We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeffrey Pielago and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeffrey, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I love to learn, as cliché as that might sound, just get some of that right of the bat. As I’ve said, I think learning is such a fascinating thing, in a broad and narrow sense. Finding out the passions of certain people, we are all so different and yet very connected at our cores and I think art strives to try and crack that shell open further. Art to me is the study of hypotheticals, all of the beautiful what-if’s in life, it’s a fascinating part of our existence and I know I’ve probably spent whole days pondering on all the possibilities of life. Our choices bring us to where we are and who are and no one is perfect, but art is always there to remind us that we have hearts, we have brains. I don’t know, but I do! Art is so weird, it feels strange talking about it in a removed way, I think there is an artist in everyone, it may just come out in different ways. I guess to wrap it up, an artistic career has always felt more exploratory, in good and bad ways, I know things can be rocky at times, but to have an excuse to be able to learn different things or delve into a new idea the next day, that breaking up of life compared to the 9-5 cubicle set up that is sort of pushed- I’ll always be drawn to being creative and being artistic because it just clicks up here and I think that’s all I need.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve always loved acting and movies, but as I matured, I realized how much behind the scenes work truly goes on for film and production, that’s where the true magic is. Saying cool lines is nice, but someone has to write them and a thousand things can go wrong or you can look silly or pretentious if presented poorly or incorrectly, and- the list goes on! That’s why I agree when people say movie magic, it truly is the same type of thinking, building these illusions that provide brief moments of feeling outside ourselves or this set reality. I just fell in love with writers and directors and movies and television have shaped my life more than anything, so I always like to say it would be a dream to then use my life to hopefully shape the future of it all!
I’ve had many personal setbacks and the route of the creative is always going to be more daunting than more perhaps, “stable” set-ups in life, but I also just equate that to life. We all have our one shot, our one life to what we want to do with it and being creative just speaks to me, it will always force me keep walking up that mountain even though I may not know when I reach the top. It’s never been easy and I honestly never hope it does get easy, because I feel there always needs to be some struggle, some sense of striving for more. Maybe that sounds deluded, of course freedom and money and attention and things of the like all sound nice, but the idea of being content and comfortable, I don’t know. That almost sounds scary, I think we should always be pushing ourselves to see what else we can do or accomplish.
I’ve had a whacky route to get where I am, speaking of all these paths and outcomes, but I mainly just started writing. I wasn’t perfect, but I also wasn’t humble and I’m glad that many have humbled me along the way, it’s a very strange sort of profession/subject (I wouldn’t call myself a professional just yet!) and everyone has their own unique path, just like everyone has their own unique voice. COVID hit and I felt in a standstill, like I couldn’t do anything and be creative, but it forced me to work with what I have and I think I’ve produced some great work! I focus on sketch comedy for now to show of my writing and acting, but I built it to be a very meta sketch show that was essentially something I was trapped in to mirror the feelings of many during quarantine. To be blunt, I was doing something on a similar wavelength to Bo Burnham’s Inside, except I just mostly had friends and family and my growing fans watching haha, I am nowhere near Bo’s level, he quite crafty and talented. It just sucked seeing all the buzz around that and knowing I wasn’t too far off, but that’s also what is neat about art, all the different voice and perspectives. I’ve built a fanbase that enjoys my offbeat sense of humor- I always say, ‘I’m making what makes me laugh’, so to have others fine joy in it as well is just a nice bonus. I don’t think I’ll even be a million follower kind of person and I’m okay with that haha, I prefer the more surreal and absurd, especially in comedy. Maria Bamford is also amazing, I think the work she puts out is fantastic, those sorts of styles.
After all the “Inside” buzz, I switched up formats and I’ve just been making videos and shorts to show off my writing as well as developing some longer form shows, doing those baby steps to show I can create and manage things at every level until I hopefully get to make some full length productions of my own one day. I’ve learned how much sacrifice it takes just to earn a little bit of control, so I have full admiration for those that earn it or somehow rise above it. I’m happy where I am today, but I still have so much farther to go and more to prove, so it feels off trying to sum up exactly what makes me the most proud or excited. I guess just the fact I’m lucky enough to even try, many people don’t. I am proud of that.
I had a friend pass away in my junior year of college at UCLA, a very dear and close friend. Someone I planned growing up with as a friend for life, someone that would always be there for me and it was a tough loss. If there’s anything I have learned, it’s that giving up is easy. Living an easy life is exactly that, living an easy life. Dying from drinking or something isn’t special, happens every day. No one technically owes anyone anything in life. So it’s on us to carve out what we want for ourselves or it’s easy to get lost in the limbo. Or even worse, living for others, I’ve been there too. Life is about growth, and struggle is simply a phase of growth. It’s something I constantly need to remind myself of because it’s easy to beat yourself up these days.
I don’t think there is that much that makes me stand-out, I think I’m just me. I know not everyone is going to like it, but knowing that is a good thing, not everyone SHOULD like you, there might lie a bigger issue if that happens. But who knows, I’m still plying my trade and I’m having a good time, I’m certainly having a laugh. My fans do as well and I am very grateful to them, we are small, but mighty haha! Even if I could just make 5 people laugh a day or even 4, I’ll be the one to humble myself this time- that’s what makes my engine keep going. And I think that’s what people like!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them around Manhattan and Hermosa Beach- I like places like Santa Monica and Malibu, there’s a reason why they are world famous, but I like some of the other beach cities because it’s much more people just going about their day and living their lives, less tourists I guess I’m saying? I just like a simple walk around and soaking up a nice day, some nice houses, there’s so many good places to eat or grab a drink, impossible to start just one place. I just think there’s a vibe to the beach cities of LA and cruising around them and sort of forming your own day around what you see is very fun. Hermosa Beach is my favorite, far more low key, not overly crazy with prices or attitude or anything, just a very cool place. Mickey’s Deli is always great to grab some pizza or sandwiches, a good friend of mine’s family owns the place and they’ve always been so kind and cool, definitely a fun day to be had there.
I don’t know if you guys could tell, I love movies, so- going to places that have appeared in films is also very cool, it’s surreal when I see UCLA’s campus in a movie and remember walking similar steps, for people that enjoy movies and behind the scenes stuff, there’s lots of cool spots to check out, UCLA is a gorgeous campus. They have a lovely sculpture garden that is nice to sit at and just catch up with your thoughts or appreciate the day. And then there are places like West Hollywood with a golden Freddie Mercury guitar and something every corner, so- that’s part of what I love about LA, how many different spots and areas there are and the personalities of each. I also grew up in San Pedro, near the Port of LA, like- I used to hang out in a park where they’ve filmed Chinatown… I’m very lucky to have grown up here and I like to show of the spots, so much is filmed down in the Port area. Maybe that’s why movies have always felt so close to me! I’m a fairly simple guy haha, but those are the things I would probably do if I were showing around my friend!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d be nowhere without my parents, they are a groovy and loving pair and I am forever in debt and their Instagram handles are @BetterthanSnooki for my mom and then my pops is just, @JohnCenaLookalike4hire- if you could help those two out, that would just be… thank you.
I’ve really loved the work of Michael Kahan who has his podcast Funny in Failure across social media and I think he’s doing something very underrated and has gotten fantastic guests as well, consistently pulls A-listers and has so many great episodes of people talking about their lows, about times that were harder and not just parading around the glitz and glam, I was so happy to find his stuff on Instagram, it’s @funnyinfailure on there and he’s on Spotify, has his own website- hearing the more grounded stories from his podcasts has helped a lot in chugging along and continuing to work, even when it doesn’t feel the best. It’s great stuff and I think more people should definitely be on it, good stuff.
It’s also been fun connecting with fellow creatives and funny people, Richard White is pretty stellar on TikTok, @veryrichcomedy and is doing well and a very funny and friendly guy, I see big things for him in the future and he’s always been kind and offered up any help or advice, so he’s a cool fella, but I feel like a lot of people already know him, haha! He also has a YouTube Page under his name Richard White and it on Instagram as well, but he’s king on TikTok for sure, very funny as well, genuinely. Christian Foster is another person I would add to this category, very funny and humble guy that does mostly animation and I love his work and attitude, he is in charge or Milmor Inc. and is doing so much, it’s very impressive to see and inspirational. Check out Milmor and @christianjayfoster on Instagram to check him out, a very unique and funny animator!
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChRFoJDDbZdMyJvIHC1hkQg *or maybe just typing ThisSoupRocks into YouTube might look better haha
Other: The name came from the idea of places having soup of the day, I wanted to always have different sketches, so it felt like a nice little nod and I liked how it sounded. Also, the thought of a bowl of rocks felt very provocative… hopefully these words have inspired you in some way.