Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane are two incredibly funny comedians who just happen to be married to each other. They came by the SiriusXM studios recently to talk with Ron Bennington about getting started in comedy, being married to, and on the road with another stand up comic, and a few new projects they are working on including a Podcast called “My Wife Hates Me.” Below are a few excerpts from the hour-long episode of Unmasked which can be heard exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio.
Ron Bennington: Well it’s great to have you guys here. Especially since you’re starting a new podcast. You’ve done a couple of episodes, right?
Rich Vos: Oh, we didn’t tell you it’s cancelled?
Ron Bennington: I did not even know you could get a podcast cancelled.
Bonnie McFarlane: I cancelled it.
Rich Vos: When the co-host walks out on you.
Ron Bennington: Now what is the name of the podcast?
Ron Bennington: I don’t think that’s too passive aggressive. I think that’s straight out aggressive.
Bonnie McFarlane: Well, I sort of sold it like “you know, it might be cute”.
Rich Vos: Yeah but, in the middle of one of the podcasts she goes “I really hate you and if it wasn’t for the baby I’d be gone” and walks off the podcast. Okay. So now I’m left with a lot of dead air. You know how hard that is to cover. I’m starting to ad-lib and scramble and then she comes back in and sits down and she’s staring and happy…it’s like doing a podcast with Sybil. What personality is here tonight? It’s weird. You do it in the living room and it’s nothing personal, you know she’s kind of stupid, and I’ll say…
Bonnie McFarlane: That hurts coming from you. That really does.
Rich Vos: Like here, look at all this technical stuff. We have a table and a microphone and she bangs the table all the time and it’s tough when you’re trying…
Bonnie McFarlane: Well, if he was closer, I would bang him. And not in the cool sexual way.
Ron Bennington: Oh see. See that’s passive aggressive. But yeah, you’re just starting this. Here’s what I think is brilliant about it. Is the idea is as old as radio and yet it hasn’t been done for like forty, fifty years, but the husband and wife comedy team was the beginning of radio and people got away with it.
Bonnie McFarlane: Well, it’s the way that also all sitcoms are. I mean we really do have that sort of like dynamic where you’ve got the dopey husband…
Rich Vos: And the trampy wife.
Bonnie McFarlane: We’re not even doing air quotes anymore.
Rich Vos: What’s an air quote?
Bonnie McFarlane: “What’s an air quote”?
Ron Bennington: So but the fact is, was that ever been a problem or has it always been fun being on the road together?
Bonnie McFarlane: Never. Never fun.
Ron Bennington: Never fun?
Bonnie McFarlane: No. It’s the truth. People ask that question all the time. They’re like “Oh must be like a barrel of laughs”. No. He’s a jerk. Obviously. He cannot control his emotions. So he gets mad really really easily.
Ron Bennington: So he’s quick to anger. It’s all about anger.
Bonnie McFarlane: It’s like he overreacts to everything.
Rich Vos: Bullshit!!
Bonnie McFarlane: Like he, okay. We made a movie where I put a lot of him being an asshole in the movie where it’s just like a documentary and watching it, I was like oh this is kind of funny. He does have a little bit of charm, he’s funny. But in real life, it’s so annoying.
Rich Vos: Bullshit. Because she’s so Canadian. Let me give you..I’ll speak out, if like say a waiter, my eggs are not done…you know, something and I’ll send it back or do this or do that. I want things the way I want them, that’s all. She’ll go “oh how can you do that?” Because that’s what I’m paying for. And she thinks that’s aggressiveness or anger when I just want what I want. You know what I mean?
Bonnie McFarlane: I don’t know how much we’re suppose to get into this.
Ron Bennington: Get into all of it.
Bonnie McFarlane: He bullies people. He bullies people.
Rich Vos: Look at me. I could bully them really?
Bonnie McFarlane: Yeah, you pick on people who are younger.
Rich Vos: No way. Bullshit. How young is your mom?
Ron Bennington: Oh see.
Bonnie McFarlane: Here we go.
Ron Bennington: So mean. Bullying being American.
Rich Vos: No it’s not all American, you’re as much of an asshole as the next person like how about that…
Bonnie McFarlane: I do it in a passive aggressive way though, so people don’t know that I’m doing it till later and then they’re like “Wowww, what a….”
Rich Vos: At least, see when we’re on the road together when we first started dating and we’re on the road together, you know I had a lot of heat uh…
Bonnie McFarlane: (laughs hard) Sorry.
Ron Bennington: Why did that get a laugh from your own wife? Seriously.
Bonnie McFarlane: (laughing) But a lot of heat, I mean…
Rich Vos: You know what I’m saying…
Bonnie McFarlane: “I really had some buzz back in the day”.
Bonnie McFarlane: I do remember first dating him and thinking no one can ever find out about this.
Ron Bennington: What?
Bonnie McFarlane: I was like this is going to the grave with you. And we were in your car, he had a rental and we were driving in LA and I was like “Look, you have to keep this a secret. You can’t tell anybody.” And somebody drove up and was like “Vossss!!! I got your CD!!” And I was like “oh no”. He’s got buzz.
Ron Bennington: Now this seriously might be the worst question ever, but why did you want to keep dating Rich Vos a secret? Why did you?
Bonnie McFarlane: Oh yeah I think that goes without saying. I mean, as a lady.. I knew that if people found out that I would have to marry him. There would be no others. No more takers after that.
Ron Bennington: Nobody would want to be “Hey I’m right behind Vos”.
Rich Vos: First of all, don’t act like she was some angel. She got to the Vs and it was my turn. Okay here’s the deal, I was…
Bonnie McFarlane: That was the second time around.
Rich Vos: I was working one night at the Cellar, right after Last Comic and she came down and goes “oh you’re from Last Comic”, and I’m thinking “oh you’re that comic”.
Bonnie McFarlane: He said “Yeah, you’re that comic girl”.
Rich Vos: And I was on a date with a hot girl and I said to her, I go “Look I’m on a date”.
Bonnie McFarlane: No, you said..Oh God. Maybe you should just tell that story. Your first instinct was correct. You said, “Oh you’re that comic girl. I’d hit on you right now but I’m on a date.”
Rich Vos: Yeah. But what happened?
Bonnie McFarlane: I scampered up on to the stage and started bombing.
Rich Vos: That’s what I was going to get into in a second. Okay, so then the next night, she was at the Cellar and we went out. I took her out for pizza.
Bonnie McFarlane: Yeah I remember thinking this guy is chatty. I said “what are some of the things that we didn’t see on the show?” Talking about “Last Comic Standing” that the heat had from that was still happening.
Rich Vos: It was in the middle of it.
Bonnie McFarlane: Yeah, you had to go do your finals. And he talked for like two hours. Like he literally..He took it seriously the question and he told me everything that happened that we didn’t see on the show.
Rich Vos: Well then, ten minutes later in the car…I don’t want to say. It’s too dirty.
Ron Bennington: Go ahead. Say it.
Rich Vos: We’re fooling around. I’m going a little (makes noise)
Ron Bennington: This is ten minutes after pizza?
Rich Vos: So we started dating when I was in LA or she was in New York. She was perfect. I remember being in LA, this was the best. I’m in LA taping something, I don’t know, it was Last Comic or something. Nice hotel. And she came over in the day, I think the first time we had sex. She came over in the day. Came to my hotel. We had sex. And she left. Without me even saying “hey I gotta do this or do that”. Or yawn. Or look at my watch. She goes “I’m out of here”. And I’m going “How can you meet a better girl than this?”
Bonnie McFarlane: Don’t act like girls weren’t running away from you after sex. I mean come on.
Ron Bennington: Was she crying?
Bonnie McFarlane: Not in front of him.
Ron Bennington: See here’s the thing about Rich, it’s like there’s a thing about him that’s kind of old school, I’m going to entertain these people. The thing about Rich is everyone talks about that you’re somewhat fearless, but there’s also a thing of, and not all the comics have this, you want the people to laugh.
Rich Vos: Yeah, yeah. I’ve seen comics….
Bonnie McFarlane: Oh but you did try to, one time, he did try to tell me that you aren’t a good comic unless you’re walking people.
Rich Vos: No, no, no, no. Here’s what I’m saying. You’re not a good comic if everybody loves you. Because then you’re just pandering. Do you see what I’m saying?
Ron Bennington: Yes.
Rich Vos: I’m not saying…Look, most people loved Pryor. He was great, but there was some people that didn’t get him and didn’t like him so that’s what made him great. A sign of being great. I’m not saying people have to run out and run out of the room like someone yelled “fire”. What I’m saying is I’m not gonna reach everybody. Everybody’s not going to like me and that’s what I like. But the ones that do like me I want them..my comedy..I want people when they leave, there’s different types of comedy. There’s comedy from the head that you love. There’s great comics. You look at Brian Regan and you go you can’t get funnier than Brian Regan. Right? But then you look at somebody like Patrice who everything is from the heart and you go “this is brilliant”. You walk out of the room and you knew Patrice. You knew him. You knew that person. You know what they thought, you knew how they act. So there’s two types of, and that’s the kind of comedy that I like. The comedy that comes more from here. She does stuff from her head because she doesn’t have a heart. So..
Ron Bennington: Boy, it was going along so nice. There were a couple of moments.
Ron Bennington: Rich has come very very far in his life. Rich is the first person, this is a true story, that I ever heard use the word “crack”. I didn’t know what crack was until you were explaining why you had to leave this place real fast and get somewhere else. I mean before …
Bonnie McFarlane: Like he was openly…
Ron Bennington: Yeah, before when other people were like “yeah, well it’s base” and like white people were like “who’s got time for that, let’s just snort it.” Rich knew somebody who was making crack and was leaving to go and this was well before New Jack City. Nobody knew about it. And I’m talking a long time ago, people were like well he’s not going to live and as a matter of fact, two people that he was hanging out with at the time, who told me like “I’m worried that Rich will die” are dead. They died. The people who were concerned about him.
Rich Vos: Was one Frankie?
Ron Bennington: Yes, Frankie Bastille and Bobby Woods both said to me “I’m really worried about Rich, but I’m leaving with him. The three of us are going to lock ourselves in a hotel room”. But it’s really that the way that he’s rebounded is phenomenal to anybody who saw him at the time.
Bonnie McFarlane: One of the things about Rich, this is what his comedy is about, everything’s about is that he will not lose a fight. I mean he will fight to the death. So even against drugs, he wasn’t going to lose. He was like, “fuck it”. He quit smoking.
Rich Vos: It’s the gum. I can’t get off the gum.
Bonnie McFarlane: The gum. The gum will beat him, that’s it.
Rich Vos: The second marriage. I can’t get out of that. Too much invested.
Bonnie McFarlane: What is invested?
Rich Vos: Oh really? Really. Show him the ring.
Bonnie McFarlane: Oh, this second hand ring that you got me. Oh that’s right.
Rich Vos: But I got a good deal on it. If I wasn’t in recovery, I wouldn’t have met the guy at the twelve step meeting who just got…
Bonnie McFarlane: His fiance relapsed.
Ron Bennington: Is that true?
Bonnie McFarlane: That is true. And Rich said, this is the thing I know this about Rich because I know who he is. I’m sure Rich bypassed the “Oh God, I’m sorry’s” And went right to the “What are you gonna do with the ring?”
Ron Bennington: You must be happy with that old dope ring. That’s got to be really…
Bonnie McFarlane: If that’s not good luck, I don’t know what is.
Ron Bennington: It really is. So, recovery is still a big part of your life?
Rich Vos: Well I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t go to meetings like I should. Like never. But no, the main thing in my life, if I pick up, I’m dead and everything is gone. Everything’s gone. Because I’m not a one’s enough type of person. And there’s a saying, One’s too many and thousand’s not enough. These are sayings. And that’s true with me. I can’t stop. Even when I’m shooting craps or anything. Even when we go out to eat. I don’t want to lose, I can’t stop. So recovery, everything I have in my life is because…(pause)…(Bonnie laughs) What the fuck are you laughing at?
Bonnie McFarlane: I thought of a joke I would do that and I was like, no, it’s too serious.
Rich Vos: Well because, oh really, oh he’s talking about you getting sober and not doing crack, let’s do some flips and run around the room with sparklers in my ass as I tell the story, okay.
Bonnie McFarlane: I know. That’s why I didn’t say it. I thought, this is inappropriate.
Rich Vos: Well, laughing in my face…
Ron Bennington: You know, that’s the second promo ruined tonight. We had two beautiful promos.
Rich Vos: I’m going to tell the truth, I don’t know if I was getting high or if I was sober, but when I worked your club in Tampa, I was eatin’ it all week. I was having a tough time. I don’t know who I was following and I’m going “Man, they hate me in Tampa”. I don’t know where that came from. Oh that was from before when she said I don’t bomb. But that was a long time ago.
Ron Bennington: But it’s really funny that you bring that up to me every time I talk to you. I mean it’s been a long time. Really? Jesus Christ, what happened?
Rich Vos: They never had me back. I want to try to get back in even though it’s not there. It’s all ego.
Bonnie McFarlane: Before we came in here he said “Look, I don’t care what you say, tell them I’ve never bombed”.
Ron Bennington: Let’s get over into you getting into stand up. what takes this nice girl in Canada to the stage? Why would you?
Bonnie McFarlane: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Always been very creative. I always laughed at things that the rest of my family would sort of get angry, like not understand. I like watching things on TV that seemed bad…like were funny cause it was bad. And they couldn’t understand why that was funny to me, so there was a lot of like sort of disconnect. There still is a huge disconnect with my family. Like my sister was like “Why don’t you talk about things that people want to hear. Has that ever crossed your mind?”
Rich Vos: See what a phony she is. “There’s some disconnect”. Come hear her in the car, “My family doesn’t understand me, they hate me. I wrote a book when I was ten and they weren’t even behind me”. You fucking phony! What the heck?
Bonnie McFarlane: I’m never talking to you again. For God’s sake. “There’s a little bit of a disconnect”.
Rich Vos: No. Tell him about the book you wrote when you were ten.
Bonnie McFarlane: (quietly) It was called “Chicken Island”.
Ron Bennington: Geez. I wonder why your folks weren’t impressed. So what did they say? This is stupid? This isn’t a book? What did they say to you?
Bonnie McFarlane: I don’t know. I don’t even remember.
Rich Vos: Tell him…
Ron Bennington: Tell him. Tell him.
Rich Vos: When you did that TV spot and you called them, “Did you watch me?” And what did they say?
Bonnie McFarlane: Oh when I did Letterman. They said it was too late.
Ron Bennington: Oh my God. Seriously?
Rich Vos: Not that one.
Ron Bennington: Oh, not that one?
Bonnie McFarlane: Oh. I had done a TV show and I sent them home the tapes for them to look at and Icalled, I said – you know, I grew up on a farm– and I said “Did you watch? Did you watch?” And my mom goes “Bonnie, it’s the middle of harvest.”
Ron Bennington: True. It is.
Bonnie McFarlane: It’s very busy. Very busy time. Yeah.
Ron Bennington: You guys are doing this movie. You’ve been shooting it for..You started shooting it years ago, right?
Bonnie McFarlane: Yes, yes. Before I was born.
Ron Bennington: Before you were born. What’s the film about?
Bonnie McFarlane: So it’s called “Women Aren’t Funny”. And I actually go on a quest to finally put this debate to bed if women are funny or not. And we interviewed…you can say the names.
Rich Vos: Besides, I mean it’s also us on the road as a couple. It’s a documentary, a comedy documentary. Intertwined with almost reality of our lives in the movie. And we have everybody in the movie. I mean, every comic, Chris Rock, Dane Cook, Sarah Silverman, Wanda, Joan Rivers..
Bonnie McFarlane: Joy Behar..
Rich Vos: Artie Lang, Susie Essman, Colin Quinn, Breuer, Norton, Patrice, Bobby..
Bonnie McFarlane: Rosie O’Donnell.
Rich Vos: Tom Arnold, Rita Rudner, Everybody. But it came together. We had 60 hours of tape that she took, 60 hours and turned into a movie. It’s un-fuckin’ believable.
Bonnie McFarlane: Turned it into magic.
Rich Vos: And a lot of help from me. Her vision…
Bonnie McFarlane: I would go to edit like every, two days a week I went to editing and then I would like transcribe all the footage at home and then he’d be like “You know what you gotta do? You gotta put me right there”. And then later he’d be like “I’ve done just as much as you have!”
Rich Vos: Bullshit. First of all…
Bonnie McFarlane: No, he did get all the interviews.
Rich Vos: I got most of the people because they know me.
Bonnie McFarlane: You sold a lot of DVDs for this movie. I appreciate that.
Rich Vos: Financed it. Some of the editing. Some I did, she called me today for ideas, but the brain child is her. It’s her.
Bonnie McFarlane: Unless it’s bad.
Rich Vos: I guarantee it’s not. It’s funny. It’s funny and it’s informative. Everybody’s good in it. ‘Cause the comics were just…It’s not one of these empowered, alright already type, you know what I mean? It flows and it…
Bonnie McFarlane: And we actually conclude that women aren’t funny.
Ron Bennington: Really? After all that, so disappointing.
Bonnie McFarlane: It was embarrassing to admit.
Rich Vos: If this movie hits, it probably will keep us together another five years. Cause we’re going to be stuck. We’re going to get a show. So we want it to hit for the money and then maybe she can live back in LA and I could play golf in Florida. Good things. Good things can come out of it.
Ron Bennington: But over like four years, do you start to go do we even have anything? We’ve shot all this stuff, but the editing in four years it just gets you insane, right?
Bonnie McFarlane: Well because we shot, I mean we started editing and we were still shooting so, it was like, yeah. But I do remember like driving to the editing some days being like “You can do this, come on. You can make it”.
Ron Bennington: Yeah, it’s a tough thing to pull off, documentary film.
Bonnie McFarlane: It’s a lot of footage to go through and with these comics, they were so funny a lot of them.
Ron Bennington: Doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work in the context. Making the movie, a lot of great stuff gets left out.
Rich Vos: Margaret Cho didn’t even make the movie.
Bonnie McFarlane: We haven’t told her that yet.
Ron Bennington: She’s driving along right now, “what?” But I’m funny! I’m proving that women are funny.
Rich Vos: So we’re really happy. We saw the finished product and then we say, you know what? Now we’re taking it to another step. We thought it was done. But now just adding some more stuff. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.
Ron Bennington: I can’t wait to see it too. I think it’s going to be great.
This interview can be heard in its entirety exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio. Don’t have a subscription yet? Click here for a free seven day trial.
Buy Rich’s CD “Still Empty Inside” on iTunes or on Amazon Digital.