tibor took over for. That's right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. And so did they take you straight to like, have you always lived in Victoria? Or were you in bank? No, no,

Jacob Richmond:

no, no, I like to literally, I think I've lived like in I've never lived any longer after Saskatoon any any city longer than two years, right. So like Nelson, Vancouver, Toronto, Thunder Bay. So just traveling quite a bit because because of the nature of what they move all the time

James Avramenko:

Oc course. Well, and they were they were, you know, I very much hold them in that regard of sort of, like, you know, they're that old guard of theatre troupe who understood that it's not a it's not a, like, if you do good work in Toronto, nobody knows that in Vancouver. So you have to go to Vancouver and show them your good work. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Well, it's also pre internet as well to like, free any of those cutting things. So, you know, the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing. Totally. And it's also pre regional theater is really like that's when the regional theaters were just starting up. Right. But before that, it was a very talk about like a colonial theatre. I think religion was just British actors being you know, driven from town to town. Wow. Yeah. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

That was real entertaining. Oh, so entertaining right now. A lovely night of the theater.

Jacob Richmond:

Real Life British man. Yeah. Yeah, I didn't know those existed. Those are really? Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

So what gets you to what gets you to UVic? Then?

Jacob Richmond:

UVic was like, there's quite long, like kind of. I was living in Toronto. I became a nanny for two years. Oh, yeah. Looking after a novelist kids, right. sweet guy

James Avramenko:

would be like, I have to lock myself in the room and make sure their bed or like, Yeah, kind of like that. Yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

yeah, exactly. He said he didn't want any distractions. So I'd be kind of like almost like a child goalie. Right. intervene. Yeah. So yeah, I've worked with him for a couple years. And then I went to Concordia, Montreal and I took I took a double major. I was doing history for a while and theater. And I loved history, but I hated doing the essays. I hit the force of 1000 suns, right? Yeah. Big, big because all it really is is bibliography and they don't give a shit about anything else. But the bibliography and that was part of it for me,

James Avramenko:

because it's just like his recipes aren't. You're just regurgitating what you already know. Like there's no there's no juice in it right? Like

Jacob Richmond:

No, no Sure. Especially at that level, the bf ba level, all they want to see the bibliography and you never got a sense that they ever even read the essays. So

James Avramenko:

what are your chances Okay, passes.

Jacob Richmond:

What a pass or fail, right? Yeah. So I was like, this is boring writing. Yeah, I love the reading. I love the reading. And then I took, I also took a theater class as well. And then then I, but I never really loved being in the theater shows like or the adversity shows, because they always kind of were kind of Let's face it, they weren't great. So you know, and so I worked with a group of people and we started writing. I wrote a play called qualities to zero there and Montreal. So wrote a play called qualities of zero there. And we did cabarets, and I found the cabarets were a lot more enjoyable to do than the, than the actual theater work, right? Yeah. So we do. So we did these things called prognosis, evil and prognosis love, right, you know, and kind of just kind of like very much like early prototype of atomic vaudeville stuff. Sure. Yeah. Then Yeah, yeah. And then I had a bad breakup. So my heart was broken. Dad got a gig at UVic said I could go to I finish off my degree for almost free. So that's how I ended up at that.

James Avramenko:

Awesome. Yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

yeah. And then I thought I'd just stay for a year and then life happened. And here I am. So you know, 17 years later. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

That I mean, that, you know, that's a dream story to be, you know, to me, like just that sort of like, yeah, the beautiful dominoes of life. Right. And, and so when you're, that's where you met Brett. Right is through you, Vic. Yeah. And we're there. Now. You know, I always have it in my head that it's the two of you as the sort of like, initial co founders of vaudeville, but I know that there was a little bit more of a team around that. Right. And, and I'm wondering what is the sort of what is the impetus to start a tunnel vaudeville, and how did you kind of brainchild that together?

Jacob Richmond:

well, book is we were doing she saw excited Lego Well, Land at like at a sad cow actually. Right.

James Avramenko:

No kidding.

Jacob Richmond:

We used to call them Sad cows. Yeah. We did the sad cow. And yeah, with Claire and Amitai. Amitai Marmorstein. Right. and former guest nice. So we did Legoland there. And then she said, Oh, you know, let's hang out. Again. So she lived in this really funky, cool loft downtown. We've done we can we go over there and we drink wine and I'd smoke some cigarettes. And we just talked about theater and stuff. And also Victoria is gorgeous city but really hard for young artists. Because they're just not a lot of opportunities. Right? You know? Like, so you kind of like you're kind of like you go you either leave the town or you make your own thing up. Right. Oh, because it is just like, I mean, I imagine that it's the similar in Saskatoon or has been?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's where it's at right now.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, what was the frustration of in this is through no fault of it. But no regional ever wants to hire anybody from their own town. Right.

James Avramenko:

It's not it's like this canadiana thing, right of like, of like, you're only you're only good enough for your town once you've left your town. Like, by the way to get hired as Calgary is to move to Vancouver, the way to get hired in Vancouver is moved to Toronto. Like it's like, Yeah, what the fuck is this shit.

Jacob Richmond:

It was the same thing in Montreal, too. They don't go from Toronto. They wouldn't hire anyone who's like, Well, you know, I mean, I think it might have gotten better get better, but I think it is that kind of kind of weird snobbery of ever want to hire anybody that I could potentially bump into in the street, right?

James Avramenko:

Maybe it's like, I don't know, I've always taken it as this like weird internalized inferiority complex of every Canadian city. That isn't Toronto, right. Everyone, every other city seems to think it's like, worse off because it's not this like hub town. Right. And yeah, I don't know. I don't know. It just drives me nuts. Right. But

Jacob Richmond:

it never stops. I mean, even even in Chicago, like they come on. Well, you know, we got someone from New York. And then yeah, our kids, you know, London. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Who knows when it stops. But anyway, so we were sitting around drinking wine. And, and I mentioned these capillaries I used to do in Montreal, right? And she's like, Oh, cool. All right, you know, and it's like, yeah, and they were really kind of well attended, right. And kind of, you know, they, you know, they pay for kind of some beer and kind of maybe even a little bit of rent and yeah. And so then I went away. For some reason. I did leave for a month and he came back and she said, cool, I booked a space. And it's like, why, right? Here's the post, right? I was like, let's write you know, and then yeah, and that's the beauty of bread is bread is always just like kind of like he doesn't quit. Like I'm the biggest like, I will consider something to death, right? Yeah. And she's always just pulled the trigger. Pull the trigger. Just So, so she booked the VC and then kind of, and she hired a bunch of actors. And then I kind of quickly wrote a lot of stuff really fast. And then other people did stuff too. Like there was x and, and that is in the early stages of atomic level was very much more in the vaudeville fashion. I was like, right, bringing their own stuff, right. Yeah. Yeah. Whereas there wouldn't be an overarching storyline or anything. Right. Yeah. But I like wrote a little bit of a framing device. And yeah. And it was really, I wouldn't say it was like, massively well attended. And that took place that took a while. Right. Yeah. And, you know, in the famous story of my dad first seen it, right. And I said, What do you think are? No, no, no, it was the second time because because we decided we do the show every month, which is crazy.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. unbelievable,

Jacob Richmond:

which is insane. And it almost killed both of us. But then Dad, I asked him if he wanted to come to the second show. And he said he tried to, he tries to distance himself from mediocrity, right.

James Avramenko:

Brian!

Jacob Richmond:

Right. Yeah. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Oh, my God, Brian, it's so funny. Because like, I, you know, I, I auditioned for him. So you know, speaking of sort of, like, in when you're in UVic, and you're young, right? You know, you're, I remember in first and second year, I audition for everything. And I was like, I'm gonna get something. And every year that passes, you get a little more and more jaded, right? It's just a little bit more of a chip. And, and, and then you also get a little more disillusioned with the shows themselves. But I remember like, you know, first few years, you know, auditioning for Brian return, and just being fucking terrified, and then not getting the role. And then and then I remember when I finally graduated, and he was like, why don't you ever audition for me? Yeah. Have Brian several times. Yeah. I don't like leaving. I don't like leaving feeling bad about myself.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm. But he feeds off of that. The, the our instant depression of a young actor. Yes. Yes.

James Avramenko:

Life blood, right. Yes. Yeah. And so you've been, you know, off and on with a ton of vaudeville, in various incarnations now, for what it's got to be, what, 12 years now? I think we're coming on 15. Yeah. Wow. Yeah. See, there you go. I mean, like fuck time, right? Because I remember, I remember the 10 year one and be like, holy shit. It's been 10 years. And I felt like a few weeks ago, but

Jacob Richmond:

yeah, no, no. And it's funny too, because the show because like, it is really tricky to pick out certain things, just like on on one level, it feels like a lot of work. But then on another level, when I reflect on it, I go, Wow, it just feels like one show that I've been working on for 15 years. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because things morph into things. And kind of certainly, there's been like, kind of some favorite moments. But But yeah, no, but it's but it's, but it's a huge, it's been a huge undertaking. And yeah, it's and then it developed its audience, which is really great. Right? Which it was like, it was not your typical audience, right. In fact, I mean, I think a lot of theater people stopped going because they did.

James Avramenko:

Actually, I gotta say, again, this is one of the things that I loved the most about vaudeville was that it wasn't theater audiences, like it wasn't because I was finding myself and I continue to find myself so alienated from like, traditional theater goers, and these people who are like, oh, have you seen the latest rendition of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It's like, yes, that is good play. I'm not discrediting the writing or the production of it, but at the same time, too, there's something that's really lost. There's something that's like, you know, like theater is supposed to be alive. It's supposed to be a reason you go to it is because it's supposed to be present and vibrant. And, and when you when you all just, like quietly sit together and like, oh, no golf claps and, you know, it's like, is this this is Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. And, and also to like, also, like, even with laughter The great thing about vaudeville is it can also be very topical. Right? Yeah. So it can be very topic. Yeah, like in kind of, you can literally be talking about it and and also, it has a bit of a chaos to it. But also, there's a consciousness of it being because I mean, a lot of the cast members weren't trained actors, as well, too. And, and another aspect of it was always being conscious of it have been an actual good time. You gotta mean it, because that's because and that's, you know, and that actually, everyone thinks it's deceivingly complicated to make something entertaining, but also not only a bad bit as well, right?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It isn't. Complete balancing act. And I think, you know, one of the things one of my favorite parts of the process was the way we've talked about it actually a couple times on the show with various guests, Morgan was on the show and but, but like, it's this idea of like, the what the show is on day one isn't what the show ends up being on like the at the end of the run, you know, and so and it's this beautiful thing of like listening to the audience and understanding what's resonating with them and what fell flat and and being okay with jettison that stuff and filling it in stuff that you know, the audience likes, like, that's not, that's not pandering. There's a there is a difference if it's, if it's put in, you know, like, yeah, there's a part of like, we know, it works. And we know it'll be funny, but also there's like a, but it also works in the context of the show, right? You weren't just shoving the same thing in every time, right?

Jacob Richmond:

No, no. And also like, quite frankly, it's the thing is with anything with dealing with satire, or even comedy is you have to allow yourself to fail as well to innovate and kind of go Okay, I think this could go either way. The people could respond well to this or not, right. Yeah, it's in the right place. But but maybe it and then you go Oh, wow. They did not respond well, to that.

James Avramenko:

I remember, yeah, yeah. Remember, the infamous one for that I was a part of was me and Luke pedic. Were doing we were doing like, like a gay pirates bit. Where we were one of them was like, breaking up with the other one now that they were on on land. They dock. Like listed like this was like, a ship thing. You know? Yeah. Like a person romance. Yeah. Yeah. And it did not go over well, but it was because you would explain it to me was because I was so I was so bummed out because I thought it was funny bit and but yeah, it was because of the way it had been structured with like, the thing that had been just before we had done like a jam rock that like contacted of thing and yeah, everyone got a little overwhelmed by it. Yeah,

Jacob Richmond:

yeah. Like it or it's just like wall the wall. Kind of, kind of. Yeah, like,

James Avramenko:

this big. What do you say?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, I like to touch men, but I'm not gay. Right? You know what I mean? But also in the same breath, I mean, that that is definitely a phenomenon, right? You know what I mean by but it's just a question. If you don't, if you put like three of them back to back all of a sudden you like, it's like, you know? Yeah, it's like a panic or anything like that. Right? Whereas you never intended that at all, like, the jamrock bed is just about, well, you know, it does have that kind of pit where they all of a sudden just get really into the physicality of being kind of bros doing contacting Prof. Right? Yeah, but then they kind of go Oh, wow, we got this. We just went a lot farther than we expected. Right? You never man? Yeah. Yeah, it's a super. Yeah. So

James Avramenko:

So out of vaudeville comes. Ride the Cyclone? Yeah. And, you know, from an outside observer. I mean, I was, you know, I was I've only ever watched the show. And, and so I have no idea of the sort of like, backstory behind it. But it's, it's such a fascinating play to have seen develop? Because, you know, I remember seeing the very first runs in the was that the Was it the was it called the metro? Was that what that

Jacob Richmond:

the, I guess, the metro Metro theater? Yeah. First time it ever performed.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. And, and, and then to see it now, you know, have its own, you know, it's got a Chicago run, and it's got its own soundtrack and all these things. And I'm just wondering, what is the Yeah, what what was the seat of that show? And then, you know, tell me about the sort of development about it.

Jacob Richmond:

Well, it started off. I mean, because I mean, there's my family has just a lot of random death in it. Right. So I wanted to write a story about that, but not one that would make you want to get even more depressed about a subject is already Uber depressing. So I wanted to actually, you know, but but I didn't plan on kind of like, oh, and then we'll take it to Off Broadway. Like that was so far from our guidance when we started off. So Brooke had been writing a lot for a time and five fails, I kind of did writing songs and stuff like that he actually wrote a theme song because he just went to the show on a regular basis. He was a school teacher at the time. So so he was a school teacher and he wrote a theme song and we were like, yeah, we don't but thanks for writing. But then I but then I read him and said, Oh, can you try this song? Because we because you know i mean it's five bills so it's great to have this really great songwriter so he's saying in the great thing about Brooke was no matter what I told him no matter how odd the request was, right, like we want it to be kind of new medalie meet seven essence meets like a little bit of classical meets a little bit of reggae meets a little bit of jazz, right, and he's like any write that song like these very bizarre matchups. So So then, so I'd come up with this idea after Legoland writing this kind of musical about kind of just random loss but but in a fun way in a very vaudeville way. And so in then I kind of called up Brock and he was like, sounds kind of morbid, but Sure, I'll try it. And then it kind of in had gotten like a little bit of money from the candidate Council. So I went to Hornby Island and kind of like just fleshed it out, right? Initially, it was going to take place in like a town an entire town was destroyed. But then I realized we didn't have that thought yet. And kinda, you know, that's like hundreds of people, you know, and so you know, kind of riffing on kind of accident accident cyclone, cyclone kiss lateral kind of ventually got the roller coaster. And it's still in uranium city, Saskatchewan, of course which Legoland was set in, right,

James Avramenko:

right. Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. So which, which I was always fascinated with, even as a teen or anything like that, because it's kind of a town which used to have a population of 150,000 people now it's got like, like, 100 or 200 cars, because the main industry just disappeared. It's gone. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, yeah. So it's like kind of a ghost town now. So but yeah, so then we kept on riffing on that. And kind of, then we kind of wrote like, roughly, I think the funny thing is, I think that Metro, every song that's on the album, it was there was a, there's a skeletal version of it with exception of maybe ocean song, which kind of once we got to the States, they said, We had to change that song. So yeah, so then we did it has to match. Yeah. Yeah. So we get it at the metro and then kind of and it went well, and kind of and then we didn't really think about it for a year or two, right? And then kind of and then Janet, who was the ad at the time, said you guys want to do it again. And then we did it. Initially, it had eight people in it, right? Yeah. Yeah, I do. But still eight people still then. And then we tried to put in an intermission in it the second time. And that didn't work at all right. And then once again, then we forgot about it. And then Michael Rubin fell from summerworks because I did Lego line there, which did really well there. But it didn't do well there. It just it did well, critically and with you know, recovering award, but it should we had like three people showed up every night. So

James Avramenko:

like, Oh my god, yeah, there's nothing there is nothing like the feeling of doing a full length play in front of two people. Like there's nothing more soul crushing.

Jacob Richmond:

Especially like a like a balls out comedy. Right. Right. You know, yeah. So we got like good reviews for it. But But still the audience's because because summer works this tiny thing called the Canadian Pavilion. So they put us on in the harbourfront, where it's the main action was kind of downtown. So no one no one really wanted to get on that bus. Right. So right. Yeah. They're right. And also the theater was, it was called the ice house, I think. And it lived up to its name, right? It was freezing in there. Right?

James Avramenko:

I mean, it is a summer, you'd think that that would that would go hand in hand. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

No, but no, but after like, like half an hour, you're shivering and your lips are turning blue. You're like I want out of here right? Anyway. So yeah, so then we did it summer works. But the thing is, then we had to cut it because they said I can't be longer than 90 minutes. Right. Okay, which was, which was actually the best thing for the show truthfully. Because that's kind of where it worked. The best was not like to be like an extended one act as opposed to a two act show, which never didn't make any sense with a show, which it doesn't really have. At that point. It didn't have a plot whatsoever. I mean, it had like, it had a character. It was just a sketch character kind of piece. Right?

James Avramenko:

It was like spotlights on these kids. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. And they directed dress to the audience and kind of go, Hey, how you doing and everything that, right? You know, and don't get, we're dead. But let's just chill right and have a nice dress, right? And then it did well, it's summer works. And then kind of a few days. Notice that. And then we did another tour of it right? With the same kind of cabaret kind of format. I think we did Whitehorse, Vancouver, and theater pasma in Toronto, and then it did even better than and then that's when it's produced just came on board. Right. Right. Okay, so yeah. And then then that was a kind of a whole different world of just having to restructure it because they didn't like the kids talking to the audience. So

James Avramenko:

like, I love I love like, I just love the producer mind where it's like, I love it. I want to support it. change everything. No, yes.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, this sucks and kind of Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Keep it exactly the way it is. But you Everything right in a vein. Yes. Then so I had to try to put a plot into a thing that I was like how do you put a plot into a story where all the children are dead divided like are really literally because that love removes any stakes on a certain level? Yeah. Yeah, then spoiler alert kind of put it like they don't have any stakes. Right. You know, I mean, I guess no exit kind of manage to do that. Right. Right.

James Avramenko:

That's managed to do it to you know, their cats.

Jacob Richmond:

Oh, yeah, totally. And that's the one that's compared to all the time they go. So it's like cats with teenagers. You go Yeah, kinda. Yeah. Totally. Yeah. If I can get some if I can get cats money. Look, I don't care. You can call it cat until you know, you can put a writer of teenage cats on my exam. Right. You know, cats. Right. Give me some other cats money.

James Avramenko:

Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Yeah. So so I just kind of fought to kind of, I mean, I think ya know, no exit, it's more like they just get on each other's nerves. There's not a lot there. And eventually, you just realize how irritating all of them are. And how much they hate each other.

James Avramenko:

They're fucked so touch shit.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, it's the end. Right? And they just go everything's shit and good night. So yeah. So with gas, I kind of fought you'd like it. I really struggled to put a plot in I actually was like, in the fetal position. Felt like Barton Fink thing because like, How the fuck do I put a plot in this thing? Um, so yeah, then eventually kinda Yeah, it was actually Brian, my dad. He said, Well, why don't you have one of them? Come back to life. Right. And I mean, then I was like, Okay, well, right, you know, and yeah, that's what we did. And kind of and then we did the second Canadian tour and awkwardly put this clot in right in a vein. But we slowly smooth it out as it went and kind of you know, and, and then kind of slowly smooth it out. He got better every every city we went to, but it was awkward as all get out when we first did it. You Vic.

James Avramenko:

Were you? Were you adjusting the script on the fly? Or were you more just Oh, yeah. Oh, totally. Yeah. Oh, wow. I love that

Jacob Richmond:

straight up Vaudevillian kind of going try this. Try this line. Don't try this line. Just straight up, adjusted. And of course, naturally. The cast is so amazing, because it was like, here, they'd already had this all this accolades in this show that already worked. And then all of a sudden, I'm adding a totally different thing. That kind of is clunky, as all get out when it first arrives on the scene, right? You're gonna slowly slowly gets to a point where it's at least it's I mean, what I ended up doing is just pulling like, way back on the plot, and eventually even going back to the original script, just just to make the cast feel a little, like more like that. They had their old thing back. And we had, we had a few workshops as well, in between that, and then yeah, and then so we did that tour, and then then Brooke, and I went and workshopped it in Chicago, we'd met Rachel Rockwell through that brilliant director from Chicago. And that's when kind of that's when it really kind of sunk into us like because I don't think Canada really has a background in musical theater you know to me You know, I don't think no like it's not really our thing. I suppose. Yes, I say

James Avramenko:

I like because I only I can only off the off the top of my head think of two musicals and one of them is right the cyclone and the other ones Onegin Yeah, again, like I really that's it that's all I got. And they're both modern.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, yeah. They're both modern and kind of Yeah, no, I mean, I think that there's there's been like plays with music right? Yeah. Yeah. But like that there's a rich kind of like you know, kind of like I can think of well, cool tiers was kind of a musical but more of a play music and ecstasy read a show I think has some music in it right? Yeah, that's right. Like but but it's more but it's more like kind of it's not like driving the plot or it's not no

James Avramenko:

play with the music it's not

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. So so but but yeah, so but when I went to by the time I got to Chicago I was like, oh, wow, the musical theater in America they're not fucking around like they're really have codified and they take it really seriously right and I don't think any

James Avramenko:

fucking nerds

Jacob Richmond:

yeah nerds Yeah. I ever took it as a serious like we never took it seriously like I thought we knew Greece and we knew kind of like a new sections of Hello Dolly. I like jesus christ superstar. But I never thought anyone took them to Uber seriously, but very seriously in the store, right. So that was that was a steep learning curve for us once we got there. Right. You know, like we can say, you know, oh, why is this on the you know, in the book or anything we can go and just goofy you know, right. We just thought it was fun. Right? You know, the man. That wasn't a good answer you Yeah. Are you right or anything fat? Like I was like, cuz I was like, well in Greece, they sing about that fucking car for seven minutes greased lightning, and never comes back. Right? arcus it comes back in the last few seconds, right? But it's not that important, right? I mean, right now it's just a, it's a damn song singing about a song that's gonna make people horny, right, nor anything like that anyway, but that was not a good enough answer. And so yeah, so you couldn't

James Avramenko:

just say I wanted to make teenagers horny. That? Yeah, yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Or I just wanted we thought that they're horny. Like a cat song would be funny, right? Yeah. So we just thought it was a goof. Right. You know, but that was enough. And so but we still it's still on the album for now. But yeah. So for now, it's on the album. But yeah, but then kind of it, you know, and I learned a lot like three that you'd like to, you know, kind of quite equate intensive workshops, have kind of structuring a musical and kind of in the book kind of shifted from there and kind of read redefining characters and kind of who was here and kind of, but it's still kept its own spine. Right. You know, totally throw everything out like and which, which I thought was great, because I do think that Rachel actually saw this show and didn't like all of a sudden say we don't want no The thing about being a prostitute in France or gray. Right? Like, you know,

James Avramenko:

I love that that song has survived. Like, yeah, like, it's That's it? Yeah, if you look, it's never really changed. Right? And it's like, you know, perfect and, yeah, he's always been it like, it's Yeah, it's Yeah, good.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. It always surprised me. Because I always thought that's the one they would be coming for. Right? You know, I mean, like, yeah, it's like, why would Why is this kid singing about this? This prostitute? Right? In France, right. And I bet you actually know whenever he waves it's, yeah, it's been interesting, kind of which songs were kind of, you know, kind of, you know, I mean, we looked at every song over the course of like, two years of workshopping. And the funny thing is, before this process, I was always like, I hate workshopping workshop exposure right? Here, get an absolutely Well, you end up thinking sometimes I've seen really great plays, or really good ideas for plays. Because I do think rewriting is important. Definitely, of course,

James Avramenko:

absolutely.

Jacob Richmond:

But But when you get like 10 people in a room, visiting your work, you go, that's a really easy way of making that person never write that play again, right, in a big time touching at work ever again. You got to be really delicate with that. And I feel. And quite frankly, I don't think that I think too much analysis of what you're doing isn't helpful. Right? Yeah. Because you're not an academic, right? You know, and the more you actually kind of go, Oh, this symbolizes this, this symbolizes this. There's a big, there's a

James Avramenko:

big time there's a there's a I forget who said it, but somebody I remember years ago, I was doing I was taking a like a theater class online, and they were talking about how all that like theory, all of that, like character, motivation, all that discussing of subtext. All that is, is just actors not wanting to do their job, which should only boil down to acting like everything else. Like that's just you dragging your feet before you just get on stage and do your job. Yeah. And I yeah, I mean, I I'm with you where it's like, I mean, I think it's important, but I think it's too It can be it's very delicate, like you said, yeah, it's like it. Yeah, if you if you do too much. It ruins that whatever spark you might have. Right? Like, yeah, you think of like you have to, you have to sort of fanned the flame, but you can't smother it. Right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I remember there was a story of once again, I mean, not to bring up Sarte, all the time, but he helped he actually out analyzed committees work. Like he kind of just said, This is what committees coming from kind of as a prisoner, you know, kind of kind of gave a bomb the volunteer kind of in supposedly, he read the essay, and he never wanted to write again, right? Yeah, no, no, no, don't No, no, no, no, no, sorry. It's the guy who wrote the mate john Shinae.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay,

Jacob Richmond:

so he, he, he analyzed the hell out of his work to the point where he never wanted to write again, right. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

I mean, yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

But it is that kind of thing not to be so pretentious, or he's he's such kind of that particular period. But I do feel it is important for a writer to also kind of not always know exactly what the unit mean, what has happened on every level, because they're not academics, right?

James Avramenko:

No, and it shouldn't be about it should be about rather than being like they're saying this because they're meaning this it should be. They're saying this, because this is what they say. Yeah, like, Yeah, right. And you can figure it out. And it can mean something to you, you know, like and if to you this character saying something means this. That's awesome. Yeah, like, in the text in the piece. Yeah. It's just the character saying this. Like, yeah, if you want them to, you know, my opinion has always been like, if you want your character to be saying something else, you should have them say that. Yeah, like,

Jacob Richmond:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And there are really Great dramaturgs in the world, and then those, the ones that are not so great. Like, where are they? And the funny thing is, when you do get into a commercial model, you all of a sudden have 8000 parameters. And some others. Put some money on the table. So you write yet again. And so it's no you'll be doing these edits. Yeah. Yeah. Or that sometimes they kind of have ideas, and you just have to sit there and go, Ah, ha, ha, ha,

James Avramenko:

yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

This was one person saying, What if they don't die on a roller coaster ride? You go Oh, so they're just teenagers? Just singing? Yeah, just singing in it's the sound.

James Avramenko:

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, great. Great suggestion, right? So I actually want to flip the table and I want to do the part where where I asked you like, if there is there is there. You know, as we as we sort of start thinking about wrapping up the episode and moving off of Facebook and all those kinds of fun things. I do wonder, Is there anything that you've ever wanted to ask me and not and this is your chance? Anything's on the table. I like I say it may not stay in the episode, but it's your chance to ask.

Jacob Richmond:

Okay. I want that period of time when we kind of hung out with vaudeville. What was your favorite and least favorite kind of parts of those experiences?

James Avramenko:

Right. Like with with vaudeville? Yeah, we just hang us all hanging out and kind of drinking? Yeah, kind of talking. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, I think it's funny, because I think it's actually in the moment. Like, it's more like now looking back in retrospect. In the moment, I was, you know, 19, 20 I was terrified of everyone, right. Like, I was so intimidated. And I was so just riddled with self doubt, right. And I and I just did not trust myself at all. And so I would be hanging out with all you and I would just be so like, they're all so much cooler than me. They all have these bright, fantastic ideas. They're throwing it out, they trust each other. And, and, and through the years, my shell kind of broke down, but especially at the start, I was terrified. And I it was just yeah, it was like I was really intimidated. Right. And so, looking back, I'm really glad I stayed. But I know in the moment, I was like, I don't belong here. What the fuck am I doing here? Right. So it was always just like a little scary. And then but then on the flip side, it was the thing that got me to where I am now. Right it you know, yeah, I very much took the it's funny listening to you describe sort of your process and listen to describe Brits process and really realizing that I internalized a lot of those lessons from both of you, you know, and and how much the two of you really directly influenced who I am as an artist and like, you're sort of like vibrant, like, throw it out. And then her just like, and now do it. Right. You know, and I just I love that right? And I'm so grateful for it. I'm also like, I'm so grateful that you let me just run around naked, whatever I wanted. It's totally Yeah, it was absolutely allowed. Yeah. And it's one of those things where like, I'm so I'm so glad I got to, you know, like, I'm not gonna suddenly flip my hat and be like, and kids these days don't have this or can't do this, or whatever the fuck it is like, but it's like, I do feel a lot of gratitude for being young when I was young, and for having the opportunity to do what I did when I did it and not having to jump the hurdles that that young people have to now, right. I didn't have to worry about it being tweeted or Instagram or Tiktok or whatever, you know, I could just do it and leave it on the state. Yeah. And and appreciate it for what it was. And yeah, cuz it just gave me you know, enemy Look, I'm not gonna be like, and today I'm a healthy happy. Well, you know, stable, confident, man, like, obviously, I'm still riddled with the shit. I like. But my work with vaudeville really developed my ability to get out of at least that first hurdle, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I just yeah, I mean, I remain I remain really grateful to the whole process, right.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah. It is interesting. When you just set your you are speaking about the technology of social media, how that does stifle creativity to a certain extent, right. Oh, totally. Yeah. Yeah, it does, because I kind of i i've personally horrified by the idea that somebody could feel me doing anything. Right, yeah.

James Avramenko:

Very like it feels and I hate you know, again, again, I really hate that these kind of motifs have been sort of Coopted by a lot of like right wing speech but like yes feel like big brother like it does feel like someone's always watching you have to be really careful about everything you do. And I know people will say like, that's a good thing because of XYZ. Or it's a bad thing because of XYZ and all I can say about it is that like, I'm not super comfortable with everybody always being able to a film everything and be like, have a hot take on it like yeah, you're right. Like, I don't need your your hot take on every single thing that popped up like, I don't I don't need 10,000 hot takes on the guy who found a shrimp tail in his cereal like, I don't know.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, it really anybody and it also puts equal weight on everything. Right? You know that? Exactly. Yeah. So it is. So it is that tricky thing. And also, as I said, going back permission for a young artist to fail as well. Which, which is really, you know, especially young comedian or anything that like it is, I mean, yeah, there's a line of course, right. Like, there is a line. But you can always tell I, I think that sometimes we we intentionally confuse knowing fully where the sources coming from is not a place of intolerance, but more. Yeah, misfire. Right, in a vein. So

James Avramenko:

it was definitely a big time. And actually, I would say like, one of the things I you know, and I don't want to say like regret. I don't feel like I regret it. But like, and I couldn't even really necessarily give you like a specific example. But like, I know, that, especially in rehearsals, there was times when we would try stuff and it would feel, you know, icky, right, yeah, sometimes we do something wrong, or I'd say something wrong, or I try a joke and it wouldn't land. And and and, and and that, you know, there's a momentary embarrassment. And there's a momentary. Like, Oh, fuck, yeah, but that base let you fuck up, right. Yeah. And it and it didn't hold it against you. And I that's what I always remind myself whenever I'm, like, you know, in the shower, and I suddenly flashed to like, Oh my God, why did I fucking say that in front of that room? or Why did I try that? You know, they, that person must fucking hate me or whatever, you know? And it's like, you know, like, cuz that was space to try it. And yeah, and, you know, I mean, that's not like a carte blanche. You can just fuck up and be a piece of shit. And you know,

Jacob Richmond:

you can always tell where, where it comes from and and stuff like that. Yeah, even I've got a kid right now. And he's like, kind of material. Right? You know? Yeah, a lot of it's a lot of its poo and pee related. Right? You know what I mean? Like that. This means right now, but it is also, you know, like, he's fascinated with anything to do with poop or pee. That is the height of everything for him.

James Avramenko:

I mean, I get a kid.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, it's funny shit. Yeah, like, farts are funny. So but but yeah, I mean, it is that kind of questions of us as human beings are. We're dinks, right, you know, we can put our foot in our mouths all the time. Right. You know? Yeah, it's Yeah. And I think that that's kind of to, to acknowledge that sometimes and kind of, you know, and kind of go og fuck that was not a good to you. And also, as you said, like, maybe we don't need to know the hot takes that somebody has every three seconds of the day, right? There's a little bit of mystery, right, right. Yes, yeah. But

James Avramenko:

you know, I always, you know, I was just, oh my god, as I say this, I already can hear myself sounding like a pretentious asshole. But I was just rewatching The Godfather the other day. And, and there's this great line where they're having a meeting with like the other gangster bad guy, and was it is a James Caan? Is that his name? Sonny? Yeah, yeah. Sonny Yeah. He like he kind of pops off and he says something a little and and, and Marlon Brando like shushes him. And then the gangster leaves. And he's like, never tell anyone outside of the family what you're thinking again? Like, that's like, yeah, that's such a beautiful, like, there's a there's a safe circle. And then everyone else stay mysterious. Right? Yeah, don't you? You don't have to let everyone in on every dumb thought you have. Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, for the safety, right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. sculpted around, and then kind of, you know, released like one hot take when you're in kind of unit mean, that you've given a little bit more? Yeah, thank you spending more than about three minutes thinking about right.

James Avramenko:

You know, what, and that's, and I think, and I think I've actually, I've sort of come full circle back to that. Because, you know, I was for years, I was doing that, like, I was doing, like a poem a day thing. And, and, and it's really fun. I mean, you know, daily production, even monthly production is borderline impossible. Like, you know, it's like, I get why people make an album every three years, you know, because it's like, it's it's you can't give it the time. It deserves to make something every day and I don't think it's really worth showing Audience a daily work because it's like, you're not you're not, you're not always on, you're not always saying something that's worth listening to. And I think you're wasting people's time by doing that, right?

Jacob Richmond:

Mm hmm. I mean, there's so much to be said for everything, as he said, like with vaudeville, just barfing stuff out and everything. But But, but, but if that's all you're doing. I mean, I think there's a good balance on those levels. And I think and I definitely wouldn't want to try out my, my B roll material on Twitter. Right. Yeah, I think that'd be a terrible forum for that. Right. Yeah. The way that

James Avramenko:

just mobbed? Yeah.

Jacob Richmond:

Because that's really what it's set up to do. It's it's set up to make you emotional and angry. Right. And they said that, right. So it is just Yeah, I just found it. Every time I go to that site, I find it more and more unpleasant as, as you know, even though they've gotten rid of the Trump guy, right or anything fat, which is why I went on it all the time, in spite of myself, right. Just to kind of read, but that didn't get set that day, but, but also it's just I just feel, you know, as opposed to like, say, a podcast or signings ever, you can actually have a nuanced conversation. It's the nuances of the obliterated within the format of that right domain. And people, people going out of their way to misinterpret other people so they can be outraged or angry or upset. Right, you know, domain, willful obtuseness, right, yeah, that will follow. Yeah, right. Yeah. We'll follow up to snuff to get people pissed off, right? Yeah. Yeah. Great. A thing.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. That I want to, uh, yeah, fuck. I mean, that's the thing is that it's like, uh, yeah, I'm so with you, though, about this, like, I hate it so much, but I'm on it every day. And I don't know why. And it just makes me fucking that. Right. But, but I want to do my the last section, I want to just talk a couple things. You know, the, the whole root of this show really boiled down to you. I mean, like, it started as a joke. I started as like, I want to start a podcast. And I'm Joe, nobody. So how do I get guests? I'm gonna make my friends be on it. But it's really, it's really, over the last two years, developed into much more of an exploration of of what it even means to be a friend. You know, and I think, I think at the heart of it, what I'm actually asking is, like, have I been a good friend, you know, because I, you know, I, I move around so much. And so I miss people. And I think about them. And I, I've lost touch with so many people. And so I wonder, you know, how I'm remembered if I'm remembered. And and the real heart of that is like, what does it mean to be a friend? And so I guess I'm curious to ask you. The real root question is, what do you think it means to be a friend? And then, and then I want to bridge that into a question of, what do you think it's going to take to be a good friend in this current situation that we're in 2021?

Jacob Richmond:

I mean, I guess I mean, the glib answer would be friend is somebody that will lend you money, but no, but but I think they think friendships are like, like, they all are. I mean, because the funny thing is, I mean, I think it's like, some people in my life who I was just so close to, and all of a sudden, we just didn't talk ever again. Right? Like, rarely do and I think especially once you have kids, it gets harder. And you kind of go with to like, middle aged people have friends, right? You're gonna be so because it's honestly but and also, I mean, I think the nature of but I do think the nature of friendship is is somebody that you feel as close as you possibly can be yourself around, right? And so that they feel that they can be themselves around you, we'd like to say if they don't feel that they have to filter things, or bullshit or you know, been like, so they feel safe being themselves and not not trying to try on a persona or anything like that and kind of you know, and, and, and accept you know, you know, friends also fight as well too, but it's but it is about that level of not feeling like you have to put a filter in front of anything that you're not trying to put anything in. And then also you can spend time with each other and not necessarily feel like okay, where's this leading to? Right yeah, I mean, like sure. Yeah, having to have an agenda just just talking about a stupid movie for three hours is a great Yeah, like level of friendship or kind of and also mutual fascinations and kind of Yeah, but it is interesting how in our lives you go somebody who you wouldn't even believe you could go an entire day without talking to you all of a sudden kind of for whatever reason you just you know but but I it's funny it's just like a bad relationships like you kind of go I think the crime and a lot of our kind of thinking is that we think that a bad relationship you kind of go Oh, it was the whole thing was bad right from start to finish right? But But, but then when you get some time you kind of go Oh, actually there was it was fucking beautiful. It was just he just ran its course. I don't think she's right now. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah it was I don't think you and I ran our course you just moved away. And that happens within kind of collective it just happens to you geographically. It's tricky and kind of you know what I

James Avramenko:

also I'm somebody who like I have no object permanence, right and I was recently diagnosed, I sound like a broken record. I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. And so one of those kind of like, symptoms is like, I have no object permanence. And so basically, if it's not in front of me, I don't remember it. And so as I move around, I I'm like, I had a friend what I mean, like, fuck my fourth friend, whoever this fourth guy was whoever the fuck that was. Yeah, he missed me. So her rights to this? Yeah. Yeah, whatever you are, wherever you are. Question mark. Yeah, yeah. But it is a thing of like, you know, like, my, my, like, feelings of love Don't diminish, but the ability to maintain a current thing does right. And

Jacob Richmond:

yeah, yeah, hard. Yeah. It's tricky when you can't actually physically ever see the person as well. I mean, maybe it actually less. So now with the zoomies and everything separate still, zoom is not the same, right. kind of sitting around and having a couple drinks with your friends or anything like that. It is that kind of level of but I But yeah, I mean, I think that my largest thing with with all of those things is I never look at it as a failed I look at you know, I mean, I mean, not to be the cheesy Zen Buddhist but but that it was a part it'll always be a part of it. And it'll always exists. And we have a tendency in our, in our world to kind of grow to focus entirely on the last hour of something for 1000s of hours, right?

James Avramenko:

I get that all the time. I think about the one about like, you know, I hate friends. Like after a breakup. I hate how friends will be like, well, they were an asshole anyway. I never liked them anyway, like, instantly. It's like, now we erase them. And it's like, I'm so with you about like, it's it's so okay to have a relationship end. Even if it ends badly. That doesn't mean it was always bad, right? Yeah, yeah, we have to get better. Right? We have to get better at accepting that like, I mean, look as as 50 cent said, Yeah, Joy wouldn't feel so good. If it wasn't for pain. There. Sorry. wouldn't feel warm? If it wasn't for rain? Awesome. Yeah. fucking guy. Words To Live By. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. So how do you think, you know, speaking of you know, you're talking about things about like, you know, physical contact being being present with each other and things like that. How do you think you maintain a good friendship with when those are completely eliminated?

Jacob Richmond:

Well, it's been it's been an interesting year. I mean, everybody knows that we live in interesting times, and kind of in it's funny, I went to a New Year's party on zoom. And I went, Wow, this is something I hope they never bring back. Right? Because it was just a bunch of drunk people screaming over each other. Because that's the thing is, you know,

James Avramenko:

you're talking to a wall, right?

Jacob Richmond:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And it was just like, I was saying, me, I've got extreme sensitivity to sound like just like, it just felt like 1000 balloons being popped right in advance. It's just like, so and that's the beauty of going to an actual physical party is you can go you can take somebody aside, you guys can go outside for a smoke or unit again, or, you know, like, you can actually, you can curate a little bit more. Right. So so I don't know, if this zoom party is ever going to be anything that once we don't have to do it, we'll do it. I think it's good for work, you know, a certain extent, right. You know, again, I think that it's actually I think they will probably discover in the world that it's probably better that not everyone lives in a city right in the vein. Yeah, so like, yeah, especially for us broadcast artists, we can actually buy homes in remote communities, right? Yeah. Just do that remotely. Because I mean, as a writer, you can write on the moon. Paper. Yeah, yeah. And so But yeah, I mean, I but yeah, it's been it's been tricky. You're on that let me but also, thank God that technology existed, I mean, you know, on a certain level, but you have to like I can only imagine what hell it was like during the Spanish Flu where you couldn't communicate with anyone it just was odd. Yeah. And how crazy making it'd be like just to be holed up in your little kind of cabin kind of freaking out going not to leave, right. Yeah, access to the outside world. So I mean, I feel on that, that level, and I think that they also the casualties would have been through the roof and not just literally not through just the the virus itself, but through kind of people taking their own lives. Because we are social animals, right. So that's the beauty of social media. I think, but I do think that it'll also. I mean, hopefully when it does, hopefully kind of just ease up a bit, it'll it will make people appreciate the beauty of I mean, I The funny thing is, I'm always like, you know, I never see live bands, but I think I'm going to go back and just start seeing live bands again.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can't wait. I can't wait. I think I gotta say, um, yeah, it's like things that I you know, and I hate to sound. I don't know, dumb about this, but it's like things that I took for granted, right? Like, you know, the joy of a pub night and the joy of a live band and those things that are being you know, that like, it's like, now that we cannot have them now. It's all I want. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But, I mean, I was thinking about, you know, yeah. Like, I mean, the last time we saw each other was was was this beautiful, glorious, awful pub night? Where? Yeah, where we just got wait. All the way home? And it was like freezing. Oh, my God. Is it okay, can I tell? Oh, yeah. A part of that. There was this beautiful moment because you and I, you know, we hadn't seen each other in 10 years, probably. And so we, you know, we met up and started talking and the drink started flowing. And then it was like it was, had been yesterday, we saw each other and it was just this beautiful, was one of my favorite nights in Saskatoon. Like, I just I really cherish that night and but the night kept going. And we got so wasted. And then and then it was like, you know, one in the morning, whatever. And you were like, you're like, I'll be back. I have to go to the bathroom. And you were gone for so long. And while I'm sitting at the table, this woman comes comes and sits at her table across the across the thing, and she's like, there's some in the bathroom right now yelling at me to get out. And I was like huh. I wonder who that could be. And then you came out yeah, just like sallow like. Yeah. Yeah, right. And you're like, yeah, I think we should probably wrap up. And I was like ok bud Like, okay, but Okay, let's Yeah. Oh, my God,

Jacob Richmond:

because I moved to Saskatoon because Trina had gotten a gig. And that was my first night out. Like, it was baby's night out, right, you know, and I was like, I'm gonna you know or anything that and it's just like, yeah. And then it was just like, Oh, my God, because I'm usually like, I know when to pump the brakes at a party and go, Okay, yeah, you're gonna get sick. And then Jesus is gonna become your co pilot, and all of a sudden, you're gonna say a bunch of things you regret right? So yeah, but it was just a beautiful night. Yeah. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

yeah. Oh, my God. Yeah, I you, you know, I feel like, we should wrap up on that note, I've kept it too long. Um, but, you know, Jake, before I pull up your Facebook, I really do want to say like, I mean, I don't know, it's really hard to find the proper words for it. Because I think that you are just a monumental talent. And I, I'm just so I'm so inspired by you. And I'm so like, honored that I got to be, you know, I'm mentored by you, in a way. Right. And I really do feel like the vaudeville family really were my, like, creative teachers, you know, and I just think, I think, the absolute world of you, I think you're an incredible person. And you're so kind and you're so generous. And I'm just so thankful that you're my friend, you know, so I just Yeah, yeah, I just think you're the fucking best.

Jacob Richmond:

Oh, thanks so much. I also think that, uh, you use a beautiful, empathetic kind of gorgeous soul and kind of and, and I think a lot of people feel that way about you, you just you just kind of exude a kind of beauty to you. You get the way you carry yourself in this world. Right? You know, and I yeah, I love you, man. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

I love you, too. I do I you know, I, you know, and it's like, it's one of those you're one of those friends who I'm always like, like, all through the years, I'm always like, I wonder what chicks do and I want to reach out to him but then I feel kind of like, ah, he doesn't want to hear from me. Yeah, but it's just it and I've really it's been really you know, that you know, last year while you were in town, you know this and and it's just like, it's me. It really made me realize like, Yeah, I was holding on to a lot more like, past shame that I probably should have, you know what I mean? And you know, because yeah, you're wonderful and and you're so easy to talk to. And this is this has just been so much fucking fun. I just I love this so much. We have one last thing we have to do before we stop recording. So I'm pulling up your Facebook here. Nice. And Jacob Richmond. Huh? We are no longer Facebook friends. Yeah. And that's it. Thank you once more to Jacob for coming on the show. God I love that man so much. If you liked the episode, please be sure to tell a friend, give the show a five star review. And be sure to tell the world all about friend lists. Every thing helps. Make sure you sign up for the newsletter as well for just once a month. It's packed with reading lists, fun articles about social media and pop culture, all kinds of stuff that I find in the wacky corners of the internet, as well as exclusive writing from yours truly, that you won't find anywhere else. Just follow the link in the show notes to sign up. It's a ton of fun, I promise. He should have follow friend lists on all the social media spots at from this pod. And even on Tick Tock these days, I've been doing these kind of silly little videos and poetry comments and things like that. And I gotta say, they are giving me so much joy in this endless stress ocean. So be sure to check that out. But that's it for me this week. So I will leave it there. And I'll say I hope to catch you next time. But let's not worry about that. Because that is then and this is now. So for now I'll just say I hope you're safe. I hope you're healthy. And I hope you know you're loved by me for it safety