Episode 010 – Off Off Topic – Pulmonary Embolism and Bad Dating Story


From THE NORWEGIANS by C. Denby Swanson at The Drilling Company. Hamilton Clancy, Dan Teachout, Veronica Cruz. Photo by Lee Wexler.

I’d like to announce a “live” podcast event at The Drilling Company Theater, 236 West 78th Street, 3rd floor on February 11th, 2014.  I’ll be interviewing Artistic Director, Hamilton Clancy.  The event is free. Donations welcome.  Come be a part and then hang out afterwards.

And go see the play that’s running there at the theater right now, The Norwegians by C. Denby Swanson.

In this Off Off Topic episode I tell two stories…

… the day I felt like I might die from shortness of breathe and ended up having a pulmonary embolism!

… and one very uncomfortable and awkward online dating experience where I made a fool of myself!  Well, it was more of an almost date because we actually didn’t ever go out.

Topics covered in the podcast:

  • The introduction (0:00)
  • The day I almost died (4:03)
  • Hello mortality! (13:49)
  • Why online dating sucks (16:45)
  • What to never do with someone you meet at an online dating site (20:56)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.

Episode 008 – Off Off Topic with Stephen Bittrich – Riding the Wave and the Dominatrix


Erik Van Wyck and Stephen Bittrich at Lincoln Center

In this Off Off Topic episode I tell 3 of my classic New York stories…

The bad, out of focus photo to the left was taken by a beautiful stranger (who looked like a sexy librarian) and marked the beginning of a night of extreme culinary delights when we crashed an exclusive after party at one of the most expensive restaurants in New York, Per Se.  (You’re welcome Per Se for the free ad!)

In another story, I talk about being hired by a 6 foot Dominatrix, and in the last story you’ll hear how a beautiful French nanny picked me up in the Houston International Airport when I was 24.  (No really… really!)

Topics covered in the podcast:

  • The introduction (0:00)
  • An email from Malaysia about my play, MIME IN A BOX, getting paid by Paypal (4:13)
  • Coco the Cat (5:44)
  • Story #1  – The Dominatrix (6:50)
  • Story #2 – Eating for free at Per Se one of the most expensive restaurants in NYC (12:30)
  • “Riding the Wave” — is there meaning in the universe? — Whoah, heavy! (19:57)
  • The date — the mistake of taking her to my play, HOLE (22:18)
  • Story #3 – Getting picked up at the Houston International Airport by a beautiful French nanny (29:50)
  • The Cyclone Roller Coaster in Coney Island (33:30)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.

Episode 007 – Off Off Topic with Stephen Bittrich – Jail in NYC


Fake Mugshot of Stephen Bittrich

Okay, that’s not really my mugshot.  That’s my tribute to Nick Nolte’s mug.  But like Nick, I also got sent to the clink — spent 24 hours in the New York City penal system.  Oh what an adventure!

In this Off Off Topic episode of the podcast I talk all about that fascinating experience.  Not something I’d recommend if you can help it, but it makes a good story.


Topics covered in the podcast:

  • My introduction (0:00)
  • Fender bender in high school  (4:16)
  • Pet peeve — reckless driving is like running down the street waving a sledge hammer (6:51)
  • Minivan in the suburbs (8:25)
  • Returning to NYC — alternate side of the street parking (10:00)
  • I get pulled over for broken tail light (14:20)
  • The sergeant demands my attention, fingerprinting snafus (16:42)
  • The trip to the downtown with the holy-rollers, stopping for breakfast (21:10)
  • The Tombs, making friends (24:07)
  • The bathroom situation in jail (27:51)
  • Somber moment, prisoners being lead back to Rikers (30:58)
  • Why Judge Judy sucks (33:27)
  • Paranoia sets in (36:00)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.

Episode 006 – Erik Van Wyck Actor/Writer – Part 2



This is part 2 of my talk with my good buddy, actor/writer, Erik Van Wyck.  In this interview Erik lets it all hang out in his assessment of Los Angeles, the good, the bad, and the ugly — why it can be intoxicating and also soul sucking to pursue the favored industry of the town.

Erik talks a bit about a movie he helped produce (and acted in) called Expecting (which you can watch now on demand) with Radha Mitchell and Michelle Monaghan.

He also talks about traveling the world as the host of the reality show Getting Abroad which was on for a season on the now defunct The Mojo Network.  The show explored mating and dating rituals around the world, and basically Erik traveled to a country, and he and a local wing man went around and tried to pick up women.  He started each show by sampling an (often disgusting) local aphrodisiac.

Erik also offers up some embarrassing and/or bizarre audition stories.

Topics covered in the interview:

  • My introduction (0:00)
  • What drew Erik to Los Angeles  (4:58)
  • Ryan Reynolds gets Blade Trinity (7:58)
  • Douchebag is born in the movie Expecting (8:41)
  • The reality tv show Getting Abroad goes abroad (12:33)
  • Disgusting aphrodisiacs of the world (15:45)
  • How to get lucky in Iceland (23:50)
  • Interrogated by Stana Katic and the pilot Drived (29:19)
  • Embarrassing audition story, hiding crotch with script (39:48)
  • Big bad casting director story (47:48)
  • Casting couch – keys to the apartment (54:18)
  • The management company, “Welcome to Hollywood” (58:25)
  • Being killed with kindness in LA — “Hope is fuel.” (100:35)
  • Seduced and Abandoned and The Hurt Locker party (104:58)

As usual my buddy Sal Clemente (of Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra) who wrote the podcast theme song, “Here We Go Again,” plays us out.

Episode 004 – Billy Hayes Author of True Life “Midnight Express,” Part 2

Billy Hayes, On my bunk, Sagmacilar Prison, 1974

Billy Hayes on his bunk, Sagmacilar Prison, 1974

This is part 2 of my Billy Hayes interview, and as you’ll recall, he was the inspiration for the 1978 movie Midnight Express with Brad Davis.

Please look out for Billy’s new one-man theatrical show which recently previewed in Edinburgh called Riding the Midnight Express which talks about some of his real life experiences — live and straight from the source!

Also in this episode I play my “ghost recording” for you to help me determine if it’s electronic feedback or other worldly communication.

Topics covered in part two of the interview:

  • Intro to show (00:00)
  • A possible recording of a ghostly voice?  (01:17)
  • Listener email and talking about Askwomen podcast  (04:29)
  • Part two of Billy Hayes interview – prison sex (07:03)
  • The worst part of prison, and yoga saves Billy (12:01)
  • Billy gets into acting with Bill Hickey and Eric Morris (17:39)
  • Billy approaches playwright Tennessee Williams in Key West (24:10)
  • Friend Harvey still suffers in Turkish prison (29:01)
  • The true story of girlfriend who comes to Turkey, author of “Dangling Without a Rope” (38:57)
  • Wife Wendy West — “best thing that ever happened to me”  (41:51)
  • Billy’s website info  (44:51)

Also… I mentioned that a high school kid emailed me about my 10-minute play Corybungus (my ode to Monty Python) being performed.  Here’s a link to that short play.  It’s an easy read if you feel like checking it out.  Please keep in mind that while it’s free to read, a royalty must be paid to perform it in front of an audience.


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!