There we were in Brad Garrett’s sky-rise apartment on the Vegas Strip. First, we talked about our Jewish heritage, and then we talked about death.
“I have my own idea of how I’m going out,” Garrett said in his booming voice. “Cremated and sprinkled in with I Love My Carpet, and then vacuumed up and put on a poker table in Reno. That’s the only way I’ll make a final table” at the World Series of Poker, “is with my ashes.”
Garrett, 53 and tall as a Sequoia, is not dying. He also doesn’t die on stage when he hosts at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club in the MGM (he’s there tonight-Tuesday). He is a steady pro, always funny.
This Saturday, he will co-emcee a Smith Center fundraiser for the nonprofit Nathan Adelson Hospice, which helps 450 terminally ill patients a day, improving their quality of life and comforting their families.
Last year, the hospice gave Garrett a humanitarian award.
“That was very, very kind,” Garrett told me. “I’m far from humanitarian. I’m not even subhuman.”
Garrett got involved with Nathan Adelson Hospice a few years ago when his best friend got ill.
“He was just the greatest guy in the world. He needed hospice care. We got him in the facility,” Garrett said without elaboration, “and they were just incredible.”
The hospice also lends a hand to Garrett’s charity, the Maximum Hope Foundation, which helps families with children who fight life-limiting illnesses. (Garrett and Ray Romano headline a poker tourney for that charity Oct. 19 at MGM.)
Charity gives Garrett perspective.
“As cynical as I am,” he said, “I’m very, very grateful for the big things in my life — the health of my children, I’ve got a great family, I’ve got most of my teeth.
“This country is not great about helping people. I don’t want to get on a soapbox. But we’re just not great about it. And it’s a great thing to raise children around — community service.
“With Nathan Adelson, it’s like: What’s more important than your last days? I mean, old age — it’s a pant load. Literally. You never hear anybody go, ‘Oooh, if I could relive my 70s, have that stroke at the mall again.’
Here comes the soapbox, but it’s a good one.
“I’m a huge activist for euthanasia. I don’t understand how we can put down our family dog once it starts walking into furniture, but when we have someone in pain — who doesn’t know where they are, and they have lost their mind and all their attributes — we put them in a chair in a window.
“We’ve got to give a lot more thought to people in their final days. A hospice person is usually the last person you see, a lot of the time. You don’t realize the effect they have on families and lives.
“But I don’t want to see anybody when I go.”
How does Garrett want to go?
“My last hour, man? I just want to be, like, ‘Everyone leave. Hooker and pudding.’
“I had chocolate pudding the other day at Mesa (Grill), the restaurant. I highly recommend it. I’m a foodie. I had a chocolate pudding, and I welled up a little. That’s how I know I’m older.
“It used to be, ‘Look at the (sexy woman) serving the chocolate pudding.’ Now I’m like the old Jew going, ‘This is good pudding.’ It’s about the pastry now, or the sandwich.
“I call it Semitic porn. There’s nothing like the old Jew splitting a corned beef. That’s where I am now.”