The Moment Where I Lost It (Ep. 156 - E.T.)

This week's guest: Andrew Putschoegl

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Were you a free range kid? If you were lucky enough to survive growing up pre-2000, you were probably allowed to spend a lot of time outdoors on your own with little to no structured time. My guest this week is Andrew Putschoegl, whose childhood mirrored that of 80s movies where groups of weird neighborhood kids are thrown together by simply because they live in the same suburb. In those film, each kid tends to have one strange trait that sets them apart, and marks them as one of the outcasts. And for Andrew, it was that at the age of 9 he suddenly and for unknown reasons woke up to find his hair falling out. It was a medical mystery that made the already-awkward teenage years even more difficult.

Big thanks to everyone who helps keep the show independent and add free. If you're enjoying The Sewers of Paris, help support the show for as little as a dollar a month.

Also, listeners, I hope you'll join me for another Sewers of Paris livestream on March 10! Last month's stream was a real delight, and I loved chatting live with Sewers listeners about the entertainment that changed your life. Mark your calendar for March 10 and 2pm pacific. I've pinned a link to the livestream at the top of the SewersOfParis Twitter feed. You can head over there now to RSVP and get a reminder when we go live.

And! If you enjoyed my bonus episodes where I have guests playing Dungeons and Dragons, you might like my live show where drag queens play a D&D adventure onstage for a live audience. Now for the first time we're taking that show on the road -- it's coming to Oasis in San Francisco on March 20th, featuring Erika Klash from Dragula; Kitty Powers, of the games Matchmaker and Lovelife; and San Francisco stars Pollo Del Mar and KaiKai Bee Michaels. Tickets are now on sale -- head over to DungeonDrag.com for the link. And if you're not in SF or Seattle -- don't worry, we'll be announcing more shows soon. Get on our mailing list at DungeonDrag.com and you'll be the first to know when we're bringing the show to you!

This week's recommendation: Nerdgasm

Thanks again to Andrew for joining me. For this week's recommendation, check out his documentary, Nerdgasm. It's available on Amazon -- free if you've got Amazon Prime -- and it follows the delightful Tom Lenk as he nervously prepares his international one-man comedy show about learning to love being a geek.

Tom's a past Sewers of Paris guest (he's on episode 117) and he's a real delight to spend time with in-person and on-screen. You might remember him playing Andrew on the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that's only the beginning of his long resume of nerdy credentials. In his live show, he reveals his very dorky childhood pursuits, such as the serenade that he wrote in a music theory class for Carrie Fisher; he shows off the elaborate feather-boaed and bejeweled hat that he made to stand out in marching band; and he shares his Beauty and the Beast collage work. 

To be fair, EVERYONE did weird dorky stuff when they were young. But a lot of us do our best to forget, or at least belittle the kids were were. So it's nice to see Tom turning that into a point of pride with Nerdgasm.

When someone confesses their obsessions to a roomfull of people (or to an even broader audience in a documentary) it gives everyone else permission to look a bit more gently on their own mortifying past. We can all forgive our own nerdiness, because at the end of the day enthusiasm is fun and funny.

At one point, Tom visits an enthusiastic collector of Buffy memorabilia, and in another context his collection might seem weird and off-putting. But when it's part of a celebration of geeky obsessions, suddenly weird isn't off-putting -- it's awesome. 

Stuff We Talked About