Van Lathan Jr. Discusses New Book 'Fat, Crazy, And Tired'

Van Lathan Jr.
instagram | Instagram/Van Lathan Jr.

Claudine Baugh

Writer and podcaster Van Lathan Jr., popularly known as one of the faces of the highly televised news series TMZ, has a new book, 'Fat, Crazy, And Tired' and visited The Daily Show With Trevor Noah (June 29th) to discuss some of his true-life experiences revealed in the memoir.

About 'Fat, Crazy, And Tired'

For the former TMZ host, Van struggled with weight gain and mental health issues throughout his life. A formerly chubby kid who self-identified for much of his life as "the fat friend" revealed to Noah that he once weighed 370lbs.

After shedding much of that weight, whenever Van shared the feat with people, the reaction would always be awe-inspiring, ultimately motivating him to pen a memoir about his weight journey.

'Fat, Crazy, And Tired' is a sharp and witty yet brutally frank cultural critique on Van's behalf of the unspoken obstacles and extreme anxiety that keep us from maintaining good health in what he dubs "America's wellness waistland." It explores vignettes about his mental health and weight loss journey as a Black man.

The Weight Came Back!

After many years of dedication to improving his physical and mental health, the Covid-19 pandemic came in 2020. Like many other Americans, Van suddenly found himself surrounded by carbs and began bingeing on everything. He struggled with feelings of non-stop exhaustion and crippling waves of anxiety and depression.

Aptly put, 'Fat, Crazy, and Tired' chronicles Van's failed passage to maintain what society has deemed an acceptable body type and the unending physical and mental health battles faced in the process, including influences from culture, family, and the everyday baggage of life.

The book also explores how everyone can better understand their bodies. Instead of thinking you need to go "all or nothing" and "keep it 100," make more realistic goals and aim to be happier and healthier at 50% without totally admonishing yourself to get there. 

Van's Political War With TMZ's Harvey Levin

In more discussions with Noah, Lathan also talked about the pro-Trump politics he encountered working at TMZ, particularly with the show's front man, Harvey Levin.

Van said he disagreed with the team's decision to support Trump and looks at the unfortunate outcome we all face today, especially women, regarding abortion laws. "Where are we now, Trevor? Everyone who had whatever reasons they had for throwing their support behind him [Trump] and being as vocal about supporting him as they did, millions and millions and millions and millions of women now don't have control over their bodies."

Van and Harvey no longer speak since the disputes they had while at TMZ. "And I wonder like if I could even talk to him [Harvey] now, which he and I don't speak anymore, [I'd ask] 'How do you feel as it regards to part of your legacy, having been a part of something like that?'," Van said. "Especially when it wasn't just me, it was women in the office, it was all kinds of people saying 'This is not something that we're comfortable with'."

"It was a real sticky point between him and I … it was one of the lowest points in my life. I thought I had an advocate there, and it was just really really disappointing during that time politically," Van continued.

Watch 'The Daily Show With Trevor Noah'

Watch the full interview with Van Lathan Jr. and Noah below. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah airs weeknights at 11/10c on Comedy Central.