Serious outlook lurks beneath
By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Writer
"There are misconceptions," said Goldthwait, 41, who performs tonight on O'ahu and Saturday on Maui. "People expect me to be mean. But I never draw first blood; I only put the fangs out if someone attacks first."
Goldthwait perhaps is best known as the screaming manic in three "Police Academy" films. Early fans recall his acting-directing endeavor as the alcoholic clown in "Shakes the Clown," but there's a serious side once you get past the facade of his identifiable voice or his bizarre screen antics.
"I do have a quiet side," he said in a phone interview from Sioux Falls, S.D., one of his concert stops before his Hawai'i dates. "I would consider myself serious, when not on stage; and I don't think I'm depressive or sad. I can enjoy life.
"I'm reserved in real life because when you blow off so much steam as I do, it's hard to be upset the rest of the day. This (stage behavior) has been good for my blood pressure, really good. And I have a really good heart so I'm sure my comedy includes some kind of aerobic workout, too."
He's often heard but not seen, a factor that gives him a measure of anonymity. For instance, Goldthwait (his real name) has done voices for Disney's "Hercules," MTV's "Beavis and Butt-head," The WB's "Unhappily Ever After," plus "Tales From the Crypt," "Duckman," "The Moxy Show" and "The Simpsons."
But he's also appeared in a slew of other films and TV shows, from "CSI" to "Sabrina the Teenage Witch," from "ER" to "The Larry Sanders Show," from "Blow" to "Freaked," from "Radioland Murders" to "Scrooged."
Not exactly star turns, Goldthwait admits, "and sure, I'm frustrated, but I don't blame the system. I'm frustrated with myself for making some of these films."
He said the "Police Academy" franchise has given him a career boost among younger fans, but "it always cracks me up, when I'm doing a (comedy) concert. Someone will bring a DVD of 'Police Academy 1' and ask me to sign it, which I do, even if I wasn't in that one."
After 9-11 and the resulting world turmoil, including the Iraq war and crises such as SARS, Goldthwait said, the world changed somewhat for stand-ups like himself.
"I like to talk about stuff that's on people's minds," he said. "But after 9-11, it's been a strange atmosphere. You can pretty much talk about anything on stage, but only after it's over. Like, after 9-11, you had to wait a while. Life was uncertain. It was pretty uncomfortable, in general, in the aftermath, but you can go there only with the passage of time.
"Of course, there are things you can hit right away, like Arnold (Schwarzenegger). And Kobe Bryant. It's just uncomfortable if you encounter these people in real life. ... Would they beat you up?"
He's avoided, so far, sniper-oriented jokes, but remains open but cautionary. "The audience will go along with you as long as the punch line isn't about the victim."
His take on reality shows straight, gay or in-between is simple. "I do think reality shows are not really reality," said Goldthwait. "Twenty people getting dropped off on an island? I don't have a problem with that. Actually, they reflect classic storytelling: a prince looking for a bride. What I feel bad about, at least initially, is that reality shows put writers and comedians out of work. But I still watch.
"I'm nervous, however, when it comes to comedians. I think people think comics are monkeys. The show ('Last Comic Standing') at least showed there was thought in making people laugh; it's not about the drunkest guy at the party trying to be funny."
Reach Wayne Harada at 525-8067, fax 525-8055 or email@example.com.