January 30, 2024
Glennon Doyle: [00:00:00] Dan Levy, I love you. Hi everybody. Dan, I’m Glennon and this is Abby. I
Dan Levy: know who everyone is here. I know who everyone is. What a thrill.
Glennon Doyle: You have three massive fans right here. Not just of every other thing you’ve done in Schitt’s Creek, [00:00:30] obviously, but of the movie Good Grief. We loved it so much. Thank
Dan Levy: you so much.
Glennon Doyle: It’s so beautiful. We have a daughter who’s a musician. Okay. She’s in high school and she calls us from the library sometimes freaking out because she’s just put out a song and she has to go into the hallway of high school and walk through the hallway. While people are listening to her most vulnerable words that she has put out into the world, like, here is my heart and I’m trying the hardest [00:01:00] to do this thing.
And she will come home and say, being an artist is so embarrassing.
Dan Levy: I wish I was that evolved in high school, to be perfectly honest. I wish I had that kind of like professional and emotional and creative clarity. That’s amazing. Yeah, it’s very weird. It’s been a very strange time, because in a way, like, for me, the great joy of all of this is making things.
I love to make things. I love to build things from the ground up. [00:01:30] I love to conceive of ideas and bring them to life. To me, there’s no greater thrill creatively than thinking something in your head, and literally watching it physically manifest. I remember the very first day I walked onto the sets of Schitt’s Creek, and it was like It was the closest I think I’ve come to walking into a dream because these places and these details and the feel existed in my head for so long as we were writing it and then [00:02:00] suddenly you walk into these physical places and they are exactly what you had pictured them to be so it’s kind of like it’s this wonderful process and then you have to put it out into the world and then you have to put it out to be criticized and written about and all of these things that happen.
That are very necessary and important parts of the job, but certainly not the parts that I love.
Glennon Doyle: I’m with you, Dan. Less walking into a dream. [00:02:30] A little less
Dan Levy: walking into a dream, but for some people it is. I mean, people who love doing press and people who see press as kind of the, you know, an evolution of their career.
Great. I’m thrilled for you. For me, the fun kind of stops. Not that I’m not enjoying myself, but it is a very different thing. And I think as a socially anxious person, now you’re actually having to physically interact with people. It’s a whole thing, especially something [00:03:00] that’s like really personal, which is why I’m talking so much right now.
Glennon Doyle: so good. Okay, can we just put a pin in there and PodSquad, think about the power of art and imagination. Okay, because what Dan is saying is that Dan thinks of a world. a dream world and then creates it and puts it in front of us. The reason why that’s revolutionary, Abby and I, while watching Schitt’s Creek 47, 000 times.
Oh, what’s [00:03:30] missing from the show? Why does it feel so freaking safe and beautiful? And oh, there’s no homophobia in this world. Wait, what? But we’re supposed to only have one storyline. We’re like, we fight against the homophobia the whole time. That’s our arc, right? You didn’t have any. Did I miss it? Was that a deliberate decision?
Dan Levy: Yeah, it was. Um, and no, we didn’t. In fact, the only episode where I think we ever even flirted with the idea of [00:04:00] homophobia was in Patrick’s coming out episode where we were, I was, interpreting that He was interpreting it as a potential blockage between himself and his parents. But in the end, what was the great sort of hook of that episode was we took all the tropes of a coming out episode, which was like, will they accept me?
Will they do this? Will they do that? Misreading their Sort of awkwardness and hesitation around finding out that their son was [00:04:30] gay, which was an accident that I ended up getting to them before he could tell them, but the whole twist of that was that the tension that existed was because they themselves felt.
Like they had done something wrong that he couldn’t come to them earlier and that there was any hesitation in the first place. So we got to play on the stereotypical sort of coming out to your parents thing, except that tension was completely reversed. And that to me was such an indication of [00:05:00] what we wanted to say with the show, which was just.
If you are going to be phobic or intolerant of anything, turn the channel, so to speak.
Glennon Doyle: So beautiful. And it really is such a powerful, amazing thing about art because does it reflect the world or is the world going to reflect that?
Dan Levy: Well, honestly, I mean that, that really was our philosophy. It started very early on with the show.
I think when you write about a small town so [00:05:30] often small town people and small town life get caricatured as being silly or less smart than the sort of cosmopolitan people that they’re interacting with. And for us, we wanted to kind of celebrate small town culture and make the family the butt of the joke.
And in doing that, you had to make the townspeople smarter and more emotionally and socially evolved than the family coming to the [00:06:00] town. So in a way, the whole philosophy of the show wrote itself. When we decided that this town was going to be a safe haven for these people and then it was just an inevitability that you remove any kind of negative tension from the town and the town’s people and that was something I don’t even think we thought of as being revolutionary at the time it was just what if this town was a better place than [00:06:30] we could ever imagine what if this town was a place that allowed our family to feel free and safe enough to To understand ourselves in ways that we had never understood ourselves in the big city.
And with that came this general idea of acceptance across the board. It was an amazing thing, but at the time it wasn’t conscious. It was just like, Oh, well, this seems sweet. This seems like I would like that. But sometimes that’s all it takes. It’s just a desire [00:07:00] to kind of write something that is a sweeter world than the one we live in now and hope that people catch up.
Glennon Doyle: God. So listen, you just write down, this seems sweet. And that is what eventually turns into a revolution.
Abby Wambach: I don’t know.
Dan Levy: I don’t know. I’d like to say it was like a far more cerebral intellectual thing, but it was just impulse. Oh,
Glennon Doyle: what was the impulse to next focus on grief? We have so many questions. We [00:07:30] are both in different griefy parts of our life.
Why was this the next
Dan Levy: thing for you? Well, I didn’t really know at the time after finishing the show that what I explored next was going to be about grief, but I did know that it was going to be, whether it was a television show or a film at the time, I didn’t even know I was going to make a movie. I thought it might’ve been a TV show, but I knew that I wanted it to center around contemporary adult friendships, because for me, [00:08:00] My friendships are the most valuable sort of parts of my life outside of my family and I think for a lot of members of the queer community.
Friendships oftentimes mean more than family if, if you don’t have family and yet in movies, movies more so than TV, the friendship storyline never gets to be the central focus. Friends in movies often act as [00:08:30] like comedic foils. They help encourage the protagonist on their quest for love. And they’re often the funniest, most interesting characters in the movie.
And yet we know nothing about them. And so, I wanted to tell a story about Friendship as it pertains to me as I get older in my life and my friendships like mean more and more and the texture and the sort of dimensionality of friendships end up becoming weightier and weightier, the [00:09:00] more our lives take on shape and weight and then over the pandemic, I lost my grandmother and was really kind of For the first time, I mean, I’ve been lucky enough to not have a lot of loss in my life.
And so this was the big one that happened most recently to me. And I was really grappling with how to feel because the pandemic had kind of laid this foundational layer of grief in all of us to then have a [00:09:30] personal loss on top of that. I just found myself very confused as to whether I was feeling enough for my grandmother.
Because the foundation layer of grief was there to begin with. So to kind of pluck a strand that was very personal to me out of this Already overwhelming state of grief became this conversation that I was having with myself about am I feeling what I need to feel? My body isn’t reacting in the way [00:10:00] that I thought it would or the way that movies had told me that it should.
So what does it mean? And am I failing at it? And that conversation around, are you doing the right thing? Is there a right way to do it? Became the, the sort of the seedling for this film. And I thought, well, what an amazing way to, to tell a story about friendship. Using grief as the catalyst for these friends to kind of [00:10:30] understand their lives better and support each other and break down and then come back together.
So that was it. Oftentimes it just comes down to like a question and the need to explore it.
Glennon Doyle: So what are your conclusions about grief? Like, for example, have you figured out? First of all, how did it feel in your body that you were like, is it supposed to feel this way? I mean, what’s the line from the movie?
It feels like [00:11:00] swimming in clothes and I can’t take them off. That’s right. What were you feeling that you were thinking? Is this what grief is supposed to feel like? Like, how did it feel
Dan Levy: to you? I wasn’t feeling as much as I thought. I wasn’t crying as much as I thought. I was questioning whether I had lost a part of my sensitivity.
I was wondering whether also at the time it was like coinciding with the success of my TV show and I’m so [00:11:30] sensitive to like, not losing myself to an industry that can swallow you whole. So on top of it, I was also asking questions of like, well, have I been just so distracted by all these sort of wonderful things that had been happening that I wasn’t clear enough.
To like feel the things that I like what it was. I was running through the gamut of why I wasn’t feeling what I was feeling and then it came to me later. It hit me really 2 months later. [00:12:00] It was snowing. I was home in Toronto taking my dog for a walk and it was one of those like beautiful nights where the snowflakes are huge and they’re falling at like a very slow cinematic pace and It’s beautiful.
And I was sort of having such a struggle and the world was having such a struggle, but the visual, the beauty of the earth continuing, despite my struggle, despite anything else, had the, I had this very strange philosophical like [00:12:30] cry in the snow because life moves on and you can spend your time worrying about whether you’re doing something right or wrong, or you can just feel You know, and that I think was what cracked open this whole thing.
And it’s interesting because the New York times wrote about the film in a really beautiful way, funnily enough, in a way that. Made it easier for me to communicate, which was I’m summarizing, but they said, you know, the [00:13:00] film is not about and by film I mean, you know It pertains to grief It’s not about resolution it’s about loving your way through it and Sometimes it takes someone else’s eyes on something you’ve done to kind of crystallize what you wanted to say And that, to me, I think, was the big takeaway that I had in, in, like, the catharsis of making the movie.
And, ultimately, I think it resulted in that [00:13:30] line that Celia Imri delivers toward the end of the movie, which is that, to avoid sadness is to also avoid love. Yeah. And that, I think, is the big takeaway. And it’s amazing when you write, because sometimes those words catch you off guard. I lost my dog five days before I started writing the script.
And he was my shadow. I’ve, uh, you know, we had just spent our little, like, ten years together, and I don’t know if I could have [00:14:00] Written the script in the way that I did had I not had that additional level of Exposure to a huge loss. So sometimes I don’t know you got to turn to art if you can to try and figure it out
Glennon Doyle: trying to figure [00:14:30] out the The connection between, so I’m in another realm of recovery right now from all the things. And I had like a little relapse over Christmas and I was like, so confused about it because I felt like I was doing really well. And I met with my therapist recently and she was trying to talk me through what had happened right before.
And the wild thing is. That if there is something to be [00:15:00] very sad about, if I don’t allow myself space to feel sad about it, I relapse. It’s a direct connection all the time. And I keep saying to my therapist, Okay, so then how do I do it right? Like, what am I supposed to do? And she just keeps saying, I don’t know.
You just have to make space to feel it. But don’t you think that that’s so interesting? Because Dan, I would [00:15:30] say I get afraid that I’m not feeling stuff enough. Like I’m like a robot or something. I feel like, Oh my God, am I not? I mean, there is something that’s just space. It’s just giving yourself space.
Cause do you ever find yourself running to art too fast? That’s good. I’m like, I’ll just write a paragraph. I’ll just, I’ll make a poem. Is there a too fast,
Dan Levy: you know, like that night taking my dog for a walk, I came back home and I wrote this like long stream of consciousness [00:16:00] attempt at articulating the feeling that I had and I still can’t, I can’t articulate it properly.
People at home listening to this are like, I don’t understand snow. You’re crying. What’s going on? I don’t really get it either, but there was some like deeply sort of meaningful. Confrontation that I had in that moment and I wrote it down not for anything other than to try to make sense of it and document it because if I ever needed to go back, it’s there [00:16:30] if I ever needed to tap into like an attempt at trying to continue to clarify that feeling, it’s there.
I don’t think oftentimes when I do try to go straight into writing something or making something it fails. Because it’s impulsive and it’s coming from a place that is slightly more surface and everything that has ever worked for me has come from a very guttural, emotional place because it is that if you don’t have a real [00:17:00] bedrock of emotion thrusting your story forward.
It runs out of steam really fast.
Amanda Doyle: yeah. And because it’s too tidy. What I loved about your movie is that it kind of weirdly tracked my own grief journey over my own marriage. I grieved my marriage when I thought [00:17:30] that I had lost my marriage because my husband had chosen his job over me. And then several months into clearing out the home we shared together, I received a Christmas gift, similar to the Christmas card, and I won’t spoil your movie, but, and it was a baby’s first Christmas ornament, which
Dan Levy: was
Amanda Doyle: for my husband to end his [00:18:00] then Uh, baby.
So I realized that what I was grieving was not what I thought I was grieving. Wow. And never with the eye, and no contact, so no, no ability to resolve. No ability to even understand if the story now that I thought I was grieving was the actual story or, and so for me,
Dan Levy: it just, I really think you. Oh wow, that [00:18:30] did hit close to home.
Amanda Doyle: Yes. And you don’t see enough stories like the story that you told and I thank you for that because I think that. Like when you’re saying rushing too quickly to write or rushing to, it’s like, we’re like, Oh, I see what the story is. Okay. Let me make sense of it. Let me make sense of it. But you can’t really ever make full sense of grief.
Glennon Doyle: always ambiguous. It is
Amanda Doyle: always complicated and what story are you grieving and are you grieving the one you experienced or the [00:19:00] one the world is telling you happened to you? It’s just, it’s very complicated and I love how messy the story was and I think it really dovetails. with people’s lived experience more than the kind of tropes we usually get that are way too
Dan Levy: tidy.
I mean, I’m sorry to hear that story, but I’m glad that it, it spoke to you in that way, which I think like, as you were talking, I’m like, well, this all, I mean, it makes sense because the cycle of our [00:19:30] emotions takes time. So if we were to experience something and then go straight into writing about it, are we, Writing about the full experience, considering the experience itself can’t really be told until time has passed.
If you had written about your divorce, when it happened, think about what you’d be missing out on. Had you not waited and this whole other element, this whole other [00:20:00] dimension and level of complexity to your relationship, to your husband, would have gone missing from the story.
Amanda Doyle: And then we’re constantly trying to figure out who’s the good guy, who’s the bad guy, who was righted, who was wronged.
And so even deciding what point in the timeline you decide to like. Pick up your steak and say, I’m telling it from here. That’s just all about our desire to want to show that we were aggrieved or show that someone else was good when really [00:20:30] everyone is just a mess of good and bad on every side of it.
Like that part in the story when you’re like, what I would give to have that fight with him. I’m mad, but even more than I’m mad, I miss the ability to be mad at him.
Dan Levy: Because I think that’s, you have to almost scratch deeper than you want to get to the truth. You know, it’s like, our head, our brains give us The easy answer [00:21:00] and then it’s like if you stuck around for like that much longer and asked one more question Would you get to something?
That’s maybe more painful, but ultimately the truth Yeah.
Abby Wambach: I think that that’s what grief is and it’s why it hurts so much is because it’s truth thrown in your face, whether you want it or not. And my therapist has been talking to me a lot about it. I lost my older brother and she [00:21:30] said this beautiful thing and I’ll never forget it.
She said, now, of course, this is horrific and tragic. And you’re so sad and upset. And. It’s also this portal. There’s like this portal that opens up over a period of time now for you that will eventually close over time. And I think it’s like. Especially with death, grieving somebody who’s gone now, it’s like this weird [00:22:00] interaction with this truth of life that we all walk around ignoring almost every moment of our lives.
Right? And we’re like, then confronted with it. And it’s like, look at me. And what are you going to do about this knowing? And that’s what I’ve been really obsessed with over the last couple of weeks. Like, Oh, okay. Keep this portal open as long as possible, because being as close to this truth, I think it speaks to what you just said, [00:22:30] Dan, like it just gets you down into the deeper questions that gets to more of the truth of why we’re all here.
You guys are all storytellers. You’re trying to tell the truth and it must be so impossible to say, yeah, that movie’s done. That book is done. Cause did we actually get to the
Dan Levy: truth? I don’t know.
Glennon Doyle: Yeah. It’s so good.
Dan Levy: It’s so good. I think just on, on that point, it’s like, it’s also the only time almost on a science fiction level, which I think does our brain in where you think I loved this [00:23:00] person so much.
My dog was with me every single day. I came home. He was no longer there. When on earth do we think about the removal of people and things that we and animals, you know, where do they go? Where do
Abby Wambach: you go? Why are you not here? What is happening?
Glennon Doyle: Oh my God. That’s what Dan, she keeps like, we’ll be in bed and she’ll be like, where
Dan Levy: did he [00:23:30] go?
Where did you go? And there are moments where you’re like, can I come with, like, where are you? And it has nothing to do with not wanting to be on earth. But I did find myself when you have a dog. In my case, I don’t have a partner, but I had someone that I loved in my home every day. Mm-Hmm. . And when they go away, when these loved ones that are so close to us that we’ve spent our, like in, in your case, your whole life with where do you go?
Mm-Hmm. . And [00:24:00] I would love to come with you, . Yeah. Especially when things are tough on this weird planet that we’re slowly destroying. Like, where are you? And is it better? Mm-Hmm. . Yeah.
Abby Wambach: Is it better? Yep. I keep thinking, well, cause I’ve always had kind of an outsized fear of death and I’ve talked a lot about that with my therapist and it’s like, I’m not actually afraid of that world.
I’m more like, what is it like? What is it? And I think about before I have [00:24:30] consciousness. And I think that I was fine, like the before me time I, I was fine and now I, like, I try to attribute that to the, that must be what it’s like in the after time too. I don’t
Dan Levy: know. It also, like, I’m not a very religious person and I don’t know if I believe in ghosts.
Like I don’t even know if I believe in these things. And then something like that happens. And I’m asking, where did you go? There are people out there that would be like. Nowhere, like they’re done. They have [00:25:00] stopped. And I don’t know. And I, I have been that person who’s been the pragmatist. And yet in the moment of like, does it make any sense?
My raw truth in my home, I’m asking, where did you go? So that has to show that we have faith in something. That’s right. I don’t know what it is. Are we saying that
Amanda Doyle: the thing go, or are we saying like between? You and me, there was so much, there were [00:25:30] universes of love and energy and connection. And so even if you stopped, energy cannot be created or destroyed.
Like that exists. So is it like, where does all of that go?
Dan Levy: Like it does your head in. Yeah, but it’s also completely illuminating. Totally.
Abby Wambach: And I just told Glennon the other day, I was like, I think I want to talk to a medium and just see what’s up.
Glennon Doyle: The faith we have gotten in the last two weeks is through the roof.
We are suddenly, [00:26:00] what’s
Abby Wambach: a portal? Yeah, I feel like the portal is open and I’m taking all advantage of trying to figure out. What the fuck is
Dan Levy: going on over there?
Glennon Doyle: It’s a beautiful place to be in mystery, right? We’ll forget it again. We’ll forget the mystery. We’ll be back into the minutiae of pretending that we know things.
When grief comes, whatever the hell it is, I have a tendency to like, go to my head and that can be like writing for me. It’s like, Oh no, I can fix this. I can, if I can make this mean something for [00:26:30] myself or for anyone else, it’s fixed, it’s fixed, it’s fixed. And then I’m talking a lot and I’m in my head.
And then there’s this part where I can get to every once in a while, only recently, where the only words I have are like a kindergartner, I’m like, I’m so sad. And it’s just this murky. And I think, like, all the control of grief is in our brain, and then when we, like, sink down and it’s in our body, that’s, like, [00:27:00] where the processing happens.
Like, I can’t process
Dan Levy: it. But isn’t that ultimately, like, it’s not a regression, it’s a distillation. Yes. Because if you think about kindergarten kids, they don’t have the vocabulary to say anything other than exactly what they’re feeling. So For me, like, in this wonderful therapy session that we’re all having right now, it feels like a true distillation of your feelings, and sometimes the simplicity of it can catch us off guard [00:27:30] because it’s not a book, and it’s not a person’s TED talk, and it’s not anything.
It’s just the simplicity of a feeling. And that I think is actually what great writing is, is essentially simplifying things to a point where you’re using like words that Yeah. Yeah. That’s really good. Yeah.
Abby Wambach: Only words that help.
Glennon Doyle: I love all the [00:28:00] different kinds of grief in the movie, all the different kinds of grief.
Cause you know, I was thinking when, when you lose a person who’s a partner or a dog, where did it go? You’re talking about the person or the dog in the relationship, but you’re also talking about your imagined future. Like what’s gone? Is your entire plan for your entire life. Yeah. That’s a weird ass thing.
That’s part of that grief that we don’t identify. It’s not just the loss of the person. It’s the entire loss of my [00:28:30] entire plan. And then, when you have the betrayal grief, it’s your loss of your past.
Dan Levy: Yeah. Yes. Oh. And future. And your
Amanda Doyle: story.
Dan Levy: And future. Mmm. It was, for me, it was like, It’s centered around friendship, but it was also important to tell kind of like a little prince journey of somebody who walks through this movie realizing that everyone that he needs, it’s [00:29:00] revealed that they’re grieving something big and small.
And ultimately, that is one of the takeaways as well, which is That oftentimes grief can feel like this incredibly isolated experience because it’s hitting you and you leave your house and you look around and people are in the grocery store and kids are laughing and things people are carrying on and you are in grief you’re in pain you are oftentimes it’s like inescapable insufferable all consuming [00:29:30] pain and when people around you are Are not experiencing that it can send you into an even greater state of isolation because you think no one understands and yet I think what I wanted to explore through the movie is that everybody is grieving something.
Everybody in the room that you’re in is grieving something. Everybody in the grocery store that you’re shopping at is grieving something if you were to scratch the surface of their lives. And there’s community in that if we can just be more [00:30:00] open about it. But there seems to be this desire. I don’t know whether it’s like a human, natural thing to just take it in.
And maybe it’s because a lot of times what I’ve realized with friends that I’ve had to navigate is that I see outreach. When I call my friends and tell them I have a problem, I see it as an act of love. Because it means that I’m close enough to you to come to you with this. I think a lot of people see [00:30:30] outreach to their friends and their family as a burden.
And it’s not. I mean, it is if you become the friend that’s constantly calling with a problem and not listening to anyone else. Yes. But I think honesty and friendship is the greatest act of love. You should never be in a place where you can’t feel like you can speak to your friends. But
Glennon Doyle: we have no lessons for it.
And one of the things I love about this conversation in the movie is look at these friends struggling to [00:31:00] communicate with each other. Like we only see people in romantic relationships struggling. We need, well, how many books, how many shows, how many, what industry entire industry is based on? Romantic couples learning to communicate with each other when really our friends are the ones we stay with through all the ups and downs, and we don’t value bettering that communication or care with each other.
And we don’t value that struggle as much because it’s hard. It’s just as hard to talk to your friend about your struggles [00:31:30] as it
Dan Levy: is. It’s true. I think a lot of people would say it would be harder to talk to their friends. And yet that kind of investment is necessary in the longevity of a friendship. And so.
It’s important to be truthful with your friends, and it’s important to speak about the hard truths with them, and that’s what this movie is about, it’s like, As I got older, your 20s, like, it’s great, you’re having fun, you don’t need the same things from your friends that you need as you get into your 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, [00:32:00] onwards.
The more that your life takes shape, and the higher the stakes, That you feel in your own life, the more you kind of have to open up to your friends and the deeper your friendships have to be because we’re no longer in our twenties, you know, like we’re still having fun, hopefully, but it’s not that kind of blissful.
Unawareness. It’s a deeper sense of awareness of ourselves and each other and what we need from each other in order to [00:32:30] move through this life in community that makes us feel protected and those hard conversations with friends, we should be treating friendships the same way we’re treating relationships, give it the same care, give it the same respect, give it the same love, because I think somewhere along the line, someone has said friendships don’t mean as much.
As relationships and I just disagree
Abby Wambach: totally and it would actually probably take so much pressure off of those relationships, [00:33:00] marriages. Oh, absolutely. I do think it’s like impossible for one person to take on the soul, goodness
Glennon Doyle: and happiness. If it were possible, we would have done it. Yeah. We have tried.
Abby Wambach: Yeah. We’re the tried and true lesbians.
Glennon Doyle: I love that Thomas [00:33:30] is. Oh, Thomas,
Amanda Doyle: when he says, yes, we’re all a mess, but we need to try harder for each other. Oh,
Glennon Doyle: that was good. Tell me
Amanda Doyle: there’s this idea that with our friends, we can just all be the hot messes that we are all the time. And that’s somehow the, the benchmark of real friendship is you can be just as fucked up as you can possibly be around each other.
And yet it seems to [00:34:00] me what you’re saying there is like, do we not want to also not just save our worst for the people that we love who are our friends? Tell me more about that.
Dan Levy: I think sometimes the people we have closest to us, we excuse the most in ways that we wouldn’t excuse other people because we love them.
And we’ve come to just accept. That that’s who they are. The like hot mess life of the party friend. I [00:34:30] mean, Ruth Negga is such an unbelievable actress and just brought such a weight to that character. And that is a relationship that I think a lot of us have with our friends where you just excuse someone, write them off as being like, well, that’s just who they are.
And they drink too much and they get themselves into trouble, but it’s funny. And they’re laughing. So I should laugh. Yeah. But you know there’s something going on deeper, but because you’re so close to them, you don’t see it in the [00:35:00] way that someone walking in off the street would see it. And that’s where these reality checks and our friendships have to happen, because if you get too at ease with your friendships in terms of excusing bad behavior, are you really helping them?
Is that really friendship if you’re not willing to have the harder conversations and saying like, you know, I love you dearly, but like, is everything okay? Because I’ve been noticing there’s some [00:35:30] codependency. There’s some, there’s some issues. Um, in the case of the movie, it’s, it was substance abuse, which I didn’t want to hit an audience over the head with.
I wanted it to feel very natural and subtle, but yeah. We just have to have those conversations. And I think, you know, everyone has those friends that I think we look at and think, should I say something? And we choose either to, or we choose to ignore, but it really comes down to kind of the love. [00:36:00] Yeah. And the desire to have something more meaningful evolve over time.
Mm hmm. That’s good. And what I
Glennon Doyle: love about her is that it wasn’t heavy handed about the substance, like, that’s not what I took from her. I took from her, the substance was just her dealing with her own grief. Yeah. Which was, I’m too scared to show up for my life. Like I’m so scared of intimacy that I’m going to not do this.
I’m going to miss everything. And I feel like [00:36:30] that hit home for me and grief can look like the life of the party. Yeah. Grief can look like the life of the party. That person is scared shitless. Grief can look like Thomas and be steady, but be like, my grief is I’ve never chosen. I’m never the chosen one, right?
Like steadiness can be A lot of the people in the movie are making references to whether or not various [00:37:00] people have their shit together. What does it mean for someone to have their shit together?
Dan Levy: You know, I don’t know if anyone does, and I actually don’t even know if that’s a helpful barometer to hold up to yourself.
You know, it feels like someone along the way, it almost feels like a 90s author wrote a book called Do You Have Your Shit Together? And everyone subscribed to it. [00:37:30] And since then, we’ve all been questioning whether we have our shit together. And it’s like, I don’t know if that equation works anymore. It’s the same people
Amanda Doyle: who have balance.
Dan Levy: Yeah, or I mean, it’s, it is because essentially it’s one of those catchphrases that feels good but is very thin in its meaning. And I also, I don’t like being pressured or shamed into like. Yeah. You know? [00:38:00] So, I think the exploration of like, does anyone actually have their shit together, which is what was explored toward the end of the movie, the reality is that I don’t think anyone does.
How boring would your life be if you had your shit together? What does that mean? It means you’d have what everything’s in order and every relationship you have is high functioning and perfect. And your relationship with your family and friends is, is a plus and you have a lovely life and a house and a thing.
It’s like, [00:38:30] well, how boring, you know, I think we almost need to have some roughness in our life to, to keep things exciting and to keep us curious. It’s good. Thank you. Nobody knows what they’re doing. Nobody knows what they’re doing. What are we doing? I’ve had that conversation so much these days. What are we doing?
What are we doing? Nobody knows. And I think the more we talk about it, the more comfortable we’ll be because we look at [00:39:00] these people who we think know what they’re doing. And I don’t think they do. Sometimes it’s just a fluke and it works and you keep going. Yeah.
Glennon Doyle: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s
Amanda Doyle: so comforting or terrifying that no one knows what they’re doing.
It is like both things for me. It’s so liberating. Like,
Dan Levy: look, no one knows what they’re doing. Yeah. Or is it
Amanda Doyle: just like scares the bejesus
Dan Levy: out of you? Full chaos. Listen, that’s why it’s good to have these conversations. We just ask questions and they don’t necessarily have to have [00:39:30] answers. No.
Glennon Doyle: But there is something beautiful that you touch when this, whatever this word we’re saying, it’s just a word.
Grief. It’s just a word. Whatever it stands for. Which is we get reminded of something or something disappears from our life that we thought would be there forever. And then we get reminded and we’re just touching like a huge ocean of remembering that is always there. And other people [00:40:00] have different entry points to that.
Like every character in the movie or every person on this call has different entry points this year for their touching of the grief ocean. But is it really just a remembering of what is true and real? And is so freaking sad and scary and scary because the truth of things is we’re all going to lose each other.
Yeah. And it sounds horrible, but it’s actually the thing that makes us able to live with beauty. Like this snow thing. I [00:40:30] get that completely like in the face of this Titanic experience we are all having on this earth. This snow
Dan Levy: storm. Really? It was beautiful. Yeah. Yeah. Beauty. And it was out of my control.
It was something the earth did. The earth that we’re slowly tearing to shit still produces beauty in spite of it all. And then there’s me sobbing in the snow with my dog like months before he died. It was the whole [00:41:00] visual is so. Gorgeous and meaningful and sometimes it’s protect the earth. I guess is a big takeaway as well Do you
Glennon Doyle: sometimes need the beauty juxtaposed to feel the sadness because I only can somebody dies I’m like this for two weeks and then I watch a musical That has somebody in it Hysterics.
Like I need to see the beauty of the thing juxtaposed next against
Dan Levy: the sadness. [00:41:30] Well, for the movie, I think that’s why I made a very sort of conscious choice to have the aesthetic of the film be really elevated and like sumptuous and beautiful because it only helped to exemplify the sense of isolation in my characters.
sort of world. He married a very successful man who gave him a beautiful life. They had a beautiful home. His success afforded a beautiful sort [00:42:00] of adventure through Europe. And yet, What does that mean? And it’s there when you need it. In a way it was to show the isolation but also to comfort the audience watching the movie.
Yes. Because I never wanted it to feel too inescapably heavy. So if you have like a beautiful living room and you’re having a really heavy conversation, at least from an audience’s perspective there is that softness to the experience of watching
Glennon Doyle: it. Dan, that’s why we can do your things. That’s [00:42:30] why we can listen to your hard conversations.
It’s because you’re always wearing the coziest sweaters.
Dan Levy: Lots of good sweaters. And it
Glennon Doyle: feels like we’re going to be okay. Like we’re wrapped in coziness while we have this challenging conversation.
Abby Wambach: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I have a huge level of safety whenever I watch your stuff. Like I just know that I’m safe and I’ve never had that conscious thought before watching anybody else.
Dan Levy: That’s so kind. That I think is like the greatest [00:43:00] compliment you could ever get. I don’t know. I think you really have to think about your audience. You obviously have to shut them out when you’re making something, but then when you’re putting it all together, I think understanding how the audience could perceive something and knowing when to give them a breath, knowing when to, I mean, that’s why there’s humor throughout this film as well, because not only is that life, But it’s also opportunities for the audience to crack.
Yes. It’s life. Sometimes you [00:43:30] laugh at the most inopportune times because you have to. Because laughter is, I think, one of our greatest coping mechanisms. It’s why it happens sometimes without our even knowing it. Because it’s a way of letting the tension out. So it was important through all of this to find those little moments of humor and lightness to alleviate the tension and the weight of it all.
Because it’s life, you know, you never, it’s never just serious all the way through. [00:44:00]
Glennon Doyle: Sister, do you have any final questions for Dan before we let him go make more beautiful things? No, just
Amanda Doyle: thank you for making a complicated, beautiful show. Thank you for always telling queer stories as queer stories without all of the extra baggage that the world puts on it.
And thank you for being
Dan Levy: who you are. I love this podcast so much. So it’s such a thrill to be here and. Chat with you all.
Glennon Doyle: Always tell us [00:44:30] everything you’re doing. We will support every
Dan Levy: single case. . I absolutely will. I will be here more often than not. In that case, please, I’ll find any opportunity. Come back.
We’ll back here next Tuesday. . Yeah. We love you. We love you. Thank you. Thank you so much. This was such a great chat. Thank much. Thank you.