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INT: David Spade

04.06.2006

Brace yourselves. We may be in the midst of a David Spade renaissance. The snarky "Saturday Night Live" alum was written off by some after the demise of his sitcom (“Just Shoot Me”) and string of disappointing movie projects (JOE DIRT, DICKIE ROBERTS: FORMER CHILD STAR, etc...), but Comedy Central liked his "Showbiz Show" (patterned after his “Hollywood Minute” bits on SNL) enough to pick it up for a second season, and he’s got a new film, THE BENCHWARMERS, opening in theatres this week. The film also features Rob Schneider and Jon Heder – how could it go wrong? I’m certainly not betting against it.

A few weeks ago, Spade was in Tempe , Arizona , to talk about his experience making THE BENCHWARMERS. Check it out.

David Spade

Did you have input into your character’s distinctive hairdo?

I did. I’d just done Saturday Night Live right before we shot this and I was trying to get ideas, cause there’s only so much I can do with my hair. It’s either shorter or longer. It can’t do much. I was going to dye it and I just thought, I saw a bowl-cut wig on Saturday Night Live and I thought, “Ooh, juicy. I like that one.” It looked so dumb. So we tried to recreate that. Then I walked out of the trailer, I saw Rob, I saw Adam Sandler and I think Dynamite was there too. I was like, “Hey look.” And they were like [laughing]. And so I’m like, “Okay. Well, it’s funny.”

And the half moustache?

Oh, my little porn one? I just thought like ‘70s porn, what does it look like? I see these guys with this little…they shave the top part. Actually, Sean Penn does it too.

What made you think ‘70s porn moustache was just the right look for a kids movie?

Something for the parents I guess. Because they’re gonna…they can laugh at that during the fart scenes.

The kids will have to learn about John Holmes eventually.

Yeah. It’s in schools now. It’s mandatory. I just thought, and there’s one part where I wear these ‘70s shades when I’m at the Batmobile and I walk out. I forgot to take them off, so I had them on in the scene because halfway through they were like, “Wait, did you have those on?” Yes. It’s like you get the Tom Cruise thing where it’s so bright, he’s always got one eye closed like that because there are so many fucking lights in your eyes. So he’s turned into this guy and I turned into “accidentally wears shades guy.” So anyway, I wore those and I looked even funnier like ‘70s because I had these big ‘70s like Aviators. So anyway, that’s funny. Come on, Joe Dirt had a funny wig, let’s go. It’s wigs. You need tricks.

You said you were you teasing Jon Heder a lot, like as new guy initiation?

Well, we needed him. It was really like Sandler and Nick Swartzen and those guys that wrote it. I think Ritchie, they thought of for me and then they didn’t know the other guys, who they would be. So we were thinking of people and then once Rob got on, Clark was the last one we didn’t have. And we were all going, “Who?” and then I saw Napoleon Dynamite. I only saw half of it and I called Adam, and I go, “Dude, we’ve got to get this guy. He’s funny.” And kids like him and I think that’s a good mix of Rob and I, because we used to work together, and then maybe him because he’s new and people like him. I don’t know. It’s just you want a good mix and I thought that was a funny mix if you do it. And he was into it. He was excited. Adam called him and he was cool about it.

What about Jon Lovitz?

Lovitz was a mistake, yeah. That was like, “Wait, did you tell him he had it? I thought you did. But he’s on the set. Nothing we can do now.” We wanted Lovitz to wear a big curly wig, like early Billy Crystal from Soap. He didn’t want to wear a wig. And Rob goes, “Put your vanity aside.” That’s what he told me too: “Put your ego aside.” I go, “Where’s your wig, smart ass?” “My guy doesn’t wear one.”

How much input did you have on the script?

Well, with those guys it’s great because it’s always going to be kind of close because they know me and they know me in real life so they kind of know my little mumbly jokes they can put in and then they say…Dennis Dugan does so many takes it’s ridiculous. So we just say, if you’re doing so many, just make up stuff. At the end you’re just so bored you just make stuff up. But a lot of times he’ll be like, “Pretty good, going again.” And then you’re like, “What are we doing now?” “You just say stuff. Whatever. We’ve got all day.”

So the fun stuff is like…we have so many angles too. We have the catcher looking at me, when I’m batting. So I’m just like, “Dude, ka-bang.” And then that stuff makes me laugh because then he just goes, “Keep going.” So I’m like, “Strike two. You know, pulled something. I used to run track.” You can see me laughing at myself because I don’t know what to say because there’s no lines. He’d say, “Keep going. Pretty good. I’m loving it.” So then you’ve got an angle from the pitcher looking at you and then you’ve got the umpire’s view. You just keep doing.

That’s what I didn’t know about baseball movies. You have to do it from everyone’s angle, every fielder and we have to do it this way. And then when I’m catcher, once I got that mask on, I go like this, “Can’t really see me, can you? My double, get in there.” I got a bad neck, I go, “I thought I was a softball guy.” I thought the whole movie was about softball, swear to god, for the whole time. And then a week before I went to…they go, “You want to go to baseball camp?” I go, “To be bad? I’m already bad, I don’t care.” So I go there, I just stand there, and he throws one, it bounces and you catch it and you throw it back. You get to stand and it’s easy.

Then I get there and they bring out all this equipment. I go, “What?” “This is baseball.” “Are you kidding?” I go, “I don’t want to be catcher then.” There’s this 40 lb. pure steel helmet so I’m like this [head leans over from the weight]. And then all the equipment on my legs and they had to jack me up. Dude, every scene? Are you kidding? We’re doing it in the middle of the valley in the summer. These are the real problems I have.

What’s it like working with the kids?

The kids are funny because kids are just always happy. They’re in a good mood and they know everything we did. They mostly like Napoleon Dynamite so wherever we go, they’d be all excited that he was around. And he’s already kind of sick of it which is the funniest part. [Imitates Jon Heder] “I’ve done other stuff, you know.” I’m like, “No, you haven’t.” “Still, I’m gonna.”

You have such insight into the Hollywood industry. Does that ever close any doors for you?

As long as I lay off Sandler, I’m okay. I wind up only working for him I think. Joe Dirt, Dickie Roberts, they were all for him. Basically, I am in my own little world. I don’t do that many other movies. I kind of do with these guys and then work…I do standup on the road. I thought I would probably be doing another sitcom or something but I kind of got into this Showbiz Show and I like that now.

TV comedy is pretty risky now, too. There are so many bad ones.

Well, it’s so brutal. What makes it is so hard and sometimes shows like Arrested Development – shows that you think are actually pretty good – don’t. So it’s not an exact science, obviously. Some good shows don’t make it. You just kind of cross your fingers and I like the kind of one I’m on right now where you can do jokes about what’s going on in Hollywood. And then we get to do little field bits. We’re doing more of that this year. I’m going out in the field and doing stuff which I hate but it’s funny, hopefully. I just don’t like to go out and deal with the real world. It’s scary.

Would you do something on this movie, or is that a line you won’t cross?

Every situation is tough. We have…some people actually want to do the show. They call and say, “I want to do something on your show,” and then we don’t know what to do with them because we don’t do straightforward interviews which is the easiest. “Oh yeah, you want to do it? Come on, we’ll interview you about your movie.” But that’s kind of going against what we do, so we have to think of just a joke or a trick.

Kid Rock, I think we were maybe going to do an Inside the Actor’s Studio about his sex tape. But we don’t really do sketches so it’s kind of weird, like we’ve got to find how to do it. We were gonna morph him into James Lipton and do a real interview, like, “Tell us about your role,” like he’s talking to Al Pacino and then it’s Kid Rock sitting in the same background going, “It wasn’t really a role, it was just me and this dude getting BJs.” And the audience is going, “Yes.”

So when people want to do the show, we’re immediately like, we get letters like, “These five people said they wanted to do something with you. They have a movie coming out or they saw a show” and then it’s hard to just sit in a room and go, “This person, what’s the idea? Well, they could do this. No, that’s not good enough.” So with this, that’s like Comedy Central, “Well, you’re all together, why don’t you do something?”

So yesterday, we had Andrew Daly who’s a guy who does reporting on our show, a correspondent, he was just a junket guy and so he just talked to Rob and Jon. He was in love with Napoleon Dynamite and he just talked about that movie and had him sign something, he didn’t even talk to me. Then I said, “I was in the movie too,” and he goes, “I didn’t see you, what’d you do?” I go, “I was Ritchie.” And he goes, “Ritchie, Ritchie…” I go, “He was one of the…you know Ritchie, dumbass.” He goes, “I just watch (Jon) because it just makes me laugh. The second time I see everybody else.”

So then we did that little bit and then after I walk up to him with the camera behind me like I don’t see him. I go, “What the f*ck was that a bit?” He goes, “Yeah, you knew I was doing that.” I go, “I didn’t know. That’s not funny to me. That’s about me.” I go, “Uh, I love Napoleon Dynamite. Was that the whole joke?” He goes, “Yeah.” I go, “It’s lame and I’m not going to put it on.”

Do people ever respond to what you do on the show?

No, not really badly. Some people go, “Oh, I saw it. Oh, please don’t do us.” But I think it’s like Letterman or Chris Rock. Everyone kind of does jokes about everyone and that’s just kind of the drill. You just hope they don’t do it about you. But I’ve had them do it about me and I don’t like it. I say it’s fine but I don’t like it.

How important is it for you to continue doing standup?

I think I’m getting worse. I’ve been doing the Mirage a lot in Vegas. I go out there and they pay more, so it’s harder because I have to do better. And I have to do it longer. I’m not that bad at it anymore but it’s really hard when you’ve got too much going on. Like right now it’s really hard because I have this and the show starts Thursday. We tape Wednesday, the first show. So this is like a little crazy time but usually I’ve got a lot of time off and I sneak out there and do it and I get to work on it. It’s good to do standup. It kind of wakes you up and makes you feel like you’re doing something and get the crowd right there. That’s all fun. But it’s a lot of work. Like I asked Adam (Sandler) why he doesn’t do it anymore. He would never consider it. He goes, “I would never do it again.” It’s hard and he gets overwhelmed with probably too high of expectations so it’s not that fun for him.

What’s next for you?

Just doing the show for a while and then might do another Joe Dirt movie at the end of the summer. That’s about it. The show is really starting and that’s what I have to do, like my day-to-day job. This movie I love and we did it last summer so it’s been kind of…I haven’t had to deal with it for a while but then when it came on, I saw a screening, I was excited.

Were there lots of questions unanswered by the first Joe Dirt?

Yes, there were. We’re actually going right to 3.

How long did it take to throw together the script?

We wrote it. We wrote it because Sandler thinks it’s funny. You hear these things. I go on the road and I hear more about that than anything. That’s how you get feedback. There are some movies that just…not everyone’s asking about Lost and Found. So when I go out, you hear about the certain movies a lot and then you get weird facts like it sold the most DVDs at Sony a year ago from all their movies at Walmart. So you go, does that matter? Yeah. So then I asked the DVD guy, “What does that mean?” And he goes, “Well, it came out and sold a lot the first month and then it never dropped. It just sells the same for the year.” So that makes everyone think and go, “Well, someone…” But maybe they just don’t believe it the first time so you’ve got to get them into theaters. That’s the tough part, because they seem to do well on video which is a big market but you want them to do well in the theater because that’s all people kind of know.

What about Dickie Roberts?

Dickie, there’s really nowhere to go with it. But I love it. Now I hear kids know it now. But there’s only so many sequels I can do in the summer. I like the new Joe Dirt. We read it – it’s funny and Adam likes it. If it falls into place, it will and it’ll be fun to do. Electric Dirtaloo.

Does it hurt when you don’t get good feedback on a movie like Lost and Found?

Well, Lost and Found I went in kind of blind, not knowing anything. I just did Saturday Night Live and I had an idea for a movie with my buddy. I thought the title was a little soft. We used a foreign actress. There are so many things. And the movie was not that hilarious, but there’s a lot of things we could’ve done to fix it. I didn’t listen to them. I kind of did my own thing. And it was for what? $8 million. I’m sure someone did fine with it but to me, you want it to be a bigger deal when you come out.

So I had to stop for two years and think and figure out, and whatever. Did Just Shoot Me and you just try to do whatever. Like Capital One commercials. They turn out funny, you never know? You do your best. I didn't know they’re going to be playing like a machine gun out there. So you go, “Well, I’m glad that one’s kind of funny.” Then I requested that guy again. I go, “Always use him if I’m in it because he’s funny.” So again, safety in numbers, like this movie. You get someone funny with you, it helps.

Questions? Comments? Manifestos? Send them to me at thomasleupp@joblo.com.

Source: JoBlo.com

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