INTERVIEWS

SUBSCRIBE | ARCHIVES

Adam Lisagor

Who are you and what do you do?

From the official bio: “Adam Lisagor resides in Los Angeles in the thanks-God gentrified neighborhood of Silver Lake, which he believes lends him hipster cred and allows him to cling to the illusion of his dwindling youth. To make money, he edits and creates visual effects using digital technology for the soulless motion picture and advertising industries. ‘Visual effects’ is not to be confused with ‘special effects’ which, in industry parlance means dropping comically-oversized pieces of fruit on people. Also, trick photography.

He has a tumblelog called lonelysandwich, a Twitter account, also (confusingly) called lonelysandwich, and takes part in a new and enticing podcast called "You Look Nice Today: A Journal of Emotional Hygiene" with his friends Scott Simpson and Merlin Mann, both of whom he met ostensibly by being dumb on Twitter, but actually by hounding them via email for many months until they finally warmed to his ice-breaking tactics. Never give up, people.

Also, some day he hopes to start a company of his own. Something in computers or something. Like for the Internet, where people can just chill out and share feelings.”


How did you get to know hotdogsladies and scott simpson?

I was running on the treadmill one day (I was working on Wall Street in 1985 and that was still the thing to do) and I heard a guy called Merlin on a podcast for 43 Folders that was really short, really tight, really nerdy and really funny. You know, nerd funny is funny on a different scale of funny than actual funny. But this ‘Merlin’ was funny even on a non-nerd scale of funny. And I thought to myself, “This guy is suprisingly charismatic, insightful, personable and really funny for a nerd with a podcast. Plus, he talks really fast, which is nice.” Then I dropped my iPod on the treadmill and it totally shot right off the back and everyone goes, “Ooooh.” So I started paying attention to other stuff Merlin was up to, and I printed out any picture of him I could find and put a little scrapbook together, which - I don’t even think I know where that is anymore just kidding it’s sewn into the lining of my jacket. Then I started a Twitter account, decided to use it for making mouthfarts rather than status updates, and Merlin somehow smelled my mouthfarts and the smell resonated with him. I have a huge amount of respect for Merlin as this spokesperson, this handsome, knowledgeable, easygoing, handsome ambassador of the Internet. If the Internet had a face with an enormous masculine jaw, it would look like Merlin Mann. And the jaw would be cascading style sheets.

Scott Simpson I noticed because I was intimidated by the style represented in his Twitter icon. He had a cool cap and oversized spectacles like a rapper and his Twitter was really aloof and brilliantly funny and original and full of all these tropes like “B-minus titles for love songs about my kids’ bowels” and I was hardly less intimidated when I found out the icon was actually a picture of his 3-year-old son. I also knew him because he’s friends with Jesse Thorn of The Sound of Young America and the Maximum Fun empire and if you know me, you know that the one thing I like more than Scott Simpson is Jesse Thorn. So when Scott smelled my Twitter, I flipped out, natch.

All the rest of it is behind-the-scenes stuff that’ll eventually be dramatically recreated for the stage.


Why did you guys decide to start a podcast?

The three of us had talked very briefly and noncommittally about doing some sort of project together. A couple months later, by chance, Bobby Andersen, kid-genius of Pixel Implosion suggested on his Twitter that the three of us do a podcast. In this town, when Bobby says do a podcast, you do a fucking podcast.

So we recorded some test episodes, and pretty quickly it was clear that each of us would have a role to play: Merlin would be the funny one, Scott would be the smart one and I would be the not funny one. Or Scott would be the witty one, Merlin the famous one and I would be the straight man - that is to say, I’d just sort of keep quiet except when I’m laughing. Or maybe Merlin would be the clown, Scott the thinker and me the one with glasses. Sometimes, we switch it up and Merlin plays Figurehead, Scott Team Captain and me Dead Weight. Regardless, it was decided I should be the one with little or no self-esteem, and I’m okay with that.


Has the response been good?

Bobby hasn’t said to stop yet, so I guess so. I say that as if I’m entirely nonchalant about the feedback, which is a lie. Let’s just say it’s been tracking high among certain demos. Let’s also just say there’s been some interest from Canada.


Who are your musical influences?

Bach. A little bluegrass, a little Spotnicks, but pretty much just Bach. Everything else is shit.


Where does “lonelysandwich” come from?

If you’ve ever seen the 1990 movie “Awakenings” with Robin Williams as neurologist Oliver Sacks, you’ve seen where he sits in on a bench in a solarium, eating a sandwich while contemplating and being sympathetic. That image has always evoked so much emotion in me - the image of someone sitting (or standing) alone, eating a sandwich, just thinkin’ ‘bout life - I always want to cry when I see that. Even if they want to be alone, I want to cry, happy tears even. And I have no idea why it works this way, so I figured something of so much mystery and profound effect must make a good name for a stupid website with clips of 90s TV commercials.


Anything else we should know about you?

There is nothing else about me. Wait, what are you insinuating? Are you trying to find out if I’m Jewish?

Potato?

Kabbalah. Wait, is this word association? This interview is making me sleepy.

If you could put any two people in a cage where only one can come out, who goes in, and who comes out? from Bill

Alan Alda and Adam Hann-Byrd (‘Fred Tate’ in Little Man Tate) would go into the cage. I think they’d have a lot to talk about. Alan Alda would come out because he seems like a really decent guy.

THIS INTERVIEW IS OVER