Once I was with a friend and they had a panic attack and I wasn’t sure what to do, or how to respond because I didn’t want to make it worse. In your opinion, what’s the best thing someone can do when another person is having a panic attack? I know there’s probably not just one answer, but in your experience?
I can only speak for me on this one. My experience with my own panic attacks tells me that it’s very hard to deal with people while they’re happening, even (and sometimes especially) people who want to help.
For me, this tends to go best when someone says something like “I’m right here if you need me” and then just lets me have the panic attack. Sometimes I can’t explain what’s going on, so really if I’m not around someone I know pretty intimately, I go off and hide to have my panic attacks anyway. I try to get away from people when I feel one coming on.
But yeah, if I am around people, the most important thing I can say is – make sure the person knows they’re not being judged.
From the little that I’ve seen of your improv, I’ve noticed that you are amazing at observing little things in scenes and pointing them out. However, the standup that I’ve heard you do is mostly storytelling rather than observational. If this difference is a conscious choice, is there a reason behind it?
Thank you for the compliments! That’s very nice to hear. And it is really fascinating. I do agree that my solo work and my improv work has some major differences, and public access is way different than any of that. But to me honestly, they’re all the same thing.
I think at the end of the day, I’m a story teller. My stand up really reflects that, and obviously the book I wrote is a huge extension of that. I think in other contexts, I know what my job is to help tell the best story. I think I am pretty good at pointing out small interesting details in improv scenes, but to me that impulse comes about because I really want to help guide things towards what seems most interesting, funny, and compelling. It’s my way of being a straight man to point the scenes in the directions that make the scenes come together in a way that’s most satisfying. I don’t really dig plot driven improv, so being a good straight man and bumping scenes to the most interesting places is my way of pushing the same storytelling vibe. A well constructed stand up story bit feels very satisfying to me, and a well constructed improv scene that heads to a natural end point and follows threads and philosophies and expands them feels like it’s pushing the same button from a different angle. Similarly, with TCGS, each episode has a different theme or game attached to it, and I think when we’re at our best the audience feels satisfied, like there was payoff or conclusion, and it is the same muscles that are working in me to package the content to the audience with similar intent and effect.
Anonymous asks: Hey Geth - I’ve been diagnosed as bipolar, and I have a few Qs that are very personal for me: 1. How do you figure out which creative impulses and goals are your brain’s manic bullshit versus realistic things worth pursuing? 2. You’re well-known with a sizable audience; how do you keep mania from making you act grandiose? 3. How have you fixed bridges you’ve burned during mental health hard times? 4. Aside from therapy and meds, what are your favorite resources, etc. for bipolar folks? Thanks <3
Congrats on getting the help you need and making efforts to lead a happier and more productive life. It’s not easy, I’ve been there, and I’m happy to help with these questions. I will give you very honest answers.
1. How do you figure out which creative impulses and goals are your brain’s manic bullshit versus realistic things worth pursuing?
In my experience - you try all of them and see which ones gain momentum and which ones die on the vine. You train yourself over time as you come out of your untreated phase to start recognizing the winners so you can focus your time more and more to be productive. But you put in the months and years it takes for these muscles to strengthen. You have fun with the process, and you become happily surprised when you realize that your fucked up brain produces unique weird ideas no one else can come up with and because you are being treated and can now be focused and disciplined you can actually follow through on them. TCGS would not exist if I didn’t have a manic brain that comes up with weird shit. Luckily I am now treated and medicated and can actually bring ideas to fruition now. That blend of a damaged creative weirdo brain and a fixed up productive brain has really paid off. I don’t regret what I’ve been through, nor who I am.
Anonymous asks: Hey, I’m 16 and I live in England and all I’ve ever wanted is to live in NYC and at the very least see live comedy like TCGS as often as I possibly can even if I don’t have the talent to be involved in it. But I’m scared to move there when I don’t really know how you can become a writer and I have nowhere near enough talent to perform. I hope that one day I’ll be brave enough to do improv but do you have any advice on how to develop confidence to be on stage? And to commit to what I really want.
This might be morbid, but I guess my advice is go down swinging. Better to die knowing you went for it then to live a life of what if’s and regrets. At least that works for me. It wasn’t easy to become a weird icon of public access television when I’ve had some chances at “real” acting and writing gigs. But TCGS is what I want to do, and I have found it very rewarding to try to force my way into it and put it out into the world.
You can’t really be scared of failing if you want to do this. You have to fail. It is part of the process. It is a skill you need to master, and to master it you need it to happen many many times. Your ability to handle failure will be put into practice many more times than your ability to attain success.
I don’t know - you’re very young and I don’t want to encourage you to be foolish, but I do want to encourage you to give a big old fuck you to whatever is in your head that’s making you scared. Fear is nothing to be scared of. Go for it.
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Anonymous asks: Is it weird that I found Conspiracy Theory Gary a little sexy?
Anonymous asks: Hey Geth, so I have this friend of mine who I’ve got a weird relationship with. When it’s just us hanging out, things are great, but as soon as more people show up he gets really weird, and starts putting me down while making me out to be some kind of asshole. That’s on top of the fact that lately he’s been very flakey, where I’ll ask him to do things with me (form improv teams, move in together, etc.) and he’ll give me the run around. He’s a good friend, but I’m getting sick of this. Any ideas?
Ok. Prepare for some tough love, Anonymous!
The whole thing about the friend being two faced and making you out to be an asshole sucks. Straight up. No doubt. That sucks. That’s backstabber behavior.
BUT - moving in together? Forming a creative collaboration? You’re acting like these are just things you do on a whim. They’re not. They’re major life decisions. It seems to me like you’re acting like this friend owes you an apartment together or a performance group together - and he doesn’t. Sounds to me like you’re assuming these things should happen, but aren’t opening your eyes to the fact that this other person plain doesn’t want them to happen.
Maybe this person is not your friend. Doesn’t sound like they’re good to you. And maybe you shouldn’t be asking them to do these major life things with you - they don’t want to. Stop asking them! Find someone who does.
Hope this helps -
Anonymous asks: You’ve let it be known several times that you suffer from depression, anxiety, and identify yourself as a loser…which I can totally identify with. The difference is, I’ve also heard you mention having had girlfriends. I was wondering: how have you been able to get over your issues and been able to find a partner?
By working hard to overcome my bullshit, by being open and honest about it in a way that shows me to be a vulnerable and interesting human being with stories of his past he’s willing to share and make funny, and by forcing myself to not let my depression and self-esteem issues control me.
I put myself out there. Just like TCGS, sometimes I fail, but I always try.
I also am a good talker and can flirt like a motherfucker. That’s just natural skills I was born with that I’ve strengthened over time.
THE MAIN THINGS THOUGH -
1) Buy some fucking clothes that fit. I recommend getting fitted by a wardrobe assistant at J CREW AND FEELING REAL GOOD ABOUT IT.
2) DANCE - girls love dancing. Most guys don’t. If you decide you enjoy dancing, even if you don’t and you’re not good at it, ladies will fucking love you. This is not a bit. I’m not good at dancing at all, but the first time I kissed my future wife was on a dance floor. Dance, for real. She is a professional dancer. I hate and fear dancing and am bad at it. Regardless, she enjoys that I enjoy dancing, and now I get to marry a cool and beautiful lady.
Dance. Dance through your depression and you will win the lady of your dreams.
Girls want to dance with boys, and most boys don’t dance or don’t enjoy it. Just throw your arms and hips around and have fun and girls will fucking love you for it. They will come over to you and start dancing as long as you have fun and smile and choose to not be self- conscious. For real. It works. During my single days, I was once at a concert at SxSw where a Latin pop band was playing and I danced like an idiot and two pretty Columbian girls converged on me and did booty dancing with me. I am an uncoordinated gringo and I dance like it. They just wanted to have fun and no other guys were dancing as fun as I was. Not as well as I was. As fun as I was.
That’s the number one advice I can give nerds and losers about wooing women. Get over yourself, give yourself an advantage, and shake that ass.
Vinyl-Chic asks - Do you have any advice on how to prevent procrastination? It seems that whenever I have the most to do, I freak out and avoid everything.
Procrastination is always going to hit and sometimes it’s unavoidable. It comes up for a lot of different reasons and is oftentimes ok.
Step one is usually “Sign the fuck out of Facebook.”
Also - one of the great pieces of advice I ever got is that if you fall into procrastination or writer’s block, sometimes you just have to accept it. And at that point, instead of sitting in front of a computer fucking around on Reddit or watching TV, why not head out, walk around, go to a gallery, check out a movie, or read a book? Find something to inspire you so the next time you sit down your juices will be flowing a little bit more.
That advice helped me out a lot. I hope it helps you too!
Have a Question for Chris Gethard?
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Royce asks - So I stumbled upon and read your entire discussion between you and JDAMATO on the reddit soda forum, in which you guys discussed the difference between small bottlers and larger competitors who might try to bite some of their history to exploit the market. Just wondering since I’m going to assume that JD Amato is the same guy who directs the show, was that a bit, or were you guys being totally genuine? I feel like it’s some fucked up amalgam of the two and I salute you guys for that.
It is a fucked up amalgam of the two. JD and I both genuinely love soda. I would argue that I love soda a little bit more than he does. He would probably say that’s true, though he would argue that he is much better at Reddit than I am. I would admit that this is true.
All of the opinions in that discussion were 100% accurate. JD and I both see the humor and performance art value in having a lengthy and unnecessarily overly-thought out conversation in a very public setting when he and I see each other at least three hours a week.
He also enjoys posting photographs of soda bottles I got him so he can get karma based on moves I made in real life.
It’s all very complex and psychological and speaks to the way that JD and I share the habit of being unable to have fully human conversations without turning them into weird performances and mini-art pieces.
Hope that answers your question! I’m glad you stumbled upon that.
Have a Question for Chris Gethard?
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For Gethard: Ariyannahartis asks Why do you all ways have your pictures so boring and meaningless. I think that Tumbler is all about posting fun funny stuff that can make people laugh when they look back on the time that they saw your posts.
I will answer this by immediately reblogging the current post you have at the top of your Tumblr. Give me one minute. - Gethard