Christina P Knows the Secret to Dirty Humor

Christina P Knows the Secret to Dirty Humor

Comedian Christina Pazsitzky—known professionally as Christina P—is no stranger to the time management game. When we connect by phone, she’s juggling her obligations to her husband (fellow comedian, Tom Segura), her kids, the dogs, and her career—all of which require time, energy, and attention. Desiring some “mom” time, her son interrupts the beginning of the conversation, and Pazsitzky politely explains, “I have to do this interview. I’ll come talk to you, give me a half an hour.”

The interaction is just one example of how the co-host of the hugely successful podcast Your Mom’s House—which she hosts with Segura—is able to wear many hats and handle a variety of different responsibilities, all which can be managed with time. “Everything is planned, everything is on schedule, and you give everything time. You give marriage time. You give your children time, you give [your career] time. And then you give yourself time.”

With her new Netflix one-hour special Mom Genes which released on May 8, Pazsitzky is particularly enthused to be speaking with High Times—having grown up in Los Angeles, where the magazine played a huge role developing San Fernando Valley culture. Over the course of our conversation, Pazsitzky reveals her strategies for maintaining balance between work and home life, her back-in-the-day affinity for White Widow, and why true happiness is linked to not giving a fuck and carving your own path.

Christina Pazsitzky: Can I just say for the record how stoked I am to be giving an interview to High Times? One of the first boys I was obsessed with in high school had an issue of High Times in his room and I thought he was the absolute coolest. He also had a VHS tape of Howard Stern’s Butt Bongo Fiesta. I was in love.

High Times: A guy having High Times magazine gave him a lot of street cred in your eyes at that time.

Of course. Also, [he] was forbidden fruit because it was my friend’s older brother. And you know, you can’t make out with your friend’s older brother—and we never did—but back then, this was the early ’90s when weed wasn’t legal. I remember thinking, “This guy is a real renegade. Pictures of weed? What?” It kind of blew my mind.

Amidst enjoying the company of your friend’s older brother—in a PG way—did you ever think the comedic path was something you’d embark upon?

I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have the career that I do now, mostly because the internet and podcasting never existed—though I knew I wanted to make a living somehow being myself. I also knew I loved jokes.

My parents were Hungarian, and every Sunday my dad would have these barbeque parties and all of the old Hungarians would come around. Guys who were missing knuckles on their fingers—carpenters and hardcore blue-collar Eastern Europeans who would stand around and sling jokes. As a little girl, I was like, “Dude, there’s something magical in telling a joke.” These were heavy dudes who escaped a communist country, yet something powerful with humor was happening.

There were these joke books when I was a kid called Truly Tasteless Jokes, and I would memorize dead baby jokes, blonde jokes, Jew jokes—they were all categorized by race and were horribly inappropriate by today’s standards—and I would repeat those jokes at school in third grade. I didn’t even know what the racial stuff was—I had to ask my dad later—but I loved the timing and the power of knowing something that the grownups knew.

Hence my love for Howard Stern very early. I started listening to Howard because I worked at my dad’s shop—he was a forklift mechanic—and I started listening when I was 13 years old during the summer. To hear dirty humor—it was a secret of what the adults were talking about. Then when you get to an age when you start to understand it, it’s like, “I know the code, dude!”

It sounds like you had a fascination, curiosity, and understanding of comedy and how comedy can be a filament between you and the adult world.

I was also kind of a weirdo growing up. During recess, the kids would be playing and I would be laying across the monkey bars just kind of thinking about stuff. I think there was always an antisocial element to me—I was never a cheerleader, I was a goth—so I loved being on the outside. I just had to figure out how to put that into something creative.

Photo by JD Swiger

Was there a moment that served as a jumping-off point where you realized comedy was something you could pursue rather than simply participate in?

What happened was, instead of getting funny in high school and in college, I turned goth, and I got real dark. But with comedy, it’s tragedy plus time, right? So I was horribly tragic. From the time I was 13 to 21, I wore black and stayed out of the sun. I was so fucking depressed.

I had a degree in philosophy when I graduated from school, which was so fucking useless, and when I was 22, I went to go work for this lovely man named Chris Abrego. Chris goes, “Christina, you’re the worst employee I’ve ever had, but you’re also the funniest. Have you thought about doing comedy? Go to The Groundlings.” So I started at The Groundlings and was innately decent at comedy, but then thought to myself that I didn’t want to pretend to be in a fucking donut shop. All of those years of brooding, I had something to say. I started stand-up at 23 or 26 and then I never looked back.

What gave you the confidence and the awareness to lean into yourself, not give a fuck, and do what you had to do to have the career you’ve had?

Anything worth doing is awful. Awful and amazing. Just know that when you choose to create a path or you choose a path that your parents won’t approve of and people will talk shit to you—just know that that path will be harder. But it’s so worthwhile. It is so much better in the long run, and that’s mastery. It’s 10 years. It’s 10,000 hours. It’s The Beatles going to Hamburg and playing in a dump until they get good. And that’s the fun part.

Even when you’re successful in stand-up, you have to keep at it. Everything requires work, so you have to figure out what you want to dedicate your energy to. Just make sure you really enjoy it. You’re going to fail, you’re going to succeed, you’re going to fail—so you might as well pick something that fires you up. Looking back, I kind of unconsciously sabotaged myself. I failed so hard at everything else.

I got into law school and then dropped out after two weeks. I got into graduate school for philosophy and then I quit after a semester. I had 22 jobs in four years in every field I’d been remotely interested in and had either been fired or quit. So I tried everything and then disappointed my parents and fucked my life up so much that there was no going back. There were no exits. So it was either [comedy] or nothing.

Thank God I married Tom Segura because Tommy really pushed me and kept me on the path, and we both did it at the same time. I’m so thankful for him and he and I going through it together. Having a partner to be poor with—we were so poor when we got married, we had $200. We were both broke-ass comics, but we were like, “Fuck it, we’re going to do it. We’re going to do this, dude, failure is not an option.” When your back’s against the wall, homie, you do it.

And thank God for pot, by the way. I know people don’t call it “pot” anymore, but seriously, shout-out to White Widow in 2009 [laughs]. That bitch kept me creative when I was so full of anxiety. If I didn’t have weed in ’08 or ’09, where would I be today?

Third grade was the first time I got high actually. I ate pot brownies by accident at a pool party. It was opening day at the ‘84 Olympics and I fell asleep, and when I woke up, my mom had made me all of these barbeque chicken wings. I was like, “These are the best wings ever, thank you!”

Did people know you were high?

This chick in our apartment complex brought pot brownies to the swimming pool party that everybody was at. I ate one and jumped in the pool. I ate two and jumped in the pool. I ate three—and by the third one, this lady was like, “Oh, you should tell your kid to stop eating those.” It was the ’80s, bro, it was the ’80s. So my mom just took me home. I remember laying on the couch, I watched the opening ceremony to the ’84 Olympics and then I guess I fell asleep. It wasn’t traumatic at all. I guess it must have been an indica.

Is there any strain that currently helps you with your creativity or creative process?

I take CBD at night to calm me down—I love CBD. For weed, I’ll take tinctures, and I’ll get so high because I’m very impatient. I’ll take a drop and be like, “Dude, nothing is happening.” Then four hours later, I’m like, “Oh my God, I’m having a stroke!”

Someone at The Comedy Store gave me some super powerful liquid and I thought it was just CBD without anything in it. I was like drippity drop, here’s another dose, and woke up at three in the morning like, “Tom, I’m having a stroke!” [Laughs] He’s like, “Well, did you take anything?” And I was like, “Just this CBD I got from The Comedy Store.” And he’s like, “Babe, that’s the most powerful stuff.” So I tend to take CBD without THC in it, and that really, really helps.

Speaking of Tom, what was the formula for successfully maintaining your relationship with him and putting in the necessary time and energy into your career?

For the career, I studied people I admired and I studied their path. I was obsessed with Phyllis Diller, I was obsessed with this book called “The Magic of Believing,” I was obsessed with Napoleon Hill, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra—you name it, I read it.

For Tom and I—and it sounds so obnoxious—it was never work for us. It’s never been work. We’re very compatible. I think comedy kept us together, a love for the same pursuit. The thing that kept us bonded was Your Mom’s House because we were both on the road grinding the weeks out, but then once a week, we had to meet and do the [podcast]. In that thing that we did together, we’d recap each other’s week and we found the lane that we both existed on, which was Your Mom’s House. Maybe that’s the thing—the glue. [Tom] and I are just wired similarly.

I think that’s the secret to a good relationship—find somebody whose priorities are similar and their wiring is similar. Like we’re psychotic, dude. We’ll do by any means necessary to get here, and we did.

It sounds like you guys understand and appreciate each other so you can help the other lean into who they are and who they need to be.

One-hundred percent. I’ve always been someone who is driven and credit to Tom—I was with boys before who were such fucking losers that they would be like, “I can’t be with you because you’re this or that.” I studied at Oxford and had a boyfriend who was like, “I can’t be with you because you’re too smart.” I was like, “Fuck you, dude.”

Tom is so special in that he’s always wanted me to achieve and he’s always helped and been behind that. That’s a really secure human being.

It’s funny, I know what makes Tommy laugh—he loves dicks. His humor is dick and balls stuff. But my humor is pooping. We’re just children. It’s such a great escape from being responsible adults.

Photo by JD Swiger

How do you balance raising kids with having your career?

You really have to be deliberate with your time. When you’re young, time— you just have it. You can sit around and read High Times and watch Butt Bongo Fiesta. And then you get married, you have kids and careers, and you just have to really, really guard your time.

Motherhood is heavy, I’m not going to lie. It’s so much responsibility, especially for me because my family life [growing up] was so wackadoodle. My mom was mentally ill and my parents divorced, so there’s been a lot of stuff I’ve had to work through in therapy for a decade before I had kids. So like, yeah dog, it’s heavy. Motherhood and parenthood is heavy and it should be a responsibility that you take seriously, and it’s really important to not let it get you down.

In Mom Genes, my [latest] one-hour Netflix special, I wanted to make something to get out of the worldwide heaviness of COVID and even now with Russia blowing up Ukraine. Like, you must fight the fight and you must resist what the world wants you to think and feel. I think with social media, we’re so bombarded by negative shit right now that we need to find places to laugh and be juvenile. Sing and dance and be stupid and be silly—this is your life.

Mom Genes isn’t just about motherhood and stuff, it’s meant to be silly and fun and an escape for people. I dressed very glamorously for this special for a reason—I wanted to be transcendent. I want people to watch and feel relief from this world for an hour.

So Mom Genes is meant to give people some fuel to endure and preserve.

I talk about how I love the ’80s because they were about resilience. I believe in resilience. Feelings are important, yes, and it’s nice that we’re honoring everybody’s feelings, but now what? I think it’s such an important thing as I raise my kids to be like, “Yeah dude, life is this, life can suck, things are hard. But guess what, motherfucker? You’re gonna get up and you’re gonna do it again!”

It’s what I learned doing stand-up. You’re gonna fail, things are hard, yes the world is bleak, but get the fuck up and do it again and get better and get stronger. Just keep going. Don’t let this world get you down. Don’t let anybody dictate how you go about in this world.

Pilot your own ship.

Yeah, bro! That’s it, that’s the secret.

Like I said, I’m happy people are discovering narratives that are false. I’ll use women, for instance, because I am one. The whole thing on fat-shaming or women are oppressed and this and that… When I started stand-up, nobody wanted to hear women. It’s guys with their arms folded in the front row, and I could have been like, “Woe is me, this is terrible,” but I was like, “Fuck you, I’m going to make this work.” Just sing your own song and let them come along, bro. Don’t let them tell you who you are. You tell them.

@thechristinap 

christinaponline.com

This article appears in the June 2022 issue of High Times. Subscribe here.

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