Wouldn't You Love to Drink Alcohol for a Living?

Zane Lamprey has the world’s greatest job. Here, we try not to hate him for it.

By Brian McManus
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Nov. 2, 2010

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Oh, fuck you, Zane Lamprey. You have the world’s greatest job! For three seasons you stumbled around the globe on the TV show Three Sheets —think Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, but with a focus on alcohol, not food—being paid to drink with the locals in exotic locales and learn about their drinking customs. You are the Bard of the Booze, the Songbird of Suds, the Hero of Hooch. Now, since Three Sheets’ demise, you’ve started a new show, Drinking Made Easy, for Mark Cuban’s HD Net. It’s basically the same premise, but now you’re imbibing stateside, drinking our nations best drinks. So you’ll excuse us if we’re a tad bit jealous. And you’ll also excuse us if we use the phrase “tad bit” when we mean “extremely.”

Now, with 24 episodes of Season 1 of Drinking in the can, you’re traveling the country on your “Sing the Booze” tour, singing old drinking songs, telling jokes and performing original ditties: “Beer, I Love You,” “Mojito,” “House Party,” “Giving Up Drinkin’”. You’re bringing the whole thing to the TLA on Friday. We tried to squash the raging jealousy inside us for a moment and talk to you about the tour, your show and your mammoth insurance premium.

First things first, we’re extremely jealous of your life. We’ll try not to let that taint this interview ...

I get that a lot, actually.

Bet you do, Lamprey. Bet. You. Do. Anyway, you were in Philly recently to shoot Drinking Made Easy. Where’d you go, what’d you drink?

We went to McGillin’s, which was the old Bell in Hand, I guess, and is the oldest bar in Philly. That was cool. We went to City Tavern, which at first looked like it would be a very stuffy experience and then it ended up being very interesting, very cool. It’s very intimate; they have a lot of the cocktails made the way they would’ve drunk them back when our forefathers were drinking. We went to a place called Alpha, and we had some newer cocktails made from Root, a root-beer-flavored liquor made close by. We went to Yards and had the beers they brew from recipes from the founders. That was an interesting experience. The objective of the show is to find drinks that are unique to a region, not necessarily find bars. A lot of times people are upset because, “Oh man, you didn’t go to this bar or that bar!” It’s like well, that bar may be great, but they just serve typical American stuff. We are looking for things specific to a region.

How drunk are you during these episodes? Ever watch one and not remember having done something that’s been filmed?

All the time. I don’t remember any of it! Nah, it’s all done at a professional level. It’s my production company that does it, and we have fun but it’s really—it’s a business being run. I’m also the executive producer so I will walk in and discuss what’s going to happen with the producer. Then we set up the shot. Drink. Lights, drink. Sound, drink. It’s all very slow going. I’m not drinking as quickly as the show suggests. I certainly can’t try five drinks in a bar and then go to another bar and try another five drinks. That’s pretty close to my limit right there. The drinking is pretty evenly paced with discussions of what, where, why, how—the flow.

Recently, on Last Call with Carson Daly, you told a story about doing something called a scorpion shot, which sounds pretty gnarly.

Yes. There’s a bar in Milwaukee called Bad Genie that serves a shot with a dead scorpion floating in over-proof rum, the scorpion shot. The most anyone had ever done was nine. I did 23. The next morning was pretty brutal. Passing a scorpion isn’t fun. It’s painful. Your body can’t digest an exoskeleton, so they come out connected like a chain of monkeys in a barrel. Still jealous?

Zane Lamprey performs Fri., Nov. 5, 7:30pm and 11pm. $25-$28. Theater of Living Arts, 334 South St. 215.922.1011. livenation.com

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