CITY: Los Angeles
Steve Agee is best known for his roles as Steve Myron on the Sarah Silverman Program and Outside Dave on Fox’s New Girl. Steve was also a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live and has done voices for such animated shows as Bob’s Burgers (FOX) and Adventure Time (Cartoon Network). I met with Steve one chilly morning in May 2013 in a friend’s beautiful apartment in Hollywood. I was telling Steve that my husband and I were buying an R.V. and would soon be living on the road and how well this suited us because we were always moving anyway. We talked about places to see and I said we planned to travel around the U.S. and Canada, and maybe Mexico. This is where our interview began.
Steve: I’m never going to Mexico again, ever. I went surfing there with friends when I was eighteen and we got held up at gunpoint. I was forced down to my knees, and three guys held machine guns to my head while they screamed at me.
Emma: Oh no! Yeah, that’s why I said maybe Mexico. I always hear horror stories like that about people from the U.S. traveling down there, and that even the cops are crooked and will rob you.
Steve: Oh yeah, the police will pull you over too and take your money. We used to put most of our money in our socks and keep about five dollars in our wallets so that when they pulled us over we’d just give them what we had in our wallet.
Emma: Yeah, maybe I won’t go to Mexico after all. I hear too many horror stories like that. That’s terrible!
Steve: Canada’s not like that though.
Emma: Ha, no it’s the opposite.
Steve: I went to Canada for the first time a couple of years ago and I loved it.
Emma: Where did you go?
Steve: I went to Novia Scotia. A friend and I stayed in a cabin for ten days to work on a script. There was no electricity and no running water; we got our water from a well. It was right on a lake and we would go swimming every day; it was so fucking fun.
Emma: And what a great place to go write, because you’d have no distractions.
Steve: Yeah, no distractions, there was nothing to do except hike, swim and write. Then we went to Toronto around the end of August and I loved it there too; it has all the best parts of New York City and none of the shitty parts. It was so clean there; everyone was so nice, not aggressive at all. I was scheduled to go for two days for the Toronto Film Festival but stayed for a week. I kept telling people, ‘I think I could live here.’ Then they would ask, ‘How are you in Winter, okay with snow?’ And I was like, ‘Oh that, I hate snow.’ And so everyone told me, ‘You could never live here, it’s colder than New York.’ It’s so nice though. You would love it.
Emma: Yeah, I’m looking forward to exploring Canada, and I did really love living in New York City. Cold weather doesn’t affect me negatively, but I understand a lot of people don’t want to deal with it, or they get the seasonal depression and that’s no good. But what’s funny is I haven’t been back to the West Coast for a long time and packed shorts and t-shirts and I’m freezing! I forgot how cold it gets out here, especially at night and in the mornings. Even when the sun is out there is a cold breeze. I guess it depends where you are in the city; we’re a little closer to the ocean here. But yeah, it’s cold!
Steve: It is and I hate how when you tell people you’re cold and they’re from New York or Chicago or something they always say that it isn’t cold. But I’m like, ‘Fuck you, it’s cold! If you were here and it’s in the 50′s at night you still wouldn’t be wearing a tank top and shorts; you’re the one who chose to live in Alaska.’
Emma: Ha. I’d like to check out Alaska too, though I’m a little scared of not knowing where to go.
Steve: Afraid of being eaten by a bear?
Steve: That’s what I was afraid of in Novia Scotia. I actually heard from people there that there are wolf/coyote hybrids that will attack you.
Emma: Did you ever see or hear them at night?
Steve: No never. I never heard wolves or bears or anything.
Emma: Yeah, something that’s always scared me about camping is bears.
Steve: Yeah, bears are terrifying. There’s no way to escape them; they run fast, they climb trees. I once went to a wedding in Montana that was in the center of the state on a lake, very remote. We all stayed in a lodge where there was no phone service, no internet, out in the middle of nowhere. It was really beautiful, but there were grizzly bears all over the place. If you wanted to go hiking you had to take this stuff that’s like mace or pepper spray for bears.
Emma: Hmm, maybe I’d just stay in at the lodge, catch up on some reading.
Steve: Ha, yeah I just stayed in the lodge by the fire.
Emma: I guess out here in California you have mountain lions and bears. Have you ever seen a mountain lion out here?
Steve: I’ve never seen a mountain lion, but I have seen a bobcat and those are terrifying too.
Emma: Yeah, any wild animal is unpredictable.
Steve: I worked at a summer camp that had a wildlife center, and in the center they had two mountain lions; they were horrifying. I was afraid to go in there because they’re just so huge and powerful. Also, lying in your cabin at night you could hear them make these noises that sound like a woman screaming.
Emma: Wow, I’ve never heard that. I can only think of hearing small cats outside your window at night mating or fighting, and that sounds crazy.
Steve: Yeah, just imagine that times a thousand.
Emma: I think that’s where all of our ideas of demons and monsters come from.
Steve: Definitely, mountain lions.
Emma: Yeah, hearing lions screaming and bears growling outside at night, while we’re hovering in our caves and imagining what the hell these things are out there.
Steve: Ha, yeah I get nervous of coyotes just hiking around Griffith Park.
Emma: Sure, when you hear them, that’s the time to head home. Have you seen coyotes a lot in Griffith Park?
Steve: All the time. I live near there, and I remember our neighbor’s dog got killed by a coyote. She had a little Pekinese or something and she was going door to door crying and telling people to lock up their animals at night.
Emma: I heard a story a couple of years ago and can’t remember the source, so it could very well be an urban legend, or I was just drunk at a party, in which case I also wouldn’t remember the source. But a man was telling me he had been hiking out here in L.A. somewhere near Eaton Canyon in Pasadena or Wildwood Canyon in Burbank, and he was up on a trail alone when he heard lots of high-pitched barking. Thinking it might be coyotes he started to turn back down the hill, but it turned out to be a pack of feral Chihuahuas! They chased him barking, and he just started screaming and ran down the hill. I hope it’s a true story, either way it should be in a movie or something because it’s kind of perfect.
Steve: Ha! That definitely needs to be in a movie. I remember one season I worked on a show called Road Rules on MTV that took place in Mexico. In the show the kids flew down to Mexico to get their RV, but they had to get the key to the RV. That was one of the first challenges. They were sent to a huge bullfighting ring, and they’re all really terrified thinking that they’re going to have to fight a bull, or something. So these six kids are standing in the middle of the ring and the gates open and a hundred chihuahuas come running into the ring. The dogs are all crazy and hyper and they each have a ribbon around their neck with a key. So these kids have to catch the chihuahuas and get the keys off them. It might be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
Emma: That’s amazing.
We take a break from the interview. I get some coffee and open the window while we talk about where he’s been living for the last couple of years.
Emma: I remember that funny picture you took where your friend put a banner up in his backyard that said “Steve Agee is an asshole,” and you could see it from your house.
Steve: I was just telling someone else about that. That was my friend John. He and I were at brunch one day and I told him that when I’m driving home I can see his whole backyard from the road. He said he didn’t know that; we both left and I went to run a bunch of errands. Then he called me and asked if I was driving home yet and I said no. Then he asked me, ‘When you’re driving home, can you take a picture of my backyard? I wanna see what it looks like from up on top of the hill.’ And so I said, ‘Yeah, no problem.’ And so I’m driving home, and he had bought huge white sheets, put them up in his backyard, and spelled out in letters like ten feet tall ‘STEVE AGEE IS AN ASSHOLE.’ It was fucking amazing. And he did that in like an hour.
Emma: I love that! That’s so funny and that’s such a lot of work to do in that short amount of time!
Steve: Oh my God. I know and he had to hike up into his backyard, which is a really steep hill, to set it up.
Emma: That’s a true friend. On another note, what have you been working on lately?
Steve: Last year I wrote a pilot for FX with my writing partner based on my high school years in military school. That took up most of my year, and then FX passed on it.
Emma: Ah, that sucks.
Steve: Then I did a pilot for NBC a few months ago and we’re still waiting to hear about that one.
Emma: Have there been projects that you’ve done with your own funding that you’ve been able to complete? Is that something you could do with these projects when you can’t find funding from networks?
Steve: No, I’ve never really done that except for my web videos. I always wanted to do a feature length movie. I mean, that is the cool thing about technology right now; we live in a time where if you want to badly enough you could really find the tools you needed to make a movie yourself. It might not look like a big budget movie, but then some people do have the skill to pull it off. When I was younger we didn’t have Final Cut to edit on, and growing up I didn’t know anybody that had a video camera. I recently heard that somebody made a movie on an IPhone.
Emma: I wouldn’t doubt it. I do know people who have made music videos from Iphones and with all of the apps like 8mm, etc. The effects available make it look pretty good.
Steve: Right. Right now the only thing really holding us back is laziness.
Emma: Well, yeah, having the free time and having the money to support that free time is also an issue.
Steve: For me the real issue is laziness.
Steve: I’m just really easily distracted, especially with social networking. I hate to admit that I’m 44! But I have this whole ritual in the morning of waking up, grabbing my laptop, checking Twitter, tweeting, checking Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, and then by the time I check the last thing on Vine, I go back to Twitter and to see if anyone responded to my tweet . . .. I can waste time doing that shit for hours.
Emma: Well, you’re not alone. That’s the time we’re living in now and it is totally addictive. The good thing about social media, especially when you are a performer is that it’s good self-promotion, a good way to stay in the public eye and to keep in touch with fans and other performers for opportunities, so there are good things about it. It just becomes a problem when it rules one’s life.
Steve: Yeah, I got on Twitter in the beginning when it was brand new and through a series of weird events, I got onto this list which was a very short list of people who Twitter would recommend that you follow when you signed up for the first time. There might have even been a function where when someone signed up they would automatically follow who Twitter suggested and if you didn’t want to follow these people you had to click a box.
Emma: Oh wow, so you were getting tons of followers.
Steve: I was getting tons, and after a couple of years I got up to over a million followers. At the time I was trying to write a script with a friend and was having no luck, because I was so distracted by this feeling of having to perform or jump through hoops for all of these followers. So one morning as I was doing that social networking ritual, I just said, ‘I have to fucking stop this.’ So, in a rash moment I just deleted my Twitter, and boom a million people were gone. The frustrating thing was afterwards my friend told me, ‘You could have sold your Twitter account to a company and made like $100,000.’
Emma: Really? I didn’t know that.
Steve: Yeah, because if you have a million followers and you just don’t want your account anymore you can give it to some big company like Nabisco or something and they will just change the name and then Nabisco has a million followers. I mean, I’m sure as soon as the people found out they’d delete the company, but still. So, after that I was kicking myself, but then I would have felt so shitty because that would have pissed off a lot of people.
Emma: Do you really think it would be that much? I’m not sure anyway.
Steve: Yeah, I’m not sure either but then a few weeks later I signed back up for Twitter and now I’m back at it again.
Emma: I know where you’re coming from. I’ve committed multiple suicides on social networking sites.
Steve: And Facebook is really hard to or maybe even impossible to delete.
Emma: Yeah, that’s freaky. I’ve definitely gone on and off of FB a couple of times but yeah, you’re profile is always still “there.”
Steve: That is weird.
Emma: Yeah, I’m not much into conspiracy theories or ultra-paranoid about the web, but sometimes you can’t help but think that so much of your information is out there for the public. Then again I think, ‘Who cares about me, you know? I’m not a threat to the government. I’m not doing anything illegal.’
Steve: You know what’s crazy is they just announced the new X-box and it comes with Connect, which is like a camera that watches your body movement to play the games. And now since the new X-boxes are always online, when you plug it in it’s always on; so there’s a camera that’s always on you in your house.
Emma: That is weird. I would unplug it or cover up the camera when I’m not using it.
Emma: Honestly I did that when I first got my iMac. I just put a sticky note over the camera. Ha. Maybe I am a little paranoid.
Steve: No, I did that too. There’s also the iCloud where you can back up all of your information onto an Apple server, which just goes up to a satellite somewhere. So ‘they’ have all my contact information, my browser histories, etc.
Emma: And your credit card information that you put into iTunes. It is weird. We’re all just hoping that nobody takes advantage of how out in the open we are now.
Steve: The credit card thing is kind of creepy because people could hack into the Cloud server. I had a friend in high school who was one of the only people I knew who had a computer. This was the 1980′s, hardly anyone had a computer and back then you had a modem and used your phone line. So, he and another friend hacked into TRW, which is a big credit card company and they got all of these credit card numbers. Then, they would order things through the mail and have them sent to an abandoned house so they could collect them. They did this for so long, and then one day at school all of these unmarked police cars and men in black suits and sunglasses came into the school to arrest my friends. What’s funny is that one of the guys now has a job working for some big computer company making millions of dollars.
Emma: Wow, did he put that on his resume?
Steve: Yeah, ‘I hacked into a major company and got credit card numbers, so you’re probably better off hiring me than having me work against you.’
Emma: My thoughts exactly, wow. Going back to social media, you and Adam (Goldberg) are superstars of Vine.
Steve: That’s really weird. Vine came out of nowhere for me. I remember I was in San Francisco this past January for a comedy festival, and I had seen a couple people on Twitter mention Vine but I hadn’t seen any videos and didn’t know what it was. Then somebody at the comedy festival showed me Vine and how you could edit on your phone and the videos were six seconds long. For someone like me who has such a short attention span, it was perfect. So I just immediately downloaded and was off and running. I took to it like a fish to water. I still love it.
Emma: And I love watching yours! They’re always so funny.
Steve: I think Adam is like on another level and I don’t know how he does most of the stuff he does.
Emma: Yeah, he was the one who told me to get on it and that he was having fun with it. Then he was like, ‘OK Emma, I’ve made two feature length films on my own and no one has seen them. Now I make 6-second videos on Vine and I’m getting press.’
Emma: But you know it still is helping to promote you and your work, both of you. And hopefully people with longer attention spans will go see your films and T.V. shows.
Steve: Yeah hopefully. For awhile the only people I followed on Vine were fellow comedians who I knew in the entertainment industry, and then I started looking at who they were following, people who I didn’t know about. There are some incredibly talented people out there doing Vines that just make me feel stupid. For instance, there’s a guy in Kuwait I’m not sure of his username but I think it’s Pinot; the first one I saw of his, he had his camera on a tripod and it was set up in front of his window. Then he did this stop motion where he was drawing on the glass of the window. He was drawing those AT-AT walkers from Star Wars walking on the window, which looked like they were walking through the city behind the glass so it looked three dimensional. It was crazy and so cool. I’m just doing this dumb shit with masks and stuff.
Emma: No, I love your videos! Everyone does their own style.
Steve: It’s such an unforgiving app too because if you fuck up and you’re two to three edits into it already, you just have to start over from the beginning. So you have to think that what you see is probably the 10th or 11th try at something. I just imagine Will Sasso in his living room alone doing that lemon spit take over and over until he gets it right.
Emma: Oh yeah, I love him too. Also, do you know Riff Raff? He’s a rapper but he does these really hilarious Vines.
Steve: I’ve heard of him, but no I haven’t seen him. Just the other night I met with Marlo Meekins, who is another amazingly funny person on there, and she also was saying that I should follow him on Vine.
Emma: Yeah, you and Riff Raff are my go-to’s for something funny.
Steve: Adam’s are like little Hitchcock movies. He uses techniques that I just don’t understand. I’ll watch his videos and they’ll seem longer than six seconds; there are so many edits with music playing over them in which there don’t seem to be breaks in the music, so it’s timed out really well. It’s so good.
Emma: Definitely, he’s super talented and meticulous. We used to play music together for years, and people are always so surprised to learn that he’s a talented musician as well. But I do always love your videos, always so funny and I remember loving the old ones you used to have on MySpace, you know back when we first met. In fact, the way I was introduced to you was by Sarah (Silverman) telling me, ‘Oh you have to meet my friend Steve, he makes these hilarious home videos of himself doing things like jerking off to Batman.’
Steve: Ha, those videos got me a job on her TV show actually. And they are the most crass, horrifying videos; stuff I’d be afraid to show my parents. When Sarah wrote her TV show for Comedy Central she wrote the part that I eventually played for me, but I had never acted really so Comedy Central didn’t want to hire me because they didn’t know who I was. They told her I had to audition and Sarah said to them, ‘Really, he doesn’t have to audition. Just give him the part.’ So they said they’d at least like to see some video of me, so Sarah called me and said put all of your videos on a DVD and send them to Comedy Central. I think they just finally got tired of arguing with Sarah.
Emma: Was it difficult for you to act for the first time on a major show? You seemed very natural.
Steve: It was natural. It was basically playing a version of myself : an idiot stoner who plays video games all of the time. The only difference is that I was gay on the show. It was the easiest gig I’ve ever had and the most fun I’ve ever had. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since.
Emma: You’ve been acting since then.
Steve: Yeah, I have a recurring part on that Fox show New Girl with Zooey Deschanel where I play a crazy homeless guy, the kind of part that I seem to audition for a lot is either homeless or crazy. Then I did the NBC pilot and am about to shoot a pilot with Diablo Cody for TBS that will be a late night talk. Diablo would be the host and I would be the Andy Richter style sidekick.
Emma: That sounds really cool! Will there be a certain theme to the show or interviews?
Steve: I think it will be a pretty stock format. As of right now I think it will be on one night a week, which is a really good schedule for me.
Emma: Ha. Well I hope that works out!
Steve: Yeah, so lately I’ve just been doing a lot of auditioning and still doing stand-up.
Emma: I know, I just saw that I missed your doing stand up at the Meltdown Comic Book store close to here. I wish I would have seen that!
Steve: That is the best place to do or see stand-up in L.A., I think. It’s stand-up every Wednesday night and they get every top name comedian coming through there. And it’s a really small room; it’s always sold out and always packed with people who want to be there. It’s not like how sometimes you’ll do shows at a comedy club and you’ll get people in the audience who just decided to go to a comedy club and don’t know your material at all. But the Meltdown shows are always an appreciative audience. The last stand-up I did before that was an HBO comedy special where I opened up for Sarah (Silverman); that should be coming out soon.
Emma: That sounds awesome. What led you into comedy? Were you writing first or doing stand-up?
Steve: When I was a kid I loved stand-up comedy. When all of my friends were buying music, I was buying George Carlin and Richard Pryor albums. I was obsessed with it but I never really knew that it was an option to go into that as a profession.
Emma: Did you go to college and major in anything in particular?
Steve: Yeah, I went to college when I was around 18-19 and got a degree in art, in painting. While in college I tried a few open mics and they went all right, but then I had one really bad show because I got booked on this urban stand-up night and I was the only white comedian there and I just bombed. It was horrible. I was around 19 or 20 at the time and it was just so humiliating. After that I was like, ‘I’m not doing stand-up ever again, fuck this.’ So I stopped doing stand-up and comedy and started focusing on music, and that was the reason I moved to L.A., to play in a band and I played in a few different bands for awhile.
Emma: Where did you come to L.A. from?
Steve: Riverside, California.
Emma: You played bass right?
Steve: Yeah, and then my bass eventually got stolen, and I took that as a sign to get back into doing comedy. So I went to a show at The Groundlings and thought it looked fun; then I started to take classes there for a couple of years and got back into doing comedy that way. Then, that roughly lead to writing, which lead to working on reality shows, and then I met Sarah while I was doing a play and we became friends. When she started dating Jimmy Kimmel she knew that he was looking for someone to do research for his show and by research it meant watching TV all day looking for funny clips. So for the first three years I was at Kimmel I was just watching TV all day.
Emma: Wow, that would drive me crazy.
Steve: It was really rough. It’s hard because you have to watch so much shitty stuff; so it was kind of a bummer. But I stuck it out because I wanted to be a writer and they eventually hired me. I was there for about a year and then Sarah’s show got picked up. So yeah, it’s been a weird series of events thats led to now. I get asked by people who are trying to get into the business a lot, ‘How does one become a comedian’ and I just answer I don’t know. You can take ten comedians, ten actors, ten musicians, and ask each of them how they got where they are now and they would all have a different story.
Emma: I mean basically you have to figure out what you want to do and do it.
Steve: Yep. If it’s stand-up that you want to do just start going to open mics, listen to stand-up albums, write jokes every day even if they aren’t funny just to get into the habit of writing. If it’s acting you want to do then take acting classes, make videos with your friends, just always keep practicing and moving forward.
Emma: Do you keep a journal with you all of the time that you write in?
Steve: Yeah, I have a notepad in my car, in my backpack, a shitload of them in my house. Sometimes it’s horrible because I’ll have notes all over different places and I don’t know which notebook they’re in. One time I went to do a stand-up show, grabbed a notebook and when I got to the show I realized it was the wrong notebook and just had some shot lists for a video I was making and I was thinking, ‘Oh fuck, I don’t have any jokes in this book.’ So now I keep them on my notepad on my phone just in case I’m somewhere and asked if I’d like to do a set, then I can just do it if I have a minute to look up some material on my phone. Which reminds me, I have this recurring dream where I always go to Largo to see Sarah perform and when I’m in the green room someone will say to me, ‘Hey someone dropped out do you want to open for Sarah?’ I’m always like, ‘Yeah, sure do you have a piece of paper so I can write out a set-list?’ Then, as soon as I get the pen and paper I can’t think of any of my jokes and it’s just stressful and frustrating. I’ve also heard you can never read or write words in dreams.
Emma: Definitely, it’s hard to do anything logical, words and numbers you just can’t put them together. I guess the left side of our brain is shut off when we’re sleeping.
Steve: That makes sense. And I’m just looking at this piece of paper and they keep coming in ten minutes, five minutes and I’m just thinking, ‘Okay I’ll just go out there and see if I remember anything.’ So I just walk out and I can’t see the audience, because there’s a bright light in my face and I’m just standing there for thirty seconds and apologizing and confessing that I don’t have my jokes with me. Then I hear the audience start shouting, ‘Booo. Get off the stage. You’re wasting our time.’ It’s just the worst.
Emma: I have those same performance-anxiety dreams of not being prepared at all, though for me it’s music. Also, it’s funny that you brought up recurring dreams, because I’ve asked a lot of people whom I’m interviewing for this issue what they have recurring dreams about, and you beat me to it!
Steve: I had another dream that’s kind of funny and similar to the stand-up dream where I was with my friend John who knew these boys in a well-known boy band, and they were playing a show here in L.A. at something like the Universal Amphitheater. He’s like, ‘Come on dude, let’s go,’ and so I said, ‘Okay, I have nothing else to do.’ So we go to the show and we’re backstage before the show has started, and the boys tell us that their opening act cancelled. Then John said, ‘Oh, if you want, me and Steve will open for you guys.’ In real life John is a writer not a musician so I thought he was just joking. Then he said, ‘Yeah, just give me an acoustic guitar and we’ll play some Neil Young songs.’ And again, I thought he was joking like, yeah we’ll play Neil Young songs before the boy band goes on. So I go to my seat, which is in the very back of the amphitheater, and I’m wondering to myself where John is. Then all of a sudden the curtains open and he’s on stage sitting on a stool with an acoustic guitar in front of thousands of people and I’m like, ‘Oh fuck, he wasn’t joking!’ Then he says to the audience, ‘I’m waiting for my friend Steve to come and sing with me.’ So I jump up and I’m running down the theater to the stage and I finally get on stage and he starts playing the intro to “Old Man,” and again I can’t remember the lyrics so I grab my phone, and he’s just vamping on the intro while I’m searching on my iPhone. I apologize to the audience saying. ‘I’m really sorry I forgot the lyrics, I just need to look on my phone one minute.’ And again I can’t see the words on the phone but this time the audience is being very nice and supportive, shouting out things like, ‘Take your time dude, it’s okay.’ I just can’t make my phone work and so, eventually, just throw my phone down and am like, ‘Fuck it,’ and run away. Then people are chasing me and trying to help me and asking me to come back, and I’m just running away and John is still playing “Old Man” on his guitar.
Emma: That would be another great scene in a movie. Two guys playing Neil Young songs before a boy band goes on!
Steve: I also have those frustrating dreams where you’re trying to run and just can’t, you’re moving your arms like you’re running but just can’t. Which reminds me, I had a funny dream recently where I woke up laughing. I was running a race and there were different checkpoints that you had to reach. You had to race the other people to a spot where there was an official who would tell you where you had to run to next. So we started the race, and I ran to the first checkpoint and then the official said, ‘Okay, now you have to run down to La Cienega and Beverly and when you get to the Chevron station you’ll get your next clue. So I ran down there all out of breath with a group of about ten runners and the official is standing there with his clipboard and we’re all waiting to hear where the next checkpoint is, and he starts talking to us. Then, I look down and my friend comedian Matt Berry, who is on his hands and knees in front of this official sucking his dick. But he’s doing it just to make me laugh and he’s looking at me and smiling at me while he’s doing it. I started laughing so hard that it woke me up and I just laid in bed for like twenty minutes laughing about it.
Emma: Ha! That’s insane.
Steve: Then, I thought I have to write Matt and tell him about this dream because it’s so hilarious, and as I’m emailing him I’m thinking wait, this is just weird, he isn’t going to think this is funny.
Emma: Did you send it to him?
Steve: I did and he did think it was hilarious.
Emma: Good! I thought he’d get it.
Steve: Sometimes when I’m falling asleep, I’ll start laughing. It’s not a loud laugh but more of a weak kind of relaxed exhaling laugh as I’m falling asleep. It used to really freak out my girlfriend at the time.
Emma: Ha! Well at least you’re laughing and not screaming in your sleep!
Steve: Yeah. We actually did an episode on the Sarah Silverman show where Jay Johnston, who played Laura Silverman’s husband, would laugh in his sleep. So when he laughed Laura would use the opportunity to tell him jokes, and it would make her feel good about herself that she was so funny. Then she started her own talk show in the bedroom and she put a desk at the foot of the bed and would tell jokes and interview people and Jay would just be lying in bed laughing like a sidekick.
Emma: Ha, yes, I remember that one. Did you write that or was that based on your experiences of laughing in your sleep?
Steve: No, I actually never told the writers, it was just a coincidence.
Steve Agee is an actor, writer, and comedian who lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Photographs and Interview by Emma Kathan