Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zane Lamprey's job is better than mine

Zane Lamprey is an asshole. No, not because of anything he did. It's just that he invented the type of dream job that literally every single person reading this wishes they had before any of us could think of it first.

On his show "Three Sheets" he travelled around the world sampling locally produced alcohol and immersing himself in each country's drinking customs. The show is on hiatus now while he pitches it around to new networks, but he's currently filming a similar series called Drinking Made Easy for HDNet. His book Three Sheets: Drinking Made Easy a humorous look into international drinking cultures was just released in March, and he's on a nationwide tour that hits Boston this Sunday at the Paradise. The tour is part comedy, part informational, and all sorts of wasted. I caught Lamprey on the phone from Philly, where he had just wandered out of a bar.

Where are you at right now?

We're in Philly. I just shot at a place called Blockley Pour House. This guy here has a dent in his head that people do shots out of. It's like a football injury that fits an ounce of alcohol. I'm out on the street sort of recovering from what my eyes just saw.

What's going on with the effort for the show to get picked up?

It's a question I've been asked for like three years. We started on MOJO and that network went off the air. We went on to the Fine Living Channel and FLN went off the air and it's like strike two. Travel Channel tried it out and is considering taking it on. In the meantime I haven't shot anything in like 13 months. I've just been working on my comedy show, and shooting things here and there, while perpetuating hope for a fifth season of "Three Sheets." While waiting I wrote some stand up about alcohol, and now we're doing a 53 city comedy tour. We're shooting an episode of a new show for HDNet called "Drinking Made Easy." It's basically we go around the country learning about local drinking cultures. Drinking out of this guys head wasn't typical. We went to this place called Yards here that has beer recipes from Thoma Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, Ben Franklin, beer that they would have made. We're really trying to soak up the history as well as current drinking trends. In New Orleans we went to the oldest bar in the country, in Boston we're going to the second oldest [Bell In Hand]. We're really trying to soak up the history, and what people drink, and drink what's made in those cities. Boston is clearly worthy of an episode.

People in America don't do too much thinking about their drinking, right? Aside from getting wasted or on the other side, the puritanical aspect of "drinking is bad..."

That's what makes what we're doing right now a challenge. When I go to Ireland to learn about Irish drinking customs, I can literally go into any pub in the country and learn about Jameson, Guinness, Murphy's, Smithwick's, and it's easy because their drinking history is so rich. Ours, we're pretty new, so there are some new things...there are some old. We were in a place called the Ear Inn in New York established in 1817. But it's not really as in your face as going to drink in Ireland or Scotland. We were in Santa Fe and people kept saying, you got to go to this tequila place. And we were like, well you guys don't make tequila, show us something that you make or what makes you unique. That's why when we come up to the northeast they're the easiest shows for us because there's so much content. There are so many things to shoot, so many old locations.

You gonna get to the Harpoon Brewery up here?

I believe we're doing Harpoon. The thing is we only have a day and a half to shoot an entire show. We kind of split it up. I go off and cover what people expect of me, go and talk to bartenders and drink cocktails and try things like that. We also have a corespondent named Mark Ryan, one of the comedians that's on the road with us. He goes out and covers breweries, distilleries and covers, I call it the nerd factor, but it really is the heavy informational segment. And Steve McKenna, and anyone who knows "Three Sheets" knows Steve McKenna and what he's doing. He's my stunt drinker.

What do you think about the classic cocktail revival thing going on right now?

There are three things that are happening. One of them is this near over saturation of vodkas right now. The other is the craft beer movement that has really gained so much steam in the last ten fifteen years. And the the other one would be these classics. The muddled cocktails and ones that take more patience to drink than just throwing vodka and cranberry together. I like that people are making them their own and doing twists on them. This place called Please Don't Tell in New York, sort of a speakeasy, they have one that has like tobacco essence. So literally they have a little spray bottle and just spray it nearby. It was very unique.

They can take themselves a little seriously, these bartenders.

They are until they start sampling, and then they loosen up. Drinking is a leisure time activity if ever there was one. It's not like sports, where on their off day they're working out hitting the gym and doing their thing. People are coming up with cocktails, but while they're doing that they're drinking. That's what I do, it's my job to drink, and it would be hard pressed to divide my job from a vacation.

I've been writing about bars in cocktails for a couple years now, and without fail, someone always says to me – man, that's the best job in the world. Next to what you get to do it seems like shoveling shit for a living. But still, it ends up being a job like anything else, right?

Yeah it does. There's the sort of romantic side of it, but if we go out Thursday, Friday, Saturday, go to a football game on Sunday and you're drinking...When Monday rolls around sometimes the last thing you want to do is drink. Right now we're doing 84 days straight, we're doing the live show where it's expected that we're drinking on stage, or we're doing a tv show where we're sampling the local drinks. But I'm not gonna complain. I just came out of a bar, and I'm going into another bar. It's a good job.

SUNDAY 6.6.10
969 COMM. AVE.

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