Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Interview transcript: Zane Lamprey of “Three Sheets”

Zane Lamprey is a comedian and host of the television show “Three Sheets” on the Fine Living Network. Without sounding short, Lamprey gets paid to travel around the world and drink. A lot.
His show consists of him traveling to places like Belize, Newcastle, Las Vegas and Jamaica, soaking in the local drinking culture and capturing it all on film. He has a lot of fun doing it, with a breezy personality that isn't above self-deprecation.
His live show “Drinking Made Easy: Alcohol Appreciation” premiers Thursday night at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz. Show starts at 8 p.m. Lamprey spoke with “The Beat” for a feature story in advance of the show. Here is the inter view transcript with more after the jump.

On doing “Three Sheets” and the evolution of his new live show:
We shot the (“Three Sheets”) pilot in late 2005. I've done over 50 episodes of it, traveled around to more than 45 countries. And I also just finished a book. I wrote a book called “Three Sheets” for Random House Publishing which comes out in spring.
During all this, I became sort of an accidental expert on alcohol. I'm a comedian first, a drinker second and then an alcohol expert third or even farther down the list.
I really wanted to go out on the road and do stand up. I figured the best way to do that was to tie that into “Three Sheets” and the alcohol knowledge. But with the drinking and it being a stand up tour, we're sort of like Al Gores' presentation of “An Inconvenient Truth” if he was drunk. Because the show is also drinking games, but people are gonna learn things.
I'm funny and and entertainer, and then the education is cursory to that. It's going to be a fun show above and beyond anything.

On the shows “Alcohol Appreciation” angle:
In doing “Three Sheets” and all this stuff, I've learned about alcohol. I've learned so much about alcohol that now I appreciate it for what it is, for what it's made from, and some of the histories and facts about it. Where as before, maybe I just appreciated alcohol because it made me drunk. Now, I have all this information and it's made me appreciate alcohol.
The sub title for the show is ”Alcohol Appreciation” and it's basically like I'm covering beer wine and liquor and I'm breaking them all down and talking about distillation and fermentation and where they're from and what role the barrels play. But it's all tongue in cheek, it's all comedic. It's not like anyone's going to sit there for a minute without a smile on their face. This thing is a show and people are encouraged to drink along.

On the drinking game rules for the show:
There are rules for the show. That is, if you want to play along, you drink along with the show. Whenever I drink, you have to take a drink. Whenever I talk about my buddy Steve McKenna, you take a drink. Anyone who knows the “Good Burp rule” that I learned in Belgium, that comes into play.
It's gonna be a fun show and people will walk away having learned something and maybe if people take it to heart, they will actually start to further their appreciation of alcohol. I'm not giving people enough information that they all of a sudden
know what they need to know about things, but if they're intrigued about what rum is made from, or some of the history of tequila or stuff like that, then they might then leave the show and go off and begin an affinity with tequila or with vodka or with certain kinds of beers.
If I'm out there talking, my presentation is an hour long, there's a q&a at the end. I'm talking about beer for 20 minutes, wine for 20 minutes and liquor for 20 minutes. There's only so much information I can get out there.
Basically, I figured out what information there was that I wanted to convey. So when I begin my writing, I said here's what I want to cover. Because fermentation or distillation can be daunting to people. It's like, well wait. The word, I dont' even want to know what it is, it's just too much, but no, not really.
Fermentation is one of the most simple physical and chemical processes on the planet and distillation is just as simple. It's boiling alcohol. And once I break it down with some animation, I talk about stuff like how barley and hops and yeast become beer. Those are the pieces of information that I want to get out, and then the jokes tie the whole show together. And with the animation,it's some funny stuff.

On how often he gets to go on the road and co stand up:
I don't. I've been so busy with everything for the last five years. I do my parties, like — my friends give me a hard time for this — but I do “Zane Patrick's Day,” “Zanetoberfest” and “Zaneto De Mayo.” We have these parties in cities around the country. I get up on stage and do my stuff up there. But this is the first time I'm going on stage with written material and an objective, with rehearsed material I want to get out there. I really haven't (had a chance).
This will be my first stand-up tour, period. You guys are my first stand-up show.

On his favorite drinks:
The best tequila shot I ever took, it wasn't a shot. It was a sipping tequila and it was from the private reserve at Jose Cuervo down in Mexico. It was from this barrel in their basement. I want to say it was about 30 years old.
It's amazing when an alcohol gets to be sitting in a barrel that long. It really mellows out. When you have a 30 year old rum, tequila, scotch, they all start to taste really similar, because they're really taking on the flavor of the barrel. So that was a really nice, mellow easy sipping tequila, not like the stuff we do at spring break.
The best ale I've had? It's really like, that's a question (I get a lot), but you're asking it in a good, more specific way. When I'm in a country and drinking their beer, take Ireland. The best example is if I'm in the pub, it's 41 degrees outside, I'm sitting inside by a fire, there is nothing I want in my hand more than a pint of Guinness.
Usually, you'll get , for example, if you go to Jamaica and it will be more of a lager, you'll want something more light and refreshing on a cool day. So you'll have like a Red Stripe. Or, I was in Mexico two weeks ago and as far as beer, all I drank was Corona.
It's just what I feel like I should be drinking out there, and (in Mexico) I was not interested in a Guinness, even though Guinness sells a lot of beer in a lot of warm places. But to me, I always felt that was a cold weather beer. But then I had a beer in Maui, it was a coconut porter by the Maui Brewery Co. and it was a unique flavor. I really liked it and I usually have a few of those in my fridge.

On getting requests for public appearances:
What I got more than anything, even though people send me private messages on MySpace, but the page on Facebook doesn't really work out like that. Sometimes on Twitter, I get so many messages I really can't look at them. What I really was getting a lot of, once very few weeks, my agent will send over a wedding invitation.
They say, “Hey we're having a wedding. We'd love for you to come to our wedding, you won't pay for a drink the entire time you're here.”
So, first of all, it's hard enough to make it to my friend's wedding, but you're asking me to get on a plane, pay for a hotel, but then you're telling me that when I get there the $50 of drinks is going to be free? And I'm not going to know anybody when I get there? That's my own private hell right there.

On his show personality:
I am just a regular guy and I think that's really the point. When I do my show, the last thing I want to be is cool. I'm a dork and if I ever tried to be cool, on my show, people would destroy me. I'm a guy who's lucky to have the job that he has. I make fun of myself whenever possible and I just like to have fun. I'm definitely a fun guy to have a beer with, just because I'm a comedian who likes to drink. But what comedian doesn't like to drink?

Being on “The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien”:
I was appreciative to be there. Doing stand up would have been interesting, but it was probably less stressful sitting at the chair with him. It was still a very surreal experience.
Conan, he is the man. I was also on Carson Daley's show, and I'm extremely impressed with him and what he has turned his show into.
Conan came back to my dressing room before hand and rapped with me, and he came back to the dressing room afterward, and it was great. Such an amazing experience. It was definitely an extreme privilege to be there.

On keeping it together when he's spent 10 hours straight drinking on the show:
It's the illusion of television. I might be someplace ... for instance, Newcastle. I had just come form Iceland, and we got in around 3 in the afternoon, got settled. I went to the gym, had dinner.
I woke up the next morning, the crew went out and scouted locations, and I had to be at a bar by like 4 p.m.. Then I went to another bar at about 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., and then I was done.
Then the next day I went to a brewery and another bar, and the day after that, all we did was play soccer. The day after that we went to a few more places. And the guy I was traveling around with in Newcastle, I was with him about 4 days. So what seemed like one crazy day was closer to four.
It's cool, it will be difficult to tell the story being presented over 4 days, so it's more fun to have it take place over one (during a regular episode). That way, it's more of “Don't mind the man behind the curtain.”

On his own drink recipes:
I created one when I was in Vegas called the “Zanetini.” It was cognac and Brut champagne, and it sounds very hoity toity and and sophisticated, but it was a horrible drink. You want cognac, get cognac. You want champgagne, get champagne. But two good things together don't necessarily make a good thing. So don't do it.

I've learned so many drink recipes of cocktails during the show, but if I go out, I'm going to have... let's see. Last night I had to go to my buddy's party. I had a scotch, a Corona and a red wine. So there you go.

No comments: