Interview: Greg Sharp

greg sharp

Welcome back, broccoli butts! I’ve gotten some rest, taken my B12 supplements, and I’m thrilled to be relaunching the blog with the power of a vegan strongman (strongperson!).

Who better to showcase on my first relaunch post than one of the kindest and funniest comedians and producers I know? I hope you enjoy this delicious interview. If not, I will force you to sit at your desk and finish the whole thing. Because there are children in Africa who’d do anything to have a blog post to read.

Please meet Greg Sharp!

What is your name?

Greg Sharp.

How long have you been a non-vegan?

I have been a meat eater as long as I can remember, although I’m sure there was a time as a child when I was too picky to eat pretty much any food there is. I was a very picky eater as a kid, and remain one to this day. There are a lot of reasons for that, but most of them have to do with me being generally disgusted by new foods and trauma from being forced to eat foods I didn’t want to eat. I have core memories of being forced to sit at the dinner table until I cleaned my plate.

Compounding matters was that my mom’s cooking came from the old Irish tradition of “boil it until you can’t tell what it is,” especially vegetables. Canned corn? Boil it. Green beans? Boil them! Broccoli? BOIL THE CRAP OUT OF IT UNTIL ITS JUST GREEN MUSH!!! I am convinced that I did not eat a fresh steamed vegetable until I was an adult.

As for the meat, lots of sausages, hot dogs, and lunch meat. Such was the way of the suburbs of Chicago. Fried baloney and a side of Kraft Mac & Cheese fresh out of the box. I don’t remember many vegans or vegetarians back then, and if I did know any, they kept it pretty quiet. A reputation like that in the 80s would get you banned from neighborhood BBQs. Nobody wanted to invite the guy that brings salad to a cookout.

Why have you decided not to be vegan?

I have not decided not to be a vegan. In fact, I’m well on my way to a plant-based lifestyle. But my relationship with food, as I alluded to before, is tenuous. I hate food. I don’t like talking about food. I don’t like planning what to eat, or where to eat, or when to eat. Food is stressful for me.

I can trace back my anxiety about food to childhood. I knew I was a picky eater, so going to friends’ houses for meals would trigger panic attacks over things like, what if they had macaroni and cheese made from scratch instead of out of a box? What if for breakfast, they eat their eggs sunny side up instead of scrambled? I am not nearly as picky now, but the anxiety lingers. Now when I find a menu item that I like at a particular restaurant, that’s likely what I’ll order every time. I don’t want to think about it.

So where does that leave me? I do everything I can to avoid thinking about food. I don’t have a set eating schedule. I eat when I’m hungry and that is often things like nuts or fruit or bread. I still eat meat, but I do not handle raw meat. I can’t. It grosses me out to touch. And the further along I go on this path, the less and less meat I eat. Red meat is pretty much out. Ground beef was never really my favorite, but I’ll still get a steak from Outback. But if I’m preparing my food, it’s almost entirely plant based.

There are some things that will be difficult to cut out entirely. Bacon is still a favorite. Eggs. Milk in my cereal. Soy and almond milks are fine but not what I’m used to. Where I get stalled is just having enough options. There’s still a lot of foods I just can’t eat. Many people have tried to get me to like avocados. Avocados are gross and mushy. But I like bananas and they’re gross and mushy too! Make it make sense.

If you had to take one step toward becoming vegan, what would it be and why only one?

I’m not unaware of the treatment of the animals I consume, so it’s always in the back of my mind. I had the thought the other day: I wonder how many different animals I’ve eaten. It’s a lot.

I won’t make my own burger because have you seen ground beef? It’s literally all red and bloody! But cook that up medium well and voila! You can almost not even tell that it used to be a cow! So, I’m progressing pretty naturally toward a plant based diet, and I’ve spent a good part of the last few years studying transcendental meditation, which has led me to a place of feeling more and more connected to all living creatures. It’s really just a matter of continuing to find more and more foods to replace the chicken sandwich or the steak tacos.

Which fad diet or meat eating celebrity made you want to eat animals?

Ron Swanson. Give me all of the bacon and eggs you have!

What vegan food do you fear you’re missing out on as a non-vegan?

Kale. In fact, give me all of the vegetables that taste like bug spray! Deet-licious!

Do you eat fish? You eat fish, right?

I eat sushi. Wait, who put avocado in this? I can barely even tell.

Greg Sharp - BaileyAre there any animals in your life, such as pets or funny neighborhood squirrels? Tell us a story about them.

I live with five animals. Our house has one dog, Bailey (pictured), who is my very best friend. She is seven and a puppy mill rescue dog. I had a pretty violent bout of depression in 2017, and when I was at my lowest of lows, she knew something was wrong. I’d be in bed for days at a time and she would curl up with me the entire time. I may not still be here if it weren’t for her. There are also three cats here (Leeloo, Echo & Charlie), and a Russian tortoise (Ivan).

What do you do for fun besides eating meat and dairy?

When I’m not performing standup comedy and producing comedy shows, I enjoy hunting endangered animals on safari.

Do you have any upcoming projects you want to plug?

I will be appearing at the Traverse City Comedy Fest in Traverse City, Michigan February 2-4, and I can be seen at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle in Royal Oak, Michigan March 9-11, with SNL alum Jon Rudnitsky. I am the producer of The Comedy Experiment, a standup comedy showcase featuring comedians from across the country.

Make up a question of your own and answer it.

Which animals do you wish were domesticated so they could live among us?
Bears. How is there not a breed of household bears yet?

Song: “Mind Over Matter” by Young The Giant
Recipe: No Shepherd, No Sheep Pie

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