Dax Shepard: Welcome, welcome, welcome to Armchair Expert’s Experts on Expert. I’m Dan Shepard. I’m joined by Monica Mouse.
Monica Padman: Hi.
MP: Special day.
DS: Very special, particularly for you as a royal-phile.
MP: I can’t believe it. I still can’t believe it and we did it
DS: Refuse to believe it.
DS: Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex. Of course, he’s a member of the British Royal Family, the younger son of Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales. Radical dude.
MP: So cool.
DS: Had zero idea what kind of guy he was.
MP: Yeah, I thought he was gonna be a little more stiff, like a little bit, royal.
MP: And he was very fun.
DS: He was just a rad dude. Before you enjoy Prince Harry, we have an enormous announcement. Yeah. We here, Rob, Monica and I at Armchair Expert, are going to go to Spotify.
MP: That’s right.
DS: In July, exclusively, and we will be doing the exact same show you’ve always loved, or hopefully you love. And we’re going to be doing that on a platform with more fun features and more ways to get involved with the community.
DS: And it’s going to be wonderful.
MP: So if you haven’t already, please download the Spotify app.
DS: Get on that.
MP: And listen to us there. Starting in July, it will be the only place you can listen to us. So get on it now. And yeah, same show.
DS: ‘And we hope you all join us because we love doing this more than any other thing we do.
DS: Now please enjoy Prince Harry. We are supported by Brookelinen. My favourite hotel quality sheets to get into and writhe around in the nude.
MP: They just celebrated their seventh anniversary and they sent me some cookies.
DS: They did?
DS: What flavour, linen flavour?
MP: Yes. Hotel quality cookie.
DS: Well listen, if a lot of your life is still being lived at home, then make your home as comfortable as possible. A refuge, an oasis, your personal Zen zone. Go ahead and max out on the extra soft sheets, super plush towels and loungewear. You can get the best of all of it from Brookelinen. I just dried myself this morning on a Brookelinen towel.
MP: They really are incredible.
DS: They’re impeccable. They’re decadent, they’re soft, they’re absorbent. Brookelinen was started to create beautiful high quality home essentials that don’t cost an arm and a leg. They’re so confident in their product, they come with a 365 day warranty. So give yourself that comfort refresh you deserve and get it for less. Go to Brookelinen.com and use promo code ‘expert’ to get $20 off with a minimum purchase of $100. That’s Brookelinen.com and enter promo code ‘expert’ for $20 off with a minimum purchase of $100. That’s Brookelinen.com, promo code ‘expert’.
Title music: He’s an Armchair Expert, he’s an Armchair Expert.
Prince Harry: What’s your feeling about Joe Rogan’s comments about…
DP: Vaccinating? Ridiculous, obviously, and I side with him…
MP: Get comfy though, we want you to be relaxed.
MP: Yeah, there it is, there we are
DP: So I think what he said was ridiculous. And I also a little bit agree with him, like, I f***ing call fights. I’m an MMA announcer. I’m not Fauci, no one should be listening to my opinion on medical s***. So I agree with both sides, like, what he said was stupid.
PH: I think the issue is like in today’s world with misinformation just like endemic, you’ve got to be careful about what comes out of your mouth when it comes to that, because news doesn’t exist in just news anymore.
DS: Yeah, you’re totally right.
PH: It’s splattered all over the place. So people are like, listen to Joe Rogan say, oh, if he says that, then maybe I’m, and it’s, you’re right, this is sort of like, ‘don’t listen to me – it’s like, well, don’t say that, just stay out of it’
MP: Yeah, exactly, and just acknowledge you are a person that people listen to, you are.
PH: If you have a platform, with a platform comes responsibility.
MP: I agree.
DS: But it is all very tricky. So like Oprah famously got sued by the media industry for talking about mad cow disease. This how her and Dr Phil met. And part of me was like, yes, she has a huge platform. And also she can have a f***ing opinion about s***. And she’s not like legally responsible if you decide to stop eating meat because of her opinion. How about this? What if I say when I was single I didn’t wear condoms as much as I should have. Like, has that become a thing that people… I’m not advising anyone not to.
PH: No, because you’re saying you didn’t do as much as you should have.
MP: Yeah, exactly.
DS: Oh there we go, should have.
PH: Should have, yeah.
DS: Oh, OK.
PH: So you certainly share the opinion and say this is my opinion.
DS: Uh huh. And I recognize it was stupid.
MP: Yeah, the implication is that you should have done something different.
DS: That’s true.
PH: It all comes down to being responsible.
MP: Yeah, remember when we had the guy on, we had someone on who wrote a book called Hooked about the food industry and it was crazy. He was like ‘the same people who are selling you whatever the processed food have an investment in the pill that’
DS: Or he was being specifically, like they create this huge problem with overly sugary foods. They also offer you the antidote, which is sugar free food. It’s a good business plan. Like if I were an investor and you brought it to me.
MP: It’s smart, there’s no denying that.
PH: But supply and demand, right.
DS: And, by the way, I have a libertarian bent to me, I have an individual rights bent to me. And I used to think that until I learned that if it were a fair competition, yes, so if it was just this food tastes delicious, and you did not eat a bunch of it. But once they find out, they’re employing the world’s best chemists, to not just design a good taste, but a taste that dissipates really quickly so that you desire another bite quickly, like you’re outmatched in that situation. It’s not a fair fight. It’s like the algorithms on the internet. You can’t compete with that, a human.
PH: You can’t if you have the awareness of what it’s doing to you. And the fact that it’s learning, which is scary. And advertising has been going on for hundreds of years, but done really responsibly. The difference here is targeted ads. If ads have always worked for companies, you can put on the TV, you can walk away, you can come back, your involvement is switching on switching off or changing the channel. Whereas now with algorithms is there, it’s just feeding your habits. And it’s also reading through your emails and everything else. So it’s getting to know you, like, it gets to know the decisions you’re gonna make before you make them, then it creates this echo chamber of no pushback, of no context of nothing. It’s just perpetuating and feeding the bias and the habits that you already have inside of you, which is terrible.
MP: Yeah, so scary.
DS: And if you were asked what you were going to do next, and then you asked the algorithm what you were going to do next, the algorithm would be right, like three to one. So that’s why it’s not a fair fight, because you can’t remember everything you’ve done in the last 12 years. But Google knows what you’ve done for the last 12 years in a nanosecond.
PH: And I think they get to wash it – at the moment until it changes – at the moment, they get to wash their hands of responsibility, because like, oh, it’s not human error. It’s a computer. It’s like, who wrote the algorithms? You guys did? Probably all male and all white
MP: Yeah, likely.
DS: Yeah, yeah, and here we are, you and I, a couple of white males, pontificating. First of all, I’m so excited you’re here. It’s very flattering that you came down from Santa Barbara, like, you had to f***ing work to get here.
PH: That’s alright, I just sat in the back, did a little bit of work, read my notes
DS: And perfected the algorithm.
PH: And perfected the algorithm, exactly. I didn’t expect to come into a building site though.
DS: Most people don’t.
PH: That wasn’t in the brief.
MP: Left that part out
PH: I expected better.
DS: I’m really excited to meet you because, in full disclosure, I’m the most ill-informed person on the royal family. At least in my circle. You’re the only one I ever knew, and simply because you were in those awesome nude photos in Vegas. And I literally said to myself, this guy’s a party.
MP: Yeah. He has said that many times.
PH: Because you’re constantly looking for other people to go sort of balance out your own behaviour. Right?
DS: Exactly. Yes, yes.
PH: It’s relatable,
DS: Truthfully, truthfully. And then on top of that, I was like, God, this mother***er’s got a good body. You are in tremendous shape.
PH: OK, now it’s getting weird.
DS: Oh, we haven’t touched weird yet.
PH: That was a few weeks before I went to Afghanistan.
DS: This is the other reason I knew you is because I was there in ’07 during the USO tour, in the big hubbub was that you were going to be arriving.
DS: And I remember thinking, oh wow they send princes into battle? I did not realise, that was not what I thought happened.
PH: So much for keeping it quiet.
DS: Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, of course everyone knew, right?
PH: But I wasn’t running down the strip, stripping or being naked, at least.
DS: You could have been one of the dancing boys of Afghanistan, do you know about that?
MP: We should show the prince the calendar, where is it?
PH: What calendar?
DS: You think that’s gonna make him feel more comfortable?
MP: Well, yeah, because I don’t want him to think it’s just him.
DS: Oh, yeah. It’s not you who I’m just obsessed with.
PH: Thank you.
DS: Monica makes this for me every year and it’s a calendar of all my favourite bodies of friends.
MP: And they’re all men.
DS: They’re all men.
MP: And they’re all gorgeous bodies.
PH: Yeah. Why am I not September?
MP: Exactly, next year.
DS: Next year, yeah, we’ll find that.
PH: And why is it on September?
DS: Can I tell you that is?
PH: This is obviously a clear favourite.
DS: Alright, because you’re born in September.
PH: Exactly, who is this guy, though?
DS: That’s Kumail Nanjiani. You know, Kumail, don’t you?
MP: You might not know him.
DS: Silicon Valley, do you watch Silicon Valley?
PH: No of course I haven’t
DS: Of course I haven’t
PH: I recognize his abs.
MP: Very notable ads.
DS: Oh, so that’s an inside joke. My friend Tom Hanson, who I worship. He’s 72. And he’s my idol and my de facto father. He’s got the most enviable hair of anyone I know. Look, that’s a 72-year-old head of hair right there.
PH: What’s weird is everybody else is showing their abs and then he’s showing the top of his head.
DS: It’s kind of things I covet.
PH: Who’s this?
DS: Oh, so that was an AD on a show I was on – Nick, who just was inordinately jacked and I was obsessed with it and he accommodated Monica.
MP: I did a lot of very uncomfortable texting to get this calendar made, like, ‘Hey, is there anyway you could send me a picture…
PH: … a picture of your torso…
MP: … of your naked body? You can pick the part, whatever you feel looks best.
DS: And now that you’re in our sphere, what…
PH: You’re the one who has to ask the question
MP: Well it was a surprise gift.
DS: I don’t, I don’t ask for this. This is just some kind of benevolent gesture by Monica. And now that you’re in our sphere, you’re f***** because she is gonna ask you for something.
PH: But you can have the top of the head. It’s bald and it’s ginger but you can have the top of the head.
DS: Okay, so I want to know, are you nervous to do this interview?
PH: Well I didn’t know it was an interview.
MP: It’s not, it’s a chat.
PH: Yeah. Was I nervous? No. Not so much nervous. But I guess on this particular subject around mental health. Yeah. For me, it’s always a, unfortunately, today’s world is quite a sensitive subject, not just for the people who are sharing. But ultimately, the subject matter itself has to be handled with care. Yeah, there can be humor, there can be everything else. But when it ends up getting weaponized by certain people.
DS: Headlines, yeah.
PH: Yeah. You can never predict it. Though, probably in this instance, you probably can. But that doesn’t worry me anymore. I used to be fearful of it.
PH: Now it’s almost like the same groups of people that come at it so negatively, or try and turn it against you or your weaponize it and therefore affects so many other millions of people from doing so…
PH: Actually encourages me to speak out more.
PH: I guess that’s probably the same with you guys. And the same people that start in the same chair, which is like, Look, I’m going to be vulnerable. If I get attacked for it. Let’s see who’s actually attacking me. What’s their story? What’s their agenda? Right, who do they work for?
MP: It actually says more about them than it does.
PH: That’s how I’ve always felt when it comes to projection. I mean, hatred is a form of projection, right?
PH: We’re not born to hate people.
PH: So it manifests itself over a period of time. And of course, it can come from unresolved pain, or being hurt continually, as a young kid or through adult life. But ultimately, there’s a source to it. There’s a reason why you want to hate somebody else.
PH: And when it comes to trolling on social media, the best way that I look at it is I, okay, take a moment be aware of what this is doing to me and how it’s making me feel.
PH: But then look at them and go, how’s your day going?
PH: And actually have some compassion for them. Which is really hard when you’re on the receiving end of this, like, just vile, toxic abuse. But the reality is, is you say, flip it.
PH: Let me just say: What happened to you?
PH: What made you want to come with me like that, when clearly we’ve never met, you don’t know me? Like, what’s your goal? What are you actually doing? I know, it might make you feel better in the moment, but long term, it’s not going to help.
DS: Okay, so where I come from in working-class Michigan, I think my fear of sharing about like being molested or violent stepdads or all the stuff I went through. My fear was like, those people be like, ‘Oh, my God, you need so much attention’. Like that I’m mining it for sympathy or attention. Which I’m doing neither. But that was maybe the hurdle for me to get over is that voice of my peers at home, what would they say that I’m just attention seeking. What are yours? Like, what is the thing you go to from your childhood or whatnot, where you can hear people saying, like, stop being a baby, stop?
PH: No, I think more like ‘oh you need help’, as a case of not so much weakness, but ‘I don’t know how to deal with this’, ‘you’re unhinged’, or’ you’re not particularly well go and seek help’. And it’s like, well, rule number one is when you actually want or feel as though someone needs help, telling them to their face, ‘you need help’ is probably the best way for them to go. No, I don’t, object, run away, delay, all these kind of things. Or go and drink or take drugs or whatever you find.
DS: Go and take your clothes off in Vegas.
PH: Every single one of us wherever we are, wherever we come from, there will always try and find some way to be able to mask the actual feeling and be able to try and make us feel different to how we are actually feeling, perhaps having a feeling. Right, because so many people are just numb to it. That was a huge part of the beginning of my life, which was like, I rejected. I said, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m fine.
DS: Well, there’s a male component too, don’t you think?
DS: Yeah, I know. For me, where I grew up any emotion was weakness and weakness was cancer.
PH: Yeah, true. But look how much the world has changed now. I think the worse the world gets, the harder it becomes and the more suffering that there is, the more people feel as though they have something relatable within their community to their neighbours, or perhaps online.
DS: Yeah, yeah.
PH: And that’s creating a change in the conversation, certainly through the series Oprah and I are doing as far as I viewed it for many, many years now. And we’re very vocal about on the series, which is speaking out, especially now in today’s world is a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness.
PH: So if you are making that conscious decision to say: You know what, it’s not self serving, but I want to share my story. I’m being asked to share my story to hopefully help someone or loads of other people. I’m probably going to get trolled. I’m probably going to get attacked by the same people that were doing anyway. If I’m willing to make that decision, surely that comes from a place of courage rather than weakness?
DS: For sure. The easy thing to do is yeah, stay quiet. You know, the fact that you guys are doing this series, The Me You Can’t See that you produced with Oprah and you guys conduct interviews, what I loved immediately is on the surface, you two have as polar opposite of childhood environments that two people could have. I mean, literally, if you had to build a spectrum, Oprah would certainly be towards the tail of one end, and you would certainly be towards the tail of the other. And you know, what I love about it is trauma, loneliness, all these things, they transcend that whole spectrum.
PH: But if I’m on one end and Oprah is on the other based on my privilege and my upbringing I present the opposite end. And then every single one of us is somewhere along there. And by the way, I truly believe that you can move along the spectrum as well. Right? Wherever you were born, you may start in one place, but that will change over time.
DS: Well you guys are almost flipping maybe. Oprah is going to end up as the Queen of America, you never know…
DS: … and you’re sharecropping a farm
MP: No you’ll meet in the middle somewhere
PH: But I think that’s exactly it. It is about meeting in the middle. Well, one of the main reasons for the series is to be able to have these honest conversations with people around the world who have suffered and are continuing to suffer, in some instances, is about stripping away all of the – not so much the labeling – but our backgrounds and the privilege because, again, within certain corners of the media it is very much like: ‘You’re privileged, how could you possibly be suffering?’ And it’s like…
DS: Can I interject and just say that I have unique compassion for you. Because I feel like if I were you, I would feel not entitled to share my experience that I would be judged as someone who was just not grateful or that had it made and was still complaining. Like, I think, weirdly, it is easier for Oprah to come from where she came from and tell you about her trauma than for you to say, you know what, it wasn’t f****** great.
MP: Yeah because people are like, What? You grew up in a palace?
PH: Yeah how bad can it be? You had like people like running around doing this… Especially in today’s world, and believe me, look, all of us have seen suffering. And I’ve luckily, because it’s been part of my own growth. I’ve spent many, many years traveling around the world, seeing other people suffer. And being able to have that empathy for them, the ability to put myself in their shoes. That was the education that I had. So the weird thing is that, yeah, I was born into this privilege. But the privilege also gave me the most unbelievable front row seat and education. My education is not in school, my education is about meeting people across the Commonwealth, right? 52 countries, 2.4 billion people 60 per cent of that 2.4 billion people under the age of 29. Like, everywhere I go, I ask questions everywhere I go, I try and listen, I don’t want to come in and say these are what I think. My solutions are like… I already know, they’re probably looking at me going. You’re a prince, you come from a palace. Where’s your crown? Where’s your cape? Sorry kids, there is no crown and no cape… ‘well I don’t want to [speak to you] if you haven’t got a crown, bye!’
But the reality is that you meet these kids, and you go to these communities all over the world. And it just puts it into context. Yeah. And that’s why I feel more comfortable now being able to talk about my own struggles, because I do it to help other people. I don’t see it as complaining. And I don’t think anyone should see talking about your own issues as complaining. It’s about sharing your story, knowing how relatable it is, because you will, I guarantee you by sharing the vulnerabilities and experiences that you have had growing up, there will be at least probably, depending on what platform you’re using, whether it’s podcasts or otherwise…
DS: As long as I keep it off Twitter
PH: It’s gonna have a positive impact on someone’s life.
DS: Yes, someone feels seen, they don’t feel alone. It all is wonderful. Now, I think you and I are also in a really unique situation as well. Like what you and I have had a really firsthand experience with is like, oh, the sh** that’s sustainable, the foundation for self esteem, all those things, sadly, they don’t really derive from all the status stuff that I bought into as a kid and that you were just inadvertently born into, which is like, all these things, the kind of dream we’ve been sold. I just like saying out loud, like I had made the most amount of money I ever made. People recognised me at the airport, and I was on the verge of killing myself because I was such a bad addict. Life was miserable. So like, I had all the things that are supposed to make you happy, and it just didn’t f****** work.
PH: So you were chasing something?
DS: Yes, the thing I needed wasn’t the things I thought I needed. Like the things you need is like connection to community being of service to other people, things that are actual self-esteem builders, not accomplishments or adoration those things at least for me didn’t fill up or give me the esteem I needed.
PH: Being catapulted into fame was presumably a hell of a lot to deal with? Did you have anyone around you at the time guiding you or giving you advice?
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