About a month ago we wrote about how a guy called Dave Carnie, who used to edit Big Brother Magazine — the Larry Flynt-affiliated, funnest magazine of all time (which happened to be about skateboarding) that eventually spawned a little TV show called Jackass, which you may have heard of — was publishing a collection of his Big Brother writings and calling that collection Boob.
About a month ago we wrote about how a guy called Dave Carnie, who used to edit Big Brother Magazine — the Larry Flynt-affiliated, funnest magazine of all time (which happened to be about skateboarding) that eventually spawned a little TV show called Jackass, which you may have heard of — was publishing a collection of his Big Brother writings and calling that collection Boob (download some back issues of Big Brother here, you’ll get the vibe and you’ll love it).
It was clearly going to be funny as hell; snarky, witty, fun and irreverent in, well, the same way we are (if we say so ourselves), because we’ve been ripping off his style since forever.
Excited by the prospect of said publication, We tried to get hold of a copy of Boob because buying Big Brother back issues on eBay is getting costly, but it turns out no one stocked it over here in the UK, because we’re not very forward thinking as a nation.
So, we convinced our money guy to spend a load of our hard-earned cash on importing a bunch of copies so we could get all evangelical about Big Brother and one of our biggest “writing like a wise-cracking adolescent” heroes. We also got in touch with Dave himself and he agreed to: a. answer some questions to convince you guys to buy the book, and b. sign the first 30 books we got for you so as to make them extra special.
Dave was at Big Brother for 14 years, so that’s a lot of writing. In this massive 720-page tome you’ll be treated to the entire catalogue of Dave Carnie’s most delightful stories about penis pumps, enemas, Depends Olympics, Bong Olympics, Slayer at Disneyland, the infamous Andy Roy interview, porn stars who shoot fire out of their butts, his amazing cat Gary, the Poocano, Aggressive Street Dancing, Aggressive Sheep Herding and all kinds of other cool stuff. All written about like it was your hilarious buddy telling you a story at a bar, with pictures too.
Boob also has exclusive interviews with people from the world of skateboarding, such as Louie the Chimp (the skateboarding monkey), Jarret Barry (professional homosexual skateboarder), Larry Flynt (professional pornographer) and many more famous skateboard and non-skateboard personalities.
If you want to skip the interview and go straight ahead and buy the (signed! — don’t forget, it’s signed!) book (£19.99, but it’s 720-pages and it’s got colour pictures too) because you already know what’s up with this hilarious and cool guy, click right here.
If you’d like to read the interview before you make your purchase (and you better make your purchase, otherwise I’m going to have to take a hit out of my wages; shipping books from America isn’t cheap, it turns out), just keep reading:
Dave enjoying a good vomit
PLATFORM: Hi, Dave. You’re sort of a hero of ours. Can you squeeze out a potted Dave Carnie life story for the uninitiated reader? How did you end up being who you are?
DAVE CARNIE: I’m going to sound like a dumb little teenage American girl when I say this, but, “Ohhhhh! Potted? I just love your funny English slang!” But really, potted? Never heard that one before. But I like it. (I just looked it up.) And no. I’m not going to squeeze out a potted life story. I’ll squeeze out a poot, but not a pot. Fortunately someone wrote a Wikipedia entry on me.
When you were doing Big Brother, was there a sense of knowing that you were onto something cool and original and that someday there’d be a documentary made about you all because you were doing something pretty new and exciting? Did you come to work feeling like badasses?
HAHA! No. Because we were high on coke, and drunk, and too busy ballin’ and high fiving each other about how awesome we were.
Guys like you are a huge inspiration to guys like us, because you seem like you’ve made a life-long career out of doing what you love and having fun. You reckon that’s the case? What are your all time greatest highlights, where “fun” and “money” collided, and you realized you were being paid to continue your adolescence well beyond your adolescence?
I don’t think I’ve ever collided with money. That would be nice. I would even like to get butt fucked by money. I mean, if that’s how it wanted to collide with me, I’d be fine with that. But so far, no collisions with money. I definitely have fun, though. And like you, I’m inspired by my friends who are doing the same thing, making a living doing what they want to do. Greatest highlights? Oh, doing this interview for sure.
Dave with his old boss, Larry Flynt. Solid gold wheelchair/solid gold crutches.
Big Brother was published by Larry Flynt of pornography fame; did you ever joke around with Larry Flynt? He seems like a fun guy.
He was kind of an asshole. He’s a hard ass businessman and he doesn’t mess around. That said, he has a great sense of humor, and he really liked us, and, yeah, we had some good times in that building. We were a weird title in there, so we were kind of on our own and didn’t really answer to people the way the other magazines did. And as a result, our suite became known as “The Frat House.” I’ve never been in a fraternity, so I don’t know what one looks like, but I’m told our offices were very similar in spirit.
I once went to Larry Flynt’s house one day with his assistant. She invited me. Unfortunately it was poker day. Which is illegal. So I wasn’t allowed inside with all the high rollers who were arriving. Apparently the cost of being late was a grand a minute. I’m assuming there was a lot of cash in the house. I know Larry doesn’t like that the max bet he can make in Vegas is only $40g. I actually don’t really remember what it was, but I know it’s too low for him. So I had to hang out in the driveway with the bodyguards and his dogs and all of his tacky statuary. I remember a Zeus. And there was dog shit everywhere. So I wrote a story about my field trip to Larry’s house and the dog shit and Zeus and everything. When it came out, Larry saw it, and Larry was not pleased. I got chewed out by a very drunk Mr. Flynt at the Hustler 25th anniversary party. Which was surreal because there were strippers dancing on the table in front of us. Everything was all cool after that, though.
Is Big Brother coming back online or should everyone just buy Boob from us?
I orchestrated the sale of the property between Larry Flynt Publishing and Dickhouse. So Dickhouse owns Big Brother now. When that went down in 2008, the plan was to put up an archive. And then just see how that went. But that didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. But I’m now working with Josh Friedberg at AlreadyBeenDone.com and Josh is really interested in putting up the archive and creating some sort of an app out of it.
Who or what do you think carries on the Big Brother legacy of, for want of a better phrase, making “youth” culture fun?
How involved in the inception of Jackass were you?
I helped start Jackass, but I’ve never really been a part of that crew. We all decided that we would take the BB video formula (check that out at the top of the page), and eliminate the skateboarding, and call it Jackass. The pilot was mostly Knoxville, but there was some BB video stuff in there as well. The show got picked up by MTV, at which point Tremaine had to leave the magazine. I could have left the magazine also to do Jackass, but I chose to stay with the magazine and assume the editor-in-chief position. I’m a writer and a skateboarder, and the idea of running my very own skateboard magazine was (and still is) far more appealing than being part of someone else’s TV show. Even now, knowing how successful Jackass is, I’d still take the Big Brother job. We’re all friends and everything, and I occasionally appear on Jackass stuff, but I’m not a Jackass. I mean, I am a jackass, but I’m not a Jackass with a capital J.
Dave in a Big Brother video, the format of which you may well recognise….
Were BB and Jackass full of drugs?
I think Jackass actually thanks “Adderall” in the credits to one of the movies. As for BB, no. Except for me. I enjoyed my drug-fueled lifestyle back then. And Nieratko dabbled in pills for a little while. Don’t tell him about it, though, he doesn’t remember that period of his life. And Kosick would go on and off the weed.
How do you describe how you write? “Writing how you talk” is usually how we describe it, and it’s been a liberating thing for people who aren’t journalists but have stuff to say.
Are you starting your own literary movement? We had Romanticism, Surrealism, Transcendentalism, Modernism, Post Modernism, and now Writing How You Talkism? Um, yeah, I suppose sometimes it does look like that, but that’s not how I’d describe how I write. I’ve actually never really thought about how to describe how I write. I’d like to think there’s some sort of an authenticity to it… and in that sense I take that as a compliment. Thank you. And, now that I think about it, yeah, I would describe the way Pontius, Dimitry and Nieratko as having that quality to their writing. Especially Chris. He really did write in a manner very similar to the way he spoke. But, yeah, it’s very intentional. Oh, I guess I’ll take up the rest of this answer under your next question.
Where did you pick it up?
Lots of people, but it’s easiest to cite Louis Ferdinand Celine. He did this little thing with ellipses in his writing… Vonnegut and Burroughs were fond of it as well… it kind of gave the text the effect of speech… you know, because people kind of talk in phrases and short bursts… Celine called it his “little music”… but ultimately I had to abandon the device because when you’re writing for a magazine you just don’t have the luxury of wasting four spaces at the end of every sentence… I didn’t use it very well here… whatever… but what was really cool about Celine is he was one of the first people to “write how you talk,” as you say. He used French gutter slang in his work. No one had ever spoken from the streets before. I mean, now that’s nothing new, but it was a lesson I learned from Celine. Because, for one thing, I get annoyed with writers who are WRITING. Like you can just feel them laboring over every fucking word, and they got their tongue out, they’re thinking to themselves while they’re writing, “I am writing so fucking hard right now!” It’s the kind of people who can’t say something simple like, “I took a shit.” They have be all clever and shit and say something like, “I dropped the kids off at the pool.” People think they sound smarter when they use bigger words too. Why can no one just say “yes” on TV to a question? They have to say “absolutely.” Cops do it too. Instead of saying, “The man got out of the car,” they say, “The suspect subsequently removed himself from the interior of the vehicle.” I love me some big words, but I think people mistakenly assume that syllables equal IQ points or something. I’m not a huge Hemingway fan, but he had something with that sparse style of his.
Dave subverting gender norms and blowing your mind
What was the first thing you wrote in your whole life?
I wrote a book in like second grade or some shit. It was about gophers, or squirrels, and they were knights. I think it was kind of like Knights of the Round Table, but with devil rats (that’s what my dachshund calls squirrels). And then in junior high and high school I made a zine called “Surreal.” Frankly it’s kind of embarrassing to look at now, but you can kind of see the beginnings of a style emerging. At that time I was really into the stuff GSD and Neil Blender were writing in TWS. And I was swapping zines with Swank, Andy Jenkins, Kevin Wilkins, Chris Johanson, etc., and they were all doing kind of the same thing too. There was a lot of cool writing going on back then.
What’s a hard thing to write about well? Trying to describe a skateboard trick without using trick names or acronyms must be hard, like describing a spiral staircase to a blind person.
Oh, that’s a good one. I always use a Wittgenstein example: It’s like trying to describe the color red to someone without pointing at anything. And, yes, that’s the difficulty with writing about skateboarding: It can only be described ostensively, that is, by pointing at it.
Dave can skateboard.
When you see guys like us pretty much biting your style of writing really hard, do you sort of hate us a little bit or do you think, “This is how people are supposed to write about stuff and I opened the floodgates?”
I didn’t know people were biting my style. I’m flattered.
That “writing how you talk” style is from zine culture, but there’s plenty of zines and blogs out there that take their subject matter very seriously like they’re curing AIDS and not just writing about bands they like, and they end up sounding like pompous dicks. Do you think there’s a fine line between loving what you’re into and being a stuck up dick about it?
We had a rule at Big Brother that said, “If you like the band, you can’t interview them.” Because then you end up just sucking cock and asking stupid shit like, “What did that one lyric, like, mean to you when you wrote it, and stuff?”
Dave has celebrity friends.
What’s the thing you’ve written that’s got you in the most trouble?
This probably isn’t the juicy story you were hoping for, but I was sued for “slandering” this woman in Hawaii. And maybe this is sort of an instance where fun and money collided? I was able to turn a Hawaiian vacation into a business trip by simply getting a few skate photos and writing a story about it for Big Brother. Thus the entire trip was paid for by the magazine. Unfortunately I made an offhand remark in the article about this Maui city council woman who everyone was saying was embezzling their skatepark money. I guess she was given the money to have a skatepark built, but two years later, there was still no skatepark. Her sons, though, were both driving brand new Escalades. I didn’t meet her or anything, but it was a story about the Maui skate scene and it seemed like every skater I met had something to say about this woman. They were pissed. So I mentioned it. And then she read the one sentence I wrote about her in the middle of this eight-page article—one sentence!—and sued me. And Larry Flynt. Of course she was really after Larry. She sued for something crazy too. Like, in the millions. She said we had destroyed her character and she lost her job and all this shit. All lies. And we were also able to show that something like only ten copies of the mag had been sent to Hawaii, and only four had been sold. We were also able to show that she was a public official and thus not immune from that kind of public criticism. None of that even had to come up because the judge threw out the case the second he saw it. I got grilled by her lawyer one day, too. Which was really funny because he was trying to be all intimidating and hardball and it just made me laugh the whole time. “You think this is funny?” he yelled at me. “Do you think it’s alright that you’ve ruined this woman’s life?” “Yes,” I said laughing. And he lost it. I really do think her life needed to be ruined. She seemed like a real piece of shit.
What about the truest thing you’ve ever written?
That you can go to any city in America, find the MLK (Martin Luther King) Blvd. and buy crack.
What about the most Hunter S Thompson gonzo thing? Any stories about writing while on acid in a hotel room with P Diddy type anecdotes?
I’d sound like a cocksucker if I tried to answer this question. I suppose a few of the stories in the book might give you some of that, “Check out how fucked up I can get!” feeling.
Did you ever gay off with the BB staff?
I think that’s pretty much all we did. And that question needs to be asked in a very specific way, incidentally. It goes, “Did you and the Bones Brigade ever, you know, gay off?” And while I appreciate your use of it, I reserve it only for members of the Bones Brigade. Most notably, Tony Hawk.
Dave enjoying another good vomit
What magazines do you read these days?
I subscribe to a bunch of food magazines (Bon Appetite, Saveur, Food & Wine). It’s funny because I’ve never really liked magazines. I feel like I’m wasting time when reading a magazine. Why read a magazine when you can read a book with proper writing in it? The writing in magazines is fucking horrible. For the most part, that is. It’s because there’s this really strange formula that all magazines employ and it’s not really very entertaining, and it usually only skims the surface of whatever the subject is. There’s not much room to get into anything in 1,000 words or less. And when you look at “lad’s magazines,” as you call them, most of the articles (if you can call them that) are a paragraph or less. Magazines are the literary equivalent of a niggardly fart.
Have you got any advice for folks who are into their thing and want to write about it?
I was going to say fuck off, I hate giving advice. But I just thought of something that Stephen King said: read. I’m not a Stephen King fan, I’ve never read any of his books, in fact I don’t really like him, but I saw this quote somewhere, he said something like, “If you don’t have time to read, then you don’t have time to be a writer.” It’s like anything: The only way you become good at something is by immersing yourself in it. And it’s the best way to learn how to write. Learn from the masters. See how they did it. Check out Celine, who I mentioned earlier. I’m really into Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. I recently got into Donald Barthelme who kind of picked up where Beckett left off. And you can’t go wrong with any of “the classics.”
Do you think you could ever write about anything serious in the style you do?
Yeah, I do. And I think in some areas, magazines for example, people would prefer to read a story from my perspective. We want to start a food magazine, for instance, that’s just that: kind of a Big Brother style food magazine (check Dave’s food blog, Food On Drunk). But proper news events, though? Like the riots in Cairo or something? No. I wouldn’t want to either. But writing about MY news events in a proper news style is kind of funny. When I was selecting some pieces for small downloadable sampling of what’s in Boob, I found the “Husky Photographer” news stories to be kind of funny. At the time The Onion was really popular, so I started kind of writing these stupid newspaper style articles about all of Kosick’s blunders:
Chunky Photographer Wastes Time
BEVERLY HILLS—Big Brother magazine’s photo editor, Rick, has been wasting valuable time while on the clock: He has been pooping at work.
Sources say that at least once a day, Rick strolls down to the bathroom, finds an empty stall, drops his pants, sits on the toilet, and relaxes his bowels until a poop drops out of his ass and into the water—a tedious process that sometimes wastes up to 15 minutes of valuable work time. He is further rumored to be wasting even more time wiping his messy nether region after he’s finished with “his business,” as he calls it, but these rumors are unconfirmed. Rick, however, has not only admitted to reporters that he wipes after he’s done pooping but adamantly insists that he wipes his butt after he’s done pooping. Sources close to Rick disagree.
“His ass is really cutting into our production of the magazine,” said managing editor Dave Carnie.“Whether he wipes or not, pooping is just a waste of his time and our time. I doubt he wipes though. He smells like shit.”
A photo of a photo of himself that Dave took for us
Gavin McInnes says he doesn’t like the actual process of writing. What about you? Do you have a little space you do it? Do you have a little notebook to jot down zingers to be used at a later date?
I’m back and forth. Sometimes I hate it too. I would imagine it’s kind of like running? I hate running. Running sucks. But people who run claim to get some sort of high out of it. I say, skip the running and just get high. So that said, me saying that I do gain some pleasure out of writing is about as believable as someone saying they enjoy running. But I do. It’s fun sometimes. Especially when I get to write words like, FUCK… and CUNT. Happy times. Oh, and yeah, I almost always have a little notebook in my back pocket. And space: I actually have an interesting answer for that. The desk I write on used to belong to Natas (Kaupus). It’s this giant industrial thing. Apparently it was originally part of a sheet metal factory. Natas had it in his loft in LA. When he moved, I took it. Although I had to cut it down to make it fit in my house.
People get it wrong by confusing being open and honest with either being really down on themselves or being really mean about other people. What’s great about your stuff is when it’s mean, it’s mean in a constructive way. Like, “Chill out, when you step back you’ll realize you’re making a fuss over nothing”… This kind of writing can make folks feel more comfortable in themselves, like, “Oh, he writes for a magazine but he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like me.” What do you think?
I just generally think it’s a waste of time to get all angry and shit. I think nonsense is the best response to just about everything. And when someone picks up a magazine or a book, they want to be entertained. And I don’t find being mean spirited and angry as that entertaining. I mean, when you see some dude on the streets with road rage, it’s kind of depressing isn’t it? It’s sad to watch. Then again, I do find those kinds of assholes very entertaining. And thus I don’t want to ever look like one of those assholes.
Dave’s magazine once got on the news for pretending to do a kids issue
Tell us about Fat Old Guy skateboards, your skateboard company for fat old guys.
Fat Old Guy was kind of an extension of Whale Cock (Dave’s semi-fictional skateboard brand), through my old friend Tod Swank at Tumyeto. But the economy kind of fucked over real companies, and thus there wasn’t much money to be spent on a fake, fat guy company. Whale Cock will surface again someday though.
Is your current skateboard magazine that you do, King Shit, for older guys too?
No, magazines like Juice and Concrete Wave are old dude skateboard magazines. But old dudes do enjoy King Shit because it’s the only magazine out there that’s having any sort of fun at all. There’s a bit more of the adult humor in it, so in that sense, yeah, older guys like it. But really it’s geared towards older women.
Do you ever check out the good British skaters that haven’t moved to America yet?
As Archie Bunker said, “We threw England out of here a long time ago. I don’t want to hear no more about England. And for your information, England is a fag country.” I’m kidding. No, I’m not. But I’ve enjoyed every trip/tour I’ve been on in the UK, and London is one of my favorite cities in the world. And I do indeed get every issue of Kingpin magazine and I read it while I’m “dropping the kids off at the pool.”
Also, you invented the word Bromance! Even if you actually didn’t, I reckon it’s only three or four more dictionary editions before that gets included, and it may well credit you, then you’ll be truly immortal. Also, you are responsible for Judd Apatow’s career. That must feel great!
Yes, as I’ve said before, I’m sorry about “bromance.” I don’t think that I invented that stupid word, but if I did, I’m truly sorry. I should also say that I don’t mind taking credit for it, at least until the true author steps forward. Because, as you know, as a writer, to have created a word that actually comes out of people’s faces, well, that’s the greatest honor that could be bestowed upon me. And that’s why people should pick up a copy of Boob: because I make the words you say with your mouth.