Drinking with Ian at the Grammys


Photo by Rich Ryan

Minneapolis was representing at the Grammys Sunday night, even if it is a dubious place to represent. Ian Rans -- he of TV's Drinking with Ian -- was on hand for the ceremony with Stand Up! Records' Dan Schlissel. Schlissel was nominated for his work producing Lewis Black's latest CD, for which Ian did graphic design work. (Two years ago they took home a trophy for their work on Black's last CD, but this time around they lost to George Carlin.) Gimme Noise caught up with Minneapolis's favorite talk show host and man-about-town to get the inside scoop on the notoriously lame awards show -- from the pre-televised daytime portion where the majority of the trophies are distributed, to the nighttime finale dominated by Justin Timberlake and seen on TV by dozens if not hundreds of viewers.

Gimme Noise: Who was Ian drinking with on Grammy night?

Ian: Dan Schlissel and a cast of unwashed thousands who went to an after-party here where The Time was playing. They were great. There was absolutely no celebrity sightings. I wish I could tell you I was drinking with Martin Sheen, but no.

We spent most of the night trying to re-coup our expenses in food and free drinks. I think we actually did. We were there for like four hours ordering doubles. It wasn't just to cushion the impact of losing, it was just trying to stay mentally solvent in LA.

GN: You won a couple years ago, then lost this year to George Carlin. Did you practice your best gracious losing face?

Ian: No, I didn't because there wasn't anybody there to see it. It's pre-televised. It might as well be Canada's Juno Awards. There's a lot of people there, actually. I was a few people behind Peter Bogdanovich in line.

But when you lose to Carlin, that's not so bad. We didn't lose to Kathy Griffin, at least. If we did that, we would have stormed the stage.

During the daytime -- and this is the dichotomy, the juxtaposition -- the talent for the daytime show was Tia Carrere and Heavy D. Heavy D. But the boys were nowhere to be found. I'm surprised people at the daytime awards didn't have work songs -- it was like being trapped in the belly of a slave ship.

During the daytime thing they give away 100 awards, and during the nighttime thing they give away like 10. I'm not exaggerating. It was nice to be in the same room as Paul McCartney and Zooey Deschanel. It's nice to go to L.A. and see movie stars in their native environment just to know that you don't have a chance in hell of banging them.

GN: How was the nighttime show?

Ian: Did you watch it?

GN: No.

Ian: It was horrible. Ah, it wasn't that bad. I still got to see Stevie Wonder -- but then he was playing with the Jonas Brothers. Watching the Jonas Brothers lip-synch to "Superstition," that was something ... I don't even recall it. I think my brain tried to block it out. I'm just glad [Stevie] couldn't see it.

GN: What about the show did you have to see in person to appreciate?

Ian: When you see it live, you just see a bunch of jerks onstage posing. They've got these big screens, these monitors, and when you see it on the monitors, it looks great, but live they're just posing like jerks.

Sitting at home would be a better seat, most of all because you could get up and leave if you want to. Plus, you're here in L.A., and they hate smoking. You couldn't leave the room, so you couldn't smoke. They had a smoking lounge, but it was taken up with press interviews. It was a roomful of smokers who all had some sort of Benzedrine-crazed look in their eyes, just ready to snap. If the mediocre talent wasn't enough to do it, the fact that you couldn't drown it out with nicotine was so much worse.

It's less an awards show and more of a hostage situation. The drinks are overpriced, you're in a tux, you can't smoke. It's in the Staples Center, which is the exact same as the Target Center. It's made for sports fans, and here you are in a goddamned monkey suit just wondering who's going to break. There is a majesty to it. It is a hell of a stage show, but it's very safe. It's like seeing a rock and roll review in Branson, Missouri: It's so safe, there's too many lights, and you're pretty sure you know some of these people. If you print anything, just be sure to print that it's exactly like a rock and roll review in Branson.

Also, Coldplay is actually more boring in person. When they came on I saw dozens of cell phones come out and people start texting.

Even a crappy circus is still a circus. But it is a crappy circus.