I guess it’s fitting that this interview is also my 400th post, considering what good (air) buds we are. I first met Nate at an audition for an improv troupe, which is really embarrassing. There was already someone named Nate who had introduced himself, but that Nate also said he liked to be called “Duke”, like some sort of psycho. I mean seriously, who gives themselves their own nickname?! In an attempt to mock him, Nate Fernald then said he liked to be called “Lazer”, and the legend was born. Lazer and I started making jokes together, which turned into making funny videos, which turned into making our own two-man show, calling ourselves the “Poetry Dudes”. Lazer then transferred to a different school in Chicago and started a different two-man show which is wildly more successful than the Poetry Dudes. Yes, I do cry myself to sleep every night, thank you very much.
WolfMan: Lazer, may I call you Lazer? Lazer, can you tell me how you got the nickname “Lazer”? It’s quite unique, and I highly doubt there could be ANY story to explain this name that is anything less than riveting. Is it because you wore a lot of blazers, and people wanted to call you “Blazer”, but that sounded too much like the Portland Trailblazers?
Nate Fernald: It’s actually spelled “Layser” and I got the nickname because I was always carrying around a bag of Lays potato chips. Originally, people called me “Lays Master” because I was very cruel and domineering when it came to sharing said ships. But the name kept getting shorter and shorter. First they called me “Lays Master” and then “Laysaster” and then “Layster” and then finally it became “Layser.” And yes, I still have all my chips.
WM: Who is your favorite member of the Portland Trailblazers? I’d have to say mine was Clyde “The Glide” Drexler. Are the Portland Trailblazers still a team anymore? I think the last time I followed basketball, everyone was really excited about the Raptors playing. No, not the Canadian team, I meant when those real dinosaurs started playing!
NF: I don’t have a favorite Portland Trailblazer, but I do have a favorite Portland Trailblayser, and it is Kyle Chips. The Trailblazers are still a basketball team, but the Portland Trailblaysers are no longer a chip gang.
WM: You are one of the founding members of the comedy duo known as “Team Submarine”. In fact, you constitute an entire 50% of the original lineup! How did Team Submarine get started? How did you guys settle upon the name “Team Submarine”? Is it because of all the time you’ve spent with seamen?
NF: I would like to think I’m closer to 65% of the original line-up Team Submarine, only because the original incarnation of Team Submarine was me and a pair of legs that were somehow able to operate without a body attached to them. Eventually the legs stopped functioning (as legs are wont to do!) and then Tyler Wolf-Arms introduced me to Sleaze O’Brien. And we called ourselves Team Submarine because one time we tag-teamed (as in three-way-intercoursed) and submarine.
WM: HAHAHA, DID YOU GET MY JOKE?! When you say “seamen”, it sounds like “semen”, which is a code word for sperms. You have a short film based around spermy’s, don’t you? You even got a cab driver to let someone pretend they were humping a box in the back of his cab. What are some of the differences in how you approach writing or creating a short vs. how you write or create a bit for your live show?
NF: I just got your joke! And I laughed so hard that I came, which somehow added even more depth to it.
When I write/create a bit for stage, it’s usually more straight-forward. Just words and stuff that people can hear and understand. But when I write a bit for film, it’s usually something that involves things you can’t do on stage, like go in a taxi cab or hump a machine. Most bits are meant to be for stage, but sometime you write one where it’s like “This isn’t possible to do on stage!” and then you put it on film.
PS, still laughing/cumming over that seaman joke.
WM: You’ve been able to go to quite a few random towns throughout the country because you of and all of your yuk-yuks. Are there any particularly interesting shows that you’ve had that have caused you to think, “HOLY SHIT, I’M HERE BECAUSE OF YUK-YUKS!”? Also, sidenote, did I punctuate that last part correctly?
NF: I have been to places that I would otherwise have no business going to. We perform at a lot of colleges, so sometimes you get sent to places in the middle of nowhere and you’re like “I didn’t even know this place existed!” And then the show is over and you’re like “Hey folks, what is there to do in this town? Wanna have some fun!” and they’re all like “Go to bed, dude.” And then I got to Pizza Hut.
Sidenote – here’s what I say about punctuation: I got what you were saying, and if the reader GETS IT, then you MUST have done it right. Hey, tell me if this punctuation makes sense:
WM: You have Team Submarine, but you also seem to spend a lot of time blogging some of your funny thoughts, as well as posting funny yuk-yuks on your Twitter. How much time do you spend each day trying to think of yuk-yuks for these two internet thingies? Are there times where you tweet something and then immediately wished you had saved it for your blog, or vice versa?
NF: I don’t spend too much time thinking about twitter and my blog, because when I’m like “I’M GONNA TWEET/BLOG SOMETHING AWESOME TODAY!” then I end up making something shitty because I’m forcing it. YOU CAN’T FORCE ART (but you can force farts). Whenever a yuk-yuk comes to mind, I’ll tweet it. But if it is longer than 140 characters, I’ll turn it into a picture and post it on my blog (which is mostly pictures).
WM: When I contacted you for this interview, you made sure to tell me to include another project you’ve been working on, which is your FartTown website (www.farttown.biz). What the fuck is THAT all about? I mean, it’s a funny name, but am I missing something? Who is this “Boogerman” that you are encouraging folks to contact? Why did I just use the word “folks”?
NF: FartTown.biz is the company that I am founder/CEO/CFO of. It’s a leading Internet brand that will help change the way we communicate. Also, I’m getting business cards made for it. That way, when someone is like “Can I have your card?” instead of being like “Sure, here’s my boring card” I can be like “Here’s this weird thing that will make you think I’m a creep. SEE YA!”
WM: You’ve always been a huge proponent of the physical commodity of music, whether it be CDs or tapes of vinyl. I don’t really share your feelings in the realm of music, but have similar feelings when it comes to DVD or Blu-rays. Consider this my offering of a pedestal for you to rant and rave about how kids these days are ruining music with their MP3’s and iPods.
NF: I’m all for the iPod! I love the iPod. It’s great when you’re on the go. But here’s the thing with digital product – people care about it less. Really! It takes less effort to get, and then just gets lost on your hard drive amongst a bunch of garbage and pictures of boobs. Also (generally) CDs and LPs sound better than mp3s. When I am at home and listening to music, it’s just a much better feeling taking something off the shelf and being like “THIS is what I’m going to listen to!” and then you put it in your player and you listen to it and you look at the cover, and the liner notes, and just have THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE. Otherwise, if I’m on my computer I’ll just be like “Let’s try shuffle! SKIP. SKIP. SKIP. SKIP” and never actually listen to anything.
But if you’re just a casual listener of music, mp3s are great. I am all for them. But I think people should pay for them, or at least some of them. But that’s a whole ‘nother thing for a whole ‘nother time.
WM: Lastly, is there any shit you’d like to talk on me before we part ways? Any upcoming shows or projects you’d like to promote? Here’s your chance! If you can dream it, you can believe it!
NF: WOLFMAN WORE REALLY BAGGY PANTS WHEN HE WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.
I guess I’d like to promote all my sites:
Yeah, well, I’m sure Lazer wore some pretty embarrassing things in high school, too! I don’t know, probably corduroy pants or a San Jose Sharks hat or something. That’d be embarrassing! Oh yeah, and I just remembered that the last time we saw one another, Lazer brought up the fact that he tried wearing a blazer for a few months. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure he attempted wearing multiple blazers. Not at the same time, just tried a few different styles. It was very Maroon 5 of him. Please oh please I hope he doesn’t read this and bring up the things I wore in college. Anyways, that was post 400, so here’s to 400 more! Oh Cthulhu, can you imagine another 400 of these? Hopefully I die before that happens.