younger than me and gets involved in things that I might
know better than to mess with, which is kind of a bummer.
Sometimes I wish I were more impressionable." So says
Dennis Hensley, the 33-year-old writer behind this
summer's funniest read, Misadventures in the (213),
about his genial, unlucky in love, yet irrepressibly
optimistic, somewhat-alter ego, Craig Clybourn.
in the (213)
is about Craig's ever-amusing, fit-for-a-sitcom life,
thanks in part to a clever, borderline bizarre group of
friends and their exploits in Los Angeles. Leading the
pack is his best friend Dandy Rio, the publicity-starved
C-level celeb who's low-rent sitcom, That's Just Dandy,
is perpetually on the brink of cancellation.
of sitcom vixens, we've asked Dennis's gal-pal comedienne
Kathy Griffin, Suddenly Susan's redhead with the
mouth of gold, who's own HBO comedy special airs this
summer, to yak it up with this first-time author on the
verge of an adventure. Here's their lunch, without the
GRIFFIN: Give us the 411 on Misadventures in the (213).
HENSLEY: It's about life on the fringe of show business.
You know, where one day you're at a party rubbing elbows
with Sharon Stone and you go home and they've turned off
your phone because you can't pay the bill. Its major
themes are longing, friendship and the significance of
B-level celebrity sightings.
was your first celeb sighting?
high school choir came to L.A. and saw Debby Boone in Seven
Brides for Seven Brothers. We sang, "We love you
Debby, oh yes we do..." to her afterwards and half
the group was really over it and the rest of us thought
she was the new Messiah. I was on the fence. Speaking of
lady singers who are white, guess who I interviewed the
say Celine Dion. Oh mother of pearl! Did you ask about her
husband? Somebody's got to bust her on grandpa.
seemed like she loved him.
I don't even know you anymore.
needed to know how many white leather jumpsuits she had.
it turns out.
my God. So she can sweat until her heart's content. Who's
one person you would die to interview?
I can't get enough of Joey Lawrence. I interviewed his ex,
Jennifer Love Hewitt recently, and every other question
began, "So when you were going out with Joey..."
heard that during tapings of Brotherly Love, Joey
would quietly burst into song until the audience demanded
he do a number, then he'd be like, "Alright, I'll do
one of the singles."
twelve inch single, no doubt.
show, besides whatever Joey's on, is really Must-See TV?
McBeal, though I'm gettting tired of her falling down
all the time. For me, it's all about Gil Bellows. He has
nothing to do but stand around and look hot and tormented.
Just the way I like my men.
you could switch places with anyone for a day, who would
dancer on a big tour, like with Janet Jackson. I want some
hot chick to teach me the choreography to "If,"
and then loll my bald head in front of her crotch for a
few counts of eight. And I would have killed to have been
one of the mermen in "Cherish" during Madonna's
Blonde Ambition Tour.
you noticed that she's British now, and sort of talks from
like this nasal place? People have to pull the lid off
that, 'cause it is absolutely bizarre to me.
I have a writing career because Madonna rejected me. In
1990, I auditioned as a dancer for the Blond Ambition
Tour. Obviously, she passed on me in favor of those idiots
we got to know way too well in Truth or Dare, but
the experience of trying out was so rich that I wrote a
story about it called "Confessions of a Boy Toy
Wannabe," and sent it to every magazine on earth and
Movieline bought it and ran it and I've been writing for
them ever since. My career has been all about the power of
the unsolicited submission. That's how I got my book deal
as well. I wrote a letter to Rob Weisbach, my publisher,
after seeing a article on him in Out.
very strange because in your book, Dandy goes on Politically
Incorrect and Dick Clark is one of the other
panelists. Well, I was just on there with him.
you end up giving him a lap dance like Dandy?
but I so wanted to.
else was on there with you?
Bolton. He said my long hair made him miss his. I said,
"Bolton, that hair is the best record you ever
cut." Then, during the break, we talked about my trip
to Venice and he said, "Venice would depress me
because I've got no one to go with," and I said,
"What are you talking about? You've got a gondola
full of Judd." And he said, "She just wants to
be friends now." And I said, "Bolton, if you
can't get pussy, it's the seventh sign of the
Apocalypse," because he's had them all.
your favorite tabloid story about yourself?
I wore the same dress as Brandy, LeeAnn Rimes, and Sabrina
the Teenage Witch and I looked the fattest. Speaking of
which, I love how in your book, Dandy's constantly
paranoid about her weight.
one of the reasons why she resents the Friends so much.
are freakishly fit. Here's what's weird about the Friends.
I work two stages down from them, and I see their cars but
I have never, like, seen them at the commissary or walking
to their cars. I don't know where they go. They're like I
Dream of Jeannie. I think they just blink and
disappear. Speaking of friends, are the characters in Misadventures
based on your friends in L.A.?
are. One friend inspired a lot of stuff –
like the guy who freaks out when he learns that his
former porn-star boyfriend banged a watermelon on camera –
and whenever anyone asks if he inspired things in
the book, he says, "Only the sad stuff."
funny. Okay, Dennis, what makes you happy?
the top of my head: the tortillas at Chevy's Mexican
Restaurant, when Post-It Notes come out in new colors, and
watching a Beauty Pageant on TV with the right friends.
we've shared pageants. We have to talk about the party we
went to when Miss Illinois won.
mean last year's Miss America at my friend Brian's house?
me, a couple other hags, and all gay guys. So poor Miss
wore a really weird two-piece bathing suit...
And her talent was awful, like a soliloquy from Bell,
Book and Candle and her gown was like a denim dress.
It was one horrible thing after another and you guys were
just being so vicious, until the Q & A.
At which point what happened?
was asked, "What's something that's touched you most
in your life?" And of course the other girls were
like, "Getting my MAC makeup card," or whatever,
and then Miss Illinois says, "When I went to see the
AIDS quilt..." So of course everyone's like, "Shhh!
Shhhh!" and she talks about this square and that
square and there's this pause and one of the guys was
like, "Love heeeerrrrrr!" and then she went on
to win and you all had the nerve to act like you'd been
pushing for her the whole show.
only thing that even comes close to pageants is award
are really fun. But I won't go now unless I present.
because it looks desperate if you just show up?
The red carpet is a whole little world that no one talks
about. When you're with celebrities, and it's a photo op
type thing; it's all about who's going to talk to you and
who isn't. It's really sick. I've been places where there
are people that I totally know, like when I met the
president a month ago, and Ellen DeGeneres didn't even say
hi to me, and I guarantee you, if she walked in here now,
she'd say hi. But it's all about, "I'm only going to
talk to celebrities who are my level or higher."
you know, Sally Kirkland is like Pigpen from Peanuts
in those lines. There's like a ten foot radius around her
no one will go near. So what was it like to meet President
but he was all about moving me along. You wait in this big
celebrity line and everyone's looking at you. Like Dweezil
Zappa literally looked at me and goes, "What are you
doing here?" And I was like, "You are about one
notch above me, so don't act so fancy."
Dandy's show gets cancelled, she ends up playing Rizzo in
the touring production of Grease!. Does Brooke
Shields reflect fondly on her stint as Rizzo?
little too fondly. I always tease her about how every time
you get into her car, you have to listen to her on the
fuckin' Grease! CD. She played it for me on two
separate car trips and finally, the third time she's like,
"Have you ever heard me in Grease!?" And
I'm like, "If I have to listen to you sing, 'There
Are Worse Things I Could Do' one more time..."
But she was really cool when I teased her about it.
you ever fallen in love with a gay guy?
have I and it ain't no picnic.
was your first crush on?
Partridge on The Partridge Family, and I wanted to
be Chris Partridge. I know you're thinking it's the other
way around, but I wanted to be Chris so bad I would sleep
with my hair pushed up on my neck so I could wake up with
that Chris Partridge flip.
your idea of a perfect date?
where you knew for sure, going in, that it is a date. I'm
notorious for going on these undates –
that you want to be dates but they just aren't. I actually
went out recently with one guy who used the word
"date" on the date to describe what was
happening and I thought I would pass out. My perfect date
would also involve being thrown up against a brick wall,
preferably one that's red, and kissed.
described your book as a 300 page personal ad. How would
your ad read if you only had 30 words?
about, "Is the glass half full?" and then wrap
it up with some innuendo about rubbing milk mustaches.
Speaking of milk mustaches, I heard you met Jerry
The best thing about meeting him was when the makeup girl
and one of the producers both said, "You're going to
be shocked at how much younger and better looking he is in
love Springer but I find myself craving the fisticuffs. I
keep waiting for him to interrupt someone's story and say,
"You know what? We're running late, can you just
start hitting each other?"
like, "My final thought tonight just isn't really
important, keep fighting..." Now besides your book,
you're working on a CD called Afterthoughts. Who'd
you want to do a duet with?
Yearwood's my favorite voice, but that'd be really
intimidating. Maybe Jann Arden because she's stand-up
comedy funny in concert and sometimes I feel like her song
"Insensitive" is being played in a continuous
loop through my lovelife.
you looking for happily ever after or just a fling?
just like to be able to order concert tickets for a month
in advance and be reasonably confidant about who's going
to be buying the popcorn.
the most outrageous thing you've ever seen a star do?
once saw a female celebrity go to the bathroom outside,
right off of Melrose Avenue, so if the trees are extra
green around there, that's why.
your favorite souvenir from one of your interviews?
crabs. Just kidding. Actually, while I was interviewing
Carrie Fisher, she went to the bathroom and discovered
that her Today vaginal contraceptive sponges had expired
so she gave me one. I still have it.
your definition of a starfucker?
who is perpetually kissing the asses of celebrities, like
me for instance. You know, stars put their pants on one
leg at a time just like everyone else, they're just nicer
pants and they got them for free. People ask me about
celebs I've interviewed in a disdainful,
aren't-they-a-bunch-of-jerks? way, but I get a kick out of
them. I really like getting paid to spend time with
someone who's creative and has had a few dreams come true.
I hope your book's a big bestseller so I can get it cheap
I hope everyone tunes into your HBO special. If you were
ever going to write a book, what would it be called?
call it "Judd Nelson: The Real Story" and it
would be volumes. So would you rather win an Academy Award
or a Grammy?
Award. I don't want no half-naked guy with "Soy
Bomb" written on him ruining my speech... unless it's