Light Hustler: Looking for Light in All the Dark Places
AfterPartyPod: Mike Gaffney

Comedian Mike Gaffney is a bit of an anomaly—a guy who got his start doing recovery-oriented comedy and has been able to build a solid career from there. Sober since 1983, Gaffney was a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing (not to mention the guy who made judge Wanda Sykes cackle—no easy feat—and was featured in all the promos for the show). Though he'd been cracking people up since he was a kid, he didn't decide he wanted to pursue comedy until 2002; since then has appeared on The Artie Lange Show, Gotham Comedy Live and 30 Rock. He also performs all over the country and (like all of us) has his own podcast. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talked about his mom coming and yelling at his former drug dealers, why speakers in meetings always tend to look at him when they talk and how he might have won Last Comic if he'd managed to stay in the moment, among many other topics.

Direct download: Mike_Gaffney_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mick Betancourt

Comic, TV writer and podcaster Mick Betancourt is, to put it mildly, a survivor. The host of a popular podcast, Betancourt endured a childhood that might give Oliver Twist a run for his money. The offspring of teenagers, Betancourt went to live with his mom after his father died, where he withstood spirit-breaking abuse, started drinking seriously before he turned 10 and soon found himself taking on the role of designated driver when his mom took him to bars (no matter how wasted he was himself). When his beloved grandfather died and he was shuffled around a bit, he had to resort to panhandling and stealing in order to eat. He nevertheless launched a career as a comic and then managed to get sober a little over 12 years ago. A happily married father of two and TV staff writer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Chicago Fire, et. al), Betancourt is also one of the cheeriest people alive—and not in one of those I-swear-I'm-cheery ways. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David talk about finding a spiritual connection after believing there couldn't be any God, toning down anger and why people who chew gum loudly are the worst people on earth, among many other topics.

Direct download: Mick_Betancourt_episode.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:03am PDT

AfterPartyPod: Caleb Bacon

TV writer and podcaster Caleb Bacon is not only on the writing staff of Vince Vaughn's TBS show Sullivan & Son and the host of the popular Man School podcast. He's also a journalist, sound expert, former weightlifter, San Fernando Valley resident—and many other things you'll discover when you listen to this episode. Oh! He's also sober seven years, after a drinking career that started when he made his first alcoholic concoction from his parents' liquor cabinet in junior high to his last night out there, which involved Special K, bus stop punching, nudity—and a 12-step call from his boss, NYPD Blue and Deadwood creator David Milch. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss being low-achieving drunks, boozing in England, bottoming out in LA and why Disneyland sucks, among many other topics.

Direct download: Caleb_real_final_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:23pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Alonzo Bodden

Comedian Alonzo Bodden is far more than just the winner of the third season of Last Comic Standing. The former aircraft mechanic had no idea he even wanted to pursue comedy until he got sober over two decades ago and met people in recovery who actually loved what they did for a living who all worked in the entertainment industry. (Also, he'd realized through sharing in the program—and also through teaching aircraft mechanics, arguably the least amusing topic in the world—that he was funny.) And so began a career that first started at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, has included appearances on Conan and Leno, acting roles in Scary Movie 4 and Bringing Down The House and hosting duties on 101 Cars You Must Drive and America's Worst Driver. In this episode, he and After Party's Anna David talk about hot women being one of AA's best initial attractions, discovering your dreams in recovery and how he donated his remarkably clean kidney to his brother, among many other topics.

Direct download: Alonzo_pod_final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Morgan Walsh

Actress Morgan Walsh may look like the very picture of innocence but it took quite a journey for her to earn her sobriety. Now married to Veep star and UCB founder Matt Walsh and the mother of three, Morgan did the full alcoholic dance--drinking, passing out, smoking pot, doing coke, spending time in a psych ward---before eventually quitting drinking and continuing to smoke pot and then, when she got pregnant with her first baby, quitting it all. Despite all those babies, Morgan has appeared in a succession of shows and movies--including Burning Love, Children's Hospital, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Happy Endings. In this episode, she and AfterParty's Anna David talk about bottoming out, quitting drinking but continuing to smoke pot and going from a single lady in Venice to a married mother of three, among many other topics.

Direct download: Morgan_Walsh_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:32am PDT

AfterPartyPod: John Heffron

Comedian John Heffron may have been introduced to the world at large when he won the second season of Last Comic Standing but he's been in the comedy game since college. Since then, there have been Comedy Central specials, The Tonight Show, Chelsea Lately and numerous VH1 talking head shows, among many other appearances. He's also been Danny Bonaduce's wingman on Detroit's number one radio show, appeared on Courtney Cox's Dirt and done stand up at numerous Fortune 500 companies. But he can also claim a gig that few comics can: an NA convention—an interesting irony because though he's been sober many years, he doesn't continue to go to meetings and disagrees with some 12-step tenets. Though Heffron doesn't recommend the path he's taken to other addicts, he's able to find freedom through a series of brain exercises and philosophies. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss why meetings make him want to drink, temporarily believing a shirt is going to fix things and the assistant we plan to share, among many other things.

Direct download: John_Heffron_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:45pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Amos Pizzey

Musician and entrepreneur Amos Pizzey is a one-man powerhouse: the son of women's refuge movement founder Erin Pizzey, Amos ended up joining Culture Club at the age of 14 (!) before then landing his own Virgin Records deal. Over the years, he's worked in various capacities with Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and George Michael, among many others—in the process becoming perhaps the most fabulous bon vivant in the world. But underneath that drinking, cocaine-using and MDMA-taking persona lurked a man who was desperately seeking the sort of spiritual connection he'd first experienced as a youth. The founder and creative director of Talenthouse—a company which creates content with brand partners such as Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga and more—Pizzey is passionate about bringing success as well as enlightenment to the masses. In this episode, he and I discuss quitting drugs while continuing to drink, what part the neocortex and limbic brain play in alcohol and drug use and how to get the entire world to embrace the principles behind the 12 steps, among many other topics.

Direct download: Amos_Pizzy_pod.Nick.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Bennett Yellin

The co-writer of Dumb and Dumber, Bennett Yellin is far more than a guy who can make the masses giggle until they burst. The writer of a slew of other comedies, Yellin may have gotten on the map when Dumb and Dumber became a sensation but he was actually bottoming out on crystal meth while his comedic talents were entertaining the masses. It wasn't until he got sober, cleaned up his past and started living life on a pink cloud that he got that career back on track. The long-awaited Dumb and Dumber sequel is coming out this fall, while Yellin enjoys his 12th year of sobriety and anticipates "marching forth" (his sober anniversary is March 4th) next year. In this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David discuss why it's not a good idea to date your drug dealer, what it's like to be a lazy meth head and being an Orthodox Jewish addict, among many other topics.

Direct download: Bennett_pod_smaller.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Mike Carano

Podcaster, photographer and best observational living comedian who's not a comedian Mike Carano has shared his unique personality with the public in myriad ways: through his photographs of comedians, his five-minute YouTube videos, his Loveline After Disaster show and his podcast, Miscellaneous Adventures From The World of Mike Carano—where listeners can hear him talk to them as he runs errands and drives around. Carano has opened up about his battles with booze and anxiety before but in this episode, he and AfterParty's Anna David get into the minutia of recovery: how they feel about medication, relapse, swearing, going to Disneyland (as Carano had just gone there with Dr. Drew) and much more.

Direct download: Mike_Carano_pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm PDT

AfterPartyPod: Stefani Wilder-Taylor

Writer, comedian, podcaster, TV host and all-around delight Stefanie Wilder-Taylor is one of the greatest lessons out of there for those who like to booze to the point of unmanageability and don't see any problem with it. The author of Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay andNaptime Is The New Happy Hour was the role model for partying moms everywhere—until she realized drinking was more than a fun pastime for her. Now sober, the author of several more books, the star of Parental Discretion With Stefanie Wilder-Taylor on Nickelodeon and the co-host of the popular For Crying Out Loud podcast, Wilder-Taylor uses her oh so charming powers of persuasion to show moms (and others) that sobriety is just as cool, if not more so, than being the hip, partying mom. Here, she and AfterParty's Anna David discuss writing books, being outed as an alcoholic by The New York Times, how many times we've each been fired and so much more.

Direct download: Episode_43_Stefani_Wilder_Taylor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:24pm PDT