TV Article

Denis the Menace

Triple threat Denis Leary -- With a new TV special, ''No Cure for Cancer,'' a CD, and a book, the comedian is smokin'

Any questions about Denis Leary's comic persona are quickly answered by the title of the original song that opens his Showtime special: ''I'm an Asshole.'' The angry, young (35), chain-smoking comedian, who has made a name for himself by ranting about sex, drugs, and Cindy Crawford in MTV promos and by touting Bo Jackson with his big bad hip for Nike, is appearing on Showtime this month in an hour-long verbal assault, No Cure for Cancer (he also has a tie-in CD and book). Always armed with opinions, Leary, in between drags, shared a few with us.

When and where did you have your first cigarette? In the womb. What do you think is the biggest problem facing America today? I'd have to say Hillary Clinton's head. I mean really, we gotta get her a new head.

What do you think of the new President? You gotta like a President who's got a big beer gut like that. A guy who while jogging with the press stops in to McDonald's. I think Clinton's the kind of guy that actually at some point during the administration is gonna start sucking down Jagermeister and head out to a blues club with his tenor sax.

Do you believe in therapy? No. Why not? I think everybody should just shut up and go to work. Ya know? I'm sick and tired of these people that are, like, ''I have sex with my dog.'' — ''You wanna go on TV?'' — ''Sure, can I bring the dog?'' — ''Sure.'' I'm sick of it. There's just some things you should keep to yourself.

Who is your favorite musician? Jesus. People don't know that he played solo acoustic blues. He had a club in Jerusalem — that's where he met Mary Magdalene. A lot of people don't know about that. The lost Jesus tapes.

Who is your least favorite? Barry Manilow, for obvious reasons.

Do you have any heroes? Carl Yastrzemski, Keith Richards, and Broderick Crawford on Highway Patrol. He was great. He was drunk the whole show, I found out later. I suspected as a kid when I was watching it that he was drunk, and in fact he was.

What is your biggest pet peeve? The Boston Red Sox and why they didn't take Bill Buckner out of the sixth game of the 1986 World Series against the Mets. I still can't get around that.

Some people think your comedy is hateful. What do you say to that? I don't think it's hateful — I think it's angry. It's angry over what I see are ironic situations. I think people who think it's hateful don't have a sense of humor about the celebrity pop-music side of society.

Now that you have met her, do you still want to see Cindy Crawford naked, eating an Eskimo Pie on top of the Empire State Building? Sure, why not? I think that's what her husband wants too.

Why do you think people should watch your special? 'Cause if they don't, I'll take a hostage.

Originally posted Feb 19, 1993 Published in issue #158 Feb 19, 1993 Order article reprints