With topics like self-promotion through YouTube
, media layoffs and the Internet's impact on cultural standards, you'd be excused for thinking my conversation with Bobcat Goldthwait
sounds more like a breakout session at South by Southwest
than an interview with the guy who
- stared in the "Police Academy" series
- lit the "Tonight Show" couch on fire
- described his last movie, "Sleeping Dogs Lie" as "a romantic comedy but it had a tasteful amount of bestiality"
But true to expectations, Goldthwait peppered those topics with references to throwing feces, the Interenet's most vile viral video and self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the face. (And, because I know you're wondering, he did so in a normal speaking voice and not what he calls "the Grover voice.")
Goldthwait is performing at The Improv Comedy Club
(441 S. 4th St.) 8 p.m. on Aug. 4. General admission tickets are $20 and available online
or at the box office.
Goldthwait, who guesses he last performed in Louisville 15 to 20 years ago, recently returned to stand-up comedy after a six-year hiatus during which he focused on writing and directing.
And while 2003 wasn't that long ago, it's been a Rip Van Winkle-like experience: cultural changes, the Internet and reality television have revolutionized the business of being a comedian.
Relevance in the age of Internet shock videos
"My job used to be that I would go out and say things that people found shocking. How am I going to be able to do that anymore when most 9 and 8 year olds have already seen '2 Girls and 1 Cup'? I don't know how relevant I am," Goldthwait said.
A 'Tonight Show' monologue's got nothing on a viral YouTube video
"It's really funny how it's [the comedy business] completely changed," Goldthwait said. "As a comedian, doing a monologue on a television show doesn't really change or help your career. It's posting a routine that gets a lot of hits that'll change your career. That's new."
"Grandpa's really got to post some comedy on the interweb," Goldthwait said, referring to himself. "I can't really blame people [for only being familiar with his older jokes] if the only material that is out there is from 20 years ago," he said.
"I haven't been one of these self-promoting types, which nowadays is really the whole shebang," he said (see Cook, Dane for an example).
"I've never been really interested in mass appeal or world domination. I've always been very skeptical and weary of any artist that appeals to everyone. When I was a kid, the people I was really interested in didn't have big followings," he said, citing Andy Kaufman, George Carlin and Monte Python as examples.
Nevertheless Goldthwait added that he's thinking about recording some of his upcoming performances and posting the clips online.
"The other thing that's weird is as I travel around, a lot of major newspapers just don't exist anymore," he said. "Also because of satellite and Clear Channel just laid off thousands of people a lot of the radio shows I used to go on to promote things don't exist anymore either."
"It's the wild west," Goldthwait said. "I took six years off from stand-up and they went to talkies."
Stand-up comedy: it beats being on reality shows or hosting a game show
Why did Goldthwait return to standup, despite an active retirement where he wrote and directed movies and directed "Jimmy Kimmel Live"?
"I do standup to keep me away from being on reality shows," Goldthwait said.
"I just have this body of work that I'm mostly embarrassed of, so I'm really just trying to do stuff that I would watch," Goldthwait said in a statement that irritated me, as I've enjoyed a lot of said body of work.
Apparently some folks are less impressed though: "Sometimes people are aggressive or hostile to me because I'm not in the limelight. I'm like 'You know, I have been offered things as soon as Howie Mandell was successful on the game show,'" he said.
"I'd already gone down that route and I was so miserable doing that kind of stuff. Not taking away from what he does or anything, but if I was eating dinner and someone came over and just said, 'Yo, I can't believe Jennifer didn't win last night,' I'm going to shoot myself in the face."
For more information: Read about his new movie, in Bobcat Goldthwait's 'World's Greatest Dad' is not for 13-year-olds or fetishists .