When you interview a comedian, there are nearly always more good lines than can fit in an article. So go check out my interview with Bobcat Goldthwait first; then come back here and check out the extra stuff that didn't quite fit.
Bobcat likes OC "I’ve performed behind the orange curtain a few times over the years. It is a little Stepford Wifey, ya know, you do have a feeling that there’s bodies in the crawlspace. The last time I played in Brea, I had a good time. I did pick towns and cities I had enjoyable times and memories at, I passed on some of the hell gigs."
Is it hard to do stand-up again? "I guess it would be hard if I took the time to come up with new material. My act has never been too structured."
After directing movies about alcoholic clowns (SHAKES THE CLOWN) and dog-fucking (SLEEPING DOGS LIE), how can you go one better next time? "I don’t know if I can top it, but the tone [of the next film] is kinda similar to SLEEPING DOGS LIE. I have a script that I wrote and Robin Williams is attached, so right now it’s a combination of getting the funding, and because there is a strike I’m not really out peddling it. I hope I can keep making movies. Unfortunately, I guess the key to making movies is you have to make one that makes money. But until I write a comedy where everybody has funny things to say, I think my comedies will continue to make hundreds of dollars"
How do you feel when people call you "the guy from POLICE ACADEMY?" "When people come up to me and they’re very excited about POLICE ACADEMY, it’s a little bit like being on that Chris Farley show, 'You remember when you were in that movie? Yeah, that was cool!' 'Why thank you!' And then it’s over."
Goldthwait did a stint on Hollywood Squares, but his contract was not renewed after he started going off-script. "I wasn’t really comfortable staying with the script and doing the pre-written ad-libs. Getting fired from Hollywood Squares is like having sex with an ugly person and they kick you out."
How is it working as a TV show director behind the scenes? "I never had a day job, I started doing comedy when I was 15, I got on Letterman when I was 20, so I never had a place where I went to work with the same guys – yeah, I had a couple jobs as a waiter, but I never had that thing where you show up every day. The job at [Jimmy Kimmel Live!] is one of my favorite things I ever had, cuz I really like seeing the same faces every day, and being able to ask people about their personal life, and I like having an opportunity to be in something where it’s not all about me, being a part of something instead of the focus of something. I’ve already done so many things that I didn’t enjoy doing, that I was embarrassed of, now I kinda do things that are just fun.
What movies have you done that you're embarassed by? "There are plenty of things...Most of the movies I’m in I don’t watch. There are a lot of things I’ve been in that are really cringe-worthy, or my performance is really embarrassing. As a young man I’d take a part and think it would be really good, and try to work real hard, and it wasn’t till I crept up on middle aged that I went you can’t complain about this stuff, because ...it’s like a catch-22, people expect a certain thing from me, and I would deliver that because that’s what they hired me for, I was never Dustin Hoffman in TOOTSIE saying ‘a tomato wouldn’t sit down.’
I guess I could have gone for straighter roles and different kinds of comedy, but it’s very hard to get work doing that, and I’m much happier writing stuff and doing stuff now that I’m not in. I was on CSI once and I played the murderer, and people would go 'Dude, you were really good,' and I found it really silly because it was the first time I was doing a serious role, and I’ve kinda realized, no, I don’t wanna act, because I just know that there’s better actors out there and it seems kinda silly to pursue it." Who were some of your strangest co-stars? Mr. T [in FREAKED] was, he’s kinda crazy but no-one told me that, during lunch I sat next to him and he was talking to me quoting the Bible and stuff. I’m sitting at the lunch table, and then he’s like 'And then Elijah said to the Lord..!' and I’m like, 'Ohhhh, oh, we’ve met.'
Doing a movie with a talking horse [HOT TO TROT] -- as strange as it is working with Mr. T, he doesn’t step on your foot, or go to the bathroom on you, or bite you really hard in the ass."
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In one infamous Tonight Show appearance, Goldthwait ended up setting a chair on fire, and was charged with arson. He explains why he did it: "At that time in my life I was just on television and all the talk shows, and I was becoming like a novelty act --'let’s get Bobcat Goldthwait on, he’s craaaazy!' -- and I was just kinda done with it all and was just totally self-sabotaging and ending it. Some people were upset by that, because I think in most Americans' mind, they think about what they would say or do if they were on a talk show, and it would be an honor, you know what I mean? But to me it became pretty silly. I just started to feel like I was Richard Simmons or something.
I ended up getting more work and making more money because of it."
SHAKES THE CLOWN was panned when it came out, but it seems like it's gained some respect over the years. True? "When the movie came out there were clowns that protested, and I fanned that fire cuz I thought it was funny, but lots of times clowns tell me that they like SHAKES, like it’s some sort of secret that they can’t let out
All the things I make really polarize people, and I don’t set out to do that on purpose, I just try to make the things that I would enjoy watching when I’m finished."