Recover Girl
AfterPartyPod: Natasha Vargas-Cooper

Writer Natasha Vargas-Cooper has accomplished more in 30 years than some do in a lifetime. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from UCLA with a double major in history and public policy, she started being published in such places as The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and GQ, among many others. Her book, Mad Men Unbuttoned, was praised as "a well-versed primer" by The New Yorker and "likely to become a trivia-lover's bible" by The New York Times. Oh and in her spare time, she created the popular LA storytelling show Public School. But over the years she was doing all this impressive stuff, her drinking was also increasing and a DUI helped her find recovery. Now sober a couple years, she and AfterParty's Anna David discussed where alcoholism ends and dysfunctional relationships begin, medications to help with depression and other mental disorders and how to end toxic friendships, among many other topics.

Direct download: Ep_42_Natasha_Vargas-Cooper.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:24pm PST

AfterPartyPod: ANT

The comedian ANT may have legally changed his name from Anthony but that is hardly the most unique fact about him. The veteran of Last Comic Standing (six of the show's seven seasons) is also a TV show host who puts those milquetoast hosts to shame by delivering genuine, laugh-out-loud moments—during his years hosting Celebrity Fit Club, on all of his many TV appearances (on shows as varied as Tyra Banks, Best Week Ever and The Tonight Show) and on Howard Stern (where he's a frequent guest).

But his outspoken extroversion kept many from realizing that he had a horrific drug addiction which led to homelessness as well as to members of the Hell's Angels urging him to cut down on his meth use (you'll have to listen to the episode to get that whole story). Here, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss the time he thought he was being intervened on so he fessed up about his addiction, the methods he uses for staying in the moment in sobriety and how his Greek Orthodox upbringing influences his spirituality today, among many other topics.

Direct download: Episode_41Ant.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:58pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Laura House

Comedian and TV writer Laura House has starred in MTV's iconic Austin Stories, written on Blue Collar TV, The George Lopez Show, Samantha Who? and Mom and been called one of the funniest female comedians out there by none other than Louis CK. And she's been sober for over six years while also becoming a certified meditation teacher and raw food expert. Yep, her repertoire is vast: this is a girl who knows how to bring the funny to meditation. Other Laura House accomplishments include wowing the crowds at storytelling shows (including Anna David's True Tales of Lust and Love, which she performed in more than any other writer or comedian), publishing essays in several anthologies (including the aforementioned True Tales of Lust and Love book) and being featured on Comedy Central. Here, she and David discuss sending a video of a drunken, slurry set to a big manager, various ways the alcoholic brain doesn't seem to work right and how to work through disappointment in sobriety, among many other topics.

Direct download: Laura_House_podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:58am PST

AfterPartyPod: Amber Tozer

Comedian Amber Tozer is so much more than a comedian. Sure, she's performed stand-up all over the world, been featured on Last Comic Standing and stars in the hit web series nitTWITS but she's also written on the Emmy-award winning show Mad and taken time off from comedy to work with autistic children. Want more? She had an advice columns on Laughspin, has written for HuffPo, has appeared on The Mental Illness Happy Hour and much more. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about how her moment of clarity involved driving on the Bay Bridge drunk and waking up the next morning fully accepting that she was an alcoholic and needed to do something about it. We also delve into what it was like to grow up with alcoholism (her father and grandgather on her mom's side), drinking before Last Comic Standing and what she's learned in her roughly six years of sobriety, among other topics. 

Direct download: AMBER_TOZER_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:00pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Brent Bolthouse

Nightlife impressario Brent Bolthouse has ruled the LA social landscape for the past few decades, helping to put such classic clubs as the Roxbury, the Opium Den, the Viper Room and Joseph's on the map (the way it works is this: wherever Bolthouse backs, the coolest kids in town follow and lines out the door ensue). In 1999, he opened The Coffee House on Sunset Blvd., immediately attracting a celeb clientele (it was reportedly the first place Robert Downey, Jr. went post jail) but more importantly, creating a 24-hour-a-day gathering place for sober people when he started having open AA meetings in the back room. While The Coffee House closed in 2003, Bolthouse has gone on not only to open a slew of other successful clubs but also to play himself on The Hills, Entourage and a number of other hit shows. And he's been clean since the age of 16, racking up an impressive 27 years of sobriety. His spirituality matters much more to him than all the celebs in his proximity (even the fact that Jay Z immortalized Bolthouse's strict door policy in his hit song "I Just Wanna Love You," when Bolthouse's partner Jenifer Rosario wouldn't let Jigga and his group past the velvet rope until he dropped some of the entourage). In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss his first jobs (gas station attendant, hairdresser), last days using (meth was his drug of choice), being an "anti-social social person" and how he maintains a spiritual connection in the hubbub of Hollywood.

Direct download: Final_Brent_Bolthouse.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05am PST

AfterPartyPod: Ben Mandelker

Blogger and screenwriter Ben Mandelker is one of the most quick-witted people out there. He created and then sold the website TVgasm years ago (he still blogs, mostly about TV and food, on his own well-trafficked blog, BSideBlog). But here's the really interesting part about him—and the part that earned him an episode of his own: for 30 years, he was 100% in the closet. As in: we were friends and I had no idea he was gay until he came out to me a few years ago.

In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about what it was like to live with a secret like that for your entire life—the compartmentalization needed, the shame (and online porn) required to maintain the ruse you're somewhat convinced people suspect isn't true anyway. They get into all that as well as how the recovery movement in a way mimics the gay movement in terms of societal awareness and the attempts many people make toward removing the shame about something you can't control and isn't your fault. They also reminisce a bit about the days when they got paid decent money to sit on a TV set and discuss The Bachelor for 20 minutes (mentioned also in the Jimmy Pardo episode!) And listen to his two podcasts, Watch What Crappens and The Banter Blender (Anna David has been a guest on both).

Direct download: Final_Ben_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:51pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Georgia Hardstark

TV personality Georgia Hardstark is one half of the dynamic duo known as Alie and Goergia but she's a fascinating woman all on her own. People came to find out about her after she and Alie Ward made a video of themselves concocting  ajoke cocktail called a McNuggetini and the video went viral; next they were being profiled in The New York Times and starring in the Food Newtwork's Drinks with Alie and Georgia. The Cooking Channel's Classy Ladies with Alie & Georgia and their highly addicitve podcast Slumber Party with Alie and Georgia followed.

But it hasn't been all pretty dresses and TV appearances for Hardwick; a troubled teen, she got into meth, was sent to rehab and wised up quickly. She's also struggled with eating disorders, esteem issues and all the other issues that come along, all too often, with just being a woman—er, person—in society today. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about wild youths, finding stability and what happens when best friends fight, among other topics. [Note: in this episode, they discuss the fact that Hardwick was doing hard drugs and able to stop without getting sober; this isn't to say that AfterParty recommends this path for people who are using hard drugs; addiction is self-diagnosed and many who use harder drugs aren't doing so recreationally.]

Direct download: VERY_FINAL_GEORGIA_POD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:19pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Jesse Joyce

Comedian Jesse Joyce is a New York-based comedian who's appeared on Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing and Red Eye (among many others), has written on numerous Comedy Central roasts and award shows and performed in over 15 countries. He's also sober after booze almost destroyed his health (and got him a DUI). The guy's big on giving back to the sober community, too, performing regularly in Alcohol Awareness programs. While he and AfterParty's Anna David veer off into the nitty gritty of comedy (and whether living in LA or NY is better—Joyce is Manhattan all the way), they also trace Joyce's first drink at 20 to his last one at 26, his family's history of alcoholism and how he manages to be a happy alcoholic, among other topics.

Direct download: Jesse_Joyce.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Dr. Stephen Dansiger

WTF regular and clinical psychologist Dr. Stephen Dansiger has lived many lives while the rest of us were inhabiting only one: once a CBGB regular who played drums for the bands King Missile and Pianosaurus, he ended up getting sober, having a breakdown and finding peace again through a year-long residence at a Zen monastery. The practing Zen Buddhist for the past two decades then got a doctorate and masters in psychology to start running groups at treatment facilities. Now he and Dharma Punx/Against The Stream's Noah Levine have opened an outpatient addiction treatment center BLVD. Here he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss sobriety, rocker rebellion, breakdowns, meditation and much more.

Direct download: Dr_Steve_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:28pm PST

AfterPartyPod: Susanna Brisk

Author, comedian and actress Susanna Brisk is an outrageous Aussie with a penchant for the shocking. Her AfterParty stories have documented her feelings about sex and mental health and her memoir, I'll Be The Death of Meand blog Malibu Mom provide even more details. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss if being a dry drunk counts as sobriety, parenting, mental illness and whether or not Brisk can leave the podcast office with a phone number (spoiler alert: she does).

Direct download: real_susana.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:59pm PST