From the Marin Independent Journal
Ex-Marinites Behrendt and Anthony take podcast live at SF Sketchfest
By Nick Bensen
Thursday, January 31, 2013
GREG BEHRENDT HIT it big in 2004 with the humorous relationship advice book “He’s Just Not That Into You.” The veteran stand-up’s unexpected connection with a new larger female audience led to a short-lived self-help TV talk show, but his next TV project never made it to the air. So what’s a comedian to do when the Hollywood dream doesn’t quite work out as planned? The 49-year-old Behrendt, who grew up in Ross, retreated to his closet — to record a podcast.
He’s not in there alone, however. Dave Anthony, 45, a fellow comedian who grew up in San Anselmo and has appeared on TV’s “Boston Legal,” “Entourage” and “The Office,” joined forces with his old friend to create “Walking the Room.” The stripped-down, dirty digital talk show isn’t for all of Behrendt’s old fans — the name comes from a term for offending audience members into leaving a comedy show — but it’s painfully honest and consistently hilarious.
The two will appear at a live “Walking the Room” performance at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 as part of SF Sketchfest, San Francisco’s largest humor showcase now in its 12th year.
The IJ caught up with Behrendt and Anthony before they returned to their old stomping grounds.
Q: How would you describe the show?
Behrendt: As two grown men who should know better not knowing better.
Anthony: Two men for whom life has not worked out as they would have expected. We take people on that journey. And it’s filthy.
Q: A major part of your podcast involves venting everyday frustrations and moving forward when things don’t always go your way. Does it feel therapeutic to get the personal stories out there?
Behrendt: It has been for me. I think this show might have saved my life. When you have a friend that knows you and you are in the privacy of small space stuff gets worked out. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to be OK and being around Dave there’s no way to be OK.
Anthony: I wouldn’t say it’s been therapeutic for me. Greg’s gone through a lot more than me during the lifetime of the show. I’ve sort of grown accustomed to the ups and downs of show business, so that’s what people are witnessing on my end.
Q: How has podcasting changed things for comedians?
Behrendt: It’s given them a place to stay close to their fan base between shows and CDs and for their fans to get to know them better; I feel like I’m doing better work in the closet sometimes than I am on stage. The immediacy and the spontaneity are so much more interesting to me these days.
Anthony: I don’t know if I would
still be a comedian if it wasn’t for the podcast. There was no way to reach an audience. … Podcasts take the power away from the show business industry. Completely. And that’s a good thing for audiences and comedians.
Q: Greg, when you do stand-up shows, is it hard to find a balance between the hardcore nature of your podcast and the expectations of fans who know you from “The Greg Behrendt Show” or “He’s Just Not That Into You?”
Behrendt: The “He’s Just Not That Into You” crowd has pretty much died off except for the exceptionally twisted and awesome women that love both.
Q: What was it like growing up in Marin in the 1970s and ’80s?
Behrendt: It was a paradise of safety and boredom. Also a lot of madras.
Anthony: It was a pretty great place to grow up. You could get in trouble, but never really that much trouble. I lived in a secluded place called Sleepy Hollow. That’s not a bad way to start out life.
Q: You have done a bunch of shows in Australia. Why do you think Marin comedians connect so well with Australian stand-ups and audiences?
Behrendt: There is a very laid-back way of living in Australia, and it’s not unlike Marin. I always say it’s a gigantic European California. It’s an outstanding country.
Anthony: We just fit in there in attitude and lifestyle. Plus, they have Tim Tams, so I’ll do anything to make them my friends.
Q: What other projects are you working on?
Behrendt: “365 Days of Being in the Reigning Monarchs” kicked off Jan. 11 after a very intense Indiegogo campaign where we raised $27,000 to make a record, promote it, go on tour and document it all. I call it “has-been girly book author starts ska band to save career.” I mean, really — has there ever been a bigger cry for help?
Anthony: I am making a comedy album at the end of January and hope to have it on sale late February. It’s called “Shame Chamber.” I am also one of the co-founders of the Los Angeles Podcast Festival. It will be in Santa Monica this year Oct. 4 through 6. Other than that, I hope to eat less meat and more fish this year.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Behrendt: Go Niners!