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The Pantless Comic on Making Millions

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The Pantless Comic on Making Millions

Books

The Pantless Comic on Making Millions

The Pantless Comic on Making Millions

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/18016612/18016564" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The reality TV star, performance artist and author of "A Million Bucks by 30" went from rags to riches. We take a hard look at quirky Alan Corey.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Okay, I think my mic is on. We'll see. Yesterday, we met Alan Corey.

BILL WOLFF, host:

He seemed like a nice guy.

STEWART: Yeah. He came by to tell us about "No Pants 2k8". This is an annual event in which hundreds of New Yorkers ride the subways with no pants. Here's a little bit of that interview, by the way.

(Soundbite of archived interview)

STEWART: How do you make a living?

Mr. ALAN COREY (Comedy Writer): How do I make a living? I'm actually an author.

STEWART: Not just any author. We found out later that he's an author who wrote a book about being millionaire before he was 30.

WOLFF: Hmm. How do you it? I wonder?

STEWART: Well, he says there's many ways you can save money. One of his ways was getting on reality shows. Apparently, he's a serial reality TV show guest.

WOLFF: I have got to start watching more TV.

STEWART: You - or more YouTube. Listen to this montage.

(Soundbite of TV shows)

Unidentified Woman: Now Jessica has admitted that in her past relationships, she's cheated with all the blonde-haired, blue-eyed guys like this one. Welcome to (unintelligible) Alan Corey. Alan?

(Soundbite of applause)

Unidentified Man #1: Here is your boyfriend Alan.

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. COREY: (Unintelligible).

(Soundbite of applause)

Mr. COREY: Oh, my God.

Unidentified Man #2: How do you do?

Mr. COREY: (Unintelligible) here shaggy.

(Soundbite of crowd)

Mr. COREY: (Unintelligible).

Unidentified Man #3: May I have a question for you?

Mr. COREY: Keep asking.

Unidentified Man #3: All right. That belt, there's no belt loops like, say, I want to go to there bathroom.

Mr. COREY: Right.

Unidentified Man #3: Undo my belt.

Mr. COREY: You have to undo it.

Unidentified Man #3: But I'll have to hold the belt. Sometimes, it's convenient to…

Mr. COREY: It's actually less convenient to open up a man under on a buttons that you just open your fly. Okay, next question.

Unidentified Man #3: Well, then go on number two.

WOLFF: Oh, my lord. All right, now, wait a minute.

STEWART: Alan Corey joins us back in the studio so we can find out a little bit more he does in those 365 days when he's not riding the subway without his pants.

WOLFF: Well, he's on "Jerry Springer."

STEWART: We heard of Springer.

WOLFF: He's on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

STEWART: Yup.

WOLFF: Anything else you want to share with us?

STEWART: Or the other ones, Alan.

WOLFF: GO ahead. Out with it.

Mr. COREY: Sure. I was on "The Restaurant" with Rocco DiSpirito.

WOLFF: How'd that go?

Mr. COREY: Well, there was a, every show has been a little challenging, you know, different. I've been on "Change of Heart" and…

WOLFF: "The 5th Wheel.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COREY: No. Then…

WOLFF: "Blind Date"?

Mr. COREY: I wish. I aimed for low-quality programming, usually…

WOLFF: You're saying "Blind Date" is high-quality program. Interesting.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: So, which one was your first one?

Mr. COREY: Okay. This started out when I was 20 years old in college, I went on "Jerry Springer."

STEWART: And you made the story up, am I right? The story about - like a sort of a love triangle?

Mr. COREY: Yeah, yes, yes, and…

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COREY: It's one of those things were both sides kind of, you know, don't ask, don't tell kind of a situation. I think the…

WOLFF: I got to be honest with you. I've no idea what you're talking about.

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Can you - is the story suitable for young audiences. Can you tell us what the story you made up was to get on "Jerry Springer" first time?

Mr. COREY: Oh, I can make it PG.

STEWART: Okay.

WOLFF: If you can, would you, please?

Mr. COREY: Okay. Sure, no problem. So, my roommate and I had crushes on two other girls.

WOLFF: Is that true?

Mr. COREY: I admit they are our best friends.

WOLFF: Or are you making that - oh, they're your best friends. You don't actually have crushes. You made that part up.

Mr. COREY: Yeah. Well, okay, I'll make it less PG. We were dating these two other roommates. And we - but one roommate was cheating with the other roommate, it just becomes love square, basically, where everyone was…

WOLFF: Okay. Now, wait a minute. I got to go…

STEWART: It wasn't a…

WOLFF: …I'm so lost between what you made up and what actually happened.

Mr. COREY: (Unintelligible).

WOLFF: Were you - you did know these people? Were you actually in a love square with them or was that made up?

Mr. COREY: No, we were all best friends. We wanted a free vacation somewhere.

WOLFF: I see.

STEWART: Hence the part about being a millionaire…

WOLFF: It was all made up.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

STEWART: …getting things for free.

WOLFF: He's a very sneaky, sneaky fellow.

STEWART: He made up the whole story.

WOLFF: Very sneaky fellow.

STEWART: And so there's war when you said don't ask, don't tell. They didn't necessarily ask you if the story was true and you didn't offer to tell whether it was true or not.

Mr. COREY: Then it was, I think, procedures have changed over there. (Unintelligible). It's one of the things where all the other guests on the show, too, like they were fighting and then we'd all go there for the same time and they we're all high fiving. And so, it was like…

WOLFF: So, you think it was a whole big bunch of phony baloney over there on "The Jerry Springer Show."

Mr. COREY: By one experience maybe. I don't know. I can't vouch for the rest of the show, but other shows, but there was a fun time when…

WOLFF: Did you win the trip?

Mr. COREY: Yeah, well, no, you know, winning…

WOLFF: Oh, they flew you from…

Mr. COREY: They flew you to Chicago and…

WOLFF: I see.

Mr. COREY: …you know, (unintelligible) hotels, food. We had limos and we were living it up. We were 20 years old, we had pocket change and we can phone around the world. Yeah, it was great.

STEWART: And sort of the same idea with "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" to save some money. They came - they really do the house for you.

Mr. COREY: Yeah, they were excellent. I've got a new home renovation or interior design, at least, out of it. And I'm, you know, I also feel like - it was fun for them. Those were good times. It wasn't just this me being greedy to get on that show.

WOLFF: I actually have nothing ethical against it. If they're going to exploit you…

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

WOLFF: …you exploit them, I suppose. And you didn't lie to "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," you needed a little styling.

Mr. COREY: Oh, right. Right. The only controversy there is that I was also on "The Restaurant" at the same time. So I was doing two reality shows at the same time. I didn't notice at that time. They ended up airing back to back. So for a couple of weeks, it'd be like two hours straight of Alan Corey on Reality TV.

WOLFF: You're so (unintelligible). You're on reality shows and you're sort of living a reality show.

Mr. COREY: That would be great if I need a documentary crew to follow me around to…

WOLFF: Yeah. We don't have any of those available just now. But we'll have our people call your people. There is a writer strike on after all.

Mr. COREY: Oh, there you go.

STEWART: All right. So you ended on these five reality shows.

Mr. COREY: Yep.

STEWART: Five? Just five? Any others?

WOLFF: Go ahead, pass up.

Mr. COREY: And one game show.

STEWART: Oh, what game show?

Mr. COREY: It was "Chain Reaction." It's on the Game Show Network. If you set the bar low, it's easier to get on (unintelligible).

WOLFF: Yeah, okay.

STEWART: Now, when I asked you what you did for a living, your answer was I'm an author.

Mr. COREY: That changes by the minute. I…

STEWART: I see.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

STEWART: Okay. So, now part - one of the things you've written is this book called "A Million Bucks by 30." And part of their - your deal in the book is you talk about ways you just be incredibly cheap and get free vacation, et cetera, like getting reality shows to fly you places.

Mr. COREY: Right.

STEWART: …maybe redoing your homes. All right. For the record, you made a million bucks by the time you were 30?

Mr. COREY: Yeah. I'm 29 right now, I'm a millionaire.

STEWART: Cash out.

WOLFF: Are you single?

Mr. COREY: I'm dating. I have a girlfriend that I truly love.

WOLFF: I can't tell if I should believe you - I mean after the "Jerry Springer" fiasco.

Mr. COREY: There's no love square happening yet.

STEWART: All right.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

WOLFF: Unless you need one.

Mr. COREY: We might have to fabricate one.

WOLFF: Are you really going on the New York City subway in your underpants tomorrow?

Mr. COREY: Yeah, of course.

WOLFF: Okay.

Mr. COREY: Of course.

WOLFF: All right. So that part is legitimate. Good.

Mr. COREY: Yeah. And probably everywhere.

STEWART: All right.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

STEWART: So you wrote this book, but there's a very - you're a very good writer, a very funny.

Mr. COREY: Okay.

STEWART: You have this one line where you write, what is a 401(k) that sort of cuts a really long race? You have no interest in filling out paperwork, so how did you decide to write a book about financial advice if you're not really down with the 401(k)?

Mr. COREY: Well, I - there's a lot of people like me that in their 20s, they don't understand finance. It's really, really boring. They try to understand it and they fall asleep on their computer or whatever. So I was motivated enough. I had a goal that I said I really want to be a millionaire by 30. I didn't have any skill, so I had to pinch, penny-pinch and save wherever I could. And so I made it fun. I made everything into a game and made everything funny, and I tried to present that in my book to help other people who are maybe in the same position. They - you know, the subject is (unintelligible) but I made it fun. And I'm not an expert. But this is what I did and it worked for me.

STEWART: All right.

WOLFF: I would only have two points of argument.

STEWART: Quick.

WOLFF: Number one, you have a skill. And number two, you are an expert.

STEWART: Alan Corey wrote a book called "A Million Bucks By 30." I want you to actually stick around because I want to ask you one or two more questions about your book. I may come up with another one about the reality shows.

Mr. COREY: Sure.

STEWART: I'm not sure yet. Stay with us here at the BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're back with Alan Corey and wine sorbet.

WOLFF: Oh. A lot to look forward to, here.

STEWART: That's going to be a good segment. Stay with us here at BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Hey, thanks for listening THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're on digital, AM, FM, satellite, iTunes and online at npr.org/bryantpark.

I'm Alison Stewart, along with Bill Wolff, and we're in studio with Alan Corey.

If you were listening this time yesterday, Alan was in here discussing what, Bill?

WOLFF: He was discussing tomorrow, which is the national Don't Wear Your Pants on the Subway Day…

STEWART: Yeah. Ten big cities.

WOLFF: …in which Alan is participating gladly, gleefully, you might say.

STEWART: Sort of an improv exercise. And over the course the past 24 hours, we learned a lot about Alan. We had learned that he's a serial reality TV show contestant's appearance person.

WOLFF: And recidivist of sorts.

STEWART: It - with some very interesting results. He also wrote a book. He told us he was an author but he actually wrote a book about making a million bucks by 30, which he has accomplished and…

WOLFF: By being cheap.

STEWART: By being super-duper cheap.

WOLFF: Fantastic.

STEWART: I (unintelligible) I like about this book very much. It's not about gaining the market or, you know, it's just about don't spend money…

WOLFF: Yeah, get the small coke.

STEWART: Yeah.

Mr. COREY: I did on a $40,000 salary over six years.

STEWART: And some of the things you suggest, they're a little shady. Give the umbrella example.

Mr. COREY: Okay. It's…

STEWART: Just a little bit.

Mr. COREY: What? Okay. I owned a restaurant at one point and I, you know, there's a - we had just had just lost and found. It's overrun with, you know, umbrellas, you know? People lose their black umbrellas and so if people just keep buying every time it rains, I called it rain tax(ph) and you pay $5 and…

WOLFF: That's absolutely true.

Mr. COREY: …yeah, so it's just one of things where I just started saying I'm not going buy umbrellas again for the rest of my life. Just go into any restaurant, store, retail outlet and say, can I see lost and found of a black umbrella, and they bring you a box of 20. Every single store has this, and then, you use it and once it's done raining, have some car (unintelligible) umbrella recycling and leave it at another place, at another lost and found.

STEWART: Okay.

WOLFF: You know what? It started out shady…

STEWART: And then it got…

WOLFF: …but it ended up okay.

STEWART: …at the end.

WOLFF: Yeah, that's okay. I actually support that.

Mr. COREY: Because I don't want a box of 20 black umbrellas at my house…

WOLFF: No.

Mr. COREY: …but…

WOLFF: You certainly, you do not and you return it…

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

WOLFF: You left it as wet, as good as you found it.

Mr. COREY: Right.

WOLFF: I don't have a problem with that.

STEWART: The circle of life.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

STEWART: Sort of. Free gym memberships.

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

STEWART: Is this something you've actually done, like taking…

Mr. COREY: Sure.

STEWART: …the trial weeks around town?

Mr. COREY: I did this when I lived in Atlanta. I didn't want to pay for gym memberships so I would go and say, I'm new to town. Can I, you know, try you (unintelligible)…

WOLFF: Did you effect like a northern accent?

(Soundbite of laughter)

WOLFF: Hey, yeah. Well, listen, I'm not from here in Atlanta. Yeah.

Mr. COREY: That would made it more fun. I should have done that but then it would give you - yeah, sure, you get a week trial. And then so I do that and then I'd go to a gym down the street for another week then a gym for another week. You know, I did that throughout three months and everyone has their own limits, mine being the city limits so when I was driving about 45 minutes away, I decided, I'll definitely pay for gym membership. And I got around that, I just got a job at the gym so I work out for free.

STEWART: Oh. There you go. And you say never ever buy anything online without seeing if there's a coupon.

Mr. COREY: Yeah. That's so simple. You know anything you buy, just put that word and then put coupon or put that Web site like Amazon and coupon or whatever it is, and you usually get a bunch of results saying, oh, you can use this, you know AAA discount or university discount. No one does a background check to see if you're AAA member or anything like that online. There's, like, well, if he has this code, then he must…

WOLFF: The only people who check for AAA background checks are tow truck drivers…

STEWART: That's about it…

WOLFF: …and they certainly do.

Mr. COREY: Right.

STEWART: So you took all this money and then you did one of the most sort of traditional things: Real estate.

Mr. COREY: Well, I - yeah. Basically - okay, Alison, when was the best time of your life?

WOLFF: November 4th, 2006.

STEWART: That'd be our wedding day. Best time in my life. I (unintelligible).

Mr. COREY: Okay, 20s. Okay, most people…

WOLFF: It's all right, baby. I don't care.

Mr. COREY: …Bill? Bill?

WOLFF: What's the best time of my life?

Mr. COREY: Yeah.

WOLFF: I'm living in it.

Mr. COREY: Oh, come on. You guys are pathetically involved…

STEWART: I'm not (unintelligible) 20…

WOLFF: No, no, I told you, honey, I'm so miserable in my 20s but I understand what you mean.

Mr. COREY: Okay…

STEWART: Forget it.

Mr. COREY: For me, I'm not married, so the best time of my life is when I was in college and I was just - and that was a great time. I was drinking 99-cent beers, I was in a dorm with all my friends and I was just, like, why don't I continue that lifestyle, you know? I'm out of college, you know, so I saved as much as I could, bought a multi-family home, moved six of my friends in so there's seven of us there. We'd actually made it our own, well, fraternity house, real-world Brooklyn, I guess, and we live in - we all live together. I gave them a…

WOLFF: And they paying you rent?

Mr. COREY: …they are paying me rent.

WOLFF: So you were like a friendlord.

Mr. COREY: Friendlord, that's a good one. And I give them a good deal and so it wasn't awkward. And then I, you know, now, I'm still in that situation. I'm getting paid $2,000 a month to live in my own house.

WOLFF: Will you marry me?

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: I'll leave you two alone. Alan Corey, the book's really interesting. You lived a fascinating 29 years so far.

WOLFF: Or at least the last nine or 10.

STEWART: Yeah. Can we check back with you and just see what you're doing?

Mr. COREY: Yeah. I'll come in on Monday.

STEWART: All right. You know what?

WOLFF: For 50 bucks.

STEWART: I think you would - really. Alan Corey, the name of the book is "A Million Bucks by 30." Go to our Web site. We'll link to his - that montage of his reality show appearances because it's pretty good.

WOLFF: Truly fascinating.

STEWART: Alan, thanks for being here.

Mr. COREY: Thanks. And it's also on my Web site, alancorey.com.

WOLFF: Well, of course, it is. Okay.

STEWART: All right.

Mr. COREY: Named after a handsome man.

STEWART: Coming up, wine sorbet. We're ready for it. But first, we do need to get to some news. Laura Conaway is in the news desk.

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