You may not be aware but Bobcat Goldthwait, the guy with the funny voice from the Police Academy movies, doesn’t actually talk like that. You also may not be aware that he’s silently been chalking up an impressive list of director’s credits. Though some thought his 1992 directorial debut Shakes the Clown (aka the alcoholic clown movie) was career suicide, it had at least two fans. Martin Scorcese was one. Another was Jimmy Kimmel. Through that connection he got to directing Comedy Central mainstays like The Man Show and Chappelle’s Show as well as Windy City Heat, hands down the funniest made-for-TV movie you’ll ever see. After this came a two-year stint in the director’s chair at Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Sleeping Dogs Lie marks Bobcat’s return to the big screen and it’s a hilarious low-budget romantic black comedy—or romblacom as they’re referred to as in critic’s circles. It’s your typical Guy (Bryce Johnson) wants to marry Girl (Melinda Page Hamilton) film. But before this happens, Guy wants to know Girl’s darkest secret. Girl reveals she gave a dog a blowjob in university and then it all goes to shit from there.
I’ve been reading some reviews of Sleeping Dogs Lie and a lot of articles dance around the subject matter. Is it supposed to have some sort of Crying Game like plot twist?
Goldthwait: No, I think the reason people leave it out is because the movie is a hard sell. “Hey there’s a dog blowjob in the movie but it’s not that kind of movie. It’s an adult romantic comedy and it’s written and directed by the guy from Police Academy.” The audience that this movie is made for, if they heard anything about it, they wouldn’t go to it.
I’m calling on behalf of a filthy Canadian mag so I think “dog blowjob movie” would appeal to them.
It would appeal to them but then they’d be disappointed when it’s off camera. For some people they think that’s the joke. But to me it’s really not the joke. I’m not one of these guys that looks up bestiality online. I don’t find it erotic or fulfilling. I just needed something that was a huge thing that’d be really embarrassing that the family couldn’t get past. The character in the movie is the one that’s come to grips with it. I think if people thought I was doing a movie on bestiality, there’s not a lot in it.
There’s a movie about bestiality that screened at Sundance this year.
The guy in Washington?
Yeah, he died getting fucked by a horse or something. Did you open the door for that one?
I hope so.
This is some pretty taboo shit here. Can implied onscreen bestiality get you in trouble?
Well, a little bit. When we were making it somebody got a hold of a script and called the Humane Society on us. They were threatening us. They were like “if she kisses that dog, that’s bestiality and you’re gonna get arrested.” It’s kind of funny because we shot that scene twice where she frenches the dog. The dog didn’t want to kiss her the second time. It was really weird. I was like “We’re gonna have to rub some ass on Melinda’s face to get the dog to lick her.
I’m sure you get this a lot, but where does one get the idea to make a dog blowjob film?
My stock answer is that my dog is really hot. But I really don’t know where. I was just trying to write this movie that’s self-destructive under the guise of doing the right thing.
The real shocker with this film is that actually, there’s nothing particularly gross or zany about this film. It’s actually a pretty sophisticated romantic comedy.
Yeah, I don’t think that’s gonna help your readers.
Good point. Back to bestiality. I met a vet who filled me in on some facts about how dog’s react when they’re stimulated.
He said there’s no way a dog would ejaculate the volume of semen that Melinda spits out of her mouth.
Wow, you’re poking a lot of holes in my fine epic. I didn’t actually think that was semen until I saw it on screen and was like, “Wow, it looks like she’s spitting out a load.”
Some other interesting facts about the male dog anatomy: Dogs actually have a bone in their penis.
Yeah, and the dog’s penis has a barbed end. It’s like a fishing hook so the female dog can’t escape.
Wow. [Laughs] So Melinda’s character should have been caught like a walleye or like a bass?
There are two particularly hilarious jokes at the expense of free alt weeklies in the film. Where does that contempt come from? They get all the ad money in my city so by all means be as harsh as you like.
Yeah, I make that joke about the liberal weeklies—which are very feminist—that make all their money through titty bar ads. I just find that kind of absurd. But it’s actually been those kind of weeklies that have supported the movie.
I know you never thought this movie would ever even end up on DVD, but after the festival success of it, were you disappointed it didn’t get a wider theatrical release.
No, I hope more people see the movie. I’ll be really happy if it gets on cable and if people rent the movie. But really my expectations were so low—not in a negative way. Sara, who is my girlfriend who produced said “hey, this is a good script, let’s make it.” We didn’t have any ideas of it doing anything anywhere. I never even hoped that it’d get into Sundance because I knew the likelihood of that happening was impossible. Truly. So all of this, honestly, has been one of the best jokes I’ve pulled off.
Is it difficult to market a dog blowjob film?
A dog blowjob film by Bobcat Goldthwait? I’m not sure I’d go to it if I heard it like that.
I listened to the audio commentary on the DVD.
Holy crap you got that? You’ve really got your shit together. We can’t even get a copy and I’m going on talk shows to hold up an empty box.
You specifically asked people to tell you if they listened to the commentary on your DVD. So this is me telling you I did.
I’m really impressed. That’s crazy. So you’ve watched the movie twice. That’s a lot of work.
Well I get paid nothing. But when a dog blowjob movie of this calibre comes out, I get behind it 100%.
Oh man, well you’re the first. I was really nervous recording it…
Is this your first audio commentary?
No, I did one for One Crazy Summer with the director. I don’t like when I listen to the commentaries and there’s big long gaps. So I Just never shut up. I just babbled.
In your commentary you say, you hope this movie makes up for your previous work. What do you mean by that?
I think more as an actor, I’ve been in so many things I wouldn’t watch. And not that I’m above it. I’ve just done a lot of shit. Once I decided to not pursue “making it” my life has gotten so much easier.
Are you through with standup?
If I go out and do stand up, that means I’m broke. I mean maybe if it was fun and different. But I really don’t have much enthusiasm for hitting the boards and telling jokes.
What are you working on now?
I keep writing stuff, along the lines of Sleeping Dogs Lie where the writing actually makes me happy. I’m trucking along trying to see if I can get some movies made. But if they don’t get made, that’s fine with me versus getting it made in a way that I wasn’t happy with them.
published may 2007 in the nerve magazine