Best known for screaming his way through the 1980s as "Zed," the barely-under-control officer in "Police Academy" and for his gonzo stand-up comedy shows, Bobcat Goldthwait has been tamed by time — or at least toned down a bit.
The comedian is a respected indie film director ("Sleeping Dogs Lie," "World's Greatest Dad," "God Bless America"), and triumphantly returned to the comedy stage several years ago with an act that embraces more of the narrative elements of his humor. His most recent Showtime concert video is called "You Don't Look the Same Either."
Style spoke with him in advance of his appearance at the Richmond Funny Bone.
Style: The fact that you don't look the same — has that worked for you or against you?
Goldthwait: It's a funny icebreaker thing. I'm aware of that when I come onstage that that's the first thing people might be thinking. Sure, a lot of folks come up to me and think I'm going to do the "Zed" voice, I understand that — because that's probably the only way they're familiar with me. But, you know ... I've always kind of been true to myself, so I don't feel the pressure to do that when people ask that. To me, it kind of feels like they're asking me to make a balloon animal.
Tell me about "You Don't Look the Same Either."
That was the last concert I did that was recorded for Showtime, and now it's on Netflix. It was recorded about a year ago. It's kind of my stand-up at that point and catching people up. A lot of folks have a preconceived notion of me from the '80s, or some of them aren't even aware that I do stand-up comedy.
I recently watched your film "God Bless America." I noticed part of it was set in Virginia. Was there a reason?
The place where the spoiled girl lives is Virginia Beach. I was trying to find a place that [the serial killer Frank, played by Joel Murray] could drive in one night that was far from his home. And ... I had performed there years ago and played Newport News, and I remember the people that ran the club were very nice and the audience wasn't.
What can people expect when you return to Richmond?
Well, it's a lot of storytelling, and I do feel the pressure to deliver a funny show. So far, I haven't had people ask for their money back because I wasn't Zed. But there still could be a first, you never know. I'm looking forward to coming back and if everything goes well. ... I don't expect any injuries. S
Bobcat Goldthwait performs at the Funny Bone July 11-14. Tickets are $17-$20. For tickets and information call 521-8900 or visit funnybonecentral.com.