Lex Fridman Podcast - #175 - Yannis Pappas History and Comedy

The following is a conversation with Yannis Papas, a comedian who cohosted the podcast

History Hyenas that I came across when I was researching the Battle of Crete from WWII.

He and his cohost were hilarious in their rants about history and about life.

The chemistry they have is probably the best of any cohosted comedy podcast or even podcast

in general that I’ve ever heard.

As of a few weeks ago, unfortunately, History Hyenas is no more, at least for now, because

all good things must come to an end.

But Yannis hosts a new podcast called Long Days with Yannis Papas, plus he has a comedy

special on YouTube for free.

Quick mention of our sponsors, WineAxis, Blinkist, Magic Spoon, and Indeed.

Check them out in the description to support this podcast.

As a side note, let me say that some of you have noticed that I have not spoken with too

many computer scientists, physicists, biologists, or engineers recently.

The reason has to do mostly with the risk aversion of many of these folks in the time

of COVID, especially as they get closer to taking the vaccine.

I’m tested several times a week and still some people are just more willing than others

to have an in person conversation in these times.

I only do these podcasts in person because I look for the possibility of a genuine human


I’m willing to sacrifice a lot for that.

Maybe it’s silly, but I look for the magic that Charles Bukowski writes about in his

poem Nirvana.

The magic that is somehow in the air on those rare occasions when two people meet, talk,

and you notice that while on the surface you may be worlds apart, you’re still somehow

woven from the same fabric.

I’ve had that with many guests, Jim Keller comes to mind, but many others as well.

I’m an AI person, machine learning, robotics, computer science is my passion.

Trust me, I can’t wait to be having more technical conversations again, but I will

also continue to mix in comedians, musicians, historians, and of course, wise all seeing

sages like Giannis Papas and Tim Dillon, just to keep it, as Tim likes to say, fun.

This is the Lex Friedman podcast, and here is my conversation with Giannis Papas.

You’ve cohosted, until recently, an amazing history comedy podcast called The History


So you’re a bit of a student of history?

Yeah, an F student of history.

F student.

Okay, I thought it was more like a D minus.

D minus, yeah.


Still got to repeat the grade if you get all D minuses.

I actually had a.67 GPA average my freshman year and I had to do it again.

This podcast is going to be the spectrum of human intelligence.

It runs the gamut from there to here.

So this is going to set the low bar.

I’m barely sliding into human, I’m closer to chimp.

And I bring that up that you’re also friends with the great, the powerful Tim Dillon.

So let’s talk about power and the corrupting effects of power.

Sometimes I look at Tim Dillon as he grows in power.

Oh, I thought you meant in size.

Well, size, I think they’re correlated.


I saw him, I’ve been in Austin a couple of days, I saw him once, we had eight meals in

one day.

Eight meals.


So I feel like I’ve been here longer than I have just because of the meals with Dillon.

Kid likes biscuits and barbecue.


So he’s more like, see, I was imagining Putin or somebody like that.

He’s more like the North Korean dictator.



All right.

They get along great, those two.


I mean, Tim Dillon and King Jong Un would be like, they could make like a buddy cop


They would get along like Lethal Weapon.

That would be a good pitch movie.

Great podcast.


That would be a great podcast.


So much to talk about.

So many similar ideas about the world.

So what do you think the world would look like if Tim Dillon was given absolute power?

He seems like a person that’s an interesting study of the corrupting effects of power.


You don’t want to give him power.

You don’t want, I don’t even want him wearing a suit.

Like I want a guy who’s as thoughtful and educated as you wearing a suit.

Like cause you know, suits corrupt you.

You put that suit on, you start feeling that power.

You start.


It’s like, you know, yeah.

I don’t even want Tim Dillon in a suit.

Power would, he would kill people.

He’d get rid of anything that he deemed.

I mean, if you made a lobster roll and it wasn’t up to Tim Dillon’s standard, he would

have you executed.

The entire restaurant staff is just gone.

He would have people below his food standard execute.

There’d be programs, not of people who are political dissidents, but of people who don’t

meet his food standard.

His cuisine standard is high and he’s usually right.

Do you think power does corrupt people?


Like one of the reasons we mentioned offline Joe Rogan, he’s been an inspiration to me

cause he gets, he gets, if you get power, just more famous and famous and yes, probably

a bit of power in terms of influence and he’s still pretty much the same guy.

I’m not sure that’s going to be true for everybody.

Do you ever think, ask yourself that question?


He’s a rare breed.

He’s like a benign king.

Most people I meet who are like really powerful are like douchebags and that’s how they got


I think that’s, psychopaths have the advantage because they don’t have feelings and Joe’s

a rare example.

He’s just a powerhouse of will and he, I do think about that.


I think I should be stopped right now.

Just stop me right now because yeah, power for me, I would, when people get power, they


It doesn’t change anyone.

It just reveals your darkest, you know, people aren’t supposed to have anything they want.

You got to be able to struggle for everything.

So I would have a harem, I’d be like a Roman dictator.


I’d be like a Roman emperor.

I mean, people called them emperors.

They were dictators.

The most effective leaders are dictators.

I hope we get back to that.

Democracy hasn’t worked.

I’m ready for a secession of Caesars and I want to start with AOC.

That’s true.

Dictators get the job done.

They do.

At a certain point you got, that’s why social workers can only get you so far.

You need action.

I was a social worker for five years and all you do is ask about medications and you don’t

solve anything.

I do ask myself of that, like, cause I’m more in the tech space of constructing systems

that prevent me from being corrupt.

Cause right now I’m all about love and all about those kinds of things.

But I wonder, you said like, it just reveals the darkness.

The problem is we might not be aware of our own darkness.

I have the same feeling about money actually.

I’ve been avoiding thinking about money, like basically constructing my moral system, my

moral compass around money.

It’s like the moment I feel a little too happy about the idea of owning some cool shiny thing,

I started to think, okay, I’m not going to own that shiny thing cause I’m afraid of the

slippery slope of it.


You ever think about that kind of stuff?


The thing about the capitalist system is it puts sort of a profit motive above beauty.

And you notice when you see certain cities, especially in the old days where like buildings

used to be beautiful and now they’re just like boxes, they throw a kid up and it’s just

for all profit margin.

It’s the illusion of permanence that, you know, it’s like, oh, let me get as much money

as I can.

You’re like, yeah.

You know, my dad used to say, you know, everyone, it’s a cliche, but you can’t take it with


So it’s kind of, it’s, it’s comical to me that we’re here trying to get this infinite


Like it’s like Sisyphus, we’re all trying to climb this hill, but I mean, the rock’s

going to fall on us.

So I think that’s a healthy outlook.


My dad always used to say before he passed, you know, he would say, you can’t, you have

to survive not only physically, but you have to survive emotionally.

I think a lot of people forget about the emotional part of a survival.

You have to survive emotionally and humor and, and, and understanding reality in its

objective context helps with that.

Accepting reality as this ephemeral thing that you’re really just a part of, but not

as significant as your ego wants you to believe is a, is a start.

That’s a good foundation for surviving emotionally.

What’s that mean?

Surviving emotionally?

Like what, what’s an ideal life look like while you’re thriving?

You can’t take things too seriously.

You can’t, because they’re ephemeral.

They’re not permanent.

Nothing’s permanent.

Your bank account’s not permanent.

Your abilities aren’t permanent.

Nothing’s permanent.

Your abilities aren’t permanent.

Your memory’s not permanent.

Your, your, your dick getting hard is not permanent.

Can I curse on this or is this go out to, yeah, you can curse to your heart’s content.



I mean, gender’s not even permanent anymore.

I think I’m gonna, I’m gonna change maybe and live my second half as another gender

just to have, I’m bored with this gender.

So it’s like nothing is permanent.

And so accepting that emotionally is a good start to being more flexible.

You gotta be flexible.

Like my dad used to say, anything too stiff snaps.

You gotta, you know, it’s a cliche and people have said it a bunch of different ways, but

Bruce Lee’s right, man.

Be water.


Bukowski has this quote about love, that love is a fog that fades with the first light of


So he’s, he’s a romantic, that guy.

But that even love is a thing that just doesn’t last very long.


Um, you know, some people would disagree with that.

Maybe it morphs, like, like, like water, it changes, right?

It might not be, it might not be this, cause he’s mostly just, uh, loved like prostitutes,

I think.


The best kind of love.


No demand.

No, uh, responsibilities.


It’s a financial transaction.


Uh, ephemeral as ever.

You mentioned your dad.

He passed away, uh, two, uh, a year and a half ago.


What did you learn from him?

I love my dad.

My dad, I would say my dad was my, my hero.

He was just, uh, my dad really embodied those values and I think, um, for better or worse,

it’s made me who I am.

He’s, he, uh, my dad was, was a painter, he was a lawyer, he was, uh, he was, uh, you

know, a Lieutenant in the military.

New Yorker.

Born and bred Brooklyn.

His dad, his dad, you know, uh, surprise owned a diner.

So that’s, that’s sort of the Greek passport.

That’s the immigration passport for Greeks into America.

And, um, yeah, my dad played football.

He just, my dad did what he wanted.

He lived as he wanted at all costs and I think I got that from him for better or worse.

I think it’s hurt me in my pursuits.

Uh, if you consider money and fame, uh, to be paramount, you know, I, I’ve always done

what I wanted and if I stopped wanting to do it, I just stopped doing it.

I think I got that from my dad.

So maybe for better or worse, that’s what I learned from him.

But that’s a real currency, you know, feeling like you’re in love with what you’re doing

when you’re doing it, maybe perhaps that’s worth more than money.

I don’t know.

You miss him?


Every day.

But I’m happy that, uh, he, he got 91 years.

It’s very rare.

I mean, he smoked for 60 years.

Talk about like a guy who was an outlier and he smoked like 60 years, like packs.

I mean, and he didn’t die from that.

He died.

He had a prostate cancer, which is the way men should go.

Your dick should give out.

It should start from the dick.

I mean, we focus so much of our life on the dick that that’s the way that’s a successful

life and that’s why every man eventually gets prostate cancer because that is the universe’s

way of saying like the thing you focused on the most is you put the most energy into is

the thing that’s spent and it’s going to, your, your rotting is going to start there.

So that’s a successful life and it just spread all over his body and he slowly died.

I was with him when he died and that meant a lot to me because me and my brother weren’t

talking at the time cause we’re Greeks, we’re, we’re talking again, but that’s how it is.

You got a few brothers, right?

I got two brothers, but I wanted to make sure I was with him when he died and I got lucky

and I was in the room with him when he died.

You were in the room with your brother and you weren’t.

No, my brother wasn’t there.

We were kind of doing shifts.

I was, I was there.

I spent the night, the dad, my, the night my dad died, he died in the early in the morning

and I heard the death rattle last breath and it was just, I think it was, uh, I, he knew

I was there and, uh, I think that just probably meant something to him and I’m just glad I

was there.

Does that make you sad that, uh, life is ephemeral, like you said, that, that you die?


What do you think about your own death?

You meditate on that?

I think it, I think the actual, if there is a point to life, it’s to, um, hopefully not

fear death, to accept reality.

I think that’s important.

I think so much goes awry in the human condition when we lose touch with reality.

Every, uh, political system that’s led to mass murder and everything, I think because

it’s because the, the tenants of those political philosophies ended up being utopian.

They were detached from reality, detached from nature.

And so I think it’s, it’s very important to accept and acknowledge your own mortality.

I think it’s the foundation for what makes a good person, a moral person, um, a contributing

member of society because it’s true.

True things should be the foundation of all things.

If, if, if what you believe is based on illusion, you’re going to end up doing destruction.

Whether that destruction is on a scale of one to 10, you are going to be destructive

because it’s not real.

It’s a fantasy.

It doesn’t exist.

See, the thing is the truth is about, I don’t think you can ever reach truth.

Truth is about like constantly digging and to push back on your idea that you should

accept death.

I think the more honest response to death, so the least honest is to run away from it,

create illusions that help you imagine that there’s not a death.

Uh, the next is to accept it, but the real honest one is to fear it because I, I, I mean,

I’m, I’m with, uh, Ernest Becker is a philosopher, uh, wrote a book called Denial of Death.

He says that the, like much of the human condition is based in the fear of mortality.

That we like, that’s, that’s the creative force of the human energy.

Like Freud said, do you want to sleep with your mother?

He said, no, that’s not what motivates you.

Maybe his mom wasn’t hot though.

I mean, or he wasn’t Greek because apparently at a poll, we found that we found that all

things good and bad.



Thanks for that.


I just don’t know if his mom was a looker or not.

I mean, I’d have to Google it.

All right.


I’ll look up on Google images.


But I think the honest, as he says, the thing that we run away from is that there’s a terror.

He calls it like terror.

Uh, there’s something called terror management theory.

That’s some philosophers after him followed on that we’re basically trying to run away

from this fear and acceptance is actually creating an illusion for yourself.

Like you can actually accept something as terrifying as this.

So he’s more with the stoics, the stoic constantly meditate on their death.

I mean, they, what does that mean?

I mean, it’s kind of, it’s, you know, acceptance of death isn’t a thing you do like on a Monday

and then you’re done is a thing you constantly have to meditate on, like reminding yourself

like this ride is over.

It could be over today.

And that’s something you’re, if you think about every single day, it gives you an appreciation

of Woody Allen movies, at least it gives you appreciation of basically everything, including

Woody Allen movies, which shows you how deep your appreciation for life could be.

I’ve actually haven’t been following much about what Woody Allen’s, but apparently he’s

been a troublemaker through most of his life.

He’s yeah.

I mean, you know, he’s caused a little bit of strife.

He’s left a little, uh, yeah, he’s left a little confusion in his wake for sure.

But I mean, you know, that’s another one separate the art from the artist.

He’s got, I mean, the guys will go down in history as the greatest he’s made, I mean,

maybe a year and they’re all, you can always find something good about each movie, like

the dialogue or whatever.

Um, I love what you’re saying.

It’s interesting, but the only thing I would say to push back a little bit since we’re

playing a little table tennis here is, um, I don’t know if it’s a choice to fear death.

That’s more of an, it seems more instinctual.

It seems like something that nature wants you to do because I’ve been in positions where

I thought I was going to die.

Like I’ve been shot and I had those moments and then nature also, uh, you know, kicks

in an instinct, which is acceptance where you kind of, I don’t know, it’s a chemical

release or whatever.

I don’t know, you know, we’re all, we’re robots basically.

So some sort of chemical is released that protects you, but there is an acceptance.

I don’t know how much, uh, of it was a conscious choice, probably very little.

Um, and that’s the point I’m making is it’s, it’s instinctual.

We don’t really have a choice in fearing death.

Otherwise there would be no progression.

We wouldn’t all life seems to want to survive, uh, not by choice, but by instinct.

So he, he argues that the fear is not the instinctual of, it’s not the animalistic stuff.

That’s the thing that makes us special is the, what humans are able to do is to have

a knowledge that we’re going to die one day.

Animals don’t have that animals.

Fear is instinctual.

It’s like, Holy shit, what’s that sound over there?

He says, we’re actually able to contemplate the fact that this ride ends and that that

kind of cognitive construct is difficult for us to deal with.

Like what the hell does that mean?

Like just to, just to think about, it’s going to be over at a certain point, it’s just over

lights out.

Like it’s very difficult to kind of load that into whatever this like little brain we got.

Like, what does that actually mean?

Maybe that’s what gives everything meaning.


Because if everything lasted forever, if, uh, if this went on ad infinitum, there would

be no meaning to it.

I’d be like, Hey, if I don’t see you tomorrow, I’ll see in a million years, there would be

no meaning.

There’ll be no urgency.

There would be no feelings.

There’d be no, uh, nothing of magnitude or superficiality.

It would all just be this kind of, it would be torture.

It would actually, that would actually be torture to be here forever.

I mean, I’m already sick of this place and I’m just in my forties.

Like I’m done.

I’m sick of me.

I’m sick of everything.

You know, a lot of people, when they talk about mortality, they consider, they consider

mortality appealing because you get a chance to do basically all these things you might

not get a chance to do otherwise, like all the kinds of travel broadly, explore, read

every book, explore every idea, do every hobby, all those kinds of things.

The idea I was talking to mentioned, uh, the reality of being immortal would be more likely,

I like this idea, more likely would be you just sitting there doing nothing because,

and putting off all that travel and exploration to later because you’ll always have time.

And so what you’re going to have, what actual immortality would look like for a bunch of

humans is people sitting there doing nothing.

It would be like a Greek caffineer just sitting around drinking coffee.

I love it.


I mean, it’s a lazy man’s paradise.


But it’s so interesting because that, that’s, that rings true to me for what humans are

like is we’ll basically just put off all those exciting adventures and just be lazy, become

lazier and lazier and lazier because you’ll always have a chance to do all the exciting

things and we’ll just get, we’ll basically become Tim Dillon.

We just sit there and have a podcast and that’s it.

He works hard.

Um, yeah.

I mean, that sounds actually like heaven, dude.

That’s speaking to my heart really.

I mean, I’m at heart, I’m a very lazy person.

I always try to find ways to lie down.

Like if I’m sitting, I’ll figure out a way to kind of contort myself to later.

That’s an interesting thing to like in, yeah.

If you can always push something off, yeah, that, I like that.

I think that’s heaven.

And um,

See, we just changed your mind.

You kind of like the immortality.


I kind of like it.


So there’ll be no thirsts.


You can always put it off.

You don’t want to bang this girl.

You’re like, ah, put it off.

But now I’m thinking about Muslim heaven and they may be offering the best deal.

I mean, if it was an expo and they had a booth, I may go with them because they offer, they

offer 62 or 72, but then I’d get sick of them.

I’d want to, I don’t know.

I always wondered like, are you given the 62 virgins or you choose, can you create them

like an avatar, like a video game, or are you just given?

I don’t know what the number, why it’s important to have that high number.

First of all, I think it’s a mistranslation about the virgins, but outside of that, outside

of that, I feel like the conversation is really important.

I don’t think they ever specify like what kind of books these girls read.

Like what are they, what are they into?

Like the quality of the conversation, I think if you’re talking about eternity, the quality

of the intellect and the conversation and the personalities is way more important.

And the Greeks have an ancient, ancient expression, pat metronaros stone, which my mother always

used to say, which is everything in moderation, nothing in excess.

So trying to always get the status quo and uh, yeah, that many women, eventually it’s

like the magic Johnson effect, Isaiah Thomas effect.

It’s just too much and you’re going to end up, you’re going to end up banging a dude

is what I’m saying.

You’re going to get sick of it cause it’s too much and there’s going to be a eunuch

that finds its way into your harem.

That’s been proven throughout history, every empire, when you have all that power.

And again, this goes back to power corrupting.

If you have, if there’s no struggle, there’s no meaning, there’s the value is from the

journey, the, the working hard to struggle.

And if it’s just given to you because you’re a Sultan or you’re Alexander the Great or

whatever, you’re going to get bored and you’re going to bang a dude.

That’s it’s, I think that’s a scientific axiom actually.

Eventually you’ll get bored and bang a dude.

Yeah, but I think it won’t stop there.

I think you’ll go to animals, you go to robot.

I mean, eventually it all ends up in robots and then the robots rebel and then the humans

will be destroyed.


I’m sorry.

If, if we’re speaking truth, you said the value of life, one of the highest ideals is

to seek truth.

I think if we’re being honest.

Can I ask you a quick question?


If you, if you live in a small, I come from small islands, right?

And so there’s a stereotype that that’s where they bang animals.

But if you come from a very small community, you know, an island or something, and you

have the choice of banging a family member or an animal, which one is worse on the moral


Because you’re technically not related to the animal.


This is interesting.

I mean, these are human constructs, these ideas, but yet for me personally, taboo would

be more taboo to, uh, to, to have sex with a family member.


I mean, animal.

I mean, okay.

It’s good to know where you stand on that.

I think if viewers, you know, if they didn’t have, they didn’t know they had that question.

I just, they just learned a little bit about you.

And now I know.

I look forward to the internet clipping that out.


I mean, there, there is, listen, uh, in some, outside of, outside of that, I do think about

that a lot.

I think it’s kind of ridiculous, uh, about morality connected to animals in terms of

all the, the, the factory farming and so on.

It seems like that’s one of the things we’ll look, cause I love meat, but I kind of feel

bad about it and, and bad in a way where I think if we look like a hundred years from

now, we’ll look back at this time as like one of the great like tortures and injustices

that we humans have committed.

And I mean, all that has to do with the sex with the animal has to do with consent and

about the experience of suffering of animals.

The reason I think about that personally a lot, cause I think about robotics, I think

about creating artificial consciousnesses, uh, or artificial like beings that have some

elements of the human nature.

And then you start to think like, well, what does it mean to suffer?

What does it mean for entity to exist such that it deserves rights?

This is something that the founding fathers were thinking about, like, you know, all men

are created equal.

What does it, which, who is included in the men who, who’s not in that, in that sentence

and our animals included in that are robots.

I honestly think that there will be a civil rights movement for robots in the future.

I don’t, I don’t know.

Is that the Turing test, the way you try to, is that what they call it where you’re trying

to see if AI can think like a human or whatever, or feel like a human?

Well, it’s a, the Turing test closely defined as more about talk like a human.

So you can, you can imagine systems that are able to, you can have a conversation like

this and I would be a robot for example, but that doesn’t mean I would do in a, in society.

That doesn’t mean I deserve rights or that doesn’t mean I would be conscious.

It doesn’t mean that I would be able to suffer and to experience pleasure and dream and all

those kinds of human things.

The question isn’t whether you’re able to talk, which is passed in the Turing test.

The question is whether you’re able to feel, to be, I mean, I go back to suffering.

The thing that the, that our documents protect us against is suffering.

Like we don’t want humans to suffer.

And if a robot can suffer, that discussion starts being about like, well, shouldn’t we

protect them?

Currently we don’t protect animals.

We protect that dog.

There’s laws.

There’s actual legislation that protects dogs for torture places.


And you know what?

Dogs is something I don’t think people really understand enough about.

It’s one of my obsessions.

So they, they, my dad always used to say those, he goes, those things are, those things are

basically human.

And I mean, they dream, they have anxiety.

And what people often overlook about dogs is without dogs, we wouldn’t be here.

We would not have ever evolved from hunter gatherer to agrarian to, you know, civilization.

We wouldn’t have cities.

We wouldn’t have anything.

I mean, they are our partner in survival and they are a magical animal.

There’s no, there’s no animal that was, it was like destiny almost.

I mean, a malleable animal, there’s no animal that’s that malleable that in a few generations

you can tailor to a specific job that you need.

And without that animal, without dogs doing that animal, protecting our crops from, from,

you know scavengers and stuff like that, you know, the list goes on.

We wouldn’t be here.

So we, that’s an often overlooked fact that human evolution was not done in a vacuum just

with humans.

Without dogs, we would have never evolved.

I mean, we weren’t the apex predator for most of our existence.

We weren’t even the apex predator.

I mean, we’re getting eaten by hyenas, which is my favorite animal and you know, that’s

kind of an injustice to, I mean, I’m kind of mad at dogs.

We deserve to get eaten by hyenas, but without dogs, we wouldn’t be here and dogs, dogs deserve

the protection.

So do horses.

They fucking lugged us around for thousands of years and now these fucking German psychopaths

are eating them or whatever.

We should not eat horse meat just on like, be a good dude, man.

These things lugged us around for generations, they’re beautiful, you know, ride them or

I don’t know.

I don’t know, but it rubs me the wrong way that we eat horses.

Yeah, the horses one is interesting and one of my favorite books is Animal Farm by Orwell

and the horses don’t get a good ending in that, I kind of, my spirit animal I suppose

is the horse from Animal Farm, Boxer, where he says, I will work harder.

That’s his motto.

I work really hard at stupid things.

That’s basically what I, I just hit my head against the wall for no reason whatsoever.

But that probably fulfills, you have a big brain, you were probably born with a big brain

that kind of fulfills.

It’s killing neurons.

It’s exercise for you.


Don’t you think some animals deserve to be eaten though?

Kind of like.


Come on, dude.

I mean, you gotta respect the hyena.

Okay, so let’s look, first of all, let me just comment on the dog thing.

There is like conferences on dog cognition from a perspective of people that study psychology,

cognitive science, neuroscience, dogs are fascinating.

The way they move their eyes, they’re able to, they’re the only other animal besides

humans, they’re able to communicate with their eyes.

They can look at a thing and look back at you and look back at the thing to communicate

that we’re all like through our eyes, communicate that we’re collaborating.

So every other animal uses their eyes to actually look at things.

The dogs use it to like communicate with you, with us humans.

It’s fascinating.

There are a lot of other elements of dogs that are amazing.

Yeah, I mean, if it wasn’t for them, they’re the ones, they were our first alarm system

for predators.

They would defend us.

I mean, the Basenji is one of the most ancient dogs.

I mean, they’re tiny, but they’re fearless and they would chase off lions.

Like there’d be packs of them and they chase off lions and protect the tribes.

I even get tingles like thinking about dogs because I have a dog, I love my dog.

And there’s something about when you’re walking with your dog off leash in the woods, there’s

something about it that’s like, that tugs at that millions of years of evolution, like

that gut, you know, it’s like, I had a Finnish friend of mine, he’s a comic, Tommy Valamies

once told me, he was like, he was like, the gut, he’s like, I believe in it.

Like that gut, you know, when you have that feeling, he’s like, always trust that because

that is million, those are all your ancestors.

That’s the survival instinct of all your ancestors at the beginning of time, you know, telling

you like, Hey, something’s off here, something’s, you know, so don’t get in the car with Ted

Bundy is what I’m saying, ladies, how fucking stupid, who, how can you fall for that?

You know, he’s got a fucking sling on, don’t get in.


Follow the gut.

My question to you, are psychopaths essentially robots?

So first of all, let’s not, you’re using the word robot in a derogatory way that I, I’m

triggered by.


So I feel offended.

You should be because you know what, people are always scared of robots, but I actually,

I have, I’ve made the sort of, uh, I, I’ve made it to say, Hey, I’ve, I thought about

it and like robot, robots have been nothing but helpful.

It’s the people we should be scared of.

Again, we’re kind of missing the most destructive thing is us because it’s, but robots are helpful.

I mean, this is a fucking robot.

You know, I went on hotel tonight, I’m already booked up, you know, I got my, I can change

my flight if, if this barbecue with Rogan goes 16 hours, which whatever Rogan wants

to do, I’ll do it.

If he wants to kick me in the chest, I’ll let him kick me in the chest, whatever.

Robots are helpful.



Uh, tanks and autonomous weapons systems don’t kill people.

People kill people.


That’s yeah.


The NRA is about to collect that for you.

Uh, a lot of love for dogs.

I appreciate it very much.

And at the same time, you have the other thing that people seem to have love for, which is


And on the flip side of everything you’ve said, I’m trying to understand what have cats

ever done for human civilization?

They keep rodents away.

The domesticated cat is very important.

Keeps the rodents away.


That’s what they were domesticated for.

I mean, they’re psychopathic killers who ended up killing, uh, innocent, um, neighborhood

chipmunks and, and birds, uh, they really affect the, uh, the balance of the local ecosystem.

But if you have love for cats too, not as much as dogs, I mean, dogs are, like you said,

they look at humans.

I actually read an article that some people were theorizing they’re smarter than chimps

because of the way they can work with humans.

And there was one border collie that spoke like 300 words, like a quarter, like a lang,

almost part of the language.

And their nose is like a mat.

I mean, that’s like magic, dude.

If you can smell in my ass to what I had for breakfast from miles away, that’s intelligence.

That’s intelligence.

I mean, in some ways that their nose, if you were to put it on a scale, maybe their nose

is more intelligent than our brain for what it does.

You know, it’s like, I mean, dude, they can smell you from miles away.

You ever see a dog just like sniffing, catching?

I mean, it’s smelling like, I don’t remember the, the, the date on it, but it’s like, they

have like millions of receptors or something where we only, you know, thank God we don’t

have their nose.

That would be, that would make sex weird, be a little too intense.

I think you mentioned when you were talking about Woody Allen separating the, the art

from the artist.

So that brings to mind Vladimir Putin.

How about that transition?

I don’t know.

I’m so sorry.

But if you look at just powerful leaders throughout history, Stalin, Hitler, but even modern ones

like Putin, and we’re talking about power.

How do you explain them?

You said that power reveals, not corrupts, but do you think there’s some element to which

power corrupted Hitler, power corrupted Stalin after he gained power?

And the same with Putin.

When Putin gained power in 2000, do you think the amount of power that he was in possession

with for many years, do you think that corrupted him?

I mean, we’re joking about dictators get the job done.

There is some sense in certain countries where a dictator is the only thing that can stabilize

a nation.

The counter argument to that for democracies is like, yeah, but that’s a short term solution

for a long term problem.

So you want to embrace chaos with democracy.

That might be violent.

There might be a lot of just constant changing of leadership.

There might be a lot of corruption in the short term, but if you stay strong with the

ideals of democracy, then you’ll be ultimately create something that as beautiful and stable

as the United States.

The sad thing is, is I don’t know if history tells that story.

It’s like I said, you look at Greece, you look at Rome, democracy kind of failed.

The majority of Rome, the most successful empire that we’ve had, was a dictatorship

for most of its run.

But I do believe in a republic, which is sort of a limited democracy.

I do believe in what we have here.

I believe in common law.

I believe in individual rights.

But yeah, I think you said it.

Nobody could have said it better.


It’s a short term solution.

You look at Saddam Hussein, he kind of, when we took him out, then there was a lot of infighting

that happened that he was kind of keeping at bay because he was a strong man, dictator.

Well, he’s an interesting one, sorry to interrupt.

From my understanding, I’m sure people will correct me, but when Saddam Hussein first

came to power, he was, he’s quite progressive.

So like the, as far as I understand, the signs of an evil dictator weren’t exactly there.

So again, there’s, I don’t know if power revealed or power corrupted.

Or that could have been the initial subterfuge to kind of get everybody, you know, Hitler

also is a champion of the people.

It’s built some new roads.

It’s with psychopaths too.

And that’s why it’s interesting to me.

I’m not sure if power corrupts psychopaths.

And now that we know that we can do these CAT scans and brain scans, we know that they’re

born that way.

Power definitely corrupts people who have the capacity to feel and for empathy.

Power I’m not sure.

I don’t think power corrupts people who were born psychopathic with that condition or sociopaths

who had, who, you know, who were closer to psychopath and then had some traumatic life.

You know, I just think, you know, the best way to get away with whatever nefarious thing

you want to do to feel, I guess the only thing psychopaths can feel is that excitement, is

to pretend to be the opposite of what you are.

That’s what, that’s what killers do.

That’s what the worst people, look at Bill Cosby.

I mean, he was, what better way to hide, you know, it’s like what wokeness is now.

It’s like, I’m such a great person and then you’re like, are you?

It’s a great, the best way to hide is to pretend to be the opposite of what you are.

Just like Ted Bundy.

I’m just an innocent, helpful guy.

And then boom, next thing you know, you’re getting your tit bit off.

That’s really well said.

It’s actually kind of funny because I talk about love a lot.

And I think the people that kind of look at me with squinty eyes, they wonder like how

many bodies are in that closet, you know what I mean?

Like there’s something about the duality of like, we’re so skeptical as a culture.

Like if somebody is just like, seems to be kind of, sort of, I don’t know, positive and

all that kind of, you know, how do I put it?

Just simple, simple minded in the positivity they express.

They think like, okay, there’s some demons in there.


Especially if you’re a New Yorker, we don’t trust any, the nicer you are, the more skeptical

we are.


I’ve struggled with that down here.

And they’re like, nah, dude, just, I wanted to show you the best tacos, man.

And I’m like, did you really, what do you want?

Because in New York, it’s like, if anyone’s nice to you, they want something.

And that’s, the pro side to that is it makes you very street smart.

The downside to that is it makes you way too cynical.


I’ve definitely experienced that here in Texas, but people are super, super nice.

And they’re like, do all this cool shit for you and you wonder, what’s the angle?

What are we doing here?

You mentioned hyenas as your favorite animal.

I forgot to ask you, what the hell were you thinking?

Why is a hyena is your favorite animal?


It’s a fascinating animal.

Let’s look at the whole animal kingdom.

Like why is it, where do you put, so you like dogs, love my favorite, your favorite is dogs,

but they’re kind of outside the animal kingdom because you’re thinking about wolves.

So the animal kingdom is in nature.

Dogs escaped nature.

They kind of did.

Uh, together with humans, like in a collaborative way, exactly.

So within nature, within the animal kingdom, what, who’s, uh, why not lions?

Because lions are predictable.

Lions are just, you know, they’re regal and kind of, they bore me.

It’s like the hot chick.

It’s like, we get it.

You were born the best.


You know, I like a scrappy, by any means necessary, intelligent and cunning.

But aren’t they dishonest?


And that’s why I like them.


They’re dishonest.

They employ chicanery.

They, uh, they’re, and that’s just a sign of how intelligent they are and how self reliant

they are and how brutal they are.

Um, they’re brutally honest in how much they lie, you know, because it’s just, they’re

trying to get the job done.

You know, lions are just like, they’re, they’re too gifted.

Everyone hates the fucking, you know, if I went to school with you, I’d be like, of course,

Lex knows the fucking answer.


Lex was born smarter than me.


You know, and you’d probably hate me because I was the kid always seeking attention and

making people, it’s like, that’s not interesting.

The guy that claws his way to the top and those are hyenas.

They’re also fascinating just by, uh, merely who they are.

I mean, they’re not related to any other animal.

They’re more closely related to cats than they are dogs, even though they look like

a dog.


They’re, but they’re very, like very tangentially related even to cats.

So they’re their own kind of thing, which is kind of mysterious.

I don’t think they fully figured out and uh, they, the pseudo penis thing is the, is the,

I mean,

Can you explain the pseudo penis?


So the, it’s a matriarchal society by the way.

So that’s the unique in and of itself that this, we’re talking about an apex predator

that is a matriarchal, much like, uh, you know, the praying mantis.

It’s very rare though.

And they are fucking brutal and vicious and the women are bigger and they let their cubs

fight, a lot of fratricide and they do that because they’re like, Hey, you’re weaker.

I let your brother kill you.

And uh, the women have penises, the women have pseudo penises that they give birth out

of and the birth is violent, but they, they roll around with just huge pieces.

They’re glue guns are just fucking swinging, you know, and the women are just run the show

and uh, it’s just cool that they have these pseudo penises.

It’s almost romantic the way you describe it.

They have the strongest bite force.

They they pulverize bone.

Like when they eat an animal, the animal’s gone.

There’s no bones.

They eat everything.

They can pulverize their bite is so powerful.

They pulverize bone and eat it.

So if they consume an animal, it, the animal was there and then the animal’s gone.

There’s no nothing for the vultures there to, uh, to, to, to grab.


I’m going to have to revisit the hyenas because my experience with the heinous was from, uh,

first of all, history is your show, uh, has rebranded them for me, but, uh, the lion king,

which is, uh, a cartoon, I guess, that, uh, I get emotional at every time I, I hope that

probably a father issues, every guy probably just, you just have feelings.

You’re a good guy.

I mean, everyone has feelings.


That one gets everybody.

I don’t know.

I get, I get every father son movie, like blow with Johnny Depp, uh, and, uh, really



That’s a good movie.

And whenever there’s like, um, like the disappointment in the father that his son has become like

this incredibly successful drug lord that then ends up with nothing in, in, in prison,

uh, just the sadness of them communicating through letters, man, it gets me every time,

but, but, you know, uh, there, the hyenas are not presented that well in that, um,

No, they’re usually portrayed as like, uh, it’s, it’s really, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s

really sad that they’re portrayed that way as lions.

Like lions aren’t dicks.

Lions are dicks.

They, the, the, the, the alpha lions will kill the cubs of another rival.

They do all types of dick shit.


And, um, yeah, it’s, uh, the hyenas are more interesting.

Like they’ll just roll in like a hyena will like, like you said, the lie, you know, cause

when you watch the Serengeti, you know, animals will hang out with each other.

They’re like by water.

So one hyena will just kind of roll in and pretend like it’s not hungry and then bang.

They’ll use any means necessary to take an animal down.

Like lions will just use brute strength.

Hyenas use cunning and you can even go on the internet and find, uh, memes of this where

hyenas will grab the big animal by the balls and just like, we’ll sneak up behind it and

bite its balls.

And you’ll watch an animal 10 size, 10 times the size of the hyena just slowly go down.

It’s brutal, but it’s fucking hilarious.

So I, I think that’s, uh, I don’t know if you follow the channel, um, nature’s metal

that, that one weighs heavy on me.

Um, with the hyenas on the balls, I it’s tough to, to intellectualize it.

It’s tough to think that the entirety of life on earth has this history of, uh, predators

being violent, just like just the murder that we come from.

It’s crazy.

I, it, uh, just like when we’re talking about meditating on death, I actually, I keep following

and unfollowing that Instagram channel because like sometimes it’s too much.

Like I can’t, I can’t continue with the day after like seeing the brutality, the honest

brutality of that.

I don’t know how to make sense of it.

It’s important to acknowledge, I think, cause that it’s real and we do come from that.

We are, we evolve from that.

It’s important.

We still do that.

We’re just hidden from it.

You know, when you go to the supermarket and get your slab of meat, you know, you’re so

disconnected from where that meat came from.

It came from that and often that’s uglier to watch than because there’s some honesty,

you know, the, the, the, the nature channels only show, uh, that’s why we have so much

sympathy with the prey.

And this is where I think the same thing with mafia movies, they don’t show what the mafia

really does.

They glorify the good parts.

That’s why I like state of grace cause it’s really just shaking down old people and fucking

being dicks.

It’s not driving nice cars and being like, you know, so, and, and animal channels do

the same thing.

They only show when the cheetah gets it because that’s, that’s the exciting part.

But what most people don’t know is that those predators strike out almost always a majority

of the time, the prey wins.

And so if you saw that and put it in context, you might not hate it as much when the predator

actually gets the little fawn or whatever, because it’s so many fawns got away.

It’s so hard to capture your prey.

And you know, we, we don’t have the, the, the, they no, no documentary is going to sit

around and show you the 99 times the cheetah didn’t catch.

Thank you for this perspective.

It’s murder is difficult.

So like this is the, they never talk about for people who murder how difficult that is

like to trap somebody, to convince them to come back to your place, give it some respect,

put some respect on Ted Bundy’s name.


It’s not easy to convince somebody to get in your Volkswagen Beagle and, and the cleanup.

And then you have to kind of plan ahead because you want to keep doing the murder, mass murder.

You gotta learn how to saw them up, put them in duffel bags, bury, you gotta learn to dig,

you gotta learn how to hide.

You gotta learn to lie.

I mean, it’s a lot that goes into it that we need to put a little respect on.


And you have to figure out which tools work the best for the sawing and all those kinds

of things.

Um, um, so thank you for the perspective.

That’s what I was hoping we would bring to this table.

So you, um, uh, you got a little bit Greek in you.

Uh, one of the episodes on, on a history hyenas, you talked about the battle of Crete where

the Greeks, your people in, uh, uh, in 19, I guess 41 and the early stages of the world

war II, there’s one of the most epic battles of the war.

Uh, in fact, in 1941 in a speech made at the Reichstag, Hitler paid tribute to the bravery

of the Greek saying, it must be said, uh, for the sake of historical truth that amongst

all our opponents, only the Greeks fought with the endless courage and defiance of death.

So okay.

What do you make of this battle?

What do you make of the spirit of the Greek people?

This is one of the closest things to me because my mother was actually on the island of Crete

during this, the first aerial invasion in history.

A lot of people don’t know that.

So this is a very significant battle.

Um, first time there was an invasion from the sky, um, and, uh, my mother was a little

girl and she lived through four years of a Nazi occupation there.

So my mother was a human rights lawyer and everything, but she just always hated Germans.

It’s just what it is.

She hated Germans and she never got over it.

So the most progressive, open minded woman just could not get over this.

Um, it’s a monumental battle that a lot of historians in retrospect have now looked back

on and said, because the Nazis, first off, you got to take it back to when Hitler instructed


Cause let’s be honest, Mussolini was Hitler’s bitch.

You know what I mean?

It was like, if it, well, you know, if it was fantasy island, Hitler was the fucking

and the, and Mussolini was boss, the plane.

Mussolini ever say no to Hitler or even maybe it’s always like, yes, yes, yes, we will do


And, uh, it’s like, yeah, it takes, you have to take Greece.

And so, um, yeah, so Italy being much bigger than Greece, Greece is a tiny country, nine,

10 million.

So Italy invaded Greece, um, you know, um, and Aukey day’s a big, it’s a big holiday

for Greeks.

And this speaks to the spirit Greeks in fight until we have a common enemy and then we unite,

you see it throughout history, Sparta and Athens, you see it in Greek families where

the brothers will fight.

But then as soon as we have a common enemy, we unite and maybe it’s an overactive brain.

We think too much, our traditions, philosophy, and we overthink things and we fight with

each other and take things personally, we’re ultra passionate.

But when Italy said, Hey, we’re going to move troops through, you know, uh, a Greek said

Aukey, which means no, and that was, um, and then Italy attacked and, uh, we beat the shit

out of them.

A much bigger country, much, uh, more well equipped country.

Greece beat the shit of them, kicked them back into Albania, actually not only repelled

them, actually like conquered some ground in Albania, pushed them back.

And then Hitler was like, fuck, you know, I was planning my March to Russia, uh, but

I have to go down because he basically said to Mussolini, like, you know, you’re basically

bitch slapped.

I’m like, I got to do this myself because you’re such a fucking bitch.

So then the Nazis invaded Greece.

Obviously they took the mainland with fight and shot out.

The Greeks never give credit to the British and New Zealand and Australian troops that

were there.

You know, they were a large part of this, the majority of it, but the Greeks fight dude,


I mean, they fought, you know, the Ottomans were there 400 years.

You go to Greece.

Now there’s no evidence.

There’s virtually no evidence of them ever being there.

That’s the Greek spirit.

Kick them out and we kicked out hummus too.

So it’s like their culture’s gone.

You’re gone.

Cause Greeks are, uh, it’s philoptimo.

It’s called philoptimo.

And it’s a real thing.

Philoptimo is a, it’s very little translate.

You can’t translate it, but it’s kind of like honor, loyalty, friendship, uh, altruism.

It’s a, it’s, you can’t define it, but Greeks know it and we’re taught it from our, from

our, uh, families.

It’s a vibe, man.

It’s a Greek cultural thing and we’re an old culture and philoptimo is what it’s called


And it’s, um, it’s love, it’s passion and it comes out and it comes out.

And so, um, so Hitler had to postpone his invasion of, um, of, uh, Russia went down

the island of Crete took 10 days to conquer.

It’s an island to put that in perspective, the country of France fell in three or four


I can’t even remember cause they fucking just rolled over.

So what is it?

What does a couple of hours matter when you’re that much of a fucking pussy?


What is a couple out in 12 hour fucking three or four days, the island of Crete took the

Germans 10 days to conquer.

And because of that, and because of the Greek resistance, Hitler had to postpone his invasion

of Russia to winter.

And of course that was, you know, that was his downfall just as it was Napoleon’s and

a never dude, never try to invade Russia.

They got millions of people to throw at death.

Every time you read about Russians in history books, like, and a million died.

I mean, it’s like, you just guys throw millions of people at the problem and don’t fuck with

that Russian winter and don’t fuck with Russian people, dude, they’re tough.

People in New York know that you don’t go to fucking sheep set bay and start talking


You’ll end up in a fucking car trunk and they’ll brutally murder you.

I do not fuck with Russians.


And then there’s a, I mean, there’s a lot of people, a lot of historians argue that

that battle was because of the Russian winter because of delaying the Russian invasion,

but also psychologically delaying the invasion.

It was the first time, I think it was the first time the Germans failed, not, or didn’t

succeed like they wanted to early in the war, which is a little like psychologically the

impact of that I think is immeasurable.

And also a lot of people argue from a military strategy perspective that the, just like you

said, it was an aerial attack and that Hitler didn’t think that the, that kind of attack

would then be useful for the rest of the war.

So that’s, that’s a really part where, whereas it might’ve been very useful.

So it’s a, it’s really interesting how these little battles can steer the directions of


Of course, me growing up in the Soviet Union, we didn’t hear much about this battle.

Just like you said, millions of Soviets died.

All those people in history that you read about dying, those are all civilians, but

I mean, not all, but a very large number of them are civilians and their stories, obviously

that’s the rooted, the literature, the poetry, the music, just the way people talk, the way

they drink vodka, the way they love, the way they hate, the way they fear.

That’s all like rooted in World War II and World War I.

And so, but we never kind of think about Europe and we certainly, growing up, didn’t think

about their role in the United States.

All this, there’s plenty of stories of heroism in the Soviet Union, enough to, enough for

many lifetimes.

So, but it was fascinating to read from a Greek perspective, cause I, you know, I don’t

have many Greek friends, I hope you didn’t change that.

This is the beginning of a love affair of your people.


But likewise, the Americans don’t hear about the Soviet contribution to the end of World

War II because obviously we became, you know, enemies after that because of the two systems.

But yeah, without the Russians, World War II wouldn’t have been won either.


The stories are written by the victors.

That’s really interesting.

I, just looking at the, at history, you wonder what’s missing.

I’ll tell you what’s missing that I know for a fact, cause my dad told, my dad told me

combat’s hell and he would tell me the reality of what it’s really like.

Guys pissing themselves, calling for their mother, the fog of war, obviously, fratricide

happens all the time.

It’s pandemonium.

I mean, there’s skill involved, but I mean, there’s no, like it’s a lot of it is just


My dad said, he, my dad won three, he got, you know, medals, braille, purple hearts,

all that shit.

And he said, the reason was, is cause you can’t, he always said, this is another thing.

He told me, you can’t pin a medal on a dead guy.

So it’s like, those are the guys who deserve it, but you can’t pin a medal.

You can’t do the pomp and, and I’ll tell you one thing is that it is written by the victors

and all these leaders, they say we’re in the front.

We’re not in the front.

Whenever the history books say he led his troops into battle.

It’s like, did he really, did he, so then how did he live?

Cause they put like kids in the front, you know, it’s like nobody limps back from the

front with like a injury, you know, that’s, that’s army PR, you know, whenever you read,

you know, 27 soldiers died, 14 were injured.

The word injured is PR.

That’s like injured.

Was he, did he sprain his ankle?

Did he need, did he get carried off the court or, you know, he was maimed.

I mean, he was like, his leg was blown off, you know, it’s like, so, uh, I think that,

you know, Alexander the Great was just kind of in the back on his horse and just kind

of, he had his eunuch blow him a few times and he was like, is it bad up there?

And then like after that he was like, okay, my scribe, give me my scribe.


When you write this down, can you put me in the front?


And I was just making me a big hero and I was in there and then he, you know, he just

blew his, you know, he had sex with his eunuch and rode off into the sunset because there’s

just no way you survive in the front, especially warfare back then.

I mean, it’s like brutal.

Then again, you have like, uh, Genghis Khan.

The sense I got that he was a little bit up on the front, at least the first.


Or is that also, is he a little bit Alexander the Great?

Give me my scribe.


It’s all lore.

I mean, you ever play the game of telephone?

You know, it’s like, you know, there’s no video cameras back then.

So shit just get, turns into myth, you know, and, uh, there’s no way he was in the front.

There’s no way he wouldn’t have lived.

You know, he was probably good on horseback cause those, those dudes were good on horseback.

But it was like game of Thrones back then.

You had all these different people and they kind of, yeah, the, the, the Mongols were

wild dude.

They are actually said like, um, they started like they were more adaptable to the horse

because they were so good on horseback that kids started to be born like kind of bow legged

like to fit the horse.

It’s wild.

And they would stretch their heads and shit like that.

They wrap them and stretch their heads.

So they find like Mongol skulls and they look like cone heads and they were brutal and vicious

and they would maraud and rape and all the fun stuff that, you know, when, you know,

when you visit other places back then, there’s no tchotchke stops and souvenir shops.

What you do is you take women and those are the tokens, you know, you burn a few huts


Tourism was different back then.


That’s another difficult thing.

So we’re talking about nature and predators to think about the long stretch of history

where we’re just murder and we made so much progress, I guess, in the past couple of centuries.

The United States is a shining example of that.

But do you think also that it’s that effect that we were, a lot of good things had to

happen too or else we wouldn’t be here.

So do we just focus, isn’t it like a car crash effect that like we’re, you know, the rubber

neck that everyone pulls over to see a car crash, are we just only focusing on the negative

things of history because they’re just more exciting to us?

Like it’s just not, it’s boring to be like, yeah, and then there was a bunch of villagers

and they ate every day and danced and loved.


I wonder, I wonder how different those people were, you know, like they might’ve had the

same exact loves and fears and like they perhaps had the same kind of brilliant ideas in their

head, if not more brilliant.

And we kind of think about like this moment in history is like the most special moment.

Like we’re doing the coolest shit that we’re doing the most amazing building and most amazing


But maybe they were building amazing things in their different way with like less technological,

but in the space of ideas, in the space of just all the different, the camaraderie and

the space of like concepts, mathematics, all those kinds of things.


I mean, Greece, you look at the architecture, it still stands up.

I mean, all the government, but it’s still arguably, I mean, as far as objective beauty,

it’s hard to argue that Greco Roman, it’s just something about it with the, with the


It’s just, it’s powerful.

It’s I don’t know, even Ayn Rand would probably appreciate it.

She doesn’t, no, no, no.

So in your history, hyenas that unfortunately has come to an end, we’re talking about empires

coming to an end, all empires fall.

That one, it may rise again.

Empires might rise again.

Who knows?

I, I’m obviously a fan, so I hope it does rise again, but you’ve seemed to develop your

own language.

Can you, you know, it’s what it is.

What is, what is that?

What the hell, is this some kind of medical condition or can you, can you explain like

the linguistic essentials that catch us up to the linguistic essentials that people need

to know to understand the way you speak?

You know, Leopold and Loeb, you know the story of those two, they murdered that kid and they

had this weird relationship.

Anyway, it’s an interesting thing to Google, Leopold and Loeb, these two guys who ended

up murdering a kid because they developed their own language with each other and this

own reality and this weird thing and they wanted to know what it’s like to murder a

kid and they murder a kid.

It’s a famous story in American lore and history or whatever, famous case.

But this phenomenon, yeah, me and Chris got together.

It wasn’t as dark as Leopold and Loeb, we didn’t murder a kid, but we murdered a podcast.

Or at least stabbed it a few times.

Yeah, it’s, it was something in the organic chemistry of me and Chris that I think we’ll

both end up appreciating even probably more than we do now that it’s mysterious.

I got to be honest with you, it’s, it was a thing that it wasn’t conscious, wasn’t intentional.

It was something that happened in the music of our energies that just went.

Like when you hear someone sing or when a jazz band hits a rhythm or even when I’m on

stage and I just catch a rhythm, it’s like, dude, I didn’t make a choice there.

I don’t know what that is.

I don’t know how to explain it, but it comes from somewhere else and I don’t know what

it is.

It’s beyond my comprehension.

But with Chris, there was this magical chemistry that, you know, I have chemistry with a lot

of people and it can be funny and I feel zero chemistry here.

This is great.


It’s a little bit more intelligent than what me and Chris did.

But you know, me and Chris, I think we connected on the funny bone.

Like I, he, I found him so funny and we found the same things funny.

And from that, these organic expressions came from some part of our brains that was created

from this chemistry.

And yeah, we just developed this language and this cult following and people were really

upset when we ended.

But it was the right thing to end because like all things that end, it was kind of done

a few episodes even before we finished.

And I think we pulled the plug before it started rolling downhill, like all, you know, like

all great flings, you know, there’s your long relation, long marriages are boring and comfortable.

The one you really like fucking always ends abruptly and sadly and, but you always look

back and you jerk off to it.

And so you guys made love and we made, yeah.

So it’s like, it was like a hot fling with me and him and it was intense and we burned

the candle at both ends.

And it was, I think that podcast was meant to be three years and maybe people will go

back and appreciate it and listen to it over and over again.

And I think the new things we do, people will love, I’m doing long days now, that podcast

and people seem to enjoy it.

I’ve been really enjoying the long days on YouTube.

I just found myself just like staring at you ranting for, same with Tim Dillon, I really

enjoyed the, whatever those rants are, the genius of just one thing after the other.

But definitely the chemistry, almost as a study, I remember the reason I first started

listening to it, I was trying to get a perspective on certain historical moments.

Like it was interesting.

I tuned in to learn history.


I came for the history and like stayed for the chaos and the crack open and clean out.

And yeah, this, it was almost, I listened to Rogan like this sometimes.

I’ll relisten to an episode to try to understand why was this so fun to listen to?

It’s almost like trying to analyze humor or something like that.

But it’s nice from a conversational perspective, like why was this so easy to listen to?

And with History of Hyenas, like why is the chemistry so good?

It’s so, it’s weird.

It’s weird.

Cause there’s not many podcasts like, I don’t know any with the chemistry like that.

It’s interesting.

And it’s kind of sad that the fling with a prostitute in Vegas has to end, you know?

But that’s what makes it special.

It’s the Bukowski thing with the fog.

The British Office, one of my favorite shows was that it ended very quick.

It’s only a couple of seasons or something like that.

And that was tragic, but that took guts to just end it.

Given all the money you could have made, given all the, you just end it.

And that’s what makes it truly special.


And I’ll tell you, man, I’ll just emphasize it.

Cause I marvel at it too.

Cause as a guy who tries to always figure out what the causes of things, I gotta be

honest, man.

Looking back on that, even with retrospective wisdom, you know, that 2020 hindsight, we’ve

been done a couple of months now, it’s something that I can’t explain.

It’s something that I don’t know how you quantify it.

I don’t know how you describe it.

It’s musical.

It’s really kind of rhythmic.

Maybe like a Netflix show about history.

That’s in the future with the two of you.

You guys will meet like the way you meet with a fling like a decade from now at a diner

and you’re both way fatter and uglier and then you just reminisce over some cigarettes

and coffee.

It could be.

Yeah, it could be.


It’s definitely a classic podcast that people can go back and appreciate.

It’s fast paced and it was unique.

What was it like to research for, I mean, it was really scholarly, the depth of research

that you performed.

It sometimes felt like you almost read an entire Wikipedia article beforehand.

Or like.

Exactly true.

We were, we were one fan, we attracted such funny people to that podcast and the fans

were so funny and one fan called us nicknamed as Wikipedia sluts.

And so it just stuck.


We just would read Wikipedia.

I would do a lot more research than Chris.

And so I would actually, you know, once in a while he’d get into it too.

But for very interesting episodes, I got some subject matter would just pull me in.

Like Bernie Madoff, just to think of one that was recent, it was one of our last ones.

And I think one of our better episodes and I’m glad that it kind of ended after that

because it was rare to, I think we started to slip a little bit.

I got fascinated and I got, I did a lot of research for Bernie Madoff, but usually, yeah,

we’d pull up Wikipedia and we’d have fun.

We were sort of the antithesis of Dan Carlin.

I mean, you went to Dan Carlin for accuracy and thoughtfulness and you went to us for,

it was a hang with history.

That’s why history hyenas was such an appropriate name because it was, it was a little bit of


Some, some episodes were more hyena, more wild and a little history and some were a

little more dense, like the battle of Crete and less hyena.

So you were, you were always going to get both, you’re either going to get a majority

of one or the other.


And Dan Carlin is the lion, I guess.


And you guys, predictably good.


I mean, what, what are your thoughts about, I mean, he’s a storyteller too.

He gets a lot of criticism for the, from the historians, quote unquote.

That’s why he likes to knock.

He keeps saying he’s not a historian, but what’s your, what are your thoughts about

the hardcore history with Dan Carlin?

Like, was he an inspiration to the podcast you were doing or, or like an account, like

a, almost like a reverse psychology inspiration where you wanted to do some kind of opposing

type of podcast in history or was history always just like a, a launching pad to just

talk shit about human nature?

More of the latter.

I wasn’t even aware of his podcast when we started.

Oh, interesting.


And so we, it was just very organic, again, like the chemistry, me and Chris became very

good friends.

We started the podcast.

First we did a web series called Bay Ridge Boys, which has its sort of little cult following.

We did like five episodes and ended it.

And then we did the podcast and hi, hyenas were my favorite animal and I talk about them

passionately and I told Chris about them and then he started appreciating them and we both

love history.

I majored in history.

It’s one of the things I love.

I go to museums all the time.

I go to his, I do history tours, so does he.

And so it was just sort of a natural, let’s do a history podcast and it gave us something

to talk about each episode to sort of lean our, you know, hang our hats on and, and riff

off of.

So it had nothing to do with dance.

What I think about dance, I think it’s great.

I think even if he’s inaccurate in the opinions of the historical community, it starts conversations,

which is good.

It’s like this thing where people go, oh, it’s dangerous rhetoric.

It’s like, no, rhetoric only becomes dangerous when education fails.

What’s going on in America is education has failed.

So if you call someone online dangerous, it’s not him that’s dangerous.

It’s the fucking stupid people that’s dangerous.

And it’s the fault of this country.

We didn’t listen to Aristotle.

The future of a civilization depends on public education and we failed.

Education has failed.

Kids are, kids are not interested in shit.

And so in some sense, those dance podcasts and podcasts can be incredibly educational.

Because he’s a, the storytelling that pulls you in ultimately leads to you internalizing

these stories and like remembering them and thinking through them and all those kinds

of things that is much more powerful than you book on history.

That’s accurate.

I think often it inspires you to go learn more.

So it’s like, I know we did that.

I mean, you know, I, people would go, Hey, I went and learned about this because they

knew with us, there was no pretense, which was great that we had no standard.

So it’s like, nobody came to us for historical accuracy, but I was kind of turned on by the

fact that it inspired people to go learn about this stuff or to at least know like Battle

of Crete, like you said, a very underappreciated battle.

Even Winston Churchill said from here on, we will no longer say that Greeks fight like

heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks.

I mean, it was a monumental battle and you know, not talked about enough.

And I, our podcast would inspire people to go actually learn more, to go listen to Dan

Carlin or to go pick up a book or to do research on their own.

And so I think podcasts, Dan Carlin’s obviously much more accurate than us, but it’s good

that people are going to podcasts like yours and to learn shit.

Joe was, is really like the progenitor of that.

I mean, you know, having intellectuals on and getting the public interested with this

new medium in, in people who are intelligent.

It’s nice.

Cause you know, what the mainstream press pushes out is horseshit, gorgeous horseshit.

It’s got a beautiful veneer, but no substance.

And so this, this is a nice pushback.


The authenticity of Joe’s show.

I mean, I’m through, I started listening from the very beginning, you know, doing my in

grad school, you know, like a technical person and he just pulled me in.

And made me curious to learn about all kinds of things and use my own critical reasoning

skills on some of the bullshit guests he’s had and some of the most inspiring guests

he’s had.

And so I teach you to think, can you, I don’t know much about Bernie Madoff as a small tangent.

Can you, can you tell me who the hell is Bernie Madoff?

Oh, Bernie Madoff is the GOAT.

The greatest thief of all time, dude.

Hedge fund guy, ran a hedge fund and pulled, stole the most money in the history of America.

I mean a con artist and he does, people obviously he’s become, he’s a household name because

of the magnitude of his crime, but you got to appreciate, again, you got to appreciate

what went into this and how long he was able to pull it off by tricking the smartest and

richest people in the world and a brilliant scam.

The con man, con man is short for confidence man.

And it came from, yeah, a con man, basically they exude confidence and they trick people

by playing on their ego and blind spots.

And the word comes from a guy, I can’t remember where, but what he used to do, I can’t remember

the guy’s name, whatever, you can Google it, con man.

But it’s very interesting.

The first con man that is on record, what he would do, he would go to very rich people

and he’d be very well dressed, right?

And he’d go, I bet you, you don’t have the confidence to give me your watch.

And he would play on the egos of these very powerful and rich people and they would give

them the watch for some reason, some sort of reverse psychology bullshit.

And he’d take the watch and he would just steal it because basically saying like, you

don’t have the confidence to give me the watch because you don’t, I don’t know, you don’t

think I’m going to give it back.

And he would just take it.

So Bernie Madoff was a very sophisticated con man.

And again, we were talking about people pretending to be the opposite of what they are.

And he hid his thievery in how available he was to his clients, how he would show up at

every bar mitzvah, every birthday, he was always available for their phone calls.

And he played on their egos.

He made it so people wanted to invest in him, like they were competing.

He made it very exclusive.

He wouldn’t just take anyone.

And there was a method behind that madness because he wanted the whales that wouldn’t

notice that he had this pyramid scheme going.

And so what he would do is he would just rob from the richer and he just kept, it was like

he’d pay back the richer with the guy who was a little, and it was a pyramid scheme.

And he was able to do it for so long and steal so much money.

And he would win people over with the scheme because with that scheme, he was the only

guy who could provide, who could guarantee like a 1% return even during times of recession.

And because he was such a good con man, he hijacked people’s reasoning with his charm.

And that’s what con artists do.

That’s what psychopaths do.

They’re so fucking charming.

They get you in that Volkswagen Beetle.

Because if they use their reasoning for one second, they’d go, hey, nobody can provide

1% returns during recessions.

How the fuck is this guy doing it?

I’ll tell you how he’s doing it.

He’s stealing from another guy to pay you.

You fucking idiot.

So charisma is essential to that.

Maybe you can help explain something to me, something I have been affected by.

I’m getting way too loud for your listeners, there’s going to be comments like, tell this

guy to calm down.

I’m sorry, I’m Greek, I’m positive.

No, that’s beautiful.

I love it.

Something that I have been thinking about and have encountered indirectly is Jeffrey


And I have a sense because of MIT, because of all the other people that have been touched,

the wrong term, by Jeffrey Epstein in the sense that literally and figuratively.

And it always felt to me like there’s not a deep conspiracy, I don’t know, but it felt

to me like it’s not some deeply rooted conspiracy where like Eric Weinstein thinks that there’s

some probability that Jeffrey Epstein is a front for like an intelligence agency, whether

it’s Israeli or the CIA, I don’t know, but is a front for something much, much bigger.

And then I always thought that he’s just, maybe you can correct me, but more of the

Bernie Madoff variety, where he’s just a charismatic guy who maybe is psychopathic in some sense,

so you know, also a pedophile, but just charismatic and is able to convince people of that 1%

of any idea that in the case of scientists is able to convince these people that their

ideas matter.

So one thing scientists don’t really, you know, despite what people say, I don’t think

they care about money as much as people think.

I mean, people are ridiculous when they think that, yeah, that’s why people get into science

for the money.

Yeah, right.

The personalities that get into science are obsessed with minutia and they do the scientific


You know how boring that is?

Like you have to have a love for it in order to do it.

But the thing, what drives you is for your ideas to be then heard.

Like when a rich guy comes over, probably super charismatic, is going to tell you that

your ideas, especially for some of these outsiders at MIT, at Harvard, at Caltech, all these

like sort of big science, like physics, biology, artificial intelligence, computing fields,

to hear somebody say that your ideas are brilliant and ideas matter, it’s pretty powerful, especially

when you’ve been an outsider.

Like he’s talked to a bunch of people who had outsider ideas.

You know, the big negative for me of modern academia is that most people, actually like

most communities, most people think the same and there’s just these brilliant outsiders

and the outsiders are just derided.

And so when you have Jeffrey Epstein, like a hyena, sorry, sorry, sorry, going on the

outside and picking off these brilliant minds that are the outsiders, he can use charisma

to convince them to collaborate with him, to take his funding and then thereby he builds

a reputation, like slowly accumulates these people that actually results in a network

of like some of those brilliant people in the world, you know, and then pulls in people

like Bill Gates and I don’t know, political figures.

I tend to believe that one person can do that.


I mean, look at Hitler, charisma is blinding.

I think that’s what Kahneman, speaking of Bernie Madoff, that’s one of their major tools

is flattery, glib, superficial charm.

It creates those blind spots.

People want to hear how great they are.

They want to be flattered.

It takes your defenses down, plays to our ego, how much we’re all just pieces of garbage

and want to hear how great we are.

We want that love from our mother and our father.

That’s Freudian and they know because they’re not burdened with that need, they’re not burdened

with that empathy or emotions and they just see things very calculatively.

They play, they know that we’re prey in their game and they use that against us and that

is why someone who is not that intelligent, like Hitler, can probably convince a lot more

intelligent people, you know, and that’s why we can’t give Tim Dillon power because then,

you know, he already stands on a stage.

I mean, if we let that guy, I mean, he will just take over a country and everyone who

can’t cook well will be eliminated.

So it’s like…

I wonder why he keeps complimenting me when we’re in private.


Be careful.

He looks at me just, I like your suit.

I like the cut of your jib.

Yeah, definitely.

You gotta be careful of that kid.

He’s Hitler.

But it’s crazy to think about…

Clip that, please.


I mean, Quentin Tarantino said it to Pat, I mean, in his script, personality goes a long

way, dude.

I mean, personality can usurp common sense and reason of the smartest people.

These absolute smartest people can be hypnotized.

It’s sort of like a sexy woman.

It’s like, you can just, you can be tricked because we have such a blind spot for, you

know, for flattery.

Yeah, I wonder.

I think there’s a BBC documentary on, I think it’s called something like Charisma, Hitler’s

Charisma or something like that.

It was quite, I mean, that one focused more about the power of the speeches.

But I wonder if most of the success or the rise of Hitler and the Third Reich had to

do with the charisma of Hitler when he’s alone in a room with somebody, with the generals,

just one on one.

Like, I wonder if that’s the essential element of just being able to just look into a person’s

eyes, like flatter them or whatever is needed to earn their trust and then convince them

of anything you want.



I mean, you’re right.

Because that’s the one piece of history we don’t have.

We don’t know.

We do know that the kid crushed.

I mean, he was a headliner.

He got up there and his hair would flop.

I mean, he crushed it.

Yeah, there’s certain elements about nationalism and pride that are really powerful.

Like a lot of us humans, I think, long for that, for the feeling of belonging.

And when some charismatic leader makes us feel like we belong to a group, the amount

of evil we can do to other humans because of that, it’s endless.

Nobody wants to look and nobody wants to do the work to be better or look at where they

messed up.

Why does it always have to be the Jews that escape?

You know, it’s like, get over it, guys.

I mean, it’s like they killed Jesus.

You get over it.



It’s a long time ago.

I mean, move on.

I’m Jewish.

I understand because we do run the central banks.

And the weather.


Don’t forget about the weather.

That’s a big one.

That’s a funny one that people created.

Like, who gives a shit?

What is the weather?

Like, what’s the importance of the weather?

All right.

The Jews made it rain outside.


You got to fuck.

You know, they made it snow.


You get a day off.

Thank the Jews.


It’s like, yeah, there’s certain conspiracies that make me like flat earth.

Like, what’s the motive?

What’s the motivation for lying that the earth is round?

Like, what’s the conspiracy?


What does anyone get out of that?


What is exactly the profit?

What’s the strategy?

Do you have any, from a historical perspective or just a human perspective, conspiracy theories

you connect with?

Or you’re not necessarily conspiratorial?

I’m not necessarily conspiratorial.

Nobody cares that much.

But then, you know, what happens is you find out this one or this two, and you start questioning


And you start questioning everything, man.

It’s like, you know, the Vietnam War started, that was a lie.

That was a false flag.

And then next thing you know, everything’s a false flag.

There are some strange things on 9 11.

You know, there’s some strange things from a scientific perspective.

I’m no scientist, but it’s like, you know, yeah, three steel framed skyscrapers falling

on the same day in the same way.

A lot of people say, oh, they were hit by planes.

It’s like, yeah, but that’s not why they fell.

They fell because of fires and usually, not usually, all the time, except for three times.

And there was buildings that have burned for longer than that.

And there might be good explanations, but the lack of transparency, it’s like, I feel

like government.

And building seven’s weird.

I mean, the way it kind of died, just a neat, just a neat, the physical, I mean, you’re

a scientist.

Is that, well, I don’t, I, is there resistance from the steel and free fall, not all scientists

know everything.

I’m just a computer guy.

Cause I had some questions I wanted to ask you about my biology, but yeah, so exactly.

I don’t understand biology.

I don’t understand the melting point of steel.

I don’t, but I’m just the common sense human that looks at government and institutions

when they try to communicate.

And there’s a certain human element where you can sense that there’s dishonesty going


And dishonesty might not be deeply rooted in a conspiracy theory and something malevolent.

It might just be rooted more likely to me in a basic fear of losing your job.

So when you have a bunch of people that are afraid of losing their job, you know, and

they just don’t want to like the origins of the virus, whether it came from a lab or not,

you know, that’s a pretty, I know a lot of biologists behind a closed doors that, that

say it’s very likely it was leaked from the lab.

But like, they don’t want to talk about it because there’s not good evidence either way.

It’s mostly you’re just using common sense.

So they’re waiting for good evidence to come out in either direction.

But just like nobody in positions of institutional, like centralized power wants to just honestly

say, we don’t know, or on the point of masks or all those kinds of things to say, you know,

here’s the best evidence we have.

We’re not sure we’re trying to figure that out.

We’re desperately trying to figure that out or just like honesty, especially in the modern

day, that’s the hope I have for the 21st centuries.

People seem to detect bullshit much, much better because of the internet.




And we seem to…

But they also believe crazy shit too.

There’s no Yang without a Yang, I guess.

But I think the conspiracy theories arise only when the people in positions of power

and government institutions are full of shit.

Like the air will be taken out of the conspiracy theories if the people in elected power would

be much more honest.

Like just like real.

Yeah, people like Andrew Yang, whatever you think about him, just more honest.

He just like says whatever the hell comes to mind.

By the way, he’s running for New York mayor.

Mayor, yeah.

Do you have opinions?

Yeah, it’s no good.

I like Andrew Yang and it’s no good.

I’d be honest with you.

I’m a lifelong New Yorker.

I mean, I’m a New Yorker.

Well, you’re a New Yorker, so nothing’s good.

Well, something is good.


Let’s be honest about New York.

It’s a very socially liberal place.

It is the head of the snake.

New York is the country.

If New York, when New York’s not doing good, country’s not doing good.

It’s the most important city, DC, New York.

It’s really Rome.

Be honest.

It’s, maybe I’m biased.

I don’t know.



We just, New Yorkers, we walk around everywhere and we go, this is just like New York, but

not New York.

It’s, but New York needs, and I’m a guy who leans left.

You know, I just, I lean left and that’s just what it is.

A dictator?

Is that where you’re going?

No, we need.

Are we going back to Stalin again?

We need, it’s a money town.

Let’s be, come on, man.

I mean, New York is a money town.

And Wall Street, and then when AOC and her cronies at the local level rejected that Amazon

thing, you’re going like, what do you think makes cities?

What’s going to create jobs in the 21st century?

What do we need?

More nail salons?


More pizza places?

I mean, we’re living in the tech revolution and you know, whatever your opinions are

about Jeff Bezos, that’s the world, tech.

And they want you to come here.

Of course you give them tax breaks.

That’s why companies go anywhere.

She’s so fucking utopian and that progressive wing is so utopian and that always ends in

disaster because it’s not rooted in reality.

It doesn’t accept the reality that people are self interested.

Now they’re going to do this 14%, 15% tax hike on people making a million dollars more.

In New York City, a million dollars is not that much.

So people are going to flee New York.

The tax base is going to flee.

New York’s going to fall to shit like it did before.

So you’re saying it basically needs a more capitalist front, like capitalistic type of



Bloomberg, Giuliani when he was still sane and his hair wasn’t melting off his face.


You need a tough, I mean, I don’t know what’s happened to that guy.

He’s lost it.

But it’s fun.


It’s fun to watch.


It’s fun to watch him be just like, uh, Trump’s lackey.

Like, yeah, boy, whatever you want, boss.

I’ll just say whatever you want, boss.

But New York is a money town that needs a money guy and sort of more of a Republican.

I have to say on the local level, as more of a guy who leans left, I’ll just be honest.

It’s a tough city that needs a tough mayor, not some guy who’s going like, I understand

we all need free money.

You know, Andrew Yang I think is right in the big picture because all the real jobs

are somewhere else.

You look at those Asian cities, you go like, oh, that’s what our cities used to look like

at the industrial revolution.

You know, there was like, there was jobs and people were making things here.

Now you look at those cities in Asia and you’re going like, wow.

And then you go to Detroit and you’re like, yeah, we’re done.

You go to Cleveland, you go, we were done.

So I don’t actually, it’s, it’s funny.

The reason I really like Andrew Yang is I’ve learned a lot every time he talks, like it’s

not his opinions.

He’s just giving a lot of data, like information, which I just start a podcast.

Don’t run for mayor.

Yeah, that’s true.

He already has a podcast.

I think Yang speaks.

Who doesn’t?

Who does it?

Who does it now?

That’s the way we communicate.

I don’t even talk to people unless it’s on a podcast.


Listen, man, I’m a, I’m not going to criticize that because there is something like I talked

to my dad on a podcast for four hours and I’m not sure I would ever talk to him in the

way we talked without the podcast.

What does he do?

Uh, physicist.

Oh shit.

But like, yeah, it’s a episode 100.

And you know, I, uh, the, the way I recorded that podcast is I tried to put my ego aside.

It’s actually really tough to talk to your dad, especially because you’re giving him

a platform.

Uh, especially, so at that time there’s already a bit of a platform for this podcast.

And so there’s this, as a son, you think like, oh, here it goes with this bullshit again.

Like that’s the natural son thought you have.

But at the same time, I wanted to, the way I thought about it is in 20 years when I look

back, like I want to do a conversation where I’m happy with it, you know?

So I want to make him shine.

But I also called him out on like, why were you so distant, like, like all of that kind

of stuff.


It was very difficult to do, but it was really important to do.

And I don’t think I’d be able to do it without a, without a microphone.


Listen, how often do we sit there and just focus our attention and just look at the other


I, I don’t know, man.

This is not even recording right now.

I just invited you over.

Just so we could actually, you’re right.

The podcast does make, like I listen, I’ve been listening to every word you’ve been saying.

And if we weren’t doing a podcast, I might be looking at my phone or being self conscious

about something else or nervous or anxious, especially with people close to you.

I mean, that was, I recommend that actually for people to talk to their family on a podcast

or like a fake or not.

That’s really powerful.

It made me realize that there’s a clear distinction between the conversations we usually have

with humans and those we have when a podcast is being recorded.

What the fuck were we talking on before that?

I knew you were going to lose your train of thought on that one because that’s a big one.

There’s a motion behind that one.

A podcast with dad is going to take, that’s going to take you to a place that took you

to a place.

It took you outside of interviewer.

New York.

It went to a place.

New York and Yang.


In New York and Yang.

That’s what really surprised me about, I like the psychoanalysis that you just threw in



I knew that.


That took you to a place.

So Andrew Yang mentioned.

Do you respect me now, dad?

MIT, is it enough?

Fucking million people listening to this.

I got 14 Rogans.

Is it enough, dad?

I’m creating robots.

Is it enough for you?

It’s never enough.

That’s what drives you probably.

That’s probably what drives me.

That’s what gives meaning to life is it’s never enough.

And I hope to pass that on to my kids one day.

That nothing’s ever enough.

Whether they’re robot or human, right?

Your kids.

Most likely.

Let’s be honest.


You might call one of your robot.

Do you love your robot?

Are you starting to love your…

Is it going to be like that Pygmalion thing?

You create them and then they kill you.

But even while they’re killing you, you got a tear.

The tear.

A slow one.

One tear.

And just.


Why are you doing this Frankenstein?


But I loved you.

Those would be the last words out of my mouth.

I just want to mention something on the, that it costs $400,000.

Over $400,000 per year to support one person in prison in New York.

Like when I heard that number, it was really confusing to me.

Like that it costs that much, 400K per person.

And it was really refreshing to hear a politician describe a particular problem with data.

That this is this prison industrial complex, whatever the hell it is.

And whether the solution, it’s unclear what the solution is.

I think he has solutions, but just the honesty of presenting that information was refreshing.

And I’m not sure a capitalistic person would solve that.

Those kinds of problems he might make worse.

And I’m not, I’m a huge fan of capitalism.

I think the free market is the way we make progress in this world, but it seems to go

wrong in certain directions.

Like the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex, anything that ends

with industrial complex.

And so I’m not sure.

I’m not sure if all of the problems, you’re basically saying, let’s put New York’s problems


We need to have New York shine first to do what it does best.



And then we will fix them, well, and then we can focus on the problems.

But if you just say like, here’s a problem, here’s a problem, here’s a problem, let’s

make sure we have the safety net that protects us against all of these kinds of problems.

That’s not going to, that’s going to kill the city, the spirit of the city that is in

your biased opinion, the Rome of the world.

That said, a lot of people are fleeing New York.

Yeah, that’s why I say it.

That’s the reality of the situation is, you know, I’m all for the public good, but yeah,

there needs to be a back to that Greek expression, pan metroniris, and I also think the free

market is responsible for progress.

I think it’s the most natural thing, the thing that’s most aligned with human nature, which

is self interest.

And which I’m not to the extent that Ayn Rand would, but I do believe people are mostly

self interested, especially with one gun to the head, morals are out the window, you know,

it’s about survival.

So, you know, create a system that respects that and acknowledges that, but socialism

works very well, at least right now, as a check as to temper the excesses of capitalism

and in certain scenarios is the more appropriate system, you know, in a vacuum.

So one being prisons or, you know, you know, governance, you know, parks.

Maybe even, well, and this is a difficult one, but in healthcare, healthcare, it’s unclear

what to write.

There’s a lot of debates there.


Doctors want boats.


So I guess you’re voting for AOC you’re saying.

No, I’m not voting for AOC, but I do, it’s just a tough one.

That’s a tough one.

But ultimately, the Hippocratic Oath, it’s like, how do you turn people away, man?

How do you do that to people?

It’s like, it’s a tough thing to reconcile helping people, curing people with the marketplace.

It’s just, I can understand why that one’s so tough.

And then you got hypochondriacs, of course, who drain the system, you know, like people

who are having anxiety, like me who had COVID and called 14, you know, I called 14 ambulances.

So and then of course we’re fat and the free market made us fat because it played the marketing

made us want all this junk food and that’s a burden on the healthcare system.

So we got to do something about that.

We got to get creative.

We need new thinkers.

I’ll be one of them.

When you go to a fast food restaurant, you stand on a scale.

If you’re over a certain thing, you can’t be served.

It’s good for the healthcare system.

You know, you just handed a salad and say, sorry, this burger is illegal for right now.

If you achieve these certain BMI goals, then you can, you can have this burger, but right

now you can’t.

And that’s where the state’s important.



To regulate our freedoms.

No slurpees.

I’m with you Bloomberg.

Well, I’m with you to go along.

I think the salads are too expensive.

They should be subsidized.

If you, if you go to like a fast food joint, the burger is always going to be cheaper than

the salad.

And this does not make sense.

We should run on this platform.

I’ll be your vice president or ban burgers for, for people of a certain weight and make

salads cheap.

Three day work weeks.

Why has that not happened yet?

Wait, wait.


Where are you going with this one?

Dude, good for the economy.

Stimulates the economy, right?

More shifts, creates more jobs, more people spending because they have more leisure time,

boosts the leisure economy, you know?

Why are we still doing the five day work week that, that was, that was tempered from the

seven day work week.

That was, so the seven, it used to be seven day work week, it used to be like, and people

who are just these libertarians, it’s like, come on dude, what, what is this fresh, are

we freshmen in college?


You’re going to, we’re going to talk about Ayn Rand next.

Like let’s talk about reality.


And human nature.

People are fucking greedy.

They lie.

They, you know, there’s no end to up, which is one of my favorite expressions.

No end to up.

There’s no end to up.

Can we dissect that?


From a Randian perspective.

There’s no end to up, which is, uh, you just keep going.

It’s never enough.

Oh, never enough.

Oh, it’s never enough.

No end to up.

No end to up more.

And you know, you have to reconcile your fact that you’re going to die.

So like this no end up thing is that balance is, is just as valuable as progress.

So we have to reconcile those two things and put them on a seesaw and figure out how to

get two people who have the equal weight to keep it like that.

And that’s the goal.

And it constantly vacillates, uh, according to the time you sometimes you need a little

more socialism.

Sometimes you need a little more capitalism.

You gotta, you gotta, you gotta fly the plane, man.

You gotta fly the plane, dude.

What’s your, um, looking back at history, is there a moment, time period in history,

a person in history that’s most fascinating to you?

You mentioned Bernie Madoff, maybe second to Bernie Madoff.

Is there in a battle of Crete, is there something that you’ve always been curious about?

Even if it’s something you haven’t actually researched that well yet, just something that

pulled at your curiosity that, uh, instructed the way you think about the world.

An individual or an event or an event, individual, uh, you know, yeah.

Moment in history or a person in history.

Um, there’s a few, but, uh, you know, queen Elizabeth, uh, the Elizabethan era, you know,

the sun never sets in the British empire, very successful empire, uh, what an absolute

success story that is, is for a leader and a woman, um, can you tell a little bit about

her story?

I actually don’t know much about the British empire.


She had a good run.

I think it’s like 70 years, you know, as a Shakespeare, they, you know, the, oh, I guess

what’s the word, Pax Romana, the, the, uh, the period of Rome that it was at peace and

they flourished like a couple of emperors like Trajan or some good ones.

And I think he was part of the Pax Romana that sort of just a peace and a comfortable

flourishing time and England, uh, had sort of that in their empire under her successful


She murdered her cousin.

She, you know, the movies, there’s, uh, you know, um, Kate Blanchett plays her and, and

does so.

And she didn’t win the Oscar because fucking Gwyneth Paltrow put a, put a British accent

on in Shakespeare in love.

It’s a tragedy.

Why do I know this?

Because I’m not a full man.

I’m a comedian, which means I do skits and I perform, um, and I, uh, Kate Blanchett’s

incredible actress at great movies.

She was just so, and here’s the thing, she, she never got married.

She was, she was so, um, astute at public relations and, and, and, and imagine how strong

you got to be as a woman to lead the greatest empire maybe known to man at the time and

to do so, so successfully.

How Machiavellian you have to be, how idealist you have to be, how much of a good marketer

you have to be.

Propaganda machine was on point.

She was married to England.

She was adored the way she adorned herself.

You walked in, you’re like, holy men, God just walked in here.

And of course she got fucked.

I mean, who doesn’t fuck?

We all fuck.

Even robots one day will fuck.

But she was, she, she did that propaganda thing and historians aren’t, uh, haven’t,

they haven’t decided this, but I believe she fucked.

And I believe she did that as a tool of propaganda.

I’m married to England.

So you, oh, you’re, you’re directly referring to like using sex as a way to manipulate people.

Well, she, her, she was known as like the, the Virgin queen.

And uh, and her thing was like, I’m married to England.

Like I can’t be distracted by man or woman, blah, blah, blah.

She never had any kids, nothing.

I think she did that as a tool of manipulation, which you need.

Rulers need to, you know, Obama made you feel good and then he went and bombed, carpet bombed


You need to feel good about your guy, no matter how evil they are.

And she was fucking a dictator.

But when you look back at her, everyone’s like, oh my God, she was so great.

The horror and the shit that she had to do, she didn’t put that in the history books,

but that’s what probably was part of what made her successful.

And um, she’s a fascinating character to, to ponder because she was so successful and,

and England flourished so much.

And it’s just fascinating to me because she was the great Virgin queen.

And can you think of, there’s no other woman who was that, I mean, Angela Merkel, I mean,

come on.

I mean, there’s nobody who comes close and defeating the Spanish Armada, I think that

happened under her.

I mean, I’m no professional, but I mean, the, the woman crushed.

And uh,

Do you think it’s more effective to lead by love, which just sounds like what she did

from the PR perspective or by fear?

Where do you, where do you land on that?

That’s a great question.

Um, I’m not, we got to ask Joe.

Well, yeah, this is interesting cause I think leading in the 21st century in whatever ways

is different.

I think it’s very difficult to lead by fear.

I mean, um, that’s why I find Putin fascinating and like really fascinating.

Like is he a relic of another era or is he something that will still be necessary in

the coming decades for certain nations?

I think he’s a, I don’t think he’s a relic from another era.

I think his background, I think he is who you think he is because his background was

in espionage.

His background was in subterfuge and espionage.

I think I’ve said the word subterfuge maybe 10 times now, but he, uh, like big words,


I just sitting here with you.

It’s my, it’s time to flex.

Um, but he, um, he’s very good at that, right?

Like, uh, controlling people with psychology and even if you look at the way he sort of

used the internet and, um, has sort of been, you know, gotten in to the citizens of other

countries opinions and it’s very KGB.

He also looks great without a shirt on a pony on a horse on a horse.


I thought he would choose a pony cause a pony smaller makes him would, uh, would you, would

you put queen Elizabeth as the greatest leader of all time?



If you look at Elizabeth as a woman and you look at, uh, you look at the, the length of

the reign, I think it’s like 70 something years or something like that, that she reigned

success man, success.

She used the church, she used public psychology, Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of all

time, uh, under her reign, you know, people were going to plays and, and, uh, it was a,

it was a success front and she was marauding everywhere else marauding and culling resources

for the empire and just say a absolute successful.

It’s even, uh, a token of her success.

We don’t consider her a dictator.


She’s a dictator, you know, she was queen.

I, this is my thing I love about the feudal system that these fucking countries still

have feudal systems.

They’re celebrating a horrible thing, divine right of Kings oppression, Kings were dictators

and now they have fucking ceremonial.

Why don’t we have a ceremonial Fuhrer?

What is in German?

He doesn’t do any of the bad stuff.

He just rolls around and does, I mean, it’s like, what the fuck?

There’s no difference between a Hitler and a fucking King.

They did the same horrible shit.

Why not a fucking ceremonial conqueror, Alexander the Great walks in, rapes a little bit, but

it’s all fun.

It’s for ceremony.

He represents the country.

Macedonia is Greek.

It’s interesting to see that, uh, some you’re starting to see a bit of that in Russia was

Stalin, actually the celebration of a, of a man that helped win the great patriotic war.



So like you, you’re already starting to see that it’s very possible in history books,

you’ll be seen as maybe like a Genghis Khan type of character and you forget the millions

that he tortured.

So you’re one of the most successful and brilliant people the world has ever seen.

So you’re the good person to ask, uh, for advice.

You know, there’s a lot of young people that look up to you, uh, God bless their souls

and hearts.

Made the right choice.

What advice would you give to a young person?

Maybe to yourself, to a young version of yourself, you know, and just how to live a successful,

a good life.

Be doggedly you.

I think the magic happens when you are stubbornly doggedly you and you meet other people who

are doing the same and, um, the real magic of life, the real true currency in this ephemeral

life is sort of the communication that happens between people.

Uh, that’s the real currency, friendships, love, it’s, it’s cliche, but it’s a, I think

the meaning of life is to experience, to experience love.

And, uh, I think, uh, people often mistake, maybe it’s because of Hollywood films and

things like that, that love is a feeling, but it’s not, it’s an action.

So, uh, that took me a while to learn and I think that’s why I’ve made decisions since

that I think have been good for me and healthy for me.

Love is an action.

People can say things, you can feel things, um, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily


It’s all chemical reactions.

It’s all, um, tied to our immaturity and, uh, psychological issues and, uh, survival,

but action when some, when you do things, when you act out of love and you, the, that’s,

that’s what it’s about.

Is there, uh, times when you were younger where you were kind of dishonest with who

you are to yourself in terms of like, what, what kind of things did you have to do to,

to shake yourself up and be like, okay, I thought, um, I thought I’m going to be a scientist,

but instead I realized I’m going to do this.


My parents were funny.


My, my comedy is a hard, hard thing to explain to, uh, you know, an immigrant mother who

came here and under Nazi occupied Crete and became a human rights lawyer and lawyer.

And, uh, my brother’s a lawyer and my father was a lawyer, you know, clawed his way up.

His dad was a, was a, um, so your disappointment, um, the black sheep.


My brother went to Oxford Georgetown law at Brown, you know, has a master’s in pot, you

know, law degrees.

My mother has followed up for law degrees, uh, you know, uh, she was on the human rights

commission in New York up for a judgeship under Dinkins, um, wrote a, you know, um,

she was the editor of Unitar.

She wrote a seminal piece on the human rights of children for the United Nations.

Um, and, uh, yeah, it was a comedian.

I was always a fuck up.

And, uh, the thing that I was best at, the only thing I was ever decent at was just like

making people laugh.

I don’t know why.

I don’t know where that comes from, but, uh, was there ever a question or did, was there

a moment where you decided this is what I’m going to do?

There was a moment after I graduated college.


I was just thinking about all types of stuff that other people imposed on me.

And, um, I was honest with myself and once I figured out it was an actual career path,

I wasn’t even aware back then the internet wasn’t huge, you know, late 99, 2000 it wasn’t

big yet.

So I didn’t, I thought Robin Williams was just like an actor.

I didn’t know there was comedy clubs and all.

So once I learned that I was just like, I tried it.

I suffer from massive anxiety.

I remember the first time I did comedy, my arms went numb.

I started having a massive panic attack.

I have my first set.

I can show it to you.

I suggest I just come video.


I’m video.

Thank you.

And the reason why I kept saying thank you is because I forgot my old jokes.

I was so scared.

And then they laughed because of the amount of times I said thank you.

And then once they laughed, I was, I remembered the whole thing and I did the five minutes

and I remember getting off.

And for a person who never felt like he had a place anywhere, nothing ever felt right.

That felt like, okay, I found it.

This is what I’m supposed to do.

This is it.

It was the only time in my life I felt that I haven’t felt that sense.

Never felt it before.

So that’s the only thing I can do.

And yeah, I had that, you know, it’s funny cause there’s a similar experience like immigrant

family and the world tells you to do certain things and you think that’s right, but, but

then you put yourself in situations by luck probably where it’s like, oh, this, this,

this feels right.

I don’t know what this means, but this feels right.

I think the biggest moment like that for me was, I don’t know what to make of it exactly,

but when I met Spot, the robot, the legged robot, it was like five years ago, it felt

like this, the depth of fascinating ideas that are yet to be explored with this thing.

This felt like a journey.

It was like a door that opened and I was like, I don’t want to be a professor.

At that point I realized I don’t want to do sort of a generic stuff.

I want to do something crazy.

I want to do something big.

That’s the reason I stepped away from MIT.

That’s the reason I have this burning desire to do a startup.

That’s the reason I came to Austin.


I don’t know what the hell it all means, but you just kind of follow that.

That’s awesome.

That sounds like you’re following what’s doggedly you.

And also I think I just to, just to piggyback off it, I think that means no matter what

it is, because I think our, the American dream is sold like, Hey, if you’re not Beyonce or

if you’re not famous, you’re not worth it.

I hate that.

And that’s what I love so much about certain countries like Sweden, it’s like where everyone

has healthcare and stuff like that because everyone’s a little is valued more.

It’s like whatever, if you want to be a doorman, do it like it’s all the same.

Prince was not happy.

There’s no, just because you’re rich or famous, you’re still the same guy with your possessions

are a lot little, you know?

It’s like, I have met some doormen.

I have met some tax cappers that I lie to you not are more fascinating.

I have comedians are horrible people, so I want to get away from all of them.

I have very few friends, Paul Verzi, Tim Dillon, who are comedians because they’re awful, awful


Some of the people who you know the most, who are the most famous are not who they say

they are.

Usually that’s the case.

They’re putting on that public facade because they’re fucking sociopaths and they’re horrible

people and some of the most beautiful people I’ve met and the most interesting people I’ve

met have regular jobs.

There is no shame in any fucking job.

We don’t all have to be rappers with like rims.

It’s just a weird thing.


Fame is a drug and yeah, comedians, I agree with you.

There’s some part of me that knows that there’ll be a moment in my life when I’m standing there

with like a sword or a knife in my stomach and looking at Tim Dillon’s smiling face saying

you shouldn’t have trusted me, you stupid fuck.

So on that note, Yannis, I’ve been a huge fan of yours.

I love what you’re doing with Long Days Now, your new podcast, and I obviously love all

the stuff you’ve done before with History of Hyenas, the chemistry you have with yourself

is also fun to watch.

So man, I’m a huge fan.

It’s a huge honor that you come down here.

Thanks so much for talking to me.

It means so much to me to hear you say that.

I really appreciate it.

I’m a big fan of yours and having me on has been amazing and just thank you, man.

Thank you for having me on and people, if they want to watch my special, it’s called

Blowing the Light.

It’s on YouTube and please come listen to Long Days of Podcasts and let’s go eat some


Let’s do it.

Thanks for listening to this conversation with Yannis Papas and thank you to Wine Access,

Blinkist, Magic Spoon, and Indeed.

Check them out in the description to support this podcast.

And now let me leave you with some words from Karl Marx.

Revolutions are the locomotives of history.

Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.

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