Rich Vos is an American stand-up comedian, writer and actor. Since 2011, he has been the co-host of the podcast My Wife Hates Me with his wife, comedian Bonnie McFarlane.
Vos began his stand-up career in 1984, choosing to pursue it full-time as he "failed at everything else", and developed his act in local clubs.
After struggling with crack cocaine and alcohol addiction throughout his 20s, Vos completed a one-month rehabilitation course in 1987, three years into his comedy career. He has been clean since.
In 1995, Vos became the first white comic to perform a set on Def Comedy Jam on HBO, a show usually featuring African American comedians. In July 1999, Vos hosted at the Woodstock '99 festival, later calling it a highlight of his career. In 2000, Vos received the Bistro Award for Outstanding Achievement as Comedy Performer. In 2001, Vos played the bouncer and wrote and performed skits on the British television show The People vs. Jerry Sadowitz. In 2001, Vos released his first stand-up comedy album, I'm Killing Here. This was followed by the DVD Vos in 2004, consisting of an unedited, 55-minute performance recorded at the Stress Factory in New Jersey. He went on to produce two half-hour specials on Comedy Central Presents. From 2002 to 2004, Vos was a frequent guest on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn on Comedy Central. He picked the show as one of his favourites to do as he lived close to its filming location and by the fact that he could do it with his best friends. In 2003, Vos finished third on the first season of Last Comic Standing on NBC. During this time he was given the nickname "The Don" by Cory Kahaney "because of my rough and tough demeanor ... maybe it was more because I was the most experienced comic". At the end of the season, Vos toured with Kahaney and Dave Mordal for eight months. In 2004, Vos was a finalist in its third season.Vos was a frequent guest on the Opie and Anthony radio show, with jokes centered at his expense, most often highlighting his speech impediment or lack of intellect. In 2002, he was responsible for having fellow comedian Patrice O'Neal come on the show, who also became a popular regular guest. When the show aired on SiriusXM Radio, Vos hosted a Saturday night program with his wife Bonnie McFarlane. He hosted the 2006 and 2007 editions of the
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Joe Van Wie 0:03
Hello and thanks for listening to another episode of all better.
I'm your host Joe van leaf.
Rich Vos 2:27
I'm in my basement. I only see half of you.
Joe Van Wie 3:01
All my subscribers are, you know, they're growing. It was on Apple and Spotify. They're just listening to it.
Rich Vos 4:26
basically understand that there's two types of counselors. There's the counselor that's in recovery. That was an ex drug addict. And there's a counselor that went to school to become a counselor.
Joe Van Wie 0:11
Today's guest is rich Voss. This was an episode I did very early on was really clunky. Thought I whilst the audio bridge started, you know, tearing into me breaking my nuts about not knowing what I'm doing, and no one's going to listen to my podcast. So Thanks Rich. This episode was salvageable. Thanks to John Edwards. So let's meet rich Voss rich force has for specials on Comedy Central, in over 100 television appearances, has been seen on HBO, HBO, Max Netflix, Showtime and stars. Rich also is produced and starred in the documentary a documentary, women aren't funny. It appeared in Judd Apatow Joe's king of Staten Island. He's a two time writer for the Academy Awards, which is hosted Woodstock 99. The virus store in the Washington Monument drug awareness concert. voice can be heard on numerous top podcasts such as what the Marc Maron the church of what's happening now with Joe Diaz, and the Joe Rogan experience. Along with his wife, Bonnie McFarlane, which has his own hit podcast, my wife hates me. It looks inside the marriage and day to day life of the two comics. Rich has also been clean and sober for 35 years, leading to performances at countless 12 Step conventions is six albums and rotation on Sirius XM. And he has the best roast in the history of roasts on YouTube. Boss Ross. Like to take rich for stopping by today. Not today was seven months ago, but he gets a listen to it today. Meet rich Voss.
We're here with rich Voss and all better. My friend Mark worry OSI and richest friend put us together. Rich, I'm glad you made time to come on our podcast.
Unknown Speaker 2:19
Thank you. No problem. No problem. But yeah, that.
Joe Van Wie 2:25
Where are you at right now?
Unknown Speaker 2:31
Camera. This is your first podcast.
Joe Van Wie 2:35
It's my first not the first episode. But it's my first podcast. Yeah, all better.
Unknown Speaker 2:42
No, this isn't the first one.
Joe Van Wie 2:44
No, no, this is episode 24 risk.
Unknown Speaker 2:48
Oh, okay, you see how I'm right in the middle? Yeah, I only see seven eighths of your head. Yeah,
Joe Van Wie 2:56
I don't even really add video unless I put it on a Patreon.
I put a preview on. But if the Patreon users like it, I put it I put the video from this up.
Unknown Speaker 3:18
I get it. mainly based on audio. Yeah. You sound like shit.
Joe Van Wie 3:24
Thank you now.
Unknown Speaker 3:32
like showing the venue.
Joe Van Wie 3:34
I designed the podcast pretty much to talk about personal recovery stories, friends, friends in entertainment. And then I have kind of a lane that's for clinicians, definitions of disorders, authors books. And then the third lane was agents of change. I had a political background judges, you know, representatives holding public office that either need to be educated or what what is their understanding of addiction and how is that going to translate into more humane policy?
Unknown Speaker 4:13
Well, I mean, if you're trying to get politicians and normal people
Unknown Speaker 4:41
Out of my I guess, experience or my preference is to counselor that's an ex drug addict. Yeah. Isn't counseling in life to me, this is just My opinion, street smarter place to me a smarter than booksmart in certain situations. And to me drug addiction just to me is that situation. It's hard to teach. You can teach somebody what it feels like after you burn yourself. You can't teach somebody that you can teach somebody what it's like to slam your door in a finger until you sign you're doing a finger. Oh my god, that hurts. So, I did a show years ago in DC as a drug awareness thing. I hosted on the Washington Monument with Steven Tyler show called these musicians and it's a drug awareness, awareness. If they're not aware, in Washington, or throughout different states that there's a fucking drug problem. There's nothing you're gonna say in my opinion, the writing's on the wall. Kids are dropping dead from fentanyl, from overdosing. There's meth abuse, heroin abuse, Coke abuse, their Freebase just pure alcoholism. So what do you have to say to politicians? That they don't know already? Does that make sense?
Joe Van Wie 6:29
It does it but meets them and you have, they don't know a lot. They really don't. And I met people in recovery that don't know what's wrong with them. To the degree that they thought drugs and alcohol are the problem, which it is not. And drugs and alcohol do not cause addiction. Trauma in a mind does. You're just you're nesting something for an addiction, the mind is already there for addiction.
Unknown Speaker 6:56
Joe Van Wie 6:58
not always detachment, of like,
Unknown Speaker 7:01
you know, some of the people from the best homes are engaged or something the worst tone, there's addicted to instant gratification. There's addiction is is mental. 100 times more than the physical. Yeah, obviously because you're gonna you're gonna beat the physical good sinners who are the obsession and compulsion is what you're dealing with. And I'm an obsessive, obsessive compulsive person. We're in five fucking diamond. All right, I got 36 years clean. I'm still empty. I gotta go to my room. There's 40 pairs of Nikes. She's had I got about 15 different pairs. Yeah, because that empty hole, which should be filled with I'm not going to talk about God because it's not a god. thing. It's just the addiction to it's not it's trying to fill the empty void. Whatever covers that hole. Does that make
Joe Van Wie 8:19
sense? It does my empty void myself, that everyone describes that I know that's have addiction. Also as like a background noise of anxiety my entire life. And it's like a clenched fist in my head and my stomach when I drank or used cocaine. It would unclench I felt normal. I felt like I had my mind was fluid for this period of time. I saw an interview with you. And you described that and you also described a prior condition of abandoned feeling abandoned. And this idea I could relate to or this insecure attachment disorder. You're filling that all the time. That that that's there prior to that. So if I was going to teach politicians anything, if you're going to do something, it's to redefine that term, what is the prior condition that I'm medicated? And it's a societal problem? It's detachment, its core resolve people come from a good house worn abused, what produce the coke like cortisol in a pregnancy that didn't allow your dopamine system to fully mature in that brain? And then I mean, nicotine, alcohol, and it's like, well, that's what that makes sense. That should be in there. But I heard you say that and I related to it,
Unknown Speaker 9:40
while I'm showing as you write down right now, I've been on it for 16 years. I'm doing three packs a day. I've had anxiety since I was 21. But back then they didn't know what anxiety was. We figured in the hospital gave you Thorazine Halldor. shouldn't be 6521 years ago was, what? 44 years ago, they didn't really know what it gave me. They weren't treating anxiety back then. 44 years ago. And I still get I get anxiety. Yeah, more when I talk about it. Yeah. But I don't think anxiety is what caused me to get high. No, I caused anxiety, more anxiety
Joe Van Wie 10:27
do relate. There's a relationship I tend to it's hard for me myself personally to pull away okay, I have an addiction, Stone Cold addict. But it's fueled by this anxiety sometimes minds. It's a background noise of I never felt safe. I didn't know that I would never articulate that, but I'm always tense. I'm looking for threats. Is there not too much noise in the room? Who's this person? What's that? When I'm drunk? I think I finally felt like I was normal. Like, people aren't always assessing everything.
Unknown Speaker 11:01
Yeah, I don't know. It's such a weird, there's so many different variations, variations variables. to it, the whole hold on whose allow? Okay, we're going to, I am gonna try to respond. Yes, I'm going to, oh, 632 drug addiction podcast.
Joe Van Wie 11:28
She's a drug addict,
Unknown Speaker 11:30
drug addicted to now it's up to you. You know, whatever, I don't want to be dirty. But I didn't say anything dirty. There's so many different, there's look, to me here stood cross that fine line of social use to addiction. There's no turning back. Whatever makes you cross that fine line. You know, everybody has your own personal story. But I think after your own anybody's own personal story kicks in, then is just obsession and compulsion, or physical addiction. Whatever the reason, whatever drug you're doing, if you're doing heroin Dennis a physical addiction. So once you get started, maybe you got started you or anybody got started through some anxiety, because of feeling less than or feeling their product or their environment, whatever. I think the case may be then physical or obsession, compulsion kicks in. goes, you know, if you say you have anxiety, and a person under drinking, drinking the Combi anxiety down. Well, now they're full blown alcoholic. It's not about anxiety anymore. Sit down again, get a drink. So I don't have the DTS Yeah, I can function. So, you know, just so many different diff wrong. I'm not a fucking doctor. It's just, you know, you know, I've had anxiety for over four years. And sometimes I have to take medication last year since the pandemic, I haven't had to take it as much really because my, my stress levels down because I'm not working as much yeah, when I was working and going on stage. And I always took a half I never took what less than and, and then I had a mental dish and now I'm going on stage I'll take a half of anxiety pill and because I always think well this is the time it's all gonna fall apart.
Joe Van Wie 13:53
Oh god, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 13:55
This is this is why this myself I just drew on the audience just something this is it. And now maybe you know from eight out of 10 times taking anxiety medicine going on stage. I'm probably four out of 10 times half. Yeah, and again, it's only half of what I'm prescribed. Because you know if you're prescribed like they say I belong and you take two or three well then there's a fucking problem. Why take a
Joe Van Wie 14:31
half right read you got you got sober early in your career, like in the 80s was that I read that right and it maybe seven
Unknown Speaker 14:38
eight I didn't have like three years in comedy. Yeah. So and while that's
Joe Van Wie 14:47
that's that's phenomenal. That idea of being in entertainment, specially comedy, like gigging every night. Were there other guys that were in your wheelhouse that were sober as Support.
Unknown Speaker 15:01
Yeah, yeah. But then, I guess most I mean, it was comics I used to run with, you know, and go get high, go to Harlem Spanish on whatever, cop our drug of choice from mainly mine and it was just tagging along or trying it or whatever. But didn't always the guys I grew up with those were my real drug addict friends, which I cut loose. Once I got clean. I cut loose, I still had to work with certain comics, I just didn't go into New York after the show in my money. You know, I really went to a lot of 12 step meetings in the beginning, on and off, I guess the last two years. A lot of zoom meetings. Yeah, it's convenient, but they had one for comedians. A lot of people like it was tough for me to go, not tough, but, you know, I wouldn't go to an in person meeting. You know, it's all these dudes and fucking, you know, Tim's and blue collar workers. And it's really hard to talk about, you know,
Joe Van Wie 16:17
entertainment. Because it sounds like ego. Yeah, it does.
Unknown Speaker 16:21
You know, sounds like, Oh, who's this guy think he is? Oh, it's a nightmare for him to be backstage at the Oscars. I'm hosting Woodstock and I'm saying what a nightmare. It was being at Woodstock until I found the ah, you know, show talking about my business. In a regular meeting. I try not to I just try to we lay what I'm dealing with without, you know what I mean? Yeah. All and then I found the Zoom meeting with actors, comics, writers. And it was easier to talk. That's convenient. You just go downstairs or turn on your fucking computer. And then we have a step meeting on Tuesday, and then a topic meeting. And I got more involved through it. I was getting speakers for about a half a year or four months. I come up with a topic every Thursday on the topic meeting. I really need to work a better program. You know, when it comes to steps. I got 36 years. I shouldn't be as angry. And I shouldn't have jealousy or envy like I do. You know, I mean, I'm not perfect, but I do. I mean, I play the lottery I fucking honest, I don't gamble if I'm in the casino. Like the other night, I was going to casino in Canada. I one. One guy rolled the dice. I won. I said I'm leaving. Eventually all loose. I walked out. After I was here for 10 minutes. I would like to home I got enough. But it was just you know, whenever I'm in instant gratification dopamine.
Unknown Speaker 18:14
The dopamine? Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 18:17
If it's not buying golf clubs or food, it's whatever the fuck makes you feel good. Yeah, it's a nightmare.
Joe Van Wie 18:25
Yeah, this is have you in these last 30 years ever played with meditation? Any mindfulness practices?
Unknown Speaker 18:35
I rent my wife. Yeah, there's not a program out, meditates now. And when I walk into a room, and I get some fucking reason I've been 36 years. I've never really tried. I don't know if I have. Yeah, I mean, I'm not. I'm not gonna meetings, I do everything. But I don't work a good program because I don't meditate. You know, I mean,
Joe Van Wie 19:04
yeah, it doesn't. I couldn't do it for a while, during the pandemic. That's what I did zoom. But I started doing 10 minutes because the house would have been destructive. My My mind is crazy. I'm anxious. I'm taking, you know, everything's gonna collapse. My wife's not listening to me. I got a plan. I'm not I don't want to drink. But I started doing 10 minutes on an app. And it was profound. And I did a fourth step I started writing again. And it was it was amazing how I didn't think I was wrong about a lot of things that were bothering me or just causing that angst. And to write it down and then tell someone else and I'm like, holy shit. I'm not looking at this the right way. And then when I got to like step six, it gives you like this space an hour. I couldn't do the hour to sit down for an hour. Think about what you just did. I got through about 30 minutes. I'm like, I gotta check my phone. Someone could have called me, I would have. But it became a practice. And what happens now is I have this space. When anxiety, discomfort, envy comes in, I'll be driving. I'm arguing with a guy I haven't seen too in 20 years, my head. I can't wait to fucking see a mile settle up those arguments, I see a comment. I'm like, oh, man, I can let it pass. It doesn't change my thoughts. I still think the same way. I just let it go down the stream now, just. But I could never do that my whole life. I wouldn't be lost in thought for an hour settling up with someone I haven't even seen. Like, just, that's an hour of my day. Now.
Unknown Speaker 20:44
I do it. I have. But I have grown. I mean, because I'm in a bit like club owners. I want to write from the go. I guess loyalty, loyalty and friendship is really I guess I had wrong. I thought we were you know, yeah, you know, I just tried to move on. You know, one guy on a daily basis, I want to tell people to go fuck themselves. I really do. Because I'm in a business with some very good people. Sure. You know, and I don't know, it's, I, I try to do the right things. I just I try to do the right things and not act out as much. But I I've had arguments with people that screw me for $25. Yeah, yeah. 30 years ago, in my head, I'm gone. How the fuck did they get away with that? It's
Joe Van Wie 21:44
not the money. Yeah, they knew I was weak. They know what I'm thinking about myself. Do you find it hard? Like with comedy? If you ever grout like doing a brainstorm or just generate some emotion at the end of a bit? Does that linger? Or is it is there's a way to parse that? Does that ever put you in a bad mood looking to be critical? Because some of the comics I really do you know, I've heard your SATs. Or like a George Carlin. Like, how do you take away the set and not be in a mood looking for things all the time? Everything's fucked up?
Unknown Speaker 22:21
Well, usually I work. I tried to work in a moment like, yeah, I was in a club this week in Canada. And I mean, just super numbers. And I'm like getting the money I should be getting. Other guys are getting my manager to make a good deal. And I'm going up with resentment. But it's not the audience's fault. No drunk trying to kill and which I was destroying. I mean, any Saturday night was sold out, like both shows. And I'm like, why am I not getting whatever? That I'm still getting decent money? Yeah, my wife is going Why are you working for that? I'm good at what I do. I didn't know a long time. But what I'm getting is a decent living. Yeah. So I was going over a little resentment. I was I text my manager, you know, what the fuck? Give me a bonus to do that, that he goes next time. And he doesn't want to deal with such small bullshit. But it's in my head because I know the guy coming in next week is probably getting double. And I'm doing almost the same numbers and I'm a better comic show. I'm going up there but I got it. Let that go. Yeah. It's not the people's fault. They came they came, you know. And then the last night I'm on Sunday, which I ain't doing Sunday after to show Saturday it's such a you know, sold outside of in Sunday, 100 people. This pro political guy started saying something. And this is Canada. I said this is not your fight. And I really want but he was a gorilla. Yeah. And I I diffused the situation, but not the way I really wanted to saying You're ridiculous and you're stupid. is what I wanted. But I refused it in a funny way. And then I just got off stage he came up oh, great show by that. I just came off and I want what a fucking disguising movie. So I tried to a show doesn't affect me. Maybe five. The only time it really might affect me is if somehow I heard I heard somebody and made them feel horrible. Because I don't want to do that. You know, and it doesn't barely happen. But, you know, like there was a drunk lady, and if they're drunk and whatever, and I say stuff and they walk out and their friends stay, and she will set up quit drinking, or acting now, but I don't want somebody leaves. Hurt, you know, I'm not going to attack someone for being overweight. But I'll tag somebody and attack that I'll make fun of somebody when the region kills hairdo.
Joe Van Wie 25:33
Yeah. It's weird to understand that that's what that that's keen because there is a difference. Like, especially in comedy being in a club for the night. That's a distinction. Most people don't talk about attacking someone's weight. But you come in with hair. It's I mean, that's. Most people don't observe that stuff. where the line is, I think most good comedians do.
Unknown Speaker 26:01
Some comedians, there's no line. Yeah. And that doesn't make them bad. No, that's who they are. But I look, if somebody comes in with, you know, half a head, I'm not gonna call him half ahead. You know, you're certain guy, there was a scene from Nutty Professor remake with Eddie Murphy with comic was attacking the nutty professor in the audience in this really overweight. And you could see how sad he was. Now, if there's an Asian camp or an overweight person that won't shut the fuck up. And this and that, well, then they're opening up to door as go time. I'm not gonna say that. So yeah, but, you know, whatever. You just got to know how to read people
Joe Van Wie 26:54
was the way you've described, it sounds like you have an ideal of what's mean? or hurtful. And that's your line. But there seems to be aligned to mean is okay, if it's attacking hypocrisy, or if it's not individualized to someone's appearance. Wait, like, it seems. It's a fine line. And then if someone's opens up, playfulness, they're overweight. Or, you know, they're taking out their glass eye and cleaning it in the front row. It's like alright, man. Let's ever talk about your eye.
Unknown Speaker 27:26
You know, it's it's so weird to take out the right and clean it by you know, weight loss. I wish I lost 15 pounds. I couldn't even imagine being 200 pounds overweight, but yet you can attack an alcoholic that's a horrible a heroin addict that you could tell was on drugs in New York. But food is an addiction to so what addictions are okay to talk about and which ones are in Vegas, I talked about gambling but what addictions and I guess the only one that right now that hurts people to death is weight most likely. addictions, you know, if I say you know, you're not because every game whatever, you know what I'm saying? I do I do. And that's only going to have that time. That's if I'm doing crowd work. I'm just doing material I'm not. I mean, I made fun. When I was in Vegas. I gotta rewrite this because it worked. There was in the casinos working with a vending machine that sold big pieces of cake was a cake vending machine. And I'm going you know who's ever using going there probably doesn't have a treadmill at home. You know? Who the funks waking up in the middle of the night going? Where can I get a piece of cake from the cake Oh wishes to me ridiculous. You know, is that you know, just Somebody wake up. Oh, God, I can go for a brisket. You know.
Joe Van Wie 29:09
You can eat anywhere in this country. You can fill your car out with gas looks like this is time to eat. You're gonna put fuel in your car. Just push start shoving things into your mouth.
Unknown Speaker 29:19
Why wake up in a moment you have a cookie? Yeah. You know, I'm a sugar addict.
Joe Van Wie 29:24
I would do that with the cigarettes.
Unknown Speaker 29:26
I do that back. Nicorette gum, I'll wake up to go piss and then I'll stay at another half an hour with a piece of Nicorette gum in my mouth. Sometimes I fall asleep with it in my mouth.
Joe Van Wie 29:37
Oh my god.
Unknown Speaker 29:41
You know, it's just country it's just one one big, fucking addicted countries pain.
Joe Van Wie 29:52
I mean, what causes addictions, pain. So all our pain of unresolved pain or all the
Unknown Speaker 30:01
happiness causes addiction to
Joe Van Wie 30:04
I think the need for happiness that a sober mind can achieve. Like I couldn't achieve a settlement that I was looking for I had a lot of fun, at times and in. But other times, once I got into that, across that late stage thing, I could not manage any thought that seemed hopeful without at least drinking, even if I was thinking of going to rehab. For the 10th time, I would go and have a couple of drinks to even consider this. Let me get a plan. I gotta go. Mess, like get my mind to unwind. But I think it's resolved unresolved pain, and it's the sense of shallow purpose. If I can be general. I'm not saying that's the answer answer. But what I relate to the people I talked to, and as it just, that's the pattern that comes up, it's some unresolved pain in their story, that addiction gives you this illusion that you connect it or get rid of it, or that you've lost a sense of purpose. It's not even looking for happiness, because cheese steaks make me happy. I can eat a great cheesesteak take a nap, and I'm like, That's what I want it to
Unknown Speaker 31:12
be I guess unresolved, there is a lot of unresolved issues. I guess. Maialino parent issues, abandonment. Narcissistic father, but what I have done is raised kids and did the complete opposite. And, you know, I have forgiven my mother who passed away but not I was in tears a couple of weeks ago, and I didn't cry when she died. Because I knew she was good. She had Alzheimer's. But I had tears in my eyes thinking about what a struggle must have been for her with three kids. As a single mom. Dad, dad, you know barely sent her fucking child support this and that. And who's a narcissist? My dad is 94 now still have forgiven him. Yeah. You know, but the way I think I have is I raised my kids. completely opposite. I got really good kids. I showed them attention, affection. 1000 pictures along went to all their sporting events. I was there for my kids. So your soul piece of me that has anger towards?
Joe Van Wie 32:35
Yeah. I can relate.
Unknown Speaker 32:39
I don't know. I know. I did do the right thing with my kids. So, you know, from my horrible, horrible parents made me a good pair.
Joe Van Wie 32:52
Yeah. Yeah, I could see that in your story. It translates in the sense that that's the reason for that didn't kill you. And it didn't affect your kids. So there is forgiveness in there. There's still a judgment that I have. I had to disable my dad. When he died. I got more I forgave him more and when he was dead, because I have my firstborn, my child, and I'm thinking what? What would I have done? I did this in a meditation. It's called a meta. Because I didn't want to make amends to my dad. We always had a really awful relationship. He's a bald guy. He's in recovery. Thinking of Him What did he look like when he was five? Get a harelip and that 10 minutes into that meditation rich I started crying thinking I have a baby first baby in my house. What would I have done to who didn't protect my dad? That made him the way he was? Somewhere in that put like that of that creative thought. I was like, Who am I gonna blame? Where does it starts? Where's it? Am I gonna blame some guy in a kill? 200 years ago that was this caused all our mayhem and it just stayed with us. I had to let it go.
Unknown Speaker 34:02
We have a my grandparents on my father's side. were great. Yeah, it was great. My grandparents on my mother's side. Racist. Russia just just horrible. And we lived above them for free. Yeah, we had a multifamily house. And my mother and we lived upstairs for free because my mother had no money. I remember my mother taking me my brother and sister to my grandparents on my father's side. Not going to endorse it. Take them I don't wanna I
Unknown Speaker 34:35
just wanted to go out there. Yeah, sure.
Unknown Speaker 34:38
As a single mom, take them. You know, you couldn't find a babysitter. But as the kids like, Holy fuck. What do you mean take them on. And my grandparents were so fucking great on my father's side. Yeah, they were just great. You know, so I can't don't think It was then. My father was so fucked up. The same as me, gambler. Yeah. Not married three times. I mean, there's marriage now. It's been 40 years, but
Joe Van Wie 35:11
wow. And he's 94. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 35:15
I was getting too high when he got married. So Teresa Yeah. 38 years probably married. The second way is to last a couple of years.
Joe Van Wie 35:26
Is he still with it? Is he you could talk to you guys talk
Unknown Speaker 35:30
before. I call him every now and then, you know. I got this fucked up thing in my head. Like, I used to go to his house. And he's got to be beautiful. This artwork, pictures. I love that. I want that. And I just know when he passes away, everything in his will will be to his wife's kids. Yeah. Not to us, not to me and my sister. And I just know. And I'm sitting here going, if they call me if she says and this is really fucked up thinking calls me and says your dad pass. You know, you're gonna have to help pay for the funeral. I go, let me see the world first. You know, next week when my mom died, you know, a brother. I paid whatever we had to pay. I have no problem. I mean, I mean, you're criminals, funeral directors, but I had no problem. But I would have a problem paying for his. Yeah. I mean, that's fucked up.
Joe Van Wie 36:33
I don't think it's too uncommon. I mean, it's the stuff we pretend isn't going on. Like when people sit down and talk, but I think you've been around enough people. crackheads, addicts, that lost all hope get a second chance at life. We talk about these things, and it doesn't sound abnormal to me. I think other people that get really sick, thinks they're the only ones thinking it. Don't tell anyone.
Unknown Speaker 36:57
Yeah. I'm always thinking about when I die. I mean, am I gonna do good numbers at my funeral? I went to my friend's funeral. He did about 500 people. I gotta beat him. Yeah, I'll never know. Yeah, I gotta fake my death. To see the numbers I'll do.
Joe Van Wie 37:18
Facebook is take the place of that. We call them friends on their birthday. Where your numbers that what do you got now? 100 like to call you back at three hours. We got to beat each other's birthday comments?
Unknown Speaker 37:29
Well, that's true. I do get the numbers. I'm like you know, it's one thing. Homeless and you have to meet it. The only decision for yourself to do who's going to make it?
Unknown Speaker 37:53
No one's going to make it for you. And I remember before my mom died, well, I mean, me getting sober. was, you know, I guess. What do you call it for my parents? You know, them seeing me get sober. You know, wasn't a menace. Yeah, seeing that. And also, when my mother was in the hospital, she has Alzheimer's, but I told him I was sorry for everything I did. I might have told her that when she was alive, but probably not. But her seeing them seeing me from being a drug addict to raising a family with kids. I think and I'm pretty sure was a pretty strong amends. Yeah. You know, I would imagine that. You know,
Joe Van Wie 38:52
do you have moments that we still consider where if I didn't get sober? Like, this is the second chance at life. Did you feel that way? Sometimes when you wake up?
Unknown Speaker 39:03
Oh, if I didn't get sober, I became Yeah. But I said I don't I don't sit here and go. This is second chance. I live because I got sober young. But I do. As much as I can try to carry the message. Yeah, I mean, I wrote a really good bit out of it because my wife laughed at me. You know, and I said, you know, maybe I got so maybe I'm a comic to carry the message. And the bit is, you know, it's arrogant. Because I'm on stage, you know? Oh, maybe God can't be cleaned because assassinated John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King but kept me clean. You know, to talk to 100 people in fucking Edmonton. You know, she pretty much I put a fucking clamp on that idea. But it's true. You never know. I mean, I'm on radio all the time. Yeah. You know, and I never, I never break the 1111 tradition. I do say, I'll go to a 12 step meeting, which is not breaking the 11. But you'll hear celebrities, oh, I go here I go there. And next thing, you know, they're getting high. Regular people go see that doesn't work. You know, and that's the main reason for the 11th tradition is to shut your fucking now. So, you know, you know, you're in the public's eye and you have fucking two months clean and you're out there Raven. And then two months later, you get high and people don't see that doesn't work that that color doesn't work.
Joe Van Wie 40:50
Or, you know, taking on another identity would have, say a political faction, right, left, it doesn't matter or something that now you just alienated 50% of the people listening to what is this part of recovery to? That's where it gets dicey. For me. I think there's, there's great value in saying you're in recovery, break stigma, and it tells people but I do protect the 12 step. Organizations I go to I don't say them by name. And I work at a treatment center to it's tough, it's still a weird line. My ideas have changed last couple of years about it. Like Like when I first was sober 14 years relapse. But when I was first sober, I wouldn't have done anything like this. I wouldn't. I wouldn't, I wouldn't be comfortable. But that changed after I relapsed. It kind of woke me up like oh my god, I still have this. This is gonna kill me.
Unknown Speaker 41:52
I would imagine after 14 years was a nightmare. That progression had to be taken about a week.
Joe Van Wie 42:00
Yeah, it was like I was 24 again. And I thought since I could drink in three days a bottle of Jameson was in a city and I'm thinking oh, I'm still healthy. Like this isn't. This isn't progression over good metabolism. Very healthy guy.
Unknown Speaker 42:18
I don't know how I don't think politics is brought into recovery. I know. I don't think I've ever really heard somebody.
Joe Van Wie 42:28
I saw some dicey stuff in the last two years, but it was people it was excusable. We all knew each other. But I've seen people flare up.
Unknown Speaker 42:37
Maybe after a meeting with me if you're bringing up during the meeting. I remember I was doing the show in Palm Springs. I bought another comic recovery. And it was a big it's a second biggest convention next to world convention and 1000s of people. And I'm walking in the day you know by the pool and the yard and all these people outside without shirts on and it was like walking through a prison yard. You saw a fucking gangster Nazi swastika. And it didn't really faze he he bailed out. And I don't mess. And I go Elise, these fucking people are trying to get clean. Yeah, yeah. And I want to say that. I think we slaughtered it was one of the best special at a 12 step convention. Really, it was the first one ever we got permission. I didn't show the audience who are supposed to come out in June. I didn't show the audience. My backdrop. Is you know, I set the stage up. Like it's a meeting with a coffee pod. Oh, that's awesome. All the sign man. Circle chairs would focus on each one of them. And you know, that's my back. Behind me. I'm supposed to come I taped it four years ago, my managers useless but finally it's going up. June I think June 1
Joe Van Wie 44:17
Will that be available on rich voss.com
Unknown Speaker 44:20
I don't know where it's going to be on like this online on on tongue find a picture up here. Let's see if you could see this. Oh, you can probably see this. Can you see that picture?
Joe Van Wie 44:37
Well, you gotta go up a little more. And pull it back a little late. And that's that's looks like a clubhouse as a meeting with Yeah, that's a nice set.
Unknown Speaker 44:54
Yeah. So yeah, I think is supposed to go on like Pluto TV or Yeah. I never promoted anywhere. Like I would never. I mean, when we do zoom meetings when it comes out after meeting when we do the parking lot talk, you know, I'll bring it up again, I won't bring it up during the meeting. Motion.
Joe Van Wie 45:14
If I catch it, you can't stop me. I'll promote it.
Unknown Speaker 45:20
I promoted on podcast. Yeah, I don't know where it is, where it's going to. They're starting this online network called Switch. So I don't know what venues it's gonna go to. It's four years old. But the material I guess, is, you know, there's some recovery stuff or some standout. There's some crowd. It's funny because I was taping and I went over now, and all of a sudden, I'm on stage. And people are walking out. Going, what the fuck did I say? I go, uh, when I go walking out and I'm still got a few minutes. I guess I went over what they expected at this convention. And, and I got off stage. I go, What did I do? Why do people why weren't people walking out? They go, they went to see the midnight speaker. You're gonna see if I wasn't on it, no one told me to be done by midnight. No one told me I would have wrapped it up at 1145. I mean, you can't tell people believe me because the cameras on me. Like I'm not showing you audio. Yeah. But it's so weird. I'm gonna What did I say? You know?
Joe Van Wie 46:37
So you've been in comedy for three decades. For decades writing stand up television. And you've been sober for most of that. Whoa, what is it about comedy? Like, what's the most fulfilling moment you leave? You took those four years in a summary. What is it about your profession that's healing? That just you you would never stop doing this?
Unknown Speaker 47:04
I have respect for my peers. Yeah, very well respected from my peers. The industry are scumbags anyhow, versus about quick fixes and making money and, you know, if I if I walked into a club and lit the waitstaff on fire, or sold out, they wouldn't care. Yeah. Yeah. Respect. Amongst to out the comedy community. What I've, the stuff I've accomplished and who I am. So that's probably the most satisfying
Joe Van Wie 47:42
community. There's a community
Unknown Speaker 47:45
on it. There's comics that are making millions of dollars a year. Yeah. No other comics quoting them. No comics are going oh, do you hear what that person said? Or? Yeah, you know, so I have respect amongst my peers. Which you can't buy.
Joe Van Wie 48:02
You can't and there is a distinguished comedies different than actors hanging out in my, my opinion. I remember. Even Seinfeld's documentary. Comedian. Yeah, just gives you a peek. Like this isn't this isn't actors. This is this is its own community. And if you respect it, and it's got to feel fulfilling, because this not many could, there's very few people that could do this. This is
Unknown Speaker 48:35
a documentary. It's so I remember it. And I remember they put just comic in r&d items. Every Yeah. reason they did that? Because who gives a shit about a guy flying around in a private jet? That's what you know, a couple 100 million dollars. Yeah, so that was smart. He saw this fucking idiot. He's gone. This guy's a real. I gotta put him in as the bad guy. Yeah, you know. Wow. I mean, that's had to be what? Why he did. Yeah. Because
Joe Van Wie 49:12
at first I'm thinking is he is sponsored. Well, how's he taking up this much real estate and film? I'm like, he's kind of, I don't know. He's hard to like.
Unknown Speaker 49:21
Yeah, I know him really well. Yeah. I mean, it's hard to learn the visuals.
Joe Van Wie 49:25
I don't know the man. But I'm saying from the way he was presented, it was like, it looked like just sheer desperation. But then at the end, it was like, the tenacity. He doesn't quit. It keeps working. You're like, oh, I don't fully understand this. I don't fully understand what I'm watching. Like, you have to work. He was working working on it.
Unknown Speaker 49:47
Yeah. Well, Seinfeld was smart. Because nobody cares. Until you put the complete opposite. Yeah, that's right. We made a great documentary my wife and I woman on funny yeah she you know directed whatever but it had a beginning a middle and was pretty good like sight like it's so funny. Every time I see Seinfeld hey how you doing? But he's not as as open or loose as other
Joe Van Wie 50:24
approachable guy at all. Yeah, no,
Unknown Speaker 50:26
I've done he's not he's not a mean guy. He's just well protect himself he's fucking cipher. Yeah, sure, everywhere he goes, you know, but like I do radio with Ricky Gervais. Yeah, hanging out with a guy that I grew up with I need just laughing just a regular fucking jackass. That's so brilliant and, and funny. But I've done radio with him like three or four times and you know, or when he's in New York, I talk to him and he's quick, and you're like, This guy's so funny anyway, he's so generous with his laughter. I mean, just, it's just like hanging out. Like, I trashed him. And he's just laughed. You know?
Joe Van Wie 51:17
It's a great laugh. He explodes.
Unknown Speaker 51:20
Yeah, you're not gonna really trash Seinfeld and get him to laugh like, or Chris. Like, you know, certain people are different, you know? Yeah. You know, whenever I mean, it's it's just like, it's so weird. One night, I was at cellar. And I'm sitting at a table with Chappelle. Louie CK, Chris Rock, Bradley Cooper. Like some other comic. And Chappelle lights up. He's smoking a cigarette. No one said a fucking word. You know, that was Joe Schmo that with a cigarette, they would get put that fucking thing out. You know? God, yeah. None of them said it to Chappelle, you know. But you're sitting at a table. Like I was a drug addict, quick. Second school. You know. And Sunday school really cool. Like my guidance counselor from school. I was a fuckup. I quit. I was. And I posted a picture of my granddaughter. And she wrote to me, she goes, we've come a long way or something. Really, you know, I went to one of my high school reunions, even though I didn't graduate. I did 15 minutes on stage. And I apologize to her my guidance counselor for the hell I'm sorry, Mr. Minister, you know, but to have my guidance counselor, write to me on Facebook. And Google, I'm very proud of you. You know what I mean? It's kind of weird.
Joe Van Wie 53:04
Yeah. It's feeling it's great. How many people get to experience that? Very few. And we know a lot of people don't.
Unknown Speaker 53:12
It's a good feeling, you know, to to gain we, you know,
Joe Van Wie 53:16
Rich, I met Louis CK once, I sold them a set of lenses. For the second season of Louie. And a set of lenses. I got off a paramount set. I was a filmmaker. And they were the only super bail tars in the world that were the stills still the same stuff. He's a gearhead, he loves production gear. And my friend was his cameraman. I said, Can we use those lenses? I said, Sure. A day went by. They didn't bring them back. They were like renting them off me. Mike, what's up, man? You guys wrap it he goes, he wants to buy the mafia. I got them for like, at an auction for 10 grand. And I said no, I don't want to sell them. Tell him if I did. It would have to be like 30 Because I can shoot a lot of stuff for 30 come back in an hour. He took him. I was like, Dude, this guy's wild. Yeah, it was a great it was a God. Man. I
Unknown Speaker 54:15
should know I need 30 A piece.
Joe Van Wie 54:20
I gotta I gotta wrap this up. Hey, man, thanks. In your podcast. It's you and your wife have a podcast.
Unknown Speaker 54:27
My wife hates my wife. So I enjoy anywhere stitcher whenever they
Joe Van Wie 54:34
so many. Rich, I want to thank you and I got to thank Mark for putting us together. I was really excited to meet you and wanted to talk to you for some time.
Unknown Speaker 54:46
I absolutely said nothing. And I talked too much so sorry.
Joe Van Wie 54:49
I'm glad we got to fill the hour with all of it.
Unknown Speaker 54:54
Good luck with the podcast. Don't ever call me again. Where are your counselor and pencil Lena and Pennsylvania
Joe Van Wie 55:00
Lake area where avenues Lake Ariel.
Unknown Speaker 55:05
Where's that bike Scranton?
Joe Van Wie 55:07
Yeah, I'm in Scranton. You're on the Scranton addict right now.
Unknown Speaker 55:11
I think I'm doing I'll be in I'm working New Year's Eve in Scranton,
Joe Van Wie 55:14
really? We're at the casino. Yeah. I'll come down.
Unknown Speaker 55:20
I wish I was in there to come speak at your rehab.
Joe Van Wie 55:25
Well, let's see. Let me check this week because we, the summer comes up, we try to put some people to come in and do stuff and like a band. So and I'll check with Mark. Mark.
Unknown Speaker 55:39
I don't charge to speak in rehab. Yeah, no, I mean, I'll speak I mean, I do. I would do a show. But that's different than speaking. Yeah. You know,
Joe Van Wie 55:50
we have we were always in need of speakers five days a week. I'll drop you an email. And you tell me when you're coming through. I'll make that night happen at eight o'clock. If you could come up to the rehab at seven o'clock. Any night?
Unknown Speaker 56:07
Maybe New Year's even before? Like show we would
Joe Van Wie 56:10
love that man.
Unknown Speaker 56:12
I was looking at Kimiko Shar forget, so I'll send
Joe Van Wie 56:16
you an email. All right, cool. Thanks for a good break.
All right. I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better. Find us on all better.fm or listen to us on Apple podcasts. Spotify, Google podcasts, Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570. Drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai