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Bobcat Goldthwait No shrimp ranches

Bobcat GoldthwaitIn the early '80s, Bobcat Goldthwait became known as the guy with the weird scratchy voice who twitched and jerked and wreaked havoc in the horrible "Police Academy" film series.

But over the years, Goldthwait's persona evolved in ways that surprised anyone who saw one of those movies.

More than anything else, Bobcat Goldthwait has always been a stand-up comic. Now 41, he started his standup career at 15, and was full-time by 18. He made his first appearance on David Letterman's show at age 20. So, he's been doing standup over half his life.

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And watching Bobcat's standup act, expecting to see the weird twitchy guy, yields some surprises. Goldthwait starts as expected, grunting and barking out pseudo-punchlines. But then as the routine evolves, the "voice" quickly slips away. Gradually, Goldthwait becomes more articulate and intelligent, delving heavily into politics and other sociological topics. And before you know it, you're not watching the guy from "Police Academy" -- you're watching a well-spoken, intelligent comic riff on society.

Since his early days, Goldthwait has branched out considerably. In 1992, he wrote and directed a movie called "Shakes The Clown." "Shakes" was not well-received, but it became a cult favorite, with the Boston Globe even calling it "the 'Citizen Kane' of alcoholic clown movies."

That first effort eventually led to more directing jobs, and nowadays, directing is Goldthwait's main pursuit. He has directed numerous segments for Comedy Central's "The Man Show" and "Chappelle's Show," and just directed "Windy City Heat," a real movie about the filming of a fake movie in which an untalented but egotistical actor is tricked into thinking he got a starring role in a movie. The two-hour production will air Oct. 12 on Comedy Central. In addition, Goldthwait does lots of voice-overs. While he still does standup comedy, he sees that now as more paycheck than creative inspiration, looking forward instead to evolving his directing career.

Goldthwait spoke to Bankrate about these various aspects of his career, and about other unusual ways he could make money if he chose.

Bankrate:With so many things going on, what is your primary source of income?

Goldthwait It would still be my standup, because it's the most consistent. I guess the directing is starting to catch up.

Bankrate:Is directing comedy lucrative?

Goldthwait Probably not the way I'm doing it. I'm a segment director. I just finished my first movie of the week for Comedy Central as a director, and obviously that pays a little better.

Bankrate:Do you ever take a job you're not really psyched about just for the money?

Goldthwait I recently stopped doing just anything that came my way, and I'm much happier. I said, you know what, I'm just going to do stuff that seems fun to do, or I'm not going to be embarrassed when it's on cable. And despite my body of work, there are some things I've turned down recently.

Bankrate: Example?

Goldthwait The role of a pooping wino in a movie.

Bankrate: And how much did they offer to pay you to be a pooping wino?

Goldthwait I didn't even get into that. And, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings who ended up being the pooping wino.

Bankrate: OK. Have you ever been an investor?

Goldthwait No. I haven't. I'm the classic guy who should have been paying more attention early on in his career to finances. But things have pretty much straightened out, so I'm pretty happy.

Bankrate:So what do you do with your money now as far as preparing for the future?

Goldthwait I've just been saving it. I should probably do all that kind of stuff. But I don't have a portfolio or anything like that.

Bankrate: Do you own a home?

Goldthwait Yeah. That and a shrimp farm in Texas. (Laughs) I remember someone was trying to get me to invest in a shrimp ranch in Texas. I'm glad I didn't.

Bankrate:What is a shrimp ranch?

GoldthwaitWhere you ride horses for the roundups ... I don't know.

Bankrate: Do you get a lot of that, people trying to get you to do weird things with your money?

Goldthwait Yeah.

Bankrate: What else?

Goldthwait The shrimp ranch is probably the weirdest thing I can remember. But, because you're in the limelight, people invent crap. A lid opener. Someone wanted me to stick money into a lid opener. A shrimp farm and a lid opener.

Bankrate: They really come to you with the high quality stuff.

GoldthwaitI guess so. Maybe it was very wise of me to not invest.

Bankrate: Have you ever invested in anything someone brought you?

Goldthwait No, I haven't.

Bankrate:Probably a good move.

Goldthwait I think maybe they see my persona and think I would be a good target.

Bankrate: Have you ever done commercials, or had any offered to you?

GoldthwaitI think in the '80s, when I had a lot of heat. I believe I've turned down some stuff. Right now, I'm the voice of a chicken in a California cheese commercial, for milk and dairy or whatever.

Bankrate:You do a lot of voice-over work, right?

Goldthwait Yeah. But I haven't ever appeared in a commercial as a Wilford Brimley type. I wouldn't have a problem with that at this point in my career. I'm less of an artiste. And also, when you see the people who do these things, it's not like a big deal.

Bankrate: Voice-over is pretty good money considering the time put into it, right?

Goldthwait I guess on the scale of things, most of the time when I do a voice-over, or animated thing, the time spent driving back and forth is more time than I'm actually working.

Bankrate: Is that something you pursue heavily?

GoldthwaitI do a lot of voice-over stuff, but I've actually been turning down a lot of that stuff because I've been busy with the directing.

Bankrate:So you're in a good position now. Seems like you're turning down a lot.

Goldthwait You know, we have to weight it. I'm turning down winos who poop in restaurants. I'm not turning down big studio films.

Larry Getlen is a freelance writer based in New York.

-- Posted: Oct. 6, 2003




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