Joe Janes Talks Comedy and Beer With Henry Deltoid

December 21, 2014
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Joe Janes Talks Comedy and Beer With Henry Deltoid

Joe Janes is an Emmy award-winning writer and teaches comedy writing and improv at the world’s most famous and prestigious comedy club, The Second City, and Columbia College. He has written for Jellyvision’s “You Don’t Know Jack” and SNL’s “Weekend Update.” He has published three books of his staged work: 365 Sketches50 Plays and Seven Deadly Plays. His full-length plays include Metaluna and the Science of the Mind RevueA Hard Day’s Journey Into Night and Always Never. He writes regularly for WNEP Theatre and Robot vs. Dinosaur. He teaches a weekend workshop on improvisational writing called “3 Plays. 3 Days. An Intense Writing Intensive.”

So, it was a pleasure to sit down with Joe, to shoot the breeze about his career in comedy and of course, my interests being what they are, to do that guy thing… and TALK BEER!

Enjoy the video, and below that the full transcription of Joe and Henry’s conversation.


Henry Deltoid: Hello everybody! I’m Henry Deltoid, with Badoink Magazine. I’m the beer columnist at BaDoink, I live in Chicago, Illinois, and today I will be interviewing Joe Janes. He’s a comedy actor, playwright, and he’s also a teacher of comedy here in Chicago. 

Joe, thank you so much for joining us… 

Joe Janes: Pleasure, I love beer.

HD: So do I! What we’re going to do today, is we’re going to talk a little bit about you, your career, we’re going to talk about the comedy industry, and then we’re going to drink a beer.

JJ: We’re not going to drink beer as we’re talking about all these things?

HD: We’re going to do it towards the end…

JJ: Really?

HD: So you’re going to have something to look forward to, and we’ll ask a few more questions while we’re reviewing the beer together.

JJ: Alright

HD: Okay, to start off, a brief introduction for you: You’re a comedy actor, you’re a director, you’re a teacher and you’re a writer. How long have you been in the comedy entertainment business?

JJ: Well, formally, since I guess past college. After college I started doing stand up and I toured professionally for five, six years; doing that full time.

HD. How many years ago was that?

JJ: (laughing) A long time ago! We’re talking the 80s! Back when there was a huge stand up comedy boom all across the country, where everybody was doing stand up. Even people that really had no business doing stand up were doing stand up. But you had a microphone and a trouble light that they could put somewhere, and we’d go ahead and have a comedy night.

HD: What are you focused on currently? What are you focused on the most?

JJ: Currently I’m focused on writing. That’s the main thing I’m doing. Teaching, as well as collaborating on different productions and doing my own stuff.

HD: Okay, and anything in particular you’re working on, like an ongoing series with your writing?

JJ: Hmm, there’s a couple of things, but they’re in like the development stage. Nothing’s like “hey, this is coming up”. Except for, I’m in a group called Robot vs. Dinosaur, and we just wrapped up a run of a show that we wrote collaboratively called Attack of Bikini Werewolf Beach, that was a musical…

HD: Okay. That sounds very interesting. Tell me a little bit about that.

JJ: Well, it’s a mashup of a 1960s beach party movie — like Frankie Avalon, Annette Funicello… with werewolfs! And original music. And it went really well, we had a really great run at a small theater here in Chicago called The Den Theater. And then one of the film instructors at Columbia came to see the show — who knew somebody else in the cast, I didn’t know this guy — and he loved it. And afterwards he was just chatting with me, “You know this is a movie, right?” (laughs) Yeah, you know, that’s the source of it. And he’s like, “Well, I’m looking for a project next summer. I want to shoot this movie.” And he really was just talking like leaning in, kinda like… (leans in)

A brilliant guy! A guy named Julian Grant. Probably his most famous stuff is like he did a series of Robocop movies…

HD: I love the first one! The original film!

JJ: Yeah, yeah… it wasn’t…. This is like further down the road, when they put it on television… He did a couple of those movies…

HD: Well…

JJ: And he just does a movie a year; independent projects and we’re going to be doing this in June. So you may get a chance to see it.

HD: Congratulations. I will be first in line.

So you focus mostly on writing. What is the reason for that? Is it a money thing or is it your pleasure spot? Why are you mostly writing now?

JJ: It’s more my jam. I really love writing, but I really love seeing actors take my script and put it up on stage and have them look good.

HD: You like being the architect…

JJ: Yeah. I love hearing people get laughs out of something I wrote. Nothing brings me more pleasure. I used to do stand up, and that’s great, when you’re out there getting laughs, but there’s something about causing the laugh for somebody else and making them look really good… I really dig that.

HD: Where are you from originally?

JJ: Port Clinton, Ohio.

HD: Is that near Cincinnati?

JJ: No, it’s the other end, it’s along Lake Eerie. Near Cedar Point. Toledo. Cleveland-area…

HD: Okay. And what brought you to Chicago and when?

JJ: Well, I went to school in Dayton, at Wright State University. Afterwards, moved down to Cincinnati, where I started doing stand up comedy and open mic nights. And that’s where I started doing professional stand up, working out of Cincinnati. And then, you know, a couple of friends moved. I had a roommate situation where my roommate was going to move to L.A. — I think he did. So I was like, “Well, I guess I need to move…” And being a comedian from Chicago sounds better than being a comedian from Cincinnati. When you’re traveling on the road and somebody’s introducing you, “From Chicago” gets a little more respect than “From Cincinnati.” I know it sounds silly, but it’s like so true!

So I initially made the move to make my introduction sound sharper.

HD: You know, that actually makes a lot of sense because a lot of extremely well renowned comedians do come from Chicago. Second City! It is the biggest name in comedy in America, maybe even the world. So, I think that was a good decision and, yeah, when people say Chicago, it does have an impact. 

So, why don’t you tell me a little bit about your first gig in the comedy business. Was that the stand up? Was that the first thing you did?

JJ: First paying gig would have been stand up, yeah.

HD: How was that experience? What was it like?

JJ: There was a local club in Dayton called Wiley’s, and this was just before the comedy boom. So, it was a little bit… Some nights it’d be five people. A good house would be 20, 30. And I was opening for some comedians from Chicago, at the time, so I was also hearing a lot about Chicago, then. And the deal I struck with Wiley — there was actually a guy named Wiley from the comedy club, he was like “Hey man, I need an MC this week, I want you to do it. I don’t know what I can pay you, but I’ll pay you something at the end of the week.” I said, “Alright!” You know, ‘cause I’m a college kid and… an idiot. (laughs) And I do the whole week, and he gives me five bucks.

HD: Oh my God, he put the stones to you…

JJ: Oh my God, it broke my heart.

HD: Did you take umbrage and show your anger? Or did you just take it and say you know what…

JJ: No. I learned to ask how much up front and not like leave it open like that.

HD: Okay. Did you ever have an experience on stage that was just terrible. You fell on your face, it didn’t go well, you got heckled, the audience was terrible, anything like that?

JJ: No, never.

HD: Never?

JJ: No, that’s not true (laughs)

HD: All comedians have a nightmare story! What’s your nightmare story?

JJ: I got booed off the stage in Windsor, Canada. And it was my first headlining gig. I was… I was the headliner. And it was the second show Friday. So, in comedy, a second show Friday is kind of notorious for being a rough show, because people are tired from work, it’s later at night, it’s usually around the time they’d go to bed. They’ve had a few drinks, so it’s hard to really get the audience energized. The guy who was MCing the show also owned the club, Leo, beautiful man. But also super friendly and if you stopped by he’s going to put you up. So, normally a show it’s like an hour and half, two hours. I didn’t hit the stage till the three hour mark.

HD: Oh, so people were just tired and they wanted to go home.

JJ: Oh my God! And here’s the other thing about Windsor, Canada. It’s right across the border from Detroit, right? You can drink at a younger age in Canada.

HD: Right, it used to be 18.

JJ: Yeah, right. So all these like kids who were 18 were driving over, getting blotto and driving back. And so, when I was on stage there were people…(Joe rests his head on the table) like this at their tables. There were couples making out. There were people who were usually slurring, heckling at me. It was like performing to… kittens, if kittens were drunk and obnoxious (laughs)

HD: Kittens are obnoxious when they’re not drunk.

JJ: Right, but so, inject them with some rough liquor and… you know, it was kind of like that. Like nothing was working. Nothing was working. They were spent by the time I hit the stage.

HD: That doesn’t sound very pleasant, and I’m very sorry, but maybe some of them in their state of intoxication drove off a bridge and drowned on the way home, so that you can feel better about that.

JJ: Can only hope.

HD: Yes, yes. Do you still work at Columbia College in Chicago?

JJ: I do, I do. I teach in the theater department there.

HD: Theater department? Okay…

JJ: What’s interesting about Columbia is that it’s one of the first colleges — if not the first college — to have an improv program; because there’s a strong connection between Second City and Columbia College. Like one of the founding members of Second City used to be Dean of the Theater Department here, so there’s a strong base for that. There’s a class about Comedy Workshop that I teach that has been taught here for over 20 years, where students write and perform their own sketch reviews. And like nobody in the country was doing anything like that. And just last year, Columbia started a Comedy Writing and Performance major. You can get a degree in comedy.

HD: And you are, your job title… are you instructor? Professor?

JJ: I think you could call me professor and it would be okay. It’s Adjunct Professor…

HD: Adjunct Professor Janes. Alright, I like it. That’s really, really good. That’s great! Uh, and, would you ever be interested in changing your focus to television or film or do you like the theater?

JJ: Well, I love it all. I mean, I’m a junkie when it comes to film and television. You know, I’ll find a TV show and just kinda blaze through it on Amazon or Netflix or something like that. Huge fan of great stories, and great acting and great production values, but for me… Like, man, that’s like such a crapshoot. Shows like Breaking Bad just don’t, you know, don’t fall off trees. So like to uproot and move to L.A. and try to get on something like that, it would just so, like… you know, astronomical. I have good friends who have moved out there, decent writers and just like have been out there over 10 years and it’s like… they’re not breaking through. So I’m not really jonesing to do it, at least not that way. If my writing for theater generated enough interest from people that they’re offering me something, I’d totally consider it and probably be down for it. But right now, I write for the theater because I can write something, and I know it’ll get produced. Like if somebody doesn’t want to do it, I’ll do it. And I can get an audience there; we can have a good time. So, that’s mainly what I’m attracted to. There’s a little bit more immediacy to it. I could write 10 spec scripts, or 10 film scripts and nothing will ever happen to them.

HD: So, you’re writing at Second City. Are you teaching at Second City? Are you teaching any improv classes at Second City?

JJ: Yeah, actually I don’t write at Second City. I mean, there’s some writing that you do there on their business corporation and a little bit of that, but mainly I teach writing there.

HD: Okay, you teach writing at Second City. Okay. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about some of the more famous names that have come out of Second City. I know there’s a lot of them.

JJ: Oh yeah, there’s tons. I know when I was in the touring company there, Tina Fey was on the main stage, along with Scott Adsit who was on 30 Rock with her. Stephen Colbert was on, and Steve Carrell were on the ETC and main stage when I was in the training center, when I was going through classes there. Amy Poehler. Wait, not Amy Poehler, Amy Sedaris was also part of that group. Uhh, most, most of the prominent people from SNL have gone through Second City: Chris Farley, Mike Myers. Go to like SCTV… John Candy, classics, Eugene Levy, who just had a resurgence in the last few years. Everybody. The… Best in Show. Waiting for Guffman… All those movies. Almost all those folks went through Second City.

HD: Okay. Best in Show, they were also in The Mighty Wind, and um… one of my favorite comedies of all time…

JJ: Spinal Tap?

HD: This is Spinal Tap.

JJ: Yeah.

HD: I’ve watched that movie 100 times and it doesn’t get any less funny every time I watch it. That’s what a brilliant comedy is. Do you agree?

JJ: Yeah, totally. I went a long time without seeing that movie, easily 10 years or so. And then I just saw it again; it was a movie in the park here in Chicago, and I went and saw it. I was amazed at how well it held up. This is from like 1982, and it’s still funny, and so many quotable lines, and great characters, and it’s tight. You know, they really like wrote the book on that type of movie. Docu… Fake documentary movie.

HD: And why do you think Second City has produced so much talent in the industry? Why Second City?

JJ: Well, I think there’s a couple of things in play. One is they have a really excellent training center. You know, you can really train well there, and one thing the people in the industry always say, “you go train in Chicago, you go get your money in New York or L.A.” You come here to learn, and Second City is really good at teaching, improv and writing, and everything you need to know. And if you’re good, and you get into the touring company, or you get into the main stage or ETC, especially the main stage. Main stage you’re performing Tuesday through Sunday, with two shows on Friday and two shows on Saturday. So, if you got the stuff, you get good. You get really sharp; you’re sharp on your feet; you learn how to work the crowd; you know how to make people laugh. Like that, in and of itself, it’s a super training that you just can’t get anywhere else. And also, as a performer, you’re writing your own material, so you’re learning to find your voice as an artist. So I think that’s a huge thing there, like most of the people that end up in SNL go from the main stage to SNL. And they’re ready for it.

HD: What do you think the future has in store for Second City? Are they pretty much at their plateau? Are they going to develop and grow? Are they going to change things, add anything to their program?

JJ: Well, they just took over another space in the building. You know, we have this huge building at the corner North of Wells called Pipers Alley, and Second City used to just be the main stage, and over the years it’s just kind of expanded throughout the building. There used to be a movie theater there where, actually the Chicago Film Festival used to be… that was their home base, and I forget what the theater was called at the time, but that theater closed, unfortunately, and that space had been sitting empty for a few years, and the training center has gotten so huge. You know, we have like 3 or 4000 students going through classes every eight weeks. They just recently signed the lease for that space, so they’re going to convert these huge five, six movie theater cineplex into another training center. So there’ll be more performance spaces, more room for classes, and also more of a common area for students to hang out and get to know each other.

HD: In the comedy industry today, between television actors, movie actors, stand up comedians, writers. Who do you think that are, in your opinion, the top three to five comedians in the industry today? The best ones. The best of the best.

JJ: Wow, well, I think when I gravitate towards stand up I think Louis CK, because I think he’s so brilliant at like finding uncomfortable things to talk about that are filled with a lot of truth and honesty, and I think his television show is the same way. He’s just brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I also like Chris Rock for the same reasons. I would sort of throw Zach Galinafiakis (sic) in there, and Jim Gaffigan, but I think those guys are really great outside of stand up, they’re really good actors as well, especially Galinafiakis (sic). And they’re finding ways to express their humor in other forms. Like whenever Zach Galinafiakis (sic) hosts SNL, that’s like one of the few times that I watch when it happens. Most of the time with SNL I’m watching clips from the next day, so I’m not watching the whole show, but with him I’m like, “I gotta see this!” I want to watch the whole thing. Umm, those are the ones that are top of the head right now.

I also love the standards, too, like The Daily Show, and Colbert Report. Those are always constant go-tos and I’m always impressed and blown away.

HD: Louis CK had a role in American Hustle. Did you see that film?

JJ: No, I didn’t.

HD: His role was, it was a very funny role, because of the circumstances that surrounded his part in it, but he wasn’t a joke teller, he wasn’t saying funny things or being funny; some funny things happened to him in the film. I thought he did a really good job in that film, in a role that he wasn’t being a funny figure, so maybe, do you think he might have a future… like somewhat like Robin Williams. Robin Williams, famous comedian, one of the famous comedians ever, R.I.P. Robin Williams, but he moved on to some pretty serious intense roles.

JJ: Oh yeah, some dark stuff and good dramatic stuff.

HD: Can you see any really hilarious goofy comedians, getting into a role where they get dark and serious and dramatic?

JJ: Well, I mean, some people have. Jim Carrey has tried it, at various success. I think even his best films still have a lot of humor in them — best dramatic films, like Eternal Sunshine. You know, he’s still pretty funny in it, while it’s a very dramatic film.

I think going back to Jackie Gleason had a definition of a comedian where he said a comedian is a person who is an actor, a writer and a director; so they have to be able to do all of it. And if you look at guys from that era, like Milton Berle, Don Rickles, they also did a lot of dramatic work. So I think to be a really successful comedian, you need to also have that side of you where you can ground yourself and not have to be funny; not to have to go for the funny.

HD: Do you see any comedians who haven’t done it yet, do you see anyone doing it?

JJ: Ahh, well, yeah. I haven’t seen the movie, but the Skeleton Twins just came out. Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig?

HD: Oh, I thought you were talking about the Olsen Twins. Sorry. Bill Hader is great.

JJ: Yeah, I think they’re both really strong actors. They can do that, too. They can fluctuate between comedy and drama.

HD: The difference today, between today and when you were starting in the business, so many things technologically have developed. And so, I think they play a major role in what requires to get into this today than it did when you were younger. Besides things like Youtube, and the explosion of the Internet, and millions and millions of cable channels, what do you think the big differences are today between getting in the business now and back when you did it?

JJ: Well, I think a lot of it has to do with the things you just mentioned, Youtube and the Internet. There’s just a lot more noise. There are a lot more TV channels, so it’s hard for people to break through and get noticed. Like it’s very… There’s just so much competition. And I mean that like, not just competition artistically, there’s competition to get in front of you, to get in front of your ears and your eyes, to get you to click on the right link so can see my video on Funny or Die. I think it’s just so much of a swirl, like all you can really do is do your best work and be persistent in doing your best work, and do your best to market it and get it out there. And then, you know, I think most of it is 90% hard work, and then you still need that 10% of luck, of the right person seeing it at the right time, who can then help you move it even farther.

HD: You have a blog yourself, is that correct?

JJ: Yeah, I do.

HD: What is the name of your web blog?

JJ: (thinks for a while) Ahhh… I think it’s… (laughs) I have two. There’s one called Bite and Smile…

HD: Bite and Smile? What’s the web address?

JJ: That one, because I’ve changed so many email addresses, I can no longer access it.

HD: You can’t get to your own website?

JJ: I can get to the website, but I can’t do anything with it. I can’t edit it and I can’t change anything on it.

HD: Maybe you should hire Julian Assange to get you access to your own god damn website.

JJ: He needs to crack it. So there’s tons of stuff on there that’s archive material and essays, and satirical essays and things like that. And then I have a new one that’s just that I’m mainly just using for promotion, like if I got something going on I can let people know through that.

HD: Are there any shows coming up for Second City, big shows, big productions that have not been announced or released yet?

JJ: Ah, well, if there are, they haven’t told me. But what I do know is that in the main stage they’re working on a new show. I just saw last Tuesday night, so the show that’s currently there called Depraved New World is in the process of becoming a new show, and it’s a really interesting time to go see those shows, because the process is fascinating. What’ll happen is the actors will get together in the afternoon with the director. They’ll improvise some ideas, they’ll polish some things, they’ll work on some stuff. Then they go do their regular show at night, and then they always do a free third act, an improv set; and in that improv set they’ll take stuff from that afternoon and try it out there. If it starts to work there, they’ll take something out of the main show and plug it in there, and so they’ll keep doing that until they have, I don’t know, 50%, 70% of a new show and they’re like “Okay, we can’t call it Depraved New World anymore.” It is nothing at all like that old show. We gotta say, “Now in previews for our next review.” And then when they have a title, they’ll set an opening day, and then it’ll go. It’s virtually full-proof, because everything is tested in front of an audience. It’s a really great way to develop a show.

HD: Okay. Well, I got four more questions, they’re kinda goofy and silly and funny. Before we get to those, I think we ought to start doing what we came here, and that is to drink beer.

JJ: Yay, I earned it!

HD: You did earn it! Just like Private Ryan. What I got here, well, I got two beers for you to choose from. I’ve got Great Lakes Brewing out of Cleveland, Ohio. This is called Edmund Fitzgerald; it is a hand-crafted porter. So it’s going to be a little bit darker, maltier, a little stronger flavor than standard pale ales, lagers, pilsners. 

This one right here it’s a seasonal. It’s an Oktoberfest. This is by Revolution Brewing, out of Chicago. Revolution happens to be one of my favorite brewers of all time out of Chicago…

JJ: Me too, me too.

HD: So, I’m excited, I haven’t had this one yet.

JJ: I haven’t either.

HD: But I love Oktoberfest. So, I’m going to give you a choice to choose between one of these to review, and we’ll review it.

JJ: Well, I’ve had this (points to the Edmund Fitzgerald) and I love it.

HD: It’s great.

JJ: I have not had this (points to the Oktoberfest) and I’m curious.

HD: You’re going to like it. We’ll put this one away (puts the Edmund Fitzgerald away), even though Great Lakes is awesome and we do like this. This one’s going to be for me, because this one has not been chilled; yours is going to be chilled.

(Guy off camera then says “We could do half and half, or no?”)

HD: We could do half and half…

HD: We got two beers here. This one is by Great Lakes, out of Cleveland, Ohio, so you should be familiar with it.

JJ: Very familiar with it.

HD: It is the Edmund Fitzgerald porter, and it’s going to be a little bit darker, a little maltier. It might have some dark earth tones to it, some nuts…

(Joe laughs)

I’m, honestly, I’m eight.

This here (points at the Oktoberfest beer) has been just released by Revolution, it’s called Oktoberfest; it’s a seasonal.

JJ: Do you know anything about it?

HD: I do. I haven’t had this one (points at the Oktoberfest beer again), I’m really excited to try it, because Revolution Brewing out of Chicago, our hometown Chicago, is one of my favorite breweries.

JJ: Me too.

HD: They’re by far — in my opinion — the best one in Chicago, but they’re one of my favorite all-time breweries. Oktoberfest is a lager, and this one (points to the Edmund Fitzgerald) is an ale. Actually, there are two categories of beer; there are lagers and ales, and then there are sub-categories. The basic difference is, a lager is brewed over a longer period of time at cooler temperatures, and an ale is brewed over a shorter period of time, but at higher temperatures. I prefer ales, because they tend to take on a lot more byproducts during the fermentation process, and there’s a lot more complexity, a lot more flavor, and they tend to be a little bit stronger. Lagers is a smaller category, but I can say this: Oktoberfest and double bocks — they’re both lagers. I love Oktoberfest and I love double bocks.

JJ: What’s a pilsner?

HD: A pilsner is a lager. It’s a very simple lager. Very light, very cool, very… there’s not a lot of complexity there. Very crystal clear. This one (points to the Edmund Fitzgerald) is going to be pretty dark. This one (points at the Oktoberfest) is not going to be quite as dark; it’s going to have some brown copper to it. Both of them are packed with flavor. So, we’re going to do both. We’re going to do half and half.

JJ: Great.

HD: So what I’m going to do is, which one do you want to start with?

JJ: Ah, I want to start with this (points to the Oktoberfest), because I’ve had that before (points to the Edmund Fitzgerald) and I know I’m going to love it. And this one (points back to the Oktoberfest) I’m curious about.

HD: Alright, well, I will pour this for you. What I’m going to do is, we’ll review it together. What I typically do when I review beer is I look at and observe the actual liquid. So right here (starts pouring the beer), this here… it’s got a honey color to it; it’s clear; it’s got a decent head on it; it’s got some carbonation in it. Like I’ve said, I’ve never seen this one before, but yeah, it has a bit of a honey-brown color. The other thing I do is I note the aroma. What are you picking up when you smell it?

JJ: You know what? It sounds crazy; I smell apples.

HD: You smell apples?

JJ: Yeah, it smells fruity.

HD: You smell cola?

JJ: Ah yeah, I can see it, I can smell a cola.

HD: You know what? Actually, I’ll take that one (points at the beer he just poured and gave to Joe) because it’s warmer.

JJ: Alright.

HD: This one’s chilled. This one will be for you (pours him the beer)

JJ: The head goes down pretty quickly.

HD: It does.

JJ: I suppose, I’ve noticed with like IPAs. It can stay there a long time.

HD: Well, IPAs… Lagers actually, the head tends, it’s not quite as resilient. Like double bocks go right down. Double bocks are very… they’re more flat, but this is a good one. I can tell just by looking at it. (smells the beer) I’m picking up some sweet odors; yeah, the apple, I’m picking that up, a little bit of fruit, some more of a candy odor. And, what we’ll do now, next thing I do is, I take a sip and taste it. See how it tastes…

(they both take a sip)

JJ: Oh, it’s like in the aftertaste.

HD: Yeah.

JJ: And I can totally taste that cola essence.

HD: Yeah, a little bit of cola. It’s got some wheat to it, it’s got a little bit of bread. You’re picking that up? I’m picking up a little bit of caramel…

JJ: (pauses) Yeah. Strong aftertaste.

HD: It’s a little strong aftertaste. There’s a little… it’s not very, very bitter, but it has a little bit of bitterness, it’s got a little bit of kick. It’s got a little bit of pepper, I’m picking, a little bit of salt and pepper maybe. Like a pretzel?

JJ: Or a… rhythm and blues, hip hop group…

HD: Salt and Pepa?

JJ: Yeah, little Salt and Pepa…

HD: “Let’s talk about sex…”

JJ: N’ Pepa?


HD: So typically what I do when I write a beer is, I also comment on the aftertaste, which we kind of picked up on. And I’m getting a lot of, a bitter… a lot of wheat, a lot of grain. That’s what I love, I mean, like I said… this is a lager, but it does have a lot of flavor to it. 

So, what we’re going to do next is we’re going to take this (points to the Edmund Fitzgerald), but what I also like to do when I review a beer is I rate as the style, like for instance, how does this [Oktoberfest] fare as a standard oktoberfest? And then I rate it as an overall beer. And I love Oktoberfest. I would give this one — it’s very good — I would give this one an eight, which in my scale is very, very good. Nine is awesome, 10 is just perfect. I give this one an eight; very, very good. Overall? I’d give it probably eight for overall also.

JJ: What do you consider common lagers in America? Like something that everybody would know. “Oh yeah, that!”

HD: Bud Light.

JJ: Bud Light is a lager. That’s a lager?

HD: Coors Light.

JJ: Those are lagers?

HD: They’re all lagers.

JJ: They seem so light!

HD: It’s ‘cause they’re lagers!

JJ: Right, but I mean, much lighter than this…

HD: Yes. This is a lager, but it’s got a lot more malt to it, and it’s got a lot more byproduct to it, for a lager. That’s why it’s darker. Because of the… Well, there’s a process, it’s called the Maillard process, M-A-I-L-L-A-R-D. It’s actually a process that gives food its color, when you burn toast or when you cook steak. When the starch is malted, there’s… sugars are being produced. And it’s… all this crazy chemistry, and I’ve read all about it and I just… it just doesn’t process for me. But it’s a chemical process called the Maillard process, which is what causes the color, and it also affects the flavor as well. It’s like if you’re cooking a steak.

(They both sip again)

JJ: I like it.

HD: Are you ready for the next one? Want to chug the rest of that?

JJ: Um, yeah. This would go really well with like a really large pretzel at Oktoberfest.

HD: Yes, that would. And it comes out this time of year and there’s that German celebration. What they do is they serve beer, pretzels and bratwurst, and all that kind of stuff.

JJ: How come some people have Oktoberfest in September?

HD: I, you know, I used to know the answer to that question. I think, I don’t think Oktoberfest has to do with the month of October. I think it’s the season. The reason why it’s called, well, the reason why it’s a season it’s because they brew it throughout the year and it’s prepared for the season. And so I don’t think October really denotes the month. Don’t quote me on that! I used to know, but I don’t know…

JJ: I’ll buy it.

HD: Okay, now this one here is the Edmund Fitzgerald porter, and I’m going to pour this for you, and then I’m going to ask you the final four questions of our interview.

JJ: Alright.

(Henry pours Joe’s beer in the same glass he had)

HD: Here you go. It’s going to mix a little bit, but you know what? It’ll be okay, because you’re going from light to dark, which is what typically people do when they do flights and they do various tastings. You should have no problem.

JJ: Wait, when I do a flight, I should start with a light and end with a dark?

HD: That’s typically the way it’s done. If you ask me, it doesn’t matter, it’s however you want to do it, but it’s a standard beer drinking procedure when they give you a beer flight. They typically… it goes from light to dark, and you’re supposed to drink it from light to dark. I can understand why, because the dark beers tend to have more flavor, and if you have a dark beer in your palate, it may inhibit you from being able to experience the full flavor of the light one. The other way, that doesn’t happen.

(They stare at the full beer glasses)

Okay so this is a coffee brown, it’s almost black. It’s got a nice vanilla tan head to it. I’m definitely smelling chocolate, and I’m definitely smelling malt.

JJ: Yeah.

HD: A little bit of coffee.

JJ: Yeah! Definitely dark, rich scent.

HD: This is a fantastic porter. This has a very heavy flavor of chocolate to it.

JJ: Yeah, but also, the liquid itself doesn’t feel as heavy as other porters I’ve had.

HD: It’s got a very good watery texture to it, but it has some CO2 in it.

(They keep sipping)

For a porter, I would rate this, honestly… nine out of 10. Overall, nine out of 10. I mean, this is one of the best. Great Lakes makes amazing beer.

JJ: Yeah, I agree.

HD: Are you ready for the final four questions?

JJ: Bring it on!

HD: Yeah? You got all of the beer in your system?

JJ: Yeah.

HD: Alright. First, you’re stuck on a desert island and you can only have three things. What would they be and why?

JJ: Well, I have a question about the word thing. So, does that mean just like something I can hold in my hand? Or would like having a… brewery be a thing?

HD: (Thinks about it) Yeah, I guess you could… yeah. Put it this way: It’s not an airplane with a pilot, that can get you off. You’re stuck in the desert island. You’re not going anywhere.

JJ: Right, so a brewery might be too… Alright, I’ll compromise… A brewer’s kit.

HD: A brewer’s kit?

JJ: A  brewer’s kit, with all the ingredients I need.

HD: Okay, and you can do that as long as you get yourself some vessels. I’m sure you can make those out of wood…

JJ: Yeah, yeah, coconut shells…

HD: Oohh, a coconut flavored beer! That’s pretty bonerific. I’m going to pitch that to some brewers to see if I can patent it.

Okay, that’s the first thing. Beer making kit. What else?

JJ: Beer making kit. Free wi-fi… (laughs)

HD: Free wi-fi?

JJ: But I won’t ask for help, or let anybody know where I’m at! It’s just, you know… I’m a news junkie.

HD: So Internet access…

JJ: Yeah, I just want to be able to check the news, and check Facebook, see how everybody’s doing.

And then the third one, since I got the beverage now, it’s got to be something food-related. You know, I love… I’m a vegetarian, but I love fish and chips, and there’s this company called — if I can say the name of the company — Gardein. Edit that out! Gardein… that makes a great fake fish filet.

HD: Really?

JJ: Yeah, it just reminds me… it’s like thick, and it’s breaded, and it just tastes like the real thing — as I remember it. So, that and chips, french fries and all vinegar. So, the other thing I would have would be like, just like an infinite walking cooler stuffed with that. Oh, and a way to cook it, I guess! Well, I’m on a desert island, I could probably just leave it out in the sun, on a rock…

HD: Or, maybe you could start a fire…?

JJ: Start a fire. Or, I’ll make a mud oven.

HD: Okay.

JJ: I’ve seen pictures. I can make a mud oven.

HD: I wouldn’t want to make a mud oven, but then again I guess I wouldn’t want to be in a desert island either…

JJ: I just want to drink beer and eat fish and chips, and surf the net.

HD: Okay, that makes sense. What one thing do you never leave home without?

JJ: (Thinks) Ahhhhh, my… phone.

HD: Yeah, that’s a typical answer.

JJ: Yeah. Well, you know what? I’ve left without the phone, but I always have my wallet. I never forget my wallet.

HD: Glasses?

JJ: Oh yeah, I need my glasses.

HD: What happens if you’re not wearing your glasses? Do you walk into walls like (someone’s name I didn’t get. Minute 11:36) before he died of Alzheimer’s?

JJ: I can see pretty well. Like I can make out faces and everything, but if I had to read, that’d be tough. So I could actually get around decently without glasses on, but you’re right, I never forget them.

HD: Okay.

JJ: Now, sometimes I’ll put my prescription sunglasses and forget these, but I still have my sunglasses, but that looks kind of… like I’m being a jerk, wearing them when I’m indoors.

HD: No, you’re not. That’s okay…

JJ: Alright.

HD: Everybody likes… It’s very mysterious. Women like that; they’ll flock to you.

JJ: Mysterious or… possibly blind.

HD: Yes, they like the mysterious, blind douchebag with the sunglasses.

(Joe laughs)

Okay now, in the interest of shameless self-promotion…

JJ: Yeah…? What are you promoting?

HD: Badoink Magazine. It has been named — not by us —  21st century Playboy. In fact, there was an article in Forbes Magazine back in May, and they were calling it the 21st century Playboy. When you hear that, when you hear that… 21st century Playboy… Badoink… What does that make you think about? What are your thoughts on that?

JJ: Well, as a matter of fact, I was just in Vegas last week, and went through Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, at the Venetian. And they had Hugh Hefner there, on a bed, wearing his housecoat pajamas, and they have like a box, so I could put on a housecoat and I got my picture taken with Hef.

HD: That’s amazing.

JJ: But I’m like, you know… He’s Coke Classic. And I think BaDoink is… (thinks about it) I have no comparison because I don’t drink soft drinks anymore.

HD: Yeah, neither do I.

JJ: You’re Mountain Dew! You’re doing the Dew. (laughs)

HD: Okay. Alright…

JJ: And I think that’s… I think Playboy had its place and time in history, and it’s super respectable, and a brilliant vehicle for literature, and interviews, and news reports, as well as boobies!

HD: I love boobies. I really, really like to touch them, and squeeze them.

JJ: Me too. But I think like Badoink is like “Hey, we’re the new generation for this.” And… I agree with it.

HD: Okay, that’s good to hear. I like hearing that kind of feedback. Fourth and final question… 

If you could see any two major U.S. political figures engaging in an explicit adult scene, who would they be and what would they be doing? Now, it could be two men, if you’re into that. People think I’m into it because I have three cats. It could be two women, which I really, really like. Or it could be a man and a woman. It’s got to be two. Just two, no threesome, no foursome.

JJ: Ah, yeah, so… you know, I hate Sarah Palin, but I think she’s hot. Super attractive…

HD: I think she’s really hot, too.

JJ: Yeah, so she’s definitely in this picture.

HD: Sarah Palin, okay. She’s the first one.

JJ: Yes, Sarah Palin, and then there’s that governor of… I think she’s the governor of North Carolina or South Carolina? She’s really hot. Nicky, Vicky, I don’t know…

HD: I don’t know.

JJ: But also Republican. She has dark hair; she’s really, really pretty. But I would like to see Sarah and this governor.

HD: Wow. Okay, where would they be?

JJ: They’d be at her governor’s mansion, and Sarah would roll up in her bus, and pop out, and probably wearing a trench coat, and come in and say “we have an important meeting,” and then just take out the trench coat and she’s wearing a corset…

HD: What is more important than that kind of a meeting? They’d be in the office, right?

JJ: Oh yeah, of course in the office!

HD: Would things get rough?

JJ: You don’t do it in the bedroom, you do it on a… (slams desk) desk.

HD: Would things get nasty?

JJ: Yeah. Things get shoved off the desk. Messes are made. Cigars are tainted…

HD: What about paraphernalia and apparatuses?

JJ: (Thinks) Ahhhh, well, anything that’s at your disposal… Telephone!

HD: (looking impressed) A telephone… Alright.

(Joe laughs)

JJ: A telephone and a rolled up copy of the U.S. Constitution.

HD: Oh man. I’ll just make a mental note of all this, because I’m going to go home and whack off. This is fantastic!

(Joe laughs)

HD: Okay. How would it end? Would it end with both of them…

JJ: Spent. And then Obama walks in…

HD: Oh, okay, fine. We’ll add a third. We’ll add a third. Obama walks in…

JJ: Walks in and they just… (he signals a come-hither sign)

HD: And we works them back up again?

JJ: Yeah.

HD: He does! I like that. This, wait… Does he finish with a load to the face? Because I love load to the face!

JJ: Well, I can’t see it other way.

HD: Oh, load to the face!

JJ: Both of them on their knees.

HD: Oh, kind of, you know… He’s a little bit of a lefty, so he can spread the wealth a little bit, just like he told Joe the Plumber. He’s got some plumbing of his own to do. So he’s spreading the load to two faces. Loads to the faces.

JJ: I love that all I had to do was push a little suggestion and you’ve got this all played out.

HD: I’m sorry. I’m very, very perverted.

(Joe laughs)

I haven’t been with a girl in like a… couple of days. Really backed up right now. 

Okay. Well, that’s really, really amazing. I’m very, very happy to hear all that, and thank you so much for joining us. It’s been a pleasure. Joe Janes. Check out Joe Janes at and If you can, figure out how to get in that website, so he can figure out how to get in the fucking thing.

JJ: Yeah, let me know.

HD: Also, check out Second City, Chicago and don’t forget: I am Henry Deltoid signing off. Thank you very much.

JJ: BaDoink!

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