For most of my generation, it is hard not to associate Bobcat Goldthwait with the maniacal character he played in 3 of the 7 [possibly 8 (possibly infinite)] Police Academy Movies. However, if you are a savvy MFing indie film/comedy buff like myself, then you are aware that before his acting career Bobcat was a Stand-Up Comedian, and in the years since, he has made his mark behind the camera. He has directed everything from Chappelle’s Show to Jimmy Kimmel Live!, not to mention a handful of his own feature films. I spent last Thursday morning on the phone with one of my favorite filmmakers and before you ask, NO, he doesn’t do the voice anymore… unless you pay enough.
Vent: I’m a little nervous. I’m a big fan.
Bobcat: Well, I hope I don’t crush that out of you.
V: Fair enough… I grew up on the Police Academy movies, but mostly my brother knew you from Hot To Trot. We recorded it off HBO on VHS and just watched it over and over.
B: I won’t tell the Feds.
V: Yes, please don’t. I already have some issues with the Feds.
B: I won’t turn you in, but you do know that I’ve done other stuff besides Hot To Trot, right?
V: Yeah. I haven’t seen Willow Creek, but I’m a big fan of World’s Greatest Dad and God Bless America. What are you currently up to?
B: I’m finishing up working on the TV show Those Who Can’t, I directed four episodes of that. It’s the Grawlix Comedy guys from Denver, a comedy troupe. This is their second season; I really love working with them. They’re super funny and nice guys.
And then I’m starting my own show on TruTV, which will be an anthology show. It’ll be the tone of the movies I make, but a half-hour, weekly. It will be all different genres. I think a lot of the movies I make are more like fables, they’re not narratives that I am taking too seriously. They usually have, I hate the word dark, but darker stuff in them.
V: I’m a big fan of satire by exaggeration.
B: I didn’t think about that but that’s what it is. It will be satire. I really like Black Mirror. That show, sometimes it’s silly and other times it’s very heavy, but I would say that what would be different between my show and Black Mirror is that it will be a little more comedic. There’s gore and horror, but it’s not all like Tales From the Crypt or something.
V: You have been directing different TV shows for a long time, what made you decide to start creating your own projects?
B: I’ll tell you what’s different… this anthology show is what I’ve wanted to do for about ten years, so I think what’s different is that you would create a show and, especially if you were a comic, people would be expecting you to do Everybody Hates Bobcat or whatever.
Television used to be “make something that appeals to everyone” and “don’t offend anyone”, “get the largest audience, the biggest sponsors”. Now the pie is cut up, it’s exciting. Like, “Hey, if you could just get a tiny audience, we would be really happy.” That’s how I’ve always worked, that’s how I make the movies I make. I haven’t been trying for mass appeal. Of course, I want the show to be successful, I want people to watch it, but now people are a little bit more open to shows that aren’t mainstream. So, it’s the same show I wanted to do years ago but now I’m getting a chance to.
It sounds like I’m trying to be an ass-kisser, but I gotta tell you that I am really happy with TruTV. I’m happy that they are into the show, they get it and they’re being super supportive.
V: One of the things I like to ask comedians is if they can think of someone who is poised to be the next Carlin.
B: If you watch my latest documentary Call Me Lucky, you’ll see that there are folks out there still doing the stuff that George did, but I don’t know if we are ever going to have anyone like him that connected with such a huge audience for decades. I actually kind of like his later stuff a lot, that’s where his heart was at. It sort of reminds me of Mark Twain, towards the end of his life he was sort of just getting it out, like the way he was aggressively going after war.
V: What are we going to see on stage with your current stand-up act?
B: I haven’t been there in a million years, the last time I was there I remember pulling my penis out on stage. I can’t remember what the events were. It must have been 20 years ago or longer, so I guess people have calmed down and I can come back. I remember really liking it there.
My act now is a lot of storytelling for a couple of reasons. For me to go on stage and do the act that I did as a young man, would be embarrassing, and the other thing is that if you are telling stories, you don’t run into this thing of, oh, someone else told this joke. I’m pretty sure I’m the only comedian who tells the story of how he set the tonight show on fire. It’s not like. Goddammit, everybody’s got an OK Cupid joke.
Catch Bobcat Goldthwait at one of 4 shows at Mesquite Street Comedy Club September 16th & 17th. For tickets and information call 361-960-2573.
If you’re lucky Corpus Christinos, you’ll get to hear about the time Bobcat embarrassed Nickleback vocalist Chad Kroeger on national television or one of countless other stories gathered by this brilliant and witty mind over several decades in the TV/Film industry. Maybe he will share an anecdote about the time Steve Guttenberg hid inside a podium and blew the old guy who adopted Punky Brewster… now I’m just getting confused… 1980’s overload!! I want my MTV… Ronald Rubix Cube Reagan… I think I am having a Different Stroke… Whatchyoutalkinbout ALF… [HEAD EXPLODES!]