A Personal Letter From SAG
Here’s the honest deal, folks. I don’t know who I am. I don’t. I mean, if a person identifies themselves by their profession, then I guess I’m a stand-up comedian and writer, but I’m really much much more than just one thing. Actually, when I was younger, I wanted to be a teacher. And, I grew up in a showbiz family, in the midst of 1960’s Hollywood. That was my world. Groucho Marx duck-walking down the street, Halloween Trick or Treat doors opened by Lucille Ball, and kids leaving class early to be on the set. Since one of my hard-wired psychological precepts is to always try and be different and think outta the box, by not wanting to be in showbiz, that’s what made me different! But, you see, that’s where I go a little wacko. I do love showbiz and the arts, acting, writing, making people laugh and even helping others, which makes me look a little untrustworthy in certain cynical Hollywood eyes. I grew up with two of the most generous and creative parents and was exposed to the joy they got from being creative and helping others.
A few years ago, I had a well-known mental breakdown and was diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I was truly at the edge of continuing the desire to live; it got that bad. It was the lowest I’ve ever been and I do not wish similar circumstances upon anyone; not even my most brutal of enemies. It was pretty horrible. But, two things got me out of it. One, a bicycle, provided by my brother-in-law and, Two, therapy. Therapy and a bicycle literally saved my life, and I was lucky enough to have one of the best therapists you could find. (The bike was adequate!) I was lost at the bottom of the deepest darkest pit, looking up towards a distant and dim light, and I needed to reach out in any way I could. It started on Facebook. I was literally posting, “Going to jump off the building in two days!” Of course, some people thought I was kidding. I wasn’t. I was screaming for help. The outpouring of support from people I’ve never met, from across the globe, was just staggering. Looking for something, some way, to literally climb out of my very deep hole of depression, I came up with the idea for The Laughter Foundation. Although we’re still not an official 501(c)3 yet, we have quite a few dedicated followers and hope to produce more fundraisers in the near future. We can help comedians in need and incarnate the dream of a world-class museum to study and exhibit the art, history and science of Comedy. There’s a lot we want to accomplish. It’s a long road. At least we have a roadmap.
I am not ashamed to say that I had a mental breakdown. I was temporarily mentally ill, “mental”. When you tell people you had a mental breakdown and, “now you’re okay!,” people kinda look at you funny, especially people in Hollywood, which is quite ironic, when you think about all the nut-cases who run that asylum. Friends, colleagues quietly turn their back. I know; I experienced it, time and time again. But, others, the real friends, who are together enough in themselves and genuinely have hearts of gold, they came and offered me some of their time, conversation and the occasional lunch. My buddy Ritch Shydner summed it up best, “In Hollywood, failure is a contagious disease. Nobody wants to get near you.”
Help me out here folks, by simply trying to understand that I am not defined by what I was; only what I am now and what I want to be in the future. Both my mother and father were summarily and repeatedly rejected from employment and were constantly robbed by savage non-creatives. And, what did they do? They went on to create great original things, and my family benefited by their accomplishments. My father, with five basic patents, and raising a million dollars on an invention, taking it to the be the second highest selling stock; and my mother, turning a two-room little school house into a ten million dollar business, graduating and finding employment for over 35,000 students. How could I not be entrepreneurial? They were, and remain, such an inspiration. But, they were also both frustrated Showbizzers, which is why they took the brace off my legs and pushed me into television at age 5.
The Jerry Lewis thing must be addressed. It has loomed over my life for over ten years now. If you want to know what the hell I’m talking about, here is a link. Suffice to say, there is supposedly, “a film in development, based on my life and how it led to Jerry Lewis collapsing and nearly dying on my watch.” It’s heavy and very funny stuff, and I’ve written extensively about it online. It seems to be an inextricable marker in my life and shall remain so until I’m long gone. All I can say is that I was trying to help a charity, help some friends and honor one of my childhood heroes. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned. To Jerry Lewis himself. I know you’re ashamed of yourself. But, I wholly exonerate you; after all, you were my childhood idol. I win.
I do and attempt a lot of different things and I’m not ashamed or particularly more proud of any one of them. They are all equal parts of me, which I think help make up the totality of not just who I am, but who I’m trying to be. A better person. A more complete human. These days, I’m kinda getting known as a really good writer. I just got my own radio show. I still write comedy reviews for The Jewish Journal online. It’s all good. I got a couple of secret projects on the boil down in Hollywood and planning big things for The Laughter Foundation. Thank you for visiting my website and please check out my blog, Enjoy the Veal and Facebook friend me if you like. And, please tune into “Stage Time With Steven Alan Green,” Mondays 10am-Noon Pacific Time. And, if you miss it live, it’s available as a podcast download.
Just remember, talent can make you nuts, but being nuts, doesn’t mean you’re talented. And, for the record, I’m just a little more nuts than most.
Steven Alan Green
San Francisco, 4/7/13