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Dave Attell Talks Cigarettes, Alcohol, Old-School Porno, Filthy Comedy, and More

Do you still party and drink as much since Insomniac went off the air??
I don't drink anymore, but I smoke and drink a ton of coffee. I'm old now, so I had to pick between one or the other, and cigarettes won. Cigarettes are very difficult. People hate cigarettes. They love pot. So I guess I picked the wrong smoke.

When and why did you give up drinking?
I was shitting blood. Short answer. The long answer: I'm just old and pathetic. When I was doing the old Insomniac show it was a great time. Really drinking and really traveling. And now there's a million reality show out there just like it.

Do you have any favorites?
I have to say, you can't get much better than the Basketball Wives. Then you get to see high art. And with this lockout, I think that's as close as we're going to get to actual basketball.

Your comedy has been about all the strange situations that result from a drinking or partying, like your bit about having sex with a pumpkin. Are these jokes based on actual situations or are they products of a twisted imagination?
I'm a really imaginative guy, so I always go with what I think would be funnier as opposed to my sad boring life. Most of the jokes are really just shockingly inappropriate. But yeah, I really did have sex with a pumpkin, on a dare with myself. I did it to put fear into the melons of the world now that cantaloupe is a killer.

Has your comedy changed since you've given up booze?
I still do some of it, mostly for the fans of the Insomniac show. The rest of it is just lazy joke writing. Some of it is because I feel as more politically correct people get, the more, as a comic, you want to push the envelope and its getting harder and harder to do inappropriate, dirty, filthy funny jokes. People are more judgmental now of jokes, but its just a joke. As a comic it just makes you want to shock people and they'll laugh and say, "Wow, I can't believe he went there."

 

What's your new Showtime series Dave's Old Porn all about? The quick and easy way to describing is, the Mystery Science Theatre of pornography, where we take old retro hairy porn and bring out comics like Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, Adam Carolla, Jim Norton, Greg Fitzsimmons, and Margaret Cho to watch the clips, have a couple laughs, and make fun of the cheesy dialogue and incredibly over-the-top plots. At the end of the show we usually bring out a legendary porn star like Nina Hartley, Ron Jeremy, Georgina Spelvin and they kinda take us through their clips. We watch them watch their movies. So it's not really like a historical thing, more of just like a porn party.

What's you opinion on old school porn versus the new stuff?
The new stuff is very waxed and tan and this stuff is all pale and hairy. It's more charming and bizarre than it is sexy. A lot of people will hear about this show and think, "Eww...porn," but we're not watching porn for porn's sake. We're celebrating porn and the era in which it was made.

Have you tried throwing your mack on these porn stars?
No. I'm an old, sad man. You don't have a collection of hundreds of porn tapes because you're a player. It's because "Plan B" is in effect. Porn is always a "Plan B." I'm just glad they decided to show up.

What was the first porn tape you owned?
It was probably one of those like Swedish erotica loop tapes that weren't really like a story tape, it was just like these scenes. It did the job. The more I got into porn I realized there's so much great stuff out there. Some of these old school porn movies are high-budget, over-the-top films with car chases, helicopter chases, and gunfights. A lot of drama. That's because a lot of [porn] movies were semi-illegal back in the '60s, so they made it more like a "film" film, so people could go like, "Okay, it's just like a movie." I think it was kinda cool that they did that to try and skirt around the censors.

You hosted last year's AVN Awards. What was that like?
I'm also supposed to host this year's show too. It's an honor, because, first of all, I think it's the coolest award show. What's it like? It's like the Make-A-Wish Foundation: You get to meet all the people that you've kinda seen over and over again.

Dave Attell is scheduled to appear on Friday and Saturday at Stand Up Live, 50 West Jefferson Street. Performance times vary. Admission is $30. Click here for tickets and more info.

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Stand Up Live

50 W. Jefferson St.
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