a bit of grace

The random musings of Kate Grace

Meet the Peas Interview Series: Peter Landau

Pod: noun

1. An elongated vessel, as in bean or pea

2. A protective compartment

Breepod: noun

1. Literary Agent Bree Ogden’s client list, as nicknamed by said client list.

The Meet the Peas interview series is intended to give readers a closer look at the personality that makes up Bree Ogden’s Client List. And let’s be real for a second, this group is bursting at the seams with personality.

We’re nearing the end, but a trip through the collective mind of the Breepod would not be complete without first taking a spin through the odd and delightfully hysterical mind of Peter Landau.

What was your most embarrassing moment either as a child or adult?

All my moments are embarrassing. My very first memory is embarrassing. I was saying goodbye to my mommy—I’m guessing I was four—and, just as the door closed behind her, I filled my pants with poop. I was just out of diapers and learned an important lesson about underwear: it is a poor waste receptacle.

Then there were my teenage years of drug experimentation, which usually ended poorly, like naked or in a straightjacket, but maybe you have a different definition of poorly. Still, have you ever woken up in a padded cell? It’s not as much fun as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound like much fun at all.

When was your first date and/or kiss?

My first kiss was in the stairwell of the Parsons School of Design dorm, which was in the same building as Andy Warhol’s studio, across the street from Union Square Park in New York City. It was great. I was an innocent boy of nineteen, who only knew of kissing from books and films; neither medium able to fully describe the gross yet stimulating allure of a wet tongue penetrating another’s mouth. My date had teased bleached hair that she kept airborne with Aquanet hairspray. I’ve loved that toxic smell ever since.

Following the “Breakfast Club” rules to sweeping generalization stereotypes, what kind of teenager were you?

I was an awkward teenager who was beaten up daily for the first half of my teenage years, until the bullies discovered drugs and mellowed out. I hated sports, fancied myself an intellectual, at that point blissfully ignorant of the prefix “pseudo,” and loved “The Abbott and Costello Show,” which was rerun on late-night TV, then a wellspring of absurd and mind-blowing serendipitous discovery.

While never comfortable in any particular clique, I traveled freely among them all—stoners, jocks, preppies—but especially the losers and rejects. A tough guy that used to harden his knuckles on my stomach made a surprise appearance in the library one lunch hour. Seeing me at a table with the greasy, the mentally challenged, the foreign-exchange students, the lowliest of the low, commented, “Gaydau (bully pun on my surname), you’re King of the Faggots.”

Describe the best meal you’ve ever had:

That’s a toss-up, either Passover or Yom Kippur. Each Passover, my grandma made pot roast with gravy that she served over Jewish rye. Her secret was the pot roast pot, which my mother and aunt bitterly fought over after she died. It remains a contentious subject to this day.

The observant fast on Yom Kippur, breaking fast at sundown. I think. My family is culturally Jewish but secular. We’re Reformed Jews, which is basically Christian. We never fasted, or, as my uncle says, we fast between meals.

Still the Yom Kippur breakfast is one of my favorite meals: bagels and lox, white fish, herring smothered in cream and onions, gefilte fish, which is like the hamburger of the sea. It’s more of an Eastern European peasant thing than Jewish.

The great tragedy of my life is that I try (not always successfully) to eat a vegetarian diet, but the pull of a good Jewish deli is strong.

What’s something on your Bucket List you haven’t tried yet? Why is it on the List? Why haven’t you tried it?

I have all the buckets I need, scratched them off my bucket list and then threw that list out in a bucket for irony.

What’s a story about you your Mother always tells?

There are many. When I was a baby, I never was able to sit up and my parents thought I would be this high-powered executive reclining behind my desk saying, “Mrs. Jones, take a letter.” That’s more of a visual, I guess.

When my mother was pregnant with my sister, she asked whether I wanted a boy or a girl? I replied: “No baby sister, no baby brother.” I’ve always been negative.

My mom is an actress and, after my sister and me were born, she mostly worked doing TV commercials. She often took us to auditions with her. One wanted to cast mothers with their real children, but mom never said anything to shield us from rejection. I got the job, a Tide commercial that had me missing a couple days of school to fly down to Florida and get my clothes dirty. On the plane, the stewardess asked me if I was going to Disneyworld. “No,” I said dismissively to this philistine. “I’m making a commercial.”

The commercial never aired, thankfully, or I’d be more of an interminable asshole than I already am.

We’re going Actors Studio style now – rapid fire!!!!!!

What is your favorite word?


What is your least favorite word?


What turns you on (creatively/spiritually/inspiration)?

Humor, intelligence, creativity.

What turns you off?

Humor, intelligence, creativity.

What is your favorite curse word?

I’m trying not to curse and set a good example for my kids. When the middle one, age six, gets mad he calls me a “fuck-hole.” Where the fuck-hole did he learn that?

What sound or noise do you love?

Godzilla’s atomic roar, the horn blown on “Planet of the Apes” when hunting humans, you know, normal stuff.

What sound or noise do you hate?

There are certain sounds my children make that are genetically designed to cut through to the most sensitive place in my nervous system and, once there, wreck ungodly havoc. That sound.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

Cartoonist. Funny you should ask. I’m looking into changing careers. Trade journalism is a soulless suck and not even a secure soulless suck. So, I’ve been searching for altruistic employment opportunities, something I can feel good about that will also financially support my family. I don’t think cartoonist fits that bill.

What profession would you not like to do?

That’s the problem with my current job hunt: all professions I would not like to do.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God save when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Wait, God’s in Heaven? This religion thing is so confusing.

Do yourself a solid: See Peter Tweet.

Do Peter a solid: See Peter be an “interminable asshole”.

Update: THIS JUST IN! See Peter’s music career.



One comment on “Meet the Peas Interview Series: Peter Landau

  1. Lisa
    September 22, 2010

    This is laugh-out-loud funny! Thanks, Peter (and Grace). The boyhood photo is adorable.
    ~ Lisa

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2010 by in regular.
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