Myq Kaplan is a vegan comedian. Ken Reid is a non-vegan comedian. They are friends. Here is a conversation they had, about being vegan. Or not. <Cue scary music, and then forget to play it.>
MK: Comedian Ken Reid, why are you not a vegan?
KR: I have very few things in my life that I enjoy more than food (well…movies, TV, comic books, collecting things, then maybe comedy…all somewhat equal) but I spend most of my day thinking about meals I’ve eaten in the past, or meals I will eat in the future. I also, although being an extremely moral person and relatively healthy, don’t make my food choices based on anything other than my own enjoyment of said meals.
MK: Anything else?
KR: Since I posses a sense of smell and taste I find that most vegan food is not to my liking. Further, from a processed food stand point I find it much more disturbing and bizarre to eat vegetable matter that’s been processed to taste and feel like buffalo chicken wings, than to actually just eat buffalo chicken wings. Also, my held over sense of teenage punk rock nihilism, mixed with my severe negative reaction to “joining” any sort of movement precludes me from being a part of your hippie nonsense. Plus, having made out with vegan chicks in the past, I find that being a vegan gives you bad breath. I’m very paranoid about my bodily odors.
MK: Regarding your body odors, aren’t you a pretty solitary guy anyhow?
KR: I am, and my first and foremost concern is that I have to smell myself. However, on the other side of things, since I make public appearances so rarely, I am even MORE concerned about the olfactory impression I make on the world.
MK: Okay. Also, did you know that there is vegan food that is not just processed fake meat? Sometimes it goes by the name of “vegetables.” Do you eat/enjoy vegetables ever?
KR: I eat vegetables, as part of my well balanced, multi-item meals throughout my day. enjoy fruits and vegetables, I just also enjoy things like butter, milk, yogurt and BBQ.
MK: If vegan food tasted more to your liking, would you do it? Because we’ve got some scientists on it, I think.
KR: I would eat more of it sure, but I wouldn’t eat it at the expense of eating things that still taste good. If they made the new “V” a good show, sure I’d watch it, but that doesn’t mean I’d never watch the original mini-series again.
MK: Understood. But what about this… by not “joining” vegans, aren’t you actually joining a much larger, more boring, less punk-rock status quo of omnivores?
KR: If implying that staying the way you were born is the same as joining a group. Wouldn’t this be like trying to convert a gay person straight? Are you trying to deny gays their rights by trying to keep me from eating a wide variety of foods? Look buddy, this is America, and we can put whatever we want into our mouths….I’ve actually lost track of what I was talking about for a moment there. More to the point, I was born an omnivore I believe, so I didn’t really join up (although maybe I was supposed to and just never got the card or decoder ring). I mean really this would be like saying me “joining” the ranks of handsome people (which obviously I have) has made me a member of a much larger, more boring, less punk-rock status quo.
MK: You are good-looking. Okay, last question: earlier, when you characterized yourself as an extremely moral person, does that not extend to the treatment of animals, and the environment? You wouldn’t harm a dog or a cat or a cow for no reason, or unleash unnecessary toxins into the air if you could help it, would you? Then why contribute to an industry that does just that?
KR: I don’t think small farmers and local business are the guilty parties, it sounds like vegans have a problem with amoral Reagan style big factory businesses, as well they should. Whenever possible to avoid these types of places, I shop local, however at the end of the day unless you want to be Ted Kaczynski, you can’t completely shut out the world. The vegetable industry on a large scale is just as pollution-filled and corrupt, so unless you are growing your own vegetables (probably in the shower you don’t use, or maybe right on your own body, filthy hippies) you’re contributing to the same industry, but you can at least give yourself the false sense of moral high ground your middle class white upbringing couldn’t. If I’m going to protest something, it won’t be at the suffering of my stomach, that’s what my personal equipment is for.
MK: Fair enough, I’m sorry your personal equipment suffers so much. As a vegan, I’ll fight for it to suffer less. When I’m done showering, which IS something I do. You see, Ken? You’re misinformed about a number of things: 1) vegan bathing habits, 2) the comparative pollution levels of the current Big Meat industry versus the potential Utopian Big Veggie world of the future, 3) the race and class of all vegans, and 4) the effect that one person or a group of people can indeed have on the state of the world and its inhabitants. And sure, the fact that I grew up not starving may give me a different perspective and motivations on this matter than someone who didn’t, but having the luxury of luck/time/information only makes it make MORE sense for me and others like me to be fighting this fight.(Especially because I can do more in this fight than in a physical one. Thanks for engaging in this word-battle and not punching me with your meat-fists.) Vegan out.