Ep 23: Comedian/ghost aficionado Andy Kozel and Rachael dissect the paranormal world... of comedy in LA
On this episode of Be Here For A While, Rachael talks ghosts, Bristol Farms and the comedy scene in LA with comedian, radio host, and ghost aficionado Andy Kozel.
To kick things off, Kozel talks about his show Ghostline, which is a lighthearted, weekly radio call-in program about all things paranormal. They talk about the Greg Wilson episode, during which Greg talks about the night he took the train home in NYC after a comedy show one night. This was about two weeks after 9/11. He fell asleep, and when he woke up, the train was stopped where only construction workers were allowed to go, right in the middle of ground zero. He stepped out amongst a five-story high pile of rubble as far as the eye could see.
“He said he had this overwhelming feeling of all of these ghosts or spirits rushing through him, telling him, ‘What happened to us? Who did this to us?’ They were angry, they didn’t know, and he was sitting there bawling his eyes out.”
They then get to talking about the building on Sunset in Hollywood where he lives, and how it’s haunted. (It’s an old art deco building with studio apartments.) James Dean and other notable Hollywood big-shots had lived there back when MGM would put up their talent for free. Errol Flynn used to live in his very apartment.
“That night I moved in—nobody was there—and something kept messing with my legs, like, ‘Hey, help! Help!’ So I was laying on my bed on my side watching TV, and you know how you fall asleep, and you dream that you’re still in that position watching TV? So I get up in my dream and I walk to the bathroom, and I open up the door, and this old lady was standing there, staring at me. I was like, ‘You’ve gotta go.’ Then she shook her head, and I lead her out past the door into the hallway, and then I woke up. And nothing’s ever fucked with me since.”
His apartment is also conveniently close to Bristol Farms, which Rachael swears is why she and Andy became friends.
“I spend $50 a day at this place,” Andy jokes.
They then launch into a deep discussion about their love for free food samples.
“I find myself going up to deli cases and pretending I’ve never had orange chicken before in my life. I’m like, ‘What’s this??’” Rachael jokes.
“And sometimes they’ll catch you and they’re like, ‘It’s alright, man,” Andy laughs.
“I put on a whole acting scheme where I’m like, ‘Wow, roast turkey!’” Rachael says.
They get to talking about potential Food Network show ideas, discussing ghost hunting and drinking at the same time, when an experience that Andy had on the Queen Mary comes up.
“Ok, here’s the story,” he starts. “My girlfriend got [the trip] for my birthday. So we go there, we have some drinks and stuff and christen the room, and right after, I had a scratch on my cheek that just burned. But she didn’t touch my face or anything. And they always say that when you get scratched by a ghost, it lingers, burning.”
He continues the story, explaining that later that night, they went on the ghost tour of the ship. The tour guide says that there was one guy who got killed during the war when an air-tight door slammed on him—and he’s the most prominent ghost.
“He’s the one they say gets jealous and follows girls back to their rooms,” Andy says—and he’s probably the one that scratched Andy’s face.
Switching subjects, Rachael asks Andy how he got into comedy. He says that he did morning radio in college at the University of Illinois, then got involved with Second City in Chicago, and then moved to Los Angeles, eventually working at the Ha Ha Comedy club for six years, then doing commercials, stand-up, writing scripts, and starting Ghostline.
Rachael and Andy then get to talking about reality television and how it’s changed over the years, and about the cringe factor of certain shows like Roast Battle.
“As I get older, I can’t handle watch certain things, like when there’s confrontation. I don’t know if I’m evolving as a human or what,” Andy says. “As a kid I was like, ‘Ah, I wanna see this shit.’ But now, I cringe. When I was watching the New Jersey Housewives [reunion] I had to turn it off.”
“And I always thought with Roast Battle that I couldn’t do it because they would pair you with one of your friends and obviously mean stuff is going to come out,” Rachael says.
“Well the weird thing about Roast is that they started out as buddies and were just playing around with them, having fun, and now we’ve gotten to the point where it’s like, ‘Fuck you, your parents are dead,’” Andy says.
They get to talking about personality types, differentiating between Type A and Type B. (They both identify as Type B.)
“I’m super driven and regimented and stuff, but I don’t have that narcissistic quality,” Rachael says.
“Yeah, I feel like that’s the grey area with Type A,” Andy says. “All of these comics are like, ‘I’m there for me.’ Type B is more like, ‘OK, I want everyone to make it.’ Type A is like ‘No, I’m going to make it and I’m going to step on everybody to get there.’”
“Then I’m definitely Type B,” Rachael says. “I’ve seen other people post where they are in charts of podcasts and I was really excited to be number 17 and I almost posted it on something and I was like, ‘That’s just embarrassing.’”
“I’ll only post shit if it’s a show with other people, because I’m promoting everyone’s stuff,” Andy says. “I won’t be like, ‘Hey, look at what I did.’ So many comics out here do that shit and it’s so transparent.”
“But there’s different schools of thought who think you should always be promoting yourself because what if an exec or someone sees that,” Rachael says. “But I also think sometimes silent confidence is good too. They’ll see it when they need to.”
“I don’t want to backdoor people,” Andy says. “I don’t want to step on people. I’m not that kind of person—I didn’t do comedy for that. I just want to make people laugh.”
They get to talking about the way the industry has changed, and people going agentless, and the necessity of proving that you can get followers but also proving your chops as a live performer.
“I’ve actually stopped trying to pitch myself to agents, because I think they like to come to you,” Rachael says. “You have no leverage when you’re like, ‘Hey, I promise I’m really good at things… sign me!’”
They go on to discuss the horror movie about aliens and the government that Andy executive produced called “Lights,” as well an idea for a Vanderpump Variety Show, the trend of men wearing tights under their workout shorts, and the fact that no one should ever say that they “do sketch.”