Deconstructing Memes (with Penn Badgley)

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Penn Badgley is warm, kind, and incredibly thoughtful – fortunately, the exact opposite of his character in the Netflix series “You.” As someone who’s been acting since he was a child, Penn shares his views on Hollywood and what it means to be an actor. He also talks about why he initially turned down the role of Dan Humphrey in “Gossip Girl” and discusses the similarities between Dan and Joe from “You.”

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Elyse Myers, Penn Badgley

Elyse Myers  00:15

Okay, actually, can you just pretend that you’re listening to a fully complete theme song here? I got really in my head. And I tried to make it perfect. And I couldn’t. So this is going to be the theme song right here. Hello, and welcome to another episode of Funny Cuz It’s True. I’m Elyse Myers so do you have you ever seen the show you on Netflix? It’s like a Thriller Horror. You know this like beautiful man being like deeply obsessed with somebody and then like wanting to do anything you possibly can to just like be involved in their life. Have you seen that show? Obviously, me too, to the point where like, I almost couldn’t really watch the newest season before talking to this next guest Penn Badgley because I just didn’t want to have that like fresh on the brain because I knew it would like ruin there we go ruin my conversation with Penn, because that’s all I would think about. So I now that you know, I’m talking about actor and musician Penn Badgley and I did have to Google the pronunciation of Badgley and it is in fact, Badgley like a badge, boom. He also plays Dan Humphrey on Gossip Girl. And while these roles do define his career, they don’t really define his personality. Like, you know, Penn Badgley is not really a serial killer for real life. But he is one of the most warm kind down to earth people I have ever talked to. And I consider him a friend now, which I just love that I can do that. And you will get a peek of that today in our conversation. Did you know that while he was taking a break from acting, also he was in a band. That’s cool. Okay, two things that are funny because they’re true. Number one, Penn is in a show called You, like I said, and that is confusing when you’re in an audio platform. And we just keep saying you, you, you, you as if I’m saying you, but it is a show. I wish I could like audio insert like quotations because that’s how you like, talk about a show. But okay. And number two, I went on Penn’s podcast first, which he co-host with his friend Sophia and

Elyse Myers  02:16

Nava. And we talked about how I once slipped and fell with my skirt over my head as my middle school crush walked by. So he went into this interview, knowing that which is embarrassing, and you know, middle school stories really do just like bring people together. Okay, let’s get into it.

Penn Badgley  02:36

If you are trying to use the zoom for any purposes, I’m fine with that. However, it is comical how no matter where I am, I tend to look on these things pretty haggard. You should you should talk to Nava. We’re trying to shift to more video content. In fact, we have actively done that we’re about to release an episode. And it is it’s you know, it’s a whole other order of work.

Elyse Myers  03:00

Well, you are very famous. So it makes sense. People just want to watch you and the guests, just like squarish faces as you talk. Is that weird?

Penn Badgley  03:08

I just don’t know what I just don’t I mean, yeah, that’s.

Elyse Myers  03:11

I mean, yeah, yes. You’ve been famous for a really long time. I feel like this is kind of just normal for you.

Penn Badgley  03:18

Yes, it is. Do you know that meme with I think it’s a dog. It’s like a it’s like a dog with eyes that are off kilter. And it’s sitting in a kitchen, sipping coffee, and the kitchen is on fire. And he goes, this is fine. And I like it. Because I believe that’s the wording. I believe he’s not saying or they are saying I believe the dog is not saying I’m fine. Or it’s okay. Or it’s fine. What’s happening is, there’s an appraisal of the reality that the kitchen is on fire. And the decision to say, oh, this is fun.

Elyse Myers  03:51

So the way that Penn starts to break this meme down, honestly was like my first hint at the fact that pen is very insightful and very analytical in this was not going to be the conversation that I thought it would be, but it would be so much better. Because I know that pen is not the characters that he plays on TV. But I was just still very surprised by how like thoughtful he is and how much he thinks, just in general. It’s really cool. And it’s really inspiring. And I think this was a shift in my brain right here. I was like, okay, I’m actually gonna get this very, very real side of him during this conversation. What I like to believe about the meme is the fire started so slowly that by the time he is that photo is being captured of him. He’s like, I’ve been in this fire for so long. You said, yeah, it’s a photo in my brain. So it’s his photo being taken by who? I don’t know. But the fire started so slowly that now he’s in flames and he’s like, I think this is fine. It’s been fine the whole time. We’ll see how it goes. It’s actually very dark.

Penn Badgley  04:57

Yeah, he’s the he won’t. Well, I think that well, that’s what the name is actually meant to represent. It is meant to represent how we all feel. I mean, that’s why it’s funny. It would not be funny. If it didn’t strike a chord of reality in our minds and our hearts.

Elyse Myers  05:12

I think that this should honestly be the whole episode is just us breaking down memes. I think you guys should absolutely do this as a segment on your podcast. Number two, I feel like you were a very like analytical person in every way. And it really fascinates me to watch you take something that’s very funny, and break it down. I mean, that’s literally this podcast, like funny because it’s true is like trying to take moments that are funny. But then breaking it down to like, this is not crazy. This is just like, real. And it happens all the time. But I liked the way that you approach things. It’s very interesting. Have you always been this way? Or is this more like later in life?

Penn Badgley  05:59

To be honest, I I’ve been understanding a little bit better, why I am this way. Everybody has a really complex mix of nurture and nature, you know, only in the briefest most beautiful moments of life, do we really glimpse like maybe our true selves, you know, like, like our essence, and so much else’s culture, so much else’s nurture. And so what is really me? Am I really that analytical by nature, but I think what I’ve learned to do is to cope by thinking, by thinking through things and I don’t love always thinking.

Elyse Myers  06:45

Do you ever have a moment where you can shut your brain off? And if so, how do you do that?

Penn Badgley  06:50

So real popular answer these days through prayer.

Elyse Myers  06:53

I didn’t expect that. You could have given me 100 guesses as to where I thought this question was gonna go. And I wouldn’t have even come close to guessing his answer.

Penn Badgley  07:05

Yeah, it’s, I’m serious. It actually because, you know, people talk about meditation a lot in mindfulness. I do that. But that’s, to me meditation without prayer is like, an answer without a question. To me there dialectical. The relationship is so interconnected. And I don’t I don’t ever meditate without prayer anymore. whereas years ago, I used to meditate a lot without any prayer. And so I don’t come to it from a broader secular sense. If my if I’m meditating, there’s a purpose to it. It’s because I’m, I’m asking questions, and I’m feeling my really my heart and trying to relate to the, you know, that origin, that source of my heart, whatever we want to call that, and I don’t know that there’s such a thing as the mind shutting off.

Elyse Myers  07:52

Do you think that when you’re creative, like when you’re doing, you’re praying and you’re meditating? Do you find that that is helpful? With your creativity? If you can access that part of your brain and quiet all of that unimportant stuff? Like do you? Do you try and tap into that when you’re being creative?

Penn Badgley  08:08

Yeah, I mean, to me, it’s a devotional state. It’s a devotional orientation, and more and more, I think that’s what I seek in life. That’s what I practice. The other thing about prayer, I think that gets such a bad rap, understandably, is like, what is it without action? It’s not, it’s essentially nothing. It’s thoughts. And what are thoughts without action, creativity is a great way to take it into the realm of action. Acting is a passive state, there’s nothing that you have created in it. That’s really interesting. You didn’t write your lines, you didn’t buy your clothes, you didn’t even hang them up that day. But literally, like, there’s so little about acting that is active in the traditional in that way that people think about it. And all the focus that has put on actors, you know, people  watch a movie, and they think they want to be an actor, I think largely because that they would much rather be many other things than the actor, they would, they might want to score it, they might want to edit it, they might want to be the cinematographer the mountain and direct or right. It’s, I mean, every buddy is doing so much and the actor stands there. I stand there. And the only thing I can do is be honest about how I feel, as I say things that I’ve not thought of. And I actually can’t think of anything more passive, I really can’t. And but then in that you have to somehow feel your autonomy somehow, somehow you have to you have to hold on to your agency. And I think you can, but I actually think it’s a lot harder than most even actors realize. And I think that’s why a lot of actors become the way that they are, which is sort of like petulant children, and what are children but wanting autonomy and not able to get it because of the way they’re treated. You know?

Elyse Myers  09:57

Do you think you were like let down by how passive That was because you became an actor. So Young, like you obviously didn’t understand that when you were starting.

Penn Badgley  10:05

I know. Yeah. I don’t think anybody understands when they’re starting. I don’t care how old you are the only reason I understand is, is because of how long I’ve been doing it. And because I think as a way of coping.

Elyse Myers  10:17

Do you enjoy how passive it is? Or is there other parts?

Penn Badgley  10:21

Well, at its best, that’s actually like prayer at its best. It’s incredibly it’s both. It’s if you can accept how passive you are, you are then sort of like an empty vessel. And that’s beautiful. What you are, is you are the conduit of this relationship between the writer really, and the director, I think, and the audience member.

Elyse Myers  10:42

Because it’s, it sounds like a very beautiful, like representation of what acting is. I’ve never heard anyone explain it that way.

Penn Badgley  10:48

And I think this is why people are enchanted by actors. They don’t realize it, but they’re like, it’s a sort of, it’s, they become charmed by this idea of the vessel, but you never actually want the vessel you want what’s inside you. You don’t want the messenger you want the message.

Elyse Myers  11:02

So have you ever had the experience of getting lost in a roll? Like I’m thinking how sometimes that happens with method actors?

Penn Badgley  11:08

So hot tip, I can give you a little hot tick. And then I think people are kidding themselves when they think they can become someone else. And I think that we’ve seen enough, you know, manipulation in the name of, of method acting, I think, you know, the environments in Hollywood and unset society has been historically pretty, pretty toxic, pretty, and all in the name of getting a performance, but a performance that is a certain no one ever acts that way in real life, who is like, you know, this all the time. And, you know, it’s just, it’s just not so that. And the idea that we think that’s more real, it’s just completely subjective.

Elyse Myers  11:43

Okay, so I don’t mean to undermine Penn in any way here, as he talks about method acting and his thoughts on it. But I naturally hyper fixate so deeply on things that I become my hobbies, and it becomes my entire personality. And so I can 100% see myself doing this while acting if I like genuinely want and like, professionally acted in something. I don’t really understand how you could do anything else. But method act like anything else feels like lying to me. So it’s very interesting to hear Penn talk about this, because I think that my experience might be wildly different and has been wildly different. I don’t know. A little bit of me kind of feels like an asshole. Because I think I would be the person that’s like, I’m a method actor.

Penn Badgley  12:33

Looks a lot more real. It’s more dramatic, actually. Yeah. And it will. And I think we have largely seen stories of men wallowing in their trauma. For the last 100 years, white men white, pretty white men wallowing in their trauma. And what is the world doing but wallowing in the trauma of pretty white men a little too much. February 10, you will be premiering on Netflix.

Elyse Myers  12:56

I know I was I was literally okay, so it’s funny as you’re I’m hearing you talk with us. And I’m like, how do you do it?

Penn Badgley  13:04

How do I make peace with what I do? Yeah. Well, I guess you’re listening to it. I mean, I think it through because I’m not sure actually ever and I don’t think I need to be I don’t think anyone is think or blind ourselves. We feel super, super great about starring in some massive thing that has an apparatus around it. And years ago, I used to resist it a lot more. Now I’m just I feel like I’m a witness.

Elyse Myers  13:27

Is this like the characters or just?

Penn Badgley  13:29

Well, yeah, the characters ever the business itself, you know, what people refer to as Hollywood.

Elyse Myers  13:34

So because you did get into acting so young? Is that kind of a normal ebb and flow of like being in the business for as long as you’ve been like? Do you see that a lot?

Penn Badgley  13:44

Yeah, again, there’s levels to it. There’s really levels to it. Because yes, the short answer is just Yes. But I think one has to be careful. And I personally, I’m trying to practice these days, like, you can’t be cynical, or feel despair, about the environment you’re in or a response to feeling despair and feeling cynical, should be to practice hope and to become constructive. And so I think that’s really what I’ve been trying to do. And you know, my podcast is one small drop in that bucket.

Elyse Myers  14:17

We’re gonna take a quick break. When we come back, Penn tells me why he initially turned down the role of Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl. Hearing how analytical you are like what you love about it is probably changed so much since you first got into it.

Penn Badgley  14:43

I was starting to reflect on this recently in a therapy session, actually, in a way that was far more fruitful than it’s been a long time. And I was I was able to sort of remember when I loved it purely as an art form. And then when it became business. And I think what, you know, when you were asking me before, like, you were asking me about acting, but in a way, I was really responding more about the profession of acting. And that’s very different when you have to make it a living. When it’s no longer just this pure experience, you know, there’s art, and then there’s, of course, commerce. So, so for me, like, I think I was probably about 10, when it began to shift into a less than pure, unhealthy relationship, and that’s very young. Most people don’t get that until they’re probably in their 20s, I mean, I was starting theater, and I was I was starting to go on auditions. So I, you know, maybe it was 11. But it was definitely before 12, I think because by the time I was 12, I had moved to LA and was been began working and was working regularly and have been working regularly. Since then. I have been working regularly since I was 12 years old.

Elyse Myers  15:54

So I know that some people hearing this won’t know your story. And so you didn’t go to school, or you left it in what year, were you when you left? Sixth?

Penn Badgley  16:03

I was in the middle of seventh grade. Okay.

Elyse Myers  16:05

And then you guys moved to Hollywood, right

Penn Badgley  16:07

Yeah, we moved to North Hollywood.

Elyse Myers  16:09

Was it your whole family? Like was it your decision? Was it your family’s decision?

Penn Badgley  16:13

It was my mom and me. It was it was sort of a joint decision, because they were separating. I mean, again, it’s still it was a, I wanted to get out of the place that we were because it was a bit sad, and are more than a bit, but it was, you know, and I think, again, driven by, by a true love of an art form. Yeah. And my mother with good intentions, however, moving to Hollywood, at 12 years old. I mean, do I need to say anything else, any anybody who’s young, and listening to this, or even if you’re not that young, and you’re just creative and want to express yourself, the truth is, the arts themselves, belong to all of us. And they are empowering in that way. But the second you convert it into something that has to be monetized. And then you know, the power center of Hollywood, it just completely changes the whole thing. It completely changes all.

Elyse Myers  17:20

I know, it isn’t like a one to one comparison, because I’m not like an actor. But the idea of like monetizing something that you love, for sure changes how you like, approach your creativity, I find that when the pressure of making money, especially like to be funny, if you have to be funny for money. That rhymes, that’s funny. Okay, anyways, it’s a lot of pressure, and it can ruin it. And it can take things that you love so much and make them something you resent. Because all of a sudden, it’s paying your bills, and it’s for other people and serving other people. And you don’t get to have full control over it. And I think that for me personally, that’s why it’s so important to keep something separate. Like there has to be those things that you love that bring you joy, that are creative, that you aren’t using to pay your bills. You just you have to keep those things sacred and private and unmonetized, right. I think it’s interesting, like, because you said earlier that you’re trying to remain hopeful and not cynical and not like jaded within what you’re doing, because you are still actively deciding to do it. Right. And so how do you stay hopeful? And do you have like a memory of when there was a very clear decision you made where you’re like, I will not be cynical about this. Like, is there any moment that you’re a member of that?

Penn Badgley  18:43

Um, that’s a good question. It’s not that definitive. To me, it’s just more like, again, like a more gradual practice. But I guess no, I mean, look, when I just when I when I decide to do any job, that’s a moment where I’m like, yes, I’ll say yes.

Elyse Myers  18:57

I’ll say yes. Like what was saying yes to you like?

Penn Badgley  19:00

Well, it was fully I mean, I was considering whether or not I would continue acting for a number of reasons. I really, and you know, and I have been vocal about this before. I did initially try to say no. And then through my conversations with Greg and Sarah, the creators of the show, I ultimately came around. Same thing with Gossip Girl, actually. And I conclusively said, No, it wasn’t even really a halfway, it was like, I said, no, and they moved on. And they came back and kind of sort of pitched me on, on why I really shouldn’t be done. And at that point, I was 20. And I was and I’d been acting for 10 years and was already quite tired of television. And but I was I was out of money, which didn’t scare me, you know, but I was just sort of like, I don’t know if I can do more of this. And in fact, the creator of Gossip Girl co-creator Stephanie Savage had said to me without getting into the details, she’s sort of after I had passed, like I guess they’re the feeling was that they couldn’t find.

Elyse Myers  20:01

The way she like you have to be dan, what did they do?

Penn Badgley  20:03

Well, yeah, basically she was. And he was meant to be in a way. From my understanding from my recollection, even contractually the only male lead and, and, and I think the point of Gossip Girl is that they realized oh, that’s not what this is. That’s not the zeitgeist of this show is not a moral center. The zeitgeist of the show is that it is, it is a moral not immoral, but it is a moral, it is a fantasy. It’s, you know, people say aspirational, I think it’s a weird term to use for it. It’s a fantasy, where 20 year olds play teeny teenagers and drink scotch and have sex and are in relationships that are like adult people. That’s a complete and total fantasy. It’s not real at all. And that’s what that show was, and there’s many shows before it, and after that, tap into that. And it people respond to it.

Elyse Myers  20:57

When I was a high school or watching that or younger when I was very young watching that I was like this. See, this makes sense. And then going back as an adult watching, I’m like, never crossed my mind that that wasn’t how high schoolers lived because I wasn’t a high school were like really watching. And so I think genuinely, it kind of created this idea of like, what high school it like what the normal high school experience should be. And everything I did outside of that was kind of lame.

Penn Badgley  21:26

I agree with, but see, but this is what I think the, like, as a girl is not remotely unique in that so I’m not like, you know, putting any kind of special burden on and not at all, it’s like, more or less every show, more or less every movie is creating this fantasy that makes people feel bad about the fact that they’re not living that way. And that’s not like, all stories are not bad for that we should tell stories, and we should watch beautiful things. And movies and TV shows are not like inherently bad at all. But this weird byproduct of the most materialistic aspect of it is that we try to just cast hotter and hotter people. You know, we create drama that is more and more intense. And in order to stir up visceral feelings, we tell stories that are darker and darker. And so there is a I think just a clear byproduct of that, which is it doesn’t actually reflect reality, as much as it creates this fantasy experience. That is actually like a like a like, like taking a substance.

Elyse Myers  22:29

Did you feel this way when you were filming it? Like wow, because you didn’t ever go to high school. So you’re like literally having a high school experience on television at 20. But not a real one.

Penn Badgley  22:39

Yeah, well, but I had been playing high schoolers. The weird thing is like, I think I’d been playing high schoolers for 10 years at that point, or no, eight years. I mean, so, you know, from 12 to 20. I was playing like versions of a middle or high schooler, you know?

Elyse Myers  22:52

Like with Dan, and I can’t I don’t know why I’m blanking on your character’s name. And you what is his name?

Penn Badgley  22:58

Let’s just leave it like that.

Elyse Myers  23:03

not me forgetting my guests character’s name. As if I haven’t obsessively watched the show. Honestly, this worked in my favor right here.

Penn Badgley  23:12

He was meant to be the everman or seem like the everman.

Elyse Myers  23:14

I hope he’s not the everyman, but it’s all good. So I like so with the idea of like, these characters, I know that they are very different in terms of like the out workings of their behavior, but their feelings seem the same. Like they seem almost like two sides of the same coin. Do you feel that way?

Penn Badgley  23:35

Yeah, no, no. I mean, I think also, that’s the point. I think the point is that in the first episode of the first season, I’m more or less playing Joe, like a version of Dan. I mean, I’m not in my mind, saying Joe was like, Dan, I will play Joe like Dan, in the first episode. It’s more like, these are all the same tropes. It’s a sensitive guy who loves books, meeting a girl who’s out of his league. And that’s how many stories are that way, by the way, like, like, like, go through literature go through movies go through to I mean, like, how many stories of men and opposition that we like a lot, you know, so it’s so I think the point is, is that actually you might show now is consciously seeing all of that, and deconstructing it, which is really interesting.

Elyse Myers  24:16

It’s interesting that you get to use this like, and I know you said that it’s a passive situation, but you still are very much involved in like, portraying this person. And I feel like because you are so analytical, and I honestly didn’t know how much of that was you and your character, but even getting to have like personal conversations with you like, it just was shocking to me how you are very steady and you are you think about things so much and like I do see that in your characters and so do you ever feel like you are getting to play a part of yourself in these or do you are there is it just a coincidence?

Penn Badgley  24:55

On one level, just yes. And it is also a coincidence. It’s a coincidence. that I’m playing them, like they cast me. That’s a coincidence. And it’s not like I’m destined to play this or that. So to me, I don’t think you can ever play anybody, but just this is what I was saying about method acting before. When somebody says becoming a character, you’re not literally becoming someone else, that would be insane. That would be a delusional process where you’re making yourself somehow believe yourself. No, I think all you can ever do is be yourself.

Elyse Myers  25:23

Let’s take another break when we return Penn talks about his love of music.

Penn Badgley  25:40

You know, the reason I think about this, because I have to do it all the time.

Elyse Myers  25:43

You would be bad at your job. If you didn’t think about it all the time. I think it’s like very good you think about it.

Penn Badgley  25:48

Yeah, it’s a fine line. It’s a fine, fine, fine, fine line. Because if I think about this, while I’m acting. I mean, look, all these stories that you tell on your podcast, or any of the other platforms, and that kind of the stories that I tell on my podcast about middle school, like we’re, you know, it’s the equivalent of spiraling, and you’re like, oh, what do I do? What do I do? What do I do? What do I do? Now in acting, the fortunate truth is that you know, what to do, you have a line. So you say it, but then you’re saying it, and it’s not believable. And guess what? That’s bad acting.

Elyse Myers  26:18

Okay. So fun fact, one of the first times I was ever on a set was with Audible. And I had to act, but I was acting as myself, but also not myself. Like, I was still saying things that I wouldn’t say and reading from a script and memorizing lines, and you know, all of that. And I genuinely couldn’t get over the fact that I was saying things that weren’t naturally coming out of my mouth. And I was so embarrassed, I could not actually be in the moment and successfully play this role. I felt like everyone was staring at me going, she is a liar. Like the whole point of acting is to act. And what Penn is saying is absolutely correct. I could not release this idea that I was like, embarrassed, and I couldn’t commit it, it makes for really bad acting.

Penn Badgley  27:07

Bad acting is just somebody who’s too self-conscious in the moment, to let themselves be spontaneous. And they’re going through the motions and imitating what they’ve seen before and using their face too much or too little, you know, and that’s all bad actors. I think everybody could be a phenomenal actor, if the if there was the right environment, you know?

Elyse Myers  27:26

I’m so curious to know how you compare this acting and music, like, does music fulfill something in you that acting can’t? And is that why you do it? Like, what are those two worlds?

Penn Badgley  27:35

Yeah, well, I mean, it’s flattering that you would say I do music. I mean, I don’t. I don’t play anymore the way that I used to, in the sense that I’m certainly not doing it professionally. I’m certainly not doing it in any. And with a pandemic.

Elyse Myers  27:49

Just personally, for yourself even like?

Penn Badgley  27:51

Yeah, well, so for myself. I mean, I do it all the time. I mean, I sing with my son, toddler and it’s just like that. So that’s very pure. So in that sense, it’s, you know, before when I said, like, the arts are for everybody. And because of that they’re empowering. Again, it’s very spiritual. It’s very fulfilling, I sing all the time. And I love it. It’s like one of the most important things in my life, and in a way, like, I just love, I love that form of expression. And I love playing instruments, but I don’t get to do it that often. You know, again, smatterings. It’s like, I can do little bits that sound impressive, but I don’t ever play consistently.

Elyse Myers  28:31

I think that for me, so I do music as well. But it’s the same where it’s like, when we were talking earlier about how, as soon as it becomes like a job, you know, you lose the full love of it, because you have to start, like taking all these other things into consideration when you do it. So for me, music has always been something that I try and protect as much as I possibly can. It is very personal and like, I seen with my sing as well, but there are days where they’re just absolute garbage. Like just the shittiest day and I have this like phrase, I’m like, I’m just gonna sing my way out of this day. And it is one of the only things that for me, like it does feel prayerful, it feels purposeful, it feels peaceful, and it feels like active. It’s like this thing that I don’t need anything else to like, get me to sing it because I’m musical. But also I can put a song on and it’s the only thing that pushes right past all of the shit and goes like straight to my heart. There’s like nothing else that can do that for me, but like music.

Penn Badgley  29:30

Yeah, I fully agree by the way. Yeah, I love the way you react to you know, because you have these videos of you reacting. I love the way you react to music. You do actually the way you react to music is similar to the way I feel about it. You make similar facial expressions, which is like yeah, I feel no I really do I really those  videos you have. Which also on several levels, it resonated because I was like, you know, with the toddler, and when they’re napping, you’re like just Please, as long as you can, you don’t want this. I mean what I do in the middle of the night, I literally am like spider man in in our hallway. We have such creaky floorboards in our hallway. I have found I know where the spots are. But I can’t. But I have to put my hand on either side. Like I’m literally reaching out.

Elyse Myers  30:20

Like lifting yourself up kind of on the wall.

Penn Badgley  30:23

Yeah, yeah, it’s like 430 in the morning. And I am and I am and I am fully engaged in my core. And all the different end, it wakes me up entirely. Like in fact, that happened this morning, and I couldn’t get back to sleep.

Elyse Myers  30:35

So when we first had August, I would put post it notes on because I was at home with him more on the boards that like you just don’t step on. And we both now have come to learn them very well. But yeah, oh my god, it’s awful. But yeah. Is there any music for you that if you’re like, if I put this on, I go there. Like is there anything like that for you?

Penn Badgley  31:01

Most recently, the song that does that, for me is a song called mother’s sober by Kendrick Lamar, which is  a really beautiful case of vulnerability, very personal storytelling mixed with the unique feeling one has when they’re processing grief and trauma, and doing it for the first time really soberly, both figuratively and actually. And Beth Gibbons I think is her name from Portishead is singing the chorus. And she’s saying, I wish I was somebody, anybody but myself. And it’s so beautiful. And it actually gives me shivers thinking about it. And at some point the song he even says it gives me shivers like he’s like, so to answer your question, rap is always to me been the most. It both speaks. It’s explicitly and copiously. You know, can you just get the methapors in rap. It speaks explicitly and copiously. But then also so poetically, and subtly. I’ve never, I just probably in my life will never be as moved by any medium more than been rap music has.

Elyse Myers  32:12

We have to send each other links back and forth, because I need to hear what you’re listening to. And I’ll just send you I don’t, it’s gonna be very different. 100% went from this interview to listen to the music that he suggested, and I sent him a link to one of my favorite songs ever. Ocean by John Butler. It’s his 10 minute version, his acoustic guitar version. Oh my gosh, it’s incredible.

Penn Badgley  32:30

My wife and I more than once have cried while driving listening to the song, which is a little bit dangerous.

Elyse Myers  32:37

It is dangerous, but we need it. We need a good cry. Sometimes. I know that we are running out of time, so I will let you go.

Penn Badgley  32:42

Well, thank you. Thank you for having me on.

Elyse Myers  32:46

Oh, my gosh, thank you. Seriously, thank you. We need like a 10 part series of you being on this show. And we do need to do what does pen meme thank you so much for listening to my conversation with pen and if you’re someone who likes to relive the awkward moments of your adolescence frequently, I definitely do. Check out pod crushed. It’s funny, it’s insightful and the three of them together. Sophie, Nava and Penn just bring me so much joy. And by the way, if you loved this episode, please rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. It really helps. Okay, bye.

CREDITS  33:23

Hey, if you want more Funny Because It’s True, just subscribe to Lemonada Premium on Apple podcasts. Funny Cuz It’s True is a Lemonada Media and Powderkeg production. The show is produced by Claire Jones, Zoe Dennis and […], our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Rachel Neil is our senior director of new content and our VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson. Executive Producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, Paul Feig, Laura Fisher, […] and me Elyse Myers. The show is mixed by Brian Castillo and Johnny Evans. Our theme song music was written by me and scored by Xander Singh.

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