This damned surfing life.
Yesterday, the two-time Academy Award nominated actor Jonah Hill responded to a request from BeachGrit to come on our Dirty Water podcast for some chit and chat by turning it down. “Why’d you guys ask me to be on your podcast if all you do is be rude towards me?” he asked before adding, “I get nothing from surfing but joy. Hope you’re well.”
All fine and good, but as the day went on, Hill’s message began to lightly annoy. Rude towards him? Isn’t that part and parcel of this surfing life?
And so I responded, “Jonah, will you allow a riposte? Surfing is old, has existed long before your joyous discovery. It’s much like skateboarding, which I think you love, with culture and banter and ribbing. To discount the conversation is to miss it entirely. BeachGrit has never been rude towards you. It has been surf-like towards you. Now, if you actually care, this world is your oyster. If you don’t, then understood.”
I did not expect an answer, much less a thoughtful one, so was blown off my Applebees stool, minutes later, when his missive popped into my refurbished iPhone.
“I agree and calling me a VAL and a kook is super funny and genuinely funny within the idea of someone new coming into culture and trying to co-opt it. People love to report on what I’m in to and I can see how that makes it seem like I’m trying to be more of a representative of surfing that I care to be. I genuinely just have fun and enjoy it.
What genuinely hurt is attacking the way I look or have looked. I think it’s unnecessary to your point and honestly just sucks. While I am a public figure, I’m still a person who has heard shit like that his entire life. In fact, it’s what deterred me from surfing until I was 35 because I didn’t like the way I felt.
That being said, as someone who has been a professional comedian of 20 years, I don’t judge your attempts to come into my culture and attempt to be funny. Maybe I should practice what I preach and see you guys going for low-hanging fruit as me getting on a foamy and trying something I enjoy and am not quite great at yet. But if you are smiling then I shouldn’t judge. So lesson learned. My bad.
I hope you enjoy the journey of learning to be funny. Much respect to surfing and giving people shit. I just didn’t understand the need to attack the way I look or have looked in such a harsh and genuinely hurtful way. Feel free to print this and we should surf sometime.
I hope you see my response as the kind gesture it is of giving you guys another article to write. And hope to see you around. Just make sure and be fair journalists and print it in full (smiley face emoji) And I genuinely do appreciate your thoughtful explanation.”
Applebees is not the place to deeply consider life choices but there I sat, considering deeply, flanked by a motorcycle enthusiast who had just left his wife and a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.
Jonah Hill was right.
He was right and I was wrong.
Wrong and rude.
I very much appreciated that he explained what hurt and why it hurt in such detail. Rare, in this day and age, to have any sort of conversation with an opposing side, to be sensitive and open, but there it was and I offered to someday buy him an apology drink. He told me that he appreciated that but would prefer to drop in on me, once, and we would call it even.
Now I have to go to Malibu and somehow get around Strider Wasilewski’s attack dogs.
This damned surfing life.