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Welcome to the Pop Culture Show with Barnes, Leslie, and Cubby.
Please rate, review, and subscribe to the Pop Culture Show. I'm Barnes. That there is Leslie, and over there it's Cubby. Hey, what's going on gang?
The band is back together for another exciting week, man.
We're back. Today, Charles Esten will be on the show today. A lot of people know him from Nashville, but most recently on one of the top five shows, called Outer Banks, on Netflix. He's the lead, he's the adult lead. There is a kid lead, or a couple of kid leads. You guys have to watch it, it's so good.
I definitely want to, especially because his character is so different from what he played on Nashville.
So Charles Esten is coming up, The Pop Culture, atthepopcultureshow.com is the hub. That's where you can listen anywhere you like to listen, like Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Pandora, or where ever you get your podcasts. Hey, next week Ken Fuchs will be on the show. He is the director of every show on TV. The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Shark Tank, Family Feud, Press Your Luck, To Tell the Truth, maybe not Press Your Luck... To Tell the Truth, I can't even keep up with...
It'll be fun to talk to him and ask him a lot of questions about how things have changed in a COVID world.
So many stories from behind the scenes. Just on Shark Tank alone, imagine dealing with all those personalities on a daily basis, for hours at a time. It's got to be very, very interesting. So we'll talk to Ken next week. Got a shout-out to give out. Christina Warren at Microsoft in Seattle, who listens to our podcast, thank you. She was tweeting us the other day. She's a long-time listener, Fram, of The Morning X.
Thank you, Christina.
Back to when she was, I think she said she was like 10.
Of course. Makes us feel old.
Christina doesn't know me, but she'll be happy to know that I use a Microsoft Surface every day for the recording of this podcast and for my radio show. So shout-out to Microsoft.
I think she might know you because she lived in New York City and she was a writer for Mashable.
Oh, very cool. Yeah. I know Mashable.
So I have a feeling she knows who Cubby is.
Well Christina, thank you for the love and support of The Pop Culture Show.
We have some other great news. We're trying every tactic to get you to listen. So now we're going to cut right to the bribe... We're going to pay you.
We have money. This is called Pop Quiz and we will start this next week, because we have to tell you about it first.
So basically, starting next week you have a chance to win $50. We're going to ask you a question about The Pop Culture Show, a question from a past episode, correct?
Yeah, and it's not going to be easy.
Right. It's going to be kind of hard.
Not the past, but the week prior.
Right, the week prior. Exactly. And then if you od not get the question right, well that's a win for everybody else because that $50 rolls to next week, and it goes to $100. And then it goes to $150 if nobody gets it after that. And who knows, if this goes on for a year, we may be up to $25,000.
And you'll be in serious tax debt. It'll be fabulous.
And we'll have a problem. A big problem.
Wait a second, why don't we have Ken Fuchs, who's the director of Family Feud, just be the director of the pop quiz for The Pop Culture Show?
We're expanding, people. We're expanding.
It's so easy. Just go to the pinned post on Facebook and in the comment section just say, "Quiz me."
That's it. We're going to pick someone at random from whoever... We'll keep that as a running post. So this'll be an ongoing thing on the show until it's not anymore. Until we're broke and we have to start refinancing our house.
Right. Now this person is going to join us on the phone or on Zoom, and we're going to ask the question live.
Pop quiz will be 10 seconds. So we'll say, "Cubby, on last week's show..." Who was our guest? Oh, Oz. "On last week's show, who said they were going to quit drinking Diet Coke? Go."
Right. And we'd be like, "Barnes."
Boom. Win $50.And then if they say, "Cubby," bum, bum, bum... Then next week it's $100. Too easy.
Do we get winning music too, Barnes?
Oh, man. There's not enough time in the day.
No, I agree. We need some fanfare.
We will. We'll do it up. We'll do it up. Yup. That'll start next week, so please just go to that post and put, "Quiz me," if you want to be in the running to get quizzed. You guys have a good week?
I had an amazing week. I got to tell you... Guys, pumpkin spice is back, man.
Starbucks and Dunkin. It's the earliest they've ever started it. It started August 25th I believe for both. And I tell you, I'm a big fan. What about you guys, are you pumpkin spice people?
You sound like you've had four of them right now.
Hey man... Well that and the Adderall. But I'm tell you.
We learn something new about Cubby every week.
Jäger, Adderall, pumpkin spice.
Leslie, are you a pumpkin spice fan? Because you strike me as a pumpkin spice fan.
I am, I'm a little concerned about the calories in there.
Oh, who cares? Calories don't count.
I just asked Cubby about a calorie count on Jäger this week because I'm concerned.
Yeah. It's like 100 a shot I believe.
Heather looked over at me, she was playing your story and goes, "Cubby's drinking again." I was like, "At what point... And now I've got other people telling me to lookout for my co-host."
Well you know what it is... Look, Barnes, you have two kids and when they were that young, you had to drink a little more to keep up with them.
It's a long days, and daddy needs a little treat.
You do make a good point.
That's the highlight of your week, that pumpkin spice is back?
Pumpkin spice is back, fall is in the air, I love fall. I'm just happy as can be. How about you, Leslie?
I dropped my phone, my cell phone, in between the washer and dryer-
[crosstalk 00:05:44] no space there. [Lannie 00:05:47] was out of town... Not out of town, Lannie was not here, and I kept hearing my phone ring and so I'm in panic mode. I tried every utensil in the kitchen, from tongs to anything that would reach down. So finally I was like, what else in the house can I use?
I would have paid to have seen this.
So I found a hanger. So I get this hanger, now I've made it worse. Now, as I'm trying to get my cell phone in between the washer, dryer, I push my cell phone under the washing machine.
Oh, you made it worse.
Made it worse. So I shimmied... Which, by the way, it's kind of heavy. I shimmied the washer out a little bit, I climbed on the dryer, seriously climbed on the dryer, got some tongs from the kitchen, dropped myself onto the floor under the washing machine, and got my cell phone out. This went on for like an hour and a half.
Leslie has the best stories, man-
I do have the photos to prove it all too.
I thought you couldn't top the whole following a random truck story, but this might be up there-
It could be-
I was only applauding because I thought, "Finally she's broken that damn Android and she's going to come into iPhone."
By the way, Leslie, was this during business hours, so peak time where the phone was ringing like you said, and people needed you?
Yeah, it was peak time. It was peak time. I thought Lannie was going to call and get nervous.
Keith Urban's calling.
Yeah. She's between the washer and the dryer.
What about you, Barnes?
I'll do it quickly, I got my flu shot. I think it's a first time ever.
I just happened to be at Public's and they were like, "Get a flu shot and we'll give you a $10 gift card." I'm a sucker for a gift card, hit me. So I got a flu shot. I busted a PI out in front of my house.
So there was a private... I kept noticing this car, this car with super tinted windows, camped out in my space. And so I got my gun and went outside. I'm like, "Whoever this is..."
Was your gun visible?
It wasn't in my hand. I wasn't in full... But you don't know these days.
What someone's going to do. And I thought the guy was dead. I thought the dude in the car was dead. So I'm looking through, and tint was so dark that I had to look through the front window. So I did old fake on the phone, walked past. And then I turned and looked in the car, and the dude didn't move. And I'm like, "Okay well he's dead." So, that was my first thought. I thought, "This dude is dead." So I started doing, you know when the cop comes up behind you on the side of a car? You can't see him, but he can see in?
So I started doing that, and I had one hand on my gun, because I didn't know what was going to happen. I thought, "Well if this guy's dead, maybe whoever killed him is behind him in the seat." I can't see in the car at all. So I get up there and I look in, and then all of a sudden the door cracks and I'm like, "Whoa, hey!" The dude gets out, and he goes, "Sorry. I'm a private investigator." I'm like, "Well, then I guess you're not investigating me, because I guess you wouldn't be so obvious." He said, "No." I said, "Well dude, half the block is already calling the police because you've been sitting here for 10 hours with your car running and we thought you were dead or you were up to something no good." He said he was on an insurance case. I was like, "So, you want to come on our podcast? We can talk about..." I'm not kidding.
Now I feel like a loser. The highlight of my week was pumpkin spice, and you guys had death and MacGruber going on over here with Leslie. Unreal.
Is that a line you would ever do, being a PI?
Just for fun. It's all very mysterious.
So I have a question for both of you, Barnes, Cubby. Have you ever, in Hollywood, have you ever dated anyone 20 years younger or older than you?
No. Not me.
Never ever? Well guess what-
Maybe in my dreams
Guess what? We have the world's first extreme age gap dating site.
This is a real thing?
20 Dating. So you could date someone 20 years younger or 20 years older. It's a new app-
Yeah. It's pretty extreme. It's funny because when I saw this story, I thought of all the actors in Hollywood because most of the guys are dating people 20 years or more younger than them.
It's these dudes in their 70s that are dating 40 year olds. There are a lot of them.
Yeah. The site only matches users with people 20 years younger. Yeah.
I know he's one.
He just got married.
Harrison Ford is at least 20 over Calista Flockhart. But that's been a while. There's several of them.
And then Brad Pitt has a new chick.
New German model he's dating who's I would say 30 years younger than he is.
It's a shame nobody here is single on this show, because it would be fun to have somebody on to test it would. But I would never try it out-
You would go older, right Cubby?
Me? No. No. I'm 49, man.
That was just a joke.
By the way, the app is called Gaper. G-A-P-E-R.
The name is even bad.
So what do you think is their biggest demographic that goes on there? Girls in their 20s trying to get a sugar daddy?
I think sugar daddy. That's exactly what I was going to say. It's young girls looking for the older guys. That's my thought.
You don't think it's older guys looking for the younger girls?
Well that too. I think it goes both ways.
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So it does go both ways, because the older guys have the cash, which is what the younger girls want.
They just have to give up the booty. I've heard about so many of these things where these girls get into... And I've actually met people in travel who are with someone that old. You get them drinking and they'll start telling stories. Literally will go sit in their room, the dudes, will go sit in their room all day, and these girls are out doing everything. And then you'll see him at dinner and the girl's just a little trophy hanging on his arm.
It's the weirdest thing.
It's super weird. But they want a different lifestyle, potentially.
And both are happy. I think the older dude is happy because he has the arm candy. And she's eating lobster and steak, it's a win-win.
Curious to see how popular though this app will be.
Chadwick Boseman (12:04):
Evacuate the city. Engage all defenses. Get this man a shield. [inaudible 00:12:12]. In my culture, death is not the end.
So sad that we learned of the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman. That was him bringing the Black Panther to life. I was shocked when I saw the news because no one knew that he was sick. He had stage 3 colon cancer that he got in 2016, and he never told anyone. So he had been battling with this for years.
I thought it was one of those internet memes.
I thought it was one of those fake death high profile person that's so sad.
And if you look at the movies that he made, he brought a lot of these heroes, these black heroes, to life. I don't know if you ever saw the Thurgood Marshall movie he did called Marshall, I watched last night because I had never seen it before. Get on Up, the James Brown movie. He brought James Brown to life. It was unbelievable. Have you ever seen him play James Brown?
Nope. I never saw that movie, but I saw the clips. You would think you're watching James Brown.
And then of course, baseball icon Jackie Robinson in the movie 42. Just incredible movies at a young, and for him to die so young at the age of 43, it's tragic.
Dude not only had skills but had just something inside him that's different than everybody else. He filmed a lot of those big movies while going chemo and going through treatment.
And nobody knew. And it's funny how he treated his fans like gold. He really was an icon both on film and real life. He just was a super good guy. Never met him, but I heard he was one of the nicest guys.
And the stories that are coming out from all the actors, as you know that he played with, especially Denzel Washington who had a statement the other day saying he was, "A gentle soul and a brilliant artist who will stay with us for eternity through his iconic performances over his short, yet illustrious career." Denzel, by the way, financed his studies at this theater program and the University of Oxford. Sad story. Are you guys following Nandi Bushell the little 10 year old phenom drummer?
How did she become a thing? She just one of these people that started playing the drums on YouTube and...
Yeah. I think she's got almost 100 thousand followers on YouTube. But she was inspired early on by seeing a drum kit of Ringo Starr's, but she's a huge Foo Fighter's fan. She's been on a lot of TV shows, she's already been on every morning show and Ellen. But anyway, she challenged Dave Grohl. I don't know if you ever saw her do her drum-off of Everlong, but she challenged Dave Grohl and Dave came back, I guess Dave got a lot of tweets-
Dave just accepted. Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters accepted Nandi Bushell's challenge.
Check this clip out, this is him. He has just played Everlong, and I'm a drummer, I will tell you that playing a Foo Fighters song will take the breath out of you completely, like most of them. So that's why he sounds like he's breathing heavy, he just played Everlong. But here's his response, he did video back to her.
Nandi Bushell (15:26):
Hey everyone. Dave Grohl has just responded to my battle request. I can't wait to watch it. Let's see what he says.
Dave Grohl (15:33):
In the last week, I've gotten at least 100 texts from people all over the world saying, "This girl is challenging you to a drum-off. What are you going to do?" Now look, I've seen all your videos, I've seen you on TV. You're an incredible drummer. I'm really flattered that you've picked some of my songs to do for your videos and you've done it all perfectly. So today, I'm going to give you something you may not have heard before. This is a song called Dead End Friends from a band called Them Crooked Vultures, which is me playing drums, Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age playing guitar and singing, and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin playing bass. This is my response to your challenge. So now the ball is in your court.
Dave Grohl gets it on so many levels, it's unbelievable. He's so smart to play these games.
And she is going to be Cindy Blackman.
You know who Cindy Blackman is, right?
The drummer for Lenny Kravitz-
She looks like her as a kid.
She does look like her and it's funny that you say Lenny Kravitz because if you go on her YouTube page, Nandi is jamming with Lenny Kravitz at O2 Arena.
It's just wild hearing them, "Yeah, so here's the song. It's me on drums and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin on guitar. Have fun with that."
Anybody watch Bill and Ted Face the Music?
I watched it because I loved the original.
It's really funny because originally they were going to have them as their older selves interacting with their younger selves, but they just went ahead and did I guess Keanu and Alex Winter, how do they look?
It actually looked pretty, they looked great. I really thought they looked great. Obviously they look older, but it was fun. I'm not going to lie, I was surprised. It's got I believe 78% on Rotten Tomatoes and I said to myself, "That's pretty good. I don't know if it's going to be that good." And actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Hour and a half, which is perfect, and it was fun. It really was fun. A lot of the older characters you kind of forgot about show up in the movie too.
I'm just all done with remakes.
Well, yeah. Remember we were laughing a couple weeks ago about all the reboots that Leslie had-
It's all there is.
All there is, yeah.
Original they said they were going to use CGI for George Carlin, but I guess they decided not to. But you liked it, what kind of rating would you give it?
I think that if you're my age, I'm 49 years old, so I was a kid when the first one came out, you'll like it for the nostalgia part. My wife, who's 10 years younger than me, she saw the original, didn't quite remember it that well, she was into the first 30 minutes and then I noticed she was on her phone a lot after that.
She was like, out.
And that's how you tell to me a good movie. If you're not looking at your phone a lot.
I yell at Heather for that. We'll start a new series-
Oh, I hate that.
And she'll be on her phone at the beginning, I'm like, "Listen, you got to put the phone down."
Especially when you know they're going to like it. I'm like, "Please, give it 10, 15 minutes."
The only time I'm on my phone is with live TV, or something that might be live, like a season finale... Because I want to see what people are saying on Twitter, the hashtags. Like Yellowstone last week, which, by the way, just killed it in the ratings. Apparently is the number one most watched cable telecast of the year.
Okay. Listen. I tried last night, I'm so sick of everybody getting up in my Yellowstone, "You got to watch, you got to watch, you got to watch."
Don't tell me you only watched one episode.
Hold on, we put it on and this is when I said to Heather, "Put your phone down, let's give this a chance." And then I was watching it and watching it and then like 30 minutes in, I just looked over, I said, "I don't know if it's just I'm not into this type of culture, or the surroundings and the whole thing. I'm just not into it."
That's so surprising because I think if you gave it a couple episodes... I'm so hooked on it.
Then that girl started getting undressed. And so that was about 40 minutes in. I'm like, "Okay, well hold on. Don't hang up yet. Don't hang up yet." But I still, it didn't resonate. I feel like it was a cowboy western Sopranos.
It's really good. I think Kevin Costner, some of his best work. I don't know, maybe try to give it a couple of more.
What are you watching, Fram. Give me something else.
Now I'm going back and watching old John Grishom movies, because the new movies just don't hold up for me.
You're not watching any TV shows?
No, not right now.
Right. It's kinds of quiet right now.
I just finished Yellowstone. What about you, Cubby?
I got to be honest with you, if we were doing this podcast a year ago, I'd be talking to you for an hour about shows I'm watching. But with the baby, and I'm not using this as an excuse, it's non-stop baby and usually when she's up and awake, we have some kind of baby show on. So my only down time is between 7:00 PM and 10:00 PM, and by that time I'm too tired. Yeah, I'm not watching too much TV.
We binged Indian Matchmaking.
I heard it's good. On Netflix.
Excellent. It was so good. It's a good character study. It was excellent and you binge it so fast. My only complaint is that the end of it, eight or 10 episodes, they don't really wrap everything up, they leave it hanging. But it was fascinating. And there's a thing called Bae Watch, have you seen that? B-A-E Watch?
Oh. A different Bay Watch.
Yeah. Don't waste your time. Netflix is touting it in that upper slider.
It's so bad. It's a U.K. dating show where they send these people to a resort for the weekend and they put cameras everywhere. So I think they're telling them they're on some other type of show, and then they put their family in the adjoining room, who have like 10 screens. Kind of Truman Show-ish, and they're dictating what happens. So they'll go and the director will do an interview and they say, "Ask him how much he likes, if he wants to go to the park later."
I won't like this.
We started a second episode and they do the same thing.
Can I shout-out one movie, by the way? Have you seen The King of Staten Island?
Haven't watched it yet.
Surprise me. You'll like it. Do me a favor. It came out in June, it's still on-demand, Pete Davidson, based on-
I've heard that's good.
His real life story. It's surprisingly good. My wife and I were like, "Wow."
Can I tell you why I haven't watched it yet? There's been so much stuff about him, that I'm just like, "Ah..."
It's up and down.
Yeah, I hear you.
You know what I mean?
I don't know.
But the best TV I'll leave you with for the week, Love Island. They're nailing it. It's on every night-
That's on CBS, right? I saw it last night.
Yeah. The biggest nights, for me, are Big Brother and Love Island on the same night.
I'm so not into any of those shows-
Neither am I-
I'm so more into drama.
I was channel surfing and I saw Love Island and I thought of you, Barnes. I always think of you.
It's number one.
Because there's nothing else on.
No, there's a lot of things on. I'm telling you, they do great casting and it's good.
Give me 10 episodes of Shark Tank back to back. So now couple of Hollywood things, because we keep talking about Hollywood can't reinvent itself. The new trailer for Batman with Robert Pattenson, what do you think about him as Batman? He was a vampire.
Look-wise, yeah. I haven't seen any clips.
I think it might be really good.
Look-wise, it makes sense. But I want to see it.
And they've been talking about this for years, about a new Mad Max and now the rumor is it could be Chris Hemsworth.
I could see that.
I don't mind that. I do not mind that one bit. Now there's a rumor that Johnny Depp is asking for, you ready for this? $50 million for Pirates of the Caribbean. Which would be the 6th one.
Wow. Do you know how well that movie would have to do just to pay him?
I mean seriously.
I mean serious, that's crazy.
It would be half, right?
Yeah. It would be.
And finally, Katie Perry and Orlando Bloom have a little baby. I thought the name was cute, Daisy Dove Bloom.
And how good is her timing that her new album came out?
She dropped a baby and an album in the same week.
Well done, Katie.
That rolls nicely into... This was one of the biggest new music weeks that I have seen in a long time. I'm going to run through a couple of key ones, just so you know that they exist. One of them, of course, is Katie Perry.
Katie Perry (23:37):
Her team knows how to produce a hit, man. They just crank these out and they sound excellent sonically, every time.
Yeah. I agree.
Smashing Pumpkins were teasing people on their webpage. They had a countdown, a mysterious countdown going on, no one knew what it was. Well now we know, it's a new album coming but they dropped two songs. Here's one of them.
Smashing Pumpkins (24:06):
That one's called Seer.
It's such a undeniable voice. You always know it's Billy Corgan.
But he looks like he's right out of My Three Sons, or what was the... The Munsters. He looks like straight out of the Munsters in this video. It's a performance video, so it's supposed to be-
I need to look and see who's in the band now.
Everyone but Darcy. Here's the second one they did, it's called The Color of Love. The guy knows how to put a song together.
Smashing Pumpkins (24:41):
So it's coming out in a couple of months. That's a thing now, Leslie, right? Everyone's putting out their music so early.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). They're releasing tracks every week, just bonus tracks from the album. And seriously with having the band back together, that's pretty huge for The Pumpkins.
Here's a new one, Calvin Harris and the Weekend, it's called Over Now.
Calvin Harris, The Weeknd (25:09):
I love The Weekend.
I think all these songs sound the same.
Well that's you showing your age.
We're officially that age now, we're like, "What is it with music these days?" We're doing what our parents would do.
But in that genre. I feel like it's just a big baseline and Auto-Tuning. That's just me.
No, I'm with you. I agree. But that's just where music is right now.
Well again, I'm pointing only to that genre. This guy is like the singer's singer, Chris Stapleton. Everyone that is a serious singer, this is his new one called Starting Over.
Chris Stapleton (26:02):
Would call him country, Fram, or would you call him just...
Yeah, he's country. He's one of the best song writers in town, too. He's incredible.
Yeah. Everyone loves that guy. Keith Urban came out with a flying one.
Keith Urban (26:29):
One thing about Keith Urban people don't know, he can shred the guitar like more... He can blow away some of the best rock guitarists.
One of the best guitar players ever.
He does a lot of rock songs too in concert, he'll do Zeppelin and stuff.
He can shred, shred. Okay, and the last one is... This band put this together in 1986 and never released it, and now they've got this box set coming out. Tell me if you can name the band.
Tears for Fears (26:58):
Wow. Wow. No, I'm sitting here thinking...
Heather guessed Wham. I said, "Well that would be good, but yeah, no."
Yeah. No George Michael.
Who is it?
Who is that? I really don't know.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World.
Tears for Fears.
They've got a huge box set coming soon.
Tony! Toni! Tone! (27:32):
It's amazing, sincerely, it's unbelievable. 150 years people have been looking for that goddamn gold. None of them could find it, you found it.
Charles Esten (27:42):
Here's the thing son, finding it? That's where your fun ends. That's where all your problems begin.
Ladies and gentleman, our guest today is Charles Esten. That was him doing his acting thing in Netflix powerhouse, Outer Banks. Hey, Charles.
Charles Esten (27:59):
Hello. Good to speak with you guys.
Great to have you here, man.
So excited to have you. And can I start from the very beginning? Because I know you've done a million things, and we're going to get to all the things, but it all started with a game show. I'm a big game show buff, you were on Sale of the Century back in the late 80s?
Charles Esten (28:20):
I absolutely was. Let me first start by saying, "Hi," to my friend Leslie, because I love Leslie Fram so much. We got to know each other through Nashville, she was there on my greatest day ever when we announced that we got that CMT pickup on stage. Hi, Leslie.
So good to talk to you. I can't wait to get caught up today.
Charles Esten (28:38):
Oh, I can't either. Now going back to that game show, that game show was so crucial, so pivotal to everything else it's kind of scary. I went to college and over the summers I would do construction and try to raise a little money. I didn't know what I wanted to do yet, I had a couple friends that went out to LA and were making it work, so I thought maybe I'll try it. I went out there in I guess September, and I think I was out there maybe a month, and I was already flat broke. I was sleeping on a mattress with all my clothes in a milk crate in a house full of stunt men. I didn't have enough money to stay, and I didn't have enough money to go home. Back then there was no internet, I was just flipping through something called the recycler in the local newspaper, and they had all these game shows that were auditioning.
I've been a TV buff my whole life, I grew up addicted to it. So I thought, "I'll do that." But I thought to myself, "I don't want to do one that's pure chance, like Wheel of Fortune, where you're just bankrupt on a roll of a wheel. I don't want to do one like Win, Lose, or Draw, or Pyramid where you're depending on some idiot celebrity to help you win your money." And I didn't want to be on Jeopardy because I thought, "I don't think I'm quite... I might win one Jeopardy, but I won't do well enough to make some money." So I found a show called Sale of the Century. I loved it. It was like Jeopardy but the questions weren't as hard, but you had to be fast. You had to be really fast. I guess I was pretty fast because five days later, I walked away with $34,000 in cash and prizes, as they say. That was almost like God saying, "You can stay."
What was the tax on that?
Charles Esten (30:26):
Yeah, it was brutal. It absolutely was brutal.
But that's where the bug began, right here. From a game show, to where you are right now.
Charles Esten (30:37):
Well it certainly is the thing that made it all possible. By the way, it wasn't just the fact that I had to pay taxes, I had to sell all this stuff because some of it was cash, but most of it was these strange prizes like a child's bed shaped like a car, or a microwave. So I had to go on the recycler, the classifieds, and sell these things. I had these two massive cardboard boxes full of redwood that ultimately you would assemble into a sauna. I had to drive it out to some dude in Ventura and he wrote me like an $800-something check, and that was the first steak meal I had in Hollywood.
You have conquered so many mediums, from the big screen, television, you're a very successful songwriter and musician. In the very early days though, growing up, what did you see your career to be? Did you want to be an actor or did you want to be a musician? Or did you want to be both?
Charles Esten (31:32):
Well I was an inveterate showoff always. So it was one or the other. I didn't do a whole lot of acting. If I go way back, my family tells this story that when I was just a little guy, my dad said, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And I think he was expecting, "Fireman," "Astronaut," and I said, "A clown." And by the way, this was long before clowns were creepy. They were just sort of fun and [crosstalk 00:31:57]. There was a day where clowns were actually beloved. In any event, he goes, "Why do you want to be a clown?" And I said, "Because I want to make people laugh."
I think it was this super simple answer, but at the time, if I go back and if I'm in the therapist couch, there were some times where it wasn't that funny around my house. And so I always was the guy that wanted everybody, "Hey, everybody. Watch me do this. Let's all laugh, let's all smile. Let's not go down that road, for now." So there was a whole lot of that. But also, later I also come to understand what a song can do, if I could play a song on a piano or a guitar, that somebody might... If it was a funny song, they'd laugh, or if it was something more sentimental, it might move them in some way.
I guess the through line, eventually I didn't really do serious acting until I went to LA, but the through line through all of that I think I've come to find is, I want to make somebody feel something. And that's it. I want them to either laugh at Who's Line is it Anyway, or The Office, or be afraid of something from Outer Banks, or be moved and sad or heart warmed by something Nashville. That's definitely the through line, that's sort of what I get off on, is bringing an emotion to somebody that they didn't have.
Well, not that Outer Banks isn't good, but you can send a big thank you to COVID-19, because you had a captive audience that was latching on great content, and I think that gave it the booster that it needed to become one of the top shows on Netflix.
Charles Esten (33:29):
Well, I couldn't really argue with you there. I think we would have had the younger audience, I think that would have been there, just by the nature of how great this young cast is. But I think you're right, I think all the families locked down. Tiger King had had it's day, so we knocked them off it's throne and Outer Banks took over. Yeah. Not that you would ever wish it on anything, but it was the timing that made this where families would sit around and watch this show. I think some of the older folks are going, "I think I like this more than I'm supposed to or thought I would."
You guys, everyone who hasn't watched it, do yourself a favor and spend those 10 hours watching it. I think you're going to enjoy it and Ward Cameron, you want to talk about a dick, Cubby. I'm just saying.
Charles Esten (34:17):
Takes one to know one, right?
You were on this cultural phenomenon, which was Nashville the TV show, from ABC. I was lucky enough to work with you when we had it on CMT, but it was such a worldwide hit, and it wasn't just a TV show. You were part of these amazing musical tours, you and some of the cast members, selling out Royal Albert Hall, and O2 in London, and all of the soundtracks that came out. This wasn't just a regular show. What you guys did for the city of Nashville, putting it on the map, putting a lot of these venues on the map, literally saving the Bluebird Café. What was it like being in that moment?
Charles Esten (35:03):
Oh, Leslie. That job for me, that role of Deacon, it was such... They say, "My cup runs over," and sometimes you think of that, almost like a cup of coffee that has a little too much in it. This is more just like a cup under a waterfall because it was everything I had ever wanted. Look, when I got this, I was 46 and I had been in Hollywood a long time, and I've had a career that I was very happy with. I'd been on The Office, and Who's Line is it Anyway, a bunch of shows that you've heard of, but I'd never found a real home. I was always the guest star, the eight episode arc. So the fact that it came together on something of such quality, and such heart... And the music on top of that, because I was a singer, songwriter long before I was an actor. And so it's really sort of hard for me to square how wonderful that was. All I know is I loved every single moment of it.
I feel very grateful for those things what we were able to... Look, all we did was turn a light on Nashville and on country music. If it hadn't been as wonderful as it is, it wouldn't have meant much. But thanks to Callie Khouri and her wonderful writing and all the great music that came out, whether it was T Bone Burnett, or Buddy Miller, or Tim Lauer. It was really something. By the way, that music is what's really cool about it because any other show, you can go back and binge Nashville like you can go back and binge anything else. But it has this body of music that I think stands up so strongly. You were talking about the international appeal, that still is a thing. Because of Nashville, I'm able to go over and be a part of festivals overseas. I, myself, got to go play the Royal Albert Hall. I swear to you, I never thought that was possible.
I think there was a few things I had maybe let go, when you start getting to 42 and 43. And then at 46, this thing kicks in and all these things that I had let go came rushing back into my life. So I consider myself incredibly blessed and I'm incredibly grateful. I'm really actually very grateful to CMT because not only did we get two more seasons because of CMT, but in a real way, we sort of got to finish it, close it down, and it got to slow down a little bit. Part of the ABC-ness of it all was that intense, high energy, this wilder, more dramatic, people falling off roofs, all those things. And we could do that with the best of them, but I always thought our strongest moments were those quiet bluebird moments, those father-daughter moments, those two people in love moments, those human moments. And I think that's what draws everybody to the show. Anybody that ever got on the Nashville train never got off. I'm incredibly grateful for that.
In the current pandemic that we're just continuing to go through, it feels like it's never going to end, how is that affecting taping, for what you're doing right now? What's the protocol for taping TV shows?
Charles Esten (38:16):
Well we're in pre-production right now, I don't start until Monday and I can tell you that it is massive, it's a massive undertaking. You know shooting a show is already a massive undertaking, but what they're doing on top of it is extremely impressive. It's just, I can tell, a group of people, and this includes the actors guilds and Netflix and all our production that said, "This I important. We want to do this. But we want to do it safely." It's like the space program. There's so many protocols, everybody is wearing the masks. Like just to go get a ward…