Comedian Jerry Seinfeld likes to say he doesn't have a big opening. So we've given him one: a cover shot with eight beauties in a telephone booth. It seems appropriate for a guy who wanted to be Superman when he was a kid. Now that he's a superstar, we asked him to talk with our ubiquitous colleague, Contributing Editor David Rensin. In this month's Playboy Interview, bachelorhood's newest cultural ambassador gives up the goods on his sneaker fetish, where jokes come from and how he remained master of his domain until his 20s.
Playboy, (ISSN 0032-1478), October 1993, Volume 40, Number 10. Published Monthly by Playboy, 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Subscriptions: $29.97 for 12 issues, U.S. Canada, $43.97 for 12 issues. All other foreign, $45 U.S. Currency only, for new and renewal orders and change of address, send to Playboy subscriptions. P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing, for change of address, send new and old addresses and allow 45 days for change. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Playboy, P.O. Box 2007, Harlan, Iowa 51537-4007. Advertising: New York: 747 Third Avenue, New York 10017, Chicago: 680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 60611; West Coast: 8560 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, Ca 90069; Metropolitan publishers representatives, Inc.; Atlanta: 3017 Piedmont Road Ne, Suite 100, Atlanta, Ga 30305; Miami: 2500 South Dixie, Highway, Miami, Fl 33133; Tampa: 3016 Mason Place, Tampa, Fl 33629.
Robert de niro's impressive debut as a movie director is at least equal to his fine acting stint in A Bronx Tale (Savoy Pictures). First-rate as always, De Niro plays a bus driver trying to convince his growing son that a hardworking man is more heroic than a mobster. The boy is introduced as a nine-year-old who witnesses a shooting but doesn't identify the miscreant, a charismatic local hood named Sonny, played vividly by Chazz Palminteri (see Off Camera). Francis Capra plays the kid, known as "C" by the time he's a streetwise teenager, when Lillo Brancato takes over the role. While both are marvelous amateurs recruited for the occasion, Brancato is picture-perfect as the confused youngster torn between family values and his special status as a mob mascot. In his teens, he becomes Sonny's boy, joins the gang's wiseguys at ball games and defies the prejudice of his parents and peers by trying to date a beautiful black classmate (Taral Hicks). Bronx Tale straddles moral issues in a stirring, funny coming-of-age story populated by characters so true to life that you relish them without judging them. For their close-order collaboration on a real winner, De Niro and Palminteri can take a bow.
His overnight success as the author and co-star of A Bronx Tale (see review) feels damn good, admits Chazz Palminteri. At the age of 41, he's a longtime wanna-be whose one-man stage show shot him into the big time. Palminteri played all 18 roles when Tale opened in Los Angeles. "The day the reviews came out my life changed," he recalls. "Every Hollywood studio and major director wanted my script, but they didn't want to make a $25 million movie with me in a leading role." Like Stallone, who became a legend by insisting he write and star in Rocky, Palminteri held out. "The price kept going up, and in the end I got everything I wanted--seven figures and more."
Still selling after all these years? Absolutely. Warner Reprise's laser release of Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time ($34.98) tags along with the living legend on his 1991 world tour--from China to South Africa to Queens. Program also features Q&As with musicians and artists, among them Art Garfunkel.... Buckle up: Fox Video and Image Entertainment have joined forces for an exclusive wide-screen release of The Star Wars Trilogy, a nine-disk monster (all 18 sides in CAV) that includes remixed sound, backstage footage, commentary by reallife Yoda George Lucas, a 16-page color booklet and Charles Champlin's hardcover history of Lucasfilms' first 20 years. May the cash be with you--it goes for 250 bucks.
Warner's NASA Space Flight Series is literally a blast from the past--make that several blasts. The sharp five-volume collection traces the American space program from the Mercury project to the moon landings to the shuttle--and beyond--with archival footage and computer-enhanced animation. $19.95 each, $99.92 for the set.... Two new entries in the TV-to-tape parade: A Year in Provence, the witty A&E-BBC adaptation of Peter Mayle's best-seller, in which a couple flees London for pastoral French climes (four tapes), and Oliver Stone's Wild Palms (ABC), the futuristic, technocrammed drama, now packaged as two full-length features.... As if there weren't enough people telling you what to watch, now comes The Phantom of the Movies' Videoscope, a bimonthly newsletter straight from the desk of the New York Daily News' secret B-movie critic. Designed as a carry-along cheat sheet for "the nabe vidstore," the handsome 20-pager features reviews of the Phantom's faves (from the hard-to-find to vintage camp to Killer Filler), as well as a handy Hit List and Dis List. Call 908-739-8509.
"Our school was watching videos," says Albert Hughes, 21, the technical-wizard half of the Hughes twins, who co-directed the street-smart big-screen hit Menace II Society. "So whenever we're home," says brother and business-end partner Allen, "we watch movies. We have four VCRs and three laser disc players and it's like osmosis--we learn about films by being around them." Among the twins' perpetual replays: Pacino's Scarface ("Our numberone pick of all time"), Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Terminator 2, Batman and anything by mentor Martin Scorsese. With all this inspiration, what's the enterprising pair's fantasy project? "To have a hidden camera on Madonna's sex life," says Allen. Or better yet, adds Albert, "to see how Madonna has sex in our house--with me. I'd like that. Teach her a few things."
We laughed till we cried when we read Carl Hiaasen's latest novel, Strip Tease (Knopf). Hiaasen's book opens at 2:30 A.M. in a Fort Lauderdale nude-dancing bar called the Eager Beaver, where the drunken guest of honor at a bachelor party crawls onto the stage to hug a stripper. Suddenly, he is attacked by an equally drunken U.S. congressman wearing a wig and dark glasses, who beats him senseless with an empty champagne bottle. From there, we follow a fast-moving tale of lust, blackmail, political corruption and murder. Congressman David Dilbeck, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, turns out to be the man who makes millionaires out of sugar growers in Florida by pushing outrageous price-support subsidies through Congress each year. The grateful millionaires, naturally eager for him to continue, give generously to his reelection campaigns.
The phone calls, faxes and letters started coming in as soon as the June Men column ("The Female Side of the Street") hit the newsstands. Of all the columns I have published over the past dozen years, that one may have provoked the most quizzical and cantankerous responses.
Sleepless nights and jangled days can make you come up with pretty racy theories. I'm on a book tour. I've been in hundreds of cities and talked to thousands of people and have had almost no sleep, so, OK, I'm a little strange. But I like my theories anyway.
I'm happily monogamous with my girlfriend--or I was until a recent business trip, when I wound up messing around with a sweet young furniture saleswoman I met at a hotel bar. We didn't fuck. We didn't even go to one of our rooms. But we did some hot groping in the moonlight by a fountain in a secluded corner of the hotel gardens. The next morning I felt bad about breaking my monogamy pledge--if I did break it. This may sound weird, but do you think roving hands qualify as having sex?--T. L., Prescott Valley, Arizona.
Molly Ivins, the Texan columnist who bills herself as a professional provincial, leans on the podium and invokes images of a fire-and-brim-stone preacher indulging in the bully pulpit, a sport in Texas. She is in New York, addressing some 200 delegates to a conference called Sex Panic: Women, Censorship and Pornography, which is sponsored by the National Coalition Against Censorship. The audience consists of feminist writers, performance artists, First Amendment lawyers, sex workers, academics and me--a curious observer of women's reactions to pornography. The point of the conference is to rally the troops against laws that seek to protect women from sexual images. If the convening of Catharine MacKinnon's antiporn cult in Chicago could be called a hatefest (Playboy Forum, August), this is a lovefest.
The heroines make love in oceans, lakes, rivers and swimming pools, in the back of pickups, on trains, in buses, bent over tires in gas stations, handcuffed to beds, on top of tables and desks, on beaches, in diffside tents, in backcountry stores, on living room couches and, oh yes, occasionally in bed.
Deep Down, edited by Laura Chester (Faber and Faber). A collection of contemporary women writers whose topics in these stories happen to be erotic. It is divided into sections with such headings as Looking at Him and Pure Sex.
"Hugh Hefner has never received the credit he deserves for creating a sophisticated model of the suave American gentleman in the Marlboro Man years following shoot-'em-up World War Two. Contemporary feminism has tried to ditch male gallantry and chivalry as reactionary and sexist. Eroticism has suffered as a result. Perhaps it's time to bring the gentleman back. He may be the only hero who can slay that mythical beast, the date-rape octopus, currently strangling American culture."
The guy was telling me how he came across the border in the trunk of a car, crammed in with three other men for several hours, barely able to move or breathe. To get to Tijuana, where he paid $600 to be smuggled across the border, this native of a war-torn Central American country had spent a month and a half working his way north through Mexico, often crawling on his belly to evade border cops. Now that he's in California, he hustles jobs at less than the minimum wage. Sometimes the contractors who hire him to do roofing don't show up on payday.
This is the introduction to the "Playboy Interview," the part you read before you get to the questions and answers. It's an important part. Just read what this month's subject, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, says about it.
Marriage. It's not what it used to be--actually, it never was. You can gussy up holymatrimony all you want, but isn't it a lot simpler to speak the unspoken--namely, that for many people, having sex with the same person night after night, decade beyond decade, wears thin? Last year, a writer named Dalma Heyn tried to put a new spin on the issue when she stepped forward with The Erotic Silence of the American Wife, a chic manifesto celebrating female infidelity. What happened next was predictable: Women gobbled it up, men cried foul and the trench between the sexes only got deeper. Business as usual.
Every out-of-work actor waiting tables at Santa Monica, California's hippest beach bistro wants to take Rhonda Shear's order. A stand-up comic and the host of USA Network's campy B-movie showcase USA: Up All Night, Shear is too busy to notice four table jockeys flipping coins to win the honor of serving her. At the moment, this scenic wonder of mile-high blondeness is merrily mining one-liners from her Playboy photo shoot. "Great idea I had for me to spend hours holding a pose popping out of a clothes drier, right?" she says, sounding like a cross between Raquel Welch and Joan Rivers.
The Hot Word today for anything that's cool is "phat," as in "Check out these phat threads." Obviously casual, this phat stuff appeals to guys who like their clothing the way they like their rock music--tough and loaded with attitude. Leather jackets appear well-worn and beaten, flannel shirts are prewashed and jeans are roughed-up, all before reaching department-store shelves. It's a kind of buy-new-look-old way of dressing that is comfortable, unpretentious and easy to pull together. Here are some pointers: First, think loose and layered. An oversized plaid shirt, for example, is fine on its own, but it's even better over a Henley or a hooded knit top. Jeans are best worn baggy (try flashback bell-bottoms, flares or wide-leg styles). Combat or workman-type boots should be left untied and relaxed. And outerwear, ranging from motorcycle leathers to Army-surplus officers' jackets, adds the right finishing touch. That's phat!
T wasn't the cast that bothered him--the thing was like rock, like a weapon, and that was just how he would use it--and it wasn't the hyperextended knee or the hip pointer or the yellowing contusions seeping into his thighs and hams and lower back, or even the gouged eye that was swollen shut and drooling a thin, pale liquid the color of dishwater; no, it was the humiliation. Fifty-six to nothing. That was no mere defeat, it was a drubbing, an ass-kicking, a rape, the kind of thing the statisticians and sports nerds would snigger over as long as there were records to keep. He'd always felt bigger than life in his pads and helmet, a hero, a titan, but you couldn't muster much heroism lying facedown in the mud at 56 to nothing and with the other team's third string in there. No, the cast didn't bother him, not really, though it itched like hell and his hand was a big, stippled piece of meat sticking out of the end of it, or the eye, either, though it was ugly, pure ugly. The trainer had sent him to the eye doctor and the doctor had put some sort of blue fluid in the eye and peered into it with a little conical flashlight and said there was no lasting damage, but still it was swollen shut and he couldn't study for his Physical Communications exam.
"I don't like betting the favorite--there's no money there," says Jenny McCarthy, scanning the tout sheet like a railbird. "You may as well make it a challenge." There is one thing you must know right away about Miss October: The 20-year-old Chicago girl is "definitely the kind of person who likes to take a risk." Calling to set up our interview, I offered lunch; Jenny countered with skydiving, her latest love. "It's incredible, the scariest 30 seconds of your life," she said, ignoring the cowardly gulps coming over the phone. We settled on a day at the races, where only our bank accounts were in danger. Jenny has been going to the track with her dad since she was ten. "It's fun to gamble, and I usually do pretty well," she says. No kidding--in the third race she picked the winner and the runner-up. The luck of the Irish is definitely going Jenny McCarthy's way. Early this year she decided to try her hand at modeling, and she sent some photos to a Chicago agency. One week later she had an interview at Playboy. Two weeks later she was shooting her centerfold. "This is my first modeling job--can you believe it?" she asks, shaking her head. "It's been boom, boom, boom."
The First Lady was crossing the street in front of the White House when a car came screeching around the corner, heading right for her. A young man nearby ran over and pushed her to safety at the last moment.
This year marks the turning point: NFL team owners and players have finally agreed to free agency. More than 100 NFL free agents changed clubs, and they were rewarded with average pay hikes of more than 125 percent. A number of teams--principally Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay and the New York Jets--were able to reinvent themselves.
Women appear on his doorstep, uninvited, and are furious when he turns them away. They send him suggestive photographs and letters. At car shows, they slip into the ladies' room, remove their panties, and then stop and ask him to sign them. Sometimes, a woman just pulls up her shirt and asks him to sign her torso. Once, a woman dropped her napkin at his feet. Gallantly, he handed it to her. She leaned over and ran her tongue across his cheek.
The American West has not lost its anarchist soul. By that I mean a spirit of resistance to all kinds of control, a quest for genuine personal freedom. Just look at the women of the Pac Ten. Well, I know that you're looking at them. You should listen to them, too.
Wesley Snipes has been drug overlord Nino Brown in "New Jack City," baseball rookie Willie Mays Hayes in "Major League," transracial lover Flipper Purify in "Jungle Fever" and hard-boiled lawenforcement types in "Passenger 57" and "Boiling Point." In all of these, Snipes seems to engage the audience thoroughly in his make-believe. And there's more to come in "Rising Sun," with Sean Cannery, and in the futuristic "Demolition Man," with Sylvester Stallone. Snipes would argue that his success is consistent with his staying close to his African-American roots, his adherence to Islam and his willingness to try anything. Contributing Editor David Rensin reports: "After a screening of 'New Jack City,' Warner executives learned that although audiences were supposed to hate Snipes' ruthless, drug-dealing character, they were sympathetic instead. The story goes that the execs met to determine why. I asked Snipes about it. 'They won't even admit to having the meeting,' he said, laughing. 'But they must have figured out something. They just offered me a three-picture deal.'"
Playboy expands your purchasing power by providing a list of retailers and manufacturers you can contact for information on where to find this month's merchandise. To buy the apparel and equipment shown on pages 25, 26, 82-89 and 169, check the listings below to find the stores nearest you.