Born in New York on August 31, 1940, Hankin took an industrial design degree from the University of Syracuse; multifaceted artist, in addition to being an actor, Hankin is also a screenwriter, producer, director and singer; he began his career as an illustrator in the entertainment world, and studied acting at Syracuse University, Syracuse New York. In same class with Frank Langella and Carl Gottlieb. Was a member of the comedy improvisation groups Second City (Chicago) and The Committee (San Francisco). Hankin continues today his work in Hollywood film and Tv productions.
Larry & talked about his early career working with Woody Allen and opening for the Lovin Spoonful. We went on to talk about his film career and battles with dyslexia, ADHD, & OCD.
Make sure to check out his website to see all of his personal projects:
We talked a lot about his Mockumentary "How to Become and Outlaw" and you can catch the whole video here:
How to Become an Outlaw
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And..if you want to see some of my comedy, you can check out my YouTube Channel and heck, maybe subscribe!
If you'd like to support the show and get some cool perks, check out our Patreon page:
A big thank you to my new Patreon Patrons!
Look for new stuff for Patrons soon!
If you like the show, you can follow us on social media! Isn't that great!
And..if you want to see some of my comedy, you can check out my YouTube Channel and heck, maybe subscribe!
But if there's a camera and they turned it on and they say, action, Larry, I, I'm not Larry. I'm the character. And I do what tells the story of the narrative, right? So with your, I mean, you talk a lot about, um, the dyslexia and ADHD, which, uh, I've got a little bit of the ADHD myself. And, uh, how, how are you able to memorize your lines when you've got so many things going on in your head?
Because th th that's a problem that comics have, and a lot of comics have ADHD because it's, it. It's just kind of runs in our pedigree. Um, but, uh, how do you, do you have a system to know the, the lines and stuff like that? What do you do? I get the script as early as possible. It's in my contract, but that's all.
Yeah. Rest is like a can sweat and just. You just got to shut yourself in a, in a room and just do it until you get it. It's it's, that's the other downside of being a dyslexic and inaccurate. Yeah. I'm not an actor. I'm a, I'm a stand up storyteller. Right? Right. That's what I am born to be. That's what I am until I die, but, but I can act and give me the right part.
I can do it really well. But yeah. The example that I use, uh, or pardon me, I'm gonna, I'm gonna sneeze. Well, w what I, what I use is, you know, the movie, um, Mr. And Mrs. Smith, uh, Brad Pitt and, uh, what's her name, you know? Yeah. Okay. So they do this fight scene in the movie. Where they're in a house and they're arguing and they both have guns in his shooting at one another and yelling at one another and liking one another and loving one another and hating one another and fighting and shooting.
I can't do that. Yeah. That's tactic. Yeah. So I know this certain thing. I'll just turn it down because I can't do it now. Uh, some parts, I just did that a couple of days ago. Somebody gave me a part and they said, Oh my God, you are this person, you know, I'll send you the script. They go, okay. Send me the script.
And it was a great part. It was like a, I think it was a CoStar CoStar. It was a co-starring role or I dunno, second banana, whatever they call it. Too many words, too many words, I turned it down. Oh, the truth. It was a female director, female writer. I said, it's too many words. I can't remember. In the old days, I would've tried to memorize it.
And if they gave me the script. Soon enough, I could have memorized it, but I am doing too many things and I had to stop doing everything to memorize these loins and I could do it if I wanted to stop everything, you know, I'm writing this script, I'm rehearsing with that person for something that I have my own, but there's my own time now.
So, but I, and I told them, I said, it's just too many lines. Now, back in the day, like five years ago before it was my own time. For, uh, uh, old Joe or big Joe or, you know, uh, Vince Gilligan, El Camino breaking bad movie, uh, that I didn't have too many lines. So I did it. The last show I did the last TV show of breaking bad.
I did. Yeah. That's when I quit. Yeah. Uh, because, you know, I didn't, I quit. I just, uh, I'm, I'm retiring now. Uh, it was because I only had five lines in the show and I thought, great. You know, old, Joe has only five lines I can do that. They don't have to send me an early, I he's long things that I have to get it early.
Right. And I show up and it just, uh, it was just keeping the cop out of the Winnebago. No, they were hiking to Winnebago the cop morning and I had all this legal stuff. So I show up, it was just a couple of lines. It was just five lines. I had a chat in the morning for five lines, which I did really well in the morning with Brian inside the Winnebago.
And then in the afternoon we did the cop keeping them out. And, uh, so I have lunch and I come back from lunch and here's my new sides on the dresser. And it's an entire speech. A monologue, a full spare one page of just me. That's what I'm talking about things. And no, I can't remember them unless you give it to me prior, but just two hours before I had to go on, I called me in D and I said, what is this?
And they said, Oh, well, binge liked your audition so much act or so much whatever they told the that he touched Siri, just talk to me, uh, uh, uh, digital. So, uh, he, he liked you so much that he asked, uh, to one of the writers to read you a monologue.
I can't do that. No, no. I mean, no, there's no, no way. Well, and I start to freak out. I just started to break down. I got no, no, you don't understand. Ady just split. I guide you, not my business. How long do I have two hours? So I try to remember it. Nothing. I couldn't remember it. So here's the other thing, like, I don't know, I've mentioned this before, but.
Uh, I have no compunction about being fired, losing the job. I don't care. I've been here, done this. I don't care. And I'm not an actor. Okay. So, so I thought I'm going to be fired, but I'm not going to cop to it. I'm not going to say I can't do this. Yeah. Professional. I'm going to try to do this. Uh, so maybe I can improvise.
I'm an improviser, you know, 10 years improvising. Uh, and um, I try to memorize it, try to memorize it. Okay. Again, I'm not going to do or you're up. You're on. Okay. So now let's see, but I also have a backup, cause I figured out how to do it. If they, if they shot it in sections, you know, cause you, you know, cut to you.
Cut to me, cut the cut to me. If they chop it up like that. I could probably remember the sections easily or so that's what I figured. Okay. So go up to the director. He said, Oh, hi, Larry, how you doing? You know, so John D jolly, he shot me in the morning. We were all cool. So, you know, and this is going to be great.
Okay. So I said, Hey, by the way, um, I figured out how we could shoot this.
He goes, Oh, really shoot. This. The director says to me, well, how should we shoot this Larry nicely, we should break it up. See? And he goes, well, that's a good idea. That's a really a good idea. But we're going to do a walk and talk. Larry, get down there for a hundred feet away from the camera and just walk towards the camera.
We're going to do it in one take. Then you're going to go home. So you'll be, you'll be out of here. And why 15 minutes. Is that okay with you? Yeah. Yeah. That's okay. Anything wrong? No, no, it's fine. Okay. Get down there. Right. Okay. I get down there and he goes, okay, you ready? Larry? Yeah, I'm ready. Okay. And action, Larry.
So, okay. I'm going to improvise it. That's I'm going to improvise. So I start improvising now here's one thing I got to say for me in the entire walk of improvise, I got the first line perfectly, right. For the entire thing I never made an a or a or a, or, um, uh huh. Or a mistake about, I never felt inferred.
It was just me talking improvising legalees to the best of my ability. And I get there and the guy goes, and I'm thinking, I'm thinking two things at the same time, I'm improvising, I'm improvising. And I'm saying at the end of this, I'm going to be fired, but it's okay because I don't care. So it's okay.
And I'm walking and talking and talking and talking and they get down and he goes, cut. And I'm I'm this far away from him. That's what walk all the way down to you. I'm this far away from him, it says, great, Larry. And then I hear I'm going to be fired. And he goes, let's just do it again. Just for insurance.
I memorized the whole thing. Holy cow. And as I'm walking back, you're fine. And as I'm walking back, I'm thinking, wow, well now I don't have to worry, man. He's got it in the can. I can, I can be, you know, I, I can lose my place or whatever. I can make a mistake. Okay. So he's are you ready? And I go, yeah. And then I see the script girl walking towards me.
Now the script girl is not a girl. It's a woman, or whether they got girlfriends anyway, he's walking towards me and you know what a script girl is. She has you, she's watching these, she's got the script. You got to say it hasn't threatened. Now. Generally they circle, you know, whatever your, the word or the sentence you left out.
And I'm and jolly, and I'm saying, Oh, okay. What did I miss? And she doesn't see anything. And she just shows me the page. Everything is circled. I've never seen it a page like that. And I'm 20 years of acting, never seen a page like that. And she says, he wants. And I said, well, I got the gist of it. And she says, no, the director wants you to say it as written.
I say, I want to talk to the writer. And she says, the director wrote it.
I hear the directors, anything wrong, Larry. Okay. No, no, it's fine. It's fine. And then I see him walking towards me with the book and no, it's, it's wrong. Everybody's walking towards me. That's not a good sign.
I knew. Okay. I'm going to get fired. Okay, let's do this dance again. I go into Zen. I'm not nervous. You said, um, And he doesn't say anything to me. He just stands right by me. And he says, uh, okay, I'm going to give it to you from here. Yes. To the camera, man. It's not, you want to stand by the camera? No, I'm going to walk with my actor and he's got the book and I, and I'm thinking, well, I even said to him, I said, you're going to walk with me.
Like this is kindergarten now. Uh, it was just, I'd rather be fired. I mean, that's what I was thinking. I'd rather do this. This is not fun. Okay. Okay. He says, you, you okay with this? I go, yeah. Yeah, it's fine. It's fine. And he goes, okay, action. And he's walking with me and, um, I'm doing the same thing. I got the first line.
Right. I'm making it up. Boom, boom, boom. And he's walking and I just kind of, he's walking right out of camera Ridge. He's right off my shoulder. And he's walking around. I see he's walking and he's got his head buried in the fucking book. They get to the end and now I'm ready to get fired. And he says, okay, that's a wrap.
Moving on. Thank you, Larry. Sending them home. And the car is right here. The limo is right here. Cause you were in the middle of the desert. It's 45 minute drive back to the production company. So the car's waiting. I can't even ask, well, what happened? Well, what did I do? Yeah. I get in the car drives. I drive back and I have to wait now because I had to, I mean, I don't understand what I didn't think I was that brilliant.
Wouldn't believe that I had done what it seems that I had done. There's no way. That I could be that right. And so I waited two weeks for it to show up and here's what they did. And this is why movie is so incredibly great. It's very plastic. What they did was if you watch the show, I am in that scene, keeping the cop out of the Winnebago for exactly.
Seven seconds. But if I asked my friends, what did you see that day? That I did the, uh, the breaking bad. So when you were walking and talking and keeping the cop out of the Winnebago yeah, yeah. That's that's. Yeah. But what did you see now? Not what you think you saw, what did you see. Hmm. You were walking and talking and keeping the cop out of the Winnebago.
No, you didn't see that you saw me for seven seconds. You saw the cop, Aaron and him for the rest of the, you know, three or four or five or six minutes of that scene. I was like, what they did was, and that the director, after I said the first line, the, the right, the first time. He knew I was making it. He knew I didn't have any idea of what the fuck was going on.
He's listening to his words, totally avoided what he knew was cause he was a director and he knew how to make movies. He says, all right, I will just take what he's saying, which I was saying, the right kinds of things. Any edited together as a voiceover. I'm a voiceover in that scene. I talk and talk. They cut the him.
You hear my voice over? You cut that. Brian, you cut the Aaron voiceover. Cut the, the cop cut to me when I say something cool that I had made up, but was right. And then, boom. So two seconds. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, boom. Two seconds. Boom, boom, boom. Three seconds. Boom. He's off. Boom. Brilliant. Yeah, you'd never know it.
You watch a scene. You think I'm walking in talking and movies is magic, man, the company, my friend, dad's called movies magic. So you know, you do what you have to do. And if he I've never been fired, I've never been fired. Nobody and never, and nobody's ever called me on my dyslexia because I've always gotten the script far enough ahead so that I show up, but I you're the first person who's ever.
Mentioned the fact that other comedians have dyslexia. I kind of thought that's what was going on, but I never knew. So that was like, I learned something. Yeah. It's fairly, it's fairly common dyslexia, depression, ADHD, all the good stuff. Well, yeah, all the good stuff. So I am, I am a born comedian. Yeah. Yeah, no, they probably have their own problems too.
But thinking about what you w what you suffer from first off, when you were growing up, there was no diagnosis for that stuff, and they just called you hyperactive. Right? I had a very weird childhood, or as it was known later on, I had a quirky childhood. No, I was, I was bullied. I was beat up. I was. Oh man.
I was mistaken. I would make the wrong decisions. I've had guns held to my head because I was in the wrong place and said the wrong thing at exactly right time. Yeah. Okay. This guy's a cop. Let's get him out of here. That's all, man. I've gotten guys to my, okay. All right. No, no, no, no. It's your understand.
Yeah, that wasn't my childhood. Up until I went to college was, was a nightmare. You, you would not be able. Okay. So let's. Talk about this, uh, short film you've got out all the, the mockumentary, how to become an outlaw. I mean, you've got some, you've got some while I would call like a solo Quis in there that I know you probably would not be able to do if you didn't have the ADHD, because you are so good at thinking on your feet that you just stand up there and say it.
Hmm. no, thank you for it. Looks like that. Well, yeah. So thank you. Thank you. No, it's the clue that you just said was these are my movies. I have all the fucking time in the world. Memorize my own stuff. I don't do it until I have it memorized. Uh, so it takes me months for that stuff, but I won't do it until I got it memorized.
So, you know, you know, nobody knows how long it takes me to memorize stuff. You see me doing it? Oh, I mean, I, I have stuff in, in, in the, in the film and, and songs that I've written that I've, you know, some non-professionally, I'm not a good singer. You know, I write a song, I want to sing it. They're very, very long, but the way I would practice it, It was, I get these, uh, I got this Dylan songbook.
It's generally the best songs he's ever written in a big, you know, huge at that, about that thick. Well, it's about that thick as song, but, and I take his longest songs. You know, some of them are seven minutes, five minutes, and I'll play them until I memorize them just to. Get my mind, cause something already written, I've heard them sung it.
It's kind of in there, I got the rhythm it's musical, so there's a beat to it. And that helps memory. So Shakespeare is not as hard as it is as you would think to memorize because of the rhythm of it in the beat and the excellent writing and the logic of how he lays it out. It's a fun. So. Um, I would practice on Dylan songs on long songs to keep, uh, get my mind ready to now memorize what I had written.
And so, I mean, in other words, I have all these things, but it's, you know, how you deal with it, the preparation it's preparation it's process to me. It's all processed. Well, what I talked to you about how I did my, how I got to my standup that's process, how I get the, the, the, the lines months or weeks or days ahead.
That's my process. When I was working for, uh, bill Hader, um, and I wanted to work for midnight high. So when they call me, this is recently about a year ago. Um, I, I love bill Hader. I think he's ink, you know, I love his sense of humor. His ability to improvise his writing is directing the guys cool, man. And I wanted to work with him.
So when they said, you know, Hey, I didn't question, you know, long, long speech, short speech, I don't care. I'll do whatever it takes to work with them. You know, I'll be a professional when I get there. I don't care. So, um, I got in was very short speech that I had a very short scene. So there was no problem. I got it regularly.
I didn't make any demands because they had showed me what part was. I said, yeah, I'll do. I mean, I hadn't knocked out. I didn't have to audition or anything. Right. I just, they sent it to me. I said, yeah, I'll do it. So, but when I got there, see, here's the thing that I learned over the years about great directors.
He's not great yet. Bill is not great yet, but he's going to be, yeah, he's he's, he's got it. He's one of those guys, so great directors that I work. And I'm talking about John Houston talking about, uh, well, I haven't worked, I opened for Woody Allen, but I haven't worked with them. I talked to him, but I haven't worked with him, but I've talked to actors who have worked in the movies.
And he's the same thing as John Houston and Larry David, they don't give you directions. John Houston told me the whole point is the, the said the, um, the casting. Is it 80% of directing is casting. You cast the right actor. You don't have to direct him because of his choices. You see, he makes great choices.
Why are you going to interrupt it anyway? So I work in with bill Hader and, um, he's not giving me any directions and I'm, I'm, I'm nervous cause I'm doing, I don't know how to do a Russian accent. You know, I mean, I got this second city committee improv, Russian direction, Russian accent, which is not verisimilitude.
Yeah. You know, if it's funny. It's great. Yeah. So they said, you know, well, would you mind if we had a Russian, uh, coach there for the, for the, um, for the accent? I said, no, no, that would help greatly. Thank you very much. But they asked me, they said, can you do a Russian accent? And I said, yes. You know, can you ride a horse?
Yes, sure. Yeah. We can jump off a bridge. Yes, sure. Uh, so I said, yes. So, but then, then they said, would you mind if we had a Russian? No, no, that's really great. I show up, I can't find the Russian, uh, uh, language coach. I looked, I was there a couple of hours before nobody knew who it was. So, and then finally bill Hader says, okay, you're up.
Well, not him, but the lady says, you're up, it's your scene? Oh, crap. I have to make it up. You know, now I have to improvise a Russian accent, not, not the words, but the accent. So the only thing I could think of was me and my committee or a second city accent, you know? So I that's what I did, you know, and I was very afraid of making a fool of myself in front of bill because I respected him so much.
I didn't, I didn't want to S I didn't want to screw up for, for bill. Right. So, and you know, I'm doing the best I can, but he's not telling me anything. He's not saying anything he's not. And I'm, and he, and it's a long day. I shot the whole day there and it's take after, take after, take. Not saying the thing.
So I'm, I'm getting worse and worse. My, my tension is my finally it's over any fives. Okay. It's a rapper. Larry. Thank you, Larry. Great. I said that bell bill. Yeah. What can I just ask you something? Yeah. What you never gave me any direction. Why didn't you, I mean, I was so nervous man. Mean I'm trying to do this accent.
I'm trying to be good. You know, but you never said anything. Well, I'm just, I wonder, why didn't you give me any direction you said, right? Well, and his, his writing partner was there. The, his writing partner in there. Yeah. Every day. So it just to me, well, see, we didn't write the part the way you were doing it.
We didn't know what, what you were doing. We had no idea what you were doing, but it was working. So I didn't want to interrupt you. My process was fear of you discovering. I don't know how to talk Russian. That's my process. That's what was going through my mind. The third time he says what worked fine.
Thank you, Larry. But of course, you know, then when I got home and I read what I had done, whereas it could be interpreted as a funny piece or hit, man, who's going to kill you. And then I didn't want to give away, you know, and then it, doesn't, it's kind of funny and that's the way they wrote it, but I get it totally serious, man.
I mean, For an Hitman to end that way, you have to have some kind of problem. Yeah. So I, I gave him some stuff, you know, I mean the back door, your head, I don't know if you have a camera in his film in it. Uh I'm. I'm I'm, I'm S I'm serious. Yeah. I I'm like schizophrenia, you know, in, in a way in that way. Yeah.
I mean, I'm dead serious, but I think it is because I know I'm not an actor, so I have to like, and then part of dyslexia and ADHD and OCD is the focus thing. That's why you can't remember you focus it. Dyslexia is screws around with your focus. So I have to really like, you know, Yeah, but luckily tension creates adrenaline and that helps my focus.
Why in front of a camera, I kind of pull it off every time. Right? The adrenaline of fear. Yeah. Well, and especially the comedic parts that you play, you don't play them as a comedy. no, to believe that this is the person who, and that's what makes it so real and it makes, it makes it funnier right now that that's not me.
That's just a rule of comedy that that's a little comedy. You know, it's not funny if you think it's funny. Yeah. The audience doesn't want to be told. What's funny to make up their own minds. Okay. Yeah. Cause I would do my comedy routines when it was a stand up comedy. I didn't know what lifts were, you know?
Cause I would get up then just tell my day and hear the laughs. Yeah, I would just remember, Oh, this is funny. Yeah. Okay. Saved it. Yeah. I, uh, to this day, and I see a lot of other writers do this, but it's the same thing. You know, you write something and you give it to somebody, Hey, read this and tell me what you think.
And you're standing right there, you know, and they're reading. And then all of a sudden they're reading and none.
What what's funny. What did you laugh at? What, what, what was that laugh? You want to know? Cause I didn't know. What's funny. I've done that a lot. You know, I tried to write something lately and you give it to somebody in the, what, what did you laugh at? What you just don't know. And I didn't care. A Seinfeld can write this.
I don't see how comedians can write things because, because when I write something and I think it's funny, It generally isn't I just write stuff and then they say stuff is funny. Like what? What's funny. Okay. Um, what did I write something I wrote, I wrote a, an essay a couple of months ago. It was, it was an essay about something.
Somebody asked me for a magazine article. So, you know, an essay on blah, blah, blah. Okay. I mean, they didn't say it had to be funny is what do you think about the subject? So I wrote it and then somebody had read it and said, Hey, man, that was really funny. Oh yeah. Great. Yeah, I get it on purpose. I, I can't remember.
Uh, Oh, it was, um, Something about show something about show business, you know, but, but it was a serious subject. It wasn't a, let me say it, wasn't funny. It wasn't a funny subject, but that that's happened all throughout my life. You know, I'll do something that I didn't think was funny. And then it's funny.
So I guess there are naturally funny people, I guess. I, you know, I do a deep dive whenever I talk to people. And, uh, you know, I came upon your, uh, cameos, uh, for that cameo site that you do. Um, it's, it's funny, uh, because right in the instructions you say, Hey, don't give me a script. Just give me a couple of things to talk about.
And I'll, I'll riff from there. And it's, it's really great. How in the moment you are on that and those little cameos that are, you know, they're only a couple of minutes long, but you take like maybe one or two things that somebody told you and you can make a little story out of it. And, uh, on one of them you talked about, uh, um, having an Austria junior apartment and stuff like that.
And, and I just. That is a gift that not everybody has. I certainly don't have it. And even for those old little cameo things, you're really doing something, um, that is meaningful. Tight type of, of dialogue from just about nothing.
Well, , this just happened yesterday. Uh, today three days ago, say I'm really, that's really weird. I don't understand a lot of things. I'm really big in India. I have, I don't know why. I know that. Friends is distributed all over the world, but India in particular, it just goes bonkers over Mr. Heckles. I and no other country, no other character.
Edgier India, Mr. Hecker. Okay. So I'm on a, a cameo like thing in India where it's only in India. So. But in India, uh, different countries have different rules or not rules, but just the way people talk right in India, they give you scripts. They say, Hey, Mr. Hackles, my friend is having a birthday. This is, say this and say this and say this and say, this is the script.
And it rankles me because I can't memorize them easily. But if you let me just talk, I can just, you know, knock it off. Okay. So I just had just this particular person three days ago, just want just way overboard on the, say this and say this and say this. Yeah. Great, by the way, two minutes, two minutes to say, that's the given, should I say no?
So I find that, yeah, it just blew my top and I wrote to the company and I said, look, you gotta stop. You gotta stop this. I didn't know, by the way that cameo has that on their thing about don't give me a script. So they put her out. Okay. So I, I, I texted. India company. And I said, look, man, stop it. Tell these people I don't do scripts.
And I was really angry and it came out in the message. We stop it. I can't do that. I don't work that way either. Let me do it my own way or I'm off. I don't care. And so they were very apologetic. They're very apologetic people. Yeah. The Indian people, different, nice and very courteous. And they did, they said, Oh my God, please.
You know? Okay. And the next day they send me what they, uh, what they. Had put up on their thing and it's what exactly what you said cameo has. Don't send him scripts, man. Just give him a little pieces. Uh, but what I do is, and I thought that was very cool of them to do that, but the way that it works is I worked it out myself.
Again, the process, I have a standard thing that I memorized, which is about. A minute, a memorize things he asked for, which is part of it and the other thing and that's standard. So I have all those memorized. It's a minute. And then you give me like little stuff from your life and I just kinda drop them in, bend it around, but he always know that well, if I can't go any further, I just go back to the ostrich.
Yeah. And then continue on from there. Or I go back to the cat. Yeah. So, but it looks like, and I've got the character of Mr. Heckles. So it's so easy. It's my uncle. Yeah. Freckles is really my uncle. I mean, he talked like that. He did those things. Yeah. Well, I can just drop into it. I don't, it doesn't take any it's like I remember, you know, the, the way in brothers.
Yep. Well, the older, the older brother, the one who was the producer them, and he's written other things. He's a really smart guy, man, financially Hollywood. He's great. But we say he is. So he based a lot of his early work, uh, on improvising and then writing down the improv. But since he was dealing with his ghetto friends, Who, you know, didn't have any left tops.
Yeah. So what do you would say he'd get these groups of kids of young people, not kids, but young people to improvise because he wanted to write down what they were saying and he keeps on doing it, but they didn't know how to improvise. Didn't it? I mean, that takes a little technique. Yeah. So he said, and this is so brilliant.
And in my, all my years of being an improv in second city in the community, I've never heard this. And he said, everybody can improvise. There's no way you can improvise. I want everybody to pick their parents and I want you to improvise a little piece, uh, be your father, you being your mother, you be your mother, you be a father.
And do this scene. And everybody can imitate their father or mother. I mean, you just never did it. Your father or mother, there's nothing that would improv yourself, imitating your AP. Well, once you can ape imitate or improvise your mom and dad, which you can do you understand, Oh, that's what improv is imitating something.
Is this something or somebody, you know, That's all it is. Now, if you're going to make a show about it, well, you're not just doing stuff in a seller and somebody is writing down the best of what you're doing. Not all of what you're doing. You're going to do a professional show. Yeah. There's a process. And there's a technique.
I mean, it's, it's not imitating your mom and dad. Yeah. But now that you say that, because I I've always been afraid of improv myself and I have a friend who is a big improv guy and I would do stand up in between their improv shows and he would try to pull me in to do improv with them. And I'd always.
Just fuck it up. I couldn't do it. And, but I started doing this talk show on Thursdays and I decided to, part of the talk show was that, um, Dean Martin was cryogenically frozen and they thought him out and he's okay now, but he's out of money. So he's staying with me. I P I, I do, I do an act. And so I become, I become Dean Martin or, Hey, I'm doing a really bad Dean Martin, but I've been working.
And my friend, Steve is on the show with me a lot. And I've actually learned how to improv through doing that because it's a yes and type thing. And I've, it's really helped me to be more in the moment. And I, and Steve actually mentioned at one point and said, Hey, you're getting a lot better. You know? And I didn't even know at that point, Yeah.
Makes you better get to Carnegie hall practice. Yeah, man. Pardon me? It works, you know, I mean, I mean, that's what getting up on the stage Monday night, open mics, I got better and better and better. I mean, I just wanted to do it. I didn't, I thought I could get a little better doing it, but I didn't realize that.
Doing it really works. It really helps. Yeah. So I've taken up a lot of your afternoon. I got a couple more things I want to ask. Um, uh, first off, can you tell me how you came up with, uh, Sally's diner? Um, that was the short you did that you got the Oscar nom for? Well, um, how did I do that? Well, I grew up on Charlie Chaplin.
That was my favorite guy. It just stuck with me. I mean, uh, so I grew up on Charlie Chaplin. Okay. Forget about that. You know, that's like from five to like, say 15 and then, you know, you go on to other things and blah, blah, blah. Okay. So now I got into show business and
okay. Let's see. Oh, I did escape from Alcatraz. Yeah. And I got $35,000 to do that show more money than I'd ever imagined in my entire life. I, okay. So I got $35,000. They did the movie, great time. I paid off all my debts. We didn't have much, I was broke to begin with. And, uh, and I got an apartment and then.
I decided to take what was left of the money, which was $10,000. Uh, actually, yeah, it was about 10,000 off and I thought I would either throw a party and get a lot of cocaine and drugs. Really cool. Yeah. Or I would invest in my talent. So I thought I would make a movie. So that's, that's how the idea came that I had enough money to have the idea of making a movie.
Now, what was I going to write? I didn't know, but I was $5,000. I'm sorry. It was $5,000. I had $5,000, but a friend of mine's wife, uh, Anna Mathias, Harry Matthias was a cinematographer. Well, no, he was a camera operator. Wanted to be a cinematographer. So she came to me one day. She was in the committee too.
She was just a player with me. And so she said, my husband, Harry, uh, needs a reel to get into the cinematographers union. Why don't you write something that you could be an actor in and that he could be the cinematographer of, he could get into the union and you love a movie of your own. I never thought about that.
You said, I started saying, okay, fine. I called Harry and I said, Hey, Harry. I mean, I didn't know him. I never met him, Harry, you know, this is blah-blah-blah your wife, blah, blah, blah. And he said, yes, how much would it cost? So we said $5,000. So I just happened to have 5,000 sitting in my, sitting in my sock drawer.
Yeah. I wouldn't put it in the bank. Lose it. So, uh, I said, cool. She says, cool. Right. Something. Okay. Now I had to decide what to write. So I started, they all Charlie Chaplin, you know, not Charlie Chaplin's talent. I mean, the guy's a fucking ballet dancer genius. No, it was his narratives. His stories were really simple guy.
He, and what he said was chaplain. What chaplain wrote was he said, everybody dared me to write movies, these little shorts. And they said, how do you do that? He said, give me a cop, a girl in a park, and I'll give you a movie when I bought it, man. I thought, Whoa, what a great idea. A cop, a girl in the movie.
So I kind of reduced it to a park. Was it. A restaurant one, another is, one place is give me a place and a, you can always meet a girl in a park. Uh, so I saw an okay set of a cop. I'll have a robber. So when I got the girl is the waitress. So really it was, it was a three people give me a girl I hero and a bad guy.
That was kind of what I was getting from chaplain. And, uh, so, so. I thought, okay. If a robber comes into a restaurant and raw, and there's only a, so it has to be at night has to be 4:00 AM. Nobody is in the restaurant except a homeless guy, chaplain. And then so people were asking me, Oh, I hear you're going to do a movie.
What's it about? I said, this homeless guy, I, you know, saves this waitress from a robber. And they said, Eric, what are you making a movie about a homeless guy who wants to see a movie by the home? These are my best friends. My closest friends say, don't make a movie about a homeless guy who wants to see you.
And I really got my, my ire indirectly. Hey, every year a Charlie Chaplin, who's a fucking homeless guy. What are you talking about? He's the most famous guy on the planet when you're talking about, I mean, every once in a while, like maybe once a year. Somebody just where I have to do that. I have to, you talking about just to get it out, you know, and okay.
I got another year to go. All right. Yeah. So, you know, so I thought that, okay then that, which is what convinced me, once you tell me, you know, what are you doing that for? I go, okay, I'm going to do it. So that's, that's how I came to do it. And then. I wrote it and it was 20, 20 pages long and he said, cut it in half it's too long.
So it took me another couple of weeks. Cut it in half. It was 10 minutes. Okay. And then we shot it and then I said, we got to get a director and then he goes, no, you direct. Now. I thought he was being, he was honoring me. I found out later, never, never take any. Suggestions from a cinematographer except where to place the camera, because what he was doing was he was saying, no, you direct because he knew, I didn't know how to direct.
So when we get into the editing room, he can edit the movie. So he gets a real out of it. Yeah. And so we fought like, Well, like my mother used to say for like cats and dogs, like editor and director and like cinematographers. I mean, I was going to burn the fucking movie, the, the, the man, uh, th the, the film I was gonna burn the film, if he didn't do it my way, because I suddenly woke up in the middle of editing this, you know, we were editing jaunty jolly together.
Because what I was doing for the movie and the laugh and the narrative, it was also serving his, you know, real. So we were doing, but then when it came to shots where no, this was a great shot for his real, but it didn't tell the story. We would really get head to head. And that's what I was saying. Look, man, I got a key to the vault.
I'll just burn it. I don't care. I mean, you know, I'm an artist. Yeah. I mean, talking to them, you know, again, talking about man, I didn't think it was like that. Um, so when I threatened to burn the film he finally gave in, but I was going to do it. Yeah, no, I thought Larry that's crazy, man. What are you doing?
But I, you know, but we did it and then she couldn't, I didn't know anything about films. I was a stage. I was in the mini would do these little things. For there were days or over maybe a week. It was a sitcom near your house for four days for the fifth. But I did not make a film. I mean the, not the, not the rules.
I knew. I knew you edited. I knew your shit. So what happened was he edited it together and it wasn't color corrected, but he showed me, I mean, we edited it together. But then he had to get it printed into one piece. So it wasn't pieces. It was one thing. So he took care of that, which was fine. But when it came back, it wasn't called a corrected, it was just a piece of film.
And because it was all the pieces cut together that was now made in two, one long film. Nobody had, because it was just had to be color corrected. Nobody, uh, erased the crayon marks. Like, you know, arrows to cut here, color this, you know, there was a, that white, white pencil you do that you're marking things.
So that was still on, even though it was now one piece and it wasn't color corrected. And that's what he showed me was that my edit, the correct, edit our edit, but it had uncolored corrected and markings on it. So when I watched it, I didn't get that. No, this is standard procedure. It's not finished. This is okay.
We're just looking at the editing, but I was looking at it as the finished movie because I didn't understand. It's awful. It's awful. And he said, w w what do you mean? It's awful. This is what we agreed to. I said, but it's the wrong color and his marks on it. And I don't like it. I mean, I. So he tried to explain it to me, you know, and, and, and it made sense.
He's no, it's going to be a raised and it's got to be color. Correct. Oh, you know, he was kind of getting disgusted with my recalcitrants. So I just gave up, I took his word for it. No, no, this is not how it's going out. Larry. I said, okay, just call me when it's finished. So. He called me when it was finished, but he said, I'll tell you what, here's what we have to do.
We have to show it. Oh, he said, I want to, when it was finished and before I saw it, yeah, we saw the uncolored corrected. He said, I want to, this is good enough to hand into the Academy. And I said, no, it's not good enough. Because even though he convinced me that it's still got a couple of stages to go. I said, no, they're going to see the crayon.
And I, in other words, I wasn't really, I was just agreeing with him, but I didn't believe what he was saying. I just wanted to get on with it. So I said, no, you can't hand it in. He goes, why not? Because I said, it's not good enough. Now the reason I said, it's not good enough. And here's where the dyslexia and ADHD not understanding things.
It's just totally that the dyslexia. I thought, and I don't know where I got this because nobody ever told us to me that if you get rejected from the Academy awards, you can never hand another thing in the rest of your life. Yeah. So that's why I didn't want to hand it in. I didn't think it was good enough.
I want to hand other things in later on, this was just the test to see me as a homeless guy. That was all from my he's. He said, I said, no, don't worry about it. But I said, okay, I won't hand it in. And okay, fine. Great. Okay. Now finishing couple of days later, he says I got good news and I got bad news. All right.
What's the bad news. He said the bad news is against your wishes. I sent it into the Academy for the award. And immediately I thought, Oh my God, it's not good enough. They're going to reject it. I'll never be able to hand anything. And again, so I got furious man on the phone. What the fuck man? I told you, I'm the producer.
This is my money. You're doing something. How dare you, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. What the fuck is the good news we'd been accepted?
Amen don't ever do that again. Okay. You know, listen to me. Okay. But thanks. Okay. Bye
wouldn't cop to him that I thought it was great. Yeah.
After I had shouted and hollered at him for, you know, the bad news. So we went in, you know, so that's, that's how it came. To to be, but you know B, but now if I make a movie, I mean, all of that is gone because misunderstandings and not knowing and having listen and sharing. Yeah. So, well, a lot of the spontaneity has gone out of filmmaking's.
It's a, it's all very carefully curated now. And, um, you have to be totally. Professional in the look and the being in the camera, angles and makeup. And you know, in the old days, you know, you can just hand something in, I mean, look, it's a good film story. It's a good film. I there's no getting around it, but I don't think I could get away with it.
Now. It would be, I mean, I think to make the exact same film. Exact same way nowadays would $50,000 easy. Oh yeah. I had a saving another $5,000 later on for the post-production. Yeah. So it cost $10,000. I think by the time it was distributed, I had spent $20,000 is in dribs and drabs. Well, they want to send it here and, uh, but I should've stuck with it, you know?
Yeah, but money, the money of being an actor is yeah. And how to become an outlaw. I just got to go back to that. I just, I watched her let's do something about how to become an outlet. Yeah. There are several versions. So which version are you talking about? It's the ones for the 25 minute one. Uh, it's the 58 minute one.
The one that's on your website. Yeah. And I mean, you've got Jeff Garlin in there. You've got Fred Willard late. Fred Willard. Uh, uh, what's Fred Willard. Who else? I don't know. There's a lot of, there's a lot of, but they were all my friends. Yeah. There's always making it, you know, Hey Fred, can I come over your house?
And I feel that his house, I filmed that at Howard's house. I filmed that at everybody's house. It was like my little camera and I would eat eating McClurg. She was hilarious. I went over. I loved it because it's, it's funny. It's poignant. And um, I mean, you are super physical and in that movie, I mean, when the two guys are hitting you, um, and you're getting, I love that.
Yeah. And I mean, I mean, that's straight out of chaplain. Yeah. Oh yeah. Beta medic chaplain. Yeah. I mean, it's just really, it's just really cool how that went together. And then it says right there that it took you eight years to put that together. And you know, this is, uh, a comeback cause a composite of about eight or nine different film shorts, but I always, and nobody, everybody laughed at me for doing this, but always ever the character of Emmett demons.
Was the character in my mind, the character in Sally's diner, the homeless kid, I was about 30. I looked about 25, 28. I looked younger than I was so that character in Sally's diner when I was in my twenties, Emmett Demas, the star of how to become an outlaw is that character grown up. Tina years old. So when I saw that and I was, I was scared to say it because I, I thought, you'd say, no, you dumb ass.
That's not right. I thought I saw that you were a smart ass.
So no, no, that that's really cool because what I did and nobody knew this and everybody thought I was. Crazy because they didn't understand my reasoning, but I made, after I made that I retired from making movies. Cause I was, I want to concentrate on acting and make some money and save up so I can make my films later.
Forgot about that. And then I grew older and my hair got white. So I said, okay, that guy's no older. He's now Emmett Demas. He wants to ride a motorcycle. Okay. But. Every time it's so I'm only going to make a movie about it. One character, just like Buster Keaton always played one character. Like Charlie played one character.
I'm only gonna play one character. Okay. So it was an older guy, like fuzzy Q Jones, you know? Uh, so I thought, okay. But I will only do the character in an episodic adventure that has a timeline that is in my head. So, if I'm doing Emmett deem is stealing a motorcycle. Okay. In my head, I make a Mark. He stole a motorcycle here.
It didn't matter where here was. It was just a Mark. Then every other movie I ever made and I made like 20 or 30 about Emmett, every other one either came before or after it. Or after it or before how okay. But it was always around that Mark. And then when I made this one, then the one that I made next either came after it or before this one.
So every movie in all those 28 movies, they were on a specific timeline in my head. I didn't know. How much time had passed or how little, but in my head, I would say, okay, the last movie I made, he was doing this. Okay. So if I'm going to make this movie, is it here and I'd have to adjust the timing or it's going to happen here, then he has to be before that happened.
So I'd have rules about what had happened before that, what he, what he knew here. And what do you do here? And that was always in my head, but nobody else knew that. And I never wrote it down. So nobody knew exactly where he was coming from. But I did when I made that becoming out a lot, I then took, this was over a period of seven, seven years.
I then took all the, I took about the 10. Of the best of the 28 movies of Emmett Demas. And I said, no, I'm going to put them together. Connect. I'm going to attach the timeline and what you saw. If you look, you'll see the different styles in different cameras and editing is different. It's summer in a four 80 summer, an eight 80 summary.
They're all over the map. I don't care, man. Screw you. This is for the museum of modern art. Get out of my way. I'm just doing what I do. You know, I make the movies for me, but it had a narrative that followed because in my head I always knew where it was gone. What you saw was the compilation. I just put it in and I made an hour movie out of 28 film shorts that I had made knowing full well that.
It's going to work. It has to because the narrative would always, yeah, yeah, yeah. It definitely follow the narrative. So having a front to show it to people because of the different styles, but nowadays, because of the documentary, documentaries are really big now. Yeah. Well documentary, you shoot it on the fly.
Sometimes it's in focus sometimes, you know, you have to, it's a hidden camera. Yeah. Sometimes it's a formal thing where you have a background and everything. So I saw, I started to see, as you know, uh, documentaries became popular that, Oh, they were stylistic mish mashes. The narrative that counted. It was about who this was about.
That. You were fine. Yeah. Yeah. So that's how it came about, but I'm glad you liked it, man, because it was totally an experiment of Larry Hankin for public consumption. I'm glad that you, you thought it was. Yeah. I'm glad you put it up there because I really enjoyed it. Cool, great. So the last thing I wanted to ask is, uh, you know, I'm.
Understanding, uh, you talked about your quirky childhood and the fact that, you know, you, you've got these, these things that could be an impediment to somebody, the ADHD, the dyslexia, and stuff like that. If you had a 22 year old kid come up to you and say, Hey, I want to get in the show business, but I got all the same shit wrong with me that you got with you.
What advice would you give them? Figure it out kid. Yeah.
You got to go your own way. Right? Look, man. The way I came through, nobody can do it my way. I can't do it your way. Yeah, you can't. I mean, people are the people I talked to are dead by now. Places that I were been torn down. I mean, the streets have had their names changed. I mean, come on, get real, configure it out.
I, I, by the way, when I spoke to you before about that thing that I didn't think was funny, I wrote it for magazine. This is the subject that it was about. What, what, the advice you would give somebody new. And then people said, Hey man, it was really funny and I was being serious, but basically I closed with figure it out.
You can. If you want to be an actor, you gotta be smart. There's no stupid actors out there, man. I mean, it's, it's like math. It's like physics. Yeah. I mean, you are handling subjects and emotions. That are equal to, you know, mathematical formulas. You know, you gotta dig deep in yourself. You gotta be honest.
Yeah. So there is the process and the process has changed because of digital. So this is what it was all about. And now I'm being serious about an answer to you, but bottom line, figure it out, kid, get as much information as you can. Digital. I, when I. When I was in, in movies there wasn't digital. There wasn't the internet.
Hollywood was face-to-face you go in and you have a meeting. Talk to somebody you sent in letters by snail mail. It's not happening anymore. I can give you the advice of how I made it. It wouldn't do me any good during the committee. It doesn't exist anymore. Joined second city. Yeah. Try it. You turn thousand other people.
You know, get real figure world, you know, go to Hollywood, you know, be rejected, become homeless, get on a stage, make your own movies, figure it out. If you can't figure it out, you can't do it. Yeah. Very good. I got to say that, uh, one of the things I've really enjoyed about this conversation is I'm, I mean, you're, you're 80 years old and you know, I know, but you talk about the past, but you don't live in it.
Like some of the people I talked to, uh, you don't let nostalgia like. Run your life. You are still thinking forward. You're not bitching about the fact that you have to be in front of a camera talking to me for two hours and stuff like that. I really appreciate that about you because you're, you're, you're still thinking forward.
Uh, instead of thinking, let me, let me note that part of it is okay. That's what I'm doing. And that's a choice. Part of it is my dyslexia and I tapped into it and they accepted, you know, there's good stuff about dyslexia. There's great stuff about dyslexia. My art and my talent has a lot to do with how I see the world through the guys.
Hmm. So that's great. And I don't deny my idea Lexia at all. I thank God for it. There are rules. There are. Uh, penalties, you have to pay for being a dyslexic and you don't understand a lot of things. You have to have to explain you. Okay. But, um, one of the things that dyslexia I adore about it is the reason I don't understand a lot of things is I'm locked in the now.
I don't think about the past or what did you call it? Uh, w when you think about nostalgia. Yeah, I don't, I don't dwell on the past or not the stylistic because dyslexia is an internet Stasia and has nothing to do with Larry Hankin or my conscious real, I am. That's why my, my youth was, was so screwed up besides my having.
Not a very good father at all. Uh, was dyslexia locked me into, I was always in the now, so there was no future. There was no past. And therefore the pro of it, the proactivity of dyslexia is I could focus on where I was. Now, if you put me in front of the camera, I could forget about a lot of stuff and focus on this, or I could play the game with all Gusto because I didn't care about.
Falling and hurting myself because that was in the future or what somebody would think about me for doing this. Cause that was in the pastor. But the penalty is I have to get the script a long time ahead. I, I can't, you know, memorize things, but over the years I figured it out.
Oh, that's great. Well, Larry. You've been, it's been a big get to get you. And I really appreciate the time you've taken folks. Make sure you're dressed. Yeah, bullshit. Yeah. Folks, make sure you check out the real Larry Hanken. And the movie that we talked about is right there. How to become an outlaw. We're looking down it, you can watch it, but yeah, the rear Marion is his website and it's I think, yeah, it might be on the you know that, when did you see it?
Um, it was on the it's on the site. They've got it embedded right in the front. Okay, cool. Yeah. Yeah. So, so yeah. Thank you very much for mentioning that. Yeah. Yeah. So folks make sure you check that out. And Larry, I just got to say thank you. I mean, I, I, sometimes I can get a half hour out of somebody and the fact that I got a little over two hours from you, it's all gold.
So I really appreciate it. Well, let me know when it goes down. Okay.