The Enchanting Vision of Jamie Flam
As with many people, it was the airplane engine-loud roar of Eddie Pepitone that first led me to the enchanting world of Jamie Flam. I was a big fan of Pepitone’s dyspeptic appearances on his buddy Marc Maron’s WTF so I decided to check out Pepitone’s own podcast, The Long Shot. This must have been six or seven years ago.
I came for Pepitone but I stayed for the other three podcasters, who were less loud or attention-grabbing but equally engaging. There was the ebullient Amber Kenny, the sternly, intimidatingly hilarious Sean Conroy and Conroy and Pepitone’s comic foil Jamie Flam, a comedian whose position as a booker and the director at the Hollywood Improv made him an unlikely powerbroker in the world of Los Angeles stand-up comedy.
Flam may have had the job, but he did not have the personality you’d imagine a powerbroker would have. In a world of cynicism and skepticism, he was boldly, even heroically non-cynical. He was boldly, even heroically sincere. He was a booker and comedian, sure, but above all else he was a dreamer and a spiritual seeker, someone trying to both find their place in a crazy-making and chaotic world and make the world just a little bit better through their actions.
I saw Flam as an inspirational figure. Here was a man who was unafraid to talk about his dreams, and his vision even if he risked looking foolish or sappy or impractical in the process. Here was a man who had purposefully eschewed the defenses and the cynicism that protect us from the mocking laughter of a comedy and online world that runs on the cheap but powerful fuel of schadenfreude and snark, cynicism and cheap calculation.
Flam was a fascinating combination of dreamer and entrepreneur, producer and visionary. He was forever trying to create something special, something unique, something, to use Flam’s favorite word and a word that inspired eye rolls from his co-hosts on The Long Shot so pronounced you could all but hear them when Flam used it, enchanting.
I also related emotionally to Flam because I too had a sought-after job in the world of comedy and entertainment that gave me a lot of power and visibility but that I found emotionally and creatively unfulfilling at The A.V Club. At a certain point, it was just a job. Once upon a time, the section closely reflected my vision and my sensibility but by the time I quit in 2013, and again in 2017, I was fulfilling someone else’s vision of what the site should be, and not one I agreed with or connected with emotionally.
Still, it’s fucking terrifying leaving what appears to the rest of the world to be an amazing, cushy, enviable position. I know I wouldn’t have been able to leave The A.V Club if I didn’t have a similar but more fulfilling position waiting for me at The Dissolve so I have incredible respect for Flam for quitting his job at the Improv to pursue his dream and his vision.
When I got laid off from The Dissolve Flam encouraged me to start my own site and follow my own dream but I was scared shitless to do something like that. I didn’t think I was capable of it, but it turns out the technology of self-publishing has gotten so sophisticated even a dummy like myself can do it.
I’ve found my special place, professionally, in Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place, and, more recently Nathan Rabin’s Happy Cast (new episode dropping next Tuesday, hopefully on iTunes by that point). That’s why I am excited that Flam is pursuing his own dream by crowd-sourcing money for Dynasty Typewriter, a new Los Angeles performance venue whose Kickstarter is closing in two days . Dynasty Typewriter is a physical manifestation of something that Flam has been talking about on The Long Shot for years, a room all his own, a special place that transcends the drudgery and tedium of everyday life in pursuit of something more, something unique, something transcendent.
It’s Jamie Flam’s Happy Place, and I am so excited that Flam is pursuing his dream and putting himself out there like never before that I am totally going to back the project generously upon posting this blog. I have been blessed to have other people believe in me and my vision, most recently and perhaps directly in the form of this website, and its career-sustaining Patreon page, so I would love to pay it forward for Jamie.
Jamie has been nurturing this vision for a long time, and I cannot wait to visit this mecca of enchantment and sincerity once it has made the big leap from dream to reality.
Support Jamie Flam’s Kickstarter here
Join the Nathan Rabin’s Happy Place community and get neat bonuses like access to patron-exclusive content over at https://www.patreon.com/nathanrabinshappyplace