Before there was Twitter and before Facebook had a stranglehold on our lives, there was Google Groups. There still is Google Groups -- basically low-rent message boards -- but, you know, not a lot of people use them (relatively speaking). But back in August of 2005 one such group under the heading "moderated.alt.comedy.standup" was home to a lively, genuinely interesting and hilarious discussion between Louis C.K. and Doug Stanhope about -- of all things -- exercising, being healthy and staying in shape! We love, it especially when C.K. advises Stanhope: "Please don't die."
Anyway, we've lovingly placed the back and forth between these two comedy greats below. It's pretty obvious who's saying what, but on the few occasions it isn't totally clear, we've made sure that it was. Enjoy!
I know a lot of you out there have a diet that consists of Hardees and
Taco Bell with the occasional frozen buffalo wings heated up in the
condo microwave, and that your exercize regimen... doesn't exist.
Personally, one of the reasons I chose standup as a life is because it
allowed me to lie on a floor for several hours eating lard and crying,
only having to pull myself together for an hour a day or so.
But if you want to have any longevity as a comedian, or if you want
your brain and body to provide you with any consistent creative flow,
you have to eat somewhat right and do some excercize of some kind.
I started running years ago and though I often fuck up and stop for a
long time, it keeps me alive. Especially when I'm on the road, I like
to run every day and explore the towns i'm working in. I try to eat
shitloads of fruit too. Recently I started jumping rope which feels gay
and wonderful at the same time.
Does anyone else work out/excercize/take care of themselves? Or are
you all hoping to die a quick, american junkfood non-movement death?
I try to do coke a couple times a month to get my heart rate up though
Viagra can really get the ticker running at high speed especially if
you are trying to come while youre extraordinarily drunk. Cialis to a
lesser extent but for a longer duration.
Often times on the road I will take very long walks when I wake up and
don't know where I am and need to get back to my hotel.
Terror can at times be a great replacement for a sauna to help you
sweat out the toxins.
Sushi is very healthy I've heard and will help clean out your system
the longer you leave it sitting around before consumption. Dry heaves
help keep the abs tight.
Carrying a lot of merchandise to a gig is a good workout and doing
terribly on stage will insure you have to carry them all back home as
I also sometimes play darts in between shows.
How old are you? Please don't die.
I am 38. I feel okay. Father Luke and I climb the hill maybe twice a
month. I'm quitting smoking on Nov 25th. I feel okay. Thanks for the
(This next response was more of a general response to the other people on the thread and not specially geared toward Stanhope)
For me, it's not really about weight loss. Training just makes me
sharper and mostly increases my endurance.
let me put it to you all this way: Trying to be a standup comedian for
a living, or beyond that, trying to pursue a life in comedy that has
longevity and bredth, is crazily hard.
Lots of folks say it takes 15, maybe 20 years to make a great comic.
Lots of people start out with a lot of talent but by the time they hit
that many years they've given up, become bitter and crusty or have died
from ill health and depression.
Outside of all that, it seems to me that if you're trying to do
something extrordinary, which succeeding as a comedian is, if only by
virtue of the fact that almost no one pulls it off, then you should get
yourself into the best possible shape. I don't mean looks, I don't
mean weight. I maintain a pretty good belly. I just mean getting
yourself ready, steeling yourself, improving your abilities and
stregths as a person..
Given the odds of making it as a comedian, I am amazed at how little
effort so many comedians make, while complaining bitterly about their
lack of breaks. I mean, you should be thinking like an olympic athlete
but you think like dorito-eating high school brats, doing nothign and
expecting everything. Of course I'm not talking about YOU, whoever is
reading this. I'm talking about YOU, over there. Yeah.
Every time I run, I reach about fifty points in my run where I want to
quit. I reach about 100 points where I am SURE I'm going to quit. But
I keep going and when I finish, I've just proven to myself that I can
survive self doubt and exhaustioin. This is an invaluable tool for me
as a comedian, writer and producer. Everything I do is helped by
exercize. Even if I can't spell it right.
One other thing, I NEVER listen to music when I run. This is my
reason: When I get to those points, going up a horrible hill, running
staright into a cold wind, I have to reach somewhere inside myself to
get through it. If I have an ipod suplying me with "Eye of the Tiger"
or some wonderful Cher song, then that gets me through. That's no good
to me because next time I'm on a stage getting tired, or next time I'm
shooting number 9 of 20 shows or next time I just want to fucking eat a
bag of poison because I get sick of my life, I'd rather have whatever
tool I built inside myself on that hill, then have to listen to cher
Does that make any sense?
Now, I'm sure a lot of you young folks are thinking, "Fuck you, CK ,
Doug Stanhope does drugs and he is cool." Well, you'e right. you
should do drugs. But this works for me.
(Now, Louis addresses Doug directly)
None of my business. But at 38, if I were you, I'd look back at all
those years of self-abuse and think 'Wow, I got away with all that!"
and then stop before it's too late. Look at it this way, you've
certainly pumped that lifestyle for plenty of creatve energy and
material, think of how much new inspiration might come out of changing
gears and starting to not shit on your body and brain constantly.
You're smart. It's worth it. The shit's goign to get old fast and
suddenly. And you could also die or worse, just get dull, listless and
Of course, you're an adult. But I'm an adult too and I'm better than
(and another message for Doug)
by the way, good luck with the quiting. I don't know if you've done it
before but it makes you feel insanely better.
I smoked steadily from 9 years old till about 27. Then i quit but in
stressful times I still have one. These days, while working on this
series, I'm smoking almost one a day which has to stop.
I know I sound like Jim Fix here, but the fact is I have backslides
that would make (metaphore) look like (metaphore).
I concur that poor health leads to sloth and effects your creativity.
Repeating any behavior continually will effect your writing as it gives
you nothing new to say.
I do drugs, yes I do but I only do them socially. Its the fact that I
talk openly about it that gives the impression that there is a
frequency. I've probably done mushrooms 6 times this year, acid once
(poor quality), coke maybe 5 or 6 times, and about three xanax a week
to sleep. I dont smoke pot.
So smokes and drink are about my only habits and the cigarettes
certainly need to go.
I started drinking and smoking the night before Thanksgiving in 1980.
So this year on my 25th anniversary I plan on doing a 30 full rehab of
nicotine, alocohol, caffiene as well as good food and exercise. Just
for the fun of not having fun. I hope to keep the smokes out completely
I'm tired of always being tired.
Thanks for your words.