Ready to Face the Music With Bill & Ted: A Conversation With Alex Winter

Alex Winter headshot with Bill & Ted Face the Music Poster
(Getty / Paul Warner & United Artists Releasing)

Bill & Ted Face the Music, the highly anticipated conclusion to the totally awesome time-traveling trilogy, releases today – a whopping 31 years after audiences initially fell in love with Excellent Adventure. The cult classic series already has an army of fans behind it but this installment is even more near and dear to The Dad’s collective heart due to the fact that both members of the Wyld Stallyns are now portrayed as a couple of bodacious dads.

The stakes are even higher for William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. and Theodore “Ted” Logan this time around, too. Their rock and roll destiny has yet to be fulfilled and now the fate of all space and time is hanging in the balance. Given a meager 77 minutes and 25 seconds to write the song that will finally unify the entire world in peace and harmony, Bill and Ted will require the help of their teenage daughters and a few of history’s biggest music legends to come out on top yet again.

In order to get a behind-the-scenes peek at Face the Music, The Dad sat down with Alex Winter, who not only portrays Bill in the films, but is a father-of-three in his own right.


(United Artists Releasing)

Jordan: What was it about Bill and Ted that enamored audiences back in 1989 and then how does Face the Music recapture that magic 31 years later?

Alex: I think that people really responded to this notion of these super close friends and the kind of imaginative world that they lived in, and then the realization of that world. I think the writers, Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon, write really great dialogue. It is not what you would expect to come out of the mouths of valley teenagers.

I know that when we auditioned for it, it felt very idiosyncratic in a good way. It just wasn’t the kind of thing you auditioned for. It didn’t have that kind of language. It kind of cut against the grain of what your standard teen comedies were in those days, which were really cool. It was an era of things like Ferris Bueller and stuff. There were some great movies that came out of that period, but they were very specific and the kids didn’t know… The high school kids in those movies they acted like 45-year-old men.

Sure. They’re using reasoning and logic, unlike the usual teenager.

And it’s always all about sexual politics and extremely complex. I mean, these were two really tight friends but they were very childlike and very innocent and spoke in this incredibly distinct way, and then went on these very elaborate adventures.

In terms of recapturing it, I think that what we all liked the idea that Chris and Ed brought to us. This notion that this grandiose destiny had not been fulfilled, so what would their lives [look like]? Who would these guys be today as dads and husbands and people who were supposed to have essentially saved the entire universe but hadn’t? It seemed like there was a lot of comic potential there. So that was appealing to us.

(United Artists Releasing)

Definitely. It’s a completely different phase of life. I mean, I’m sure everyone’s curious about where the hell these guys are going to go.

And then that sort of dovetails to ‘where does anyone go?’ The promise of their youth and then processing that in a later period of life as fathers and husbands and doing that through the lens of Bill and Ted just seemed quite funny to us.

You mentioned auditions earlier – I don’t know if you saw this but literally last week, a bunch of tapes came out from your original audition for Excellent Adventure. Did you see them?

My kids showed me a couple of those. They found them lurking on the internet.

The cool thing is you can already see the obvious chemistry between you and Keanu [Reeves]. Looking back at those, can you remember what was going on there? Did something seem to just click between you two, onscreen or offscreen? How did that work?

Well, I don’t have any recollection of those auditions at all, other than a very fuzzy memory. But I will say that I do remember becoming close friends with Keanu almost immediately. He’s one of my very closest friends in the world and has been since that time. So it was sort of the meeting of a best friend.

I think both of us were pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was to act together again. I don’t think we really considered that, to be honest with you. I mean, we already knew we liked hanging out, so I don’t think we gave much thought to the distinction between being a friend out in the world and being in this performative partnership again.

Was it hard jumping back into the shoes of those characters or did that just flow naturally?

A little of both. It took thought, it took a lot of rehearsal, but we didn’t really turn the gas all the way on until we started shooting, kind of intentionally, we didn’t really want to overthink it. So we did our own prep work and then we did prep work together. And then we all did a lot of rehearsing and rewriting and things once we got down in New Orleans and were preparing to shoot, but it really wasn’t until we were on set and shooting that we turned the whole machine on, and that didn’t take a lot of thought.

It was like we found ourselves right back in the old rhythm again and that was really nice. We kind of looked at each other after the first week and thought, ‘Hey, we like doing this.’ It’s been a lot of fun

(United Artists Releasing)

So, Bill and Ted are dads now. What can you tell us about their daughters and how did casting land on Samara Weaving and Brigette Lundy-Paine?

Well, I think that the producers and casting director were looking for actors to play these roles in a very similar way as us, in the sense that I think they were looking for people who would work off of each other and have chemistry with each other. They saw a lot of people before they landed on those two, but Samara and Bridgette are great actors in their own right and have really good instincts and really good training, so we were grateful that they came at the roles, not looking to be us or to replicate us in any way, but seeing their own roles with their own views of the family and that was really fun.

I remember the first day, we rehearsed with them and so we got the vibe of what they were doing. It was really fun because they were just so not doing a Bill and Ted reduction. They had their own vibe.

They really created their own characters, huh?

And they related to us as their dad’s, not as Bill and Ted the characters.

(United Artists Releasing)

So, staying on Bill as a dad, what are some cliché dad moves that you think Bill is definitely guilty of? Is he the only one laughing at his dad jokes? Is he pointing a stud finder at himself and saying, “I’ve found one, dude!”

I think that he’s always the glass-half-full guy and he’s also ‘let’s just roll up our sleeves and dive in.’ He’s the dad who would, like, jump off the roof into the swimming pool while the kids are having a party and end up breaking his ankle and embarrassing the hell out of everybody.

Personally, I love those dads. Are there any characteristics of Bill’s that you personally would like to emulate a bit better as a father yourself?

I mean, I think his complete and utter hopefulness in the face of any adversity is something that I really liked playing. I have to believe it obviously because I’m playing it, so finding that part in my psyche is nice and it’s fun. He really does have a lot of hope no matter how awful things get, he’s always looking for whatever the path is to rectify it. The funny thing about the relationship between Bill and Ted is, Bill is the one who’s thinking everything’s going to be okay while Ted is usually the one that figures out how to make it okay.

Right. You kinda need both sides for things to actually work out.

You really do, so it’s a fun thing to play. There’s a genuine optimism there and it’s something that Keanu and I’ve worked on a lot, especially in act one of this movie, because they’re in very different places psychologically when the film starts and we like that and we really leaned into it.

(United Artists Releasing)

Love that. So, rather than going back in time in this film, Bill and Ted repeatedly jumped forward to meet progressively older versions of themselves. If you use a phone booth-shaped time machine to meet your future self, what would you hope to find?

Well, I’m a dad, so I got to think like a dad. So I want to find my kids being happy and in a different place in their lives.

Solid answer, especially for our audience.

[laughing] It is a hundred percent true, my friend. It’s all you think about!

A Conversation With Comedian Jason Weems, a Dad Who Literally Died Onstage

Jason Weems' new comedy special, "Unknown"
(Amazon Prime)

Jason Weems died in 2017. Literally, flatlined on the floor of a comedy club in Philadelphia. No heartbeat for 5 minutes thanks to a severe asthma attack.

He was (and still is) a rising star in the comedy world after reaching the semi-finals on two seasons of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” and performing at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, and thankfully, his brush with death has only given him more material.

His newest special, which debuted on August 4, is titled “Unknown” in reference to the bizarre way the hospital labeled him on that fateful night.

Weems is also a father of three (and has plenty of material to prove it), so kicking the bucket that day would not only have been a tragic end to a promising career, but would’ve left his sons without a father.

In light of his new special and Grade-A dad material, we sat down with Weems to discuss near-death experiences, his sons’ pediatrician (who moonlights as a DJ), and balancing his roles of comic and father.


Jordan: So the title, “Unknown.” Can you jump into the origins of that a little bit?

Jason: Of course. One of the main themes for the special is I die, May 3rd, 2017.

Hell of a strong start.

[laughing] Yeah, I had a severe asthma attack in Philly, a few minutes into a headline set at a show. There was a doctor in the crowd, but unfortunately, they weren’t able to hook my nebulizer up quickly enough. And the attack was so aggressive that it literally shut down my airways and then ultimately stopped my heart from beating. From what I’m told from third-party people who were there—audience members, bar staff, all that stuff—I literally just coded right there in the venue.

Then there was a 16-hour period when I was unconscious in a Philadelphia hospital. And when I came to, they had me listed as “Unknown”. So, in the literal sense, it comes from that.

And it’s almost a decade since your first special, right? “Intellectual Property”?

Literally a decade. That was filmed December 4th of 2010, and this one’s coming out 2020.

That one was also filmed here in Baltimore at another great theater, completely self-produced. Both of these specials have been self-produced.

It wasn’t like somebody put the money up for us [for “Unknown”]. There was no guarantee for distribution. It was a true hail Mary, but it was a story that I felt was important. I felt it was, as much as “Unknown” as a comedy special, I feel it’s also a celebration of life.

You definitely delve into those deep and heavy themes that a lot of people might steer away from, but it’s those topics that really makes it feel authentic and real.

Yeah. Absolutely.

 

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I’m beyond proud of this project. This is the team that partnered with me to make this shit happen. Completely Self-Funded & Produced. We envisioned it, worked for it, manifested it, worked a whole lot more & now it’s almost here. It’s a pride & anxiousness you only truly know after witnessing your child being born into the world. This is dreams materializing. Not by chance, but by grace & by hustle. We really ran this bastard from end zone to end zone (in the rain ☔️). Thank you for the support. ⁣ ⁣ Please share the MF’ing wheels off of that trailer, thumbs up those tracks from the album on Sirus XM & Pandora right now, and burn the special up when it drops on Amazon next Tuesday August 4th, 2020. Then rinse & repeat. ⁣ ⁣ Even if you don’t think it’s funny, just write a rave review off of GP & then we can work out your poor taste in art in a personal text message. Don’t y’all fuck this up for me !!! Love y’all. I’m very grateful & humbled right now ❤️✊🏽.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #JasonWeemsComedy #Unknown #6DaysAway MyBmore #FromBaltimoreWithLove #audaCITY🔥

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And speaking of this whole show being a community effort to come together and create something great, your house DJ and your kids’ pediatrician… are the same person?

Same dude.

I’m going to need you to talk about that.

Yeah. So, this guy’s name is Ashanti Woods. If anybody ever moves to Baltimore and needs a good pediatrician, this guy’s amazing. His wife and my wife went to high school together, but then they lost contact. Years later, I become a father and we need a new pediatrician. This was a world that we were new to. We wanted somebody that could grow up with the kids, not somebody who’s 85.

So we put out some feelers on Facebook and she responded to my wife, like “Hey, my husband’s a pediatrician”. And then we realized, ‘Oh, we do know him. And he’s a great guy.’

He was amazing with the kids. It was an instant comfort. And then years later, I’m a couple of years into doing comedy. I see that he’s starting to DJ.

Did he have posters in his office about future shows and stuff? He’s like, “Oh yeah. After you get this prescription, come down to this club.” Like, how does that translate?

[laughing] Yeah. And it feels like he does. So his name is DJ P-O-P. If you look at the trailer, that’s my DJ. P-O-P stands for Prince of Pediatrics.

Of course it does.

So then we were pulling this special together and we really didn’t want to outsource the talent. We wanted this to be us all the way through. So it was a no-brainer. It was just a matter of whether he was going to say yes or not.

And he was into it?

He was into it. He’s a dad as well. He’s got two little ones.

 

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La Familia ❤️. ⁣ ⁣ #JasonWeemsComedy #TeamWeems #WeemsTheNextGeneration #GangGang

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Speaking of kids, how has fatherhood impacted this new special compared to the last one? Have you noticed a shift?

Oh, absolutely.

I noticed you’re not wearing crispy white New Balances when you’re out there. You don’t have cargo shorts on or anything, but I’m assuming there had been some kind of development or evolution.

Definitely in the sense of material. I mean, the first special was 2010. I wasn’t even a dad yet. So we filmed the first special, “Intellectual Property,” December 4th, 2010, and I think December 11th or 12th, I found out that we were having our son.

We had shot the show. Everybody was exhausted. So my wife and I flew to Florida and went down to the Harry Potter resort.

We’re drinking Butterbeer and walking all around the streets, and she just kept telling me that she felt weird. So I figured we just drank too much Butterbeer.

You never know how that’s going to hit. It’s a magical concoction, man.

Then we got back to Baltimore, it was still continuing. And we were out with one of my buddies for his birthday party and she said, “Can you drop me at the house? And you guys can just continue on.”

So then I came home from the party and she was standing at the door with the test and it was a strong-ass plus sign.

Strong plus sign, like it’s punching through the screen.

[laughing] Yeah. You could feel it. It was like braille.

And then it instantly shifted the way I toured, instantly shifted the way I performed, how I accepted shows.

I was passing up so many gigs, because it was like, ‘I’m just in love with this little guy.’ But then it got to a point where, financially, I needed to start taking shows again.

But the thing was, I just filmed the special “Intellectual Property,” so I hadn’t been out enough to turn over new material and truly test it. So I started riffing a lot on stage. I’ve always been quick on my feet, but the crowd work element of my stand up, the fast and loose stuff, it really grew out of me becoming a father.

And now that’s probably what I’m known for the most. Like, if you talk to comics in the Baltimore-DC area, all of them go, “Weems just goes off the top of his head, he just riffs it. He just comes out of thin air.”

 

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And you can tell a lot from your material that you’re a dad who’s involved. Like, I couldn’t help but notice the amount of overlap when it comes to bathroom material and kid material. I think a lot of parents would have that Venn diagram, too. Toilets and showers and bath time… there’s always a story.

Right. I mean, there are just so, so many things can go wrong when you’re washing a little person. Or when you send a little person into a bathroom alone, you don’t know what’s going to come out. It’s always a gamble.

There’s a sentence in your special where you’re talking about giving your boys a bath and you say, quote “nut crumbs… butt crumbs… armpit juice… and piss.”

Right, it’s a good summary of boys in general.

Have any of your boys manifested that entertainer gene yet? Has that been passed down through your bloodline?

All of them…

Oh no.

It’s like The Wayans Brothers. Like straight up, these kids are so talented. Our oldest is eight turning nine, yet the level of humor that he possesses is easily that of a 14 to 16-year-old. I swear, he’s coming for my position.

Yeah, I’d totally feel a little threatened.

Now, the other two, they’re hilarious. I have twin six-year-olds. So the youngest twin is younger by a minute. He’s the most flamboyant and like really out there and he wants to dance on stage and be in front of people. And he has that real kind of firecracker type of humor.

My other twin, little quieter, his stuff is more, he’ll slip in something real quietly under a conversation. Like, me and my wife will be talking, but you hear him say something like [quietly, under breath] “I would have done that…” Like just real quiet.

Ooh, like a little sarcastic dagger.

A little dagger, yeah. Also, things lined up and my kids are in this special! Like physically you see them when the special ends. My wife, my parents are sitting front row and my mother-in-law, people I went to college with and high school. So it’s almost like a block party.

Yeah. It feels like a homecoming. A love letter to Baltimore.

It’s beautiful. Truly a love letter to Baltimore.


You can check Jason’s new comedy special “Unknown” here on Amazon Prime.

Jon Hamm Puts New Spin on the Old “If You Ever Hurt My Daughter…” Threat

Jon Hamm narrates a short film about a newly feminist father in "If you ever hurt my daughter, I swear to God I'll let her navigate her own personal growth"
(New Yorker/AMC)

You know the stereotype when it comes to being the father of a teenage daughter – a protective patriarchal figure threateningly cleaning a firearm on the front porch when the boyfriend arrives, not-so-subtly illustrating the kid’s painful demise should anything happen to his “little girl.” It’s a trope that’s been played out for years in both media and reality, but a recent short film is flipping the cliche on its head.

Adapted from a New Yorker Shouts & Murmurs column by Sophie Kohn titled “If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear To God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth, the piece highlights a father’s personal journey in learning to love and trust his daughter in a less stereotypical way, all narrated by the indelible Jon Hamm.

“It’s flipping the script on what we’re perceiving men and fathers to be; not just in media and pop culture, but in real life,” Director Meghan Ross told The Dad. “And to me, not only is it so funny and biting, but it’s the self-awareness that this dad has that I really hope dads of all ages [see] and realize an antiquated viewpoint of raising young girls is not something that needs passing on.”

Meghan, a writer, director, and comedian residing in Austin, TX, originally heard about the New Yorker essay from her brother, Justin Ross, a producer for this piece who’s also the founder of Bravemakers, the production studio behind it all.

“I thought there was no better time to produce something like this,” Justin said. “We want to produce things that have some kind of a social message behind it, which a lot of brands are getting behind. But even in the entertainment space, I like that creativity is being challenged to have some kind of a positive message on a number of issues.”

The next step was to reach out to the editor, Sophie Kohn, a Toronto-based comedian, who was thrilled by the idea of a film adaptation. Apparently, she always envisioned her essay as something that should be illustrated onscreen, and this was the perfect opportunity. She probably didn’t expect a Hollywood powerhouse like Jon Hamm to jump on board the project, though.

“We do have to give credit to our sister,” Meghan acknowledged on roping Hamm into the project. “She was credited as an associate producer. She was helping Justin and me with casting. We were just brainstorming names and thinking about recognizable voices – people we thought would be a good fit, a funny fit. And then she was the one that mentioned Jon Hamm. I think she had watched something that he had narrated, like a documentary or something.”

“It’s pretty obvious that he’s a huge fan of comedy,” Justin commented. “And what Meghan was able to find out in the comedy scene—because she comes from the New York comedy scene, originally—is that Jon will just align himself with anything that he thinks is funny. Absolutely. Regardless of budget or anything like that. He’s just a fan of comedy. He’s not a father, clearly, but he is a fan of a socially powerful piece and comedy. It was a win-win for him.”

The pair fully recognize that the 3-minute film is controversial, but rather than shove an agenda about proper parenting (whatever that means) down viewers’ throats, Meghan and Justin hope to spur conversations between friends and family members with opposing views on the subject, and they’re confident that comedy is the perfect method for achieving that goal.

“Comedy is more important and necessary than ever,” Justin elaborated. “If you can pack a powerful message like this with comedy, it’s a win. It’s a better way to deliver things. You’re going to have the extremely one-sided people who are just going to look at this and be like, ‘This is a liberal piece and a liberal publication with a liberal Hollywood actor.’ I’m hoping that if people were on the fence about a particular subject or didn’t really know where they were taking a stance on something like this, in terms of parenting, that it made digesting a little bit easier”

 

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The Ross siblings aren’t parents themselves, and their dad wasn’t a gun-toting patriarch brooding on the doorstep either, but Justin admitted to playing the protective brother role from time to time when they were growing up in New Jersey.

“For my younger sisters, I was that prime high school/college age where I was waiting for any opportunity,” he remembered. “I think, Meghan’s prom weekend, I showed up with a bunch of my buddies to drive her home. Knowing the rite of passage of prom weekend, she was down the shore at a hotel with her friends, and I knew there was going to be drinking involved. We kicked in the door. We were the Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms.”

“That’s a little exaggerated,” Meghan interjected with a smile. “You opened a cooler and you were like, ‘What’s in there?’ And there were just snacks. But it was funny because it was the end of the weekend and it’s, like, obviously we had already drunk all the booze.”

As for what’s next for the brother/sister duo, they are so proud of this project and have received such a positive response that they’re hoping to collaborate again, and soon.

“Justin and I are looking to collaborate on a lot more of these projects; something that’s entertaining and has a strong message behind it,” Meghan said. “We are in talks to potentially adapt another [essay], and we’re also always open to [working with] writers who write along the same vein.”

“This was our first step in that direction in terms of collaboration,” Justin added. “And we did not expect it to be this grand. We did not expect our first sibling project to be attached to Jon Hamm, but we’re aiming for even bigger and greater things, and hopefully, Meghan and I don’t kill each other in the process.”


If you want to see more from the filmmakers, Meghan currently hosts a weekly Instagram Live series called “No One Asked For This,” interviewing female experts, activists, and leaders about the social injustices in our world that no one asked for, all while completing activities at an average-to-below-average skill level that no one asked for (e.g., baking a sheet cake, coloring in a coloring book, etc.)

Justin’s current and past work can be found at Bravemakers, helping agencies and brands effectively communicate their story through video and connect with their target audiences.

Bryce Dallas Howard Talks The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda’s Soup [WATCH]

(Disney)

We recently sat down with Bryce Dallas Howard to chat about her new documentary, Dads—a film that highlights the joys and challenges of parenting through the eyes of six extraordinary fathers from across the globe as well as input from choice celebrity fathers.

It was Howard’s feature-length documentary directorial debut, but that doesn’t mean she is unfamiliar with sitting in the director’s chair. She also directed an episode of the wickedly popular Disney+ series, The Mandalorian – specifically, Chapter 4: Sanctuary.

Since dads (and plenty of non-dads) tend to be rather passionate about the galaxy far, far away, we didn’t feel right ending this interview without getting the inside scoop on her episode, Baby Yoda’s mysterious identity, and how it feels to be responsible for one of the most popular memes of 2019.

(Disney)

“I think it’s probably Baby Yoda who’s more responsible for that,” Howard corrected, humbly giving credit where it’s due. “Jon [Favreau] just really encouraged me to push the puppet and to see what the puppet could do and to have fun with Baby Yoda.”

Baby Yoda (aka, “The Child” to you sticklers out there) is one of the most popular characters from The Mandalorian and pop culture in general, and as it turns out, the showrunners totally anticipated that.

“Oh yeah, it matters where Baby Yoda is,” Howard remembers saying on set, anticipating audiences’ fascination with the pint-sized alien. “We can’t not have baby Yoda on camera and just assume people are going to be okay with that.”

“[Jon Favreau] is an improv guy,” she elaborated, describing how the famous soup scene came to be. “So he’s like, ‘What if Baby was there? What if Baby was drinking something? What if Baby took like a big, long sip?’ And then he’s like, ‘Do it with one hand, do it with two hands, do it…’ Just do it this way, that way.”

So, yes. That means, somewhere at Lucasfilm studios, there is an archive of dozens—if not hundreds—of clips of Baby Yoda sipping soup, each probably more adorable than the last. In fact, by taking that time to get the perfect shot, Howard set a new Star Wars record.

“Apparently, on my episode, there was a day where I shot more footage than any other film that Lucasfilm has ever done. There was one day on Rogue One with four units that came close. So there’s a lot of excess Baby Yoda footage.”

Howard claims she knows the mysterious green toddler’s identity, but when pressed, was less than forthcoming.

“Nope. I vowed that I was never going to use the name because if I use the name once on set, I would accidentally say it… Baby is ‘Baby.’ Baby is ‘Baby.'”

Looks like we’ll have to wait a few months for Season 2 of The Mandalorian just like everyone else before we get some answers.

You can watch our full Mandalorian interview with Bryce Dallas Howard below or check out the rest of our interview on fatherhood and Dads here.

Meet the Dad Whose New Balances Glow When It’s Time to Mow

Scott Golz, American Lawnmower
(SUPPLIED)

Meet Scott Golz. Dad. Lawnmowing enthusiast. He caught our eye when he commented on a story we did about a community lawnmowing gang. He shared an amazing photo of him proudly posing on his trusted machine, hoisting an American flag. But our community also noticed a subtle glow coming from his New Balances. We needed to find out more. Thankfully, Scott was gracious enough to share his story and some of his tips for a ballpark-esque turf.

Every superhero has an origin story, what’s yours?

My lawn mowing history began around the age of 12. My father passed away 4 years prior so I am what you would call “self-taught”. I didn’t have much technique but damn were my lines straight. The interesting thing is, I had heard stories of my father and how he could mow the lawn with one hand and drink a cup of coffee with the other. It is quite possible that I had acquired some of the raw talent he possessed.

Tell us about your lawnmowing footwear.

The New Balance sneaker – I had my daughter at the age of 32, it was maybe a couple of weeks later when I purchased my 1st pair of New Balance running shoes. I can’t say what inspired me to try on that 1st pair but I did, and haven’t looked back since. New dad instincts I’m guessing.

Lawnmowing Footwear New Balance
(SUPPLIED)

I have a theory called the New Balance evolution. That 1st pair was my everyday shoe. I’d wear them to the grocery store, casual work meetings, and fun nights out on the town. When they began to lose their luster, they evolved into “work shoes”, mainly worn while doing various light-duty yard work. At this point, I purchase a new pair for everyday use. Once the new pair loses its luster, they evolve into the “work Shoes” and the old “work shoes” graduate to “Lawn Mowing Shoes”. These grass-stained soles are basically the Holy Grail of Dad footwear. I have a large assortment of grass-stained New Balance sneakers on display in my walk-in closet and the collection isn’t showing any signs of slowing. In terms of what pair I choose to wear when I mow, the sneakers basically dictate which pair will be worn on any specific day. I don’t choose the sneaker, the sneaker chooses me.

You may notice the “N” symbol on my New Balance shoes will glow at times. I compare it to the Bat-Signal. I always say “When the New Balance Glow, it’s time to mow”. I couldn’t tell you exactly when this phenomenon first occurred but I can tell you that every Dad has the ability to harness that power. It does come with time and patience. I have been a Dad now for 13 years and I would say it took a good 10 years before I experienced “The Glow”. The funny thing is… I believe it was right around the time I got my 1st riding mower. It was sitting in the garage of the new house we were putting an offer on. In my offer, I negotiated the beautiful green mower into the price of the house and the rest is history. The only thing that can diminish the glow is a rainy day. It is Dad Law that you cannot and must not mow when those blades of grass are wet.

How did becoming a dad change your mowing mindset? 

You need to teach your kids to take pride in everything they do, even mowing the lawn. I am sad to say, however, my 13-year-old daughter shows absolutely no interest in lawns, lawnmowers, or lawnmower accessories. She does say the striping looks really nice when I finish. I’ll take any compliment I can from her at this point.

Scott and Jenna Golz
Scott and Jenna (SUPPLIED)

What do you think of Robo-Mowers?

THEY’RE A JOKE. This is a major part of living the dad life. Don’t let robots take that away from you. If you want a robot to vacuum your new bamboo hardwoods, that’s acceptable.

Do you have any signature moves?

I have several signature moves. I usually pull out the 1 handed finger gun and pew-pew the next-door neighbor. Sometimes if I am having an exceptionally good mow, I whip out the double-handed finger guns and pew-pew like the wild west. Know this much, if you drive down my street, you will always get a wave no matter what. You will also see me mouth the words “who the hell is this”.

Do you have any lawnmowing rivals?

When I moved to my current house 3 years ago, my lawn was horrendous. Riddled with a cornucopia of weeds and the invasive “Nutsedge” I was a bit overwhelmed. My next-door neighbor Simon has a beautiful lawn and I decided if I get to look out at his masterpiece, he should get a masterpiece as well. I have been on a mission to be on the same level and it looks like I am almost there. I would not consider him competition, I would consider him motivation. He and his family are wonderful neighbors as well.

Between the two of us, we are the dominating forces in our neighborhood.

Ball Park Lawn Lines
(SUPPLIED)

What advice do you have for up and coming lawnmowing dads?

Keep your blades high, do not under any circumstance scalp your lawn. It opens the lawn up to weeds like you’d never imagined. Get yourself on a 3 step fertilization program and do not mow when the grass is wet. Another major component to my lawn success is to mulch your clippings, do not bag. The clippings are a natural fertilizer. Aerate the lawn every so often and dethatch as well. When you have things looking good and the grass is lush, buy yourself a striping kit for the mower. This will give you those beautiful lines you see at ballparks. This is how you attain lawn domination in your neighborhood. Sticking flame decals your kid got you for Father’s day on your mower definitely scores domination points as well.

Parenting, Rad Dads, And The Bagel Bites Jingle: A Conversation With Tony Hawk

What were you up to 17 years ago? I was spending inordinate amounts of time eating Bagel Bites and playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 on Nintendo 64. I’d jump from rail to rail, park bench to car to building, constantly on the grind… not literally of course. I was a lazy college student.

The real Tony Hawk was out there grinding for real. And crashing through coffee tables. (This iconic commercial just celebrated its 17th birthday!)

In addition to being the most influential skateboarder ever, Tony is a prolific media and entrepreneurial powerhouse: video game producer, actor (60 IMDB credits, including Sharknado 5!), skateboard emoji adviser, and philanthropist, making a big difference in low-income communities with The Tony Hawk Foundation.

That’s cool, but has he ever turned a Nosebluntslide grind into a McTwist grab while eating a Bagel Bite? Probably. But whatever.

My friends and I idolized Tony growing up. Still do. And he’s been a follower of The Dad for quite some time. As a dad of 6 himself, he’s very much “part of the club.” So it was super cool to catch up with him by phone for a quick chat.


JOEL WILLIS, EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF THE DAD: What are you like as a dad? What is your parenting style? Has it changed or evolved over the years?

TONY HAWK: It’s definitely changed. I think I’ve learned to be more effective as I’ve gotten older and through experience. But I think that [all of my kids] are all different obviously. They all have different needs and different kind of attention that they want or require. It’s been fun to see them all develop their own interests. They all are very unique, and my approach is to be supportive of whatever it is they’re getting into.

If they really find their passion, I want them to explore and to have the resources to take it further. I think that’s probably how I’m most effective not just financially but in terms of really giving them the tools and giving them the confidence to go forward in something that maybe is untested. Because that’s exactly what I did as a kid. I started skating and it was the furthest thing from cool you could do. I just kept at it because I loved it. I didn’t know I was going to have any sort of career out of it, and I feel very fortunate that that’s what happened. But at the same time, I want them to have that same desire and passion in their life.

Totally. That’s great. I think anybody in any career or any pursuit can relate to that. I know I do. I used to work in IT, and I was there in what many would call a soul-crushing corporate job. I just like making people laugh and making memes and stuff, and now I get to do cool stuff like talk to you on the phone.

That’s exactly it. You never know where it’s going to take you, and if you embrace the challenges of it, you’ll go further than you ever imagined.

And I think that that lesson is so important for kids, the lesson of doing what you love, but also learning every aspect of it and being up for the challenge if things don’t go the way you expect, because those are probably the moments that are more defining and probably more important.

Exactly. Like that video with your daughter where you were helping her overcome her fear and go down the ramp on the board. So cool.

Oh, thank you. Yeah, I just set my phone in a cup that was nearby. Mostly because I knew that she would want to see it. I knew that if she did it, she was going to be excited about it and maybe not do it again, so I just wanted her to have documentation for herself. And then I thought it was such an interesting experience to see her have that doubt, but then have the confidence to really try it, and I was encouraging but I wasn’t trying to be overbearing or intrusive on her thought process.

So I felt like that was a fun thing to watch unfold, and that’s why I shared it with people.

I think the reason I loved it so much and related to it was your excitement. You were fired up. Amped up for her. Did she feel the same way?

She was very excited. She actually ran back up to do it again, because she didn’t want to lose that confidence that she had. I think that she thought she didn’t do it as well as she could have. So she ran back up and did it again. That particular ramp is actually at my office, so whenever she ends up at my office, her first go-to is to go up there to make sure that she can still do it.

With the Rad Dad Squad, I feel like a “rad dad” to me is when you’re able to get down on your kids’ level and play with them and do the things that they like to do, and love it just as much as they do because they do…

It gives them the self-confidence to keep doing it, and as long as you’re doing it and not being intrusive at the same time, that’s obviously a fine line. But the idea of this whole campaign with the rad dad squad is that we want to recognize those moments and those fathers that are really putting out that effort, and getting into what their kids are doing. Being silly, but also being engaged. I’m sure they do it to very little appreciation. So we want to recognize that.

I relate to that. That’s part of our goals at The Dad to recognize modern, involved dads who are going above and beyond and give them that recognition they may not get otherwise.

Right.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NGUtX_RXq8

A little controversial here, but I want you to rate the Bagel Bites jingle in terms of musical artistry on a scale of 1 to 10.

You mean, “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime?”

You got it.

I’m going to give it an 8, just in terms of memorization. And concise, or you know, impact. Effective impact. Because it’s not like you have to sing it all the way through to get there. It’s very to the point. I like that. It’s a concise message.

I consider it a commercial masterpiece. I ask this because in your commercial in 2002, the jingle was different. It was sort of like a hard rock remix. So I want to ask you if you were involved in that decision.

I was not directly involved in that decision, no. But I’m honored that my inclusion changed the vibe enough that I got my own signature version. Signature cover, let’s put it that way.

Yeah. The Tony Hawk remix of the Bagel Bites theme.

Yeah, the punk cover of the Bagel Bites jingle, absolutely. I brought that to the world.


Thanks for the chat, Tony.

If you’re a rad dad, you can chat with him too. 3 winners will be inducted into the Rad Dad Squad later in June and will get to hang with Tony on his skate ramp. Just post a video of your own rad dad moments using #RadDadSquad and #sweepstakes.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta get back to the grind.

Dan Fowlks: The Musical Dad Behind That Viral Video

(image via Dan Fowlks)

Have you seen this video? It’s very cute. I’m not going to steer you wrong when it comes to precious moments, I promise.

https://www.facebook.com/jdanfowlks/videos/10203878859168818/

 

What’d I tell you? Cute, right?!

We here at The Dad like it, too. Executive Editor, Joel Willis, explains the appeal.

“I love this video so much because it shows an involved, cool dad bonding with his kid. This is what modern fatherhood is all about.”

At The Dad, we have quite a bit of absurd and ridiculous humor, along with some snark, but we also spotlight authentic dad moments. This video shows the genuine joy that comes along with all of that and makes it all worth it.

We wanted to learn more about Dan Fowlks, the man who charmed the pants off the world singing “Dream Lover” to his young daughter, Novie. I contacted him to find out what it’s like to be an involved, cool dad with a massively viral video.

The Dad: Hi Dan, we love the video! Where did the idea come from?

Dan: Over the years I have sung to my kids around the house. This particular song, “Dream Lover,” was one I was working on last year. One night, I decided to record myself so I could hear how I sounded. While my wife was taking the babysitter home from a date we were on, I started singing to my daughter, Novie. Her reaction to it caught me by surprise, so I kept singing and feeding off her energy. She was clearly enjoying it.

The Dad: It’s extremely cute. I’m usually pretty reserved but I was basically giggling and squealing the entire time. Tell me a little about how the video picked up steam on the Internet.

Dan: I shared it on my personal page in December and received some fun reactions to it on my friends list. In January, I came across the The Dad Online and figured it would probably be something they’d enjoy, so I tagged them. [The Dad Executive Editor] Joel reached out to me about posting it and I said “surely.”

Dan in the backyard with his son, Cope.

The Dad: We knew right away it was a special video. We were surprised it hadn’t gone viral already! You gave us permission to feature the video and it took off immediately. Since upload 3 weeks ago (on January 17), it has reached over 37 million people across the world, with over 2 million reactions and 17 million views on Facebook alone. Amazing.

Dan: I thought it was really nice to see so many people reacting positively to it. Then, the next day, seeing it had over 1 million views on The Dad, and then finding it on some European pages climbing over 10 million views! It started getting a little nerve-racking because it was one of those things that is out on the internet and there is no getting it back.

The Dad: What kind of responses are you getting?

Dan: The responses have been quite overwhelming. So many people watched it many times over and found joy from it, which has been quite rewarding. Some people commented that they turned off the Grammy’s to watch the video–that has the most humbling comment.

The Dad: A few people were worried that your daughter might fall off the bed. What do you have to say to ease their fears?

Dan: I knew she wasn’t going to fall off because I was literally right in front of her. Also, if she did fall off, the song would have ended and it would have been a moment that I would not have shared. It’s funny how people watching it think she is going to fall off and no matter how many times you watch the video something amazing always happens… she never falls off.

Halloween night, 2017.

The Dad: What do you think makes the video so special?

Dan: Seeing somebody so young react to good music is revitalizing and makes you wonder, where did she learn that? She was 10 months old at the time. Clearly, music is a special gift we have. Personally, I believe that we exist well before this life. Whatever other life that is, something remarkable happens when music touches our hearts and souls.

The Dad: Any celebrity feedback? Has Beyoncé seen it?

Dan: I was waiting to go in for an audition and looked at my phone and saw that Orlando Bloom shared the video to his social media. I had to take a double take at that.

The Dad: Have you learned any lessons about being a parent? Do you have any advice for your fellow dads out there?

Dan: From my experience with parenthood, I still just see myself as a “kid” who has kids (that might sound weird). Kids are not dumb; they are pretty smart and very observant. It is okay to get down to their level and simply talk with them. For instance, there have been moments when I needed to express that I have never been a parent before, so everything is as new to me as it is to them. I believe your kids will see you differently and that it is okay to make mistakes, correct them the best you can, but then move on.  

Music and being creative in the home has worked very well for our family, there was a time when I was doing a film that took me away for many days out of a month. Before I left, I sat down and drew a little sketch picture of me with my son and me with my oldest daughter. It was nothing of artistic merit to be hung in a museum, but they cherished it enough to hang it on their wall above their bed. Simple things like that, I feel, go a long way as a parent.

The Dad: What’s next for you, Dan?

Dan: Well, the sporadic world stage was an interesting experience, to say the least. For me, it is back to auditions, writing, and looking for opportunities to create. It has opened an opportunity to share more of my music, that I never thought would happen because I never thought so many people would ever hear me sing and play. It has been nice feedback, so I will be recording and getting some music out there, and hopefully, people will like what I have to offer.

Dan and his son watching the sunset in Southern Utah.

Dan has been a super nice guy throughout all of this. Dude’s got talent. He deserves all of the opportunities and attention he gains from the success of the video. We sent him a The Dad shirt and hope he wears it with pride.

Check out Dan Fowlks’s website and music.

 

Dad Measures Baby’s Growth With Cheesesteaks

A sleeping, 2-month-old Lucas snuggles up to a warm Philly cheesesteak. (via Brad Williams)

Arguably the best part of being a parent is watching your children grow up. They are proof that you are totally capable of keeping things alive (R.I.P., pet goldfish from 4th grade and DIY herb garden that your wife insisted upon), and it’s a process that many parents, like Brad Williams of Philadelphia, understandably choose to document. Unlike other dads, however, Williams ditched the old-fashioned “mark on the door frame” method of measuring his son in favor of a far more delicious new technique.

“Cheesesteak for Scale” is a baby-measuring practice which began when Brad noticed his 2-week-old son, Lucas, was about the same size as the sandwich he’d brought home that night. Doing what any father would do, he immediately snapped a photo of the sandwich next to his sleeping infant, posted it on Facebook, and the new tradition was born! Once a month, Brad brought home cheesesteak sandwiches for dinner and recorded his son’s progress.

(via Brad Williams)

“[We bought] mostly from Dalessandros, which is my favorite,” Williams told The Dad, “but sometimes we would order one closer to our house for convenience. Overall, an average cheesesteak is about a foot long, although it’s not entirely precise.”

Now, at more than a year old, Lucas has outgrown most traditional cheesesteaks. I asked if Brad would consider moving on to larger food items by which he could measure his son more efficiently (e.g., a bucket of chicken, extra large pizza, party sub, etc.), to which he responded, “Cheesesteaks all the way, baby! I’m planning on doing an annual ‘Cheesesteak for Scale’ picture with Lucas on his birthday every year.”

Though Lucas is currently an only child, Williams promises that any future children will absolutely benefit from the cheesesteak method as well. “It really is the best unit of measurement for tracking a growing kid,” he insists. Plus, he claims that babies and cheesesteaks are a natural combo. He says they are both warm and cuddly when wrapped “but once you unwrap them, expect a huge mess.”

(via Brad Williams)

Follow Brad on Twitter and check out his blog for more delicious cheesesteak data.

A Conversation About Parenting And Comedy With Tom Segura and Christina P

(Getty/Michael Schwartz)

Comedians Tom Segura and Christina P talk parenting, standup, and how to balance them both

The first time we tried to do this interview, Tom and Christina had to reschedule due to kid stuff. Been there! It happens to all of us. But imagine how difficult it must be to manage your time when you have a kid and you’re also two of the most popular standup comics in the business.

Despite both being at the top of their field, their backgrounds are quite diverse. Christina P studied Philosophy at Oxford, has written for numerous television shows, and has performed at comedy festivals all over the world. Tom Segura is a favorite guest of several popular comedy shows on Sirius/XM, has three Netflix stand-up specials under his belt, and has made appearances on TV shows like “Workaholics” and “Happy Endings”.

Together they’ve created one of the most popular podcast/YouTube channels called “Your Mom’s House” as well as a significantly less popular (so far!) child.

I sat down with the funny couple to get their insights into how they keep the spark alive, their careers flourishing, and what being a parent means to them.

“Motherhood is… suffering,” Christina says with a laugh. “No, really. It’s a good kind of suffering. It’s constant sacrifice. There’s no other job in the world where you work 24/7, but you don’t get paid in money. You get paid in, like, a giggle… and it’s totally worth it.”

Parenting is suffering. Relentlessly tiring, constantly gross suffering. We traded war stories about dealing with horrific diapers. But Tom and Christina agreed vomit is even more disgusting.

“I think you get so conditioned to shit that shit isn’t really… you know, you’re getting shit and pissed on and you’re touching shit pretty regularly, and like, that doesn’t bother me, boogers don’t bother me…,” Tom admitted.

“No, I actually get deep satisfaction picking our son’s nose,” Christina seconds.

(Getty/Michael Schwartz)

Tom continues, “Yeah, but when something comes up from inside, you’re like, ‘Bro, this is foul.’ Yeah. I’ll still deal with it, obviously, but I think that’s the grossest.” He takes a second to think on it. “…although really sloppy shit? Really, with any other human being, if another human being shits anywhere near you…so many red flags go off inside of you. So many alarms. Like… evacuate this area. NOW. But, there’s only like one human being that you’re like, ‘All right. I’ll deal with it.'”

Despite the suffering, and the vomit, and the “really sloppy shit,” both Tom and Christina have realized that being a parent does have its privileges. Like getting out of things.

They admit they’ve used their child to get out of doing something on multiple occasions.

“I love it when someone’s like, ‘can you make it to this thing?’ I’ll be like, ‘nah, Christina’s out and I have to watch my son.’ They don’t even question it,” Tom explains with glee. “It’s like, you know in show business there’s amazing credits that just get people’s eyes. You’d be like, ‘I’m on Saturday Night Live.’ They’re like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’ It is the equivalent of that. That is the show biz credit. You know what I mean? If you say, ‘Yeah, I have to take care of my kid.’ It just shuts it down. People are like, ‘Oh, yeah, of course you do. I have no response.’ I want to keep having kids just to keep those excuses coming.”

It’s at this point I remember the rescheduling of the interview because of “kid stuff.” Hmm…

Of course, they may have just needed to take a nap. Because like any couple with a young child, and especially a couple with two complicated traveling schedules, sleep comes at a premium.

“For me, a minimum of seven hours before I’m crazy. I get psychotic,” Christina says. She adds, “Here’s the good news, once you become a parent, your body gets used to it like a marine. You just function on so little.”

Even when he’s on the road, presented with the opportunity to sleep and unplug, Tom has learned that he can’t fully disconnect from the parent life no matter how much he wants to.

“You can sleep in, but then the thing is, I’m texting her like, ‘Hey, guess what time I woke up? The same time I fucking wake up at home.’ And then I’m all like, ‘Send me pictures, send me videos.’ You know?,” Segura moans. “‘Show me what he’s doing.’ It’s like you don’t have the responsibility of watching him actively because you’re a thousand miles away, and it’s a break, but you kind of still miss it. You want to be there.”

(Getty/Michael Schwartz)

His wife agrees.

“There’s truly no break from being a parent. You always think of your child first… always. I think having a son… I’m serious, I think it was all just me, me, me, what am I, me, my neuroses, and what am I going to do?… And brunch. Just stupid shit,” Christina says of her pre-parent lifestyle. “And now that I have a kid and I see what most people go through and the amount of sacrifice and caring for somebody else, I think it just made me a better person. My view of the world is more well-rounded. I think I was a child until we had a baby, you know?”

Parenting is an exhausting rollercoaster of emotions. It gives you stress, but also happiness. Tom says it also gives him empathy, “There’s no way that having a kid won’t change your perspective on the world. You literally start to view every person that you meet or speak to as somebody’s child. You know? I can talk to somebody and they have an unlikable quality and I’ll have empathy for them. I’ll be like, ‘Well, this guy probably just didn’t have good parents…'”

Before we go, I ask if the comedian couple has any advice for new parents and parents-to-be?

Tom says, “I meet expecting parents and I always tell them you’re going to have the most fun, you’re going to lose your mind, just take care of each other. It’s natural to take care of the child. Your nurturing instincts are there, but sometimes you have to remember you gotta take care of each other. You’re going to take care of your baby, you don’t have to tell anybody, ‘Hey, hold and love and take care of this new life in your arms.’ But, take care of each other.

Christina agrees, “Right. Because it’s us against him, you know what I mean? At the end of the day.”

With a toddler at home, a professionally produced YouTube show, two flourishing comedy careers, and a determination to make time for themselves and their marriage, free time is a rare commodity. I’m just glad they gave The Dad a little bit of it, and didn’t use their kid as a (completely unassailable) excuse to get out of it… again?

Tom’s third Netflix special, Disgraceful, lands on January 12.

(Netflix)

Christina’s Netflix special, Mother Inferior, debuted in November.

(Netflix)

They also host the popular comedy YouTube show/podcast Your Mom’s House.

Follow Tom on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Follow Christina on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram