Tuesday, October 22, 1996

Mark Harmon

Harris: We welcome to the guest line actor Mark Harmon, who you know from his work in movies like The Presidio with Sean Connery, and Stealing Home with Jodie Foster, and Summer School, a great Carl Reiner comedy and, of course, from his years on St. Elsewhere, and now on CBS TV's Chicago Hope, Monday nights at 10 o'clock as Dr. Jack McNeil. Good morning, Mark!

Harmon: Good morning, Paul!

Harris: Welcome to the show. How is it to be back on TV playing a doctor again?

Harmon: Well, it's more than that. For me, it's nice to be on a show as quality driven as Chicago Hope. I am enjoying playing this character a lot and I like this job a lot, so I feel like I'm a lucky guy.

Harris: This is two quality driven shows for you, because St. Elsewhere was certainly in that category. I guess from your perspective, working on it, it was also a great show.

Harmon: Well, you know, it's a lot easier to do good work when you have good words to say and work with good people. I have found that out over the years.

Harris: They throw an enormous amount of medical jargon at you guys, and the same thing with the guys on ER and all of these shows. Is that tough to learn? Do have to get a medical dictionary and study that?

Harmon: Yeah, absolutely. It's like a different language, but at Chicago Hope they have a technical staff that works real hard to make that comfortable. They will work as hard on the stuff we do in the O.R. or on the operating field as anything. There are actually rehearsals separated from the rest of the show to perform that and try and make that as realistic as possible.

Harris: Do you ever get to something in a script where you're going, "Orthrokorofssibm...can't we make this an appendectomy?"

Harmon: Absolutely. We actually have read-throughs of every script before every show. Usually at those read-throughs, no one has had the time to go back and break down what the terms are, so normally when we get to those in the read-through, everyone in the room is going, "Gabrobermaplasm...."

Harris: Have you ever had people come up to you and think you are a real doctor?

Harmon: I have. (laughs) Actually, I have this little out-patient clinic in the valley that I operate now.

Harris: (laughs) That's the problem with being a doctor on TV. People probably see you in an airport or something, "You know, I have this problem with my arm...."

Harmon: Yeah, and the frightening thing is, you start to think you can fix them, which is really a mistake.

Harris: (laughs)

Harmon: I guess it's a compliment. It means that people think what you are doing is real.

Harris: Right. Mark, I have a listener on the line here. Her name is Laurie and she has a question for you.

Laurie: Hi, Mark. You are a great addition to the show. In the spring, I won a prize to have a walk-on part on Chicago Hope.

Harmon: You did?! When are you going to do that?

Laurie: That's what I wanted to talk to you about, because we're trying to figure out a time to go. I pretty much have till next April.

Harmon: How did you win this?

Laurie: There was a launch for the Catalog For Giving, and Peter Berg, Noah Wyle, and Samuel L. Jackson were part of the group to help sponsor it. There were five different prizes and I won first prize, which was a walk-on part.

Harmon: That's great. So sometime in the spring, I'll meet you there.

Laurie: I would love to. I was going to say, you can do knee replacement, hip replacement, anything you want.

Harmon: Maybe because Peter was involved in this they will have you working with him.

Laurie: Who knows.

Harris: I think what she's saying, Mark, is that she would like to have you give her a full examination.

Laurie: Exactly! That would be very exciting, and I wanted to know if there was a certain time that would be good? Should we go in November, December?

Harmon: I don't know. Whatever they say, Laurie. I was going to say when I asked where you won this, it is tough to get on this set. People don't walk on and tours don't come through, and rarely are walk-ons given. So that's great. Good for you. Whenever they say it is good for you to come.

Laurie: They have said whenever I want to come.

Harmon: Then pick a nice time to come visit Los Angles when it's a little colder over here.

Laurie: Also, I'm pregnant and I am early on. Do you think it would be better to do it when it is early?

Harmon: Is this your first child?

Laurie: Second.

Harmon: Second. You know how you're going to be feeling in the months to come, so you figure it out.

Laurie: All right. Well, I'm very excited and I hope to get the chance to work with you. It's not a big part on the show, but it's very exciting.

Harris: "The chance to work with you." I love that, Laurie. Mark, I think you might be delivering that baby if that's what she wants. Okay, thanks Laurie and good luck with the walk-on. When it happens, you'll have to call us back and tell us how it went!

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones

Wednesday, October 16, 1996

Jake Johannsen

Harris: Welcome back to the guest microphone old pal, comedian Jake Johannsen. Good morning, Jake.

Johannsen: Good morning, Paul.

Harris: It's good to see you, it's been a while. Last time I saw you, you and I were backstage at some comedy club talking about you in L.A. and the whole TV community.

Johannsen: Yeah, I thought I was going to get to do a TV show. I'm on the Letterman show and the Tonight Show all the time, so not like that. I thought I was going to get my own show.

Harris: The "Jake Johannsen Show".

Johannsen: Wouldn't even have to be called that.

Harris: Could be "Jake!"

Johannsen: Could be "Hi, Chuck." I could have another name. I'm not one of those guys that has to have my name. In fact, I would rather obscure the issue and have another name on the show so that if it doesn't go, another guy gets blamed.

Harris: (laughs) So you don't have to be like Tony Danza, where on every show, "Hi, Tony!" is all he can handle.

Johannsen: Right. That is the problem with those shows. I like TV shows. Actually, I've been having so much confusion getting my own show, that I'm thinking now that the fastest way to show business is really the police academy, because then you can be on "Cops".

Harris: Oh, you don't mean the "Police Academy" movies, you mean the actual police academy.

Johannsen: Yeah, train to become a police officer and then really shine when the crew of "Cops" comes with you in your squad car. A lot of people bad-mouth "Cops" and first of all I think those people have not really tried "Cops". If you it try, you'll see. I love "Cops" because I personally have never gotten drunk, and taken off all of my clothes, to fight the police. That's the best thing about "Cops." In every episode there is a naked guy, hammered, who wants to wrestle one of them. That's a level of self confidence that I don't think I will ever attain.

Harris: (laughs) No.

Johannsen: Just think about it for a second. You're drunk, you're naked, you're outside... got it? You see two cops coming towards you and your first thought is, "All right. I can do this...", you know? What are you drinking to wash away, "Go in the house"? They never go in the house. It's always, "I'm glad you're here. She started it!" Trying to explain to the cops, you lose a lot of credibility with the police once you are naked. I don't know if you understand that whole concept. I was watching "Cops" one time, and it was a naked guy in a barber shop. Some kind of special, they were having naked haircuts or something. I don't know how you wind up with a naked guy in a barber shop.

Harris: And you do not want to know.

Johannsen: He just walks in, "Do I have to make an appointment or am I next?". But they've got him in the barber shop, and you don't see what happens ahead of time, you just see what happens once the police are there.

Harris: Right. There's no prelude. It's not a Quinn Martin episode. You just go right to the plot.

Johannsen: Usually it just starts with a guy on the radio taking a call. "Yeah, we'll be right there. We just have to drop off a glove." That's the L.A. cops. So they're at the barber shop and they have this guy cornered in a back room, and you can't tell he's naked at first because just his arm shows as he's waving the police off, "Get away!!" "Sir we need to talk to you, you need to come out." "I won't do it!" "Come on, you're naked. Just come on out of there." And finally they wear him down, but he says, "All right, but then we're going to wrestle!!"

Harris: (laughs)

Johannsen: So they make a semi-circle around him, and his first move when he comes out is to get in this squat with his arms spread out. Really squatted down, like he's going to wrestle them. I guess when you're naked and it's cops, "go low" is what he's been trained. Because they will try and pull a crab move on you and you don't want to give the cops a take down right off the bat.

Harris: No. You end up in a half-nelson, and who needs that.

Johannsen: And that is still legal. So they pin this guy on the ground in a second, and then they start squirming around. Then he starts screaming in the camera, "Put it in the paper, put it in the paper," like he doesn't even get he's on TV Forget the paper. That's not a newspaper machine they are aiming at your head right now. So then he tries to get up off the ground, which is probably the best part and it happens all the time. The guy is drunk, he's naked, he's on TV, and there are two cops on top of him... but he has a plan!

Harris: (laughs)

Johannsen: "I'm just gonna get up, get dressed, act normal. I am okay!"

Harris: Do you think "Cops" is one of our greatest crime fighting features in America?

Johannsen: It is up there with "America's Most Wanted".

Harris: But at least on "America's Most Wanted" I can see criminals actually getting caught, people joining in the crime fighting effort. On "Cops" you just watch for pure entertainment. I don't think there is any crime fighting being done.

Johannsen: Well they're catching those guys drinking and being naked.

Harris: Not exactly the FBI Most Wanted list. You never see their posters at the post office.

Johannsen: Yeah, they're not really the tough guy criminals who are wanted for life. You watch those shows and you worry about crime a lot. Do you have the LoJack thing out here where if it's stolen you call the police and they set off a thing in the car and they can find it?

Harris: Yes, right.

Johannsen: Now they have a thing in Los Angeles where you can have that in your dog. In case your dog is stolen, the police can turn on the LoJack and find right where your dog is, and a lot of times these dogs are being stripped for parts down in Mexico. So sometimes they get there and it's too late.

Harris: (laughs)

Johannsen: The LoJack for the dog is just catching on now.

Harris: Uh-huh.

Johannsen: I really think it's a great product.

Harris: That has got to make the cops really happy, "Oh, jeez, Fido's out again!? Tell you what, we're not sending out a helicopter. We'll send out a paper boy to look for him."

Johannsen: I have been reading all about crime. Did you know on death row in some states you are allowed to choose your form of execution? You can decide what you want.

Harris: What are the options?

Johannsen: That's what I was thinking. Are you allowed to make up your own? Because gas chamber, electric chair, firing squad... those are all pretty bad. I think I would choose to be tickled to death by supermodels.

Harris: (laughs) I don't think that's an option.

Johannsen: I don't know why everybody wouldn't choose that.

Harris: It's that or lethal injection... I don't know.

Johannsen: Yeah. I always say tickled to death by supermodels.

Harris: Do you know when they give you the lethal injection, they put alcohol on the spot on your arm before they give you the shot?

Johannsen: Yeah, they don't want an infection. That would be bad.

Harris: "It's getting all puffy, we can't do the killing now."

Johannsen: I'm not really a criminal. I can't remember the last crime I committed. Do remember any crimes you committed?

Harris: Probably when I was a kid I shoplifted candy or something.

Johannsen: I'm not very much of a crook. Here's a job that I heard about, "Daredevil." And I love the sound of "Daredevil" so much that right out of college I thought that I would become a Daredevil, but...it's really dangerous. I mean, they get you up there in that plane and you are supposed to jump out, head first, on fire! It just scares the hell out of me. It sounds so good, but a lot of the stuff they do, you could get hurt badly. So that is why I dropped out of the whole training program. It really is more than you think it is going to be.

Harris: You walked out, rather than dropped out, because that would be too dangerous.

Johannsen: But a lot of jobs out there are kind of bad. I have been looking for new businesses to get a little extra money. In San Francisco I was walking around and I saw a business that was a combination head shop, magazine stand and mail box place. You can have your mail delivered right to the head shop. I don't know about that. You don't want to come in for your mail and hear, "Oh...we smoked your mail." You don't want that.

Harris: "We don't get mail here... what are you talking about, man?" No, you probably want somebody more lucid then that.

Johannsen: A little more lucid than that. Have you been to Las Vegas?

Harris: I was there a couple years ago.

Johannsen: It has changed a lot. They are building all these new casinos. They are trying to make it appeal to kids.

Harris: It's the family fun place, Jake.

Johannsen: Now is that a little freaky to you?

Harris: Yes, totally.

Johannsen: I think they are actually working on ways that kids can gamble, where you could take your kids and they could accidentally lose all their candy or toys. They could bet their toys. "Timmy, what's the matter?" "I lost the Superman doll." "Aw, that's too bad." "I doubled down. I shouldn't have doubled down."

Harris: Well, why should parents be the only ones to experience the thrill of losing everything that's important to them.

Johannsen: That sensation of driving back in a van to the midwest, no puzzles, no coloring books, everything is gone. You're completely cleaned out.

Harris: "I hope you learned your lesson, young man."

Johannsen: "I'll never gamble again."

Harris: "O.K., now on that Reno trip you're going to have to be much better."

Johannsen: "I'll be good."

Harris: (laughs) So what are your hobbies there, Jake?

Johannsen: You know, I'm a man of many talents and interests. But I have a house with a very small yard, and so I had a gardening experience a couple of weeks ago. I was putting in some dirt in my back yard to level out around where the patio is. So I went and I bought this soil at the hardware store. I bought top soil.

Harris: Yeah I love this. You already had dirt, but you had to go buy soil.

Johannsen: I had to go buy soil. You know what the difference between soil and dirt is? About two bucks a bag. So I bought this top soil and I brought it home and I thought, "You know what, I have a plant in the house that could use a little more soil."

Harris: Right.

Johannsen: So I took some of this soil and I put it in the plant in the house. Now do you know what the difference between top soil and potting soil is?

Harris: Uh, no, I don't.

Johannsen: Top soil has steer manure in it. So when you take it in the house, it releases an aroma that is really... let's just put it this way, you wouldn't want a steer in the house. So it really wasn't a good experience and my Iowa background didn't really serve me well in the indoor farming department. My whole house filled up with that steer smell and it kind of spooked my cat a little bit. I didn't like it.

Harris: Do they tell you on the bag that it contains steer manure, because before I put my hand in the bag, I would like that vital information.

Johannsen: Well, it's all sterilized.

Harris: It is still manure, though. I want that information.

Johannsen: There are so many things these days you can put your hand in with out warning. You should always be on guard and steer manure is really the least of your worries. I would keep it off your cereal, and other than that it doesn't bother me too much. Although now that you bring it up, I did put my hand in the bag. But I wash up. I hose down in one of those panic showers out by the garden, like they have at the nuke plant. Guys show up and scrub me with a plastic brush.

Harris: You really liked the movie "Silkwood" a little too much.

Johannsen: I like it a lot.

Harris: Being from Iowa, I would think you would be more comfortable with steer, because I'm guessing that at some point in your life you went out cow tipping. Isn't that a big thing in Iowa?

Johannsen: Sure, I know about cow tipping. The cow sleeps standing up, so you run up to them and push them down while they're asleep.

Harris: It's a big sport in the midwest.

Johannsen: It hardly seems sporting to me. Then they get mad at you and run at you. I don't know. I think you have to be pretty drunk to enjoy cow tipping to its maximum.

Harris: Well, sure.

Johannsen: I guess it's the look on their face that you go for. They wake up and it's already too late but they haven't hit the ground. It's like, "Uh-oh!" I never went cow tipping. Cows are not the brightest animals. I think that's why we domesticated them, because it was no fun to hunt them. You could pretty much hunt them with a hammer. You could just go right at them. "Hey, Jake, what's the hammer for?" "Nothing...BONK!"

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones.

Wednesday, October 09, 1996

Dave Barry

Harris: We welcome to our guest line author and columnist Dave Barry, who has a new book out that is both Windows and Mac compatible. It's called Dave Barry in Cyberspace. Good morning, Dave.

Barry: Hi.

Harris: Great to have you back on the show, it's been a few years. Last time, you and a bunch of other writers were in town with your rock n' roll band and you were playing at The Bayou. You and Steven King, and who else was part of that group?

Barry: Amy Tan, Matt Groening from The Simpsons, and a whole bunch of people.

Harris: Does the band still exist? Are you still rocking?

Barry: Well, sort of. There's not a tremendous demand for this band because we're bad. We are really bad. One of the authors is Roy Blunt Jr., and he came up with the best description of our music. We play "hard listening music."

Harris: (laughs)

Barry: We try to play songs that are so familiar to the American people that even when WE play them, the audience recognizes them eventually. About the 3rd verse they'll go, "Oh! They're trying to play Louie Louie!" Although, one time Bruce Springsteen played with us.

Harris: You're kidding!

Barry: No, I'm serious. We were at an American Book Sellers Association convention in Los Angeles.

Harris: The last place I would expect Springsteen to show up.

Barry: I know, but he did because one of the guys in the band...his wife was Springsteen's agent or something. I don't know. I turn around, our last song is Gloria, which is a very simple song. Anybody that's ever been in a garage band knows that if you pick a guitar up and throw on the ground, it will all by itself play Gloria. It is not a complicated song. Anyway, I had to go over to Springsteen, who was strapping on a guitar, my guitar, and say, "Bruce...do you know Gloria?" (laughs)

Harris: (laughs)

Barry: So I am one of the few people in the world who can say that I sang lead and had Bruce Springsteen back me up.

Harris: That's great. If Bruce can't pick up Gloria, he shouldn't pick up the guitar.

Barry: He can handle it, and we would have let him be in the band, but he never wrote a book.

Harris: (laughs) Well, the new book is very funny, and you have actually been in cyberspace for a while.

Barry: Yeah.

Harris: What was the first computer you ever had?

Barry: I had a Radio Shack computer way back at the beginning. It was called a Model 3, and God knows what models 1 and 2 were. It looked kind of like a toaster oven, but it was actually less intelligent. You could do more data processing with a toaster oven than you could with this computer. Basically what I could do is turn it on, and then later on, I could turn it back off. That was the main kind of activity I performed with it. So it was well worth the $2000 it cost. And it's been a long string of that for me ever since.

Harris: Now, of course, you are probably upgraded to Windows 95.

Barry: I got Windows 95, so like most of the American public, I can now simultaneously play solitaire and another game while I'm supposed to be working. That's what we call multi-tasking, and it has really changed my life. I am able to waste time faster than ever before thanks to Windows 95.

Harris: That's great. Do you do a lot of internet surfing?

Barry: Yeah, I do get on the internet. One of the things I talk about in the book is the various bizarre web sites. Have you guys seen some of the stuff that's out there?

Harris: Sure, and we have our own homepage.

Barry: Of course you do. You and Bob Dole and everyone else in the human race.

Harris: By the way, our address is also www.BobDoleBobDoleBobDoleBobDole.com!

Barry: Dot ORG!(laughs)

Harris: Right.

Barry: You know, I wasn't sure whether Bob was giving his web address at that point or having some kind of seizure. "ORG!" Anyway, there are some incredible web sites. There's a web site devoted to The Captain and Tenille, did you know that?

Harris: No!

Barry: It's really good because it lists their personal appearances, which means that if you plan your life properly, you will be somewhere else when The Captain and Tenille perform.

Harris: You can surf the net and hit them, and then make sure you never run into them in real life.

Barry: I just don't want to be there when they do Muskrat Love. I guess you guys get a lot of requests for that, huh?

Harris: Yeah, it's #1 on our countdown every year.

Barry: And Having My Baby. (laughs)

Harris: Oh, God. What else have you found on the net?

Barry: There's another site that teaches you how to curse in Swedish. It's a complete course, and what's wonderful is not so much that the words sound pretty funny -- you can click on the words and hear them pronounced -- but you can also learn Swedish curses, with the English translations.

Harris: Get outta here.

Barry: This is my favorite Swedish curse...get ready now with the dump button..."Just wait till I get rid of the plaster!!"

Harris: (laughs)

Barry: It's an actual Swedish curse.

Harris: Wow! You really have pissed somebody off when you say that!

Barry: Can you imagine two Swedes ram their Volvos into each other and jump out with those words! Those are fightin' words over in Sweden.

Harris: That is the sort of stuff that would make Robbie Alomar spit! Oh, man. Do you have your own home page, Dave?

Barry: Actually I do, but I don't know where it is or what it is. Really, I'm serious. They made one in connection with this book, but I don't know the address. I have never quite understood what you are supposed to do when you get to a home page. There are billions of them, and I spend a lot of time clicking on them. You guys have a home page...what's there?

Harris: Archives of our show and transcripts of interviews. This one will probably end up on there.

Barry: So it would really be worth while going there, huh?

Harris: Well, I wouldn't go that far.

Barry: (laughs)

Harris: It's the sort of thing where if your golf game locks up on you and you need something to do, this would be a good place to go.

Barry: Yeah.

Harris: Well, as I said, your book is very funny. It's always a great pleasure having you on the show, Dave.

Barry: Well thanks for having me, Paul!

Copyright 1996, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Rhyan Jones.