■ I picked up a new nickname: Impossible. “You’re fucking impossible, Belushi.” My standards are high. I grew up in the restaurant business, where you work 100 percent every minute. I don’t lay off. On According to Jim, we only had to work three days a week, but Larry Joe Campbell and I were there five days working on bits and gags and the rhythm of scenes. When somebody else wasn’t working that hard, I felt betrayed.
■ My father had a restaurant called Olympia Lunch in Logan Square with my uncle Paul. It was a Greek diner, a cheeseburger place. When he lost it to the Mob, it was devastating and put our family in a very desperate situation. I’m always in survival mode, because I don’t ever want that to happen again. When things are going well, I always feel like the other shoe is gonna drop.
■ The Olympia Restaurant in my brother John’s sketch came from our dad’s restaurant. There’s a place in Chicago — I don’t want to mention the name — where all the journalists used to go and get drunk. The owner put up a sign that said “John Belushi, Saturday Night Live.” I went to John: “Hey, man, this son of a bitch is marketing his restaurant as ‘Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger!’ Let’s go rough him up.” John looked at me and said, “He wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t need it.” I’m still trying to live by that.
■ One night at Second City, I was doing a now-famous scene set at the White Horse Tavern in New York when John walked in at the top. I felt a whoosh from the audience that was stunning. As he was waiting for them to calm down, he went over and started miming the jukebox playing songs. When he finally left, the audience was still going and we couldn’t carry on. So he opened the stage door and went, “Come on, let’s go to another bar,” and he got us offstage. I’ll never forget that.
■ Harold Ramis used to say the great thing about Second City is that on the nights that you fail, that you die onstage, you realize afterward, “Well, I didn’t really die. I’m still alive. So I’m not as frightened.” I never could understand that. When I died at Second City, I wanted to blow my brains out. There is no grace in failing. There’s only humility.
■ I’ve always been extremely vulnerable — that’s what I bring to my acting. But vulnerability is a dangerous thing. I’ve laid out trust in places where I could’ve protected myself.
■ Six years ago, I went to Peru and did ayahuasca. There were eight ceremonies. It’s a journey, and you go really deep. At one point there were all these chattering monkeys telling me, “This is a bad place to be. The shaman is a con man who’s using you. Go pack your shit, get to the airport.” The shaman, who was sitting across from me and singing in his beautiful voice, stopped and went, “Are you all right?” I said, “Well, I got a lot of chattering monkeys of doubt and fear telling me I should get out of here.” He goes, “Oh, OK.” Then he starts dinging these bowls around him, and I slowly fell from my chair. I laid on my back with my arms out. I said, “What the hell did you just do?” He goes, “Oh, I shot all the monkeys.” And I said, “Well, tomorrow night, let’s go gorilla hunting.” So the next night, we did our ceremony and I dealt with the big traumas in my life: John, my issues with my mother, my ex-wife. I made peace.
■ When it comes to women, I’m impossible. I have no idea. The only thing I’ve learned that works — and I can only do it once in a while — is to gag it. Shut your goddamn mouth and listen. Women want to be heard. Everybody wants to be heard. So shut the fuck up.
■ A buddy asked me, “Would you rather be right or be loved?” I’d rather be loved. Why argue with somebody and wreck the relationship by wanting to be right all the time? You gotta serve something bigger than your righteousness.