“What does FAMOUS COMEDIAN have against you?” my compadre texted me.
“Um, nothing?” I replied.
I mean, why would FAMOUS COMEDIAN have beef with me? We had never met, and I’ve never said anything negative about him — because there was no reason to. My compa and I even went to a Netflix special of his.
But then my compa sent over a screen grab.
FAMOUS COMEDIAN had asked his followers on Instagram who should he have on his podcast. My compa suggested me, and then FAMOUS COMEDIAN left this whiny comment that I had supposedly snubbed him when he was still unknown and was in need of some publicity.
The comment was gone by the time I went on FAMOUS COMEDIAN’S account. Part of me scoffed at the whole thing. What was this, George Lopez holding a grudge against Erik Estrada decades later because the star of Dos Mujeres, Un Camino was supposedly a jerk to him? Or the same situation between Fernando Vargas and Oscar De la Hoya?
Men are garbage.
But I also couldn’t remember the interaction FAMOUS COMEDIAN claimed had happened, and while I seriously doubted it ever happened, I do like to own up to any fuckups I may have done once I’m alerted to them or realize them.
So I sent him a message via Instagram saying that I didn’t think the incident happened the way he remembered it, but if it had, that there was a reason why I didn’t help him then — and I explained it. I also noted that when I became an editor, I made sure we did an interview with FAMOUS COMEDIAN when he passed through Orange County a couple of years after the supposed incident happened — because, again, I’m a fan.
It’s all good…
Actually, it’s not..
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Despite my professional reputation as a bomb-throwing shit-talker, I’m actually a peacemaker in my private life.
I’ve always stood at a nexus point between warring factions of all types. Family. Friends. Colleagues. Contemporaries. Almost always people who used to be cool with each other, until they weren’t.
Kinda aside: Who hates Mexicans more than Donald Trump?
I’m not sure how I ended up in this position — but I lean into it. Since I’m in the middle, I get to hear both sides shit-talk each other, shit-talk people I respect and love. I usually just nod to try and get out of the conversation as quickly as possible.
But when I think there’s a chance, I try to broker a peace, arguing there’s no use in hating someone else, especially when a truce can lead to so much better good for the two sides.
Or, at least, some inner peace for one of them.
Success rarely happens — but I go for it, because this world needs it.
I get when there’s an honest-to-goodness sin that one person did to the other, and the hurt person isn’t exactly looking to forgive.
But when it’s some petty bullshit? Which is almost ALWAYS the case? Or a misunderstanding, which is ALWAYS the case?
It’s just sad. So much wasted energy…over nothing.
FAMOUS COMEDIAN has obviously held on to my perceived snub of him all these years later. Besides the deleted IG comment, he also mentioned it on his podcast, for reasons known only to him.
I should feel flattered, I guess. Maybe he latched on to our supposed encounter to motivate himself into the stardom he’s at today — which would be kinda funny if true.
But I ultimately find FAMOUS COMEDIAN’S beef with me sad, because it reminds me of too many similar situations. We all create narratives of triumph for ourselves — and the key protagonists are the people who helped us along the way, but ESPECIALLY the haters who stood in our way.
But obsessing over slights is like a leech that weakens them from their full potential.
The supposed snub between FAMOUS COMEDIAN and I happened over a decade ago. He has had multiple comedy specials on big-time channels, had guest roles on big-time shows, and has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. Still on tour.
Me? I do a one-hour IG Live every Tuesday night from my room. AND I just got my pitch for Taco USA rejected for at least the 12th time — this time even though I have a snazzy sizzle reel.
FAMOUS COMEDIAN doesn’t need me…and yet he does. He wants me to know how I insulted him so long ago. I heard you, man. I extended an olive branch…y nada.
So that’s on you. So you gotta ask yourself: Why the beef?
It’s all good.
But it’s not.
GRÍTALE A GUTI
This is the column where I take your questions about ANYTHING. And away we go…
I’ve always maintained (and blogged about it) that typing was the single most valuable course I took in high school.
And it was Summer school.
The teacher said he was going to have to flunk me: even thought I was tops at speed and accuracy, I was doing it with two or three fingers.
We had to write the same exercise over and over. I’d finish, and continue the story on my own. The teacher said he was sorry the course wasn’t creative writing.
I would up not attending the last couple sessions, and getting an “incomplete,” which didn’t hurt my academic record.
I am typing this with one finger.
I used to know a guy who only typed with one finger. His promising journalism career crashed and burned.
Got a question for Guti? Email me here.
Enough rambling. This was the semana that was:
IMAGE OF THE WEEK: AWESOME cerveza by Brewjeria Company of Pico Rivera, with artwork by Lalo Alcaraz, and proceeds going to help street vendors! Buy one can at my wifey’s Alta Baja Market this weekend, get another can on me — but just this weekend, until supplies last!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I found early in the game that for me there’s no use trying to blend in. I might as well be the village information-gatherer, the man from Mars who simply wants to know. Fortunately the world is full of people with information-compulsion who want to tell you their stories. They want to tell you things that you don’t know.”
–Tom Wolfe, to the Paris Review
LISTENING:“Santeria,” Sublime. All the Important Publications — The Ringer, Vice, GQ, and I’m sure more to come — are penning remembrances of Long Beach’s finest on occasion of the 25th anniversary of their self-titled album, and how it’s finally cool to like them. Fuck the critics! Sublime was always awesome, because there was a Mexican-ness to them than none of these critics can ever understand — nevermind that it was a Chicano who did their famous artwork, or that a Chicano now heads the group.
Anyways, this is the jam because the intro guitar sounds like Pearl Jam, Bradley’s vibrato gets into Juan Luis Guerra territory, and any gaba who knows what a sancho is is just a Pepito reference away from being full raza — and Bradley would’ve gotten there. And people who accuse Sublime of cultural appropriation obviously didn’t grow up with white kids in the 1990s in multiculti Southern California — and we’ll leave it at THAT.
READING: “Reese Witherspoon Tells Tracee Ellis Ross How She Conquered Hollywood” Interview Magazine always does a great job of getting two celebrities together to talk as if they’re old pals, and yet get profound revelations about their lives and careers. Here, two actresses I think are great chat, with most of the talking coming from one of the great-yet-underrated performers of our generation.
SHOUTOUT TO: Amy, who kindly donated 50 tacos to sponsor a full month of MailChango! She writes, “Please highlight Downtown Dog Rescue. They provide low-cost and free vet services for pets of homeless and low-income people. Without judgment, just with love and care.”
Gustavo in the News
“How ‘Real Housewives’ could reshape a major scandal in L.A.’s power circles”: One LA Times newsletter you should subscribe to plugs a podcast of mine.
“How a federal agency is blocking America’s largest wind farm”: Another LA Times newsletter you should subscribe to plugs the podcast.
“From Anaheim to TimesOC, Gabriel San Román Shares his Journey Towards Journalism”: My former colleague/forever compa Gabriel San Román is joining TimesOC, the LA Times‘ Orange County-covering side, and it’s about damn time! I’m quoted offering hosannas in this piece by LibroMobile.
“Slingshot: Finding My Next Act With TimesOC!”: And here’s Gabriel’s announcement on his newsletter, which you should all subscribe to because he’s thankfully going to continue it!
Latest roster of episodes for “The Times: Daily news from the L.A. Times,” the podcast that I host. Listen to them, and SUBSCRIBE. Don’t let me become the Poochie of podcasts!
“To COVID shame or not to COVID shame?”: I speak to my colleague Brittny Mejia about a recent vaccination clinic in Pico-Union, and then discuss COVID shaming with fellow columnista Erika D. Smith.
“A big swing to support young Black golfers”: Basketball superstar Steph Curry helps Howard University restart its men’s and women’s golf program.
“The lawyer, the Housewife and the missing millions”: My Pulitzer Prize-winning colleagues Harriet Ryan and Matt Hamilton get into the world of Erika Jayne — only episode my wife cares about haha.
“The mystery of the disappearing whales”: I interview my awesome LA Times colleague Susanne Rust about the sad state of the Jeeps of the sea.
“The Beirut explosion, one year later”: An especially heartfelt episode with L.A. Times Middle East bureau chief Nabih Bulos.
“Grítale a Guti, Ep. 60!”: My latest Tuesday-night IG Live free-for-all, which now starts at 9:45 PT.
“Why OC supervisors are shutting down remote public comment as COVID cases rise”: My latest KCRW “Orange County Line” talks about the shitshow that is public comments at OC supes meetings.
“Mind your own business”: My latest KCRW “Left, Right & Center” appearance talks about the El Paso massacre, vaccine mandates, and Cuomosexuals.
“At my wife’s Santa Ana market, the masks have never come off”: My latest LA Times columna goes to Alta Baja Market, where I moonlight as a cashier. KEY QUOTE: “These past 18 months have been tough for Delilah. And yet I’ve never seen her more at peace. Alta Baja offers hope that there is a way forward on this pandemic. We just have to embrace my wife’s to-go plate of kindness, luck, perspective and toughness. And it starts with a simple mantra: Wear a pinche mask.”
You made it this far down? Gracias! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while you’re down here. Don’t forget to forward this newsletter to your compadres y comadres! And, if you feel generous: Buy me a Paypal taco here. Venmo: @gustavo-arellano-oc