A Sandbox of Weirdness (Ep. 140 - Jamie Pierce)

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This Week's Guest: Jamie Pierce

How do you balance a need for solitude with a need to collaborate? This week's guest is Jamie Pierce, an actor, comedian, and dancer who's no stranger to career changes. Several years ago, he decided to transform his work and his  life after an experience onstage. And just last year, he reached another turning point in part because of this show.

I originally interviewed Jamie back in 2016, but then his episode kept moving around in the schedule and a few months went by before it was going to appear. But then Jamie contacted me to let me know that our conversation started him thinking, and eventually led to him making a pretty drastic decision about his career. So I interviewed him again about that experience. This episode starts with a chat we recorded last year, then you'll hear a new interview that we recorded more recently about how one of the pieces of entertainment that changed his life wound up being this podcast.

This Week's Recommendation: Pee Wee's Big Adventure

Big thanks to Jamie for joining me. You can follow him at JamiePierceNYC on Twitter to jeep up with his adventures, whether venturing out onstage as part of an ensemble or going it alone in a solo show. 

For this week's recommendation, take a look at another notorious loner with the movie Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Like every Pee Wee project, it is utterly delightful, ridiculous, and queer. The plot concerns a stolen bicycle and a fever dream of a quest to recover it. Early in the movie, Pee Wee declares himself a loner and a rebel, a line that's funny enough on its own but is absolutely ludicrous given how many friends he has. At every step of his journey, Pee Wee wins over everyone, even the most hostile gang of bikers, by being completely bizarre, because that's just who he is. He is guileless, weird, not always polite but always honest about what he likes and what he doesn't. 

Back on episode 117, I recommended Pee Wee's Big Holiday and noted that he is, to be sure, a very strange boy: giddy, curious, playful, and sincere. And so is everyone else he encounters: they're all strange in their own way, from a phony psychic to a spooky truck driver to a sweet-hearted waitress. And in Pee Wee's company, they all seem completely comfortable to be strange, happy with whatever makes them weird. 

Everyone is uniquely bizarre, each a loner and rebel in their own particular oddness. But this movie has them all rebelling together -- they're loners but they're never alone.

Stuff We Talked About