Episode 003 – Billy Hayes Author of True Life “Midnight Express,” Part 1


riding_midnight_express_posterBilly Hayes was the inspiration for the 1978 movie Midnight Express with Brad Davis.  After escaping from a Turkish prison and making his way back to America, Billy wrote a book about his experiences, and Hollywood came a-knocking — a relatively unknown Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay.

Now Billy’s got a new one-man show which recently previewed in Edinburgh called Riding  the Midnight Express which talks about some of his life experiences in greater detail.

Topics covered in the interview:

  • My introduction, losing weight, “ghost” tape (0:00)
  • Here’s Billy Hayes – his stage show (6:39)
  • What did Billy aspire to after college… and the church (13:16)
  • Surviving in prison and feeling invincible (19:44)
  • Drug laws – “consensual crimes” (22:29)
  • Thinking about escape and learning valuable lessons (30:09)
  • Realities of Turkish prison – the smell of fear (33:31)
  • How close some of the things in movie are to reality –  (40:20)
  • Addressing accusations of racism in the movie (42:40)
  • Oliver Stone reads early galley of the book (47:44)
  • Why the real escape not in the movie and “crime of honor” (51:54)
  • A little more about the prison island and 30 year sentence (55:35)
  • Where the title came from – “Midnight Express” (59:56)

Billy’s got some stories!  Enjoy.

stephenlbsAlso… I talk a little about my newest quest to lose weight.  Gonna post my weight when I started this new “regime” on the 7th of November (285 lbs), so I can’t get out of doing the work!  Will post my next goal of 275 as soon as I reach it.  Boy, Turkey Day set me back a bit.  I was almost there.


Episode 002 – Off Off Topic with Erik Van Wyck


In this episode which features my very good buddy, actor/writer, Erik Van Wyck, we go off topic a bit in a new segment I’m calling Off Off Topic.

Erik and Stephen

Forgot to take a pic in LA, but here’s a silly one of us from 2006 with my daughter’s stuffed bunny.

In a few weeks I’ll release Erik’s “official” actor/writer interview (including a great embarrassing story about a recent horrible audition), but we had such a nice long conversation for about 2 hours, and there were some bits where we went off the trail that were way too good to be scrapped …

…. thus Off Off Topic.


The segments include:

  • Intro — spooky, did I record a ghost? (00:00)
  • LA vs. NYC (09:10)
  • The Frenchman’s naked breast scam (20:20)
  • Canadians wrestle sarcasm (31:23)
  • The horrors of a kid’s playground (41:06)

ALSO… stayed tuned at the very end of the episode (50:32) for a musical treat.  My buddy Sal Clemente who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” has a band called Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra which is performing a concert version of the rock musical JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR this Friday, Saturday, Sunday (11/22, 11/23, 11/24)  in Arlington, MA at the Regent Theatre.  He gave me permission to include the awesome song “Gethsemane” from their recorded album of JCS on the podcast.  The performer singing Jesus is Chris Cote.  Go to their website to hear other selections including Sal singing Judas… or even better, buy the album or see the concert to hear everything.  Check ’em out!

Episode 001 – Margo Martindale


Hi, I’m Stephen Bittrich.  In this inaugural episode of Off Off Pod, I interview my buddy, actress Margo Martindale, who is known for such television shows as JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, A GIFTED MAN, and most recently, THE MILLERS.  (As of this writing you can watch the latest episode of THE MILLERS for free online.).

She is also known for movies like  AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY (Christmas, 2013), MILLION DOLLAR BABY, and DEAD MAN WALKING.

While temporarily rooming with Margo and being her assistant while she transitions into THE MILLERS, I ask what the day to day process is like for an actor working on a 4 camera sitcom and what the audition process was like.

The Margo section was taped on 10/30/13 in Los Angeles.


And after the interview I talk about the origins of Off Off Pod, my inspiration Marc Maron from WTFPod and a little about the my growing pride in the words “Off Off.”

The theme song “Here We Go Again” is written and performed by my buddy Sal Clemente.  Here’s his band — Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra.  Check ’em out!