Bobcat Goldthwait might be permanently thought of as that whacked out comedian with the croaky voice, but if you haven’t been seeing him on the stand up circuit recently, it’s because he’s reinvented himself as something else entirely. World’s Greatest Dad marks Goldthwait’s third time in the director’s chair, and not unlike his first two films, the movie is outlandish in both premise and delivery, as a single father (Robin Williams) exploits his son’s suicide to further his own writing career, keep his job, and get laid. It’s sick, we tell you! We sat down with the self-proclaimed auteur to discuss his career renaissance, the darkness of Kate Hudson films, and the true (and shocking) meaning of Chili Dogging.
What should I introduce you as? I like being called Bobcat Goldthwait, or Bobcat.
I mean, you’re a comedian, actor, writer, director, mammal of the cat family? I’m a god damn auteur! That’s what I am. I’m going to go get some cards printed out, and they will say “Bobcat Goldthwait: Auteur”.
Can we say at this point you want to be in a monogamous relationship with directing? Oh my god. I would be so happy if I could do that.
You did have a small acting cameo in this film. Do you think that slipped by people? Yeah, I know. But I had a cameo in Sleeping Dogs Lie. I played Roy Orbison’s ass in that film. We shot that in two weeks, with the whole crew found from Craigslist. And honestly at that point, there really wasn’t anyone in the set I could say, “Hey I need to see your bare ass. Thanks”..
Don’t worry, it wasn’t a big role. And you were funny, and no one noticed. No, I wasn’t! I was bad at it. Anyway, I was like, “they don’t have to be white, I mean, we can see people with accents too.”
Hard to say without sounding racist. Yeah, exactly! But it ended up getting translated as we only wanted people with accents. So all these people came in with like, really bad Mary Poppins accents.
So at the end of the day you just said screw it? Yup. I was like, “Ok everyone, I’m going to be the Limo Guy.” And the door opens up, and I totally forgot my line. And Robin was like, “Are you serious?”
Was there a lot of ad-libbing in this movie? Robin got really defensive when we were at Sundance and people would imply that we were ad-libbing.
Is that a bad thing? I would think it would be a compliment. Yeah, it’s not a bad thing. I think traditionally how people work with him is that people will do a take, and then they’ll get him to do one when you ad-lib. And that was not the case in this movie. He and I were constantly discussing what his character was about, and then we would try different things.
This movie has been very positively received. When I read the synopsis for it before I screened the film, I was thinking, “There’s no beastiality, how good can this one be?” [LAUGHS]
So you proved me wrong, it was great. Having said that, it’s a long stretch from Sleeping Dogs Lie, which I would argue is a romantic comedy. Yeah, it’s a romantic comedy. It’s a movie about unconditional love. But you know what? Both of those movies—and I’m just finishing a script I’m writing about spree killers—the things I’m interested in is…
This is going to be interesting. No, it’s just kindness. Kindness and honesty. I know that sounds really trite to say out loud, but those are the things that do interest me. And those are the things that I am always concerned about, and it’s usually about, am I being kind and am I being honest, not like “hey man the world’s fucked.”
Honesty is definitely a theme in your movies. What I can’t figure out is, are you trying to depict honesty or rather lying, in a good way or a bad way? Let’s look at your last two movies, which both focus heavily on a lie. Well I think this one’s the flip side of the first one. I think a lot of people hurt people under the guise of telling the truth, and there’s a way of being manipulative and mean. And this one was about telling the truth at all costs, you know, even when you’re not presenting yourself in a good light.
The word “dark” is thrown around a lot with reference to your films. I almost don’t know what this means anymore, do you? I don’t like that word, because I don’t consider the stuff I write dark.
That’s interesting to hear, because you’ve almost set a standard for dark comedy with these last three films. Yeah, I don’t know why I get so defensive about that fact. I shouldn’t. Here’s my thing. If I go to do a studio comedy, that’s some dark shit.
Example? I don’t know, because I typically avoid them, but any Kate Hudson movie I’m sure is way darker than my movie.
That’s a relief, because as I was sitting through your movie I was laughing consistently, and then I thought to myself, “Does this make me a dark and depressed person if I’m laughing at this?” See, that’s why I get mad! I know it’s the stuff that me and my friends laugh at, so maybe we are dark, but I don’t know.
Was the end product of this movie how you envisioned it initially? I don’t ever think of these movies even in terms of getting made, so I don’t have any idea of what they’re going to look like. When I say that, they usually end up exceeding my expectations. It’s usually the actors that exceed it. When I was an actor, I never had respect for actors. And now that I write stuff, it’s completely changed.
Kyle’s character was incredible. He was so obnoxious. I wanted to punch him through the screen. It’s funny, I think Daryl is such a sweet kid, I don’t think he knows how good he is in the movie. I was talking to him about some review, and he goes, “This is the first time I’ve received a good review in my life.”
He is 17, right? Yeah, I know he’s young because I had to call him up to ask him what “chili dogging” was. You know, when you crap on someone’s chest.
I was unaware of this term. Yeah, me too, that’s why I called him. I would call and be like, “Hey, how are you?” And he would say, “Great! I just got my license!” And I would be like, “Alright, I’m going to go. This is weird”. Some old dude just calling him talking about chili dogging.
You mentioned you made this movie with the intention of making your friends laugh. I would say there is a very specific audience that would appreciate this film. Yeah, if they do get it at all. Maybe I’m really indulgent, but I’m really just trying to entertain me and my friends. And that sounds horrible, but oh well.
No, I think it works! They’re very unique films. Hey man, if I start having a brand then that’s great. The film directors that I admire, you know it’s their work when you’re watching it. When I was making my last film, I was trying to make it my own version of a Woody Allen movie. And this one, it was really me trying to do a Wes Anderson movie.
You’ve been compared to Wes Anderson before. He’s not a bad person to be likened to. I have no problem ripping them off! If the pool was in the same building, which it’s not, but I could have done that thing where Wes Anderson does those slow motion takes where they don’t cut. But then I would have gotten a call and he would have driven to the set.
Yeah, that might have been pushing it. But regardless, these are still very much “your” movies. Do you think there is a place in Hollywood for this aesthetic? I don’t know.
Do you care? Um, no.
So, what’s next from Bobcat? A bromance? Do you want to direct a Kate Hudson movie? God, no. Oh, poor Kate Hudson. We should stop using her name. It’s just, the problem with studio movies is that there isn’t one person’s voice. Everything is trying to manipulate the biggest amount of people at once. That’s the worst way to make art.
You mentioned you were working on a script right now, are we allowed to talk about that? Oh, I don’t care. The movies that I write, I know that other people would have a hard time getting going. It’s about this guy who was watching My Super Sweet 16, and he drives to Virginia and he kills the girl.
That’s how I feel every time I watch that show. Yeah, exactly. And then there’s this outcast teenage girl who sees it. And she says, “Did you just kill…?” And he doesn’t say anything. And she thinks, “cool.” So then they go off and they start killing people together. That’s the one I’m working on. And I’ve also talked to Ray Davies of the Kinks because there’s an old Kinks album called School Boys in Disgrace and I’ve always loved that album since I was a wee lad and I’m trying to make that into a musical.
Funny, so does Wes Anderson. That always pisses me off! He always uses my favorite Kinks and The Who songs.
And they’re so appropriately used in his movies. I know, they’re so spot on. And it hurts. But he hasn’t used this one yet! So I’m trying to make that into a musical, because it’s a rock opera. So I spoke to him, and I’m sure he was like, “Who is this guy?” And you know, I was sweating. And he asked, “Well, who’s this movie for?” Because it’s a rock album from thirty years ago. And I said “It’s for all those kids who hate High School Musical.”
So, I’m not going to ask you to do the voice, even though I really want to. But let me ask, what does it take? What does it take to get you to do the voice? Do we have to get you wasted? You know, I retired the voice just this week.
Are you serious? I just missed the cut off? Yup, I really did. I was on the road and I realized that I hate doing the voice for comedy. I thought it was the douche bag radio guys, or the club owners and the shitty opening act, but I realized it was the character. And I’ll tell you, going up there and entertaining people without the voice was really scary. There were people chanting, “Do the voice, do the voice!” But it’s retired.