Thursday, January 20, 2011


called “Why I Now Hate Christmas” or “How I spent two days in captivcity at my aunt’s house…as told through a series of Facebook updates.

11:08 a.m. Dec. 24 “Going to a Christmas party at the Nakitomi Building tonight. Should be a low-key affair.”

11:10 a.m. Dec. 24 “Just kidding. That was a ‘Die Hard’ reference. I’m not REALLY going to be held hostage by a team of German terrorists. I’m just going to my aunt’s house in Sherman Oaks. Of course, it’s hard to tell the difference.”

11:15 a.m. Dec. 24 “You guys keep asking ‘what’s so bad about visiting my aunt for Christmas? Have you seen ‘The Devil Wears Prada’? It’s like a reality show about her life. And yes, she’s the Meryl Streep devil lady. NOT Anne Hathaway.”

3:35 p.m. Dec. 24 “My aunt’s best friend Luisa just picked me up to go to the Christmas dinner. I use best friend lightly. She’s hated my aunt too for at least 20 years, but she’s almost 80, lives alone and knows that my aunt makes a good dinner. So away we go!”

4:20 p.m. Dec. 24 “We pull up at my aunt’s. I’ve just spent 45 minutes serving as Luisa’s therapist as she gave me her annual update of my aunt’s horrible behavior. I’m now filled with the Christmas spirit!”

4:28 p.m. Dec. 24 “Eight minutes in, and my aunt has already given us air kisses and managed to insult our outfits at the same time. She’s also just informed everybody that she’s wearing an $1800 dress. Apparently, this left nothing for the catering budget. Her latest illegal housemaid, Rosa, is going crazy in the kitchen trying to finish a 20 pound duck.”

7:25 p.m. After secretly foraging for snacks during the interminable 3 hour wait, I find that I’m now too full of chocolate and nuts to leave any room for dinner. This is the one time of year that I actually regret doing this. But that duck can’t die in vain. So I prepare to stuff myself like a Roman nobleman.”

8:17 p.m. Dec. 24 “My aunt has managed to not only carve up the duck, but the pride and self-esteem of everyone in attendance. When exchanging Christmas wishes aloud around the table, she told me her wish for me this year is that I lose a hundred pounds.”

8:44 p.m. Dec. 24 “I remind myself of two lessons: Christmas builds character…Christmas builds character…Oh, and it’s not Christmas until the police get involved.”

9:48 p.m. Dec. 24 “I may hate being at my aunt’s, but man am I getting material. Just wait til you hear how I got duped into taking her, my mentally challenged other aunt, my 80 year old visiting Polish aunt and their Polish Scientologist assistant with me on my post-Christmas trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon. I think I finally have my HBO special.”

1:05 a.m. Dec. 25 “It’s actually Christmas Day now. Somehow everyone got drunk enough to ignore my aunt, but too drunk to drive home. Suddenly it’s me and six elderly relatives, fighting for couch space in a geriatric slumber party.

1:10 a.m. Dec. 25 “Since I’m under 70, I’m on the floor. Hard wood. Oh and we’re out of blankets. My aunt insists I wear pajamas but I have brought none. (BEAT) Ironically.”

1:21 a.m. Dec. 25 “It’s a Christmas miracle: I fit into my dead uncle’s size medium Pajama pants so my aunt can stop bellyaching about my having brought shorts to sleep in!”
(To which a friend replied, “I’m with your aunt on this one. I wouldn’t want to see your balls either on Christmas morning.”

8:49 a.m. Dec. 25 “Whoever came up with the idea of bringing us some figgy pudding should be shot. That and the reindeer sausage. At least that’s what I think the duck tasted like last night Now I’m sick. Run, run, Rudolph indeed – straight to the toilet.”

8:52 a.m. Dec. 25 “My dad just hung up on me after the family sang their annual offkey we wish you a merry Christmas. My wish would be to sleep another couple of hours WITHOUT hearing any bad singing.”

9:11 a.m. Dec. 25 “My Uncle Ted’s awake and offering this bit of Christmas logic: “Yeah, I got drunk again. But I didn’t piss the couch this year. That’s progress.”

9:13 a.m. Dec. 25 “They say never to give a dog chocolate. Well you can add eggnog to that list.Guess who’s cleaning up after Aunt Martha gave the dog a bowlful?

9:51 a.m. Dec. 25 “With so many extended family in one impossibly tight spot, I realize it may be easy to laugh at Kentucky for all the in-breeding, but I’ll tell you one thing: you save big-time on holiday travel when your entire family lives in the same compound.”

1010 a.m. Dec. 25 “Another favorite holiday ritual begins: leaving for Mass ten minutes after it started, guaranteeing we make the biggest scene of anyone there.”

10:22 a.m. Dec. 25 “We enter the church from the back rather than the more discreet side-door option, and proceed to make an unholy racket as six elderly women in heels and 2 uncles with canes clang and echo their way up the center aisle so my aunt can claim her royal perch in the front row. It ain’t a Mass until the priest scowls at ya.”

10:10 a.m. Dec. 25 “I guess you’re not supposed to announce loudly that you can tell better jokes than the priest. At least not in the middle of sermon.”

1:47 p.m. Dec. 25 “So after Mass we got taken for a walk. AKA the annual Christmas Death March – 5 miles roundtrip into the hills of Sherman Oaks. Highlight was my having to stop an obviously unneutered dog from sexually assaulting my aunt’s poodle.”

2:45 p.m. Dec. 25 “I’m turning philosophical amid my despair. Christmas: when you want to be with the ones you love. Just not for 2 days straight.”

2:51 p.m. Dec. 25 “I’ve tried to hide in front of the upstairs television. My aunt’s found me. Now she’s gone and ruined the TBS marathon of a Christmas story. She kept asking how they can show children the flagpole scene. I finally changed the channel before losing MY tongue.” I couldn’t hear anything anyway because her stupid dog Queenie will bark at the sound of a cricket outdoors.”

5:40 p.m. Dec. 25 “Apparently there IS a sound more horrifying than the incessant highpitched barking of my aunt’s dog Queenie: the banshee wail of the teething 1 year old the neighbor family just brought over for dinner. Make. It. Stop.”

7:43 p.m. “So everyone, I was radio silent for the past two hours because I fell asleep after watching the documentary Wes Anderson made about my family: The Royal Tenenbaums. But now I’ve been awakened by the neighbor’s 3 year old slapping me in the face. Let the fun resume!!!

8:03 p.m. Dec. 25 “I’m locked in the bathroom to protect my sanity. The two tots have commandeered the piano while their mommy sings carols offkey. Joy to the World indeed. If there’s anyone in the vicinity of Sherman Oaks who can help me break for it, contact me NOW.”

8:44 p.m. Dec. 25 “Awkward dinner update: That roast pig we spent 12 hours on has gotta go because our dinner guests are reformed Jews but the wife’s mother is Orthodox and only eats kosher. Anyone know where we can order kosher at 7:30 p.m. on Christmas in the middle of a driving rainstorm?”

9:33 p.m. Dec. 25 “And so we behold – a full 45 minutes later – a kosher pizza. Just like in the Nativity story!”

8:49 a.m. Dec. 26 “Finally escaped my aunt. Headed directly to the Arclight theater to see ‘True Grit’ so I can watch people shoot each other for two hours and get it out of my system. Tomorrow night I’ll continue my therapy by watching people get punched in the face in ‘The Fighter.’”

Sunday, June 13, 2010


So I haven't posted to "The Daily Koz" in 8 months (or is it 9). WTF, you say?! Well i can always try to pick up the pace again, to start a new day, and carry on forward boldly with my blathering about my daily experiences. and while killing off 7 hours of brutal pre-flight boredom in Boise (maybe i should have retitled this 'Boredom in Boise', but then read ahead and you'll see i had some good times).

Why am i here? It's not an existential question, though it should be. I am waiting to fly back to LA, having played Friday and Saturday night shows with my best friend Tim Joyce at the Bulls Head Pub there. We drove 14 hours from a gig Wed night in Oroville, CA - at a casino, yay! - and had to go through Cali, Nevada, Oregon and into Idaho in that time. I was jammed into the rental car way too tight and wound up pulling or rupturing a muscle, so i was limping thursday and friday, then the pain went away but my left calf got a mean rash late last night. so when i'm back in LA, my dear friend Willy (another Chicagoan -they're the best ain't they?!) is not only picking me up from LAX but driving me to the ER at Cedars Sinai and waiting out the checkup with me. I have had scary situations with my legs before, which will be documented by fall in my solo show on my decade of sleeplessness and hospitals,so i'm not taking chances this time and should be checking in at ER within 24 hours of seeing the rash. Hey, it's that or checking in Boise and finding out i miss my flight.

Boise was a beautiful city, way smaller than LA though we couldn't peg the population stats, and a lot of fun. The people at the shows were down to earth and laughed a lot, and i met the most awesome chick i've met in nearly a decade on Friday. Why does Boise have to be so damn far from LA?? I also got asked to dance by a blonde hottie after one show and had Basque food and Pop Rocks for the first time (Pop Rocks are made in Spain! Who knew?!). THen went to incredible Egyptian Theatre - a movie/vaudeville house that's cooler than HOllywood's Egyptian! - and snuck into the state capitol's senate chamber for a nap. Fo shizzle! Napped two more hours by the river in the middle of town. I felt like Huck Finn!

So it was another important reminder, after Alabama in February, that the real important things in life are not in show biz but rather in the heart of the country, where people put having families and homes first rather than chasing stardust. I still want badly to make it work out in La La Land, but now I have the extra incentive of busting my ass so i really can make an impact and have the means to take care of the big life picture and not just floating through happily but inconsequentially like a kid.

Follow me on my journey to that end. i'll really try to post regularly. Tomorrow's entry will feature the story behind my interview with the awesome John C. Reilly of "Stepbrothers" fame.

See ya.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

CELEBRITY JEOPARDY (not the game show!)


So I accidentally skipped a couple of days, but to do 3 posts in 5 days is still pretty damn good i must say.

It's been a pretty good week so far; I rocked my storytelling show Monday night bigger than any show EVER and had seven (7!) women give me their numbers or ask for mine. And if you've ever seen my picture, you know that that just doesn't happen to a guy like me. One of the gals already went out with me Tuesday, to a screening of "Where the Wild Things Are," and revealed just what she thought was the funniest line of my story.

"I loved the part about Scientology," she giggled.

"Why thank you!" I siad sheepishly.

"Because I'm a Scientologist!"

Gulp! Of COURSE she was. God and the universe could never let me have a simple perfectly good evening with a woman in which a national model (which she was) with a brain and personality (which she had) could simply be into me. According to everyone I've now told this story too (and I welcome all opinions here too), she's probably only chasing me down in order to convert me away from my anti-Scientology comments and to achieve a "win" by literally winning over a critic. At some point, they think that she's not going to be in the room, but rather a room of church officials - probably all men - will wind up confronting me in a classic bait and switch.

Yes, I AM George Costanza, for anyone  who's ever seen my Costanza wallet (I really need to take a closeup picture and feature it here but i'm too lazy right now). And that means for every good thing that happens,there HAS to ben an awful, corresponding twist. The reason why i was concerned about her being Scientologist went beyond my story Monday night. It's that I've written a couple of devastating articles about the Church as a reporter.

"So I guess you haven't Googled me, have you?" I asked. She asked why, and I said i better fess up rather than catch crap later or get her in trouble with the church if anyone found out about her being out with me. 

So I told her I wrote critical articles, and she handled it pretty well i must say. She claims that she never heard of a lot of the weird stuff people say about the church, and that you can pick and choose what you want to believe in it - for instance, she claims she never got into the church's teachings on evil space aliens. Instead, she focused on the life skills she learned and has managed to be a national model and write at least 5 produced screenplays that she also acted, produced or starred in - all while being under 30 years old.

"So something must be working for me," she said as she opened the door to her sleek white BMW convertible. Meanwhile, my bicycle awaited me upstairs.

But i'm gonna give it one more shot and see if she seems sincere or not. We're going out Friday. Kent the gay guy i know from the bus who used to want to hit on me (again, go figure - why?!) is warning me to stay away from her - but i figure he's a gay guy who had a crush on me in the past. So, fingers crossed, people!

I am about to paste over some stuff from my Facebook page. These are doozies. Let's just say i personally got yelled at by one of the most famous men in comedy yesterday, and it sparked a flashback to the time Samuel L. Jackson gave me that look of his that says he's about to kill you.

Forthwith, my explanations:

The first Facebook post about this...
I just had one of the most surreal moments of my journalism career, paling perhaps only to the time Samuel L Jackson gave me his death stare and asked "what do you MEAN?" about a question I gave him about race - I just interviewed John, and he yelled at me for giving him "The stupidest question I've ever heard!" He went all Basil Fawlty on me. It was AWESOME.

Then, my favorite response out of a few, from my friend since 1st grade (!) Jennifer Norton Weil:
Jennifer Norton Weil: You actually asked Samuel L. Jackson a race-related question? Wow. But about Cleese - maybe you should put that on your resume: "Asked John Cleese the stupidest question he'd ever heard in an interview." Cool!

Then, the explanations:

Carl Kozlowski: With Jackson, it was because he was plugging the movie "Lakeview Terrace," where he played a reverse-racist cop. He saw the character as a little more subtle and complex than being a racist. So he said "What do you MEAN by racist?" and stared at me with THAT STARE. The scariest stare in the history of movies (he's one of my favorite actors btw!). ... Read MoreThen i started babbling and apparently turning purple with fear and he laughed his "i'm about to shoot this mofo" laugh he has in movies while saying "Look who's colored now!" (I never said "colored" btw of course). As i kept saying "I mean...i mean...uhhh..." in total abject fear, he finally leaned forward with his bump me. And then leaned back laughing, "Man, I'm just fucking with you!" One of the weirdest yet greatest moments of my life.

Carl KozlowskiWith John, my boss asked me to ask him if he ever breaks into a silly walk anymore. John's reply (imagine him in full Basil Fawlty frustration): "No Silly Walks!. Why would I do that? Of all the questions I... Read More’ve ever been asked, that’s got to be the stupidest!” I stammered "I'm sorry." Thank God i told him it was my editor's idea to ask that, as Cleese then said "I’m having a go at your editor. I lead a very entertaining but not a highkey life seeking attention. When I was younger I used to do eccentric things to amuse myself. But not now. Good heavens!"

Another one of those things that makes my low-paying job seem priceless.

And then THIS came through my email yesterday:
 I just learned i made one of my favorite actors laugh at my show Monday night! From the producer of "Spark Stories": "Hey Carl, just wanted to let you know that you made Helen Hunt laugh. She was there Monday night, if you didn't ...notice, and I saw her laugh pretty hard during your piece. Not sure why or even if hers matters more than any laugh, but there ya go. Nice. Mark"
It's moments like that that make mee feel I'm finally on the right path with my comedy. :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


So this one'll be quick but i've committed to daily posting (the first one actually went up yesterday, not Sunday btw) so here goes..

Last night headlined the SPARK STories show at the Powerhouse Theater in Santa Monica - an 80 seater that  is always packed for the most eclectic story show in town, in the one real theatrical venue for stories. I've done it twice before, doing the story of how i joined a circus and also how baseball affected my entire life with my dad, but last night the theme was "Risk" and i did the story of how a fellow comic offered me a ride one night, only to tell me that he was in therapy for controlling his urge to kill strangers. It's a crazy story, but all true of course, and I got the craziest reaction of my LIFE for it. Afterwards, seven different women including a billboard model for a major national jeans company, came running up and asking me for my number or offering me theirs. That has never happened before to me. Ever. If this wasn't a sign of what I'm supposed to do with my life, what is?

Onward and upward - tonight it's a screening of "Where the Wild Things Are"!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Let me start off this first post in "The Daily Koz" by saying if you wanna know who I am, read the profile. Duh.
But what this particular blog will do is make sure (hopefully) that I finally build the discipline of being funny and/or thoughtful or both on a truly daily basis. "Snap Judgments and Bad Decisions" will still be my main place for posting new rants and essays, while "Wild World of Film" will be greatly expanded in coming days to reflect the crazy amount of film-related writing (reviews, profiles) I've been doing the last few months for Big Hollywood and Relevant Magazine.
"The Daily Koz" will feature a lot of my status updates from Facebook, which i usualy use to express comical or genuine outrage at the state of the world or my life. And there's a lot out there that pisses me off so this should be a fun ride. As I like to say, I live my life so you don't have to. On the other hand, this is where i'll recount the daily aspects of my epic struggle for success in Hollywood.

So here goes, let's have some fun, shall we?

It's been an eventful weekend. Friday night i went to the Laugh Factory to hang out and meet up with Frazer Smith. Now, Fraze is a legendary LA morning DJ who for no good reason has been off the air for several years now. He launched an awesome second career though as LA's (and maybe America's) premiere comedy-club MC. He does the Ice House (America's oldest comedy club) in Pasadena Thursday nights, the 10 p.m. Friday show at Laugh Factory, and other nights at the Comedy Store plus regular gigs in Vegas. He introduced me to everyone who's anyone in LA comedy and for that i'm eternally grateful.

But on Friday, i was kinda bummed, having overheard that one comic didn't show for 10 p.m. and the manager's running around going 'what do i do?!" while i and another comic, who's a headliner, are standing there like chopped liver being ignored. I'm "in" at the Factory but get one or two shows a month on weeknights only - as if I would suddenly implode and turn into the Anticomic if given an actual chance to shine in a weekend show that people gave a damn about.  But as I was bitching about why i get ignored like that, another star comic Jimmy Brogan - who's Jay Leno's best friend, opening act and former head "Tonight Show" writer - asked me a question that just might have changed my life: "Are you getting out to the club here every night or just about?"

Of course not, I said. i live in Pasadena and take buses to get around. it's 90 minutes each way so doing it more than Fridays would kill me. Then Jimmy said well i can be the best comic around but i'm fighting with one hand tied behind my back this way and no one's MAKING me stay in sadena. I needed to move into the center of LA and commute to work as a reporter, not the other way around, if I'm ever going to break through in a big way.

So, today, I did it. Made my mind up, at least, in a concrete way. I went with my sidekick Heather to a hilariously funky old restaurant called the HMS Bounty today, because that's how we roll: checking out wacky and weiird little parts of LA.The Bounty is famous for being around like 70 years and being an Old Hollywood hangout, but more than that it's designed to look like the inside of an old pirate ship - complete with portholes in the doorways, at least one skeleton statue dressed like a pirate, and a ton of weird old sea paintings and ship crests adorning the walls around our red-leather booths. I'd heard the wait staff was older than God, cute old men dressed in tuxes , but instead we had a normal young chick waitress. Nonetheless, the meal was fun and i thought that was that -

Until I had to go to the bathroom.

I was told there was no bathroom on the Bounty- which made me want to drop trou right in the middle of the floor and piss over the starboard side of the bar. I figured they'd understand 'cause that's how the pirates did it. But just in time, they informed me that the bathroom was outside the restaurant and through the lobby of a residential hotel next door.

That hotel was known as the Gaylord, and had a spectacular old lobby with dozens of black and white photos of movie stars who, the doorman informed me, used to have rooms there for their 'trysts' - the quaint way of describing 'get it on, bang a gong' quality sex. So i wound up asking the old guy if the place was renting, and he said yes and that it wasnt just a retirement home like i feared after seeing both him and a couple of elderly people seated on the plush lobby furniture looking like they were ready to be stuffed and mounted on the walls.

In fact, i could check out the place right then with a weekend manager. And so, voila, i did just that, seeing a cool giant one-room place that's on the 2nd floor, overlooking the gorgeous pool and courtyard out back with an awesome giant tree brushing up against the window from outside. Lemme tell you, when i learned it had its own bathroom (I've been living in a converted boarding house with a shared down-the-hall bathroom that terrifies women and serves as Chick Repellent for the past six years), I nearly plotzed. Don't worry, Yiddish-impaired; it didn't mean i took a dump (at least not then), it meant i wanted to get emotional.

So I filled out a card and tomorrow i call the regular manager and I might just be heading out by Dec. 1 for an exciting new place where I'll have a built-in hangout in the Bounty, just like Jerry and the gang had the diner in 'Seinfeld.' It's in the center of Wilshire, 20 minutes rather than 90 minutes from the comedy clubs and would allow me to get out every night and still make it home in time to go to bed like a normal human instead of riding buses home at 1 a.m. and suffering daily sleep deprivation. And there was a cute chick down the hall i already ran into twice. Good times ahead.

the pool of the Gaylord from way up in the sky

someone's apt at the Gaylord

So while all that was a pretty cool experience, I also had a blast this weekend on Saturday night when I got to go see BLINK-182 for free at the Hollywood Palladium! The Palladium is a classic Hollywood concert hall that fell into disrepair for years before being restored and opened about a year ago. Lemme tell ya, it was SWANK. And because this was a hookup from the Live Nation concert promoters in exchange for a rave on my radio show "Grand Theft Audio" next Thursday, i even had a table in the VIP section! It was sweet, even though we had to sit through a group called The Aquabats beforehand that were really annoying. But hey, they've got a theme and they're working it!

The Aquabats!

These guys' shtick consisted of running around while screaming loudly about girls and, well, girls - while also kicking and throwing beach balls and swimming pool floats into the audience. Again, they're onstage at the Palladium and i'm not, so kudos boys.

The real stars of the show, of course, were one of my all-time favorite bands, BLINK 182, and they delivered a powerful, blazing, fast-paced and funny set based around their greatest hits as they contemplate whether to return to the recording studio together or just milk the live thing for money. Either way, they're back with a vengeance and were awesomely entertaining

You know who - if you know how to read.

And now, i'll share with you some less-pleasant moments from my weekend. These are a series of texts I sent my absolute best friends/inner circle Lorena, Jake, Heather, and Tim.

"Help! I'm trapped on a bus to Venice sitting next to the biggest scariest drag queen ever. This isn't homophobia talking. He/she is fucking huge."

Then..."And sounds like Harvey Fierstein. And has a nasty forehead tattoo. I mean, come on! It's not even 11 a.m.!"

Later..."Jesus, what r the odds?! Hr. long bus ride next to superfreak and now I get to storytelling show rehearsal and another performer is a transsexual talking abt his.."

"His big - no, not penis! Not anymore - His big operation!"

"Ah, the day continues splendidly! I was plopped on a sidewalk bench taking a nap when I awoke to find a bum sitting next to me grunting and eating spaghetti..."

"With his hands and asking me if I wanted some. Nope. I decided I was just fine."

That's the LA transit system, MTA, for you: MTA = Must Take Anyone."