Joyful Recollections of Trauma with Paul Scheer

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It’s not Christmas yet, but Paul Scheer is gifting us with his cart and his new memoir, “Joyful Recollections of Trauma.” Paul sits down with the Aunties for a heart-to-heart like you’ve never heard before. They talk about his childhood, especially looking back as a parent of two, and how we learn to navigate relationships with our own parents into adulthood. It’s a conversation that shows laughter is not too far behind a good cry. Plus, as one third of How Did This Get Made?, Paul unpacks on co-host Jason Mantzoukas’ cube philosophy.

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Kulap Vilaysack, SuChin Pak, Paul Scheer

Kulap Vilaysack  00:11

Hello and welcome back to Add To Cart. I’m your auntie Kuku Vilaysack.


SuChin Pak  00:15

And I’m your other auntie Suchin Pak, now Kulap, I’m getting real settled over here cozies we’re doing another fantastic episode of auntie book club. And boy, do we have a pic. Today I pick up the year, question mark, just throw it into apps. I’m so excited to dive into this book, I have met this wonderful human so many times. And I was trying to think of this what is it? It’s a sense of calmness. And it’s so hard to describe to someone what that feels like to be around someone that just brings you to a complex. And now after reading the memoir, so much of it makes sense.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:01

Yeah, Su, Jessica St. Clair says it best well takes care of us.


SuChin Pak  01:07

I mean, and I don’t even know if he wants to that’s going to be question number one.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:12

It’s not about well, it’s not about preference.


SuChin Pak  01:17

The producers also wanted me to say that he is our Add to Cart Santa, and I will say because it’s true. It’s absolutely true, but I beg of you, Brian, do not put in Christmas music don’t let’s not overdo it. You know, let’s pace ourselves.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:34



SuChin Pak  01:34

You know, it’s May of this I feel like is maybe our second or third mention of Christmas right already.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:40

Okay, we will honor auntie Su, and we won’t put it here. But Brian, you can put it here, right here drop that music right here. And our listeners might hear our guest today and then Christmas has come early. And in my house.


SuChin Pak  01:54

Yes, it does.


Kulap Vilaysack  01:55

But we all contain multitudes on this podcast. And our guests is a true Renaissance man you know who he is because not only is he our special ATC stands up but he’s also an author an author this man is a threat. He’s threatening we should allow him on the streets you so many threats. His book, Joyful Recollections of Trauma is out today so please add to cart, Paul Scheer.


Paul Scheer  02:25

Ho, ho ho. Merry Christmas. It’s your old pal Paul, stockings.


SuChin Pak  02:40

It’s too early, Paul. It’s too early.


Paul Scheer  02:42

Yes, it is, I will tell you this. It put me in the holiday mood simply because I was like I’m not used to coming on the show. Not during the holidays. I don’t want to repeat what you already said. But I will say that I didn’t even know where to begin with my Add to Cart pics only because I was like, what do I what am I into? In the regular part of what am I into at this point? Don’t know, don’t know. You two are wonderful, and I appreciate everything. And I’m I have all the things that I have on my plate today. This is a highlight that I’m most excited about getting to to sit and chat with you too.


Kulap Vilaysack  03:21

Hey, Paul, you wrote a book and.


Paul Scheer  03:25

A book or a goddamn.


Kulap Vilaysack  03:29

And I just want to drop in with you. How are you feeling is out in the world?


Paul Scheer  03:36

I am feeling incredibly overwhelmed in a many a myriad of ways. You know, I feel like I owe an apology to everyone in my life because the last five months has been purely book it has been either writing a finishing book and then approving book booking book tours like everything has been culminating to this moment. So now that I’m here I’m trying to enjoy it I’m trying to be in the moment but I will say that the best part and this is not a dig on you Su, but to say I’ll say to Kulap, because you wrote me a beautiful text after you read the book and that really has been the best thing is like hearing everybody’s reaction to it. And that really has been like equally overwhelming and then makes me nauseous. I don’t know why it’s too much. Everything is too much.


Kulap Vilaysack  04:34

Sorry you’re you’re a beautifully dressed man but dare I say it you’re basically nude. This your nude right now. You’re not wearing clothing.


Paul Scheer  04:45

That’s why I’m not wearing socks in that picture. It’s a it’s a subtle, sort of thing if you’re if you look at the cover of this book. I’ll tell you one thing we’ll you know we’ll talk about the book and all this all the things in there.


Kulap Vilaysack  04:55

But let’s talk aesthetics. This is this is my this is my next corner honey.


Paul Scheer  04:59

I didn’t know anything about how publishing works, I didn’t know under I knew writing a book that’s a fairly new that I’ve learned a lot. So they say, hey, we want to do a mock up of the cover, can you send us a bunch of different photos that you have? So we can kind of mock up we want the cover to do. So in my mind, I’m thinking, okay, great, they’ll mock up a cover, then I’ll go in and I’ll do a photo shoot. I received an email about three weeks after I send them a bunch of photos that I’m not even thinking about just willy nilly photos. And they go, here’s your cover. And I go, we I go, okay, so we’ll just like, duplicate that. She’s like, no, no, that’s your cup, it’s done, and I was like, oh, now that photo was taken. When my seven year old son was born. I remember the photo shoot, because I had booked it. And there was a little bit of a delay, and I’m like, oh, crap, I have to get to this thing. So that is, or maybe it was right before. I remember it being a stressful moment in my life, right around my second son’s birth. That’s a seven year old photo that is now very representative of me as before I started cutting my hair a little bit tighter. Well, I you know, as bald man, I learned these lessons late in life. And I’ve already corrected for a lot of it. But there’s still a little bit more length than I would normally like to have.


SuChin Pak  06:19

But the they saw the photo and they said, the angst, the stress, the momentous, you know, life. Right happening. This, they didn’t know it, but they felt it. And they said, yeah.


Paul Scheer  06:33

That’s it, now the only note I gave them was, you know, the cover of my book is missing a chair. And, and they’re all there are all these, like, rain clouds around it, and I said, well, we got to, we got to put some sun in there, too. We got to put some rainbows in there. So that was my biggest addition, but I will tell you this. I didn’t have the full book experience by not doing a book cover photo shoot. So I went to Sears and I did my own photo shoot. And, and that is that it will be really bad. It’s probably out now on social media. Yeah, but yeah, I made my own book cover Photoshop.


SuChin Pak  07:09

I mean, there listen  producer Paul isn’t going to be under produced out produced.


Paul Scheer  07:16

I needed to get a little bit of my shine on, and when I went to the Sears, I said, I have a book coming out. I did do yeah, let’s let’s really blow this out. And they did a great job. The Sears photos are truly, truly magical, I think.


SuChin Pak  07:34

Now that the book is out, like, I’m just curious, how does it compare in terms of, you know, whether it’s your nerves, or just the feeling of you being out there versus let’s say, you know, whether it’s a podcast or an acting role, or, you know, how does this feel the same or different?


Paul Scheer  07:53

You know, I think I’m always very protective of drawing a very fine, but solid line that separates me, as an I hate I’m using this term, but I’m going to use it like the performer. And then me as Paul, like, I don’t do certain things with my family, for general consumption, the both of you, I’ll give you any picture you like. But you know, I like to draw that line. And so I feel like, this is probably the most personal thing I have done. So that is new, and that’s different, and it also, you know, it affects people and there are a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of different emotions to it. I think the thing that I’m proud of, is this book, while I hope is funny, and I think it is I’m very proud of the book, I also feel like I came to this book and writing this book, in a way that I didn’t feel like I was doing therapy by writing the book, I think I’ve read a handful of memoirs that feels like oh, well, you’re still working through something. And that’s not a bad thing. But it’s a little bit wrong. I think that that allows you to be a little too vulnerable, so I feel very confident in whatever is in this book that I can get out in front of and talk about, because the other part of this, which I which I’m now realizing many weeks in is oh, I’m going to have to talk about this at length to multiple people and deal with different things that come up and the ways that different people talk about it. So it is like it’s a tricky balance. You know, it’s like I can’t just joke around all the time about it. And that’s and that’s new.


Kulap Vilaysack  09:29

Yeah, right, well, let’s start with the title. I think it’s, it’s apropos why Joyful Recollections of Trauma?


Paul Scheer  09:36

You know, joyful recollections of trauma was a title that came to me very early on. I had two titles for the book. One was The Miseducation of Paul Scheer, which I mean, I yeah, I was very excited about that one and and Joyful Recollections of Trauma, and I think that the other one was a little bit more apropos for our collections of trauma. Because, you know, over the 14 years I’ve been doing How Did This Get Made with June and Jason, both great guests on Add to Cart and some of my favorite guests, I would fall into these traps, or I’d start talking about the stories in my life and, and they would get these reactions, even from my wife, who I’ve been with for ages. But what happened? I’m like, oh, yeah, my grandma told me about that. You know, that that Butcher, who, you know, if you answered the door, when your parents aren’t home, like will kidnap kids, and then chop them up into chop meat? There, what are you talking about, like it, yeah, I ran the column, because, you know, when one of the moms is making a chop meat burger, the burger looked up at her and said, Mama, you know, so you know, this, what you’re describing is horrific. And I was like, oh, oh, I guess? Yeah, I guess it is. And then all of a sudden, it became like this thing where like, I start telling a story and everybody oh, settle, settle in, and then the audience started ranking it like there was a Reddit thread like Paul’s most harrowing stories. And he did like a supercut of it on YouTube. And everyone’s you got to read a book, you got to write a book, and there’s a part of me, that was like, oh, yeah, sure, but I was a little hesitant, because I know that writing a book is not an easy task. And I also knew that if I was going to write a book, I couldn’t just do anecdotes. So it wasn’t necessarily the book that I intended on writing, because when I first sat down to write is like, okay, let me just try to crack into this end, what I realized was like, well, that that anecdote is nice, and there’s a bow to it, but there’s some questions like, well, let’s go there, and that’s when I kind of found like, the meat of the book, which is like, oh, there’s some stories, some stories you might know, I think a lot of them people don’t know, but they definitely don’t know the full story of any of them. So that was really an interesting process for me to find out, because I remember when I first sat down to write, I didn’t try to sell the book first, I wanted to write the book to see if I actually had anything, so I started writing. And, and with no, like, no deadline with no even thought that anyone would see it. It allowed me to kind of be free in a way that I was that even surprised myself a little bit with. So that was, you know, that was an interesting thing. And then and then as I kind of continued to go deeper, it became something completely different. And um, yeah, and I’m surprised I am surprised by it. Ultimately, if you were to take me from that moment, to this moment, I was like, whoa, okay, because it was, I think, an incredibly cathartic experience to, even though I’ve reckoned with it personally, to then make it a part of something that I would publicly identify myself with.


Paul Scheer  11:21

And how I’m curious, how has that reaction been?


Paul Scheer  12:50

The reaction has been small at this point, you know, people are just starting to read it. Yeah, so I’ve talked to a lot of people and if I feel like I’m talking around a little bit, so basically, the book does detail that I grew up in this very abusive household, and my mom and I were able to escape that abuse. And as a result, I’m kind of reckoning with how that played a part in my life moving forward in relationships and in a what I do, and then really all the way up to me having kids so in a way, it covers a large span of my life, but it’s a very segmented portion of it. So yeah, I found that a lot of people you know, react to it it’s interesting, because I think my comedic sensibilities like, I don’t want to put that in, I want to be like a Book of the Week, kind of a thing, or I don’t want to be too melodramatic. And it was about trying to find that balance. And I think that goes back to the title. I think there are some things that are very dark, and then it’s mixed with light, never undercutting the dark, but it’s kind of like, how do you tell the story in a way that I would want to tell the story, which is the way I often do tell the story. So those reactions have been great. And then familial reactions, because they do talk about my mom and my dad and this book. It’s been interesting. I let my parents read it about two weeks before the book came out. And the reason why I did that, yeah, I know yeah. I did that, because I did it for a couple of reasons. I wanted to write this book, a little bit in a vacuum. I didn’t want anyone to tell me what my recollections were. I think that sometimes when you start to talk with your family, it becomes something different. It becomes like a shared story. And I thought, this is my story. I just want to tell it this way. And I also felt like if I was to give this book to them, with the caveat of if you want to change anything, let me know that that would actually be a detriment to what I was doing as well so.


Kulap Vilaysack  14:47

100% Paul, 100.


Paul Scheer  14:49

Yeah, right.


Kulap Vilaysack  14:50

My mom didn’t see my documentary until it was screening at a festival and she sat beside me.


Paul Scheer  14:56

Yeah, that’s the only rule that I gave them was I said, I need you to read the whole thing. And then talk to me, you can’t talk to me, I have to read a chapter to the, it’s a full piece, read it all. And then we can talk about it. And I tried very hard. And I think Kobe did this so beautifully as well, which is like you’re telling your story, I’m not telling the story of my mom, or my dad, I’m not trying to, I’m not trying to analyze them. I’m not trying to paint their picture more than supporting characters in my life. And they, they are their own people, they have their own stories, they have their own point of view, and that is fine.


Kulap Vilaysack  15:34

This is your experience.


Paul Scheer  15:36

Right? Honestly, everything that is in this book, I have had conversations with my parents about so it’s nothing shocking. And there they might be shocked about how I internalize this, how I worked through it, you know, but the the meat and potatoes of it is they all know, I think the thing I was most nervous about, and I don’t know, if you felt this was how will my parents friends react? And that’s the thing that I was I was constantly obsessing over like, I want to make sure that I don’t put them in a position to be.


Kulap Vilaysack  16:10



Paul Scheer  16:11

You know, it’s like, yeah, it’s like, it’s tricky. It’s tricky. You know, so I, that that was, that was the hardest thing for me to kind of wrestle with.


SuChin Pak  16:18

I always wonder that when reading a memoir, what is the editing process, right, I hear interviews when you know, people say, well, you can’t have an editing process, like you have to write as if their opinion doesn’t matter or feeling are going to get hurt. But that’s not your responsibility. I just, I mean, I wouldn’t, I would never be able to write my story. But I always think about, like, that whole thing of like, considering everyone and that, like, just stops me in. And I mean, from even like, even remembering it in the verse, I think is the true version that happened to me, you know what I mean?


Paul Scheer  16:59

No, I totally, I totally identify with that, and I think that, for me, what I really wanted to do was free myself from that, and say, I can edit anything later, so when I wrote these pieces, I wrote them full bore, you know, and I really was like, I’m just gonna go in, and I’ll figure it out later. Like, I’ll figure it out later. And that process was something that, yeah, and the, like the first pass to the second pass, and then when I finally had the full book, in total, I was going through and looking through and making sure, and it’s a delicate balance. It’s kind of like trying to get water to just a boil, but nothing more than that, you know, it’s like it’s any years kind of writing these levels of just like, where does it go? Where does it go? But I but I think I’m glad that didn’t rush myself, because that’s really where you need that time. Like, I think people were really rushing me. I know, people were really rushing me towards the end of this book. Like, I basically handed in my book in August. And I didn’t hear anything back until Thanksgiving week, and Thanksgiving week, my editor wrote me, and she said, I did the first pass in the book. Here it is, oh, and by the way, I’m leaving Harper on Friday so my time here with this book is over. And so I had this book, and I didn’t have an editor. And I felt a little lost in that moment, because I was like, oh, my gosh. And then I was sitting with this book that I was looking at for the first time that was put together because my my process was my editor. She was lovely, I think that she got the book. And I think though she ordered it in a way, that was really helpful. But then she left you know, so I had no one to follow up with. And then I was sitting with that book, and I realized, oh, no, this is like just the beginning of like the next phase of work. It wasn’t like, oh, she edited it. And now it’s done and take it away. And as a matter of fact, after that my the person who came in to replace was like, oh, we need you know, 30,000 more words, I had handed in a bunch of words. And I was like, wait, wait, what he’s like, oh, yeah, no, this is like, short, and it felt short when I read it. It was a very trying process. But it also allowed me that time, like you said, to look at stuff, there’s an Anne Lamott quote, was like, oh, if people didn’t want you to write badly about them, they shouldn’t have been that mean, I don’t fully agree with that. I think there are people that I have relationships with, and I’m in relationship with that I wanted to protect, and I don’t need to share everything I also pride in I have pride in my relationships. And that’s what I really have to kind of deal with as well. You know, and I think you find that balance, you know, where are you where do you strike out and where you don’t?


Kulap Vilaysack  19:41

You write powerfully about rage. And it’s interesting. You know, it was really hard for me, I’m gonna start crying. It was gonna come. That’s like, oh.


Paul Scheer  19:55

I’ll cry too, I I’ve already cried a few times. I felt safe the cry with you guys.


Kulap Vilaysack  19:59

Ah, it’s just really hard for me to read, and I understand you more, it was really hard for me to read, what you went through as a kid, and the abuse that you went through. I love you so much as an adult. And I understand that everything that has happened to you is made you who you are. And for that I’m absolutely grateful, but it was really difficult. It was really hard. And I guess maybe that’s not leading up to a question. It’s more of a statement.


SuChin Pak  20:35

No, I’m gonna add to that, the two things that for me, too, is is that like, I mean, it sounds cliche, but like, having kids and then reading the stories from like, your perspective as a kid, like, there’s something that like, is so broken, that you have to kind of sit with for a minute before you like, move on from that story, or that moment. And then I also and I kind of started the whole podcast with this is just having, what little interaction I’ve had with you. And that like truly saying, and Kulap, you’re right feeling so taken care of. And then having this whole piece of it, it also, like, made me so emotional, because you’re this is not what I thought that this book was going to be having known how wonderfully you take care of other people, so.


Paul Scheer  21:30

Anyway, say that, I mean, I appreciate you both, like I this is this is the upsetting, like, the stuff is very overwhelming. And I love having these conversations. And immediately I’m like, oh, I should be saying something funny, but I also understand, like, I couldn’t have written this book. with out having kids like having kids really helped me come to terms with some of this stuff. Because I think there is a world in which, first of all, when you’re a kid, there’s nothing to compare anything else to, especially a kid growing up, let’s just say roughly, in our age group, where we are access to things, we’re just not there as much as my kids can, you know, they want to learn how to kick a soccer ball. And certainly they can Google YouTube video of I’m going to like the library and getting a book out about soccer that was published in 1965. So I think looking through their eyes, really reopened a bunch of stuff. And this is stuff that I’ve worked on with myself for a long time. And one of the things that I think I have a very hard time with, ultimately, is not being cavalier about it. Like I forget how some of these descriptions how some of these things sound because it was so commonplace in my life, it wasn’t like, oh, there was one weekend that was intense. And there’s a lot of stuff I haven’t said in there, you know, and there’s a lot of things that like, my mom upon reading it, the first thing that she said was, I’m surprised he didn’t go deeper on a couple things. I’m like, okay, thank you, mom. Like, but I think what my mom is saying is like, well, why did you not go even darker? And it’s like, I don’t think it needs to go darker. I think it can live in this, that it’s in writing that chapter about like rage and dealing with rage. Because really the only way I understood, there’s became a certain point in my life where I realized, oh, I could fight back. I’m in like, I’m not gonna win. But I can at least give myself a fighting chance instead of just being passive in this. And and that had a lot of ramifications to while it might have helped me in the moment, you know, and it’s something that like, I had a, I wouldn’t say at a rage. Well, I would I did have a rage issue. I had a rage issue because I had I had an on off switch. And I think what I’ve learned to do in my life is have a dial, I think you can have rage. I think you can have anger, I think you can have all these things, and you should. I only had off and on, and when I turned it off, I became passive. I didn’t like the person that I was, I didn’t even realize it and like the person I was because I was just trying not to rock the boat. And then when it came on people I go, who are you? And I’m like I am that? You know, it’s like, yeah, it was hard. And it’s you know, and now I think I have I can go I can go one to 10 and by the way I can get up to a 10 you know, I think that that’s the thing too. It’s not saying like how not to be rageful is like you can have rage. We’re all human. We can all have these moments, but it’s very hard for me to find that balance.


Kulap Vilaysack  24:18

Yeah, to self regulate. Like I think I think anger is such a powerful tool, more so I had not a dissimilar background. SuChin, as well, you know, in a lot of things that we did was about survival and coping a day to day existence where we didn’t have a lot of agency has kids kids don’t have a lot of agency.


Paul Scheer  25:00

People come at me a bunch. And they say, well, how do you how do you forgive your parents? How do you deal with your parents? You know? And I think there’s often this idea of like, we have to blame somebody, right? Who did this to you. And I’m while now we have to make amends. But it’s like vengeance is not the amends, that always has to happen. I think it’s like this. Is it awful that it happened? Absolutely, I’d like to think that I would do something, I could do something different. I think I know I would. But at the same time, you know, I can’t sit there and be absolutely furious at my dad or my family or whoever, when I also had a therapist was brought in to deal with this to put a stop to the who couldn’t do it. I had Child Protective Services who came in who couldn’t put a stop to this. So it’s like, when you have people who are professionals in this world that can’t put a stop to it? How do I expect my parents who are of an age even older than you know, of course older than us, deal with it? I don’t think people are equipped. I, it’s interesting people have like when I if I was to talk about this, and if I came on this podcast, and we’re talking about something, I started talking about it, sometimes not YouTube, because you’re the best. But I, I would see people tense, like when I first started doing like the book tour of this, I you know, people who didn’t read the book, and that’s fine, great. But I would mention a little bit about what it was that like, you see their bodies going up. And I’m like, Oh, shit, I gotta pull it back. I gotta move out of this space. And I’ll talk about the funnier stuff, and I’ll just go over here. And I’ll talk about Christopher Walken, and, and about minivans, and whatever the fuck I’ll talk about. But it’s hard. It’s hard to talk about this stuff, because people, I think, have a hard time. Just checking into it, you know, without feeling that you have to solve it.


Kulap Vilaysack  26:49

Yeah, and they also picture their parents.


Paul Scheer  26:52

Yeah, sure.


Kulap Vilaysack  26:53

Whatever that means, you know, whatever. That could be whatever spectrum that falls in. It’s like your parents have their parents faces.


Paul Scheer  27:01

Yeah, but I mean, look at the two of you. I mean, you know, it’s like, we’re talking about this thing, where it’s like, you know, we we come out of this in different ways, and there’s nothing prescriptive in this book, you know, it’s, but I do think it’s interesting, because if you’re able to survive, that, you have these choices in front of you. And that say, you always are making the right choices, or that you even should have that choice. But like, there are things that you know, that you want to do differently. And I think that that’s like, and that’s a blessing, too. I’m happy that I get to be this and that doesn’t mean I don’t yell at my kids. I mean, I got into a fight with my kids this morning, because they wouldn’t wear jeans. And I was like, you gotta wear jeans. Like I’m gonna you know, I’m like.


Kulap Vilaysack  27:41



Paul Scheer  27:41

Oh, Kulap. My kids don’t like to wear pants. They don’t like to wear pants and, and today, they had to wear jeans. And they could also wear black sweats, either or Sammy, my younger guy, my little guy. His pants were in fitting. So we had one pair of pants that fit my older son, one pair of pants with my younger son, but my older son wanted to wear the pair of pants that fit my younger son, but my younger son wouldn’t fit in the pair of pants that my older son had. So there was this impasse of, well, I want to wear those pants today. But if you wear those pants, he can’t wear pants and he’s got to wear pants. So and we’re just arguing about pants, and I lost my shirt this morning. I was like, you tell me a solution. I will follow it. But right now you both need to have pants. I was like, I don’t understand that, but he promised me his pants. Like he promised to do pants because he didn’t know that, you know, pants and fit. Like it’s like sitting there going like, I’m the child, whatever.


Paul Scheer  27:49

No, I mean.


Paul Scheer  27:52

I mean, you said it best, it’s a dial.


Kulap Vilaysack  28:19

It’s the dial.


SuChin Pak  28:50

Now I don’t I’m not gonna see faces anymore, by the way, guys, I’m just gonna see dials.


Kulap Vilaysack  28:56



SuChin Pak  28:56

Like, that actually helps me connect to people more than faces, which I have troubles with. You know, like, I’m thinking I’m gonna look at my mom, cuz you’re right. Like, I’ve been I go through rage cycles with her and she’s just sitting there eating your lunch and I’m like, I can’t believe you’re just sitting. And I have to like just dial it. You know what I mean? And realize that that she lives on a dial too, right?


Paul Scheer  29:27

Right. I think the biggest thing I realized about my parents and not to say that I can do this but I understand it, which is I have to meet them where they are the minute I start to assume that they will be in a different spot is when I hurt myself, it’s only going to hurt myself. Right and so and that I think has been a very hard thing. For June to to learn because I have an alchemy with the way that I deal with them. I Understand it, and I think that June’s instinct sometimes is, oh, but we can we can do this and we’re gonna.


SuChin Pak  30:06

There are nuances.


Paul Scheer  30:08

Yeah, and having her my life is amazing. And she’s actually, with both of my parents has brought a wonderful energy and and trust them a little bit more than I trust them. But at the same time, I always have to keep them at bay. My mom’s reaction to the book was wonderful. But at the same time, it opened up with literally, I think he could go deeper, you know, and like, that was the first thing that she said, you know, and, and she also didn’t read the whole book, she just read part of it. She’s like, oh, I’m out of it, now I’m out of it.


SuChin Pak  30:40

You literally said one thing.


Paul Scheer  30:44

Yeah, one rule, unusual enough follow that. And, you know, so then I’m like, but I was prepared for anything. So I just was like, okay, thank you. And again, I’m talking a little bit out of school here, but I will, because there’s a perfect example of what I’m kind of wrestling with. And it’s, it’s benign, because my mom is wonderful. My dad is wonderful. But my mom was like, well, you thanked your dad’s wife differently than you thanked my ex husband. Now her ex husband has passed away. There’s a different thanks to that my dad’s wife is very much alive. I’m trying to find the balance, right. But all of a sudden, I’m getting critiqued on my special thanks. I don’t know what to do.


Kulap Vilaysack  31:30

So she read a portion of the book and then went all the way back. All the way back to acknowledgments. I’m out of the meat of the book, let me […]


Paul Scheer  31:44

I think that she’s finished it now I but again, I’m not going to, I can’t go there. But I’m protecting myself in those ways to like, God forbid, I’m forbidding my parents to be at any of these book events that I’m doing. I’m like, you can’t, you can’t be there, then, and, and it’s not because I just don’t want to have that in my head. I just don’t want to I don’t want to have that in my head and it’s, and that’s been hard for them to deal with. So like, but that’s the balance, it’s small. It’s tiny, it’s and they are supportive, and they are trying to connect, but I have to meet them where they are, I have to assume the worst. And when I get a little less than the worse, I’m okay to deal with.


SuChin Pak  32:22

There’s the there’s the title, title of of a biography. Just assume the worst. I’ve never connected with such a title. Oh, Lord.


Kulap Vilaysack  32:33

I was texting SuChin, and to make it about me. In my experience of the book, while I was reading through your childhood, and the obstacles and some harrowing stories, I wasn’t able to be emotional here talking with you just now. But during it, it was as if I was in the room. And which is it’s just freezing.


SuChin Pak  32:58

Oh, yeah.


Kulap Vilaysack  32:58

And being, frozen. And like, like, while I was reading it, and.


SuChin Pak  33:04

I’m glad you brought that, it was fairly quiet at some points. I was just yeah being like don’t.


Kulap Vilaysack  33:10

Fully triggered, yeah, no, I do not move. But then I was able to like the stuff with June that their stories with you in June, your love story that I just was able to kind of like release that was like the release valve for me like it like it just I was able to just cry like a joy and relief.


SuChin Pak  33:34



Paul Scheer  33:35

I’m happy, I’m I’ve tried very hard to kind of I, you know, in thinking of the book, and the way it kind of should be structured. It is a big conversation, you know, and again, I don’t want to seem too highfalutin. But it’s like, I think that you need that valve. There are certain people when I when I wrote this book, or when I wrote my first couple of chapters, and I went out to go sell it. People wanted certain things. The reason I went with Harper was because my editor had a very specific vision of the book, and I think that she put that in play in my mind. And, and in the way that she structured the book, a lot of people were like, oh, I just want it to be about this. I don’t want it to ever talk about June, I don’t want you to ever talk about your kids. And I didn’t want to write that book. I didn’t want to write that. I didn’t that to me. I don’t know how much resonance it has when you have when you’re just in it, right? Like it’s like I think this book is about like looking backwards and being in the present and just kind of going back and forth between those two things. It felt too heavy to me, so it was that kind of decision. And I think my editor saw some stuff that I didn’t see like there’s an example here, not about abuse. But the chapter I wanted to cut multiple times. Was this chapter about kind of finding out that I have ADHD, I’m embarrassed by that, it’s still just fun like, Oh God, I’m even bringing it up. I’m embarrassed by it but I will say that so many people have talked to me about that chapter and like, oh, my gosh, I have a spouse that does this. I haven’t heard disarticulated in this way. This helps me with this. And it was something that I was always nervous about because like, oh, I don’t want to just be not a downer but it’s interesting. It’s like this ability or this kind of fear of making it to like my problem, my problem, my problem, my problem, and I don’t know it. I’m still wrestling with it. But I didn’t want to be in a book where it was just like, here’s a bunch of darkness. And there’s some kind of crazy stuff in there, so it.


Kulap Vilaysack  35:31

Yeah isn’t, it’s really such a there are just chapters of pure joy. You’ve always been a collector, you getting autographs. Like there’s all these it’s really a full it’s a full representation of who you are.


SuChin Pak  35:45

Yeah, my release valve is the blockbuster.


Paul Scheer  35:49

Oh, yeah.


SuChin Pak  35:50

Do you know what I mean? Like you go from this to like remembering rewinding tapes to return to Blockbuster like that. That was my release valve from like, whoa, that was intense. Okay, now I get to sit in blockbuster, again, right to get it right. So I think that you’re right, cuz I’m in and I think your instinct was right, Paul, in that you need that balance to tell the complete story, otherwise, it doesn’t feel complete without the tune without the, discovering that you have ADHD, but then that you, you you realize that the quote unquote remedy or the solution to that really worked for you?


Paul Scheer  36:29



SuChin Pak  36:30

That felt really complete. You know, you didn’t just leave it at like, and by the way, this also led me to, you know,


Kulap Vilaysack  36:35

Yeah, Oh Paul, just so very proud of you. This is such a big deal. It’s such a big, big deal.


Paul Scheer  36:35

It’s hard, I think it’s hard for me, you know, and, like, I like having these conversations. It’s just hard to feel like, you can sit in these moments, right in these moments where it’s like, oh, yeah, I’m like wrestling with this. There’s no clean answer to anything. But it’s like, we can have this like, thing that doesn’t have to feel like it’s like wrapped up pretty with a boat. But there’s something out there. There’s a solution on some version of it.


Paul Scheer  37:08

I was so nervous for you too to read it. Like honestly, like that’s the thing. I feel like my friends who are reading this, I think some of them know certain things. Some of them don’t, I would argue probably more than 80% don’t know this. And I think it’ll be interesting to see their reactions to things. I think it’s been interesting to see people just react like, Oh, I didn’t know this is the book that it was. I was excited for you both to read it. And, you know, we gave you the the copies of it. And I was like, oh no, it’s like, it’s like it’s real. And, like, in a weird way. It’s like, I want everybody to read it. But when somebody I know is reading it to me I respect and no I think is great is reading it’s a it’s way more daunting. Like I’m just like, oh God, you got this, you know, so I like it does it means the most to talk to you about about this. So thank you.


Kulap Vilaysack  37:54

Please everybody Add to Cart.


SuChin Pak  37:55



Kulap Vilaysack  37:56

Paul’s book Joyful Recollections of Trauma.


Paul Scheer  37:59

And I do the audiobook and there’s a bunch of funny clips with Jason and June in there. And I actually even have clips from my old home videos like my SNL audition. A bunch of like fun stuff in there. And yeah, so yeah, it’s I tried to make the audiobook really, really, really fun.


Kulap Vilaysack  38:20

Cool, I haven’t seen that in an audio book.


Paul Scheer  38:22

Yeah, I love audiobooks. I love an audiobook. So and by the way, you can get it on Audible. I have an Audible account, but I also have been really into Libro. Libro.FM is just like Audible, but whenever you buy an audio book, it goes to independent bookstores.


Kulap Vilaysack  38:40

Oh, I like that add to cart libro.


Paul Scheer  38:43

Libro, and I also and I’ll also throw one more at you the other one is Bookshop. Bookshop is a place to buy books and money goes back to independent bookstores. So basically, I think the way that that works is an independent bookstore will send you the book and obviously if it’s easier for you to get on Amazon, get on Amazon. I’m just saying there are there are options out there there are options


Kulap Vilaysack  39:17

Well, let’s get into your cart Paul.


Paul Scheer  39:20

Yes, okay.


Kulap Vilaysack  39:21

Okay, let’s start with this Osmo pocket three.


Paul Scheer  39:24

This thing is a little miracle. It is a camera. That is the size of a Snickers bar. It is amazing for selfies. It is amazing for travel. It has a feature on it with a face lock feature. So if you’re doing I mean if you’re into the extreme sports, you can just lock your face and it will never go to thing it will never go to balance because it’s on a gimbal the little cameras on a gimbal so it will never go blurry it will never bounce around. The cameras constantly affixing itself to you, but you can do really fun stuff. Family stuff, which is why I like it to records great sound. It is just a multipurpose fun camera. Now people back well, Paul, I have an iPhone. The difference here is that gimbal allows you to do so much with it like we were to been on in snow over winter break and I just was able to hold that out and it locked onto our faces and we had this amazing thing of us like tubing down the mountain. It’s like, because it’s like it’s bouncing and moving and it’s it’s a high level thing. But if you’re if anyone’s doing podcasts, everyone’s doing social media posts. It’s especially great like if you’re reacting to Tik Tok videos. I mean, this is this is the next level shit. It’s great, and it also comes with a a wireless microphone that you just like a lapel pin on yourself. And you lock it in and you.


SuChin Pak  40:46

Size of a Snicker bar.


Kulap Vilaysack  40:47

Size of a, he always he knows he knows about this tech guys like he knows about. I’ve been on vacation with Paul. He’s got great cameras he’s.


SuChin Pak  40:59



Kulap Vilaysack  41:00

Yeah, everyone shut.


SuChin Pak  41:03

The fuck up. Truly, if ever there was a time, it’s now.


Kulap Vilaysack  41:09

Well speaking of traveling, talk to us about this epoca universal travel adapter.


Paul Scheer  41:15

Okay, so I recently traveled to Paris in London, we did some […] tours. And I’m always looking for a good adapter. As we get more and more into a world of gadgets. We’re not looking for plugs we’re looking for USB C we’re looking for stuff like that. And I’ll tell you, I’m finding that my USBC sometimes a short note what’s going on. And this is a great travel plug. It can do all the different currents. But it also has some USB C ports, which are great. Jason and I are geeking out about this. It’s the best version of a travel plug I only use this one is the one that never shorts out any of my stuff. And I’ve also had the like I said I’ve had this experience where USBC I think sucks different power. Whatever it is, this guy is the way to go. It is hands down the best and and they keep on upgrading it making it better.


SuChin Pak  42:04

It’s on its way.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:05

Gonna say she’s gonna.


Paul Scheer  42:08

Yeah, that one is a that is a solid, no fuss, no muss. Like, that’s why I wouldn’t you know, it would maybe go on my stocking stuffer. But it’s actually even less sexy than a stocking stuffer, because the big oh, cool travel, but you really do need to travel plug and you just keep it around.


SuChin Pak  42:23



Paul Scheer  42:23

A good one.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:24

Like that it brings up stocking stuffers. I mean, that was just organic […]


SuChin Pak  42:31

That’s the problem. It’s always organic.


Kulap Vilaysack  42:34

Now, just a reminder, Paul is the one who had gave me talking to that I was doing Christmas too early.


SuChin Pak  42:39

Yeah I know, that’s why I thought that he would ease up on this.


Paul Scheer  42:43

Well, look, you know, like, it was tricky. I like I think what I was trying to do was protect myself from getting too excited about Christmas in October. I like you know, I I have to I have to pace myself too, I can’t be like I said to Kulap, I was like, I gotta get to like the week before Thanksgiving before because I want to go full into it, and then you know, I don’t know if I’m in mixed company if people are gonna judge me for my Christmas being you know, so.


Kulap Vilaysack  43:14

And also he is a Halloween person and he wants to fully enjoy Halloween.


Paul Scheer  43:18

Ish, yes, I do. I do want to get through Halloween. I want to put some scary shit out in front of my house, absolutely.


SuChin Pak  43:25

Well, I’m glad we spent more time talking about it. Appreciate it, so what other non holiday things are in his cart?


Kulap Vilaysack  43:35

We’ve got Hi Fi rush.


Paul Scheer  43:38

Okay, this is great, so I think one of the best things about your PlayStation, your Xbox, even your Switch, you know, you can just shop for games on your device, right? So what that’s really done is it’s opened up the world of independent gaming. It’s like a fighting game mixed with like Guitar Hero because you have to like punch people on the beat. And you’re using a big guitar and you’re just like fighting robots and you’re like kind of this delivery person. It’s a super cheap game, I got the deluxe edition for 20 bucks and it’s a great way to support independent gaming artists. It’s fun as hell it’s yeah, it’s I really suggest that you get into your PlayStation your Xbox and find these fun independent games that that game is super cool.


SuChin Pak  44:24

It was such a thing.


Paul Scheer  44:25

Oh yeah, there’s so many good things and very neat because they don’t need to be released. Why then the graphics are often very cool and different and unique, I’m a big fan.


SuChin Pak  44:35

Wow, okay, okay.


Kulap Vilaysack  44:37

And you know we’re swinging to Shrink Pack Bags by Hefty.


Paul Scheer  44:42

Nino, I look I know that we’re talking I know I’m not trying to be Jason […] is not gonna try to get in on the cubes. But I tell you something guys, I don’t like cubes. I don’t like cubes because I don’t think that cubes compress. Like cubes are nice if I want to like have a bunch of little mini bags in my thing, but I need compression.


SuChin Pak  45:11

Is gonna be very quiet in compression.


Kulap Vilaysack  45:14

But they are a compression cubes, Paul there are.


Paul Scheer  45:16

Okay, well give me let me see. Show me a good one. I’ll talk to Jason about it.


Kulap Vilaysack  45:24

Oh, so do you have like you have a vacuum? You’re packing.


Paul Scheer  45:30

Here’s the thing, you can use the vacuum if you want. You don’t have, okay, so these are made by Ziploc you put your stuff in it, your roll it up, you sit on it, you knock all that air out. It’s damp, I traveled for God like three weeks in Europe in a carry on. Because I had these Ziploc like they’re basically just giant, you know, not hefty bags, there’s Ziploc bags and you just kind of you sit on them. There’s a little air pouch on the side. But it down, roll it up. Put it away, it is truly a game changer.


Kulap Vilaysack  46:06

Okay, hold on.


SuChin Pak  46:09

Hold on, asking for friend, what size do I get for a Carry on?


Paul Scheer  46:16

Here’s the thing, yeah, I think the one that gave you there? They come in six different sizes.


SuChin Pak  46:21



Paul Scheer  46:21

Now I’ll tell you the other thing that I do with these. And if you want to like up your game like me, I’m doing this in my closet. I have these in my closet. I’m putting comforters in there. And I am using the vacuum on that sucks at all. It’s the most fulfilling thing you will ever do to suck air out of this bag and watch your comforter go down to the size of a craft single. Like it is amazing.


SuChin Pak  46:49

I love all the food references because that’s universal. It’s not inches, it’s about junk food references, yeah.


Paul Scheer  46:56

Yes, yes.


Kulap Vilaysack  46:57

So the lore of being of Zouk’s Cubes is that SuChin, reuses Ziploc bags, gallon bags, and that’s what she’s up to. So you’re basically this is the option for SuChin Pak.


SuChin Pak  47:09

What I say it’s already coming.


Kulap Vilaysack  47:10



Paul Scheer  47:10

Let me let me tell you, I’m traveling always with three quart Ziploc bags, no matter what. That’s where I put all my toiletries. I’m not fucking around. If that thing explodes, I’ve tossed that bag. I got two more in there, who cares? There’s not putting it in every time they say oh, yeah, you can clean out this thing. I don’t want to clean out this thing. I’m not gonna clean out this toiletry bag. No, I put them in their own little things, they always are gonna leak. There’s always oh, I didn’t close it enough or whatever oh, they never leaked, they do.


Paul Scheer  47:11

I’m always traveling. I’m always try away. Su, you will be shocked because a Ziploc bag is great. But these are the compression ones because there is the valve on them.


Kulap Vilaysack  47:52

Okay, so I understand that you could just sort of squeeze the air out I thought you needed like a vacuum because it doesn’t make sense on the way home.


Paul Scheer  48:01

No, yeah, no, no, no, that’s what I that’s what I thought to you just push it out. Like you can roll it you can do whatever you said to sit on it. And you know, like you just keep on pushing it down. And then it really does, you are shocked how much air you can get out of it. And I will say that like I open and close that bag. So I had three bags. I was in and out in and out in and out like it was raining in in Europe when we were there so took the boys jackets, put them in there, down. We needed those jackets when it wasn’t raining.


SuChin Pak  48:29

Guess what? Guess what? They’re clear.


Kulap Vilaysack  48:31

They’re clear what she needs to be able to see. Her problem with cubes is that she doesn’t remember.


SuChin Pak  48:37

Who’s keeping track of 36 cubes. I was saying yesterday I have to keep track with 36 colors, that’s […]


Paul Scheer  48:49

I also think and look and not to throw any shade at Jason […] but I will say that a lot of Zouk’s Cubes are based on the fact he doesn’t want to put his clothes in a hotel room drops. He wants a condom around his clothes. And like I feel like it’s yes you can pack them great whatever but it really is more about I think it’s more about him just staying germ free than it is about compression that’s at least my take on it.


SuChin Pak  49:23

Thrown, gauntlet thrown.


Kulap Vilaysack  49:24

No I think he would would 100% agree with that.


SuChin Pak  49:27



Paul Scheer  49:28

I look and maybe people swear by the cubes, but I will tell you I’ve never been more happy than this zip lock, compression bags.


Kulap Vilaysack  49:33

I did not know this. This is […] the liver.


Paul Scheer  49:39

I came in as a straight up enemy. I was like, here’s what I’ll say. Halfway through that European trip. I was like God I wish I brought one more of these Ziploc bags. Like I was mad cuz I didn’t believe in them,  now I believe in them now I’m fully converted, fully converted.


SuChin Pak  49:55

Holy shit.


Kulap Vilaysack  49:56

What a plot twist I just didn’t see cuz I don’t think any of our listeners saw this coming now.


SuChin Pak  50:03

No, no.


Paul Scheer  50:03

I didn’t see it coming either. I’m relatively new, because I’ve I’ve been playing with these cubes. I bought a lot of cubes of trying to make the cubes work. And I just find I’m like, well, I what I do is I pack all my cubes. I’m like, well, nothing fits now. Then I just unpack the cubes. I pack it, and I’m like, well, it all fits without the cubes. And I’m like, why are the cubes? What are the cubes? What I need the cube?


Kulap Vilaysack  50:24

Too many cubes.


SuChin Pak  50:31

It’s just 36 different size condoms. Call it what it is.


Paul Scheer  50:36

It is, I don’t I don’t get any relief from going like, oh yeah, I just throw my underwear bag in that. Then I’m like, I’m constantly in bags. I like the one thing I like, oh my god, can you just set up, can I just be somewhere? It’s like, a it’s in the drawer, it’s gonna get on me. And like, honestly, there’s my what are they? What is gonna get on me? What’s gonna get on? And then what am I gonna protect? Oh, so whatever, that thing won’t crawl into the bag. Of course it’s gonna crawl on the bag. It’s on to the bag. Then why do you need the cube?


Kulap Vilaysack  51:07

Whoa, you’re saying? Well, as you know, Paul, there is he hasn’t explained it to us too. But there’s a whole process of cleaning the cubes at home. There’s a there’s a tarp. We the one we love the retreads we […]


Paul Scheer  51:24

Tarp, there’s a tarp?


SuChin Pak  51:27

Okay, let’s not let’s no.


Kulap Vilaysack  51:29

He’s not here it’s about, all right.


Paul Scheer  51:33

No, it’s I do want it you know, it’s like, like, and like Jason makes things complicated on the packing. Because like, yes, like, sometimes I’m like, why won’t he respond to a text and maybe he’s out there on a tarp cleaning cubes? I don’t know.


Kulap Vilaysack  51:47

Well, he might be reorganized […]


SuChin Pak  51:51

He is organizing his bins.


Kulap Vilaysack  51:53

His bins of, you do love it.


Paul Scheer  51:59

I talked about in the book, I have a I have a collection of I believe stereo stary light whatever Tupperware boxes are the best. I’m always give me a big […] don’t give me a cube, give me a bed. And you know what? I also like, what do you like a milk crate? Yeah, get a milk crate, and whoever is out there, charging an arm and a leg for milk crate, kudos to you. You figured out this system because all of a sudden I’m paying 2999 for a fucking milk crate. I’m like, I think I can get this cheaper. I don’t know where somebody’s gonna give me a Columbian on where I get cheaper milk crates because I’m buying milk crates are too expensive. It’s just a milk crate.


Kulap Vilaysack  52:39

Right? But you’re getting premium milk crates.


SuChin Pak  52:47

I think I mean, what a way to end just the the journey.


Kulap Vilaysack  52:54

What a journey.


SuChin Pak  52:55

The joy, the tears, the laughter, the I’m feeling pretty, pretty happy right now. How we landed this plane is all I’m gonna say, and it’s not about me.


Paul Scheer  53:10

You know? No, but the by the way. We got to take our victories and we can get them.


SuChin Pak  53:14

I like how you landed this plane.


Paul Scheer  53:16

You and I, we got our stuff. We figured it out, you and I talk I got that thing that white device that I’ve yet to pull out on an airplane because I am too embarrassed by it, but I do have it. Su gave me this white.


SuChin Pak  53:30

It’s meant but I hope that you have messed around with it.


Kulap Vilaysack  53:35

What is this, what is it?


SuChin Pak  53:38

It’s so hard to describe, it’s again, something for your neck and your shoulders.


Kulap Vilaysack  53:42

Oh, of course, thank you Paul for the book number one for being part of aunties book club number two.


Paul Scheer  53:52

Thank you so much for having me on aunties book club.


Kulap Vilaysack  53:54

I mean, maybe pick up a year. I mean, you’ll you’ll be back. You’ll be back in December. We’ll see we’ll see how it all shakes out.


Paul Scheer  54:00

Okay, look, I only to be the pickup today is all I care about. Honestly, I don’t need anything more than that, the truth honestly, like talking to the two of you was really awesome, thank you.


Kulap Vilaysack  54:12

Thank you, please follow Paul on Instagram @PaulScheer. Pick up a copy of Joyful Recollections of Trauma wherever books are sold perhaps you do it at, perhaps you get the audiobook at Libro.


Paul Scheer  54:26

Yeah, do we do whatever you like I’m not here to prescribe. I’m just here to give you options if people want to get back get back.


Kulap Vilaysack  54:32

Come back.


Paul Scheer  54:34

Back get back, thank you both I will talk to you soon at Christmas.


CREDITS  54:45

There’s more Add To Cart with Lemonada premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like where we tell you about the last item we bought or return and why subscribe now in Apple podcasts.

Add To Cart is a production of Lemonada Media. Our producers are Kegan Zema and Tiffany Bouy. Brian Castillo is our engineer. Theme music is by Wasahhbii and produced by La Made It and Oh So Familiar with additional music by APM music. Executive producers or Kulap Vilaysack, SuChin Pak, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and Stephanie Wittels Wachs. Be sure to check out all the items we mentioned today on our Instagram at @AddToCartPod. Follow Add to Cart wherever you get your podcasts or listen at free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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