Broke Ass Stuart, San Francisco's beloved and dirty-mouthed arbiter of cheap, is getting his own show. Young, Broke and Beautiful premieres June 24th at 11 pm on IFC for a six-episode series chronicling Broke Ass Stuart's (aka Stuart Schuffman's) travel adventures within the US. With the rallying cry that "broke ass" is a state of mind rather than an account balance, the show makes stops in New Orleans, Baltimore, San Diego, Boston, Detroit and Memphis, following Schuffman as he sleuths out the fringe.
"It doesn't matter how much money you have," says Schuffman. "You don't need money to have a good time. It's not about the things that you own, it's about the things that you do." With that ethos, Schuffman finds himself getting fitted for fangs in New Orleans, getting hypnotized at an underground warehouse party in Baltimore and getting down with an off-beat circus in San Diego. Schuffman's now back in the Bay (he lives in the Mission) and amping up for his Young, Broke and Beautiful SF viewing party on Monday at Public Works. We caught up with Schuffman to talk the show and being a "broke ass" in SF.
So how did this show come to be?
I did an interview with Gothamist in New York and they asked me, "What do you want next?" I said, "I want a motherfucking TV show." And a lot of people hollered at me from that. I ended up shooting something on spec out in New York, and IFC liked it so here we are.
How did you choose the cities?
We had a shortlist of 12 cities and we whittled them down. We almost did Oakland. It was between Oakland and San Diego, where I grew up. There are a million travel shows about San Francisco and New York. But how about Detroit? Or even San Diego?
What would you have shot in Oakland for the show?
I would have loved to track down Bobby Seale, the Black Panther, who I think still lives out in Oakland. He's a great story. It's like: what happens after the revolution doesn't happen? You can either be like Che, or be like Angela Davis and be an academic, or you can be like Bobby Seale and start your own BBQ sauce line.
Was it strange having cameras turned on you for the show?
No, I loved it. I'm sort of an attention whore and love being in front of the camera. I was always like, "where's my closeup, where's my closeup?" Just kidding, but it actually was weird when the show ended. I felt like I was missing a limb with my microphone pack.
What was your favorite city you filmed in?
I had a great time everywhere. I had a really great time in New Orleans though. It's totally not an American city, but at the same time it fully encapsulates the American experience. There's so much culture meshed together there to make something more.
What's the craziest thing that happened while filming?
Well, this didn't actually make it to the episode, but in Memphis I found myself in the back of a car next to a rapper named Al Kapone. He and I were getting rolled around in a '55 Cadillac. Get this: Right when Al Kapone gets in the car and gets more comfortable, he pulls his gun out! I was like, wow, this is happening right now.
What is your best piece of advice for someone trying to live "the broke ass" lifestyle?
Buy my books.
What's your favorite "Broke Ass" hangout in SF?
The Broken Record is one of my favorite bars. I also love Yamo. And this diner on Mission called Mission's Kitchen. It's good and cheap. Great hangover food.
What do you say to people who accuse you of not being "broke" anymore with your book sales and this TV show?
Well, I'm not waiting tables anymore. But who knows what next year will be like. I'll never change my mentality about the things I like. I don't have a car cause I don't need a car. I don't need fancy clothing. You'll always find me at the same shitty bars.
Come out for the screening party for Young, Broke and Beautiful at Public Works on Monday, June 20th at 7 pm. RSVP here.
You can get Stuart Shuffman's new book Young, Broke, and Beautiful: Broke-Ass Stuart's Guide to Living Cheaply on Amazon.