David Rakoff

  • Aired:  10/14/10
  •  | Views: 176,563

David Rakoff found out he had a tumor while writing a book in defense of pessimism and melancholy. (7:09)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT A BEST SELLING

AUTHOR.

HIS LATEST BOOK IS CALLED "HALF

EMPTY."

PLEASE WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW

DAVID RAKOFF.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

>> NOT MUCH THANK YOU FOR HAVING

ME.

>> Jon: PLEASE, WHAT HAVE YOU

BROUGHT FOR OUR AUDIENCE TONIGHT

[LAUGHTER]

>> I'VE BEEN EATING SO MUCH

CANDY BACK STAGE THAT I'M ABOUT

TO BURST INTO TEARS.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: ONCE AGAIN HILARIOUS

BOOK.

THERE'S A WARNING ON THE BOOK:

NO INSPIRATIONAL LIFE LESSONS

WILL BE FOUND IN THESE PAGE.

IT TURNS OUT TO BE TRUE

ACTUALLY.

>> Jon: TELL ME ABOUT THE

PHILOSOPHY OF THE BOOK?

>> THE BOOK IS MEANT TO BE A

DEFENSE OF PESSIMISM, MELAN

COLLIE, ALL OF EMOTIONS A SELF

SELECTING GROUP SHALL WE CAN

JUST CALL THEM JEWS --

[LAUGHTER]

-- MIGHT FEEL IS THEIR SORT OF

BASELINE.

>> Jon: DID NOT SEE THAT

COMING.

[LAUGHTER]

>> THE BASELINE -- THE BASELINE

WAY YOU WOULD SEE THE WORLD

TURNS OUT TO BE AS VALUE NEUTRAL

AS HAVING BRORN BROWN EYES.

OPTIMISM IS BROAD BASED

NONDETAIL ORIENTED THINKING.

>> Jon: I'M PESSIMISTIC BY

NATURE BUT OPTIMISTIC BY FORCE.

I FORCE MYSELF TO GO THROUGH

HISTORY.

I HAVE P, RELL BUT I REALIZE 200

YEARS AGO WE POOPED IN THE WATER

WE DRANK.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Jon: SO I LOOK AT IT --

WHAT I DO IS I DEAL WITH MY OWN

NEUROSES AND TRY TO PLACE THEM.

>> THE ONLY THING THAT GIVES ME

HOPE RIGHT NOW IS THAT THINGS

ARE CYCLICAL.

THAT GIVES ME HOPE.

>> Jon: REALLY?

DON'T YOU THINK PEOPLE IN

ANCIENT TIMES, BUBONIC PLAGUE

THEY DON'T HAVE NEUROROTTIC

PEOPLE THEN.

I MIGHT GET THE TYPHOID.

NEUROSES IS A LUXURY TO SOME

EXTENT.

>> I THINK THE MORE PESSIMISTIC

PEOPLE STAYED ILLUMINATING

MANUSCRIPTS OR MAKING

TELESCOPES.

>> Jon: TO MAKE SURE THERE

WERE NO ASTROIDS GOING TO HIT

US.

>> EXACTLY.

>> Jon: WAS YOUR WORLD VIEW IN

ANY WAY VALID DATED AS YOU WERE

THIS -- THIS PESSIMISTIC WORLD

THROUGH THIS WILL MELAN ALCOHOLY

DID -- MEL ANDCHOLY.

>> MY EDITOR SAID YOU SEEM TO

HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ACCESSION

PLEASURE OR FEELING JOY.

WHY DON'T YOU WRITE ABOUT THAT.

THE BOOK WAS UNDERWAY AND IT WAS

LATE FOR A LONG TIME.

I HAD A PINCHED NERVE IN MY ARM

SOEUFS LIKE TWO YEARS -- SO I

WAS TWO YEARS LATE.

MY EDITOR WAS SYMPATHETIC TO A

POINT BUT IT WAS A PINCHED NERVE

MY ARM WAS ON FIRE FOR TWO

YEARS.

TURNS OUT A TUMOR WAS PINCHING

MY NERVE.

IT WAS GREAT THOUGH --

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: CAN I JUST SAFER THAT

THOSE TWO SENTENCES JUSM AT THAT

POSES.

IT WAS A TUMOR BUT IT WAS GREAT.

>> IF YOU WRITE ABOUT LOOK AT

THE WORLD IN ALL OF ITS FLINTY

AFFLICTED DARK REALITY.

>> Jon: RIGHT.

>> THE ULTIMATE MONEY WHERE WRUR

MOUTH IS MOST REALLY MR. SMART

GUY, MR. NEGATIVE, MR. I FEEL SO

BAD, BOOM, TUMOR.

[LAUGHTER]

SO IT AT LEAST --

[LAUGHTER]

SO THAT POINT YOU CAN TO YOUR

EDITOR AND GO, I TOLD YOU SO.

>> EXACTLY.

SO THE BOOK WAS REALLY LATE

BECAUSE OF THAT BECAUSE THEN I

HAD RADIATION AND SURGERY AND

CHEMO.

>> Jon: TO ME, AGAIN, YOU LOOK

GREAT.

YOU LOOK HEALTHY AND VITAL.

HOW ARE YOU FEELING?

>> I FEEL FINE.

I'M CURRENTLY IN CHEMOTHERAPY.

>> Jon: RIGHT NOW.

>> NOT IMMEDIATELY RIGHT NOW BUT

YES.

>> Jon: RIGHT NOW AS WE SPEAK

YOU ARE HAVING CHEMO?

THIS IS WHAT I WONDER ABOUT SORT

OF OLD WELL WOODY ALLEN CONNUMB

DRUM PEOPLE THAT WORRY, WHEN

THEY HAPPEN --

>> >> A RELIEF?

>> Jon: YES.

>> YES, IT'S LIKE WAITING FOR

RAIN AND THEN IT RAINS.

AH.

KINDS OF.

>> Jon: DO YOU GO I BET IT

TURNS IN A TORNADO.

WHAT HAPPENS AT THAT POINT?

>> HERE IS THE THING: WHEN IT

TURNS OUT TO BE YOUR OWN

MORTALITY ON THE LINE PEOPLE

TEND TO BE QUITE OPTIMISTIC

ABOUT THEIR LONG-TERM CHANCES OF

SURVIVAL.

THE WILL TO KEEP ON GOING IS

INCREDIBLY STRONG.

I DO FEEL -- THEREFORE DOES IT

EXTEND TO OPTIMISM ABOUT THE

ROBERTS COURT?

NO.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: YOU FEEL LIKE THE

CANCER YOU CAN TAKE CARE, THE

ROBERTS COURT --

>> CITIZENS UNITED WE'RE JUST

COMPLETELY SCREWED.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Jon: THAT HAS MIDWEST TAFT

SIZED -- MA TAFT SIDES.

>> PRECISELY.

>>.

>> Jon: DO YOU LIKE YOUR

CAREGIVERS?

THEY THEY PUMP YOU UP?

>> THEY DON'T.

THEY RECOGNIZE ME FOR WHAT AND

WHO I AM.

THERE WAS A STUDY THAT SHOWS

THAT THE LONG-TERM MORTALITY

WITH PEOPLE WITH LOUSY ATTITUDES

IS NO DIFFERENT THAN PEOPLE WITH

GREAT ATTITUDES.

YOU CAN BE THE WORST BASTARD ON

THE WARD AND YOU WILL NOT DIE AT

ANY GREATER RATE THAN OTHERS.

PEOPLE WILL SIMPLY BE GLADDER

WHEN YOU DO.

[LAUGHTER]

ALL THAT POSITIVE OUTLOOK I'M

NOT -- ALL OF THAT SORT OF I'M

GOING TO CHEMOTHERAPY IN MY

SKY-HIGH JIMMY CHOO, CRAZY SEXY

CANCER.

IF YOU CAN'T DO THAT, IF YOU

CAN'T ENACT A SEX IN THE CITY

EPISODE ON YOUR WAY, IF YOU FEEL

LOUSY ALL THE TIME IT'S NOT YOUR

FAULT.

I DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THAT.

IT'S BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT

VICTIMY TO ME.

>> Jon: THAT'S AN INTERESTING

TAKE ON IT.

WHEN YOU ARE A BASTARD YOU ARE

REQUIRING -- YOU ARE CALLING

UPON THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.

THERE'S THE NURSE COMING IN --

>> YOU WILL GET BED SORES.

>> Jon: YOU KNOW WHAT?

LET'S GIVE HIM A SPONGE BADGE

WITH THE BRILLOWS.

>> YOUR ROOM WILL SMELL LIKE A

HOBO CAMP.

BELIEVE ME.

>> Jon: THAT HAS TO BE YOUR

NEXT BOOK.

>> IT IS.

>> Jon: YOUR ROOM WILL SMELL

LIKE A HOBO CAMP.

I'M PLEASED TO SEE YOU LOOKING

SO GOOD AND BEING SO SHARP.

>> THANKS, MAN.

>> Jon: ALWAYS GREAT TO SEE

YOU.

HALF EMPTY IS ON THE BOOKSHEL

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