ConstantCommentary® Vol. XIII, No. 196, May
So Sue Me . . .
by Mike Jasper
Meeting The Marty Beckerman
I think I just sobered up from SXSW. Time to write about it. Or at
least the parts I remember.
How about just this one part—I finally met Marty Beckerman, the writer
I've mentored since he was 14 years old.
I met him through Net Wits, an online organization for humor writers,
and by humor writers, I mean comedy writers who generally suck so they
have to write a column on the Internet.
A few of them were very good though, and Marty was one of them.
Besides, he wasn't confined to the Internet—he wrote a column for a
real newspaper in Anchorage, Alaska.
Yes, he lived in Alaska. He could see Sarah Palin from his house.
One day on Net Wits, he wrote about how his editor had come down on him
for going overboard on a column. The editor threatened him with
suspension. I read the column. It was funny as hell. I decided I better
get in touch with him, if only to reassure him that he was on the right
When we finally had that first beer together at the Six Tap Room in
Austin during SXSW, Beckerman reminded me of that first email I sent
him. He told the bartender, "This guy's first email to me said, 'Don't
worry what those assholes think. You'll fuckin' be rich and famous some
Assholes, fuck... yeah that sounds like an email I'd send to a
14-year-old. It gets worse. When he was 15 he was getting some shit
about an interview on Henry Rollins, I think from Henry Rollins himself.
This time I asked for his number in the email. I figured it was time
for us to talk. I dialed the number and got his mom.
"Yes, I'd like to talk to your son Marty. This is another writer friend
he met on the Internet."
"Okay, just a minute."
Okay, just a minute? He's 15, I'm in my 40s, I've got a beer in
hand, a cigarette in my mouth, and I'm pretty sure a Michael Jackson
song was playing in the background, but that's cool Mr. Stranger from
the Internet, let me put my 15-year-old on the line.
Then again, it is Alaska after all. Too cold for pedophiles, I guess.
I don't remember much about the phone conversation. He seemed surprised
I called and sounded somewhat stilted, probably because he was six
years away from legally ordering the drink he so clearly needed.
think it helped. It sure didn't hurt.
After graduating high school in Anchorage, he went on to American
University in Washington D.C. (Go Eagles!), moved to Brooklyn and then
Manhattan after graduation, performed amazing stunts on You Tube, got
published by MTV Books (yes, that's not a typo), interviewed Hunter S.
Thompson, became an editor for Esquire online, got fired as an editor
for Esquire online (if you don't get fired at least once in this biz,
you aren't trying) and was now in Austin during the South-By-Southwest
Interactive Festival to be part of a panel on self-publishing.
Turns out his latest book—The Heming Way: How to Unleash the
Booze-Inhaling, Animal-Slaughtering, War-Glorifying, Hairy-Chested,
Retro-Sexual Legend Within... Just Like Papa!—hit number one on the
humor charts at Amazon, so now he's an expert at self-publishing.
Naturally, since he no longer needs publishers, publishers now want him.
Here's another thing about Beckerman. As I said earlier, he met Hunter
Thompson. He also just wrote about Papa Hemingway. They both
suicide. You should be very worried about me. Very worried.
Wow. That was a long back story. Anyway, once I got to the Six Tap Room
on Colorado Street, I gave Beckerman a call.
"Damn," he said. "What's up with all this rain? I've got this cheap
umbrella and I'm walking west on Third Street."
"Love the rain, Marty. We need the rain. Keep walking. I'll meet you at
the corner of Third and Congress in 15 minutes."
It was a rainy and cold Friday night on March 9, like the opening to a
bad novel. But it gave me the chance to rock my new-to-me vintage '80s
leather jacket I had just won on eBay.
I looked victoriously. But the bartender at Six Tap looked better.
Tats, tits and attitude.
"So I'm meeting this guy I've known for 15 years or so for the first
time. We met on the Internet when he was 14 years old."
She looked at me as if I had just said, "Hi. I'm just a huge homo and
i'm into young boys."
Oh, well. The Porter beer I was drinking was amazing.
At Third and Congress, Marty crossed the street to meet me at the
southeast corner, but the wind got hold of his umbrella and turned it
inside out. He nearly spinned a 180 and he couldn't have done better if
he had intentionally tried to imitate Charlie Chaplin.
We went to the Six Tap Room for a beer, but we soon got hungry. He
wanted Mexican food, but I thought he should try a burger at Casino El
I'm buying, so I win. Besides, if the burgers are good enough for Guy
Fieri, then they're good enough for The Beckerman.
And they were. Amazingly good burgers, even he had to admit it.
Casino's also employs kinky sexy tatted cocktail waitresses. Bonus.
We drank a couple of Guinness beers and talked about a writer's
favorite subject—the shit we get from editors.
"I did one story on David Duchovny, about the time he got out of rehab
for porn addiction, and the editor wanted me to ask him about that. I
really didn't want to, although... I'm kind of a pussy if I don't ask
that question. So I saved it for last."
"Yeah, that's right. Always save the question where they might say
'Fuck you, I'm outta here,' for last. Then you've still got a story."
"Anyway, I asked the question in such a way that he told me, 'Thanks, I
appreciate the way you asked that. My family and I are doing well now
and forging ahead," or something like that.
"But when they put out the story the headline said, 'Duchovny Talks
About Porn Addiction,' and his publicist calls me up and reams me."
Then he said something that surprised me.
"I really admire Danny Gallagher as a writer. He really works his ass
Danny Gallagher is a mutual friend of ours.
'Danny Gallagher?" I asked.
"The guy who lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area?"
"G-A-L-L-A-G-H-E-R. That guy?"
"Are you sure you don't mean the one in Boston?"
"Nope, the one in Texas."
"Yes, really," he said.
(A long Chekovian pause ensues.)
We had another beer and I took him to Lovejoy's for a shot.
"See that booth over there, third from the door?"
"Yeah," he said.
"Underneath that booth in the concrete is a tracing of my cock. Because
I wanted to contribute a little something to the legacy of Lovejoy's.
And I do believe I did."
"To your little something at Lovejoy's!" Beckerman said, and we drank
down our Jameson's. He's like the little brother I never had.
Three minutes later, I poured him into a cab. What kind of NY City
writer is this Beckerman? Three beers and a shot and he's boiled.
See? I'm the real fucking Heming Way. The second most interesting man
in the world. First, if you don't count Latinos.
I went back to the Six Tap Room to annoy the hot bartender for another
two hours. For I rule. At least I do once a year during SXSW.
* * *
This column aims to be funny. If you can read anything else into it,
you're on your own.
Mike Jasper, All Rights Reserved. ConstantCommentary® is published
whenever Mike Jasper feels like it. All material is the responsibility
of the author.