I Interviewed David Mamet

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DM: All right.
ME: Wow.
DM: Don’t.
ME: Very excited.
DM: I’m sure you are, but.
ME: But?
DM: Don’t make me sorry I agreed to this.
ME: So let's do it.
DM: I'm all yours.
ME: I was freakish about you in theatre school.
DM: Thank you.
ME: I was—
DM: Go ahead.
ME: No, I'm taking my time because you deserve a smart answer.
DM: Now you're setting yourself up for disaster.
ME: Performing your material in theatre school—
DM: Yes.
ME: Made me seem like a truthful actor.
DM: Seem?
ME: I wasn't.
DM: You were shit.
ME: I was shit.
DM: You were a good-looking phony.
ME: Big phony.
DM: Holden Caulfield phony.
ME: From Sexual Perversity in
DM: Wrote that play in two days.
ME: Fuck you.
DM: Got all the best lines from my friend—
ME: Fuck. You. Two days?
DM: You asked.
ME: I didn’t, actually.
DM: What’s this “actually” people say all the time?
ME: I actually don’t know.
DM: Why not just say ‘I don’t know.’
ME: It puts stank on it, it puts emphasis.
DM: Just use the words. You’re already admitting you have no knowledge of something. How much more stank can you put on that?
ME: You’ve lost me.
DM: I’m not sure if that says more about you, or more about me.
ME: Sexual Perversity in Chicago.
DM: Yes.
ME: By David fucking Mamet.
DM: Yes.
ME: Specifically — the fight scene between Deborah and Danny?
DM: Uh-huh.
ME: “Where’s the shampoo?”
DM: “Where’s the shampoo.”
ME: It’s as though I wrote it.
DM: You didn’t.
ME: It’s as though I’ve said that.
DM: You might have. Sister?
ME: Younger.
DM: Than you did.
ME: Finally, for the first time in my acting life it wasn’t “What a rogue and peasant slave…”
DM: Who says “rogue?”
ME: No one.
DM: Palin went rogue.
ME: Palin says “rogue.” I say dick. Cock.
DM: Penis, prick, jerky.
ME: Johnson, ruler.
DM: Boner, cack.
ME: We could do this all day.
DM: We could.
ME: Why do you think you have to invent acting?
DM: I’m not faking it. I truly believe that if you memorize the line and know who you are, what you’re doing and what it’s like for you — you’ll do great and honest work.
ME: Is that why ‘where’s the shampoo’ works so well?
DM: Maybe. Yes. Because it’s honest. When did you start theatre school?
ME: Nineteen.
DM: Nineteen. So you’re a little putz. You don’t know anything about Kings or love or what it means to hate — but you know what you do know?
ME: “Where’s my shampoo?”
DM: Where’s my shampoo.
ME: I’d love to drink coffee with you and smoke cigars.
DM: I love cigars. I love to sit and smoke cigars.
ME: I love to smoke cigarettes.
DM: Why are you doing this? Everything.
ME: Everything?
DM: Everything. Your art.
ME: Cause I’m scared, lonely, and don’t want to be forgotten.
DM: You’re going to be forgotten.
ME: Right.
DM: There’s nothing you can do about that.
ME: Okay.
DM: There is no record of your life except in the people who love you.
ME: Yes.
DM: So your attention should be on other people.
ME: Okay.
DM: Stop being an actor and do the work of an actor.
ME: I heard someone say that once.
DM: Yeah, me.
ME: I think it was someone else.
DM: Well, I rephrased it, and it’s me now.
ME: Why do you spit on the people who came before you.
DM: You’re gonna spit on me one day. Guess who’s going to remember me when I’m dead?
ME: A generation of actors.
DM: Please, a new book about acting comes out every minute. Think they’re going to remember me? They have more use out of a coaster than some old shit-bag winding everyone up about life and art. New shit-bags born every minute.
ME: You know you and I met before.
DM: Where?
ME: New York. The Cornelia Street Cafe.
DM: Get outta here. I love that place.
ME: First bartending job I ever had.
DM: What happened.
ME: I got fired — I had no idea what I was doing.
DM: Okay.
ME: You asked me for an espresso.
DM: They had a good machine at the Cornelia Street Cafe. It was old one. A “Farra?”
ME: “Faema.”
DM: Faema. That was the first espresso machine to use a motorized pump.
ME: Hmm.
DM: Before that it would have been your job to get the pressure going.
ME: I would have quit.
DM: You’d have drank the coffee.
ME: I’d have drank the coffee.
DM: So?
ME: I didn’t say anything.
DM: Seems unlike you.
ME: I bought you the coffee though.
DM: You didn’t give me a check?
ME: You asked for one. I said there’s no check for you.
DM: That was nice.
ME: Hey, what would say if I told you I want to marry Sosia —
DM: Aren’t you married?
ME: I really liked your movie The Spanish Prisoner.
DM: Thank you.
ME: You directed that.
DM: I did.
ME: I thought your wife didn’t handle your material very well.
DM: That’s your opinion.
ME: What do you want written on your grave?
Pause.
DM: There’s no difference between us.
ME: “There’s no difference between us.”
DM: That’s right.

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