Bobcat Goldthwait is one of the nicest stand ups and directors performing and making films. Countless comedians from all levels of success praise the man. People like Marc Maron and Eugene Mirman have asked him to direct their specials. People like Dave Chappelle and Jimmy Kimmel have asked him to direct their television shows. Dozens of comics I know that you haven’t heard of have told me about Bobcat popping in to do their small showcase and told me how nice he was. I keep writing about how nice he is because sometimes nice people say not nice things.
When I interviewed Bobcat between shows at the no-longer-in-existence Riot Comedy Club in March of 2012, he lived up to expectations. Smart, friendly, quick and in no rush to end our conversation. When I interviewed Bobcat earlier this month about his new documentary Call Me Lucky, he was once again smart, friendly, quick witted and in no rush. Since he was generous with his time, I asked him to re-tell a somewhat infamous story opening for Nirvana on their In Utero tour.
Brightest Young Things: I know you’ve told me this story before but we have this series called Nightmare Gig and I was hoping you could recount it for us. I don’t think you need any notes because you told it recently and it’s a really great story.
Bobcat Goldthwait: Which one because I repelled a nude from the roof of the Oakland Coliseum.
BYT: It was definitely not the Oakland Coliseum, I know it was the same tour.
BG: It was New Years and people find it weird to find out that Kurt Cobain was a fan.
BYT: No, no, not that one, that is a great story though but I think that the Michael Jordan dad story is actually…
BG: Oh yeah.
I met them in Ann Arbor before they were famous and Kurt interviewed me on a college radio station and then they became famous and he found out I was doing gigs at Cheap Trick and he was like “I want Bobcat to open for us!”
The first show I did was in Chicago and it was right after Michael Jordan had retired from basketball. We were pulling into the city and people had these handmade signs on their lawns and hanging from the roofs of their houses that said “Michael come back” and “Michael we love you” and all this stuff. None of us knew anything about sports or watched any sports shows so I get up onstage in front of 5,000 people, and by the way I really do feel bad I said this joke, I really do, that’s old Bob behavior, but I said “Hey Chicago, I feel bad for Michael Jordan but for $40 million I would shoot my own dad in the head.” There was a noise it wasn’t even a boo it was like a, “Ahh…” it was like kill him, kind of like F U, and I do remember that nobody had my back. As I walked by Kurt he was laughing and was like “I cant believe you said that.”
In order to get me out of the building, I mean people were just nuts, they were just throwing stuff, I mean I was opening for Nirvana, I was expecting to get heckled but like I got hit with a teenager once, they actually threw a kid out of the pit at me. In order to get me out of the building that night they had to put a towel over my head and just rush me out the back door. My feet never hit the floor, they threw me right into a van. There was more people waiting to beat me up than there was to meet the band.
BYT: Was that the worst show you’ve ever done? Not in terms of performance but in fear.
BG: No. I’ve performed at a Gathering of the Juggalos so I’ve had way sketchier gigs.
BYT: But I thought that at the Gathering, once you’re in, you’re appreciated. Isn’t that why Colt Cabana (professional wrestler, podcaster) goes back every year?
BG: Well, they do appreciate that you’re there but there’s also the physical safety element. I’m 53 and out of shape. I think Colt can hold his own a bit more than I can.
Call Me Lucky is currently in theaters in limited release. And if you want to watch a very surreal promo starring Bobcat and Nirvana for In Utero, watch this…