Ed Brayton has had an interesting 37 years on the planet Earth. During college, he coached high school debate for 3 years, followed by more than 4 years on the road as a stand up comic. Today he is a freelance writer and a partner in a mortgage company and a political consulting firm.
Okay enough of speaking about myself in the third person. In honor of James Lipton and that French guy he’s always talking about, whose name I can’t remember, I’ll begin the list of things about me with the questions he asks of every guest at the end of Inside the Actor’s Studio.
What is your favorite word? Riff. The one thing I truly miss about doing stand up comedy was the conversations we would have at 2 am in a hotel room or a diner or, god forbid, the “comedy condo”. A group of smart, funny, and far too jaded people sitting around trading perceptions. My old friend Bill Gorgo, a brilliant storyteller, used to call that “riffing”, just like the old jazz musicians did. Great conversation has a rhythm to it.
What is your least favorite word? Perky.
What noise do you love? Laughter.
What noise do you hate? WOOOOOOOO!. People who woo, like at concerts, need to be put to death in the most painful possible manner.
What turns you on? A new idea. I love that moment, either while reading or during a conversation with someone, when the lightbulb goes on, when suddenly you see this idea that had never occured to you before with total clarity. It evokes a mixture of awe and jealousy, because you can’t believe that after all this time of thinking about the same thing you didn’t think of that.
What turns you off? The combination of smugness and stupidity.
What profession would you like to attempt? Emperor.
What profession would you least like to attempt? Anything that involves physical labor without much mental input.
What is your favorite curse word? Fuck. And it’s not close. It’s the most versatile word in the language and is indispensible in expressing a wide range of emotions.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive? How’d you like the ride?
10 Random facts about me:
1. I grew up with a girl who was born on the exact same day I was – October 16, 1967. At our 10 year class reunion, I found out that she had married a pentecostal preacher and had 5 children. So much for astrology.
2. I don’t drink coffee.
3. I do drink iced tea, by the gallon.
4. I think Seinfeld is the greatest sitcom ever. MASH is second.
5. I think HL Mencken is the finest essayist America has ever produced.
6. I have strangely diverse tastes in music. To ride in the car with me is to go from James Taylor to Rage Against the Machine to Wynton Marsalis to Frank Sinatra in the space of an hour.
7. I had one really great high school teacher who told me that education is “the process of disillusionment”. I didn’t know what he meant at the time; I do now.
8. My real first name is Richard. In the 7th grade, after years of living with the horror of having that as a first name, we moved from one town to another and it occured to me that no one in the new town knew my name. So I decided to go by my middle name. Alas, my clever plan backfired. In the 10th grade, some punk saw the teacher’s name list and found out my real first name and I became “Dick Ed”. They never did find his body.
9. I think that Celine Dion is Canada’s revenge on the US for decades of acid rain.
10. I think we owe Canada a lot more acid rain now.
And this is my better half.