Life is full when you seize opportunities and make decisions you never thought you’d make because of love. Crazy expat Louise Monger joins Dani Behr for a chat about life and love and living in the USA. Born entertainer, Louise lives life to the full. She talks about from her daring bucket list to being a stepmom to kids of a similar age and a prenup chitchat with her lawyer husband. She also gets down about overcoming fears, the pressure of delivering a comedy, and writing your will.
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How to achieve the ultimate bucket list!’ with Louise Monger aka Loopy Lou
Life And Love With The Loopy Lou
As you know, it’s all about conversations with my favorite people. Some are experts, some are educational and some are bloody good mates as we like to say back home. She’s pretty much an expert in life and she’ll sure enough, educate you on one thing or another. It’s my mate, the wonderful, Loopy Lou as we call her, Louise Monger. I’m so excited. The whole point of Behr Essentials is for me to share my stories, my experiences and my people. You are one of my most favorite people and not because you’re a Dani Behr sound-alike. Growing up, we both were from London, England. I didn’t know Louise when I lived in the UK, funnily enough. We met later on in life when we were both living in the States. You could tell the story but our link was about the voice. Go ahead, tell the story.
I am a couple of years younger than Dani. I grew up watching you on TV. You are all over the show as far as I’m concerned. Everyone was coming up to me going, “You are like Dani Behr. You’re the brunette version of Dani Behr.” I was like, “This is crazy.” Sure enough, how many years later, who do I meet? It was you. I was like, “Wow.”
We met at lunch in LA through a mutual friend who we both now can’t stand. She’s now un-mutual.
She did that. She paid for our dues. She puts us together and now she can F off.
We don’t need her, it’s like ciao. It’s funny because when I first met you, you were like, “Do you know my whole life, people have been saying I sound like Dani Behr. Now I’m sitting with you.” I was like, “This is my little nemesis, my little sister.”
It was crazy. We hit it off straight away and then you came to Chicago to visit me shortly after.
That was fun. We had a good weekend there. Let’s talk about being Brit in America. Everybody has their own experience of it. You, unlike most Brits, instead of going to New York or LA, ended up in Chicago. How did that happen? Do you like it? How did you meet guys? How did you end up in Chicago?
I love Chicago. I was having a business meeting in London with this random girl, the same girl that we don’t talk to. She gets a text from her friend, Gary. At the time, I was sitting there saying, “Have you met the girl of my dreams yet?” Even though she knew that we weren’t going to be a match in any way, shape or form, she still threw me under the bus and said, “She’s sitting right in front of me.”
Several years later with the bloke. By the way, Gary does get told regularly that she was thrown under the bus. He was well aware of his position in this marriage and this situation.
That should be known him for sure.
Louise is a classic case of treating them mean, keeping them keen.
I didn’t mean to. I’m so nice. I have my ways.
He’s got patience and tolerance, the husband of yours. I’ll give him that.
If you’re always lovey-dovey or what have you, then they won’t appreciate the little moments. I could grab his ear and he’ll be like, “Your mouth.” It’s perfect.
The poor bloke takes whatever he can get any minute and feel so appreciative.
He loves it. Trust me. I’m actually very nice. You and I think very differently. I’ll call someone out in a heartbeat, whereas I suppose you’ll be a little bit more chill and love. I’m the tactical one.
You’re tactical. I’m tactful. That’s totally different. I use the wrong word and then I corrected myself. Tell me what do you do in Chicago.
When we moved here, the bottom line is we had our first date a few weeks later in Vegas for a few days. It was great but it wasn’t going to go anywhere.
Why wasn’t it going to go anywhere?
I was never going to move to America. He had three kids. No.
Everything about it was wrong.
I was never going to be with this guy. I was never going to move to America.
What did Gaza do to lure the Loopy in? That is the million-dollar question.
We spoke every day from the moment that we were put in touch with each other. We spoke every day for at least two hours a day on the phone. I hate talking on the phone. After we met, we carried on talking and he tantalized my brain. He got places ticking and been tick.
He woke you up.
He did. He challenged me. I challenged him. We had a great conversation and before I knew it, we were falling in love. I didn’t even know and understood how it happened. I realized I couldn’t move to America for a boy. He’s definitely not a boy.
Take that back before Gary sees it and gets all offended.
He got me a big ring, so you do the math about whether that’s correct or not. It does the job, regardless.
He gave you a little something-something or not a little and he got something in return.
I do want to move for a guy. I pitched the American embassy with my business plan, which was silent auction technology, which I had done already in the UK. To be honest with you, I didn’t even have the technology implemented when I pitched it. They let me in. It was only when I got here that I was like, “I’m going to be eaten alive unless I implement the technology.” Before you know it, I’m in this incubator space, this crazy loud British bird with all these deets in this big incubator space. I’m meeting David Cameron when he comes over for the NATO summit and talking to him about my business.
How did this happen?
I realized that it was cool but this is not my passion. After a few years, I let it go. I’ve been doing a lot of random things in the meantime.
Let’s talk about those random things because Loopy Lou has a bucket list of items. I always knew that people had bucket lists. I thought it is once they retire at sixty and they go, “I want to go on a cruise around the Med or I want to do bungee jumping.” A couple of crazy things with a couple of more aspirational things. You’ve had this bucket list with the most random things that no one would even think of even putting on a bucket list. Let’s have a look. Take a few of those out and let’s share with the readers some of the things on the bucket list.
The pink ones are the completed ones. The blue ones are yet to do it. I’ve got to keep on adding. There’s a bunch.
There are more pinks than the blue, does that mean you’ve done the majority on your list?
Yes. The list always evolves. I haven’t added flying a plane to the blues.
Let’s hear about some of the ones you’ve done and how the experience is. Let’s slow it down first of all before we get into the list. What is it about having a list? Do you feel like when people have a list they achieve it because it’s written down?
I’m someone who likes to practice what they preach. I don’t like to talk with a load of hot air and not follow through. When I put it out there, Dani, I have to do it. Otherwise, I’m a big fat let down. I’m not going to do that to myself or anyone else that I’ve told them I’m going to do it.
For you to put it either on paper, to verbalize it or vocalize it to Gary or me or whoever in your life, you’ve committed at that point.Putting your goals on paper or verbalizing them shows your commitment and it increases the likelihood of you taking action. Click To Tweet
I’m holding myself accountable. By me telling someone else as well, they’re holding me accountable. It is embarrassing if they say, “Have you done this yet?” When you were talking about it the last year and I was saying, “No.”
Let’s hear some on the list then. What’s on the list?
Ski, race camp, which I did in Mount Hood, which is where the Olympians train. I did that.
You’re not your average Behr. The average person can’t go, “I’m going to be a ski racer.” Because first of all I’m green, blue slopes. I’m so petrified of breaking something, but I am up there with the eight-year-olds. I look fantastic in my ski outfit because that’s super bloated but I ski like eight-year-olds are whizzing past me because I’m paranoid. You have to be a good skier though, that’s what I’m trying to say. You have to have a bit of a level before you write these ridiculous things to do.
Not necessarily. I did stand-up comedy and I’d never done anything like that in my life before. It’s fear. People say that I’m fearless, Dani. I’m not fearless. I like the feeling of being fearful and then achieving it.
Do you like the feeling of being in fear?
I like the feeling of achieving something when I’m that freaking scared about it.
You’re a little bit of a masochist.
Nobody called me that before but yes, sure.
You like to put yourself through a bit of pain, whether it’s a mental pain. Is it that you want to push yourself to see what you can really do? Is that what it is? You’re an overachiever.
It doesn’t mean that I’ve been successful. It means that I’m going to try it.
Ski racer, that was the first one you wrote. With ski racer, you go to the slopes and you train. Give us all a bit of a breakdown of each.
Basically, I took up skiing when I moved to America. I was coaching in my 30s, which is late for someone to start. By the second day, I was on double blacks.
Is this possible?
Because I don’t care, I’m a nutter.
You’re on double blacks the second day of skiing.
It is still a little one, but it was still a double black one.
You go to the ski slopes and are you now enrolled in a course for ski racing?
Yes. It was a week-long ski race camp. Nothing crazy. Obviously, you’re doing slalom, which is going through the gates and at high speeds and then you’re doing mini slalom. I think that’s what it’s called. You do the little ones where you go around the gates and then you do the gigantic ones. We got to let their staff around the gate to slalom. You’re going full-on downhill. That’s where the Olympic team trains.
You are almost an Olympic skier.
I’m back around the corner. I gave that up. I’d never even intended to be an Olympic skier. Luckily after that, my knees started giving away. I was like, “I’m glad that I checked that off my list.”
Welcome to your mid-30s. The big 40 is coming up soon.
I don’t want it yet. I still got a few years.
Don’t be in denial. Forty is are great. What else is on the list besides the ski racer?
I told you about that before we stand-up comedy once, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not for me. I don’t want to do anything like that. It was crazy. I wish I’d recorded it because that’s a fun thing to keep.
That’s the one thing I have in common with you. I did that as a dare once for a TV show. I had to get up at the comedy store and do seven minutes of funny. For me, it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, the scariest thing I’ve ever done. To be funny is one thing in your day to day personality, but to write funny, it’s the hardest thing ever.
To write funny was not my issue. It was the pressure when you’re up there of delivering. People come in just to laugh. That’s pressure, but the writing wasn’t hard for me.
The writing was hard for me. I was like, “What’s funny?” Every time I wrote something that I’m like, “That’s not funny.” To me, funny things or jobs are spontaneous and organic. The writing part was really hard. The performance was fine because I was up performer, but still to deliver funny is super hard because of its timing. These guys, like my friend Bryan Callen, he’s one of the top stand-up comedians in the world. I have known Bryan for many years. He’s been practicing for many years. That’s why he is so good. It’s really a skill that has to be honed in and practiced, would you agree?
I agree. You’ve got to remember as well, Dani, I was writing stuff down. What happened was when you did it, you had this TV show and you’re going to stand-up comedy. You had this pressure to write. Whereas for a couple of years, I’ve gone through and written some funny things down. I had this vision that I was going to attempt it maybe once.
You’d captured and logged those funny moments basically over some time?
Something that I’ve said that people would literally be rolling on the floor in bits. I was like, “Really?” It was me being honest about real life and stuff. When you turn it in, when you can hone it in and make it, it’s a comedy. For me, it was definitely performing it. I was so nervous. I was petrified. I was shaking. I won’t tell you what happened to me down below on that stage.
What else is on the list? You’re not going to do that one again. I’ll take it.
Graduate one year of Second City improv, which I did. I did Second City improv for a whole year.
What’s that? Is that an improv comedy center in Chicago?
Second City is where most of the Saturday Night Live people come from in Chicago and they have one in Toronto. Chicago is the home of all these great people like Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, you name it.
It’s a platform that takes them to the next level.
I realized after a year that I hated improv. I will never do that again as well. That’s that.
These are good things that we’re at least trying and testing. What else have you done?
Star in a TV show in the USA. I did that but I don’t want to talk about it though. It was horrible. It’s the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done.
Can we touch on that?Poker is about patience. Click To Tweet
It’s called Love Blows and it sounds like a porno. It was about a family of matchmakers. Put it this way. The two owners were divorced and they worked with his ex-mistress running his company. I was one of the recruiters for them.
Here are two divorced people with a mistress in tow trying to get other people.
It’s the ex-mistress and their kids. It’s a spinoff of Patty’s show. Patty was in it too.
Millionaire Matchmaker, got it. That didn’t go anywhere.
I even said to Patty, “What do you think of the show?” She was like, “I think it’s good. Do you not?” I was like, “No. This will not get renewed.” Sure enough, it didn’t. The show wasn’t about me.
That’s why you didn’t enjoy it. What else is on the list? What’s next?
Start transcendental meditation, which I did and now I meditate.
One of the best gifts anyone’s ever given me is my Lou Lou got me an annual subscription to a meditation app, which I have. You’d be very proud of me. I’ve been doing daily. Lou and I are very similar in the sense that we have very high energy people almost verging on ADHD, ADD probably if we have it truly diagnosed.
I have it, ADHD.
I’m sure I have some of that because I’m always distracted. I’ve got eight things on the go and as we’ve discussed in the past, I’m a high processor.
She hasn’t mentioned it before.
I haven’t mentioned, I’m a highly processing person, which means I’m not necessarily cleverer than anyone else. I process three, five times faster than the average person. She loves to make fun of me. With the high processing factor plus the fact there’s that ADD or ADHD thrown in the mix and some easily distracted symptoms. We are very high energy, which most of the time it’s too much for most people to deal with. When me and Loulou at dinner or in a room, I think some people are going, “Give me an Advil.” I think most of you have to take two Advils when they leave us.
I think most of the bloody drugs anyway. They had to take a couple of Advil, so be it. That’s the safest drug everyone’s on there. I’m not even worried.
What else was on the list?
Obviously, I hosted on Windy City Live. I was only meant to do that once and I’ve done it about eight times. I’m too much for them. I need to be a nighttime person when I’m talking about real stuff. Win a poker tournament, which I did in Vegas. It was 300 people and I won the whole tournament.
Were you always good at Poker cards or you learned to do this for bucket list item?
I used to play Poker with my dad growing up. I started to play a bit more, watched a couple of tutorials. There’s this thing called MasterClass.
What is your best advice for people that want to play Poker for fun, say in Vegas for the weekend? Any tips?
Patience is the most important.
You’re the most impatient person I know. How is that possible?
Do you know what it is, Dani? I love playing games. You could literally put me in a room playing games for a whole month and I’ll be fine. The thing is with Poker, you’re using your brain constantly and you can’t ever make a wrong judgment. You have to stay in the zone for the whole time. After twelve hours of playing Poker, your brain is frazzled. You end up making a decision that maybe you wish you didn’t. There are times I don’t make those decisions. I play the way that I intended to play. I’m very proud. The luck wasn’t with me that day. It’s a tough mentally-straining game. I would say, patience, your time will come and swings and roundabouts, but it’s amazing. I love the game and more women are getting into it and I’m all about that.
I know Jennifer Tilly, who’s a well-known actress. Jennifer’s quite a well-known Poker player as well.
She does very well. She also competed in the World Series of Poker, which I did but I didn’t get very far, I’ve got to be honest. It’s very overwhelming.
It is quite intimidating.
I played in a tournament with 300 people, but you’re doing day one with about 1,000 to 2,000 people in the whole room. You’re looking around and you’re like, “It’s overwhelming.” You know I love a drink and I don’t even drink when I’m playing. The max I have is maybe three beers throughout the whole day if I was to do it. Maybe if it’s a charity poker thing, obviously, I won’t get. No offense, charities, but I still get my money regardless. If I really want to play to win, then I’m not getting drunk.
Do you wear sunglasses and a weird-looking hat?
I wear my hats. I have all my different caps. We don’t want different things on. The one that I wore, the one when I won in, it said the word, cash, on it.
That’s your lucky cap.
I wore it again and I lost. I wore another one saying, “Joke,” on it and I did okay. Another one, same play.
Moving on, what’s next on the list? Let’s not bore readers with your cap collection.
To do my will.
What are you leaving behind? What’s your big-ticket item?
My big-ticket, no one will know. They have to kill me first.
Don’t tempt Gary. I’m sure he’s thought about it a couple of times. Am I in the will? Should we need to redo the will?
No, you’re definitely not in my will just yet.
How do I get in your will? How do I get into the Monger will?
You are going to be around for at least seven years.
There’s a minimum. I’m approaching that. What are the other requirements? Can I have a cap collection or something? Can I have something? That reminds me, I want the hat collection. Maybe the shoes? What shoe-size are you?
I am an eight.
I’m a US nine. Forget about that. I’d like the cap collection and I’d also quite like your handbag collection. Is that quite good?
It’s not quite.
What else is good that you’ve got? I’ve got my own scissors. Why would I want your scissors for? I don’t need to get excited about to get your scissors.
You’re such a scissor snob.
I am quite honestly but I like something of substance. Something that would remind me of you. Caps for sure. I’d like the cap collection.
I’ll look and see if I’ve got a nice bag for you in here.
Get me a nice bag. She’s literally bending over, looking through her handbag drawer to see what’s of substance at all. What’s that? No, the bags eat first. I’ll have the Louis Vuitton handbag, please. Thank you. Now, we’ve discussed and handled the will at large. We’ll stop with hats and bags then after seven years. We’ll graduate to maybe something of more value.
It is at least seven years, Dani.
Let’s go with cap collection. Your husband’s a lawyer, can’t he provide it for free for you?
That is like sorting out a prenup with your amazing Jewish lawyer.
Let’s take a pause and talk about that for a minute. Gary, Louise’s husband, one of the top attorneys in the country. Corporate law, dealmaker lawyer but a lawyer nevertheless, a Jewish lawyer. I’m a Jew, we know how he rolls. How was it doing a prenup with him? Did you go, “No?” How does that go down?
For me personally, I wasn’t going to have. I like to be hungry anyway. I came into this not wanting even to marry him. He didn’t want to get married again. It wasn’t even a thought. When he changed his mind, he was like, “I think I do want to marry you.” I don’t think I want it. He had to wait for me to be okay with him potentially proposing. He did it to me in a very romantic way. I think what’s best is that we do a prenup before we even get engaged so that we don’t ruin the engagement. I said, “We’ll do a prenup before we get engaged.” That’s weird.
I think it’s smart because once you get engaged, you don’t want to take the romance and all of that excitement away from it with paperwork. I think that was well planned.
He ended up producing me with this prenup.
What is on a prenup? You don’t get anything or you get a certain amount a year or you get the house?
It can be anything. Some people get X amount a year for X amount of years. Some people get a lump sum at the end. Some people have a bit of both. Some people have it all taken away if someone cheats. He tried to have this becomes obsolete if I’m unfaithful. I don’t plan on being unfaithful to my husband, but if he’s 90 and I’m 70 and he’s like, “I can’t produce,” and I’m a horny 70-year-old, hot-looking, dancing Loopy I might want to sit on something. You never know. You don’t know.
He doesn’t have to be 90 or you don’t have to be 70. You could be approaching 40 and he could be 60 and then it doesn’t work anymore. You don’t know how things happen.
That’s basically what’s happening as I’m approaching 40 and he’s approaching 60. I would never cheat on my husband. Bottom line, I would never cheat on my husband. What I would say is that it shouldn’t be in the prenup. If it was in the prenup, it should be in his one as well. He’s like, “What do you mean by one? You’re not giving me anything?”
It should be in yours if you cheat on me, I get absolutely everything and this prenup is null and void.
You never know what could happen.
I like the fact that we always think of him in a wheelchair or some Larry Flynt way of life. It’s funny. Gary will probably outlive all of us.
The bottom line, I walk into this lawyer’s office that my friend Susan put me in touch with. She’s one badass anyways. She knows a good lawyer. Gary’s like, “You got Susan to give you a recommendation.” I walk into this guy’s office. It’s no joke, Dani. He turns around and he says verbatim, “This is 100% the worst prenup I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” He goes, “If I were you, not only would I not marry him, I’d split up with him now. “
Was it that hardcore?
I said to him, “That’s why I’m marrying him. He’s a really good lawyer.” I changed a few bits of rounds. We went back and forth a couple of times, but I wasn’t that aggressive. I think because I was so easy going with the prenup, that’s why Gary got me this ring. I think it pays not to be greedy at the beginning. Besides, I keep telling him I can always revisit it.
When he’s sleeping, have him sign something, a couple of extra glasses of rosé, “You signed that last night. You don’t remember?” You were a little bit tipsy.
He doesn’t drink because he has to live with me.So as not to ruin the engagement, have you and your fiancé iron out papers for your prenup before planning on a proposal. Click To Tweet
He doesn’t drink? He should be drinking because he lives with you.
I drink because I live with him even though you think that I’m the problem. He doesn’t drink because he doesn’t know what I’m going to do to him in his sleep.
I like the precautions. See how smart he is? He’s always two steps or so you’d have him believe. Let’s quickly touch about that. Gary, come in and sit down. We are hearing the prenup story and how when she took your prenup to her lawyer. He said, “This is the worst prenup ever. Do not marry him. Run away. Leave him right now.” She’s like, “That’s why I married him.” I want to touch base with people talking about second marriages. You coming into a situation and being in a relationship with someone that has kids because a few of us have been there. It’s very difficult. How did you, Gary, managed to get Lou in it on the family and get the kids to be cool about it all? How did you, Lou, step into that stepmom role when you’re dealing with teenagers and kids that aren’t used to a new person in the picture? Gary, why don’t we start with you?
I did it a little unconventionally. Louise met the kids before you even met me by video Skype.
Do you mean before I met you tangibly?
I’m in the mall, I think.
Before the first date, Louise had met them by Skype.
Was she pants-less or she was dressed?
We don’t know. She was doing naked roly-polies before I met her. Louise and for the kids, she had met them already by Skype before we even had our first date. There was a little of that early pre-clearance.
Had you ever dated someone with kids before? Was this your first endeavor in this area?
I had dated someone with kids before, but I hadn’t met his kid because he was so dodgy. We broke up and then he had another kid with her after we broke up and I was like, “I thought you didn’t like her?” It was all very strange.
This was your first encounter being in a relationship with someone with kids?
I guess it was.
How were the kids, Gary? How did you prep them for someone new in your life?
First of all, Louise was not my first post-divorce girlfriend. They had some experience with me being in a romantic relationship. This wasn’t their first rodeo. As you know, Louise is a pretty fun, exciting stepmom. She brings the fun. I would say it was an instant love fest. The kids were completely captivated. They wanted her to keep saying words in her English accent.
Gary’s now doing the opposite, “Will you shut up?”
I always say her accent adds a point. I used to say it adds a report as of now. I say point. The kids were instant on with Louise. I thought she was fun and cool and hip. They could relate to her. She’s much closer to their age.
Did they have an issue with that or they were not?
It depends on the kid.
Who had an issue with the age thing? I bet your daughter. It would have probably been a bit of competition for daddy’s attention.
A little bit. I think when she was growing up, she loved me for sure.
She probably felt competitive with you for daddy’s attention.
She thought Louise was the cool, hip. She was enthusiastic about having Louise around.
We’ll have to do another one on dating and relationships with kids and step-kids. We’ll do another one all about that. I think it’s interesting and the dynamics and the do’s and don’ts. Gary, we’re going to have to do one and give our readers some good free legal advice. I think at least you can do a little bit of a give-back.
With legal advice, you get what you pay for.
Thank you so much for joining. Gary, what a lovely surprise, a little walk in there at the end. Thank you so much for joining us on the show. The Behr Essentials with crazy, lovely, best bud Louise Monger. You’re going to come on again. You’re going to be one of my regulars and we’ll talk about loads of things for a very long time. If you’ve got any questions for Louise or comments or suggestions, you can always go to our Instagram page, @LaLaLandedPodcast. We’re on Facebook at La La Landed. Thank you to Louise Monger for joining me.
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About Louise Monger
Louise Monger is a British native, born in London, who moved to Chicago, IL in 2010. She is energetic, bubbly, warm, and witty. Louise has worked as an entrepreneur, TV personality, host, MC, and performer.
Having worked in TV and on the stage from an early age, her portfolio includes an eclectic mix of roles. She has been a successful entrepreneur and business owner, but her passion was always driven by the Arts.