The McO Filter Interview

On October 22, 2005, Lamprey McO interviewed Dan Roentsch for that evening's broadcast of the McO Filter. This is a transcript of that interview.

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Lamprey McO: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this evening's edition of the McO Filter. I'm Lamprey McO. Tap-dancer's beware: I'll break your toes and steal your shoes.

Tonight's guest is New York ... I don't know, New York person, Dan Roentsch.

Welcome to the Filter, Mr. Roentsch
Dan Roentsch: Thanks!
McO: Well, I have to tell you I'm a little surprised that my producers wanted to book you. I mean, you're a failure. Isn't that correct?
Roentsch: Um —
McO: I don't want to be too blunt, because, after all, you are a human being But that is the case. You're a failure.
Roentsch: I —
McO: Then again, that might be the point. If there are any kids looking in they might want to think of your story as a cautionary tale. You know? A sort of what-not-to-do-when-you-grow-up sort of thing.
Roentsch: I wouldn't —
McO: Well, your life started out normally enough. Why don't you tell us where you were born?
Roentsch: All right, I —
McO: It says here you were born in Keene, New Hampshire in May of 1956. And while you were growing up you worked part-time in your father's drugstore.
Roentsch: That's —
McO: Did people come in and ask you for condoms?
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: Were any of the said people that were going to use those condoms — were they going to use them to commit adultery?
Roentsch: I don't know.
McO: Oh really? Why don't you know?
Roentsch: I guess I didn't ask —
McO: See, if somebody told me that he was planning to use condoms for adultery I don't know whether I would have flat-out refused to sell them to him, but the lubed-up rubbers? Out. You know what I'm saying? Out.
Roentsch: But, well, what if your father —
McO: Don't blame it on your father, Mr. Roentsch. I'm sure he would have been proud to see you take a stand for the family. For the teenage girl who ran home and shaved off all the hair off of her southern lips because she caught her father drilling the meter maid.
Roentsch: Southern lips?
McO: Now — now it says here you were raised in a religious household.
Roentsch: That's true.
McO: Maybe. It also says here that you were born into a Republican household. Did your folks vote for Nixon?
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: So you started out on the right foot. Jesus. Nixon. What went wrong?
Roentsch: Wrong? I —
McO: I'll tell you what went wrong. You had permissive parents. I know because my producers gave me a list of books they let you read. Books by James Thurber, Dorothy Parker, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London, Neil Simon, Murray Schisgal, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare, H.G. Wells, yada, yada, yada. Pretty edgy stuff, wouldn't you say?
Roentsch: Edgy?
McO: Okay, okay, Lewis Carroll, he wrote The Cat in the Hat, but didn't your parents know that Jack London and H.G. Wells were socialists? So was Mark Twain! Dorothy Parker was a Red! Murray Schisgal wrote that deviant love story The Owl and the Pussycat, apparently about two animals that — of different species who "get it on," so to speak. — And Neil Simon used The Odd Couple to advance the homosexual agenda!
Roentsch: The homo, um —
McO: Sexual! And what about this? It says here that by the time you were twelve you had heard the original cast recording of the deviant musical comedy Irma La Douce so many times that you knew the lyrics by heart. Is that true?
Roentsch: I don't know about —
McO: Well, for the folks in the audience who do not know Irma La Douce — and you would be well-advised to keep your children away from it — it is a French musical that glorifies prostitution. Isn't that right, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: Glorifies? I don't know, it's a comedy, and —
McO: See, now when I was a boy I read Zane Grey and watched Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies. Now you may think that you're too hip for Gene Autry, Mr. Roentsch, but can I tell you something? Westerns toughen you up. They get you ready for society as it is, where the cattle-ranchers rule and you have to find some way to get power for yourself and your pards.
Roentsch: I never said that I —
McO: Now ... I'm just reading some notes my producers left for me. Please be patient.
Roentsch: Sure.
McO: I asked you to be patient. Oh, now this is interesting. You were an apprentice actor with some theatre called "the Ravencroft" and the New Hampshire Shakespeare Festival in 1972 and 1973. How old were you then?
Roentsch: Let's see —
McO: Now on paper this looks like a pretty good deal. You got to meet professional actors from New York, work with them, and live with them. It says here that you got to play all sorts of roles in Shakespeare at a very young age, so I guess you had to wear tights. Did the tights make you look girly, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: I think they didn't —
McO: Now look, you see, what the kids out there don't know, and what I'm going to have to tell them, because, you know, here at the Filter we're watching out for the folks at home, is that you lived with these actors in a house away from your parents, where a lot of debauched, degenerate behavior took place —
Roentsch: Hey, I —
McO: Well, I don't suppose we have to guess what caused you to go the theatrical route when you got older. Permissive parents who let you listen to a lot of filthy tunes songs about town pumps of Paris and God knows what else. Living in a house with actresses when you were sixteen. Did they have round bottoms, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: Well, I — sure, that I can recall.
McO: Shut up. You make me sick. Didn't these round-bottomed actresses know you were just a kid?
Roentsch: I sup—
McO: I said shut up.
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: Can I tell you something, Mr. Roentsch? Can I?
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: Now, what you didn't do — and what you should have done, in my opinion — was take advantage of your local New Hampshire culture to get power for yourself. And for you that means you missed an excellent opportunity to become a glass-blower.
Roentsch: Glass-blower?
McO: That's right.
Roentsch: Well ... they don't really have any more glass-blowers. It would be kind of like being a blacksmith.
McO: Exactly my point. No competition. It' s the path of least resistance.
Roentsch: Well, there would definitely be no —
McO: Let me tell you something, Mr. Roentsch. When I was a lad my old man got me a job one summer as a clerk in a head shop. You know? I loved that job. I got to stand in an incense-filled room all day and sell comic book pictures of Dagwood getting oral sex from Blondie, not to mention Popeye giving oral sex to Olive Oyl, or "chillin'" with Olive Oyl, which is what I think the brown people call it. And, of course, it was adults-only so the kids were protected. Now that's a glamour job, but it's outside the mainstream. You can't get any power that way. So I tried hard to fit in, and today I'm in the mainstream and have the power to squash my enemies like bugs.

What say you to that, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: I ... well, I —
McO: You're tap-dancing, Mr. Roentsch! And when you tap-dance on the Filter we break your toes and steal your shoes.
Roentsch: Oh yeah.
McO: So you ended up studying acting at Syracuse University from '74 to '78. That included a program where you studied Shakespeare with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and some of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Tell me, Mr. Roentsch, did you go to England for that? Or did they open a little office for you here in the States, so that you could go?
Roentsch: I — we, we went to London, of course.
McO: Don't say "of course." You picked the wrong person to condescend to, Mr. Roentsch.
Roentsch: Sorry.
McO: So did you fly over there every morning for classes?
Roentsch: No, I lived there.
McO: The British let you live there?
Roentsch: For awhile.
McO: For the sake of the kids at home let me ask you: Did you ever get a job from studying Shakespeare with Brits?
Roentsch: Well, let me see, it depends on —
McO: Did you?
Roentsch: What you mean by —
McO: You're tap-dancing, Mr. Roentsch!
Roentsch: Yeah, I guess —
McO: Now that we're on the subject of jobs, what was your first job out of college?
Roentsch: Well, that depends —
McO: Not again.
Roentsch: On what you mean —
McO: Stop! I want to know what your first job was, and I don't care how you define it.
Roentsch: Okay. So you mean like, that summer?
McO: This is unbearable.
Roentsch: Well, the summer I graduated from college I worked at Lake George. I was a cabin boy for a resort during the day, and at night I did a nightclub act with a partner. A mind-reading act. I was the mind-reader.
McO: And they paid you for this.
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: A mind-reader and a cabin boy. Well, I'm a little impressed that you were a cabin boy for a whole summer. That takes work, initiative, spine. You should have stuck with that.
Roentsch: But —
McO: And let me tell you why. Now, obviously the mind-reading was a sham, a trick, a fraud on the public, because if you really had that ability you would have used it by now to get power in society. As a cabin boy, on the other hand, you could have learned the hotel trade ... but you squandered that opportunity.

What say you to that, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: But I didn't want to learn the hotel trade.
McO: Shut up. Now it says here that after the mind-reading fiasco you and some friends moved briefly to New York's East Village, then to Washington Heights, which the folks at home may not know is a really run-down section of Manhattan, particularly in those days.
Roentsch: Fiasco?
McO: Let me ask you a question. Did you live there alone?
Roentsch: No.
McO: With a girl? Maybe an actress with a round backside?
Roentsch: No, with three other guys.
McO: Actors?
Roentsch: And a musician.
McO: It says here that your first day-job — I think that's a little elitist, don't you, Mr. Roentsch? — your first job was crawling into trash-compactors to clean debris off the bottom of the compressing element.
Roentsch: Well, that was part of it. I —
McO: And we also discovered that you were a founding member of a comedy group called Wax Dux, that used to perform at various clubs in New York City. This was when?
Roentsch: The early 80s.
McO: Reading this list of acquaintances from those days makes it clear that you at least knew some people who made something of themselves. I'm not going to mention any names, Mr. Roentsch, because associating you with them in the public eye may give them some grounds for a defamation suit.
Roentsch: But —
McO: Now, I think a lot of the kids out there are saying, "Oh cool, go to New York and do comedy and hang out with degenerates and drug-addicts in the Village," but you aren't going to get power in America that way.
Roentsch: But what if —
McO: Now see, I did things a little differently. Now, my parents were working class and couldn't afford to send me to college, and, frankly, I was too poor a student to get a scholarship. — See, Mr. Roentsch, I had to work three jobs when I was in high school, and one of them required me to carry a parasol and wear a g-string under some very hot lights. So I didn't have much time to study or get good grades.
Roentsch: I think I under —
McO: You see, it would have been fun for me to do what you did, Mr. Roentsch, but did I go to Greenwich Village and hang out with a bunch of comedians and musicians? No. Did I go live in some ramshackle Manhattan tenement with a bunch of actors? Well?
Roentsch: No?
McO: Exactly. What I did was — and you would do well to listen to this, Mr. Roentsch — what I did was I went out to the campus of Yale University and I stood across the street and watched all the students and I made notes. Then what I did was this: I went out and bought the same clothes they had on, faked a Yalie accent, and sat in the University taverns and met rich guys who needed favors and rich chicks who needed some salsa. You know — you know what I mean, Mr. Roentsch? Sauce.
Roentsch: Yeah.
McO: Can I ask you a question, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: Oh, sure.
McO: Do you hate God?
Roentsch: God?
McO: Just hold it right there. If you want to play word-association games you came to the wrong place. You are an atheist and you used to be an anarchist.
Roentsch: I was only an anarchist for about a year.
McO: Please do not pontificate. If you want to make speeches, take out your own money and rent your own hall, okay?
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: So what did you and your anarchist friends do during that one year? Did you throw bombs, wear black armbands, send anonymous mailings to the president using cut up letters from magazines?
Roentsch: Mostly we sat in bars and argued about whether or not it was hypocritical to ride the subway.
McO: Now what did I tell you about making speeches?
Roentsch: Oh, yeah.
McO: So you became a libertarian. It says that you were influenced — oh, I just love that word — by Ayn Rand, H.L. Mencken, Isabel Paterson, Friedrich Von Hayek, Ludwig Von Mises. Well, all of those people are nuts, and if that isn't bad, they're all dead, too.
Roentsch: Nuts? Well —
McO: It says here that your favorite novel is Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov and another one of your favorite novels is The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. Nabokov, Bulgakov. Those are communist names, aren't they, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: Communist?
McO: Now look, Mr. Roentsch, I'd like to take a moment and give you my take. Would you like to hear it? Okay. You're going to Hell.
Roentsch: Boy, I really that's going too —
McO: You see, Mr. Roentsch, it may be glamorous for you to sit on the outside reading books that make fun of other people's values, but don't you think that most people would be well-advised to read books that help them fit in?
Roentsch: Fitting in. I don't —
McO: Now, if you really want to read something worthwhile go out and pick up any book by a stand-up comic on what it's like to be a new dad.
Roentsch: But why?
McO: Well, if I could have a moment to speak I'd be glad to explain. You see, these books teach young men that it's hip to procreate. I mean, any pervert can write Lolita, but it takes a keen observer to inject wit into poopy diapers. —And I think most scholars will agree with me on this one.
Roentsch: Well, I don't think so —
McO: Now according to your publicist — and by the way kids, a publicist is a person who takes any little thing you might have done in your life and it's her job to make this little thing look like it was a turning point for Western civilization — according to your publicist, your first short story was published when you were 22, and first full-length play, Will Kemp, was originally produced when you were 25.

Now, I have a full bibliography here, Mr. Roentsch, but I'm not going to go into it because, for one thing, we don't have the time, and for another, you nauseate me.
Roentsch: Oh.
McO: Not a lot. Like, I don't have to make a run for the can or anything, but I definitely feel it and it ain't nice. I will note, however, that a rather famous lady was in the original Will Kemp, in fact I was a little astounded to see her name and yours on the same page of anything.
Roentsch: Right, you must mean —
McO: Please, please, don't say the name. And I'm going to tell you why. See, I really like this performer, and even though I don't know her I don't want to get on her bad side by associating her name with yours. Do you understand?
Roentsch: I —
McO: So you and some of your associates from this first production of Will Kemp and from your comedy days went on to found the Promethean Theatre Company in New York City, where you were the artistic director from 1981 to 1994. And then, after 13 years, it folded, as all ill-conceived enterprises are doomed to fold.

During that time you also founded and edited the small-circulation, libertarian magazine, The Lib - well, the Radical Capitalist.

Okay, let's see what we've got here. First, you fail as a trash-compactor scraper. — Please don't interrupt. Then you fail with this Will Kemp.
Roentsch: Fail?
McO: And what about this Promethean Theatre Company debacle?
Roentsch: I really don't see how you can call it a —
McO: Theatre company?
Roentsch: Debacle.
McO: Thirteen years, Mr. Roentsch. You spent thirteen years and directed more than thirty productions. How many of these did you write yourself?
Roentsch: Oh, let's see ...
McO: Never mind, let's just say it's a minority. And who ever knew that this company existed? Where was it covered?
Roentsch: Well —
McO: Don't badger me, Mr. Roentsch. You want to hassle somebody you picked the wrong guy. All right, all right, I'll stipulate that the Promethean Theatre Company was noticed, to different extents, by the Nation, the New York Times, the Village Voice, the New York Daily News, the Humanist, the New York Post, Backstage, Show Business, and several little, parochial, New York City publications, as well as some small New York TV and radio shows.

But let me ask you this: was the Promethean Theatre Company ever covered by a national network?
Roentsch: I don't think so.
McO: And what about this Radical Capitalist? It was — and still is —anti-war on drugs, anti-marriage, anti-religion, anti-government. So you really hate everything that the founding fathers stood for?
Roentsch: James Madison —
McO: James Madison hated drugs, Mr. Roentsch, hated them. Especially heroin, which in his day was known as "horse."
Roentsch: But —
McO: Now look, there's a rather famous quote where James Madison says to Dolly, "Keep that horse out of the parlor."
Roentsch: Wait a minute —
McO: The Radical Capitalist is also a failure. Would you like me to prove it to you?
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: Let's make a comparison, shall we? On the one hand, we have the Radical Capitalist, which now I think is just an Internet publication, which should be proof enough that it's a failure, and on the other hand we have the Mickey song.
Roentsch: Mickey song?
McO: Oh, I love that song. "Oh Mickey, what a pity/You don't understand/You take me by the heart/When you take me by the hand."
Roentsch: Oh, right. Toni Basil.
McO: I really think it's Mickey. Now, would you concede the Mickey song is the one hit of a one-hit wonder?
Roentsch: I think so.
McO: Okay, would you concede that, even though that is the one hit of a one-hit wonder, more people have heard of that than have heard of the Radical Capitalist?
Roentsch: Oh yeah. Lots more.
McO: Okay, would you agree that less than one tenth of one percent of the number of people who have heard the Mickey song have heard of the Radical Capitalist?
Roentsch: Probably.
McO: Then, honestly, Mr. Roentsch, if being less than one-tenth of one percent as famous as the one hit of a one-hit wonder doesn't describe a failure, then what does?
Roentsch: Gee... since you put it that way —
McO: You know, I don't want to dump on you too much, Mr. Roentsch. But I will tell you one thing I like about your nonfiction writing, which I don't find in your fiction, and that's that your nonfiction writing tends to deal more with facts than with things that are made up out of somebody's imagination.
Roentsch: Okay, but—
McO: And here's another thing I can't stand about your fiction. The sexual innuendo. Oh sure, it isn't graphic, but you really are a lewd person, aren't you, Mr. Roentsch? I mean, it really does come out. And most of this sex is really, it's really rather perverse, isn't it, Mr. Roentsch? Because in your deviant world — no doubt created when you first started listening to the filthy cast recordings of Irma La Douce — there are no consequences for godless hedonism, are there?
Roentsch: I think that's —
McO: Now I think the folks at home are going to want to pay special attention to this, because they'll want their kids to know that there is a way to follow the path of least resistance.
Roentsch: But suppose they —
McO: Can I finish? Thank you. You want to make life as easy a chore as it is to get through, and then when you're finished, you get to meet God and it's all good.

Do you see what I'm driving at, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: I think I get it, sure.
McO: Path of least resistance. Look, I'll write that down on some Filter stationery and you can take it home and learn it.

Now, let me give you an example from my own life. Once I was a lot like you, Mr. Roentsch. You see, my natural speaking voice closely resembles that of the cartoon character Shooby-Doo.
Roentsch: You —
McO: Really, it does.
Roentsch: You mean Scooby-Doo?
McO: I really think it's Shooby. And if you let me finish I'll tell you why that's important. You see, one day when I was a young man, I read in a show-business trade paper that they were replacing the guy who did the voice of Shooby-Doo. I figured I was a shoo-in to get the part, but when I got out there to Burbank I found that, not only were there dozens of actors who sounded just like Shooby-Doo, there were also several who looked a lot like Shooby-Doo.

So you see, even though I had this talent, I realized that I could spend years doing bit parts as Shooby-Doo. Shooby-Doo at parties, Shooby-Doo at private clubs, Shooby-Doo at theme parks, but I would probably never make a really good dollar as Shooby-Doo.
Roentsch: I see —
McO: You see? That was the path filled with resistance, Mr. Roentsch. And when I realized it was all over for me and Shooby I didn't go to New York and start my own "Shooby-Doo Theatre" or something. No, no. I was realistic.

What I did was first, I underwent some pretty radical speech therapy to erase all those traces of Shooby-Doo from my speaking voice. Then I went to a small radio station in a small town, where I was willing to go out in the rain and cover those cathouse raids that no one else was willing to. You see? No competition. Path of least resistance.

And that's what you kids at home need to do. Find out what job nobody else wants, and do them. People will pat you on the back with tears in their eyes. They'll appreciate, the way all of society appreciates, your taking the path of least resistance.
Roentsch: But then you give up —
McO: Can I just ask you a question here, Mr. Roentsch? Isn't it true that you were never married?
Roentsch: That's —
McO: No one will have Dan Roentsch, huh? You can't fool one woman into taking you?

Okay, I don't want to embarrass you, so we'll table that. Did you ever live in a house with a nice lawn?
Roentsch: No house, no, no law—
McO: A terrible price to pay because you wanted to meet some actors.
Roentsch: I didn't want —
McO: You see, meeting actors is actually something anyone can do if they stand long enough outside on 53rd and Broadway while Letterman is taping.

I have autographs from every star you can think of, from Sean Connery to Kate Capshaw. You just need to adopt the attitude that they have to come out of that studio eventually.
Roentsch: But did —
McO: Do you mind if I ask you a question, Mr. Roentsch? Don't you think that by refusing to have kids you're being unbearably selfish?
Roentsch: But who does it hurt?
McO: Would you like to know how a successful person meets his obligations, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: See, I was able to fulfill my duty to the human race by having kids, bringing them up, and taking them with me and my respectably dowdy wife on vacations I took yearly.

I can remember when we went down to Costa Rica — they call it Ticoland, did you know that?
Roentsch: Well, see, I've —
McO: Of course not. And, you know, the kids thought it was a pretty neat way to be able to see how the brown people live.

I mean, it isn't the way we live, Mr. Roentsch. They have their shirts off almost all the time, and when they don't they wear these baggy tank-tops and you can smell the sweat. Funky as all get-out, but they like to bring you drinks and they clean out your bungalow.

You have to be willing to tip, though. You don't strike me as much of a tipper.
Roentsch: I'm sure I could —
McO: And of course I was also able to get a woman to marry me. A plain woman, Mr. Roentsch, nobody you'd brag about to your frat chums, but a respectable woman who knows how to plug in a Hoover.
Roentsch: But I don't —
McO: You know, Mr. Roentsch, as a moral person, I have to tell you that I think that you're a selfish, soulless, stupid ...

You're a kook, Mr. Roentsch!
Roentsch: But —
McO: Jeez, I'm reading these notes and I mean, you're just one big bag of weird ideas, aren't you? So you believe that animals have rights, but not human rights.
Roentsch: That's, well, yeah —
McO: You're tap-dancing, Mr. Roentsch! You see, the only rights we have are human rights. That's why they're called human.
Roentsch: But ... right. But —
McO: Look. Let me explain this to you by ticking off points on my fingers. That might help.

Either animals have rights, or they have human rights, or they have no rights at all.
Roentsch: That's just one finger.
McO: All right, all right, but did it help?
Roentsch: Well, not rea—
McO: Let me ask you this. Do you think animals have the right to freedom of the press?
Roentsch: No.
McO: Well ... and I'm sorry to have to laugh like this, Mr. Roentsch, but how can you believe that Fido has a right to freedom from cruelty if he doesn't have the freedom to write an editorial about it?

I mean, don't you think that's being a little hypocritical?
Roentsch: No, and here's —
McO: Are you a vegetarian?
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: All right, let me ask you this: Do you only eat vegetables?
Roentsch: Um —
McO: Never had any fruits?
Roentsch: All the time. I eat fruit, I mean.
McO: Then how can you call yourself a vegetarian? Vegetarians are only supposed to eat vegetables! Isn't that what the word means?
Roentsch: I think it —
McO: Look, Mr. Roentsch. — Can I call you "Mr. Roentsch"? Look, it's time to come clean. You didn't become a vegetarian on principle, now did you? You did it to meet chicks. Babes. Isn't that right?
Roentsch: I can't say that —
McO: But you really don't need to give up meat to get the hotties, Mr. Roentsch.

You live in Manhattan, right? Ever been to Churrascaria Plataforma, on 49th Street? I think they have their own slaughterhouse out back.

And the chicks that go there will tango on your mango. They're tall and tough. Amazons, you know what I mean? And they all have fangs.
Roentsch: My mango?
McO: I know I've said this before, but I'm really glad you got booked for this show. In fact, I may make it a regular feature. Every Friday night or so, I'll bring along a failure — someone people can actually shed tears for — so that kids and parents can draw a comparison between me, a success, and people like you. You know, failures. —And then they can come to their own conclusions, which should be that it is a lot better to be a success like me.
Roentsch: Well, I —
McO: In 1994, the Promethean Theater Company had its last performance, isn't that true?
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: The New York Daily News called you a zealot. And that's a paper with a huge circulation, isn't it?
Roentsch: That was just one article.
McO: But that's pretty devastating, wouldn't you say? I mean, I mean, you were publicly branded a zealot. Nobody wants to be a zealot. Nobody wants to know a zealot. And really, you were left utterly friendless after that catastrophe, and you have no friends to this day, isn't that true, Mr. Roentsch?
Roentsch: That isn't true. I have —
McO: Well, it says in my notes — No, wait, there's a footnote. It says here that one of your very few friends in New York is New York actor Charles Willey. Is that true?
Roentsch: Yes.
McO: Now this Charles Willey is an award-winning actor. Award-winning. Now, have you ever won an award, Mr. Roentsch? I mean, since you were a grown-up.
Roentsch: No.
McO: Now, doesn't that make Charles Willey a little ashamed to be seen with you? Okay, his compassion I can understand, but save that for the brown people.
Roentsch: I don't think that —
McO: Mr. Roentsch, does Charles Willey know that you're going around telling people he's your friend? I mean, if he were here right now, wouldn't he say, "Hmm. Dan Roentsch. Oh yeah, Dan. Whatever happened to that guy?"
Roentsch: No, I think —
McO: I don't mean to laugh, Mr. Roentsch, but I'm reading these notes, and it says that you're focused on writing and studying filmmaking. Filmmaking? Don't you think thirteen years of theatrical humiliation are enough, Mr. Roentsch? Isn't there a statute of limitations on public self-mutilation even for a masochist like you?
Roentsch: I've always —
McO: But let's get back to this so-called "focus on writing."

Your first novel, Face of a Stranger, is pretty short, isn't it Mr. Roentsch? And sure, there's one reviewer who said it would make a pretty good movie, but it really wouldn't, would it? In fact, it would make a pretty lousy movie.

And it seems to me that all the women in your book are sluts. That's just my opinion, but what say you?
Roentsch: I think that one of them, the —
McO: And what about this LumpenBlog? Your publicist describes it as a "comic novel in blog form."

Well, I've read it once or twice, Mr. Roentsch, and I have to say I don't find it comical at all. In fact, I find it pretty tedious. The same is true of your contributions to Aardvark Monthly, the humor magazine. I especially don't like the references to me, although I have grown used to being hated by the media power elite. I'm waiting to hear back from my lawyer to see whether or not those references are actionable.
Roentsch: Actionable?
McO: You wanted to have fun at a celebrity's expense, did you? Well, you picked the wrong guy.

But we'll table that for now.

Let's get back to this LumpenBlog, because I think there's a lesson in it for the folks.

Your publicist makes a lot of the fact that Internet commentator and magazine editor Mick Arran says that you've created a new form of fiction, though I suspect that you got this idea by sitting in Starbucks and eavesdropping on the conversations of genuinely creative people.
Roentsch: Well, that's completely —
McO: You see, Mr. Roentsch, eavesdropping in coffee shops isn't how you get power in our society. Can I — do you mind if I give you an anecdote from my own life? I think the folks will like this.
Roentsch: Okay.
McO: See folks, there was a time when I got tired of doing crummy broadcasts for crummy small-town stations, so I decided to send my reel off to New York. But I knew this was a path with a lot of resistance, because there were a lot of broadcasters in small crummy towns doing the same thing. In fact, the competition for broadcasters is almost as stiff as it is for the voice of Shooby-Doo.
Roentsch: So what did you do?
McO: Well, I had an edge — a God-given gift — that I could use to lessen my path of resistance.

See, in my case, the edge I possessed was physical. I know you folks at home are saying, "But Lamprey, physical? You're not so handsome or buff. What was your physical edge?"

Well, If you let me finish a sentence I'll tell you. See, the edge I possessed was, well, how shall I put it? I had — and still have — an unusually large-sized member.
Roentsch: You mean —
McO: Now you kids, when you grow up you're going to hear some of the smaller boys talk about something about "motion of the ocean." That's b.s. You tell them Lamprey McO said so. Women love large-sized members. And, if you're not sure what I'm talking about, ask your mom.
Roentsch: So you've got this —
McO: Fortunately for me, there are a number of female executive producers in New York — we call them "exec producers" in the biz — most of them single, who knew how to value a prospective colleague with an edge like mine. So a couple of Airbus trips to New York, six or seven steak dinners, and, long story short, big-time broadcasting here I come!
Roentsch: Did you —
McO: We only have a few seconds left, Mr. Roentsch, so I'll let you have the last word.
Roentsch: Thanks. I—
McO: You know, I was just thinking, Mr. Roentsch, you might not make a bad intern for this show. Would you like to try something like that? There's a lot of espresso preparation involved, but I bet you can handle that without screwing up too bad.
Roentsch: I don't —
McO: Shut up, Mr. Roentsch! — And thanks for coming in to face the music.
Copyright 2006 Dan Roentsch. All rights reserved.