400 pages! No pictures? Not the type of book that usually makes me say, "yeah, that looks like a fun and interesting read... I'll buy THAT one."
But, I'm easily impressed by big names. So when I saw Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Conan O'Brien, Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, and Mel Brooks listed as featured contributors to the book, I went for it.
That was 3 months ago.
After a few flights and in between some family time, I finally finished the last page.
Wow. I really love when people- famous or not, speak from the heart and wear their feelings on their sleeves. When they hold nothing back. When they share things that are messy. When life hurts. When life is good. When they messed up. When they tasted success AND when they choked on failure. When they were as brave as a comic book hero and when they were as scared and as uncertain as a newborn.
Marc Maron, the creative force and host the hugely popular WTF Podcast, gathered some "best of" moments from a few of his interviews (a vault of 10 years of one-on-one chats with some of Hollywood and Comedy's A-List) where they riffed on things like addiction, divorce, mortality, identity, sexuality, parenting, relationships, and mental health.
The result was (big) book filled with stories that will make you laugh, make you feel better about yourself, make you think, and make you reconsider your efforts the next time you seek approval vs. integrity.
Here are a few of my favorite excerpts from Waiting For The Punch;
"I've told everyone I know, "Never get divorced." Work through it, if possible. Divorce was so hard. But over the years, things happen. People grow apart. ...The hardest thing was knowing that it was the right thing to do. Staying was awful. The thought of leaving was hideous and awful, but the thought of staying was worse." -Rachael Harris
"I don't have to push back from the love and values that my mom instilled in me. She instilled in me these core values that for awhile I thought were corny. Then right around twenty you start realizing that honesty, kindness, hard work, responsibility, looking after other people- they're actually pretty good values. They're homespun. They come out of my Kansas roots, but they're the things that ultimately ended up being most important to me and how I tried to build my life." -Barack Obama
"So I decided I was going to come out. I didn't know how. I thought I was going to do it on Arsenio Hall. In the meantime, I'm doing work, political work with a lot of gay and lesbian groups that helped get Bill Clinton elected. They have this inauguration ball and it's the most fun because it's all the gay people, of course. Rock and roll was back at the White House. We were there. And us gays were being gays and we were allowed to be part of the party.
So I came out at the inaugural ball there with everyone. K.D. Lang had said some things and there were a couple of other people there. She had just come out a few months before that. She introduced me, "Melissa Etheridge," and I walk up. "Yay!" And everyone's screaming and hollering because it's one thing that I'm even there supporting them and then I'm like, "Oh, I just want to say, I'm just so proud to be a lesbian."
It was like a match lit. Now you're on a journey, here you go." -Melissa Etheridge
I don't like anyone else's kids. You think having kids makes you like all kids, but it doesn't. You just like your kids. Especially if you're by yourself because you're like, I don't have my kids now. This is the time where I'm supposed to pretend like I'm twenty four and traveling the world by myself." -Amy Poehler
"There are irretrievable relationships where events have occurred that relationships don't come back from. I know plenty of people who had to sign off from their families for a variety of reasons. For good, healthy reasons to move on with their lives. That can happen. But if the relationships are retrievable, and I felt like mine was, then there's a nice payback in seeing things come closer and become a little healthier." -Bruce Springsteen
"A month into not drinking, I was driving down the street. I was driving back from San Diego Comic-Con. I was listening to the oldies station. All of a sudden I realized I was singing along to Rock Around the Clock. I was like, "Whoa, I feel good. I feel pretty happy. I've seen this in the movies where people sing in the car in a real happy mood." I've never looked back. It was the best decision I ever made for myself." -Jason Segel
"Life is going to kick your fxxxxxx face in and you're going to get depressed, you're going to get upset, you're going to get sad, and that's ok. When you get that you can transcend it and be like, "Oh, I don't have to be miserable." Horrible things are happening everywhere all the time, and there's a statistical likelihood that I will die of stomach cancer or a car accident, let's enjoy ourselves while we've got it. I realized as I said it, this might not sound uplifting, but I believe it. Life is super hard. Once we achieve peace with that knowledge, then happiness can be possible." -Rob Delaney
"I was at Luna Lounge with my friend, and at that point I was working in a music store. My friend was writing for MTV, writing commercials. And there's young Marc Maron onstage. I was already feeling not good about where I was in life, and you were telling some story onstage there, and then you said, "That's like the difference between someone working at a music store and someone working up at MTV." Literally, I was next to my friend, and it was that dynamic. I was like, "Oh, this is not good. I am not in a good place at all. Now people onstage are making fun of the hole I'm in, like using it as a demarcation point where I'm actually at in my life. My friend is literally working at MTV now, writing up there." That kind of spurred me. I was like, "I have to change things." -Tom Schapling
The first day I had a byline was in the winter, and I got on the bus, and rode it south on Clark Street, knowing that van that dropped off the free paper came from downtown. I went south until I hit a bookstore that I knew was south enough to have it, and got it there fresh off the press, and grabbed it and saw my byline. I still remember that moment. Amazing moment.
What I came to realize is that it was going to be a path to misery for me if the way I valued my work was the reaction it got, because sometimes it would get a reaction, and sometimes it just disappointed. I realized in that moment. Now, I have lost sight of that a million times since.
MM- "You fall victim to that because now you're making a show that's out in the world. and you're like, "Did it go viral?" Or, "Did anyone pick up on that?" "Did it get traction?"
"As opposed to, "Did we make a thing that was good?" A good thing in the world that I'm proud of, as a thing. A real thing." -Chris Hayes
"I'm in a hospital, I ended up with pneumonia, had nothing to do with HIV. I ended up with this double pneumonia. My wife's still alive; she's home very sick. I'm fxxxxxx worried about her, lying in the hospital. She decides to get in the car and drive to come visit me, crashes the car on I-95. They tell me, "Your wife's in the emergency room." Downstairs of the hospital that I'm in with pneumonia. My wife's down there, my wife who's dying of AIDS is in the hospital from a car wreck that flipped over. Then the phone rings again, my mother tells me, "Dad got a brain tumor."
This is all in a ten-minute fxxxxxx period. This is a bad day. If someone says, "Oh, I'm having a rough day," yeah tell me about it. Let me hear about your fxxxxxx bad day, you fxxx. I love having that power. I don't know why, I just do." -Mike Destefano
"I drink a lot of water now because it's actually connected to your emotional well-being, which is why, when you go to a therapist, they never say, "Would you like a glass of water?"
I realized that lives are complicated and all, but to some degree, some elements of happiness and balance are so much easier than I ever thought them to be. Drink some water and get a decent night's sleep, and it's the darnedest. All those years, all the therapy, all the angst, all the journaling, all the miserable phone calls. I look back on it now with deep humiliation. It's like, "Okay. Drink some water and go to bed."" -Paula Poundstone
"Don't exhaust yourself with anger at things you have no control over. Most of the sxxx you are reacting to most of the time is stuff that your brain is making up, and you have some control over that." -Marc Maron
To order your copy of Waiting For The Punch, click here.
Marcello Pedalino, CFT, is the author of the new inspirational book on personal growth and development, Celebrate Life. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, lifestyle expert, and fitness trainer. He delivers dynamic keynote presentations to corporations and organizations across the country who need help making Energy Management and Work-Life balance a priority.