How to be Awesome (Ep. 133 - Terry Pratchett)


We all know life's short, so how do you make the most of the time you've got? My guest this week is Scott Flashheart, comedian and host of the podcast Probably True. He grew up in a tiny British mining town -- or at least, what WAS a mining town, before the mine was closed, sending the place he lived into a slow downward spiral. He knew he didn't belong there, but he also felt out of place among other gays. It took a lot of work -- and a major loss -- to steer him towards his true calling: telling dick jokes to the world.

By the way, you can follow The Sewers of Paris on Facebook and Twitter -- I post clips of stuff the guests talked about throughout the week, and chat with listeners like you about the entertainment that changed YOUR life. You can also get in touch at Listener Jim wrote in to ask for more details about the books that guests mention -- thanks Jim, I can definitely do that. Starting this week I'll include info about books in the shownotes over at

This Week's Recommendation: Dress to Kill

Big thanks to Scott for joining me. Head over to to subscribe to Scott's show. For this week's recommendation we're going to go back in time, twenty years ago to the peerless Eddie Izzard comedy special Dress to Kill.

Eddie's an actor and comic who doesn't fit neatly into boxes. In his 1998 special, he comes out in ladies' wear and calls himself an executive transvestite, though these days he uses the term transgender, and in neither case is he who you might picture when you hear those words.

He's just who he is, standing somewhat to the side of easy labels and conventional wisdom. Not just in how he presents himself, but also in his comedy, which is at its foundation mischievous and very smart. In Dress to Kill, Eddie tackles religion, history, medicine, war, growing old, and it takes a bit of work to keep up but it's worth it.

One of the topics he touches on is puberty -- you know, the time in your life when you first want to attract people and are also feel more physically repulsive than ever before.

In his act, Eddie jokes about how nice it would be to get the drama of puberty over with in just one day. But in reality, it can last for years, long past the time when one's body has settled into whatever it's going to be. The self-consciousness and horror you feel when you look in the mirror may decide to linger like unwanted body hair, and for queers that can include uncomfortable realizations about who you love, how you dress, and what you want to be.

Some of these things we can change, some we can learn to live with, some we can remove by spending thousands of dollars under a laser. The angst of our teen years can set a path for the rest of our lives, and bits of that path can seem quite miserable. But whatever that journey is, you're probably not the first to make it. There's weirdos and outcasts who came before, and you might find some solace in the ones who acknowledged "This is who I am" and asked "what if I was okay with that?"

Stuff We Talked About

Here's Scott's favorite guide on reading Terry Pratchett.

Mort (Discworld)
By Terry Pratchett



Parisian Kevin MacLeod (
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