Crackheads have the best diaries. Well, if you can read their handwriting, that is. Stevie Mack is a comic who's lived to tell about it in his popular one-man show about addiction and recovery, Diary of a Crackhead, which performs on Monday, May 14 at Lab at the Improv.
Here's our Q&A with Mack:
What was your childhood like?
My childhood was very different from most kids. My mother had six kids by six men, and my daddy was the only one who didn't stick around. We moved a lot, practically every six months. I went to 11 schools, six juvenile halls and three probation camps. I stole everything I wanted, and in my family that was not frowned upon. Didn't make many friends growing up, only met potential victims of my kleptomania. Lots of strange and curious characters frequented our residence, getting high, committing crimes and violent acts, so drugs and alcohol for me was a natural progression in this environment.
What was it like the first time you smoked crack?
The first time I smoked crack was in a condominium in Fox Hills in 1979. Back then it was called freebase, and it didn't have all the speed and crap they eventually started cutting it with. It was real cocaine, it was very euphoric and all I wanted was some more. I got a little paranoid, too, but the desire for more was much stronger than the fear elicited by the paranoia.
Are there any positive things about doing crack? Is it good for house cleaning? Organizing your sock drawer?
The only positive thing about doing crack is if you are fat you will lose a lot of weight. But the drawback is you also lose weight in your wallet, bank account and relationships.
Are people on crack fun for other people to be around?
The only people who think crackheads are fun to be around are crack dealers, and even they eventually get fed up with all the indecisiveness, loitering and paranoid fits of rage.
What were you like on crack?
When I was on crack, I'd spend hours of intense concentration with the utmost importance doing absolutely nothing significant. I spent a lot of time driving and then walking miles and miles to get away from the demons that were chasing me from within and all the while seeking to score another hit. I'd avoid anything that was remotely responsible and engage in everything that was totally futile.
Is the show being considered for television or other development?
Tons of people have asked me why this has not been made into a cable special or movie. The potential is here, the preparation has been made, and now the only thing needed is the opportunity. I'm currently looking for industry folks to come down, see what all the rave is about and sign me to a big fat contract. LOL É but true.
Has your family seen the show?
The family I was raised with, my brothers and sisters, are half dead and the rest are scattered. My older brother refuses to see the show because he said he's done with that part of his life — he was the first one I ever smoked freebase with. My wife supports the show; she's there at every one, laughing up a storm.
What do you hope people gain from Diary of a Crackhead?
I truly believe my dark past is one of the greatest possessions I have — it's the key to life and happiness for others. It's a reference book to be opened and shared with others. With it I can avert death and misery for others who have had and are currently experiencing difficulty living life on life's terms. I hope people continue to laugh and see the folly of being angry about everything, I hope to lighten their burden and increase their joy.
Mack's show is at Lab at the Improv, 8156 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd.; Mon., May 14, 7:30 p.m.; $5. (323) 651-2583.