Justin Willman is a Los Angeles Based TV host, comedian and magician. We sat down with Justin and discussed his views on America through these nine questions for a series entitled, “Home of the Brave.”
Leveled Magazine: What does being an American mean to you?
Justin Willman: It means that whenever I’m in Europe I have to pretend to be Canadian.
LM: Define the American dream.
JW: To me the American dream, is the ability to set a goal and then achieve it through nothing but sheer work and determination. I know it sounds corny, but I really believe it. I’ve heard it helps if your parents are rich too.
LM: What’s one thing about life in this country that has had a significant effect on you, or has shaped you as an individual?
JW: There are two things: Johnny Carson and Steve Martin. I believe those two are authentic American artists who couldn’t have thrived anywhere else. If for no other reason, I’m lucky to have been born in the same country as them, so I could grow up worshiping their work from an early age.
LM: Would you say that we live in the greatest country in the world?
JW: That’s a bit of a blanket statement. I haven’t lived in every single county in the world, so I can’t say that. But I’ve visited a lot of them and so far no one’s ever come close. Canada did once, but they’re too polite, it’s annoying.
LM: What would America’s grave say on it?
JW: Follow me on Twitter.
LM: What comes to mind when you think of the American people?
JW: A mixture of things. The American people are responsible for some of the greatest contributions to the human race, things like our Constitution, the Civil Rights movement, invention of the airplane and the Big Mac. But we’ve also contributed greatly to the downfall of Western society as well with things like the nuclear bomb, Kim Kardashian and the Big Mac. I guess we’re about even now.
LM: What will life in this country be like in a hundred years?
JW: I have no idea, but Siri will be president.
LM: What does patriotism mean to you?
JW: I think the people who founded this country wanted it to stand for something other than waiving the flag and screaming we’re number one. They were bound by a common idea, not a common place of birth. Sometimes people think that all patriotism is, is being born in a certain place. To me it’s about embracing the ideas that made this nation possible. It also means that a lot of people in the South wear shirts made out of flags.
LM: What advice would you give to a younger you about building a life in America?
JW: Save the money you made before 2009, you’re going to need it!