Jonathan Ames is a writer, boxer, storyteller and, most recently, the creator of the HBO series, "Bored to Death." His books include "The Extra Man" and "Wake Up Sir" and the collection of essays, "The Double Life is Twice as Good." Ames is a frequent performer at the storytelling group, The Moth and has appeared in boxing tournaments as "The Herring Wonder." A graduate of Princeton and Columbia Universities, he lives in Brooklyn.
Question: Has it been difficult adjusting to working in television?
Jonathan Ames: I’m recognized more on the streets because of HBO. I did a “Making Of,” In which I am interviewed quite a lot. Not unlike the way I am sitting her now. There was also a tour of Brooklyn, Jason and I went on a tour of Brooklyn. So, I was very visible and I think my red beard, which I’ve had for a year now, people notice its. So, policemen stop me on the street. Initially, I thought maybe he thought I was drunk, it wasn’t, but I had just tripped when he said, “Come here.” But it turned out he was a fan of Bored to Death. A fireman stopped me; some other people have come up and said, “I love your show.” So, there’s been more of that. People had recognized me from my books, but there’s definitely been a slight increase in being recognized.
My personal life hasn’t changed that much. I still live very frugally, although I did buy a new bed. I had the same bed for about a dozen years. I seem to be picked up and taken in cars more often. You know? And maybe being involved with a TV show – when you’re writing a book, it’s just you and the pressure of the world is just on you, or you feel the pressure of the world, or one’s own self-involved universe. But here, I do have a lot of people involved and a lot of people that I want to please. You know the actors with the lines I write, HBO with the stories I’m coming up with and to justify their investment. So, in my personal life, I do feel there is an increase in pressure, but there are also greater rewards and I might as well try. I’ll try, and if I fail, I’ll be in a lot of pain, but there’s – as I’ve said before, I have the crème fresh of problems. These are good problems to have.
Recorded on: November 4, 2009