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Episode 95

Good Impressions & Healing Comedy featuring Jim Meskimen and Cathy Ladman

Episode  95
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You know his face and many of his voices. Jim Meskimen is an actor, impressionist, voice-artist and improv comedian best known for his work on Whose Line Is It Anyway and Impress Me. Jim currently plays Colonel Sanders in the KFC commercials and George Washington crossing the Delaware Turnpike for Geiko. Jim is Hollywood born and raised by his dear Mom, Marion Ross from Happy Days! He joins us along with comedian Cathy Ladman who is addressing her relationship with food in her one woman production, Does This Show Make Me Look Fat.


More Path Links

Jim Meskimen

Jim on Youtube

Jim on IMDB
Jim Meskimen Art

Washington Crossing The Delaware Turnpike for Geiko

The Boys by Ron and Clint Howard

Marion Ross: Happy Days and Otherwise by Marion Ross

Tied Up In Knotts by Karen Knotts

Cathy Ladman - Does This Show Make Me Look Fat - Tickets

Ridley Road - PBS Masterpiece

Ridley Road by Jo Bloom 

Sheryl - Showtime

Gaslit
Gaslit Trailer

Slow Burn - Watergate 

History of Redlining Film from NPR

Transcript

Fritz Coleman  (00:00:05):

Welcome to Media Path. I'm Fritz Coleman


Louise Palanker (00:00:06):

And I'm Louise Palanker


Fritz Coleman  (00:00:08):

Our mantra here at Media Path is too much content, too little time. We try to forage through all of your entertainment choices and pick out some highlights in order to streamline your life. The highlight of our show is special guests, and this time we have for My Money, one of the greatest comic impressionists working. Jim Meskimen, a talented and entertaining person, an actor who comes from television royalty, and will surprise you with that later and will save that for a proper introduction. But first, Weezy, what do you have for us this week?


Louise Palanker (00:00:40):

So, uh, Fritz this week, you know, you and I both have buffalo roots and much love for that city. This weekend, Buffalo suffered an atrocity inspired by the hate poisoning, which would indoctrinate a lost teenager to believe that assassinating innocent shoppers will save the white race. The kid traveled for four hours to reach Buffalo. Rural races don't even know enough people of color to hate them. They hate themselves and shoot at others. This is not a new story. Throughout the ages, folks have been indoctrinated to blame their pain on those who are different crimes against humanity. Taint and shape are shared histories. Holocausts, ethnic cleansings, mass murders have never, will never correct. They will only corrode. Hate can never cure hate. Only love will do that. Our job as humans is to rise above hate. And one way we do that is by sharing stories.

(00:01:30):

One such effort is the latest from P B s Masterpiece, and it's called Ridley Road. It's London in the summer of 1962, not even 20 years after the horrors of the Holocaust. And London is popping with new music, hip fashions, and a hot happening hedonistic spirit. But it's baffling that one generation after defeating the Nazis and rising from the rubble. London is seething with anti-Semitic violence, incited by homegrown neo-Nazis. Ridley Road is a four episode drama based on Joe Bloom's acclaimed novel and inspired by true events. Agnes O'Casey plays Vivian Epstein, a young Jewish hairdresser whose passion for her mysterious boyfriend evolves into an urgency to join him in his efforts to infiltrate Britain's terrifyingly militant neo-Nazi hierarchy. Tom very plays Vivian's true love Jack and Rory Kiner is Colin Jordan, the real life leader of Britain's post-war Nazi movement. What can each one of us do when hate spills into violence? We can vote and campaign for candidates who insist on better mental health and gun safety policies, and we can tell the stories of good people pushing back, reclaiming their rights and loving one another. Ridley Road is on p b s.


Fritz Coleman  (00:02:41):

How many episodes have they aired vet so far? I, I haven't found that, but I'm gonna look for it because we can go to Amazon Prime and get the past broadcast of pbs, right?


Louise Palanker (00:02:50):

Yes, absolutely. You can find all of it. And this is just ex extraordinary exceptional television. So well done. And it absolutely, so, so, uh, pertinent.


Fritz Coleman  (00:02:58):

I, I'll tell you, uh, uh, the whole heart-wrenching aspect of the Buffalo coverage mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and that is the diversity not in race, but in background of the people killed. And these were lovely church-going, uh, people making a difference in Buffalo. It really was so sad to hear the biographical information about all these people that have been broadcasting CNN and msnbc. It's just awful. And I, I don't wanna get into a big political diatribe here I am a person who believes the second amendment is the rope. We need to hang ourselves. Something has to be changed. It's an antiquated pre 1800 rule made by men with single shot muskets. That makes absolutely no sense at all.


Louise Palanker (00:03:48):

I think we should just go throughout the country door by door and saying, please give me your assault rifle and I will issue you your musket. That seems like a fair exchange, and if you wanna be constitutional about it, but, you know, Buffalo is a very redlined city. And by that I mean they built, um, expressway that surround the, the black neighborhood. And so those people, not only did they have expressway coming, coming right through, like their main drags, cutting off their ability to have a thriving infrastructure, but now they're trapped there in ways that are dangerous to them, including the, the high concentration of people of color if you're interested in perpetrating a hate crime. So it


Fritz Coleman  (00:04:29):

It, there was a movie made in Buffalo called Redline, and it was about, it was a, it was a fictional, uh, story created on the exact circumstance you're talking about, which is black people being rejected subliminally for loans to buy houses, which is the way they controlled the ethnic makeup of neighborhoods there. And it was really interesting. It probably would be really valuable to see that movie. Now, I don't know who made it, it was a, it was a low budget production, but I remember going to a screening at Shay's Buffalo Theater to see that thing. And, uh, it would make sense to see it


Louise Palanker (00:05:03):

Now. Yeah, I would like to learn more about that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, so what have you brought to us? Alright.


Fritz Coleman  (00:05:07):

Well, I, I am a huge fan of music documentaries, even if I'm not a huge fan of the person in the documentary. I like the process. It's fascinating to me. However, I am a huge fan of Cheryll Crowe. Cheryl dropped on Showtime last week and it's really worth your time. It looks at her rise from a backup singer to a full on global concert headliner. It shows her humanity that allows her to turn the darknesses of her life into rich rock and roll. There is only a short list of women who have reached the pinnacle of rock and roll stardom. I think a comparable person would be Linda Ronstadt, maybe not quite on that level, but, uh, women who had that sort of cache around the world. The story goes into her romance with Lance Armstrong. During all the revelations about his career, it goes into a very public battle with breast cancer.

(00:05:56):

There's great commentary by one of her closest friends, Laura Dern, along with Keith, uh, Keith Richards, Joe Walsh, Emmy Lou Harrison, and Brandy Carlisle. I've seen Cheryl in concert twice, once she opened for James Taylor, and the other time she opened for the Eagles during their, hell freezes over tour her at the Rose Bowl. And it occurred to me at the Rose Bowl, just like the Eagles are, the quintessential California music sound, Cheryl Crow's music fits right in there from every day as a winding road to first cut is the deepest. If it makes you happy and one of the great Southern California sing loud while driving songs. All I want to do, Cheryl, is at the Hollywood Bowl with Ke Mo on Wednesday, August 3rd. I have not been compensated for this plug


Louise Palanker (00:06:46):

<laugh>. That is awesome. And I remember when our friend, uh, Steve mentioned this cuz he had gone to Austin, uh, south by Southwest, and, uh, he had seen the Cheryl,


Fritz Coleman  (00:06:56):

Uh, great


Louise Palanker (00:06:57):

Cheryl. Yeah. So that's a great pick. My next pick is especially relevant, um, based on today's guest because our own Jim Meskimen plays Florida Senator and Nixon supporting Senate Watergate Committee member Ed Gurney. What? Yes. In gas lit. So Gaslit is a miniseries on stars, that's stars with a Z based on the first season of the podcast. Slow Burn. It breaks down fascinating and little known Watergate details such as the story of Martha Mitchell do not become distracted by the gas lit casting, which features Julie Roberts as Martha Mitchell and Sean Penn as John Mitchell. If you are not as equally obsessed with Watergate, Laura, as am I, you'll watch the whole thing, call me up and say it was good. But I never saw Sean Penn. You did. He played Attorney General slash Nixon campaign chair slash felon John Mitchell, and he's in there somewhere underneath all of that fantastic makeup.

(00:07:49):

Gaslit assumes you already know your Watergate basics, and it gets right into the peculiar personalities who populate the scandal. It turns out Nixon's inner circles were teaming with comically inept and corrupt morons and maniacs, such as Howard Hunt, James McCord, and g Gordon Liddy. Of course, it's funny when it's history, but I think we know that the energy currently fueling Republican politics is more toxic by multitudes. It's like the horror movie where the monster spawn regenerates with increasingly toxic virulence. Martha Mitchell was the Attorney General's wife nicknamed the Mouth of the South. She was a blunt and colorful figure who appeared on talk shows spilling delicious dish about her political society associates. Naturally, when Watergate exploded, her husband needed to keep her silent, which he did by putting her under abusive house arrest, to which she responded by going full whistleblower. But was Martha too wacky to be believed? That's how the right chose to spin it. As Martha pulled the pin on a grenade that brought down her personal life and a presidency. It's so good and important power attracts maniacs. We need to be careful. You can watch Gaslit featuring Jim Skein on Stars.


Fritz Coleman  (00:08:59):

Well, I am obsessed with Watergate. Me too. Because it was like the pivotal political drama of my life. Oh


Louise Palanker (00:09:05):

Yeah. I mean, when I was a kid, I was like a flag waving conservative, loving history buff. And then I came home from school every day and watched Watergate


Fritz Coleman  (00:09:15):

When Nixon resigned, my parents who you know are died in the world, Republicans, when Nixon resigned, my mother said, I will never read another newspaper in my life. And she never did. Now she watched Fox News a hell of a lot, but didn't read any more newspapers after that. It was an interesting time.


Louise Palanker (00:09:34):

So did she feel, did she blame the newspapers for bringing down Nixon? Yeah.


Fritz Coleman  (00:09:37):

She blamed the media. She thought that the whole thing was a conspiracy. Oh my goodness. Yeah. You know, it's the same thing you have today where there's no sense to be taught to people who refuse to have it. Well,


Louise Palanker (00:09:46):

But I I'm telling you that my reaction to Watergate was going, oh wow. Politicians can be bad guys like that. I just opened my eyes. Whereas your mom was like, I'm not gonna look anymore.


Fritz Coleman  (00:09:56):

I worked at an all night, uh, shift at a radio station from midnight to six, and then I would get off and I would go to the men's clothing store where I used to work at about eight in the morning and wait for the Taylor to open up. And then I would go sit in the back of the men's clothing store and watch the Watergate hearings until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore. And then I would go home and sleep. It was, it, it was, it consumed my life at the time. I just couldn't believe it. Right.


Louise Palanker (00:10:21):

I just, yeah. For me, it was just really important for us to learn, like with this medium of television, for us to be educated as to what could go wrong if we're attempting to keep this republic that Benjamin Franklin handed to us. So


Fritz Coleman  (00:10:35):

Imagine if we were going through all the ramification of the world today, having not had the Watergate experience and knowing that politics can be dark, but we can recover from it emotionally. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if we didn't know that, we'd be even more scared now that we No, are


Louise Palanker (00:10:50):

You are. Right. Does it? That is a very good point. Let's introduce our guests.


Fritz Coleman  (00:10:53):

Okay. Our guest is Jim Meskimen. He is a wonderful actor, comedian, and impressionist who's best known for his voiceover work in video games. He appeared as we, he said, in ghastly Brooklyn 99 American Auto Bad Detective. His YouTube videos are wonderful, and we have to mention he is the son of one of our favorite people. Marion Ross, Mrs. C from Happy Days. Jim, welcome. We're so happy to have a chance to talk to you.


Jim Meskimen (00:11:18):

Hey, thank you. Uh, I was so nice to have that nice thing in common that we both love my mom.


Fritz Coleman  (00:11:22):

There we go. She, she's astonishing.


Louise Palanker (00:11:24):

I bet you have that in common with many folks who ask


Jim Meskimen (00:11:27):

You. I I share her with many people.


Louise Palanker (00:11:29):

And, and there must have been a lot of people that have said to you like, gee, I wish Mary and Ross was my mom. And are you silently thinking, no, you don't, or


Jim Meskimen (00:11:36):

No, actually no, actually, what people say is you, your mom raised me. Aw. So they, they feel like she was their mom. And, and, and Marion Cunningham was definitely as much their mom as mine because my mom, Marion Ross was very different from Marion Cunningham. Uh, we had Henry this


Fritz Coleman  (00:11:53):

Wonderful, Henry Winkler was our guest last week and said that she was one of the most mentoring and iconic figures in his career and his life in general. He works with, we


Jim Meskimen (00:12:03):

Have a beautiful relationship. They've had a really wonderful friendship all these years. And it's,


Fritz Coleman  (00:12:07):

Uh, I I just wanna say one thing about, you know, being a standup and I, I always look for the humor and everything. What I love about your performances is the jokes you do, in addition to the impressions, they could actually, the material could stand alone even without the impressions. It's smart and funny. You have brilliant lines that put the character in the context. The greatest example I heard in watching all your YouTube videos is Kevin Spacey, where you're trying to teach people how to do a Kevin Spacey impersonation and you say, let the bottom part of your face relax and then suck the sympathy out of your soul. <laugh>. That's brilliant.


Jim Meskimen (00:12:46):

Yes. That was, that was long before his debacle and his, his, uh, his topple from fame No,


Fritz Coleman  (00:12:52):

But as an actor in the character, we knew him as it was just a great description of


Jim Meskimen (00:12:55):

This. Yeah. Thank you. Well, I appreciate it. Yeah. It's, uh, sorry, Shain Freud there for, uh, for old, uh, Kevin, but, uh, who, who my wife and, and I grew up with Kevin Spacey, not far away. She did plays with him and I, I saw him in plays in high school, so, oh. I've known him a, a good long time. And, uh, one of the last, one of the last films he ever made, which will probably never be finished, was about Gore Vial, a movie called Gore. And I played Johnny Carson Oh, wow. Film. Wow. Uh, but as I say, it'll never see the light of day, but, um, anyway, but, uh, onto brighter topics, <laugh>.


Louise Palanker (00:13:28):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess that's one of the casualties of finding out the truth about someone is sometimes it can destroy not just their career, but peripherally, whoever was working with them. Yeah.


Jim Meskimen (00:13:38):

It can, it can take out three or four minutes of your comedy routine. Right. Like that. Boom.


Louise Palanker (00:13:42):

Wow. So what, when you're kind of like capturing a voice mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, is there, is there a secret to it? Or is it just a talent that you've had since you were a little kid and then you've done trying to explain to us how you do it when it cer just comes naturally to you?


Jim Meskimen (00:13:59):

Well, a certain degree of it does come naturally because I've always been interested in it and partly was growing up with Marion. Marion, my mom was, uh, uh, just a wonderful mom. And she would call my attention to people's accents and the way that people behaved. And, and we sort of played with copying people just for our own amusement, which is how most impressionists do it. They do it because it's fun and funny, not because they think they're gonna make a fortune at it, you know, when they're kids. And, uh, I never really had a, a goal to be Rich little, although I really love Rich Little and, and was so impressed as we all were with his capacious talents. But I just, I just enjoyed playing around. And, um, uh, so there's no secret other than, you know, it's kind of like music. You, you listen and you develop your ear, and you, if you're, I imagine if you've ever played a musical instrument, sometimes you have to work at these chord changes and, and it takes some practice. And the people that aren't that interested in that dedicated never really get the hang of it. So you're


Louise Palanker (00:14:55):

Supposed to change chords. You're supposed to change chords, <laugh>, because that's an


Jim Meskimen (00:14:59):

Important note. Optim, every now and then, you should change a chord. I don't know a lot about


Fritz Coleman  (00:15:03):

Some, but you That's a great point. But you do change chords. And one of the things that makes you different and interesting is Rich Little would do an impression of say, Jack Nicholson. And that would be good, and it would laugh, and you'd have a one line joke in there, but you do a thing where your impression morphs over time. So you'll do, uh, a young Jack Nicholson evolving into an old Jack Nicholson. Why don't you give us a little taste of that, if you


Jim Meskimen (00:15:26):

Don't mind? Well, yeah. So young Jack Nicholson, when we first meet him is, uh, you know, he is kind of young physicality. So he's, uh, a little more t a little more bright, a little more snappy. And then we meet him later on, he gets a little more established. He's got a couple Oscars under his belt, <laugh> that can't be comfortable


Louise Palanker (00:15:47):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:15:49):

Now, when you see Jack, if you, if you're lucky enough to see Jack, he's, uh, well, he is more of a senior statesman.


Louise Palanker (00:15:57):

<laugh> <laugh>


Jim Meskimen (00:15:58):

Not load out. You know,


Louise Palanker (00:16:00):

That's kind of like Martin Short doing the various notes of Jerry Lewis, you know, eating a lozenge, Jing <laugh>. It's


Jim Meskimen (00:16:08):

Like, yeah, well, that's the thing. I mean, these great personalities that we see, and these great artists that we revere, they don't just stay the same, right? Uh, they not only get older, but they change their character. They change, like we all do, you know, we, we don't notice that we change too. But, um, with celebrities you can, you can easily see it's documented on YouTube and other things that you can see how a young you these days, I love because I study YouTube all the time to learn characters and to study voices. And you can watch a famous person who's 80 now, and you can see them when they're 19 or 20 being interviewed and all these different states in their career. And I mean, we've never really had that before where you can get a really contain a person's whole existence as an artist and, and watch it and learn from it. It's extraordinary.


Louise Palanker (00:16:57):

Right? The, the availability of this content that enriches and informs us is, is changing the way our brains are wired, I think. Do you notice that with your kids that grew up kind of native to having this accessible to them, that they're learning exponentially more quickly than we did when we had to go to the library and order a book and wait a month for it to arrive?


Jim Meskimen (00:17:19):

Uh, I suppose so. My daughter's in her thirties now, so


Fritz Coleman  (00:17:23):

<laugh>


Jim Meskimen (00:17:23):

Well, not the best person to ask about that. <laugh>,


Fritz Coleman  (00:17:25):

You, you do another thing, which is again, makes you separate and above other impressionists in my opinion. And that is, you, you have a great skill for pointing out the similarities in various people's voices. You do. I, I hope you'll do this for me right now, just for my own personal aggrandizement, <laugh>, Tommy Lee Jones, Dr. Phil, and Al Gore.


Jim Meskimen (00:17:48):

Oh, okay. So well, uh, see now Al Gore and Tom Tommy Lee Jones, were roommates in college. Did you know that


Fritz Coleman  (00:17:54):

At Harvard? I did


Jim Meskimen (00:17:55):

Know that. At Harvard, yeah. So you can imagine, you know, uh, uh, Al Gore being perturbed by Tommy Lee Jones <laugh> and say, Al, listen, Tommy <laugh>, I have to talk to you because you have leaving. Uh, you, you're not wearing your shoes. You come in, you're tracking all kinds of mud in your bare feet. You are leaving a carbon footprint, <laugh>. That's very amusing. But, uh, if you expect I'm gonna change my habits just because you're irritated, you're wrong. <laugh>. And Dr. Phil could come in and got a similar voice, <laugh>, maybe a little deeper, but, and with a totally different emphasis. And he uses his shoulders a lot more when you talk <laugh>. Guys, let's just take your separate corners. <laugh>. It's wonderful. It's a old routine. I don't remember


Fritz Coleman  (00:18:43):

All the No, it's okay. It's wonderful. It's YouTube


Louise Palanker (00:18:46):

Too. So do you kind of like categorize your impressions around like people who you, you notice they sound similar before you start trying to do them, or you notice they start to sound familiar as you tr as you hear your voice doing their voice?


Jim Meskimen (00:19:03):

Yeah, I mean, it's all fair, right? It's an art form. So for me, I, I go with my affinity for the character very much. You know, I, I'm interested in people that I'm attracted to, like, you know, we all love Robin Williams. And I developed a Robin Williams impression quite early on <laugh>. And he is got this marvelous kind of, you know, rapidity with which he expresses his ideas so he can get in and out. He's sort of like a smash and grab burglar <laugh>, but also his, he is capable of great tenderness and great sincerity. And, uh, when he slows down, it's, I think in some ways even more moving.


Louise Palanker (00:19:32):

But do you notice that, you know, I know you've, you've noticed this because you're filming yourself, putting yourself on YouTube, but like, your face takes on their mannerisms. Like your face takes on their emotions. Like, you, you're really becoming this


Jim Meskimen (00:19:44):

Thank you. It's all a piece, you know? Uh, that's what acting is. Acting is taking on the viewpoint of another character. And, uh, I I it's very hard to do, uh, characters without becoming them fully. Like, if I just try to do the voice, uh, it's, uh, I don't know, it's harder to reach if you just kind of sort of become like Patrick Stewart sort of instantly become that person, <laugh>. And, uh, it changes everything the way that you move your hands and your eyebrows. Of course. And, um, I, I wouldn't know how to isolate the physicality from the auditability if you'll <laugh>.


Louise Palanker (00:20:15):

Wow, that's really, really cool.


Fritz Coleman  (00:20:17):

Well, you know, uh, Kevin Pollock, who, who's a friend who I did stand up with,


Jim Meskimen (00:20:23):

I know Kevin Yeah.


Fritz Coleman  (00:20:24):

Is known for a couple of his killer top drawer impressions like Christopher and William Shatner. Yeah. Yeah. But what I love about yours is talk about Christopher Walk and talk about the quality of his voice. You have a great line about that, but I want to hear you say it


Jim Meskimen (00:20:41):

Well, I hope I remember the line that you are thinking


Fritz Coleman  (00:20:45):

Of. I'll do it for you, <laugh>. The, here's, here's your observation about how Christopher Walken uses his voice, where he ends up at the end of a sentence. He sounds like he's shooing away pigeons, <laugh>. It's just great


Louise Palanker (00:21:01):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:21:02):

I don't, I don't remember saying that, that nice wine, I'm, I'm gonna write that


Fritz Coleman  (00:21:06):

Down. Put it back in Your act was on


Jim Meskimen (00:21:09):

YouTube. That's a good one. It's a,


Fritz Coleman  (00:21:10):

It's right. That's a wonderful one.


Jim Meskimen (00:21:11):

I think the thing about Christopher Walkin and Kevin's Pollock is a fantastic Christopher Walker, is that he is unpredictable and we've all kind of gotten used to the kind of unpredictability that you expect from a walk in performance. Now, recently, I saw him on a talk show <laugh>, and I felt like, I felt like, you know, he's obviously been exposed to a lot of people doing his voice and is aware, but we're all out here <laugh>. He, he trying to do it, you know, and, and loving it. And I felt like he was trying, I felt like he was holding himself back. Like he was actually trying not to sound like Christopher Walken, which must be very tough if you're Christopher Walken


Louise Palanker (00:21:59):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:22:01):

I really did notice that. I thought, you know, he's holding back. Yeah. He's trying not to be peculiar <laugh>.


Louise Palanker (00:22:07):

I, yeah, I wonder if,


Jim Meskimen (00:22:08):

But I sure respect him as an actor. He's just always delicious.


Louise Palanker (00:22:12):

You know? I mean, I guess if a lot of people are doing impressions of you, it's hard to not get self-conscious about how you sound. What's


Jim Meskimen (00:22:18):

That like? Yeah. I mean, I can't, you know, I'm, I, I'm a perpetrator, but you know what? I can't imagine what it's like to be, uh, I mean, you had to have to embrace it. You'd have to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger say, of course, everyone who, why wouldn't they imitate me? <laugh> <laugh>, you know, I'm fantastic. Uh, is the governor of California, uh, you know, I'm wonderful. So you just have to make your peace with it, I guess, and, and, and know that it's, it is an expression of respect and admiration.


Louise Palanker (00:22:45):

How many presidents can you do?


Jim Meskimen (00:22:47):

Oh, a bunch of them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> all the way


Fritz Coleman  (00:22:49):

Tomore. That's right. <laugh>


Jim Meskimen (00:22:52):

Miller film. Yeah. My Miller Fillmore is really pretty good. Pretty good. I think I'm probably the world's best <laugh>. Uh, I had to do, I've had to do them various times for, for film assignments and television things. And, uh, I did, uh, Harry Truman. Nobody really remembers what Harry Truman sounded like, but, uh, I did Harry Truman for George Clooney and his movie Monuments Men, where we had to have a conversation with Harry Truman. And he had an actor that looked like Harry Truman. And Harry Truman is actually quite a bit like Colonel Sanders, <laugh>


Fritz Coleman  (00:23:19):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:23:20):

And that's my, that's my really my day job. I do Colonel Sanders for the radio and TV co commercials. Oh my. Uh, which is a great, uh, great honor and a pleasure to do Harlan Sanders. I always love doing that. That's pretty good. That's been a real pleasure to do. Yeah. He's sort, he's sort of presidential in a lot of ways, you know, with that little string string tie.


Louise Palanker (00:23:37):

Yes. Yeah.


Fritz Coleman  (00:23:38):

You, you, you said, or it was in some of your bio stuff that you, like the dominant, uh, block of your career is, uh, doing voiceovers for games and stuff. Is that true?


Jim Meskimen (00:23:51):

Uh, I wouldn't say dominant, but I, I, I do a fair amount of games. Uh, I, I, I mostly, I've done commercials and, uh, and, you know, there's this whole niche of, of dialogue replacement for films and, and trailers mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I've done a ton of those. And most voice actors, I know my, my fellow impressionists, that's a big part of their business because, uh, you know, a, an actor like, like Colin Fir for example, uh, Colin Fir in 1917, uh, very fine film that he, they used his voice over quite a lot in the promotion of the marketing of the film. And, um, but they wanted to change the dialogue quite a lot from the movie to make it shorter, to fit into the, the trailer and make it more punchy, I suppose, <laugh>. And, um, so they would hire people like me to, uh, create that voice and, and to record that way. And there's a lot of that that goes on. That's wonderful. In trailers, you know, you'll hear, like, there'll be a scene where Robert De Niro says, I don't think this is gonna work out.


Louise Palanker (00:24:47):

<laugh> <laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:24:49):

And, and his original line in the movie might have been, I'm gonna be honest with you, <laugh>, I don't think this is gonna work out for two reasons. One


Fritz Coleman  (00:24:57):

<laugh>,


Jim Meskimen (00:24:57):

You know, and it's long and they wanna just kinda squish it. I think they're just intimidated. They don't want call Robert. They


Louise Palanker (00:25:03):

Don't wanna call him in.


Jim Meskimen (00:25:04):

That's, they don't want to call him.


Fritz Coleman  (00:25:05):

He's one of your big three Pacino walking in 10 Niro, right?


Jim Meskimen (00:25:09):

The big three. Yeah. This, the New York three. And, uh, Al Pacino, Al Al is fantastic. He is a force of nature,


Louise Palanker (00:25:19):

<laugh>


Jim Meskimen (00:25:21):

And walking across his, who he is, you know, basically a dancer who dances with his voice, <laugh>, but Robert De Niro is, is different. You know, his mouth is upside down. <laugh>


Fritz Coleman  (00:25:33):

<laugh>. So


Louise Palanker (00:25:35):

That's,


Jim Meskimen (00:25:35):

It's tough.


Louise Palanker (00:25:36):

It's tough. Now, when you, when you played George Washington crossing the Delaware, your mother said that she is the mother of the father of our countries, very proudly. But how do you That's right. You, how do you kind of nail George Washington? Like, how do you get down to his essence?


Jim Meskimen (00:25:52):

Oh, well, that's, that's fun because then we're creating, we're not copying anything. So, you know, we've all been exposed to imagery of George Washington, of which there are like, what, five paintings. I mean, it's not a lot <laugh>, it's, uh, you know, of, of contemporary to his life. So, so we have to use our imagination a hundred percent. Uh, we learned with Daniel Day Lewis that Lincoln had a rather high voice because of descriptions and the research they did. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> Washington, I dunno, I never read anything to describe what his voice was like, except they, you know, they obviously, we revere him a lot as a leader. So when I created my Washington, it was sort of a little bit capon over the top, like, I'm George Washington and we're crossing the Delaware Expressway movement, vote


Louise Palanker (00:26:31):

<laugh> <laugh>, the Delaware Expressway.


Jim Meskimen (00:26:34):

That's right. And, you know, it's a, it nobody knows. So, you know, the advertising people wisely chose me. So


Louise Palanker (00:26:39):

Of course, I often wonder if those guys maybe had a British lilt to their accent, because we have that.


Jim Meskimen (00:26:46):

Well, he would've, he, he was in the British Army,


Louise Palanker (00:26:48):

So he, yeah. Like we have that Atlantic accent that lingers through Katherine Hepburn and, and then sort of fades. But those people sounded kind of those fancy East Coast people sounded kind of British.


Jim Meskimen (00:26:59):

That's right. Those, they, uh, they had that mid-Atlantic accent there go sound just a slight bit British, but, uh, he is quite American too. Has that sort of 1940s sound <laugh>? That's sort of wonderful. Classy. Where is my Martin


Fritz Coleman  (00:27:11):

Connecticut Haw?


Louise Palanker (00:27:12):

Where is my Martin? Yeah. Uh, yeah, clench. Yeah, that's right. And FDR had that accent, but he was


Jim Meskimen (00:27:18):

Fdr. Exactly. Uh, he had a, a sort of a strange Hybridist coast accent. And of course, here f is always speaking loudly like this

(00:27:27):

It's Cause of the, uh, recording equipment at the time, the radio, et cetera, <laugh>. Well, have you heard a human being speak like this in real life? You'd think he was a cartoon character.


Louise Palanker (00:27:38):

That's awesome. You


Fritz Coleman  (00:27:39):

Talked about Rich Little. Who were some of your other influences when you were in your nascent period?


Jim Meskimen (00:27:44):

Oh gosh. Well, yeah, Frank, rich, Frank was on,


Fritz Coleman  (00:27:47):

Sorry, John Byner,


Jim Meskimen (00:27:49):

Uh, to some degree. Byner was really weird though. Huh. Uh, funny, but really out there, uh, rich Little. I appreciated his technique, uh, so much Now, as a kid, it was just magical. And I, I've, I've noticed that, you know, when you search through, uh, YouTube for Rich Little stuff, he has these wonderful, um, clips where he is in the presence of the person he's imitating. Like, like Jimmy Stewart, he was right there with Jimmy Stewart on the, on the Dias at the, some kind of Big George sla, celebrity Roast


Louise Palanker (00:28:20):

<laugh>. That's right.


Jim Meskimen (00:28:21):

And, you know, that's gotta be an advantage, I think,


Louise Palanker (00:28:24):

You know. Well, did that, has that ever happened to you, or you've encountered that, you know, just someone says, I heard you do me, and then you're put on the spot?


Jim Meskimen (00:28:31):

Well, you know, not in that, quite in that way, but I have, uh, I, I've sort of established policy not to do that, uh, because unless, I guess if it was for a goof, for a show, for an audience mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but in real life, I think it takes a toll and has a negative effect on the person you're imitating. And no matter how good you are, because anytime anybody says, oh, hey, I'll, I'm gonna do your voice now. Like, like Fritz, I'm gonna do your voice. Now there is a feeling of evaluation that comes along with it that's not Oh, that's very pleasant. It's not the effect I really want to create. Uh, however, I do, uh, Ron Howard's voice. Okay. Okay.

(00:29:07):

I've met Ron, of course, I work for him on, he's cast me in five films. And, uh, I, I have tremendous respect for Ron. And, uh, one time I got hired to do a, a voiceover for, uh, an event that was honoring Imagine Entertainment. And it was Ron Howard's monologue saying, we started to imagine Brian and I, blah, blah, blah in such and such a year, and we did these films and blah. And I turned to the guys I was working for, and I said, now is this event, is Ron gonna be at this event? And they said, oh, yeah, yeah, no, he's, he and Brian are being honored. I was like, well, isn't it kind of weird that I'm <laugh> I'm doing this voice? Can't you get Ron Howard to do this voice <laugh>? And, uh, I forget what their answer was. But, uh, quite a bit later I asked, I ran into Ron and I asked him, Hey, not for nothing, but, uh, were you at an event and, uh, they were honoring you and you heard this voice? And he went, oh, yeah, yeah, <laugh>. Yeah. I wondered about that


Louise Palanker (00:30:01):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:30:02):

I thought, I thought maybe I had a cold or


Louise Palanker (00:30:04):

Something. <laugh>. So, so he didn't know it was you?


Jim Meskimen (00:30:08):

No.


Louise Palanker (00:30:08):

Oh gosh.


Jim Meskimen (00:30:10):

So have I think a red flag went up, otherwise, I don't think he would've remembered it.


Louise Palanker (00:30:12):

But have you done more Ron Howard movies than Clint Howard?


Jim Meskimen (00:30:16):

Oh, no, no,


Louise Palanker (00:30:17):

No. He still has the lead


Jim Meskimen (00:30:18):

There. I believe he holds the record. Yeah. <laugh> <laugh>. And rightly so. Hey, I don't know if you've read, and this is, you know, I I should be plugging myself, I suppose, but this book, uh, the Boys Yeah. By Ron and Clint Howard, their wonderful autobiography is Sensational. Yeah,


Louise Palanker (00:30:32):

I've read that.


Jim Meskimen (00:30:33):

I just loved it. I thought it was just, I, you know, I thought I knew what the book was g gonna be about. Cause I know both those guys and I know about their history, but man, it's so much greater a story


Fritz Coleman  (00:30:42):

Than I used to see their dad ran Howard at Patty's restaurant sitting right at the corner. Yeah. And he was very patient with the general public would want to come up and talk to him. I never did. Right, right. But he'd just sit there and he bend over, you know, and well, they


Louise Palanker (00:30:53):

Grew up like a couple blocks from there, as you'll read in the book. And I love reading books that overlap one another in terms of, uh, the storytelling. So, Uhhuh <affirmative>, if you read, you read your mom's book, this is my recommendation, dear, dear listener. <laugh>, read, read Marian Ross's book, and then read, uh, Ron, how Ron and Clint Howard's book, and then read the book I'm reading now by Karen Knots, who's the daughter of Oh yeah. Don Knots. Yeah. Tied up in Knotz. Yeah. And, uh, it's just fun to see all the different perspectives of the same angle, which is like, you know, for me, a kid growing up in suburban Buffalo, it was like, what would it be like to be a kid growing up in Los Angeles? And, and you were right in the middle of it. And how did that feel for you, knowing that your mom went and did this cool thing and did that have a huge influence on, on your career choice?


Jim Meskimen (00:31:39):

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I was, uh, a cartoonist, illustrator, painter. I was on that track, and that's what was my first career. I worked for Hannah Bara, and then I worked for Ranken Bass in New York. And I, I did a lot of freelance work and I studied art in Spain and, and really was going down that path. But I, I, I did sort of get a taste of what it was like, uh, from watching and observing my mom's career. And I felt like, of course, attracted to the attention and, you know, the kind of exciting newness of it and the surprise of it all. And, and, uh, and, and it did change our, you know, our, our lifestyle, uh, a lot cuz you, to go from a single mom who was a struggling actress to being a woman on a a hit TV show, changes everything.


Louise Palanker (00:32:23):

And that happened right in the middle of your childhood, correct. Because your mom Well,


Jim Meskimen (00:32:26):

At really at the end. I mean, I was a, a young teen when it started, and then, uh, <laugh> by the time it was over, I guess I was about 20 or 21. So yeah. But I, I, I was, you know, it took me a while to get kind of, uh, make peace with the fact that I, I wanted to be an actor mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I had to kind of figure it out, you know? Uh, cuz I did put a lot, invest a lot of time in being a, an artist. And I still like to create art, but I like the social aspect much more of being a performer. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>.


Louise Palanker (00:32:55):

And it seemed like in reading your mom's book, that she was just heroically able to give you guys a real childhood, even in the face of what you, you didn't need to understand as a child what was going on in her, in her relationship with, with your dad. Correct.


Jim Meskimen (00:33:11):

Yeah. She, you know, she's a Midwest girl, uh, from Minnesota, Albert Lea, Minnesota. And, uh, you know, she did a really great job. I, you know, as a, as an now a married father of one child, <laugh> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And, and we worked our tails off. And my wife, you know, and I, we would just be knackered at the end of the day with one kid. Uh, I couldn't imagine really what she had to go through with me and Ellen, my sister. So, uh, I, my, my hats off to her. I treasure her so much.


Fritz Coleman  (00:33:41):

I I'm, I'm curious about your transition between careers. How old were you when you went from the art world to the performance world? And, and when, when did you realize that your passion for the performance overcame the passion for the art?


Jim Meskimen (00:33:54):

Well, it's interesting because it really was a problem for me. I was, I'd invested so much time and, and so much of my life and my interest, uh, in, in drawing, you know, I, I read Mad Magazine and I learned to kind of cartoon from that. And I was the school cartoonist, and I did the political cartoons for the, the, the high school paper. And, and, and I really thought I was going down that path, and I worked for Hannah Barrow one summer doing, you know, storyboards. And, and then, but inside of me was this interest in voices and characters and acting out. And many artists have that. I know many, uh, visual artists, cartoonists that are also good at voices and stuff like that. But, but I felt like I really needed to kind of choose one. You know, it was a bit of a Sophie's choice.

(00:34:36):

And I was, um, walking down the street in Madrid, Spain, where I was studying, I'd been studying art, and, uh, was kind of at this weird crossroads. And I was about 22, and I ran into the actor Harvey Kittel mm-hmm. <affirmative> on the streets of Madrid as I'm having this, you know, kind of crisis. And, you know, Harvey Cartel's terrific actor. He's, uh, he could be one of the big three in New York. He's so great. And, uh, I stopped him and talked to him on the street a little while, and he's, uh, he was very generous with his time. He told me he was doing, shooting a movie here, Madrid, blah, blah, blah. And after he left, my heart was just going crazy, you know? Yeah. And I had the presence of mind to kind of observe that and, and note that Uhhuh and I, and I had this epiphany, I realized, oh my God, you know, I've met the greatest painters in Spain. I I've met some amazing artists. I, my heart didn't go nuts like that. Wow. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Wow. So I immediately made plans to move to New York, and that's where I started my career.


Fritz Coleman  (00:35:36):

And where did you get to practice your impressionistic chops at first? Did you do comedy clubs in New York, or?


Jim Meskimen (00:35:42):

No, I, I'm not a standup and I didn't do comedy clubs, although that was the beginning of so much, uh, great comedy in New York in the eighties, early eighties. But I was in the improv world. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I did improv theater for 10 or more years. Uh, and, and that really was where I drilled, drilled, drilled quick changes. And, uh, we did this, uh, I was in a group called Interplay, and we did a bit where, uh, we'd get a, uh, a name of a famous, famous man in history, and then I would do a, we would do like a scene with another person, with a, a biopic of that person's life. And then we would change the leading man of that biopic. So it would be, you know, John Wayne as Stalin or whatever, you know, whoever the, the figure was. Okay. And I, which is not a, you know, the audience would call it out and I would change on a dime. And the fun got to be how quickly can I change viewpoint? Oh. And I found that you can change viewpoint very quickly, uh, less than a second. And, uh, and audiences love that. They love to see a guy change inter Sayan Macallan, for example. I mean, as long as we're here, <laugh>, why don't we demonstrate what I'm talking about? You see, or Sam Elliot, it doesn't take long. All you gotta do is make a decision, <laugh>, that's all a fade to calm, please, as they say.


Fritz Coleman  (00:36:57):

Oh. How often do you get to take out your act, for lack of a better term, and do one person shows or one person presentations? Because I know you're an actor primarily, and do all these other things, but do you get to take your show out and do it on large stages around,


Jim Meskimen (00:37:12):

I have in the past, and I, I intend to in the future. Right now. It's been a little while. And, uh, it hasn't quite opened up to that degree for me, where I'm, I'm getting booked a lot of places. Uh, and, and that's fine because I, as you said, I've been doing a lot of television and, uh, also I need to re rewrite everything. You know, we talked about Kevin Spacey. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, these, they're celebrities that mm-hmm. <affirmative> come and go. They mm-hmm. <affirmative> suddenly mean something different. Like, even Robin Williams, you know, right after he passed, it was like, I'm gonna retire this for now, because it doesn't mean what it used to mean. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, now it means something tragic with a little bit of passage of time. Now it's, it's a little more interesting to bring Robin back. And we still remember him as a person who thought outside the box and had big ideas and was creative. And we don't immediately, uh, recall the tragedy of it. So, so I gotta rewrite the show and then get it on its feet.


Louise Palanker (00:38:03):

Well, I wanna talk to


Jim Meskimen (00:38:04):

You. I'm working on it.


Louise Palanker (00:38:05):

I wanna talk to you a little bit, uh, before Kathy Ladman joins us. I wanna talk to you a little bit about, uh, gaslit, because I am obsessed with it. So you play Nixon supporting Senate Watergate Committee member, Senator Ed Gurney of Florida, who not long after Watergate, stepped down from office following his own indictment on influence peddling. You don't want to get caught influence peddling, uh, when, when you're playing a real life Wikipedia entry, how much of what you can learn about him enters your performance.


Jim Meskimen (00:38:32):

<laugh>. That's such a great insult. You Wikipedia, <laugh>, uh, well, I did my research on, on, on Mr. Gurney. Mostly I was looking for, uh, physicality and, and vocally mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, to see what kind of, again, and you mentioned he's from Florida, but he originally was from New York, so he had this kind of interesting hybrid, uh, accent that was not completely southern, but also had hints of, of the East Coast in it as well. So, very interesting, uh, uh, thing to try to duplicate. Uh, but I, I like to do, uh, people that are documented in his historical, it's, it's fun for me. And, uh, this project was, was delightful. It was directed by a guy named Matt Ross, who is an actor himself in his starred in films. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> also a terrific director. And, um, I really like working with him. And, and the first day you talking about, uh, not recognizing Sean Penn, I, uh, you know, I've worked with a lot of Oscar winners, actually.

(00:39:33):

I've worked for probably about 12 of them. And, uh, there's, you know, depending on who they are, you get, you get a little nervy, you know, I talked about my heart pounding with Harvey Kittel. I, I was like, God, I don't, I hope I can be cool around Sean Penn <laugh> Aw <laugh>. And, uh, he and I had a scene together. It was a wonderful scene on a, you'll see it in a week or two on a golf course. And, uh, I walked into the holding area in this country club where we were waiting, and, and there was nobody in there except for this fat bald guy, <laugh>, who came up to me and said, hi, I'm Sean


Louise Palanker (00:40:05):

<laugh>. I said, <laugh>,


Jim Meskimen (00:40:07):

If you say so, <laugh>, uh, the makeup is so, well, you've seen it. I mean, it's really astonishing. By the way, I know the guy that designed it, and I met him on the Grinch when he was a young makeup artist. His name is Kazuhiro. And he designed, uh, Gary Oldman's makeup for, uh, darkest Hour and won an Oscar for like


Louise Palanker (00:40:26):

Cow. That's right. Oh, wow. It's so good.


Jim Meskimen (00:40:28):

It's so good. And, and, and I watched it, you know, I was with John Penn in inside, outside for hours and hours and talking with him and sitting next to him and being real close. And man, you can't see a seam. It is just completely no


Fritz Coleman  (00:40:43):

Glue oozing in the heat of the lights. Nothing. That's


Louise Palanker (00:40:46):

Funny. No, he really, he, he's able to embody John Mitchell, who's a very familiar figure from my childhood, you know, watching Watergate play out. And if someone said to me, Hey, you know, how about Sean Penn for John Ette? You know, I would've, you know, continued laughing for a few days, and then I would've said, okay, well, how about, you know who you know, let's, all right, let's actually have this conversation. So how, how does that come to be where Sean Penn says, or someone says like, cuz it can't be like originally the filmmaker's idea, it had to have been Sean Penn's idea. Right. Because no one else would've suggested it Right.


Fritz Coleman  (00:41:24):

Box office appeal too.


Louise Palanker (00:41:26):

No, but it's like so crazy. Like, is there any other casting you can think of that's so not so off point where,


Fritz Coleman  (00:41:34):

Well, remember he played Harvey Milk and on paper that probably seemed weird too. He was wonderful as Harvey Milk.


Louise Palanker (00:41:42):

Yeah. But this is like Sean Penn is like a nice looking, youngish looking guy. And John Mitchell is a old fat bald guy. Like, that's, that's all I can say other than the acting. When he is in his makeup, he does become John Mitchell. And there is an endearing quality to him that Sean brings to him. He really does love his wife and yeah, he really is a person. He just got all caught up in this whole Nixon or nothing kind of.


Jim Meskimen (00:42:15):

Yeah. You'll see it more fanboy thing as in the, in the episodes that are gonna come, you'll see that tenderness and where their relationship began and everything. It's, it's, it's a great job. I mean, Julia was fantastic and, and Sean was fantastic and it's a very, uh, very unusual project. But I gotta give a lot of credit to Matt Ross, who, who directed all the episodes in this limited series series. He's, uh, very, very talented. We're gonna see big things from him.


Fritz Coleman  (00:42:38):

Tell us about your YouTube channel and where we can see your stuff and we are dying for a celebrity fortune cookie opening. Oh,


Jim Meskimen (00:42:44):

Well there's some, there's a thing called YouTube. Yeah. <laugh>. If you type in my name or Jim Preston is my handle that I go on with most social media, Instagram, TikTok. That's cute. Jim Impressions. Yeah. It's also the name of my one man show when I, when I have it up and running. Yeah. And every day, uh, if you subscribe, or even if you don't, I do a celebrity fortune cookie. I have a wheel of impressions. <laugh>, I spin the wheel. What have I got here? Marlon Brando. Okay. Marlon Brando. And then I take a celebrity, I took a cookie and, uh, pardon me because I'm gonna have to put on my spectacles. The writing, the type setting is so blasted small. Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.


Louise Palanker (00:43:28):

<laugh>


Fritz Coleman  (00:43:29):

<laugh>.


Jim Meskimen (00:43:30):

I thought when I first looked at this, I thought it said laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get fired.


Fritz Coleman  (00:43:36):

Oh, there you go. That's good too.


Jim Meskimen (00:43:38):

Another definition works either way. Let's do another one. Let's do that one's not hilarious, but let's get another one. And we got, we got Steve Martin. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Steve Martin, we'll be happy to read this little snippet. Uh, patience is one of the hardest virtues to master. Patience is one of the hardest virtues to master. It's true. I wish you could have got that, got that out in fewer words, <laugh>, but okay. Yeah. And one more here.


Louise Palanker (00:44:07):

Yeah. It's interesting


Jim Meskimen (00:44:08):

That magic number and we got, uh, slim Pickens. Okay. Oh, okay. Slim Pickens, I'm sure you remember the great Cowboy actor Slam Pickets. And let's see if I can make a head or tail of this one. Eat, drink, and be married for tomorrow. You may. Diet Isn't that charming <laugh> that that's what passes for a one-liner. In who? In, uh, in Wuhan


Louise Palanker (00:44:31):

<laugh>. Do your, do your fortunes have any lucky numbers on the back?


Jim Meskimen (00:44:35):

Oh yeah, they do. They all play because people wanna play the much attention to those maybe. Yeah. Lucky number you get, uh, yeah. Fifty five, thirty, forty one, fifty six, ten nine.


Fritz Coleman  (00:44:44):

No.


Jim Meskimen (00:44:46):

Oh,


Louise Palanker (00:44:46):

Oh, draft.


Fritz Coleman  (00:44:48):

Well, you're an enormously talented person. I was really looking forward to talking to you, enjoying all your YouTubes and you're, you, you're smart and YouTubes and


Jim Meskimen (00:44:55):

Funny. Thanks for watching my


Fritz Coleman  (00:44:56):

YouTubes YouTubes and, uh, get your YouTubes tied and,


Jim Meskimen (00:44:59):

Uh,


Fritz Coleman  (00:45:00):

<laugh>. You know, uh, uh, the thing about it is impressions don't always have to be funny. I learned that from Jim Carey watching him at the Comedy Store, and he was like 16 when he came down from Canada. Wow. He does a show-stopping impression of Henry Fonda doing a scene from on Golden Pond. There are no jokes. And you can hear a pin drop in that room for five, 10 minutes at a time. And then he does something with humor attached and it makes the humor explode even more. So it doesn't have to be funny every minute it still can be touching and


Jim Meskimen (00:45:31):

Agreed impress agree. Yeah. It's really just a tool in any actor's tool belt. You know, Kenneth Branna uses impressions all the time when he pa portrays famous people. And it's not for comedy, it's for the illusion of putting that person there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,


Louise Palanker (00:45:42):

Wow.


Fritz Coleman  (00:45:43):

Fun talking to you, sir. Continue success.


Louise Palanker (00:45:45):

I don't wanna say goodbye until Kathy comes, but I cuz I wanna ask you about the Big Door prize.


Jim Meskimen (00:45:50):

Thank you. The Big Door prizes, a show that I, uh, series, uh, that I am, uh, working on. Uh, and it is going to be coming out, I think in October on Apple. It stars Chris Odod, the wonderful Irish actor, Chris Odod, you might remember him from Bridesmaids. He's very charming, wonderful, talented guy, <laugh>. And, uh, it was done by, uh, produced by one of the creators of Shit's Creek. Uh, it's gonna be super fun and inventive and uh, and dry and, and delightful. I think it's coming out in the fall. We just finished shooting it. Uh, the big door prize, no door prize in it. It's about a fortune telling machine that suddenly appears in a small town, very high tech and purports to tell everybody their destiny. Ooh. And everybody in the small town gets just their wits wrapped around this, their panties and a bunch all about what their destinies should be. And, uh, I think it's gonna be a really charming show.


Louise Palanker (00:46:40):

And who do you play?


Jim Meskimen (00:46:42):

I'm not at li, I'm not at liberty to say. I


Louise Palanker (00:46:44):

See,


Jim Meskimen (00:46:44):

I see. Isn't that odd? But I'm not. Eventually I will be. We'll come back, I'll tell you. Alright. Or you can just watch the show. It'll be obvious.


Fritz Coleman  (00:46:51):

<laugh>. Thank you my friend. Great to talk to you.


Jim Meskimen (00:46:54):

Thank you so much. Take


Fritz Coleman  (00:46:55):

Jim. Having See you Jim.


Jim Meskimen (00:46:56):

I'll give my, I'll tell my mom hi for you.


Louise Palanker (00:46:58):

Please do. Yes. Say hi from us.


Fritz Coleman  (00:47:00):

The biggest smile in show business, Maryam


Louise Palanker (00:47:02):

Ross. Ah, she's so cute. Kathy


Fritz Coleman  (00:47:04):

Allman. Is Kathy here? Kathy?


Jim Meskimen (00:47:06):

Hi.


Louise Palanker (00:47:07):

Hi


Fritz Coleman  (00:47:09):

Folks. It's a double treat. One of the great standup comedians working along with being a writer and an actor. She's been on The Tonight Show, the Late Late Show Curb Your Enthusiasm. She wrote on King of Queens. She won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup in 1993. And she has a wonderful new one show called, does this show Make Me Look Fat? The title wins would be, the answer is no. It's June 3rd, fourth and fifth at the Pico Playhouse at thousand 58 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. If we have peak your interest, you can get www.tickettaylor.com">tickets@www.tickettaylor.com or you can go to her website, kathyladman.com for more information. So happy to see you. I'm excited for you. Great


Cathy Ladman (00:47:53):

To see you. You know, I'm in the desert right now, um, at my director's house. We're, we've been rehearsing since Saturday, and that's a portrait of her over there. So it looks, it's it. So, just so you know what, you're gonna be staring there.


Fritz Coleman  (00:48:05):

Well, I'm excited to tell people about this because you're a brilliant standup. You're a wonderful writer. I've always enjoyed your stuff so much, but this is not, th th this is about something. Yes. Uh, something that was a great deal of pain, but a great deal of growth in your life. Talk about it. Mm-hmm.


Cathy Ladman (00:48:19):

<affirmative>. Um, well, I became an anorexic, um, at about age 18, 18 or 19. And have, uh, really struggled with it in my, certainly through my twenties and into my thirties a bit. And then I found a way to deal with it, um, most, I mean, through therapy, um, and medication. And, and also a big deal of it was through over Readers Anonymous. And I cover all of this in the show. And while there's really no cure for this disease, there's a lot of hope. And that's something that I really want to, um, impart through this show.


Fritz Coleman  (00:49:06):

Well, I think a lot of people will benefit from what you say in not just that challenge, but other challenges, the challenges of addiction of all kinds. But I think our first exposure to eating disorders was Karen Carpenter. Right. When, when they put a face to anorexia and what that ended as tragically. And, and so how do you modify your behavior trying to come out of that disorder? What do you do? How do you change?


Cathy Ladman (00:49:30):

Well, I mean, a lot of times I have to, uh, what I've, what I've really come to is a place of acceptance. And, um, I na I may not like, I, I, you know, I see through distorted eyes. Um, I may not like what I see, but I accept what I see. Uh, and while I Oh no, my friend's dog is trying to get in here. Oh, okay. No fan. You can't come in here. No. All right. Hold on. Hold on. Lemme


Fritz Coleman  (00:50:01):

Him. Don't worry about it. No problem.


Cathy Ladman (00:50:02):

It's gonna be, I'm sorry. No, we can


Fritz Coleman  (00:50:03):

Get him. That's okay. I think, uh, I think people are gonna


Cathy Ladman (00:50:08):

Get up on the bed. Get up on the bed. Good boy. Good


Fritz Coleman  (00:50:11):

<laugh>. Good boy, man.


Cathy Ladman (00:50:13):

Okay. Sorry. Can we, can we see him? He's, he's big, he's like a Rottweiler, um, uh, lab mix, I think. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So what I was saying was that, um, it's about accepting yourself and it's modify, like where, whereas I used to, I used to really starve myself in the depths of my disease. I starve myself. Um, I existed on so little food, and then I had to get into the habit of eating food because I had to mm-hmm. <affirmative> and not denying my hunger. I was so used to denying my hunger. Wow. Uh, depriving myself.


Louise Palanker (00:50:53):

So it falls under the category of O C D, correct?


Cathy Ladman (00:50:58):

Um, I think so. Do, have you looked this up, Louise?


Louise Palanker (00:51:01):

No, I just, I know I struggle with some O C D things where you're constantly trying to convince yourself that, that you can't control everything. Yes. And that Yes. So what I So it, or just the repeated thought that you have to do a thing when you don't really have to do a thing. Right. Or the repeated thought that you have to, you have to be hungry when you don't really have to be hungry. But I just wanted to run this by you cuz tell me if I'm, if I'm, if I'm close or if I'm just, I've lost the mark entirely, but Okay. I give advice to kids and ha and have a column where I answer questions from teenagers that have an app or I answer questions from teenager. I've been doing it for many, many years and I have no degree or any kind of like, expertise in, uh, any kind of therapy or any kind of license.

(00:51:47):

But, you know, neither did Dear Abby. Right. So I'm, I'm simply answering their question. So am I close with this? Because when kids ask me, you know, when kids have eating disorders, as, as you know, many do. Yes. And I, I say picture that you're holding a baby in your arms and you're deciding, eh, I'm not gonna feed this baby. It, you, you don't get to not feed yourself that you are God's creature. Just like that baby in your arms is God's creature and you have to nourish her. That's just, sorry. You can, you can be obsessed about something else, but you have to nourish this child of the universe. You just have to, and cuz sometimes with my O C D I like being told you can't do that anymore. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm, I've got that. That's not your concern. Stop checking. Right. You know, it, everything's fine. I'll check. And I don't know. That works for me, but I don't know if it's, if it's the same if you're just told you have to eat <laugh> and we're not gonna discuss it.


Cathy Ladman (00:52:45):

Well, I mean, one of the things that Yes, I, I understand what you're saying. One of the things that, um, I've learned is particularly in 12 step program is that there are things that I, I can control and there are things that I can control mm-hmm. <affirmative> and most of the things in the world I cannot control. Right. I am powerless over them. And, and one of the things that I've come to terms with is that I'm really powerless over the way I intrinsically look. I mean, we all can, um, work at being in better shape. Yes. But you can't change your genes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I spent most of my life trying to make myself look like what I didn't look like.


Louise Palanker (00:53:30):

Oh.


Cathy Ladman (00:53:31):

And, you know, trying to force myself into this body, body type, whereas I just was not that body type mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So I didn't look good. I mean, I didn't look good as a thin, there are people who are naturally thin. I mean, I'm a thin person, but I was not, I'm not a skinny person. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I would venture to guess that most people are not skinny. I mean, when you look at the sizes, women's sizes, um, we never, when I was growing up, we never had size zero.


Louise Palanker (00:54:04):

Right.


Cathy Ladman (00:54:04):

It's double zero. Right. I


Louise Palanker (00:54:06):

Mean, it's a ridiculous standard and I love seeing people of all sizes mm-hmm. <affirmative> because I'm seeing healthy people mm-hmm. <affirmative> who are just coming in different sizes and, and acknowledging we, we come in different sizes.


Cathy Ladman (00:54:17):

Right, right. And, and back to your view, what you were saying about your O C D mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It does in a way, um, take the responsibility off of me when I realize that I don't control this.


Louise Palanker (00:54:30):

Yes. Yes. Having that,


Cathy Ladman (00:54:31):

And I can't do, no matter how hard I try, I cannot achieve that. So it's really better to take care of myself and be healthy than try to make myself to something I can never be.


Louise Palanker (00:54:44):

Right, right.


Fritz Coleman  (00:54:45):

And


Cathy Ladman (00:54:45):

To one end anyway.


Louise Palanker (00:54:46):

Exactly.


Fritz Coleman  (00:54:47):

When you were on with us before, we had a, a very interesting conversation and you admitted, uh, that there was turmoil in your home growing up. Yes. And some darkness. And how much can outside forces and pressures play into your disease?


Cathy Ladman (00:55:03):

Well, I I would think that, um, definitely my, my, my upbringing had a lot to do with it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and also, so the whole social construct of women need to be skinny. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> had a lot to do with it mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but when you get down to it, really it's about yourself and how you accept yourself. But the other outside forces, especially when you're, I in impressionable and form informative years mm-hmm. <affirmative> have a lot to do with how you treat yourself. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right. I mean the, the social pressures of, of being a certain way, looking a certain way mm-hmm. <affirmative> or in,


Fritz Coleman  (00:55:47):

And it, and it was America when you were growing up, the fashions and the magazines, the advertising and the bombardment of, uh, people that don't look like you, but you ought to look like them kind of a thing. What was the bottom? I mean, go ahead. I'm sorry. Yeah. What was the bottom for you? When did you, when did you realize that you needed to make a change? Was there a bottom as there is an other addictive behavior where you said, well,


Cathy Ladman (00:56:09):

You know, I was being told that I had to or else I could die? Oh, I mm-hmm. <affirmative> mean that certainly was a wake up call to some degree. You know, there, there were times when somebody said to me, you know, you could die from this. And I was like, okay. But really didn't fully mm-hmm. <affirmative> assimilate that mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But, um, I think, I think I realized, I think I realized that I had to put on some weight to get out of the danger zone. But, and that, and that was probably in the early eighties, um, when I weighed in the low nineties mm-hmm.


Fritz Coleman  (00:56:49):

<affirmative>. Wow.


Cathy Ladman (00:56:50):

But that wasn't my lowest threats.


Fritz Coleman  (00:56:52):

Do you still have to be conscious of your diet? Like every meal? Think about I need to take on a certain number of calories, I have to have carbs, I have to have protein. Do you think about that now?


Cathy Ladman (00:57:01):

Yeah, I mean, I definitely think about, um, having a balanced diet. I, I consciously think about it because I, I wanna make sure I get enough protein. I wanna make sure I get enough good fats. I wanna, and carbs are generally never a problem with anybody because they're so delicious. <laugh>, <laugh>. Um, but, um, yeah, it's just because I wanna be healthy, but the, the, um, the titillation, um, to restrict is still there for me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's, you know, there's, there's still that excitement that, you know, if I, if I lose a pound, I still, I still, uh, get a rush from that. Wow. That's, but the key is I don't weigh myself anymore except at the doctor's office when I have to. Yeah. I


Louise Palanker (00:57:48):

Was gonna ask you like, is that one of the things that you really shouldn't do is weigh yourself?


Cathy Ladman (00:57:52):

Yeah. I stopped weighing myself, um, a long time ago, and I only weigh myself if I absolutely have to at the doctor's office. Otherwise I just say I weigh 120 pounds. Right. I'd rather not get on the scale. Yeah. But if I'm doing like something medical where they need to know, like, you know, if they need to know like a certain amount of anesthesia that, that they have to give me, then they have to weigh me. Right. You know, so I relent.


Fritz Coleman  (00:58:17):

Well, I'll tell you, I'm such a fan of your comedy and you've, you've put some meaning in this block of time called, does this show Make me Look Fat? And I'm so excited for you. It's June 3rd, fourth and fifth at the Pico Playhouse at thousand 508 West Pico Boulevard. Tickets at www dot, and this is all one word ticket Taylor, t a i l o r.com. Or you can go to Kathy's website. Uh, now will you, uh, are you gonna bring backers to this? Are you looking to take it to another level, maybe off Broadway or


Cathy Ladman (00:58:49):

Something? Well, I am looking to take it to another level. I'm not bringing backers to this that I, certainly none that I know of because this is the first time this, this version of the show is really out there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So we wanna, that's why we're just doing it for three nights and we wanna see how it goes. And then I want, what I'm doing is I'm video, I'm videotaping it, I'm having a videographer come two nights mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and then I can make a tape and contact some oth, um, certainly other theaters in other cities. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But also I'd like to contact like the National Association of Eating Disorders.


Fritz Coleman  (00:59:24):

I was gonna say, I, I, I mean it's, it, it's such a, it's such a universal topic. Yeah. Maybe not anorexia, but bulimia, any of the other eating disorders, anything that requires atel, a 12 step program for you to recover from <affirmative>, people can learn from it. So, I, I just have a good feeling it's gonna be successful for you.


Cathy Ladman (00:59:40):

Oh, you're such a doll.


Fritz Coleman  (00:59:41):

Thank you so much. No problem. All right, my darling, we'll


Louise Palanker (00:59:43):

Put the links in our show notes and we will see. Thank you. We know it's gonna be wonderful. We can't wait to see it.


Fritz Coleman  (00:59:49):

Yeah. When you go off Broadway, we'll come back and we'll do the whole hour about, you know, where you gonna live in New York and <laugh>, all that kind of stuff. <laugh>.


Louise Palanker (00:59:56):

All right. Here come our closing credits. We would Thank you guys.


Fritz Coleman  (00:59:59):

Break. Of course. Break a leg, Don.


Cathy Ladman (01:00:01):

Take care. Thanks. Bye-Bye.


Louise Palanker (01:00:03):

We would love for you to join us online on Instagram and Twitter, where we are at Media Path Pod and on Facebook where our show page is, media Path Podcast. And our Facebook group is Media Path with Fritz and Wheezy podcast community. You can find full episodes with all kinds of bonus visual content on our YouTube channel Media Path podcast. We would love to know what media you have been enjoying. You can contact us at our social media or email us at media path podcast gmail.com. We wanna thank our wonderful guests, Jim Meskimen and Kathy Ladman. Our team includes Dean of Friedman, John Maddox, Sharon Beo, bill Fiac, Thomas Hubble, Mason Brown, and you. Our theme music is by me and John Maddox. I'm Louise Lanker here with Fritz Coleman and Kathy Ladman. And we will see you along the media path.

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