Larry Doyle is the author of the best-selling book, I LOVE YOU, BETH COOPER. He also produced and wrote The Simpsons for several years, wrote Beavis and Butthead, was the entertainment editor at New York Magazine and wrote a bunch of Hollywood movies. Oh, and he regularly writes very funny pieces for the Shouts & Murmurs section of The New Yorker.

I caught up with Larry at Evergreen Café in Baltimore where we often sit together and work. Larry was working on the webpage for his amazing and hilarious new novel GO, MUTANTS! (HarperCollins, June 22th). I was working on this interview.

You know the last author I interviewed for TNB was Audrey Braun who hung up on me because she was in the middle of buying No. 7 Breast Cream at Target. You wouldn’t blow me off for breast cream, would you?

It would depend largely on why I needed the breast cream, and how urgently. As a former journalist I would also recognize the color value of having you, as the reporter, accompany me while I was buying the breast cream, though this might work better if I was Eva Green, or anybody whose breasts the reader would like to imagine being smeared with cream. I suppose the true corollary of this for a male author would be penis cream, in which case I change my answer to, “Where can I buy this penis cream, and what does it do?”

GO, MUTANTS! takes place in high school in what appears to be both the past and the future (at once). One of my favorite characters has breasts that become gigantic and a head that progressively shrinks. Was she based on anyone?

Every man’s ideal woman. My, that was glib, and sexist. And untrue, since the character, even after her head shrinks to the size of a baseball, still won’t shut up. I probably should have stopped with the first offensive remark. I would also like to change this answer, please, to: “The character is based on a dear friend of mine who bravely battled this condition for a number of years before discovering, to her horror, it was being caused by the increasingly large quantities of breast cream she was rubbing on herself every night. She’s all right now, thank God, but doesn’t date as much.”

I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be you. I mean you have one character who is a drunkard—a detached head soaking in fluid who wouldn’t mind if her husband whacked their daughter so she could have a nice body to go with her head. When does this stuff come to you? In the middle of the night when you can’t sleep? While you’re at Whole Foods buying fruit?

I don’t see your point. Are you saying that other people’s families aren’t like that? I was simply working in the new realist school, like that guy who wrote that book but then wouldn’t go on Oprah, the tool. (Oprah: I would never do that to you.)

I read GO, MUTANTS! in one sitting while in bed one night. I was laughing out loud (waking up my husband who became rather irritated with me) and often re-read funny bits just to laugh again. Do you crack yourself up when you’re writing? Or are you your own wife who’s heard all her husband’s jokes?

I don’t laugh in bed. I consider it coarse. I’m surprised you’re not divorced. The only time I laugh at my own stuff is when it’s been such a long time since I wrote it that I’ve forgotten . At my present rate of alcohol intake, this is approximately three days.

This is a two-part question: which character in GO, MUTANTS! most resembles you? And, if you were a character in the book, which other character would you want to have sex with? I’d want to do it with Johnny, the radio-active ape-boy, by the way. Jelly is too gelatinous. And J!m is way too longish a person for me (also, the shedding skin really doesn’t turn me on).

I’m the radioactive ape-boy, of course. (Note to readers: this is sadly untrue. I’m J!m, the sullen teen, only I’m not even long. Don’t tell Jessica.) I would like to have sex with J!m’s mom, the platinum blonde catwoman. And yet, I don’t like cats. I like dogs, but wouldn’t want to have sex with a doglady. I can’t explain it, or rather, I shouldn’t.

Last question. If you could live in the GO, MUTANTS! world where there’s a sort of 1950’s rebellious innocence and a year 2040 mega-connected-cyber world, would you? Or do you like the here and now?

Well, obviously the world of GO, MUTANTS! is one that any reader will want to return to again and again. As a practical matter, one has to consider that in the book five U.S. states are radioactive wastelands (and France is gone, for what that’s worth). Assuming I didn’t have to live too near one of those states, and was the rightful king of this world, I would choose fiction over reality any day, as my wife will attest.

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JESSICA ANYA BLAU's third novel, THE WONDER BREAD SUMMER, was selected as a Summer Read on NPR's All Things Considered, CNN's Book Chat, and Oprah's Book Club. She is also the author of DRINKING CLOSER TO HOME, and THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES. For more information go to www.jessicaanyablau.com.

32 responses to “Larry Doyle Doesn’t Want Your 
Breast Cream”

  1. Richard Cox says:

    Holy shitballs. Doyle is hilarious. Nice interview, and way to go getting the breast cream bit in there. You realize now that you’ll never be able to conduct another author interview without including that?

  2. Yes, yes, the breast cream is everywhere. What would be amazing is if YOU, Richard, inserted it in all your posts! The very sad truth is that I now BUY and use No. 7!

  3. I have to know what this breast cream is actually supposed to do.

    I also wish I could hang out with funny writers in cool cafes…J.E. Fishman, we have to get the RWG group back together just for fun.

  4. Irene Zion says:

    Jessica Anya,

    Great interview!
    After I got to Target to get my #7 Breast Cream, I’m going right out to buy his book, simply because of this line:

    “And yet, I don’t like cats. I like dogs, but wouldn’t want to have sex with a doglady. I can’t explain it, or rather, I shouldn’t.”

    Pure Gold!

  5. Irene Zion says:

    I didn’t think of that.
    Good idea, Jessica Anya!
    To Target I go!!!!
    Gotta health up my breasts!

  6. Yes, you DESERVE it after your little (big!) episode at the hospital!

  7. Greg Olear says:

    This is one fun cafe, that’s for damned sure.

    If TNB were a baseball team, and we had to wear jerseys, you, Jessica, would obviously wear No. 7.

  8. You are very funny! And, now that you’ve brought it up, I think we should start a baseball team, no? But your wife (another supporter of the No. 7 breast cream) and I would have to share a single jersey. Isn’t that called switch hitting when two people wear the same jersey passing it back and forth?

  9. Joe Daly says:

    I’m not used to laughing this loudly so early in the day. I’m not even halfway into my coffee.

    >>I don’t laugh in bed. I consider it coarse. I’m surprised you’re not divorced. <<

    That’s the line that did it. Doyle is clearly the precise sort of crazed maniacal genius that I enjoy following. I’m all over GO, MUTANTS!

  10. Dana says:

    I’m tickled that he named a character J!m. Fun interview Jessica — I loved the line Joe pointed out too.

    • I think, but am not sure, that it’s pronounced Ji-him. At least that’s how I remember Larry saying it when we’ve talked about the book.

      Should I change my name to Jess!ca? Or would that be the equivalent of a smile face over the letter I?

  11. JM Blaine says:

    The dude who wrote
    Beavis & Butthead
    shops at Whole Foods?
    I am so
    I thought he would be,
    like, the bagboy at
    Piggly Wiggly.

  12. Yeah, that’s how it is in Hollywood. You’re watching something with someone sitting around scratching their ass and you assume the person who wrote it is someone sitting around scratching their ass but really it’s some majorly-educated smarty-pants who shops at Whole Foods.

    Actually, I don’t know if Larry shops at Whole Foods or not. He appears as someone who doesn’t shop at all. I bet his very foxy wife does all the shopping.

  13. If you have a chance for a follow-up, Jessica, I’m curious how Larry feels about the reception the Beth Cooper movie got, and if selling the film rights was the first step toward affording Whole Foods produce. Go Mutants! not only sounds funny, it sounds like it has “option” written all over it. I wonder if he’s a bit singed by the first experience.

  14. I’ll forward your comments to him now! Will get back to you on this.

  15. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    I haven’t read Larry Doyle, but now I’m going to on the merits of this piece alone. Great interview!

  16. Jessica Blau says:

    Thanks Cynthia. He’s a pretty hilarious guy. Funny to read and funny to talk with.

  17. Ben says:

    Larry Doyle is so funny. He’s going to be a panelist at Austin Film Festival 2010. I’m really excited to hear what he has to say about his work.

    • Oh, the Austin Film Festival sounds fun. I haven’t been to Austin. Friends say I should go. They say it’s the best place in Texas. Film Festival + Austin + Larry Doyle sounds like a very, very good time!

  18. Firstly – Eva Green. The Dreamers. Yowza! I think I’ve watched that movie 647 times. But who’s counting?

    Secondly – This has to be one of the most interesting interviews I’ve ever read. Great job, Jessica. Doyle sounds like a riot and Go, Mutants sounds like a comical winner. And the fact he used the word “Eva Green” in a sentence makes him one of my new favorite writers to check out.

    Eva Green. Breast cream. Sounds like the start of a fabulous poem. Where’s Rich Ferguson?

    • One more time.

      Eva Green. Breast cream.

      • Oh man, I think you’re on to something. RICH where are you?!

        Eva Green, breast cream, in my dream . . . (your turn Jeffrey, I added my line).

        Yes, is MUCH more interesting to mention la Francaise Eva Green then to mention the American cliches, or “the usual” icons of sexiness and breasts: Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Love Huet (sp?), and even the older babes, Susan Sarandon and Rachel Welch.

  19. angela says:

    GO MUTANTS! sounds incredibly awesome.

  20. It is hilarious and so much fun!

  21. Ride a Century…

    […] chain so as not to dirty the other areas. The chain should be[…]…

  22. […] writer Larry Doyle (we became friends after he blurbed my book), introduced me and led the discussion following the […]

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