Gil Ozeri may be our generation’s foremost binge-watcher. In 2011 the comedian and one-time writer for such shows as “Happy Endings” and “Brooklyn Nine Nine” consumed every episode of “Two and a Half Men” with one brief intermission. Last year, he screened every episode of “Entourage" and topped it all off with the the just-released film. Why would a man push his mind and body to such extremes? For the same reason anyone does anything — because why not!
A recording of the “Entourageathan,” as Ozeri calls it, is available in full on Funny or Die’s YouTube channel. When he's not binge-watching, Ozeri is a wry observer of pop culture and sharp satirist. And if you prefer your content shorter than 57 hours, consider his excellent Snapchat (user name: gilozeri). A master of silent, bite-sized and physical comedy, Ozeri has elevated the Snap to an art form.
In his own words, here’s a modern Ozeri on sleep, dreaming in German, and the side effects of “Entourage”-induced sleep deprivation.
Snapchat has limitations — it’s short, it has to be filmed at the time you upload it, it’s un-editable, etc. Those limitations can force you to create things that feel more “in the moment”. That can be beneficial. The fact that it's disposable content can also help you make stuff without overthinking and trying to make things perfect. Perfectionism can often stand in the way of output.
I think Snapchat has also changed the way I get ideas across. My Snaps are often silent. I gravitate towards physical humor. I think it works particularly well on Snapchat because a lot of people watch the videos without sound. So that’s forced me to try to convey ideas with a look or move as opposed to a line of dialogue — meaning I can be more subtle.
The marathons started with “Two and a Half Men”. I had never seen the show, and it was panned by fellow comedians, while at the time being the most popular sitcom. Charlie Sheen was also having a public meltdown. So I decided to watch every single episode in a row as sort of an event. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I had always wanted to do another one and “Entourage” felt like the next logical step, especially since the movie was coming out.
The “Two and a Half Men” marathon lasted for 75 hours (Two and a Half Days of “Two and a Half Men”) and I took a four hour break in the middle. The “Entourage” marathon (Entourageathon) lasted 57 hours, but I didn’t sleep at all.
I had doctors give me advice both times on how to deal with the exhaustion. For the Entourageathon, Dr. Drew actually FaceTimed me and we discussed the repercussions. Both doctors told me it was not wise to take anything to keep me up (Red Bull, coffee, etc.) because I would eventually come down harder after the temporary effect went away.
They also warned me that I’d take “micro-naps” which were naps that would last 1-5 seconds, where your body is sleeping in small increments and you don’t even realize you’re doing it. That was weird. I did not hallucinate, which was one of the possible side effects, but I did become irritated and grouchy, and yelled at the television a lot. Although that could just be my personality.
Everything starts to become one big mush after a while. You can’t really remember specifics or delineate between episodes. You lose track of where you are and what you’re doing. I may also have been more susceptible to the messages of the show itself, too. For example, “Entourage” can be a bit chauvinistic. John Gemberling, a friend of mine who watched the show with me, pointed out that after a while, seeing all that terrible stuff and having it drilled into your head, can really depress you. I think the lack of sleep probably helped with that.
The marathons were the longest I’ve stayed awake. The only other time I remember not sleeping on that level was in college, cramming for tests. Not studying until the day before, then swallowing a bottle of "No Doz" and reading the class textbook all night, just so I could get an F anyway.
I usually go to sleep somewhere between midnight and 2 a.m. I get around 6 hours of sleep and that’s enough for me to function. I probably need more, but I have a complicated relationship with sleep. At night, I sort of hate getting into bed, because I’ll be in the dark tossing and turning and dwelling on all the things I have to do or haven’t done in my life. In the morning, there will be times when I feel guilty staying in bed for too long — like, I’ll feel like I’m wasting my life if I sleep too much. Other days I just can’t seem to make it out of that comfy, cozy bed and face the harsh reality that is our world. Do I sound healthy? I think I sound very healthy.
I look at my phone before I go to sleep and immediately when I get up. This is probably terrible for me for so many reasons. Disrupting sleep, radiation, neck cramps, etc. I also like to have a glass of water before I go to sleep. Is that a habit? It sounds more like just a dumb, regular thing. In the morning, as soon as I get up I have to hop into the shower. I’m not one of those people who can just hang in their PJ’s for too long. Then it’s coffee. Always coffee.
I have two recurring themes in my nightmares. One where I can’t run, which I think is a common one. My legs just become heavy and I start to drag them. The other is that I can never reach my intended goal. Like, I have to do something or get somewhere, and then a bunch of things get in my way or I get distracted by something and never finish what I started.
The weirdest nightmare I’ve ever had was recently, and it was actually about the Holocaust. During the dream, which was in black and white, I was in Germany during the war, and there was a haunting song playing in the background that sounded like it was in German. When I woke up, I wrote the lyrics down and looked them up online. It turned out that the song was actually in German and it translated to “Be Careful my Jewish Brother.” I do not actually speak German and this completely freaked me out.
I do get ideas from dreams often. I like to draw from real life and I think dreams allow you to process stuff that’s going on in your life and see it clearly or through a metaphor that makes easier to comprehend. Most times I’ll write something down from a dream in the middle of night and when I wake up and read it, whatever I jotted down is utter nonsense. I have a note on my iPhone that just says “Doctor Rain.” If you figure out what that means, let me know.
My bedside table: My phone, my glasses, an iPad, a couple of books and a thin, purple, battery-powered dildo.