Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Easy Otis Interview #1: Josh Modell of The Onion AV Club

Hey - welcome to the first of a semi-regular, fully awesome NEW feature on Easy Otis: THE EASY OTIS INTERVIEW. We'll be posting updates from our favorite rabble rousers, musicians, newsmakers, jailbreakers, filmmakers, writers, and sinners both local and not-so-local so stay tuned, spread the word and next time you see Otis, high five him!

Our cherry popper (ewwww) is none other than Shorewood native JOSH MODELL. Modell survived growing up and hustlin on the mean streets of the North Shore and has been holding it down at The Onion, managing their edits as Managing Editor.

EASY OTIS INTERVIEW w/ Josh Modell, Managing Editor @ The Onion AV Club, Contributing Writer @ SPIN Magazine

OTIS: Where are you right now / whats going on?
JOSH: I'm in bed in a hotel in L.A. I'm on vacation and just woke up. My wife is off having breakfast with a friend of hers, so I just watched the classic episode of Saved By The Bell (the last 10 minutes, anyway) in which Lisa and Zack decide they like each other, and Screech gets so mad he decides he wants to have a fist-fight with Zack. After Screech does some silly karate moves, he tears the top few buttons off of Zack's shirt, exposing his hairless, gleaming chest. The studio audience oohed. (Don't worry, they're friends by the end of the episode.)

OTIS: Ever do an interview where your subjects hair was memorable in any
way? (ie: Bizarre, distracting, you thinking "what the fuck is up with this

JOSH: The only one that might qualify, coincidentally, is when I interviewed Screech (a.k.a. Dustin Diamond) in person back in 2002. I think his hair was probably calmer than I thought it would be, all things considered. But still, he's got the kind of hair that, even when it's short, you know it's threatening to jump out at you. The interview took place upstairs at the Miramar Theater/Walls Have Ears Studio, your sorta-neighbor on Oakland Avenue. (Here's a link:,13750/) It's not the most exciting interview, but I'm proud to point out that Chuck Klosterman quoted it in a piece in Sex, Drugs, And Cocoa Puffs.

OTIS: What are you working on outside of The Onion / journalism world?
JOSH: I wish I had something grand to say, but my time is pretty much consumed by work, but that's okay, because I like my work and it interests me. If I didn't have the job I have, I'd still be listening to music and watching movies in my free time. The A.V. Club just finished (or is in the process of finishing) a book that will be out in October, so that's eaten up any free time I might've had over the last year. That said, I'm on vacation right now, so there will be some fine dining and sun-basking in the next couple of days.

OTIS: Who will have a better season: Brewers or Cubs? (ed. note: Josh is Milw native now based in Chi)
JOSH: I wish I could answer this question, but I am woefully (and yet willfully) ignorant of most professional sports. I like to watch poker on TV, but only John Hodgman considers that an actual sport. If this were the early 80s and I was still attending Lake Bluff School, I would definitely say the Brewers. I got Don Money's autograph on my glove in 1982 or 1983, at the grand opening of North Shore Bank, just down the street from The Establishment! I have lots of old-school Oakland Avenue memories...

NEXT EASY OTIS INTERVIEW: a tale of two Brians: Brian Ritchie, Violent Femmes and rock photographer / Milwaukee filmmaker Brian Dell. Stay Tuned!

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