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Jonathan Ames Gave a Seemingly Drunk, Definitely Insane Speech This Weekend

Writer Jonathan Ames attends the 65th annual Writers Guild East Coast Awards at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill on February 17, 2013 in New York City.
Jonathan Ames. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Not to be outdone by his memorable turn at last year’s ceremony, author and Bored to Death creator Jonathan Ames once again stole the show at the WGA East Coast Awards Sunday night. Ostensibly a sub for another presenter who canceled at the last minute (which is why, Ames pointed out, his name was not in the program), he was not content to merely rattle off nominees or present awards. That is for amateurs, and what Ames does at the WGAs is an art form. (Fellow presenter Mike Birbiglia called it a “one-man show”; Ames himself likened it to Robert De Niro in Raging Bull; and the audience didn’t know what to think.) Here are some of the topics he covered in his twenty-plus minutes onstage.

Bored to Death’s cancellation:
“Having a show get canceled is like, ‘Oh, you have caviar between your teeth,’ you know what I mean? Because you had a show in the first place. This is not like in India or something. It’s not an upsetting thing.”

His viral video from last year’s ceremony, and his parents’ beliefs about his sobriety:
“The problem is, I didn’t know I was being recorded. Now we all know there are cameras everywhere, like the Russian meteor. Great! Anything bizarre happens, let’s get it on tape now. Let’s find out if there are UFOs or not. Let’s get some good footage! So I was recorded, this drunken thing I did last year at the WGA … and my parents saw it on YouTube. I’m approaching 50, no one in the industry should know that … but I was in rehab in my early 20s … And I’m deeply connected to my parents. If they feel pain, I feel pain. I’m a good son. I care about them, deeply. This is a geniune emotion expressed here in a night of frivolity. So, eventually my parents saw that thing on YouTube, me acting drunk here at the WGA. It went viral, not “Gangnam,” but for an unknown writer, my drunken nuttiness went to YouTube. About three months later, they eventually saw it. My mother called me and she said, ‘Jonathan, I saw you drunk for the first time. It wasn’t pretty. And what do you have to say?’ I said, ‘Look, I’m nearly 50’ — not quite, in case anyone wants to hire me — ‘I’m entitled to my privacy. I’m okay. I don’t think you can have a more loving and devoted son’ … So I just want to say to Mom and Dad, ‘I know I claimed to be sober for two decades ever since I was in rehab for smoking crack, which upset you, but I only get drunk once a year — at the WGA!’ If I don’t get drunk, I don’t have personality.”

His mental state:
“I do have early dementia.”

Girls, nudity, and his penis:
“Lena Dunham [as she’s walking off stage, having accepted the award for best new series]! Can I just say, to bring it back to me for a moment … I want to say, I was the first showrunner and creator of a show to be naked. The day we filmed, the air conditioning was so high, and I’m of average size anyways, and my penis, I was in the editing room, it looked like a red welt with a slot for a penny. I had to see it in the editing room. And we had this great moment when Zach Galifianakis grabbed my cock off-camera, as I raced around the bed. And we looked at it in the editing room like this Home Alone moment, with tenderness, love, sympathy, disgust, and horror, all the things we experienced, suidical ideation — and then HBO made me cut it! And there were e-mails between me and HBO with the subject line called ‘Cock Grab.’ Anyway, I’m glad I paved the way for you, Lena, with my little penis, which was totally frozen by the air conditioning.”

Rectal itch and female pubic hair:
“I’m very glad Lisa Lampanelli [also a presenter] brought up rectal itch, which I have suffered from for at least two decades! I think it’s because my ass is as hairy as her pussy. At least, I hope it is. I haven’t seen hair on a pussy since Chernobyl! I don’t know what happened, but hair on all pussies everywhere evaporated immediately in that terrible thing that happened to Russia. But my ass is hairy. I’m sorry if that’s disgusting for anybody, but … the reason I think I have a rectal itch, which is irrepressible, is because of the number of hairs, which hold on to water. Now, fungus creates an itch, right? While we’re romping around in our stupid, ephemeral lives, you can’t properly dry a hairy ass. Women, do you dry your hairy pussies? No, because you don’t have hairy pussies anymore — it’s gone.”

Being a Jew:
“I don’t like to publicly acknowledge being a Jew. I didn’t last year … When I saw my thing on YouTube — we all think we’re hideous — but I had direct acknowledgement that I am hideous and that I speak in an affected way. This year, I’m wearing a beard so I look like Scott Rudin with Hep C … Can you believe that the Jews have GPS now? What are they going to do when the Nazis take over? There’s a little Star of David, and a gay pink triangle! Did you know they have GPS to locate the hated people? I learned about it from Paris Hilton.”

New Girl:
[To a girl with bangs.] “You look like Zooey Deschanel. Are you her? She’s sympathetic.”

“I thought of smoking pot onstage, but then I thought that’s passe. But I have it, if anybody wants it. I have a one-hitter. [Takes it out of his pocket.] Richard [Kind], do you smoke pot?” [Kind yells from backstage, “Yes, I do!”] I didn’t smoke pot tonight. If I did, I might be up here as long as Jurassic Park. Not that that was a long film. Richard? Later, he’ll come on. I’ll load it up. Let’s enjoy our lives! We’re the top one percent, top .001 percent. We have it good, even if the burgers are nasty here. We’ll smoke pot in a second. I have to come out of the closet. I do use it medicinally. I used to count sobriety, like two years sober, for twenty years, and I was always relapsing. Now I count time inebriated. It’s been about six and a half years. We’ll see Richard Kind get stoned, and really the night is going to go on forever! Richard, would you come over here and smoke pot?”

Jonathan Ames Gave a Seemingly Drunk Speech