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Episode 528

Nerdist Podcast

Anthony Bourdain

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Nerdist Podcast: Anthony Bourdain

World traveler and brave food enthusiast Anthony Bourdain hangs out with the guys to talk about eating strange food in strange places, his intricate plans when he cooks meals for his family, turning his life around to become a writer and TV host, and how he strives to make his show Parts Unknown different from anything else on TV!

Watch Parts Unknown on CNN Sundays at 9 pm!

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  • Open Letter to Anthony Bourdain
    ——————————-

    I have been thinking about this for several days now.
    Should I? Shouldn’t I? Really, …what’s the point?
    It isn’t as though anyone is really going to read it. It’s simply a purging of the soul, my own.
    The opening of a vein and the steaming release of tainted blood. So why do I feel so compelled to do it?
    And then I realize,like many other things in life, I do it because … I have to.
    Because…as someone once said ..”I’m mad as Hell..and I’m not going to take it any more!”

    I have watched your show…for years. Across decades it seems now. I would have to actually research it to
    discover when I began. From the times I waited and waded through episodes of Zimmern to finally “find you”,
    to the days such as now, with the relentless reruns every weekend of regurgitated, half chewed cow bile
    oozing from my screen, dripping like stained candle-wax over my Xbox 360 and surround-sound boombox in some
    darkened, drunken Monks Inn.

    And I think to myself…”What the Hell?!?!?!” WHAT happened?”
    I can’t take it any more. No more. I quit, I’m done..no more for me thanks..I’m driving.

    Is it me? Am I the one who has finally grown and matured? Was I really THAT naive in the beginning,
    to think..that THIS…is what I needed and searched for, like so many of the other meercats I suppose,
    rising in unison, noses twitching, paws to chin…”He’s here. Bourdain is on!Come everyone! Oh come gather
    round the Holy fluorescent light.Let us prostrate and pray at the Altar of Bourdain., For he has risen once
    again to bless and raise our consciousness to those otherwise unobtainable heights for us so mere and mortal,
    where the air is thin and laced with the residue perfume of absinthe vapors, misting from his now emptied chalice.
    Then together, we shall crawl towards the edge of the precipice, scraping the scabs from our knees, so fresh blood
    may mark our trail for other of our acolyte brethren to follow,and together we shall leap into the ocean…
    good lemmings all …. chanting in fading echos in the sunset…”Anthony….Anthony….Annnnnn….thhooo…nnnyyyy…..”
    … Like the tolling of a hollow solitary bell in the distance….

    Ugh…nope. Sorry. Was never one of them. Never part of the “crowd”. But I digress. You know what did it?
    Any guesses? Nope. Wasn’t the second installment of the self-mutilation and (please dear God) subsequent
    “Suicide in Sicily”, though truth, that probably stirred the tinder. Wasn’t even the pomposity…no no no..
    Not “pomposity”..but..pompisity! (Pompisity?!?! hmm..pompisity…yes. Let us rejoice in the creation of a
    new word, but…credit where credit is due – inspired by the Master of such – Anthony Bourdain.

    Pom·pis·i·ty
    /(pom~piss~ahhh~tee`)/ noun
    the quality of being pompous; self-important – the act or portrayal of being “pompous”, but at the same time
    presenting a facade of self-deprecation, but only to the point where this deprecation is transparent and shallow,
    thus easily recognized to be a pretense, and therefor reinforcing and confirming the underlying quality of pomposity.

    ….Yes…so…where was I? .. ahh yes, …. No…wasnt even the pompisity of the Vegas episode, the near ruination
    of Granada and the self-adulation of the participants in Tangiers…No, none of that. It took this current Thailand
    esipode for me to say…”No. Enough. I’ve had enough.” While I do not currently reside there, the Pac Rim has been
    my back yard for decades. I’ve lived in Tahiti. I’ve lived in Taipei. Been to Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and the Philippines.
    Traveled to Atuona to visit Gauguin’s grave…and never left. And I resent your off-handed centile portrayal.
    In this and other related episodes.

    Seriously, do you watch or review any of this shit before it gets released? Do you have ANY creative influence,
    opinion, license or control over the trash that bears your own name? Or are you truly the architect of your
    own demise? What is the WORLD makes you think that fish-eyed close-ups of toothless natives slurring down bathtub
    gin, giggling incessantly while you participate and stare off in a drug induced stupor – is in the least bit
    media worthy, artistic or expressive of Thai culture? (yeah yeah, I know. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of
    the episode. An “underbelly” episode, to say the least. Not to represent the true culture of the nation.
    Best to include such a disclaimer on all subsequent episodes.
    “Warning: No worthwhile or otherwise meaningful content to follow.”
    These people you “pop-eyed”. They do not know that you are mocking them. That your minions laugh AT them.Not with them.

    But then to add to this sophomoric display the backdrop of 1960′s Sunshine tab and Acapulco Gold psychedelic oscillating
    imagery…and it’s complete in its idiocy. Christ. This is EXACTLY this same kind of crap that compelled me to walk out
    on a scholarship at Pratt university some forty years ago because I could no longer bear the inundation of “artistic
    expressionism” of the pseudo-intellectual “professors” there, prancing about in their bowler hats in midnight graveyards,
    grinding out their own home grown film noir masterpieces the mainstream Philistines simply would never be able to comprehend.
    Aaahhh, but “Nosferatu” was required “reading” then. Black and white and German. How could it get any better? If only we could
    all be beatniks or expats, wallowing about in puddles of our own vomit and urine in some some darkened alley of Tangiers.
    Yes, Billy Burroughs all of us. I’m tired of it. I’ve had enough. You know why people romanticize this shit?
    It’s just another version of “mob madness”. It because they weren’t there, didn’t live with it or through it. There’s
    no romance in the mob…New York, Chicago or VEGAS! I’ve survived surrounded by them. They’re mindless, heartless animals,
    eyes veiled over like predatory snakes. And there is no glory in deifying William Burroughs. If people met him…they
    wouldn’t have liked him.He was a homosexual murderer and addict in self-exile to avoid prosecution, who managed to stay
    alive while roiling in his own piss and excrement with what little cognitive resources available to him only capable of
    shoving another needle into his arm in mindless reflex. Oh yeah, I wanna be like him. Don’t get me started on Kerouac.
    Friggin “On the Road” was written in a one room apartment in Ozone Park, Queens! And contains about as much truth as “Fear
    and Loathing”! He wasn’t an alcoholic. He was a DRUNK! About the only worthwhile thing he ever said was “I had nothing
    to offer anyone except my own confusion.” Amen Jack! How he ever got credited with free thought and “spontaneous” writing
    is beyond me. He wrote on rolls of newsprint because if he stopped to refill the typewriter he would have forgotten his train
    of thought by the time he returned to the keys. Oh but then there’s Thompson. Well..he is endorsed by Johnny Depp, so…what
    more does one need? Yeah….Gonzo journalism…that’s what I want to aspire to. And where’s your “Canticle for Lenny” episode?
    What? No kitchen in the Victory? Surely there must be SOME culinary spin you can concoct to explain his bent? I must have
    missed that one.

    You know what I really want to know? Who the HELL ever told you…that you could WRITE?!? I’m sorry Anthony, but you are not
    Paul Bowles. And you certainly ain’t no Dylan (Thomas that is, fools) or Edgar Allen. These were tormented souls, but capable
    of true artistic expression while in their own private hells and miseries. And as far as Burroughs, I’d rather read a good
    Edgar Rice than William. I listen to you now and I feel like I’m at a bad “AA” meeting. You know the kind…where it’s all
    “one-up-manship”. The “well, “I” was THIS crazy” meetings. Who can tell the wildest story. Who slept under how many bridges
    and overpasses in how many days. Who lost what. Where the scars and trials and recoveries are carried not in modicum or humility,
    but displayed like badges of courage and accomplishment.
    I’m sorry. Spare me. Been there, done that. And burned the T-shirt. Not hung it from my porch like some pennant of honor.

    You know why I’m upset? Why I’m venting on you? Because I’m disappointed. And embarrassed. In you, for you. And in myself.
    For telling people I followed you. That I at one time looked forward to you. That I recommended you. And now ..I simply
    wish I could turn my head and deny it all. It never existed. Forgive me, it was the Patron talking. Espousing this…this…
    …J. Peterman “journalist”. A bad clothing catalogue. Hey ! I just got a GREAT IDEA!!! Let’s get ahold of Jerry Seinfeld!
    He could do a comeback episode! You and John O’Hurley! Facing off! Oh..just think of it! The literary possibilities.
    And…and…we could have it narrated by George Plimpton!
    Oh God, wait a second. Don’t tell anyone yet. I’ve got to get this copyrighted first! This could carry for years! Think of the
    residuals! And it seems to me – you’re going to need ‘em.

    And so, I must bid you adieu. Richmond is about to come on, and at least one knows not to take him seriously. And as
    I heave after enduring that, perhaps I can as well finally loose this “unknown” bile from my system. For if I watch another
    (is it “Unknown”? or “Unknowing”? Hmmm…) episode, it is certain you are going to owe me for a new 58″ flatscreen (is OK.
    I really want the new “Curve” anyway). Because if I hear you describe ONE MORE culinary experience as being “delicious”,
    my screams will set off a chorus of neighboring 911 calls as I hurl my glass of black Ceylon through the screen and embed
    it in the wall behind.
    Because do you know what the word “delicious” signifies and conveys as a descriptive device?

    Goddamn F$*%&^*ING NOTHING !!! IT’S MEANINGLESS!!!

    You might as well jump in the ocean screaming “Goddamn! That water is “wet”!!!…or that seawater tastes “salty”!

    Christ. Peabody and Emmy material all. Welcome to the working week.

    In all seriousness Mr. Bourdain, take this as it is truly intended. Despite appearances to the contrary, it is a constructive
    critique. Physician, heal thyself. For none other will. When it is over, they will turn and devour you, simply another
    pour (misspelling intended) punch line at some cocktail party.

    I WAS going to simply send this as a private message. After all, it is not my intention to make a public disparagement of you.
    And if I posted it in “Comments” then the hordes will rise up, calling me “Troll”…no doubt complaining to FB and getting me
    banned for a time. But then I thought…what the Hell.. I am a man, and entitled to my opinion on the subject. Surely your
    congregation is mature and “intelligent” enough to recognize this indisputable reality. N’est pas, Capitaine, mon capitaine?
    But, let it be as it may. For though “they call me rebel and traitor, I feel no concern from it; for I should suffer the misery
    of Hell, were I to make a whore of my soul” …and not speak the truth of my mind.

    Ahhh…I feel spent. But…better now. I hope I have performed some small service for you as well.
    Finally, in the words of Andy Warhol, …. “Tick……..tick…….tiiiiii……ccc……kkkk…kk…kk………k.”
    Or was it Timothy Leary? I forget…… In any case, this one’s winding down, dude.

    I hope you didn’t invest ALL your disposable income in those cocoa trees.

    Barkeep, light me up another sugar cube, please…

    ER

    (p.s. – in case anyone is stumpted and Googling the intro – it was Howard Beale. 1976′s “Network”.)
    =================

  • Chris, loved the podcast! I hope you go to Japan, it is a fantastic place to visit! I have been twice. The summertime is very hot and humid, thankfully they have vending machines everywhere! Since you are a Disney fan, make sure to go to Toyko Disney and Toyko Disney Sea! Both are unique and fun, especially all the Japanglish on the rides.
    Make sure to go to Kyoto, they filmed many movie scenes there and it was the Emperors residence until 1868. Very beautiful! You can take the bullet train, which is an experience in itself! 
    Another day trip by train from Toyko is to the great Budda at Kamakura. It is amazing. You will have to change trains a double of time but it is worth it! 
    The Lake Ashi and Hokone are a cool relief to the heat too. Hokone has an interesting spa, check it out!
    Don’t be afraid of riding the trains, just figure out your route a head of time and scope out the stations. You can get maps online. Just don’t go during rush hour! You may find you hand on the ass of a stranger. 

  • “The CNN host argued the liberal network would be better off if their hosts took some time to have a beer and eat some barbecue with the conservatives they disagree with.”
    Actually, that is one of the problems with a dysfunctional Congress. They’re a world apart from growing up in a diverse big city (you know it Bourdain, you know it).

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. Bourdain is one of my personal heroes. This episode was incredibly enjoyable. Also, Chris, thanks for providing me with endless entertainment. This podcast never lets me down. 

    • For real.  I love Tony but his episode of No Res in Iceland really missed the mark. 

      Okay, yeah, *some* of the food is awful.  But that’s not really the point.

  • No WAY! I haven’t even listened yet, but I’ve already lost my mind. This unrepentant drinking, smoking, cussing, chef-ing badass is just as cool as I hope to be when I reach his age. I watch his show every Sunday, and have seen every episode of <i>No Reservations</i>. If I gave two shits about Twitter, he’d likely be the only person I’d follow, just to see what awesomeness he chose to project into the ether. I seriously want to hang out with this guy, get drunk, eat food, and bullshit.

    So glad you got him on, Team Nerdist. Thanks a ton!

  • I couldn’t love this guy more.   I’m so glad he’s out in the world representing the good guy American.   But sharing a beer with Ted Nugent — unapologetic racist, gun glorifier, gleeful killer of animals he doesn’t eat, serial statutory rapist — might be where I draw the line.  

  • This is just another amazing “get” in what will be on of the best catalogs ever created.  No joke,  Chris you are doing an amazing job.  I can’t even think of people who you should interview because for all I know you just did and are waiting to air it.   Keep up the good work buddy

  • Awesome podcast. Anthony Bourdain is always a great interview.
    I’m a huge Bourdain fan, to the point where I consider him one of my heroes. His attitude to life, the world and food is endlessly inspiring.

  • What a most excellent surprise to find when I checked on new podcasts Sunday morning! Nerdist and Bourdain, two of my favorite people to listen to. Awesome interview Chris. 

  • I lost all respect for this guy based on his Shanghai comments generalizing about the trajectory of an entire continent based on the experience of one posh white celebrity in a tourist city. I spent many years in the rest of the country and it is not posh or technologically advanced. I was tortured in a rural hospital for six weeks while being called a lot of racial slurs instead of a name.  Please try to be more respectful of people like me in the future.

    • So Anthony Bourdain was supposed to temper his personal experiences of Shanghai with the experiences of a person who he’s never met nor whose life story he’s never heard? (That’s you.)

      Ok just wanted to clear that up. I hope you’re trolling.

    • While I may not know your full story, I find it disrespectful that you generalize something you experienced in one location to an entire country.  As a Chinese American, please try to be more respectful of people like me in the future too. 

      Love the podcast though, one of my favorite people to talk about food next to Alton Brown.

  • I love this man I remember his first cooking show A Cook’s Tour he went to Japan in one of the episodes. I was a very big anime fan back when I watched it and that particular episode blew my mind. I was already obsessed with Japanese culture and Anthony seemed to enjoy his time there very much. Dudes way cool and I’ve been a fan of his ever since that episode and I have watched all his shows and interviews since then. He did an episode of No Reservations in the Philippines and that’s where I’m from! I really want to read his books, Mr. Bourdain has a way with people in his shows it’s very entertaining. He just makes traveling and cooking look so fun and good. I highly recommend watching the Lebanon episode of No Reservations very touching and moving episode. I cannot think of a single show of his that you shouldn’t watch but I do know it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Anthony has his own certain sense of humor but the people he has on his shows all seem to like the guy. I am writing this before listening to the podcast fyi. What more can I say so I’ll end with this, if your a fan of cooking/food and travel watch No Reservations

    • When is Nerdist ever about nerdy things?  It’s an outlet for entertainment biz promotions.  These interesting guests are on press tours when they come through here and have these great conversations.  Don’t forget that.  It’s all Pop culture here.  Pop.  Popular.  Nerdist.  Nerd.  Popular.  Nerd.  See the incongruity?  It only kind of works because Chris personally defines nerd not as being annoyingly brainy and catastrophically lacking even minimal social skills, but, as liking something a lot.  That’s it, that’s all it takes.  And since everyone likes something a lot, everyone is a nerd.  Isn’t that nice?
      In Nerdistland, watching popular TV shows and movies, playing popular video games, and talking about the most popular memes everyone’s seen on Reddit, among the most popular websites on the net, is what makes someone a nerd.  !
      Case in point, Chris is a nerd.  A nerd who has a celebrity girlfriend, drives a Jaguar, has a luxury home in hollywood, and hundreds of people he calls friends at parties.  Hahaha…  Who ever knew nerds had it so good?

      Ultimately, you’ve just gotta get over that word, because it means nothing.

      • I don’t think you’ve every actually absorbed ANYTHING Chris has ever done. Sure, there are more people who are nerdier than he when it comes to Whovian trivia, but were you in chess club? Are you an experienced bowler? Can you recite Pi to a crazy degree? Nerd is a relative term – it denotes passion for something. Just because the dude has several jobs, makes money via nerdy things, and owns his own home doesn’t mean he’s NOT a nerd. What you’re looking for is an Uber Nerd, which doesn’t exist. There is no singular being who can trump your basement dwelling ass on every piece of nerdom, ever. If there is, they’re not worth hanging out with. So if you’re close to being that being, on behalf of the rest of the debate/chess/art club National Honor Society MENSA members who still carry their Justice League membership cards from the 80s I say, good day to you, you hipster douchenozzlefucker.

      • Man you sure got my number! Thank you for holding up a mirror that I might gaze upon the grotesqueness of my fraudulent visage. TRUTH SAUCE DRINK IT UP!!!!

        • @Mikes Lives: you are definitely entitled to your opinion but at least have it be an informed one. I mean, to be fair, you don’t know me at all personally. It’s totally your right to say, “I think that guy sucks buckets of shit!,” but certainly not cool to say, “Hey here’s who you are!” 

          And believe me, if I were parasitic and co-opty rather than determined to pursue things I actually care about, I would have started “The Sportist”. There’s a fuck ton more money in it.

        • Truth sauce! It’s what’s for dinner? It’s not just for dinner? It goes well with the other white meat?  #TruthSauce 

          I can’t even say how much I love CH’s response. +1000 Points to Chris!

        • Is Truth Sauce going to an item in coming shop? I hope so. I’d probably try.

          I look forward to listening to this episode.

  • I so enjoy all the wonderful things that Mr Bourdain creates, and  takes part in and thank you for this delightful share. I dream of meeting him one day as much as I fear meeting him one day lol He is the coolest that is for sure.