We hear you’re getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame this year. Is that your crowning achievement?
It’s what every little boy from New Jersey dreams of—Hollywood, where the stars are in the sidewalk and the dirt is in the sky.
What do you think about people getting their news from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and your HBO show, Real Time?
I was around with Politically Incorrect long before those shows, so when people list them before mine it makes me a little antsy. That said, I don’t think it’s the best thing, but that’s the world we live in. It’s probably better than getting no information at all.
Between Politically Incorrect and Real Time, you’ve been nominated for an Emmy 26 times without a win. Do you feel like the Susan Lucci of the talk show category?
I do a show with about 1,000 times the chance of offending someone as the programs I’m competing against. Because what we do is a lot braver, I think we should win—I mean, we’re not any less entertaining. I don’t mind walking point and taking all the arrows, but I do think we get penalized for it. That’s OK, though. It’s just a little trophy.
Is there a political adversary who impresses you, even if you don’t agree with their ideology?
Ann Coulter. Everyone says, “How can you be friends with her?” I find a lot of what she believes in abhorrent, but she’s extremely intelligent and can argue a great case for even the most ridiculous ideas.
Do you guys hang out?
We used to. There was a whole gang who’d go out drinking, and she was a lot of fun. But I don’t see her socially anymore. I think she lives in an undisclosed location because she has security issues. We both do.
Who’s coming after you? Islamic fundamentalists?
Or Christian extremists.
Do you get death threats?
Yes, but I don’t see them. My security people take care of it.
Who’s a dream guest you haven’t been able to get on the show?
Bill Clinton. Somebody who knows him well once told me, “He needs to be adored.” Sorry, but I don’t kiss people’s asses. And I was one of his biggest defenders when he was going through impeachment, saying it was ridiculous that he was being impeached for getting blown by Monica Lewinsky. Though I did say that, as president, he should’ve been getting a much higher-quality level of tail.
What’s your evaluation of Barack Obama so far?
After Bush, if you leave the room and it’s not on fire, you’re going to look really good. It’s sort of like a woman who was once married to an alligator with AIDS: All her second husband has to do is not eat her and not give her AIDS and he’s gonna be a better husband.
Would you ever run for office?
Are you kidding? I’m the last person in the country who could ever get elected. My campaign slogan would be: Religion is bad, drugs are good.
Ever said something in your act or on your show that you really regretted?
Oh, God, every show. I have a hard time sleeping on Friday nights because I always think there’s something I said that I shouldn’t have or something I wish I’d said that I didn’t. I’ve never understood people who say they have no regrets. It’s not human.
You once apologized for making a comparison between retarded children and dogs.
Well, I don’t know how you define “apology.” Sometimes you apologize for hurting people’s feelings, but you don’t take back what you’ve said. That’s what I did in that situation. You say, Look, if I got under your skin, I’m sorry, because that’s not what I’m trying to do—and I’m not. I’m not out there to purposely provoke. Some people think I enjoy debate—I don’t. I wish everyone agreed with me; it would save a lot of time.
You don’t plan to get married, right?
You mean to involve the government in my relationship? No. But who knows how I’ll feel in five, 10 years. It’s taken a long time for me just to be a monogamous boyfriend. Baby steps.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about women?
Not to upset them. Women are such giving creatures, but if you piss them off they can be very unforgiving.
How do you get a girl to say yes?
I think it has something to do with NyQuil and a joint. Really, though, you have to make her be the one who asks the question. And you do that by treating a woman like a human being first. Put it out of your mind that you want to have sex and you’d be surprised how quickly it’ll make her want to have sex.
Are there any bad habits you’ve given up?
Drinking. And I miss it like a dead friend. The thing is, one drink doesn’t do you any good. So if you can’t have a number of cocktails in a row, then it’s almost pointless.
Did you have a signature drink?
I drank a fucking boatload of Jack Daniel’s. To the point where they sent me a deed for one square foot of land in Tennessee so that I could officially be a Tennessee squire. I offered to do an ad for them after that, and I got a very nice letter back saying, “Bill, we love you, but this shit sells itself.”
Have you ever had a near-death experience?
I stupidly once ate a pot brownie and took ephedra. When you eat pot, you can’t gauge how powerful it is, and it doesn’t take effect right away. So you sit there for an hour and think, Maybe I should take more? And suddenly you’ve eaten too much. And ephedra is speedy shit. I had a lot of work to do, and I thought,
I’ll be able to get 10 hours of work in! I’ll be so creative! Well, I was so tripping out of my mind that I thought I‘d died and gone to hell.
Is there one thing you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?
Don’t take ephedra and eat pot.