That Time I Painted Greg Proops Imaginary Cat
If you don't know who Greg Proops is you will probably recognize him from various TV gigs, most notably his long standing appearances on "Who's Line is it Anyway". He also has a pretty amazing pod-cast called "The Smartest Man in the World", something I luckily stumbled upon. I instantly felt like I found "my" podcast, and happily caught up on past episodes as I was painting a few murals around town. As luck would have it I was living in LA at the time and he would routinely record live shows at the comic book shop "Nerdmelt".
I hopped on the subway, walked a bit and was soon sitting in a less than comfortable metal chair facing a small stage in a dark, warm room, among 20-30 people, with a well dressed Proops ranting for an hour fueled by vodka, weed and a healthy mistrust of the elite.
It was terrific and eye opening to me. Here was a man who had dedicated a lifetime to pursue comedy and became himself in the process. A comedian who has crafted a distinct style with a polarizing point of view that was off the mainstream. He wasn't playing the crowd, he played himself and he and the crowd eventually found each other. It was possibly the most authentically honest performance by an artist I had ever seen, particularly in person. (To be fair I don't get out much)
I wanted to say thank you, but in my own way.
His show includes a small cut out cat named Kittens McTavish that sits on the table. Occasionally Proops uses Kittens as some sort of foil for any old random subject matter and Kittens chimes in with a sarcastic falsetto voice, pointing out how Greg is wrong and really the only thing that matters is whatever benefits Kittens the most. So I painted a portrait of Kittens, including many accoutrements related to common themes in the show. I was pretty happy with the result.
But then, I had to give it to him, which I really wasn't sure I would actually do. I felt certain it would be received as eternally creepy. "Here stranger, I painted your pretend cat co-host on a wood panel, I hope you like it and by extension like me as well. Let's be forever friends...where did you go?"
But with some coaxing of friends I basically said, fuck it, and brought it to the next LA show. I handed it to him and sat down. It all went very well, he really appreciated it and even plugged my work on his podcast.
I don't really know why I've blogged about this, other than to hopefully expose his podcast to a few more people and to point out that there really are personally connected artists/performers/entertainers in the world.
Go find the people who are putting themselves out there that are like minded, interesting, different and support them. They need you, and frankly you need them too. Mainstream entertainment is risk free bland bullshit, but you'll never know that until you experience something else.
Listen to the episode that the painting was on, who knows, maybe you'll even dig the podcast.