The Sassy Sitdown: James Fritz
This is the third in a new series of interviews by Othy’s oinktern, Sassy Banks. Each week she’ll take time, and get real, with the guest comic…
Who knew it was possible for two people to be soul mates? I sure didn’t, but then I met comedian James Fritz. We were bonded together by our love for Dennis Kucinich, DK as we like to call him, and of course by our love of anything Southern. He had me when he told me his nickname was Jim Bob…too bad he has a girlfriend (yes, sadly, this stellar guy is off the market ladies).
Sassy Banks: Ok, so off the record James we already commented on our love for the man known as Dennis Kucinich. When I heard you say you liked him in your stand-up tonight I must admit I freaked a little. I have never met another person who even knows who he is.
James Fritz: Whatever… now I want to talk about bitches…now that we are recording– I want to sound cool man.
SB: I know, now you can say anything you want.
JF: Well I mean all the successful comics they all have to talk about bitches.
SB: Yeah, and this is all going online too…
JF: Yeah, stand-up is hard in Chicago these days.
SB: You think?
JF: To ever get paid anything for what you do. I mean take a look at all the great comics who have moved out of Chicago recently.
SB: Well then move out of Chicago. Get out of here!
JF: Well, I’m on unemployment ’til December…
SB: So then you can move…
JF: I don’t want to do that change of address form. It’s too much.
SB: Um, that’s like a dollar online…. you can change it online for a dollar. Easy.
JF: Oh you kids and your computers.
SB: We are an advanced group of kids these days.
JF: So how old are you? Are you in college?
SB: I’m 21, and yes.
JF: This feels wrong.
JF: I’m old and I’m talking to a 21-year old girl who is the daughter of Dennis Kucinich’s lawyer.
SB: Yeah, he’s pretty hype.
JF: Pretty hype?
SB: Yeah. Hype, hype. It’s a 21-year old term; you wouldn’t know it because you’re old.
JF: I don’t know where to go from here. I told you all the brilliant stuff was before you hit record.
SB: Well then let’s fill those others in… all the mind-blowing stuff that happened before we hit record was we bonded over our love for Dennis Kucinich, and you told me you watched Sanford and Son.
JF: This is mind blowing though, right now. There is no reason that if you would have asked me, as I’m some 18-year old in Western Kentucky, in life, that at 31 I would be on a porch, saintly sober with a woman who is completely sober who is Dennis Kucinich’s lawyer’s 21-year old daughter. That kind of would have been weird. Small world, huh.
SB: I know, pretty cool right. I can try to introduce you to DK if you want me to… I mean, you know, I did go to his wedding. We’re close.
JF: So do you vote in Ohio then?
SB: Yes, I do.
JF: Oh it must be nice to have a vote that counts. It’s weird to me, because I come from Kentucky where it didn’t matter. Eighty percent of [this] state is Democratic so we know how it goes… [With Kentucky,] It’s always the first state called.
SB: Yes, and no matter that [Dennis Kucinich] runs every year.
JF: God bless him for it. Seriously. I just want to hug him. Can I hug him? It would feel wrong shaking Dennis Kucinich’s hand. I want to hold him, and whisper, “I love you.”
SB: All right, in effort to change the subject…James do you have a nickname?
JF: Did Othy put you up to this?
SB: No he didn’t. Why is it bad? Now I’m definitely interested.
JF: All right, well um, this is really embarrassing, but I have learned to embrace it. Um, well my first name is James and my middle name is Robert, and I grew up in the South where they tended to like to shorten things, so what do you think it was?
SB: James Bob?
JF: Close… Jim Bob. I was Jim Bob ’til like…. actually I still am.
SB: I’m sorry, but that is so embarrassing. I am going to call you Jim Bob all the time.
JF: Hey, I was valedictorian of my high school class. And I wanted them to call me James, but they still said Jim Bob. That shows the level of education there. I mean, I, I was valedictorian there, with that fucking name, at the only high school in the county. The weirdest thing about this shit though….like it’s kind of like a weird childhood thing that’s etched in your brain, like a nightmare, but it’s real, was uh, the old Geraldo Rivera show. His cameraman’s name was Jim Bob and he would look directly in the fucking camera and address Jim Bob right into the camera and it freaked me out. It felt like Geraldo was talking to me. And it was then, subsequently, when I got interested in politics.
SB: I used to watch the Geraldo Rivera show with my grandmother.
JF: Good show.
SB: Yeah, I was like 6-years old though.
JF: But he’s on Fox News, which is such a great channel. It keeps people afraid at airports. Haha, I mean why would you play Fox News at airports? It’s the most paranoid channel in the world and it’s people getting ready to fly. The one channel that evokes 9/11 like more than they live and breath and it’s on in fucking airports more than any other channel. That blows my mind.
SB: Wow, see now I wish I had money so I could take a trip somewhere and watch Fox News in the airport before I leave. Maybe I’ll fly to Kentucky. I want to go to the South.
JF: Don’t romanticize it too much. The only reason I was valedictorian is because I was the only non-smoking, non-drinking, virgin until college. And I knew that was my one ticket out of there…to get a full scholarship to college.
SB: Did you go to college?
JF: Yeah, I even graduated suma cum laude.
SB: Oh, so you really got far out of Kentucky,
JF: It felt like three time zones away. That’s how little people travel in Kentucky. It’s weird that there are people who have never even been to the next county over. You know what I mean? Dark attitudes man.
SB: So when did you move to Chicago then?
JF: I knew I wanted to live in a big city my whole life. I romanticized the city my whole like. Like Manhattan is my favorite Woody Allen movie. All that cliché shit, I bought into it. Chicago was the closest. L.A. seemed scary, and I didn’t think I could handle it at all. I would have been a much more negative person than I am.
SB: Well you don’t seem so negative.
JF: I save that for the morning. I mean, literally I just only had a Snickers for dinner, so this is like a weird starvation sugar rush that makes me sound like a sweet sorority girl.
SB: No, I get it. That’s so weird because I starve myself all the time. Trying this new diet.
JF: I’m on the poverty plan.
***At this point the host of OINK!, Mr. Otholomieux Schwering interrupts James, my date…uh, I mean, interview…and all you hear is White Noise…yes, like the movie starring “Batman” ***
SB: So why did you get into comedy?
JF: Oh, because I was a really bad priest.
SB: Whoa. This just took a whole new direction. I totally believed you there, just for a second. You can’t pull stuff like that on me because I am 100 percent gullible, I will believe anything you say.
JF: Yeah, well we have a term for that in the South. *loooooooooong pause* I don’t remember it…
SB: Or do you remember it and you just don’t want to say?
JF: No I just want to play up the “boop boop boop” aspect. How are you going to denote the “boob boob boob” noise I just made?
SB: I don’t know!
JF: Bubbles? Like human thought bubbles?
SB: Like I guess I would just put b…
JF: You would just say “b”? That’s where this education is getting you. Where are you going to school?
JF: Oh I’ve heard it’s really expensive, and they accept everyone…
SB: I know they accept everyone. Haha, Mr. Valedictorian over here…
JF: Yeah, and suma cum laude in college, don’t forget. So I proved that school is worthless…don’t go kids!
SB: Alright, before we end this, I have to ask every comedian, what is your favorite word?
JF: James Lipton.
SB: Who the hell is James Lipton?
JF: Google it, young’in’.
SB: And this is now over. I’m off to Google. Thanks, bye, come again.
Editor’s note – You can catch Fritz, Wednesdays and Fridays at 3pm CST, live at http://www.redbarradio.com