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Zane Lamprey Made Easy

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The floating arm is just one of many of Zanes signatures.
  • courtesy photo
  • The 'floating arm' is just one of many of Zane's signatures.
Zane Lamprey's job on his first show, “Three Sheets,” was to fly around the world tasting its indigenous liquor culture and some crazy hangover cures. But then its home, MOJO HD, closed, so the show traveled to the Fine Living Network, before petitioning the Anthony Bourdain - er, Travel Channel - to carry on the torch. As of this week, it looks like the channel will pick up more episodes, with the possibility of … I'll just let Zane tell you the rest.

In the meantime, you can catch Zane's “Drinking Made Easy” Comedy Tour live next Tuesday at the Athenaeum (and, most likely, the Rathskeller immediately afterward). It's the namesake of the show he's currently shooting for the HDNet.

Me: So from your June 8 blog post, it sounds like “Three Sheets” will be on Travel Channel.

Zane: I don't want to make the official announcements because I want (Travel Channel) to be involved. Basically, they called me up [Tuesday] and said, “we want to have a conversation about the show.” And I'm like, “aaand? Get to it … ” I could not judge her tone from the opening of it.

They love the show. They aired a few episodes for about a month. It rated well, so they are acquiring the entire library of 52 episodes from Fine Living Network and they'll start airing them on Travel, and if people are receptive, we'll air a new season. It's been about 18 months since I've [taped “Three Sheets”].

Would there be any changes to the show on Travel?

It wouldn't change the show at all - our mantra would be that we would not. If we were to shoot another episode, we would not change a thing.

I hear the “Drinking Made Easy” for HDNet will focus on US cocktails and customs. I'm sure you'll visit New Orleans - where else?

We're on tour, doing about 50-plus cities on our comedy tour.

We're only in each city for a day and a half; I have Steve McKenna and [buddy comedian Marc Ryan] go out and cover things I'm not able to cover 'cause of time constraints. It's fun; it's going to be more crazy than “Three Sheets.” It will satiate.

Can you give us a teaser?

“Three Sheets” is me talking with locals. The crew are my very, very good friends, and we have a blast. Now I'm on tour with my two best friends. And as happens when you're out with your two best friends, sometimes you stay in one location a little too long …

We are going around and learning about the drinking customs: i.e., in Philly there's a place called Yards, and it's a brewery that makes beer with recipes from like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, etc. They're really interesting ales - one from Ben Franklin has spruce in it. We also went to New Orleans and sat down with the woman who invented the Hand Grenade; we went to Pat O'Briens; went to Jean Lafittes, the oldest bar in country.

It's a lot easier to shoot over the course of four days. With this, we have to jam it in to like a day and a half. The point I'm making is, by the last location, it may be a little crazier than the first location. The [point] is to explore the culture, learn about the history of drinks, discover unique drinks.

I give out my e-mail - ZaneLamprey@gmail.com. Some days I get hundreds of them, but I address them all. But a lot of people say, “You should go here,” talking about these bars that are a lot of fun.” We're not looking for that - we're looking for, say, Chicago originals, like Goose Island.

In Phoenix [finding locally sourced and created beverages] was difficult; in New Mexico it was difficult. People will say, 'go to this place, it's an amazing tequila bar' - but tequila is not from here. [We want to find] what's from here. In the East Coast it's easy - sometimes a little too easy, there are lots of choices. In the Southwest, like Santa Fe, Phoenix - those are newer cities than Boston and Philly.

Do you try to find “originals” at every city you stop at for the comedy tour? What about Indy?

We were supposed to have been in Chicago, and then we had so many people in Indy that said, “Hey man, why don't you add us,” so we added it. It's interesting having to plan to be able to shoot, because I can't come there and do an episode, and shoot six or seven segments, and then go and do a show … time wise, it's not possible. We were in Pittsburg last night [Lamprey was in Columbus during this call], and will be in Cincy tomorrow.

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