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Actor / Entertainer3) I am a standup comedian named Ari Shaffir. I have a double special out on Netflix called "Double Negative." Get it? Because it's 2 specials and also because it makes a positive? You get it. Ask me anything.

Jul 21st 2017 by AriShaffir • 40 Questions • 405 Points

I'll be 100% honest and answer as many questions as you guys can throw out. I'll give you, let's say, 2 to 3 hours. But ask me questions for me, not for other people. I won't tell you which of my friends have cheated on their wives or girlfriends, but just about anything else. Why would you even ask that? Ask shit about me, not my dirtbag friends. And I mean, ask whatever you want. Ask me about standup in general. Ask me for romantic advice. Ask me about sports. Ask me about my own standup. Ask me about your chlamydia. I don't know. There's a shitload you could ask. You think of the questions, idiots. And I'll answer all of them. 2 to 3 hours. The more fun I'm having the longer I'll go.

My new special, "Double Negative" is now on Netflix

I have a podcast called Ari Shaffir's Skeptic Tank

Here's a story of me having a weed scavenger hunt at the Mall of America.

I have another podcast called Punch Drunk Sports

Proof: Twitter post or

The same exact post but on instagram because Twitter is dying

Q:

Hey Ari, congrats on your new special man! From what I've gathered listening to you and JR's podcats, I really dig your outlook on life. I have a question and then something to share with you.

Of all the places you've visited while backpacking, which place could you have definitely moved to if you wanted to?

Also! I made an animated short yesterday to go alongside a portion of the podcast titled "Ari And Joe Go On A Hike" - the part where you and Joe come across some rocks that look like animals.

Have a good AMA and keep doin you man!

A:

I posted it on twitter hours ago. Good job. DM me your paypal and I'll send you $20.


Q:

Okay then... So what exactly happened between you and Comedy Central that led to them having Roy Wood Jr. host your show instead? I'm really bummed out we're not getting anymore Ari Shaffir & Friends TINH stories. And I don't live in the US so I can't go see your storyteller shows.

Is it as simple as CC being pissed because you sold your special to Netflix instead of them, or was there more behind the scenes?

Second question: Any plans to do another Asian tour? I had heard that you were possibly doing a show in Hong Kong back in May but that it didn't pan out. I just moved to HK a few months ago, would love to be able to see you do a set here.

A:

I'm not an executive at Comedy Central so I can't tell you what was in their minds. That's a question you'll have to ask them.

But know that if it were up to me, I would have done the show for them forever.


Q:

Fair enough.

Any plans to tour Asia again? Namely Hong Kong?

A:

I'll be back in Hong Kong eventually. That was one of my favorite comedy scenes in the world. Just about everyone I knew is now gone, but I can't wait to meet the new people and go on another junk boat excursion.

Man, I forgot about that junk boat. Some fan had given me one hit of acid. So I took it on the junk boat without telling anyone (never tell people you're on psychedelics. Why would you want them staring at you) and I layed on my back in the water and swam around some jellyfish. Great god damn day.


Q:

Would you share some insights you got from the mushrooms?

A:

Damn. There's so many.

I'll give you a couple.

1) We're all meaningless. In the grand scheme of history, we are a blink on the timeline. A blink. So I took that to mean I should live what makes me happy before I'm dust.

2) I can tell people what I think about them when it's a good thing. I was holding it back too much. After my first real shroom trip, I sat in my car on the way down and texted Chris Fairbanks to tell him that I thought his delivery style was really unique. Things like that. Why keep it to yourself.

There are hundreds more. These are just a deep one and a simple one.


Q:

Have you and Henry Rollins spoke since your podcast? I have been a fan of his travel stories for years and am glad he rubbed off on you a bit more. I would love a follow up podcast where you catch up on your travels since the last episode. Maybe like a yearly chat session kind of episode.

A:

That's a great idea. We e-mailed once or twice. But then when I went off the grid I lost touch completely. I'll give him a buzz to see how he is.


Q:

Hey Ari, first off loved the special. Fucking pregnant from a tinder date?!

Anyways, I wanted to ask what it was like for you losing your religion. I grew up in a pretty religious family and have become pretty agnostic over the last 5-10 years. Im not really atheist, because who fucking knows, but I really don't believe in the traditional idea of religion. What was it like for you and did it put a lot of strain on you and your family?

A:

It put tons of strain on me and my relationships with the people in my life. I only knew orthodox Jews. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to do at that point and my first real decision as a man.

But agnosticism, that's just immaturity. You only say "who knows" because so many other people believe in it. You're not saying "who knows" because you've seen some studies on it but you're not quite convinced. There's zero proof the other way. And yet you're letting them off the hook only because there are a lot of them. Well, there are a lot of rapists but you wouldn't say "maybe they have a point" just because there's lots of them. Make your own decisions. Grow up. You know the answer.


Q:

Why did you quit Jiu-jitsu?

A:

Because I kept getting injured and catching ring worm (twice) and staff (once).


Q:

Ari, what's the most savage thing you have done out of revenge in your life?

Also, loved Double Negative and it was the first special I got work friends to check out. They loved it too. Thanks for your world view!

A:

Thanks! I'm glad you liked my special!

One time I waited for a year after my friend ratted on me. Waited till he thought I had long since forgot about it. And then we took a trip to San Diego. Super fun couple of days. And then I left him there. Drove back to LA on my own and left him a note that said "rat" on the outside. On the inside was a photocopy of the letter he had written ratting me out a year before. #neverforget


Q:

I think I speak for everyone when I ask, what did he do?

A:

He ratted on me for doing what I did to Bobby Lee's car. Even though he's the one who did it and I just helped.

I just looked for the clip of what we did. It's the last 19 minutes of my Passive Aggressive special. If you find it, share it. If it's in the whole special, please make a standalone clip of it.


Q:

Hey Ari,

I've been writing stand-up jokes for about 6 months now, but I'm having trouble mustering up the courage to get on stage. I think I have about 5 minutes worth of stuff I think is good enough for an open mic. How long did it take you to go from the thought of "I want to do stand-up" to actually getting on stage? I'm 19, and I'm afraid that the longer I wait, the more I'll psych myself out. Do you have to embrace the fear and doubt, or is there anything you can do to (somewhat) eliminate it before doing your first open mic?

Really enjoyed your new special and your cock's recent podcasts appearances.

A:

This is something I get asked a lot. My answer is to just set a date, maybe a month out or 3 months out. Whatever. Find an open mic and set yourself a date when that open mic is happening. And then tell people that you'll be doing an open mic on that date if that'll help drive you. You don't (and shouldn't) tell anybody to come. Just set that date and stick to it. You will be nervous. But once it's done you'll have already started standup.


Q:

And you should absolutely do it! Why not?

A:

A SLICE, though. Not a whole pie.


Q:

Was the omission of the J in Luis' name in your special on purpose just to fuck with him?

A:

I have no respect for that J. None. When I got him to sign a release form to allow me to use his name (because of past problems I've run into) he said yes on the condition that I use his middle initial, too. I outright refused.

And this "doggie" thing he's got going right now is even worse. Fuck Gomez.


Q:

Is Tom fat or is Bert fat?

A:

They're not mutually exclusive. #botharefat


Q:

Would you do more hiking podcasts with Joe? Maybe with a gopro? camera? It was a great podcast!

A:

Of course I would. What a fun podcast and a beautiful hike. I found equipment from Bobby Kelly that'll let me do it wirelessly with lapel mics. So we don't have to worry about distance or tripping over cords.


Q:

You mentioned going camping with Bobby Kelly and Big Jay on a the skeptic tank with Bobby, are you going to podcast on that trip?

A:

I'm sure.


Q:

When you were in Southeast Asia, what did you use to find hostels without bedbugs? Word of mouth doesn't seem like it would be trustworthy enough.

A:

Legitimate question. There are two sites. Hostelworld and Agoda. Both have reviews. And word of mouth actually does kind of work. A bedbug rumor is the worst thing that can happen to a hostel and when it happens, word spreads fast. Like chlamydia around the Comedy Store fast.


Q:

Would you rather have bedbugs in your apartment for life or herpes?

A:

Daaaaaaaaaamn. Good question. I think with bedbugs, you'd actually be way less likely to get laid. So maybe the herpes. It's not like there's other people out there just living with bedbugs and not doing anything to rid themselves of it. Yeah, for sure herpes.


Q:

There are two sites. Hostelworld and Agoda. Both have reviews. And word of mouth actually does kind of work. A bedbug rumor is the worst thing that can happen to a hostel and when it happens, word spreads fast.

Yep, used those and Hostelbookers as well. If the site has a robust review system, you'll likely be fine.

Backpacked SE Asia 4 times now, nearly a month's length each, hit every country in the region and yet to see a bed bug. Some of those mosquitoes can be unforgiving however...

A:

The mosquitos suuuuuuuck. You gotta wear long sleeves overnight to protect yourself and then it's 88 degrees at night so it's impossible to sleep.


Q:

Could Rogan REALLY take on 12 twelve year olds in hand-to-hand combat?

A:

The more I thought about it, the more I realized he could. He'd have zero mercy. I've rolled with him before. He doesn't have a half speed. He'd kick 3 of them in the face hard and then punch another without stopping. Then he'd pick up a rock and bash a kid skull in and throw another off a cliff. It would be brutal.


Q:

Ari, fellow depression sufferer here. You are an inspiration to me as someone who has found their way to happiness after a brutal depression. Are you still medication free? What helps more career success or doing what you really enjoy?

A:

Depression actually helped me find career success and the ability to commit to doing what I really enjoy. Not the other way around.

I hope you get better, dude. I know how much it sucks. I just lost a friend to hanging and I think I could've done something if I knew how bad it was.

Try to take in some sun every day. Like 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight. Every day. And stay on the medication until you and your doctor are ready to go off as a team. And when you do go off, challenge the people in your life to stay up on you and to tell you when or if they think you're starting to slip.

I'm sorry this is happening to you.


Q:

What is the very best cheese?

A:

Whatever rubs off the bottom of my balls in the morning after I play basketball and then go right to sleep without showering.


Q:

What was the biggest difference between playing sports with orthodox Jews and regular people?

A:

Injury timeouts were far more frequent and lasted considerably longer. #pussies


Q:

Regular people don't offer to prep your taxes for you after you own them.

A:

Hahahaha


Q:

What do you think is the best part of South East Asia to visit?

Also, I think your podcast is great.

A:

Thank you. I don't think you can say there's a "best" part. It comes down to what you're into. Thailand has a way bigger party scene than Myanmar, for instance. So if you're into partying, I'd go to Thailand. But Myanmar is far less mapped out. So if you're into exploring, I'd say Myanmar.

Each country is its own thing. And the experiences you have will depend on your attitude, who you meet, and even things like the weather. So find some place that interests you and realize that no matter where you choose, it'll be the right place because you'll be traveling.


Q:

Watched Double Negative the day it came out - really enjoyed it, I'm a big fan - have met you a few times around LA and you've always stopped for a quick conversation, so thanks for that.

I too am a big fan of camping/mushroom trips, and you've mentioned going to Malibu Creek State Park a few times.

Have you been inside the watertower there? It's accidentally one of those soundwash/resonators and is my favorite place to end up doing mushrooms at.

A:

That sounds awesome. No, all we did was hike to find the abandoned MASH set. And we failed at that. So we just walked and walked and then walked back when the sun came up.


Q:

what was the last quality prank you pulled?

A:

When I was in Nashville, Bert Kreischer showed me a really big check he had just gotten. He hadn't been home yet to cash it. And he was really proud of the large dollar amount. We were all hanging out in his hotel room. And he came over and was like, "check this out!" and handed me this massive dollar amount check to look at.

So I tore it into a hundred pieces.


Q:

Who would you Marry, Fuck, Kill? Steve Rannazzisi, Big Jay, Bert

A:

Marry Steve (nicest home), Fuck Bert (softest ass), Kill Big Jay (worst taste in music).


Q:

But you said you really like the newest Avenged Sevenfold album!

A:

Jay just left it there! A signed copy and he just left it there. Most disrespectful reaction to a birthday gift I've ever seen.


Q:

Mr. Schaefer,

Who would win in a fight? Tom Segura or Burnt Christhairs?

and why?

A:

I believe Tom would win. While Burnt outweighs him considerably, Tom is the only one of the two who has boxing experience. And Christhairs main move is his laugh, which I don't see him being able to properly use as a weapon.


Q:

Hi Ari - I'm a fellow U. of Maryland alum and current DC area resident. I haven't heard too much about your time in College Park, so I'd be curious to hear of any funny stories or things that happened to you there. Also, would you ever consider doing stand-up at UMD? I know at lot of comedians are avoiding colleges these days but it didn't seem too PC while I went there from 2006-2010, and during that time we had a lot of great people come in like Aziz, Big Jay, Kurt Metzger, Dave Attell, Greg Giraldo (RIP), Jeffrey Ross, Jamie Kennedy and Bob Saget.

A:

I never thought colleges were too PC either. And when I went to Maryland, it was the 2nd most diverse college in the country.

I wonder if a lot of that "kids are too PC" talk is from out of touch comedians who don't know how to relate to a younger crowd. And sometimes they blame that on political correctness.

Here's an example. I used to play these teen tours at the Improv. Other comics hated it, but I loved it. The room was full of 14 and 15 year olds. And I would get absolutely FILTHY. Just the dirtiest sex talk and crowd work I could think of. And the kids loved it. But when I did a joke about fucking in the shower, it'd always fall flat. Now, that's not due to political correctness, because it's not any more correct or incorrect than any of the other sex jokes. But it involved a more detailed sex move. A sex move that a lot of those virgins couldn't even wrap their heads around. So it baffled them.

I actually really want to play some colleges so I can see for myself. There's definitely a thing going on where a lot of people at universities will try to silence seemingly opposing viewpoints. But there's also another thing at universities that gets almost no press. A bunch of college kids who want to hear really funny material. They just don't write angry blogs about it. I was one of those kids. I love Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison. I liked things that walked the line. There are those kids at school and I'd venture to say they're actually the majority. So who cares what an angry blogger writes? I'm here to entertain the people who want to be entertained.


Q:

All of your travel shenanigans have really made me feel attempting to go on my own adventure. It's completely possible if i just save 20 bucks a paycheck or so for half a year. I'm going to try and make it happen ! I really enjoy the content you put out. There is something so genuinely unique about you. Where would you recommend traveling to in the future? What would you recommend to someone who doesn't know how they want to spend their time doing things before they die?

if you ever need inspiration, i recommend the series tengen toppa gurren lagann, its a lot at first, but worth it.

A:

You'll probably have to save more than that. $20 a paycheck is $500 a year.

I'll refer to some paraphrased advice from "Vagabonding" by Rolf Potts. Once you decide you want to travel, stop by EVERYTHING. Make no new purchases. Every shirt you don't buy puts you closer to being in some faraway place. Every lunch you pack from home gets you a little closer to crazy foreign street foods. Every pregame session and snuck in flask put you that much closer to drinking a local beer in a new country.

You can save way more than you think. But you gotta stop making all purchases. And spend as little on recreation as you can. You can save up thousands like that in no time.

And you could go to SE Asia for 4 months on $5,500. Guaranteed. Flights included.

So do you want that or the new iPhone?

Have fun on your trip.


Q:

What's the best thing a fan can do after a show? Worst thing? Buying the comics a drink, asking for pictures, etc? What do you love and what is annoying/downright awful?

A:

Don't care for pictures. They're so impersonal and it's just annoying to have to line up and fake smile over and over and over. I know people want a picture, so I do it, but it's not enjoyable at all. My brain completely shuts down and I lose an hour of my life. But I do it for the fan experience.

Heavy handshakes are pretty great.


Q:

Would you rather watch Bert and Tom make fatsex or never travel again?

A:

Fatsex. But I'd pay to watch that so it's not a good would you rather.


Q:

Were you worried at all about offending anyone with kids? My girlfriend's brother just had his second kid and he lives in a tiny apartment and works two jobs to barely get by so we didn't congratulate him because his "decision" was dumb and of course he got mad. Do you think we are wrong for that? My uncle never had kids and his life seemed awesome because he followed bands around with his wife but he became a terrible alcoholic. His wife left him, he lost his job and ended up drinking himself to death a few months ago because he felt he had no reason to live. I often think that maybe if he had children he would have found a reason to live. What do you think? I don't have kids but most of the people I know do and I made sure to recommend your special to all of them so thanks for being the voice of humerous reason.

A:

That's alcoholism. The same disease that makes people lose their families. So I don't know if that would have saved him. I mean, his wife didn't have kids either and she was fine. I don't think having or not having kids was the problem there. No more than having the money to follow bands around was the problem. Are you gonna blame his job for his death?


Q:

Will you be on Duncan's podcast anytime soon?

A:

Yes. Very soon. In August for sure.


Q:

Who created the concept and art for Revenge for the Holocaust? Brilliant.

A:

Kevin Christy and I came up with it together in his car on day. And he illustrated it because he's great.


Q:

Have you seen Norm's special?

A:

Not yet. What do you think of it?


Q:

Any new bands/albums you're listening to these days?

A:

Gimme some.

Right now I can't wait for the new Arcade fire to get on Piratebay or Spotify. But I've really fallen off in the last year or so.

Ask Nick Youssef for a playlist of new bands. He used to be my go to for finding new music. But then he got radicalized and now he won't help Jews any more because he thinks they're all zionists.


Q:

Hello Mr Ari. You have always been seen here and elsewhere as a horrible person. I'm saying this from podcasts that I've listening too and personal stories from people who have met you. Examples being You screaming at fatman on lunch drunk sports , punching bobby lee in the head , not paying Tommy Buns for the bet you set with him and also you making Whitney Cummings cry. With all this being said you also have your annual shroom fest. My question is are you still this horrible person that people make you out to be or have psychedelics changed you and these traits being something from the past ?

A:

Hahah. I'd say a lot of that "horrible" stuff is misunderstanding of the details from people who weren't there. That mixed with me almost never defending myself to people I don't know.

But if I was really such a horrible person, I feel like more comics would have stopped being friends with me, no? People like Bobby, Buns, the fat man, and Whitney would avoid me instead of laughing with me. Right? Or no?

I've generally found in life that when someone does something and my reaction to it is "That's crazy" there's almost always details I didn't know about. Because generally people aren't crazy. Generally they're all pretty normal in some range. So when something doesn't add up it's because not all the inputs were included. Next time you hear a woman say "He just started screaming at me for no reason" think if that seems likely. Was she talking about a deranged homeless person? No? She was talking about a normal guy? And he started screaming at her for no reason? Sounds fishy.

But I used to believe that stuff at first glance, too, so I don't hold it against anybody.


Q:

Any word on you being a guest on Norm's show? It would be so cool.

A:

Oh, man. That'd be great. I love him.