Jonathan Ames

AmesJonathan Ames is a Brooklyn-based writer, an occasional boxer, and the creator of the new HBO series Bored to Death about a Brooklyn-based writer named Jonathan Ames, played by Jason Schwartzman, who becomes a private detective.

TMN: Why set the show so distinctively in Carroll Gardens and other actual New York locales?

Jonathan Ames: It’s where I live. I live in downtown Brooklyn. I love this area and I know it’s never quite been presented on television, so it was a real opportunity for me to kind of show New York’s new Left Bank.

TMN: How is the character Jonathan Ames like the real Jonathan Ames?

JA: He shares some of my DNA, but really he’s his own individual that Jason Schwartzman is creating. Some of the work that I write turns up, so there are similarities. He dresses somewhat like me. We based his wardrobe off of my wardrobe. He lives in Brooklyn. He has my name. Some of his emotions are similar to mine, but he’s, you know, he’s Jason’s invention.

TMN: How involved are you in the production of the show on a day-to-day basis?

JA: I’m very involved. I’m there at the first shot and the last shot. I sat next to the director for every take. I have the final edit on every episode. I picked every costume for every actor. I’ve been called a “show mother,” so I’m real involved in everything.

Ames's landlord's catTMN: What’s your favorite object in your workspace?

JA: My favorite object would be my landlord’s cat. The cat’s name is Minimus. He belongs to my landlord but always visits me. This is his secret hideout where he likes to get away, like a teenager, and smoke pot.

TMN: Will you be getting back in the boxing ring anytime soon?

JA: I hope so. I want to start training again, and hopefully some—you know, all my matches have been kind of insane bouts, in a way, against other artists. I’ll see if another strange match presents itself. I’m drawn to these things where maybe it’s a fantasy, you know, another fantasy of being the hero.

TMN: What are you working on next?

JA: Well, I just finished really working on the show maybe a month and a half ago, and it was really time-consuming. So I’m thinking about, if we got another season, I’m kind of preparing and taking notes for that [HBO has renewed Bored to Death since this interview was conducted—ed.]. I have to revise my screenplay that I wrote for my novel Wake Up Sir!, and I have an idea for another screenplay. I had a book come out in July, The Double Life Is Twice As Good, and my graphic novel, The Alcoholic, just came out in paperback.

TMN: Who is your archnemesis?

JA: Myself. He’s the only one that gives me a hard time.

TMN: What’s something you’re not good at, but wish you were?

JA: I wish I were better at fixing things, and I wish I were more mechanically inclined. And also I wish I were a better lover. Yeah, better mechanical inclination and a better lover.

TMN Editor Erik Bryan is living the dream. He grew up in Florida, but he’s from all over. He likes playing chess, making cocktails, smarting off, and not freezing to death in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. More by Erik Bryan

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