The Mean Interview with Ken Baumann, Author of Solip
Shane: As a fourteen year old, you’re extremely accomplished – acting, writing, pornography. Do other kids give you a hard time about your success?
Ken: To clarify: I performed in my last pornographic film at 14. However, I am currently 23 years old. I would get confused about this, too. Right now, I’m unemployed and writing books that will almost definitely burn up in the churning indifferent fires of time. Define success?
Shane: Sex. Drugs. Women. Pigs. God worship. Eat whatever you want and stay skinny. That’s how I would define success and you’ve had it all. Millions of fans watch your show each week. How does it feel to publish a book no one will read?
Ken: Sex? Well, yes. Okay. Sex is correct. Women? I’m married, but that’s how I like it. So check. Pigs? I eat so much pork, so check. God worship? You mean like I worship a god? Or that I’m worshipped as a god? For the latter, I don’t know if you’d call a gaggle of fourteen year olds in the nascent days of their purchasing abilities as godlike, but god is found in the accidental miracle of life and blah blah blah, I guess. Okay, that counts. But it’s more like “eat whatever I want and get hospitalized” these days. So okay: 4 out of 6. I guess… a few people will read SOLIP? I think it’s sold 100–200 copies. But there could be future Jeffersons in there, bub. Future Jobs’s’s. Future Guy Who Made Penicillin’s!
Shane: Interesting. Very very interesting. You like being interesting.
Shane: What’s the most expensive cup of coffee you’ve bought in Hollywood?
Ken: I don’t drink coffee.
Shane: There’s a video – you, Gian, Blake – dumping coffee on a homeless person.
Ken: The homeless person in question was a paid extra who “desperately” needed his SAG-AFTRA card, and that was not coffee, it was dirt. How can I take this interview seriously if you don’t get the basic facts right?
Shane: Dirt, right. Solip is a rich, challenging, language based text void of narrative with flashes of Salmon Beckers. Tell me, what’s it like to be nominated for a Teen Choice Award?
Ken: Being nominated for a Teen Choice Award and then not winning kind of feels like signing with Penguin and then having your second book fail. You whine about that a lot, right?
Shane: Salmon Beckers, Wallace Sterns, Brent Butters, a lady named Joyce – these are all influences for you. I’m curious, when you talk about these influences, your ideas on philosophy, your marriage to Rumor Willis, what do people find the most annoying to listen to?
Ken: Probably all of it. And I can’t even begin to issue corrections with this one. Do you have a speech-to-typing impediment or something?
Shane: Knock knock
Ken: Please stop.
Shane: It’s a literary joke. Knock knock.
Ken: Who’s there.
Shane: Ken Baumann
Ken: Ken Baumann who?
Shane: That’s what the New York Times said.
Shane: Get it?
Shane: The cover doesn’t have your name, Solip is written very small, and there’s a blurry snail. How upset are you in the printing error?
Ken: You missed the secret message in the cover? Huh.
Shane: Ever skin a goat?
Ken: I’ve skinned a few things, but not a goat. :*(
Shane: When is ABC Family making a show about Solilp?
Ken: When your mom greenlights it.
Shane: Word association time. I’m going to say something and you write back the first word that pops up in your sex crazed drug filled hollywood head.
Shane: Ken Baumann.
Ken: Very, very tired.
Shane: Thank you for doing this interview, Ben. Solip is a really artsy, experimental, dense work of poetic prose. I wish you the best of luck with your acting career.