I am a big fan of Dax Shepard’s weekly podcast Armchair Expert, which has overtaken Marc Maron as my celebrity interview podcast du jour (although I still listen to Maron). I wasn’t so sure that Shepard’s podcast would be in it for the long haul, because mostly he interviews friends and I didn’t know how well it would do after he ran out of friends. But here’s the thing about Shepard: He’s friends with everyone. He apparently becomes best friends with everyone he meets, and that includes anyone he has ever worked with on a film, as well as everyone his wife Kristen Bell has ever worked with, not to mention the people he came up with (like Kaitlin Olson, with whom Dax is very close friends, which also makes him close friends with seemingly everyone on the It’s Always Sunny cast).
Aside from interjecting himself into the podcast as much as or more than Maron, he is a pretty terrific interviewer, too, because he is friendly with all of his guests, so he’s able to coax a lot more out of them. Take for instance, Jason Bateman, who Shepard knows from working with him on movies (This Is Where I Leave You and Hit and Run) and because Kristen Bell worked with him on Couples Retreat (in fact, it was during the shooting of that film when Bateman himself encouraged Shepard to propose to Bell).
Bateman was on Maron last week, and it was a pretty typical, fairly uneventful interview (though, Bateman did expand his apology following the Arrested Development controversy re: Jeffrey Tambor). On Shepard’s podcast, in contrast, I feel like I actually got to know Bateman, and he’s not exactly the guy you think he is: He’s a fastidious clean freak, but he also spent a lot of time discussing his lost decade — the ’90s — and his drug use, his friendship with Leif Garrett, and how he eventually pulled out of that (he met his wife, he got sober, and he landed Arrested Development all around the same time). No topic was apparently off limits.
To wit: There was a debate, the likes of which you’re unlikely to hear on other podcasts. I’m not sure how it began, but one second, Dax Shepard is talking about his fear of people seeing his anus on camera while Bateman is talking about a friend of his who masturbates missionary style (he puts his hand down on the bed and goes for it), and the next thing I know, I’m listening to the two men debating front-wiping.
I don’t know how else to talk about this, and I certainly don’t want to insert my opinion into the debate, so I’m just going to transcribe the debate, which begins with the revelation that Bateman’s missionary masturbation friend is also a front wiper.
Shepard: I too am [a front-wiper] you’ll be disappointed to know. Let’s argue about this.
Bateman: So, when you take a dump, when you’re done, you go back to front?
Shepard: Which is frowned upon.
Bateman: Well, sure. Are you a eunuch? What do you do with your garbage?
Shepard: This is what I want to push back against. You’re telling me that you don’t have the physical dexterity to wipe your asshole and not touch your balls afterward?
Bateman: Well, yeah, but it’s easier for me to go around to where the balls aren’t.
Shepard: I would argue that it is not at all, because you’ve got to … do you stand up?
Shepard: OK. So you’re on one side? You’re leaning over, right?
Bateman: No, I offer.
Shepard: You offer on one side? So, now you’re leaning on the toilet seat, which is already preposterous. So, you’re leaned over halfway. And then you’ve got your hand behind.
Shepard: So your shoulder, rotator cuff, does that hurt? Do you have a rotator cuff issue?
Bateman: Not like yours, I guess.
Shepard: OK. But anyway, it’s a very awkward position for your shoulder and you’re leaning on the side of your toilet seat, putting a ton of pressure on one side of your toilet seat. I guarantee if I went into your house today, your seat is crooked.
Bateman: I’ve got a loose [seat]. Yes. Sure.
Shepard: You’re ruining hardware.
Bateman: Whereas on your toilet, I’m going to see basically a backrest. Do you use the lid as a backrest?
Shepard: Oh, like leaning back?
Bateman: Sure. Well, you kind of got to when you go down there in between yourself.
Shepard: OK. This is exactly how I do it. Spread a little bit. Take my balls out.
Bateman: So you use two hands?
Shepard: Why not? I’ve got a second hand. It’s not like my hand is busy doing something. I just grab my penis and my scrotum …
Bateman: Uh huh.
Shepard: … And I just lift it out of the way, and I wipe it like this and I stay seated comfortably. And again, I’m picking up the toilet paper right after I’m clear of the anus. I’m not dragging it up five inches through my perineum and then on to my testicles.
Bateman: I would argue that the ‘drag’ is part of the cleaning.
Shepard: Why are you happier having shit smeared up the top of your butt crack versus your perineum?
Bateman: Well, what I’m doing, as I’m dragging I’m also rolling the paper into a constantly a clean piece of paper. There’s a roll and a drag.
Shepard: Why can’t that be done across your perineum?
Bateman: You absolutely can. You’re just putting in another step of clearing out the garbage.
Shepard: But here’s what I would argue. We have stupidly mapped on a very smart wiping strategy for women onto men. Women don’t want to drag any excrement into their vagina.
Shepard: Because they’re going to get a terrible infection. But you have no risk of infecting your perineum when you’re up against the back of that seat.
Bateman: Actually, I don’t do that. I don’t do that because I’ve lived with a few dudes and I don’t like the “M” that some sweaty dudes will leave on the back of the seat with their sweaty ass cheeks. They’re too far back on the ring and they leave an “M” print on the back with their buttocks. So, I’m mindful of that. I’m riding the front of the seat. I’m not reading a book. I’m not using the backrest like you are.
Shepard: I’m in there forever. I spend 40 minutes in there every morning. The fact that I don’t have piles is amazing.
Bateman: Do you lose circulation in your legs?
Shepard: Sometimes. I just hang out. Sometimes I get a second wave, which I love. Thank God I hung in there for that long.
Bateman: Really? Twins?
After that, Shepard navigates the conversation to Bateman’s fastidiousness, which is in and of itself … interesting? (“Shit’s tight back there,” Bateman says of his ass. “I’m always camera ready.”)
Anyway, if this sort of conversation/banter between two celebrities is your kind of thing, you should definitely listen to Dax Shepard’s podcast.
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