Friday, February 28, 1997

Clarence Clemons

Harris: The man that Bruce Springsteen is leaning on on the cover of Born To Run and who he leaned on for many years -- and often many nights kissed smack full on the mouth -- Clarence Clemons joins us now on the guest line. Hello again, Clarence.

Clemons: Hey, how ya doing?

Harris: I'm doing great.

Clemons: What a way to start the day, man. You got me going now.

Harris: Was it the song or the kissing that got you going?

Clemons: Oh, a little of both I guess.

Harris: [laughs] That was the album that really busted you out in '75. Now, I've always wondered about your sax stuff. Did you write your part or did Bruce give you charts, and say here's what I want you to do?

Clemons: Charts?? We don't need no stinking charts! [laughs] No, it came from the soul, man, it comes from the heart.

Harris: So Bruce would come in and play the song for you, and then you'd go and put your stuff together?

Clemons: There you go, buddy. That's how it happens, that's the magic of it all, that was the magic that happened. When we came together we just did it and it was great. It always came out good

Harris: And it surely did. Did you ever trouble remembering which solo you were supposed to do in which song?

Clemons: No, no. Because each song is so different they became a part of you, and so that's just how it works. It's like you don't forget to put the right shoe on your foot.

Harris: That's a very good analogy. So now you're doing a lot of TV stuff. We see you as Big Barry on Nash Bridges, and I was watching UPN about a week ago and I saw The Sentinel. I went past it and thought, "Oh, it's a bunch of people in an elevator. Hey! Wait a second! That's Clarence!"

Clemons: [laughs] You know I've had a lot of my friends say the same thing, that they didn't know it was on and kinda flipping through and said, "Wait! Wait! Go back, go back, go back!"

Harris: So I watched it for awhile, and it's you and a bunch of people trapped in an elevator, like an extortion plot or something like that, but I'm watching it because you're in it. And I'm thinking to myself that must be torture because I know when you're doing TV or film, you don't just go in and shoot for the hour show. You're there all day.

Clemons: It took 16 hours a day for 3 days to do that.

Harris: All in an elevator?

Clemons: In an elevator. Now every time I get on an elevator, I check who I get on with. I make sure they don't have a briefcase. If they've got a briefcase, I get off and catch the next elevator.

Harris: I would think that that would affect you for a while.

Clemons: Yeah, well, it's acting, you know.

Harris: But does it get claustrophobic at all when you're doing that?

Clemons: No, because one side of the elevator is gone so that the camera can get the view. So it wasn't as claustrophobic as it seems. But there were three different elevators and three different sizes, so we switched elevators now and then so it was different.

Harris: Well you looked good on there. The acting bug is really catching up now and you're enjoying it?

Clemons: I'm loving it and there are some really nice people involved in the shows. It's a great thing.

Harris: Are you writing stuff too?

Clemons: Yes, I'm writing. I'm trying to get, I want to write a Nash Bridges series, but I have a couple scripts, well a few scripts that I'm shopping around right now.

Harris: I'm surprised that you haven't started to score some of these things, too. I would think with your musical background you would maybe get the band together and....

Clemons: I don't want mix it up. I want to keep the acting thing separate from the music thing.

Harris: Doing one thing at a time?

Clemons: Yeah.

Harris: Are you still going to go out on the road? I know you toured with Ringo a couple of years ago. Are you going to do that again?

Clemons: I don't know I was asked to do it but I haven't heard from him in a while. Hopefully I will get the "big call" soon. I don't know, I don't want to start any rumors or anything cause I haven't heard anything.

Harris: You just got everyone all excited! You can't say the "big call" like that. You get us all pumped up. Three people just started lining up at US Air Arena!

Clemons: [laughs] That's funny.

Harris: Do you talk to Bruce?

Clemons: I talked to him quite often. As a matter of fact, I am waiting to talk to him again real soon.

Harris: Well, you gotta tell him to stop doing this Ghost of Tom Joad folk stuff and put together an E-Street album, for god sake. I know he won a Grammy the other night for that, but we won't see you guys back together.

Clemons: Yeah, me too!

Harris: That's all you're gonna say on that huh?

Clemons: Yes! [laughs]

Clemons: You know I'm not in to that part of the music business I'm into the doing-it side, the creating-it side.

Harris: Gotcha.

Clemons: So that part doesn't really excite me. It's more exciting doing it live.

Harris: Well, you're going to be doing it live at the Bartenders Ball here in town at the Sheraton Washington tomorrow night for us.

Clemons: I'm really looking forward to that. It's kinda of a combination of a Bartenders Ball and a big band bash altogether, so it's going to be a lot of fun. It's always fun to get back to Washington and see the old friends, remember the old days. Cause we kinda cut our teeth there in Washington, you know? That was a long long long time ago.

Harris: This was one of your home away from homes for a long time.

Clemons: Certainly was, and I grew up right down the street in Norfolk, so it's like coming home.

Harris: Let me get the plug in here. Clarence is going to be playing with Steve Smith and The Nakeds -- man, there's a good band!

Clemons: Yes, sir!!

Harris: You know who is opening for you, by the way?

Clemons: No, I don't.

Harris: Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

Clemons: Right, right. I haven't seen Mitch in a long time so it will be good. This is going to be fun!

Harris: You gotta get up and do Good Golly Miss Molly with them.

Clemons: Yeah! That's going to be so much fun.

Harris: That's the Bartenders Ball, tomorrow night at the Sheraton Washington. The tickets are on sale and you get Clarence Clemons with Steve Smith and The Nakeds, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, two other bands, 32 open bars, a dinner buffet, and the best thing about it is it raises a ton of money for 6 local charities. If you want details you can call us. Clarence, thanks for being on again, and enjoy the weekend!

Clemons: Thanks, Paul, always good to be on with you. See ya!

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Craig Glenn.

Tuesday, February 18, 1997

Carl Lewis

Harris: Joining me now is Olympic legend Carl Lewis, who is so fast he can do two things at once. One of them is his new book, which I understand is like a diary of your Olympic year last year, right?

Lewis: Yes. We started January 1st and we did it in diary form, a feeling of the entire season. It was interesting even for me because a diary can be therapeutic, and for me to look back at it to see some of the entries in January and February was interesting as well.

Harris: I know you're bringing copies of the book to a charity event this weekend, but I heard a rumor about something and I wondered if you were bringing that along as well. I heard that when you made that unbelievable jump -- the one where in the qualifying round you were in 15th place, and everybody was saying "oh man, can Carl do it again?", and you literally jumped from 15th to 1st in the long jump -- that afterwards you went over with a ziplock bag and took some sand out of the pit. Is that true?

Lewis: Yes, it is. I just wanted to keep some of that because I knew it would be my last international-type competition. I took a little bit of the sand as a feature. Not knowing what I would do with it, but I took some of it.

Harris: Are you bringing some of it with you here?

Lewis: Yeah, some of that sand will be an auction item. That's one of the things I'm doing, were giving it away for auction. So I'm pretty excited. It's the first thing I've done with any of it.

Harris: That's very cool. Now let's go back to that jump. Again, you're thinking to yourself this may be the last time, I've gotta make this one count. But you had a long time to wait while all the other guys were jumping. What was going through your mind as you're sitting there or running around getting ready for that jump? What are you thinking?

Lewis: Well, really it comes down to two things, because I'm in 15th place, but the qualifying standard is a distance of 26'5". So I didn't have to worry about being in the top 12 to be a finalist. I just had to worry about jumping that far. So my main thing was concentrating on what I had to do to jump over 26'5". That made it simpler for me. I think if I had focused on trying to get into the top 12 it would have been more difficult. But it was a long time, you're right, because we had to wait for 25 jumpers to jump. I just kept thinking about...26'5"...26'5"...26'5"...and then of course I was able to jump further than anyone else.

Harris: Were you also thinking about Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who the night before had been kind of in a similar situation where she pulled her hamstring or something?

Lewis: The day before Jackie had had an injury and I remember watching television that night and they had one of those Enberg Moments about Jackie.

Harris: The Dick Enberg Moment.

Lewis: Absolutely. And I was like, "This is my night to be an Enberg Moment," you know?

Harris: [laughs]

Lewis: I wanted it to be tomorrow night, so that was going through my head, all these things were. But I just kept trying to keep the issues simple with this thing saying to myself, "Look, all you gotta do is jump over twenty-six five".

Harris: Right, and you don't want the last thing people remember you by for to be an Enberg Moment.

Lewis: Definitely not that night, the next night was okay.

Harris: Carl, what's it like now? You had been in training pretty hard for the Olympics and other major competitions for god-only-knows how many years and now you're away from it -- are you staying in shape or are you just hanging out eating donuts and kicking back with George Foreman?

Lewis: [laughs] Well, right now this is my last season. Of course I'm staying in shape to do that. But for me the off season stays very busy with traveling and a bunch of different things. Because during the season you cannot travel very much. I'm going to stay in shape. I mean I've always been fit so that's something I'm interested in doing.

Harris: You don't want to sit down and have a double cheeseburger? Come on, Carl.

Lewis: No, no. That's just because I've always tried to stay in shape and I like that, its obviously healthy for me as well.

Harris: Is there anything in the back of your mind that says "hmmm...2000...maybe...maybe I'll give it a shot." How old are you now Carl?

Lewis: I'm 35, and no, there is nothing in the back of my mind.

Harris: [laughs]

Lewis: I've gone long enough and now it's time, I think. For me it's more. I've had an incredible career from my perspective and it's been a lot of fun. But you can't. You can take really two choices: you can run until they won't let you in meets anymore or you can just say this is enough. I decided on the second. This is enough and it's been fun. I've been blessed, but there is a time when you just say "that's it," and we've made that decision.

Harris: Good for you. You certainly would be in that competition for greatest Olympian ever with the 9 gold medals. Let me ask you one other running question. Because you, like everybody else, must have been watching Michael Johnson in that 200 last summer. When he got that 19.32, what was your reaction?

Lewis: Well, it was an unbelievable race. There was no question about that. I haven't seen anything like that in a long, long time.

Harris: I know you're at 19.75, you're #5 on the all-time 200 list. 19.75, 19.74 and when Johnson blew it by four-tenths of a second faster than you had ever run, is there a runners reaction like, "Oh my god!"?

Lewis: Well, the fact that he had never run near that time in his career and dropped that far in one race shocked everybody. It was a fast race and it was something that surprised everybody, including him.

Harris: What do you think of the race he's going to do with Donovan Bailey, that big event they're doing up in Toronto in May. Donovan the 100 champ, Michael the 200 champ, who do you like in that?

Lewis: Well, it will be interesting, because they're both running races that obviously no one has run before, so it's hard to really tell. I think Michael has an advantage because he's run on the turn a lot more. But with track and field it's funny, you can look at things and you can head into things and all of a sudden -- BAM!! Something else totally different happens, so it's hard to really call, but I think Michael has an advantage.

Harris: Could you take him, Carl? Be honest.

Lewis: I really don't care. [laughs] Been there, done that. Let these other guys run and really enjoy themselves.

Harris: I know you've been involved in things with the Kidney Foundation and especially organ donor awareness. Aren't you Honorary Chairman of the Transplant Games?

Lewis: Yes, I've been involved in the Transplant Games since 1990, and the Wendy March Foundation for Organ Donor Awareness, and some other things for the Kidney Foundation. That's a very important issue. We have one of those situations where technology has surpassed human effort in a sense. Now humans need become more aware of donating their organs. We're not blaming anybody, it's just that people need to understand more.

Harris: Fill out the card and put it in your wallet.

Lewis: Absolutely. Our job has been just to create awareness to allow to people understand it more. If they understood it more they would donate the organs. That's what we're trying to do.

Harris: I know a lot of people would be happy to get your organs, Carl, man oh man.

Lewis: [laughs]

Harris: Thanks for joining me this morning, Carl.

Lewis: Thank you, I had a great time, Paul.

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Nicci Murphy.

Wednesday, February 05, 1997

Rob Becker, Defending The Cavemen

Harris: Joining us live in the studio today is Rob Becker, star of Defending the Caveman, which is playing at The Lyric in Baltimore this week and is coming to the Warner here in Washington for two weeks starting next Tuesday. It was four years ago this month that Rob was a guy who had just worked from Improv to Improv around the country. Then he started a six month run here in Washington and that is where things ramped up to the big time, wasn't it?

Becker: Absolutely.

Harris: Congratulations.

Becker: And it all started on your show.

Harris: Thank you, I take all the credit that I possibly can for that.

Becker: I was nothing. I was no one. I was selling used Kleenex by the side of the road. Then I went on Harris In The Morning and then everything started to happen.

Harris: [laughs] Well, thank you very much.

Becker: I made my first dollar right here.

Harris: Yes.

Becker: I still have it. Look. [laughs]

Harris: Rob has just finished two years on Broadway, and is now taking the show on the road. Let's go back to the beginning. Why are you defending the Caveman? What did the Caveman ever do that needs defense?

Becker: What it really goes back to is a party I went to where I ended up with a group of women. And we were talking about relationships and one of the women said "You know the problem with relationships is that when you get out of college its hard to meet men you can date. Because you don't want to date the guys you work with, and you don't want to date guys you meet in bars." And this other woman said "Oh no that's not the problem, the problem is when you meet them they're all a bunch of...."

Harris: Blank-holes.

Becker: Blank-holes, cantaloupes, yes.

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: I thought this was pretty amazing -- only because no one disagreed!

Harris: She says "Men are all blank-holes." And no one says anything?

Becker: I sat back and thought, man, there's going to be an argument about this! And it's almost if the first woman had said "The problem with keeping things up in the air is, there's gravity."

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: Cause all the other women sat there and went, "Oh, yeah, that's right" as if they had forgotten. And then the conversation moved on. So I went home and I was talking to Erin, my wife, about this and I told her about this theory I had which really came from junior high school. When I was in junior high school I had this friend named Michelle who lived down the street, and I would walk her to school everyday. She was pretty popular, so everyday we would pick up about five other girls and walk to school. So everyday on the way to school it was six girls and me. I was the resident guy. So everyday on the way to school they would pepper me with these questions, why does a guy do this? Why does a guy say something like that? What do guys think about this? And I would have to come up with answers. Then I would get to school and I was playing kickball. And the other guys would come up to me and say "You walk to school with them, right?" and I would go "Yeah." "What do they think about this? What do they say about that?"

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: So from an early age I had this idea men and women were two different cultures. That we make relationships differently, we have different customs and rituals that we use to make relationships. We use language differently, and so on.

Harris: Mm-hmm.

Becker: So I was telling this to Erin and then I popped out with this piece of my Defending the Caveman, show about the chip bowl. For example, in the woman's culture the custom is cooperation and for the man's culture it's negotiating. If you get six women around a bowl of chips 'n' dip and the bowl gets low, how many go?

Harris: They all go.

Becker: Every single one, it's a party train right in the kitchen. They go in there and they're making things, they're singing songs, confetti falls from the ceiling, there's a rumba line. Bom Bom Bom Bom Bom BA.....

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: It's cooperative.

Harris: Right.

Becker: You get six guys around a bowl of chip 'n' dip and someone says the bowl's getting low, nobody goes. You have to have a negotiation first. One guy says, "I brought the chips." "Well, I put them in a bowl." "It's my house." "It's my bowl." I've seen it come down to a tape measure.

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: One guy's half an inch closer to the kitchen, he's gotta go. And he know's he gotta go, cause he lost the negotiations.

Harris: Right. And everybody in the room understands that so there's no hard feelings.

Becker: Oh no, not at all. No one's mad. So the problem comes when you get mixed company. You get men and women together and someone says, "The bowl's low." Some guy goes, "Well I brought the chips" and all the women turn around and go "What a blank-hole."

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: And the poor guy goes, "Wait, I brought the chips and now I'm a blank-hole?"

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: I must have missed the meeting somewhere.

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: So I told her this idea and she was laughing and she seemed to understand. Right there I thought I would really like to write a show where I would explain men to women. And I began to write this show, Defending the Caveman. What I really believe is I think that when a woman does something that a guy would never do, we sort of expect that. We have this built in understanding that sometimes a woman is going to be beyond our grasp. They're beyond our limited scope of understanding. So men think women are mysterious. But when a man does something a woman would never do, they just think we're wrong.

Harris: [laughs] Absolutely.

Becker: I don't think we're wrong, we're just different!

Harris: Rob is bringing his show to the Warner Theatre, home of The Paul Harris Comedy Concert For Children's Hospital. As matter of fact, it was when Rob last worked at the Warner Theatre that I decided that was where I was going to put on The Concert.

Becker: Ain't that a great place!

Harris: It is the best venue in town, absolutely. And we got a call from a guy who just saw Rob. His wife took him as a birthday present to see Rob in Baltimore and he was just saying, "Oh, the show was great, I laughed hysterically, I didn't know what to expect, it was great." It is pretty much what people say on the way out of there. You're putting your elbow in your wife's or girlfriend's or husband's or boyfriend's ribs saying "That's us!!" Don't people tell you that all the time?

Becker: That's the most common, or you get the women who will say, "I thought my husband was the only guy in the world who does these things. I thought he was the only one in the world who would watch TV like that." I thought he was the only one who didn't like to shop or pull over and ask for directions.

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: And guys will always say, "Man, I've been trying to explain this stuff for so long to my wife or to my girlfriend. And I never knew quite how to say it."

Harris: It's cool to get those compliments isn't it?

Becker: Yeah, oh absolutely. You asked me before how I developed the show and it all comes out of the stuff that happens between me and my wife, Erin. Soon after I developed the idea about two different cultures we went on a date for our anniversary. We're driving out and Erin turns to me and she says, "Do I look nice?" And I look over and she's got a new hairdo, she's got new clothes on and she looks amazing. But I didn't say anything. Every guy knows if you get to that point where she actually has to ask you...

Harris: You're dead.

Becker: Yeah, you might as well turn the car around and go home.

Harris: Right.

Becker: "Yeah, you know, you look great!" And she says "So why didn't you say so?" Cause I was gonna. So she says "How do I know you really think so?" Because I just told you. She goes "But I had to ask!" Oooohhh no, let's go home.

Harris: Now you're dead.

Becker: You're dead. So we started talking about it. She said, "Why do you think that happened?" Look, plug the theory in. I think it's because when women get together they do that, they compliment each other. They're in the habit.

Harris: Instantly, it's the first thing they do when they see each other.

Becker: That's right. "You look cute." "So do you." All right, we're out of here.

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: Guys don't do that. You don't tell another guy, "Chuck, your butt looks good in those jeans, let's go."

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: She says, "Come on now if a friend of yours gets a new top, wouldn't you notice and say something?" First of all, we don't get tops, we get shirts.

Harris: Men do not refer to shirts as tops.

Becker: That's right.

Harris: Absolutely not!

Becker: Second of all, I have no idea with any of my friends what they own and what they don't own. If a guy got a new top I would have no idea.

Harris: [laughs] That's right.

Becker: Third of all, I hope the other guys DON'T notice. Because I'll be "shirt-boy" all day. "Who got a new shirt?" "I've got a new shirt." "Rob got a new shirt. Were all your other clothes on fire? Is that why you had to wear that shirt? What did you do wrong, your mom make you wear that shirt? Hey shirt-boy!" So you hope you don't get noticed. Guys dress not to be noticed.

Harris: Yes, and guys also live in a culture of insulting each other because we're friends with each other.

Becker: That's right.

Harris: Yeah, we don't have to go into the warm kind of huggy kind of mode. We can just say "Hey, how ya doing?"

Becker: That's part of the bonding. You find some other guy, you attack it and then he likes you for it.

Harris: [laughs] That is exactly right.

Becker: So you look at men's clothes, you go to the shoe store. Guys shoes are black and they're brown.

Harris: Right.

Becker: And they all look alike, so if a pair wears out you get another pair. The other guys probably won't even notice.

Harris: Never.

Becker: You go in the women's shoe store, there's colors of shoes there you've never heard of before.

Harris: Yep.

Becker: I remember I was doing a segment for Inside Edition. I had the women there interviewing me, and I took her to the shoe store at the mall and I picked up a shoe in the women's department and said, "See this color? There isn't even a name for it!" She goes, "Sure...that's creamy celery."

Harris: [laughs] That's a color?

Becker: I know! Where did you get that from? You know all about colors when you try to remodel your house.

Harris: Absolutely, we repainted a couple of rooms in the house and my wife had 3,000 little color chips out and she had to look at every single one. And there's four shades of orange that are not discernable to the male eye.

Becker: That's right, all the studies show that men are way less sensitive to color than women are.

Harris: Only the female eye can see the difference between these four shades of orange.

Becker: Eight percent of men are color blind and there are no women who are color blind. Every study shows women are way more sensitive. So if you talk to a woman you just can't say "Pink!"

Harris: No.

Becker: Guys know red, yellow, blue. With women it's "What do you mean pink? Is that more like a salmon or a coral or are you talking more like a persimmon, warm cantaloupe, aztec sunset?"

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: "What are you talking about? Is that a dusty rose, what is that, an ecru, is that a taupe? No that's more like a smokey taupe. It looks like turquoise. No, that's teal. It's like a sea foam, it's like a warm moss."

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: Oh my god, can't we just get green?

Harris: That's right. I just had lunch with a friend of mine last week who has had a moustache for most of his adult life. We're sitting there and halfway through the lunch he says, "You didn't even notice." [laughs] I said "What?" He said, "I shaved off my moustache!" Oh, yeah, you did. Why did you do that? I didn't even go....

Becker: You should do a cartoon, that would be a great cartoon where one guy got his head cut off and it's sitting on the plate. "Do you notice anything different about me?" And the other guy goes "What?" That's another thing all the studies show, that women have more memory, they take in more detail. You can put a woman in a room for five minutes -- they've done this study -- put a woman in a room for five minutes, then pull her out of the room and question her. "What was in that room?" She could tell you the wallpaper, all the details of the wallpaper. She could tell you what's on the desk, if the window had a crack, what the carpet was. You take the same room, take a guy, put him in the room, pull him out. He'll go "I'm pretty sure there was a floor, cause I didn't fall out."

Harris: "I think there was a chair."

Becker: "Yeah I was sitting in something! So there might have been a chair." What about the wallpaper? "Oh, there was wallpaper." What color? "I don't know."

Harris: Rob's wife and my wife have become very friendly over the past four years and they give each other gifts all the time and my wife can remember everything that Erin has given her. And if she ever wears it, she'll ask me, so it's like a quiz, "Do you know who gave me those earrings?" [laughs] Gee, I'm hoping like hell it was me. I have no idea.

Becker: The quiz thing, that's the quiz thing. "Do you notice anything different about me?" Every guy hates that, "You got a new haircut?" That's the first thing you say, "No, not a new haircut." No? Oh, man.

Harris: By the way, here's the safe one to say anytime: "You lost some weight, honey! You look great!" Okay, let's get back to your show. Defending the Caveman just set a record after two years on Broadway. What is it now? What is the official title? Cause I was up there a week after you officially got a street named after you.

Becker: That's right.

Harris: 44th Street, was it?

Becker: 44th Street. They renamed it Caveman Way.

Harris: Caveman Way, because at the Helen Hayes Theater you did how many shows?

Becker: 571 performances, the longest running solo play in Broadway history. I broke Lily Tomlin's record, and Jackie Mason's record, and also Mayor Giuliani proclaimed July 17th as Caveman Day.

Harris: Cool. How cool is that?

Becker: I gave the whole city the day off and no one knew. [laughs]

Harris: That's great. Let's talk more about the success of the show because people must have been coming to you and saying, "Rob, why don't you put this on videotape? Rob, why don't you turn this into a movie?" You and I have talked about this several times and I have told you not to do that while there is still milk in the cow. Right? Wasn't that my advice to you?

Becker: [laughs] Yes.

Harris: And what did you say when that guy wanted you to do it on video?

Becker: I just don't want to do it on video yet. I wanna do it live and in the theater and when I'm so tired and can't possibly do another performance live, then I'll put it on video.

Harris: Right.

Becker: Then I'll put it out on audio tape, I'll put it on CD, and I'll go door to door and eventually people will be running for their lives. "Here he comes again, get out of the way, run for your lives! It's that Caveman!!"

Harris: And in the meantime while you're doing it on the road, the show is still on Broadway.

Becker: That's right.

Harris: So now it's Rob Becker's Defending the Caveman starring The Commish.

Becker: Yeah, Michael Chiklis is now doing it on Broadway.

Harris: And how's that going?

Becker: It's going great. I think he's going to surprise a lot of people. He's very funny. I watched him do a rehearsal last week and he's great.

Harris: I he doing an imitation of you while he's doing the show?

Becker: No, no. He does it his own way, a little bit different, but it's the same show and he was really funny and it was really enjoyable to watch the show as a spectator.

Harris: The first time you sat there and saw someone else, Chiklis, go through the entire show which you wrote and you've been performing now for years -- not just four years ago here in Washington, but you did Dallas and San Francisco before that. So it's really been 5 or 6 years you've been doing the show.

Becker: That's right.

Harris: What was it like the first time you looked up and here's The Commish doing you? How weird was that?

Becker: The first few minutes I was sitting there going, "I would have done that line differently. [laughs] I would have punched this word more." And after a few minutes, all of a sudden I found myself just into the show and just watching it and about an hour an a half later it was over and I felt kind of moved. You know, I went through it like an audience. I had been laughing, and at the end I felt kind of moved and I kind of had a little lump in my throat and I thought, "Man, this is what the audience goes through. That's wild. What a good show!" [laughs]

Harris: See that's the feeling you should walk away with when you see someone else do it. You should be able to say, "Wow, I wrote something good and enduring here and it is going to be able to last now."

Becker: It was amazing to sit there like an audience and feel all those feelings. There were several points in the show where I felt kinda touched, kinda moved. And I was kinda surprised that this lump was growing in my throat a couple of times, and at the end of course....

Harris: Oh, the part at the end about the kid and the fort, definitely. Everyone in the audience is kind of like, "Whoa......"

Becker: Right.

Harris: Male, female, canine, doesn't matter what you are .

Becker: And I was right there in all those moments and I thought, "Wow, this is really interesting."

Harris: And the next thought you had was, "I am going to be SO RICH!!!"

Becker: [laughs] Back up the Brinks truck.

Harris: [laughs] "There is more milk in this cow than I thought. He can do the skim milk, and I can do the low fat milk!"

Becker: No, that's not what I thought. I thought about my artistic integrity. [laughs] And all about myself as an artist.

Harris: Right.

Becker: My creative force behind the show.

Harris: Yeah, speaking about artists, didn't these engravers do a good job on these $100 BILLS!!! [laughs] Anyway, one of the most essential points of the Caveman show is the "men are hunters and women are gatherers" concept, right?

Becker: Yes.

Harris: Now where did this start?

Becker: As I started to develop the show I wanted to find out the history of relationships. So I went to the library and did some research and it turns out that for millions of years men were hunters and women were gatherers. So we evolved with different instincts. For example, look what a hunter does. He narrows his focus to his prey, concentrates on it, and he can't be distracted. He blocks everything else out and he concentrates like that for days and days until he's killed his prey.

Harris: Right.

Becker: So over the course of millions of years, this is what men do now. They lock in on things. We focus on something, we lock in on it and block all the rest out. Like when we watch TV.

Harris: Right.

Becker: If I'm watching TV and my wife tries to talk to me I can't even hear her voice. I'm aware of a buzzing noise, and it's coming from outside the TV somewhere. And it's getting madder. Women hate this about us. It just drives them nuts. Every guy knows what I'm talking about here. She starts trying to talk to you, and it's almost like you have to pull your head across the room out of the TV and then you have to clear it out, so you're kinda almost shaking your head like an Etch- A-Sketch to clear off what was in there before.

Harris: [laughs] Right.

Becker: And then finally you turn and you're mad but you don't know why.

Harris: Honey, I've hit the mute button, now what is it you wanted.

Becker: That's right, you bark. And as soon as you bark you know you're in trouble. Cause you pull your head out and you're like "WHAT?!?" And your other part of your brain realizes, hey wait a minute I just barked. And as that happens you realize she's really mad now. You've taken so long to pull out of the TV, turn to her, and then you go "WHAT?!?", and at that point she says "Nothing!" BOOM!

Harris: And she leaves the room.

Becker: She's pissed because she thinks I'm choosing the TV over her. And I'm pissed because I've been called out of the TV for nothing.

Harris: Right.

Becker: Nothing! I was called out of the TV from Gilligan's Island! Or take reading the paper. This happens every Sunday. We say, "This Sunday, why don't we sleep late? We'll get the Sunday paper and we'll get some muffins and we'll just lay in bed and read." And I think, man, that sounds great, we'll read. We get the paper, we spread it out, and the next thing I know she's trying to talk to me. So I say, "What are we doing?" So she says, "We're talking." "No, we're reading!!!"

Harris: [laughs]

Becker: "We're not talking, we're reading."

Harris: The assigned activity for this morning, honey, is -- you'll recall from our meeting -- we were going to READ!"

Becker: Suddenly I realize she's talking and reading to me at the same time. She's doing both, while I'm putting my finger down going "What? What, what is it?" I can't do it all at one time.

Harris: Yeah.

Becker: We'll do the same thing when we drive, we lock in on the front of the road. A guy will miss his exits.

Harris: Yep.

Becker: And your wife says, "There goes your exit." "Errrahhh, what happened?" We lock in on the front of the road, we tend to lock in on things, and it makes the woman feel like she's being ignored. How often do you say, every guy in a relationship spends 10% of the relationship going, "Honey, I'm not ignoring you, I'm really not ignoring you.

Harris: I was watching the game, it was an important play, now what is it?

Becker: See, when hunters were going hunting they had to be quiet. It's a silent pursuit. And you have to be aware of the other guy. So we know that the women are there, we are aware of them, we can feel them in the room. We're just not necessarily able to talk at the same time we do something else. Because as a hunter you couldn't talk and hunt at the same time because you would come home with nothing, cause you would be scaring away the animals.

Harris: Right.

Becker: So conversation among men is very low on the totem pole as far as importance. You never hear a guy say to another guy, "Hey, we don't talk enough. How come you never call?" Women will call Erin to make dates to go talk. I ask where she's going and she'll say they're going to this place to talk.

Harris: Yeah.

Becker: If a guy calls me just to talk, I owe him money. While women on the other hand, when they were gatherers, they wanted to maintain conversation. In fact with everyone joining in at once, that's how they kept track of each other and they wanted to scare away the other animals. So for women conversation is like a lifeline. If you're not in a conversation it's almost like you don't exist. So we mean something totally different now when we say, "I'll call you." If a woman says she'll call you it means when she gets home.

Harris: Right.

Becker: If a man says he'll call you it means before he dies.

Harris: Rob, congratulations on all the success. I'm proud of you, and thanks for coming back in this morning.

Becker: Thanks for having me.

Harris: You know normally somebody steps on us on the way up and then they forget about us on the way down. But he's still at the top and he still remembers me.

Becker: And I'm still stepping...

Harris: ...on my fingers! Thanks, Rob.

Becker: Thanks, Paul.

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Nicci Murphy.