This interview you are about to read has been the most difficult of the People I Know interviews to edit thus far. There are several factors to this, one of which was my recent 100th Post post which surprisingly put me under a lot of pressure to perform. Secondly it seems that these past few weeks have been hell-bent on doing everything they could to delay any and all progress I tried to make on posting this interview. And thirdly the words of Jason E. Lemmon are not easily condensed down into a manageable blog length format. It proved to be quite a struggle and some of his concise wisdom had to unfortunately be cut so that other gleaming Lemmon nuggets could shine through.
But who is Jason Lemmon you may be asking yourself. He is an enigma. A man of humor, yet a connoisseur of some of the most finely crafted dramatic works. Jason seems to be an individual who stands alone, thinking for himself yet often can he be found in the company of throngs of his friends. An individual of deliberate speech and mercurial wit. Prepare yourselves for a glimpse into the mind of this one, this only, Jason Lemmon.
Joshua: First of all Jason, thank you for sitting down with me here today for this interview. I’ve got some hard-hitting questions, I hope you’re ready.
Jason: I am.
Joshua: Good. Starting off I know you’re going back to school now, so what are your goals currently, in life?
Jason: My goals. Well I’m going to college to be a math teacher for high school. But I have a lot of different goals. I mean are you talking like bucket list type goals? Or just like what I want to do with my future?
Joshua: Well let’s say, what’s your five-year plan?
Jason: Five year plan, ok. Well three and a half to four and a half years of that is college so . . .
Joshua: (Laughing) Let’s go seven year plan . . .
Jason: Seven year plan, ok. So then with the extra three years then, I hope to find a job. Although I’m not sure if I’m going to relocate or not, and find a person that I regularly have sex with.
Joshua: Those are some good goals. That’s three years, you should be able to do that.
Jason: Well it gives me seven years for the girl, because that could happen during college. The teaching job probably won’t happen until I get the degree.
Joshua: True. That’s true. And so it would definitely be a girl though that you’d regularly be having sex with?
Jason: Um, I mean as of now that is all that I’m open to. But if I were to find a man who overpowered my erotic senses then I guess I would make the exception.
Joshua: Now Jason, you are a naturally funny person, humorous I mean. Who are some of your favorite comedians of all time? And, in the same answer, who are some of your favorite current, or newer comedians?
Jason: Well my inspiration in comedy was always George Carlin. It’s unfortunate that he passed away especially with some of the stuff that’s happened in the last few years. I would have loved to see his point of view on them. That’s like the easiest answer by far. And then modern-day, Louis C.K. has honestly gone up, I love him almost as much as I love George Carlin because I find Louis C. K. to be one of the funniest men alive.
Joshua: Have you watched his show, the new one, Louie? I’ve only seen a couple of episodes but I enjoyed it a lot.
Jason: It’s a great show, it still doesn’t surpass his standup, but it’s still extremely funny. You know he had an old sitcom that was canceled very quickly, but it was on HBO, called Lucky Louie.
Joshua: I remember hearing that name, I never saw it though.
Jason: And of course, just the other day my roommate and I watched Pootie Tang, which was written and directed by Louis C. K.
Joshua: What?? No. Are you serious?! I had no idea!
Jason: It’s true, yeah. He was the sole writer and sole director of Pootie Tang.
Joshua: No way! That . . . blows my mind. Really?
Jason: Go watch that movie again, and you’ll have a completely different perspective of it.
Joshua: Wow. I’m going to have to do that. You have blown my mind here today. That’s fantastic. But staying with the topic of comedians here for a moment, what in your opinion makes a good comedian? And what makes a bad comedian?
Jason: I think half of it, a good 50% of being a good comedian, is just presentation alone. Because you can take hilarious bits and make them not funny at all just by presenting them wrong. And vice versa, you can say things that aren’t even regarded as humorous but somehow you deliver them in a funny way. So yeah I’d say 50% right there is that. And then the rest is just split up into stuff like coming up with jokes that people can relate to, things that people don’t talk about often but everyone experiences. You’ll almost always hit the mark with stuff like that. If you can hit on taboo subjects, I mean I guess part of being funny is having balls. Being able to say things some people will hate you for, but a lot of people will find you hilarious for. And again an easy way to suck would be bad presentation. Also if 90% of your material is stolen, that usually isn’t funny. So that’s why I hate Carlos Mencia.
Joshua: Who are some other comedians that you hate?
Jason: Um, Dane Cook. Although I used to love him actually. When he first started, I thought Dane Cook was absolutely hilarious.
Joshua: Lauren and I were talking about this exact thing recently. We were saying that it seems like it was very quickly that everyone went from really liking Dane Cook, to suddenly everyone hates him. We were trying to figure out the reasoning for that. I said because I think he got real cocky, after he got successful. After he got successful, it just seems to me that he got really cocky and really lazy.
Jason: I think you’re right on, because I think he started off as some guy doing something completely weird and odd, you know? He was just being who he was, and it was funny. But then once he became really popular he let if all go to his head and now what he is doing is no longer weird and out of the normal but it’s really cool and badass and so he just started to act like he knows that now. His performances come off now as him overdoing everything. It just seems like a lot of his jokes where he took them too far wasn’t anymore because they were funny, but because he just knew that’s what everyone reacts to. He just lost a lot of the humor, again I guess it goes back to presentation. He just presented things differently after he became famous.
Joshua: Now you’ve done some stand up right?
Jason: Just very little, locally.
Joshua: Yeah, but go into that a little. What was that like for you?
Jason: It was actually a pretty great experience, I probably performed for 15 people total, and 9 or 10 of them were friends and family. But it was still really fun. I mean it’s not exactly what you expect once you get up there, and no matter how confident you are you’re nervous as hell once you’re on the stage. It was a really good experience and I actually wish I would have gone on with it more and in the past four months or so I’ve started writing stuff down to possibly get back out there.
Joshua: Really? That’s awesome. That’s fantastic, I hope you do. I would be interested to see what you have to say, it’d be good. Continuing with comedy a little bit more, there’s the old practical joke with the bucket full of water over the door. Person opens the door, water pours down on top of them. So recreate that joke, but instead of water what would you put in the bucket?
Jason: Well a funny thing is I’ve done almost this same joke, but I did use water. Once when I was in high school I paid a kid to mow my lawn while my mom was at work because I was supposed to mow the lawn. While he was doing this for me, he was almost finished, and while he was mowing down the side of my house I went out on the roof and dumped a bucket of water on him. Which I found hilarious. He didn’t because he was in the middle of doing me a favor. Granted I had to mow the rest of the lawn, but I only paid him part of what I originally was going to because he didn’t finish mowing my lawn. So . . .
Joshua: It was a win/win.
Jason: Yeah that’s fair right? Anyway though to answer your question, since I didn’t do that. Obviously there are plenty of inappropriate things that I would love to put in that bucket such as semen, or something like that. Usually just the phrase “bucket of semen” is pretty funny. One of my big things though is that the joke needs to be funnier then it is going to piss the person off, and I think that would be about as mad as you could make someone.
Joshua: Yeah I think that would do it.
Jason: But if I were going to really fill it with something . . . this is a tough question.
Joshua: It is.
Jason: It would always be fun to put the oil in there and then blow feathers on them, but that’s only because it’s so clichéd it would make me laugh.
Joshua: And if you could actually arrange for that to work in real life, like get the feathers to blow on them and have it all work out, that’d be great.
Jason: Yeah it would be great because you would have just perfectly reenacted the oldest cliché in comedy. But I have always thought that cottage cheese was really funny. I know when I was younger I used to say that I always wanted go swimming in a pool of cottage cheese. It just seems like such a random substance. But the more I’ve actually been talking about that, the more I’m actually now thinking in my head, creamed corn.
Joshua: Creamed corn? That’s a good one.
Jason: So either creamed corn, or the blood of a recently murdered victim.
Joshua: (Laughing) Yes, both good answers. Good, good. Alright now moving on. I know you’re an avid reader. Who are some of your favorite authors and are you reading anything currently?
Jason: My favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut Jr., he’s my favorite author because he has my favorite book, I mean all his books are great but my favorite book is Breakfast of Champions, or Goodbye Blue Monday. I also really like Chuck Klosterman a lot. He used to write for Spin magazine, and now he’s got a bunch of journal books out and two novels, although the first one sucked. But the second one sounds really interesting. I’m technically currently in the middle of another book, although I’ve forgotten all about it and haven’t read it in probably three months. I was in the middle of the Handmaids Tale, it’s very good. As far as comedy writing, Chuck Klosterman is pretty funny. I read all of George Carlin’s books, obviously. I guess when I read, for some reason I lean a lot more toward serious drama. There’s a book that was incredibly good, that I can not think of the title of . . . . but I highly recommend it. I own it even, and it is amazing. So read that.
Joshua: (Laughing) Alright, I’ll have to check that one out!
Jason: There’s a great book called the 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear and it’s like kind of a kids story but it’s written more for adults. It is fantastic. No one has ever heard of it, but I always recommend it.
Joshua: You may have told me about that before.
Jason: Oh did I? I may have. Well now it’s on record that I recommended it to you.
Joshua: What would you say has been the best movie/book adaption of all time? That you’ve seen at least.
Jason: That’s tough. Right away Fight Club comes to mind, because it’s so popular for being, the movie that was better than the book. At least in my opinion, and many others.
Joshua: Which is like the rarest of things.
Jason: Yeah. But that’s such a cliché answer I don’t want that to be my answer! Let me think a second here . . . . my problem is all the books I read are books that weren’t changed into movies, or were changed into way, way worse movies.
Joshua: Ha! Yeah.
Jason: Honestly, I think the Shining is better than the book. Although its nothing like the book, they’re so far apart they’re almost two different things. I don’t mean it to be insulting but by changing so much I think they even improved it. I mean the book’s not bad but . . .
Joshua: I’ve never read the Shining.
Jason: It’s okay.
Joshua: Well I don’t think you have to worry about that criticism, I’m pretty sure Stephen King doesn’t read my blog.
Jason: Ummm . . . . I’m gonna have to say Fight Club.
Joshua: Oh? Good answer, good answer. I’ve never heard that one before. Now, as a big movie buff Jason, quickly off the top of your head: Favorite director of all time, favorite movie of all time, and favorite genre of movies. Go!
Jason: This is actually really tough. I really hate this question.
Joshua: Good I like to ask questions people hate.
Jason: I like Todd Solondz a lot because his movies are kind of weird and unique. Honestly though I’d probably have to say Darren Aronofsky is my favorite director, if I had to choose one. His movies are crazy, they’re always good, and he’s just unique I guess. It seems like everything he puts out is something that you’ve never seen before and I mean it’s amazing to see one director doing that because Hollywood itself can’t even do that. So I’d definitely go with him I guess.
Joshua: And can I just interject here about how disappointed I am that he’s not directing the Wolverine movie, because that would’ve been just the craziest fucking thing ever.
Jason: Yeah that would have been insane, I was interested when I first heard that. Now the next Wolverine movie is just going to be as good as the first one. But now for favorite movie of all time? Again this one is really tough just because it gets updated all the time. Actually I do have one answer to that I just always give because it’s always up there, and that’s Johnny Dangerously. I have always thought that movie was absolutely hilarious, I don’t know, it’s one of my favorite movies. For it’s time it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s very ballsy for its time, had a lot of jokes that people considered risqué. And Roman Moroni is such a great character too.
Joshua: And what is your overall favorite genre of movie?
Jason: Genre, is probably the hardest one to answer. I mean I love to watch comedies, but the thing with comedies even though this completely goes against what I just answered, is that none of my favorite movies come from comedies (other than my absolute favorite movie). But I mean when I list my top ten favorite films of all time, it’s almost all drama and maybe a little bit of thrillers, but drama always has a huge role. It seems like when you get into sci-fi or comedy those are genres that aren’t going to have a top film unless it’s like epic, it has to be absolutely amazing. Whereas drama, because they involve so many emotions you just have to make a really good film and then on top of that everyone is emotionally involved and therefore it feels like an even better film. So I think that’s why those always lead, dramas kind of rule my favorites. But I think that horror and comedy are my two favorites to watch, they’re the most fun. And when the two mix, it’s fantastic.
Joshua: So Jason very quickly if you can, and this may be a difficult request, summarize what you think the biggest problems are with modern Hollywood and the movie industry.
Jason: I don’t know what’s wrong with movies, honestly, in reality it’s more the audience. The fact is Jack and Jill made money. The only movie that beat the Muppets at the box office, which is a classic comedy, the Muppet movie was witty, everything was genius about that movie, and the only movie to beat it and destroyed it this weekend, was Twilight. You look at the popularity of certain movies and you start to realize that they are going to continue to make shit, because everyone’s eating this shit up. So unfortunately I think for there to be a real significant change in how well movies are written and made we’re going to have to actually see people starting to put the better movies up top and not watch the shit. I don’t see that happening.
Joshua: Earlier today we were talking about blogs, and you mentioned your movie blog and you have My Blog Skip. What do you like to write about on your blogs in general, and why do you write blogs?
Jason: I started My Blog Skip because in the past I’ve had multiple blogs here and there I had Who Let the Blogs Out for a little while, but I just enjoy writing and sharing things that I find interesting or funny. But every time I made a blog I would just lose interest and not really care so I decided to start again, go at it one more time with My Blog Skip. At first I was pretty successful and I think my favorite thing that I wrote, and I only did like three of these, was called Saturday Cinema Showdown where I just took two movies and basically made it sound like they were fighting in a boxing match, but really I was just rating which one was better than the other. I really enjoyed it but I put so much time into those blog entries. The photoshopped images alone would take me an hour just to get those looking correct. I put so much time and effort into it and I didn’t really have any readers at that time, like I had two or three friends who read it so as much as I enjoyed it, and it’s not even that I didn’t appreciate the few that did read it, it’s just that I lost interest without even thinking about it. I stopped writing them. I realized suddenly I’m two Saturdays behind and then I kind of just left that. Then I think becoming a member of Reddit was a big help because I started seeing funny things all the time, so then I would post those sometimes. Then it became a pretty generic blog where I’d barely write but I would post things all the time that I would find funny. I’m glad I still have that but just recently I realized I still wanted to be writing, that was the whole purpose of even starting it, I wanted to get back into writing. My one friend actually started a cooking blog on called Through the Cooking Glass on Tumblr, and I was asking her about that. I was saying ‘what made you decide to write this’ and she said ‘I just wanted to write again and since I love cooking, that would be a good way to focus on the writing’. Then I realized that was my mistake I’ve been trying to come back to writing in general, nothing specific, and I realized that maybe if I focus specifically on something I love, which movies are the big thing, that I’d find it easier to write more often. Then I created Movie On Up, and from there I’ve been pretty successful so far. I’ve posted seven posts, and this has only been just over a week. But that’s why I started it though, it’s all been trying to get back into writing and this time I found specifically if I focus on this category, that’s the way to do it.
Joshua: Yeah, that’s why I started interviewing people, and started this whole People I Know segment. I know a lot of interesting people so why not just write about them, instead of trying to think up something to write about.
Jason: I was actually pretty jealous whenever you started posting these because it was an idea I thought was good enough that I wished I’d thought of it.
Joshua: Wow. That’s a very high compliment actually, thank you. But now I’m going to completely change the subject. There was a quest we were on at one time and I can’t remember if we’d ever discovered this or not, but your birthday falls on John Stamos’ birthday. My birthday is the same as Bob Saget’s, and we were hoping to find another of our friends who had Dave Coulier’s birthday. Did we ever find anyone with Dave Coulier’s birthday?
Jason: We never did find anyone with Dave Coulier’s birthday.
Joshua: Because I thought at one time you said that you had found someone who shared his birthday.
Jason: Actually I feel like there was a point where I thought ‘oh my god, that’s the birthday!’, but I don’t think it was a friend or anyone, I don’t think we ever found someone who we could talk to or hang out with. Do you remember what the birthday is?
Joshua: It is September 21st. Dave Coulier’s birthday is September 21st.
Jason: Well maybe a reader out there will have his birthday! If any of you out there share Dave Coulier’s birthday contact Josh.
Joshua: And if you live in the Ohio area.
Jason: Or if you want to get on Skype with the two of us.
Joshua: And just hang out on Skype for hours on end. The circle must be complete.
Jason: We can start a Full House birthday blog.
Joshua: Ok, now here’s a question I’ve been asking everyone I interview, but I’m going to change it up a little bit for you. Everyone hates this one, and you might hate this even worse because it’s going to be a little more difficult for you. Here it is, describe yourself with a phrase of 7 words or less.
Jason: My mom named me Jason Edward Lemmon.
Joshua: Next! I know you’re a fan of dinosaurs, if you could have, own, any one dinosaur and that would be the only dinosaur alive in existence, which one would you have?
Jason: Now does this dinosaur for sure act friendly toward me, or do I not know?
Joshua: It would act, however you would think it would. Let’s say that you raised it from an egg, so it would be as friendly toward you as it possibly could. I would be pretty confident that you raising a dinosaur would make it fairly friendly towards you.
Jason: My initial reaction would be a velociraptor because Jurassic Park made them look pretty badass. Especially if it was going to be the only dinosaur on Earth, everyone would be much happier with me for selecting that dinosaur since it is the popular favorite. But even raising it nicely a velociraptor to me seems like it would still kill people.
Joshua: Yeah I think that would probably still kill people.
Jason: I guess I’d have to look into the details of the whole situation to decide whether I want the velociraptor or not. I guess I’d probably need a backup dinosaur now, since I don’t know what they’re going to give me for details.
Joshua: Yeah, you have no way of knowing what the dinosaur reanimation commission will say.
Jason: So for backup dinosaur, probably the stegosaurus. Because it was my favorite as a kid, and I don’t know, it just seems like one of the farthest things from anything in existence today. So that would be a good one to bring back.
Joshua: That’s a good one, and I like your reasoning, you just don’t see shit like a stegosaurus anymore. Here’s another question for you, it’s sort of a classical philosophical conundrum. Button then zip, or zip then button?
Jason: For pants? Oh I always zip then button. Oh wait! No. I don’t actually! That just seems like the way to do it but then now that I think about it I always button then zip. That is really weird that my reaction was that, it just seems so normal, but then I realized oh wait I do button first.
Joshua: It’s harder to zip first really, because if you button first . . . .
Jason: Yeah, then it’s just straight up with the zipper. And that’s what I always do. Now you’ve blown my mind!
Joshua: (Laughing) Good! I’m glad! Now Jason the final question I have for you: Is there any one pop culture subject that you think doesn’t get enough attention? It could be a band, a movie, a television show, anything or anyone that you’d like to promote and get others to take notice of.
Jason: I would like to see more attention drawn to the old Mr. Show episodes. It’s an absolutely hilarious show, you know Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, I own all the seasons and it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve seen, but nobody has seen it. There’s so many people who say ‘oh yeah I think I’ve heard of it’ but nobody has actually seen it. I think everyone needs to see that. And also, I’m gonna actually pick two things because they’re equal, the comedy group Stella is hilarious. They had a TV show, but before that they were just 5 minute internet shorts. If you haven’t seen the show, watch the show. Then if you like the show get online and look those up, because on there it’s not TV and they can do whatever they want and it’s highly inappropriate and ten times funnier. Then on top of that, their stand up is absolutely ridiculous. I saw them live and it was one of the best standup events I’ve ever been to. So watch Mr. Show and check out Stella.
Joshua: Thank you Jason for sitting down here with me today, it’s been a pleasure, I thank you for your time sir, and do you have any final words before we end this?
Joshua: That is all!