Gregg Turkington, movie star

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I’ve had the good fortune over the past couple of decades to cross paths with Gregg Turkington, the star of the soon-to-be-released film Entertainment, on a few occasions. [One of these days, I’ll scan and post some of my old interviews with him, which appeared in the pages of Crimewave USA.] Rarely does someone I admire crawl up from obscurity to “make it” in Hollywood, but that’s apparently what’s happening in Turkington’s case. After decades of paying his dues in the industry, Turkington, the man behind the confrontation rock pioneers The Zip Code Rapists, is about to ascend to the highest step on the stairway to stardom, headlining above the likes of John C. Reilly and Michael Cera in a film about the travails of his painfully acerbic alter-ego, the greasily combed-over, perpetually throat clearing, scorched earth comic Neil Hamburger. And, from what I’ve heard Turkington and others say about the film, it sounds like a truly awesome exploration of the nihilistic comedy landscape he’s spent his entire career charting.

I know I should despise Turkington, as he’s beaten me at every turn in our little race through the American underground… First, his zine, Breakfast without Meat, was better than my zine, Crimewave USA. Then his band, the Zip Code Rapists, was better than my band, Prehensile Monkey Tailed Skink. And, most recently, his show, On Cinema, is better than my show, The Saturday Six Pack… But it’s kind of awesome to see what someone traveling down a very similar path in life can do if he really has talent and tenacity. And Gregg totally has both. He kept at Neil Hamburger for an incredibly long time, and eventually society at large, for better or worse, began catching up to him. He started getting booked on Jimmy Kimmel’s show, and building his network, and now it’s paying off with parts in movies like Ant-Man and opportunities like this one. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve known other people to make it big, but I don’t know of anyone who started out in zines and purposefully confrontational bands, who somehow, through shear determination, made something like this happen. And I think it’s awesome that Turkington is finally getting the recognition that he deserves. It’s nice to know that, on occasion, when people bust their asses, and keep grinding away at their craft, they can eventually get a shot on the big stage. And I hope that Entertainment ends up being a bigger hit than the new Star Wars movie.

Here’s the official writeup for the film, which hits select theaters on November 13.

An aging comedian tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. By day, he slogs through the barren landscape, inadvertently alienating every acquaintance. At night, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement and the possibility of rekindling a relationship with his daughter, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters.

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  1. SR Tep
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I’ve looked for Breakfast Without Meat scans online before and I’ve only found a few pages that have been uploaded to the web. Here’s what I have so far. If you know of others, please email me.

  2. anonymous
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Can someone explain the #IStandWithGregg hashtag to me? I’ve gone down the rabbit hole and nothing is making sense to me.

  3. CC
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    #istandwithgregg: Turkington works on the show Decker with Tim Heidecker, and there’s apparently a fight between the two of them over an episode called “Decker against Dracula”. I don’t know the specifics, but there was a little Twitter war recently.

  4. Cat Shadow
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    “Gregg Turkington’s Decker vs Dracula” waas brilliant.

    And Tim, being an asshole, cancelled it.

    That’s all you need to know.

  5. Stupid Hick
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Mark has more hair than Gregg. I almost said better hair but I changed my mind.

  6. Patrick Dunn
    Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Gregg is my copilot. Tim is the guy with the box cutter trying to break through the reinforced cabin door. (Heidecker…hijacker…coincidence? I THINK NOT.)

  7. Posted November 3, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard that Adult Swim was painstakingly constructed in order to appeal to the stoned. And, now, having watched Decker vs. Dracula, I know that to be true. Why didn’t television like this exist back during that year in the early ’90s that I smoked pot?

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