As his "noir-rotic comedy" creation Bored To Death closes out its second season on HBO (this Sunday), Jonathan Ames is gearing up to host another Moth Ball (a benefit for the Moth Reading Series—whose podcast makes a commute from, say, Queens to DUMBO that much more enjoyable, at least once a week). Buy your tickets to the benefit, which is next Tuesday night, here—and if you see Ames around town, give him a hug, he seems blue (or make it less awkward and just @ him something fun on Twitter).
We recently saw you at Cynthia Von Buhler's birthday party—does a typical night out for you usually include mermaids and rooftop merry-go-rounds? No, but I wish it did.
If you were pressured to tell a one-minute-story (as some will be at the Moth benefit) right now, what would it be? I would probably just talk about the current state of my nervous mind at that moment, though I doubt that one minute would suffice.
How about a six word story (a la Hemingway's "For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.")? I don't like myself at all.
How did you get involved with Moth? For about five years (1992-1997), I had been doing my own monologue (storytelling) shows at the Fez on Lafayette Street. Then the Moth started up, they had heard that I told stories in the style of Spalding Gray, and so they approached me. I was in the second Moth show ever and kept at it for the next decade and change.
The series has themes, what theme(s) would you like to see during upcoming readings? At the moment, I'm rather sad, so only sad themes come to mind, which would make for a dreary evening, so I don't have a good answer, I'm afraid.
Do you listen to any podcasts—have any recommendations (aside from Moth of course)? I don't listen to any podcasts. I don't know how to do it. I can do email and text-messages, but after that my technical abilities end. I've never downloaded a song. For this reason, I've never listened to a Moth podcast or heard my own stories, which is a blessing, since like most people, the sound of my own voice is rather dreadful to me.
Season 2 of Bored to Death is coming to an end—last year you had some trouble catching the episodes on tv, did you have better luck this time around? Yes, HBO very generously gave me a television, so I watched all the episodes this season in my apartment and didn't have to rely on the kindness of friends or strangers.
Brooklyn is as much of a character on Board to Death as Jonathan or Ray. How would you describe its character on the show, as opposed to a borough like Manhattan, where (Ted Danson's character) George lives? I think it's a character with multiple personalities -- glorious, downtrodden, homey, trendy, and subject to mood changes.
Would you call the show's vision of Brooklyn idealized? Somewhat. But we also film, quite often, by the terribly polluted Gowanus Canal, and yet our show does make it look beautiful, maybe because in its own mad way, it is beautiful.
Any surprises in store for this weekend's finale? I imagine there will be some things that will be fun for the fans of the show, but I don't know if they would qualify as surprises. Hard for me to know—I'm so close to it, I can barely perceive it.