Interview: Comedian Dave Attell Talks "Dave's Old Porn," Ridiculous XXX Plots & The Evolution Of Adult Movie Star Grooming

Interview: Comedian Dave Attell Talks "Dave's Old Porn," Ridiculous XXX Plots & The Evolution Of Adult Movie Star GroomingPhotography courtesy of facebook.com/OldP0rn

They don't make 'em like they used to. In the '70s and early '80s, when pornos could be viewed in your local, legitimate movie theater, plots were wild and the pubic hair was even wilder. And that's the way comedian Dave Attell likes it.

In his new, eight-episode Showtime series, Dave's Old Porn (Thursdays, 11:30 p.m.), the 46-year-old veteran of spank houses reviews and celebrates the adult film industry's "Golden Era" with other comedians (Whitney Cummings, Daniel Tosh, Adam Carolla) and porn stars (Ron Jeremy, Seka, Belladonna). On what must be a very moist, sticky couch, they discuss forgotten fuck flicks Mystery Science Theater-style so all you dudes pulling yourselves feverishly to scenes of depravity at your computers can see what hot, hilarious brilliance you've been missing.

When we heard about what is obviously the greatest television show ever conceived, we immediately got on the phone with Attell to talk about how the hell he got this show green-lit, the best worst porn plots, and how his porn consumption has changed over the years.

Interview by Justin Monroe (@40yardsplash)

Complex: How did Dave's Old Porn come about?
Dave Attell: I created the idea of the show with Stewart Bailey, who is now the executive producer on The Carson Daly Show. We’ve been working on this idea for like four years. We took it to one network and they liked it but they couldn’t show porn, they realized. It’s cool that we’re doing it at Showtime because at Showtime we can take it to the next level. It is porn, but we’re not allowed to show porn, if you know what I mean, so we show everything up to penetration. They got this, the right way. It’s uncensored, very unscripted.

It’s more of a porn party than a porn history—it’s nothing like that. It’s about comics coming out and talking about the clips like Mystery Science Theater, and then at the end of the show we bring out one of the stars, one of the legends that we were watching, and we talk to them about their movies and we’ll watch some scenes with them like a play-by-play.

And another cool thing about doing it with Showtime is that, not only is it not restricted, but it’s on-demand, so when you get home at night.... This is the kind of show that I’d want to watch if I came home after a night of boozing or whatever. You’re sitting there like, “Ugh, I’m such a sad loser,” and then you turn on the TV and see me, a sadder loser.

Yeah, one who’s having a grand old time talking about retro porn with a bunch of comedians and porn stars.
Yes, and I’m gonna actually try to do the ultimate and shoot a load on my own face. [Laughs.] How old are you?

Thirty-one.
This is gonna blow your young mind, when you see all this scary, filthy, dirty retro porn.

[Laughs.] Are all of the pornos featured in Dave's Old Porn actually from your collection?
I had some of the titles but I can’t say I owned all of them. I thought I had a pretty decent porn collection until I started [doing research for the show]. I’m older than you; I have that old duffel bag full of VCR tapes that I would shuffle from one place to another. The thing was sad. I have hundreds of retro tapes, but I got more into retro as we started doing the research—and I did tons of research, if you know what I mean.

Hence the four years of "development."
Yes, there were a lotta breaks, a lotta lube. The real hero of the show is lubricant.

Who were your favorite "Golden Age" porn stars when you were watching originally?
Well, some of the legends that we have on the show: Ron Jeremy, Nina Hartley, and Seka, Paul Thomas, who’s an AVN award-winning director. They’re all AVN award-winning people. It really was like a sense of awe of meeting Nina Hartley, who’s not only a great porn person, but also a great actress and writer—she’s a renaissance woman, she’s done so many different things.

It was cool to meet these people finally after seeing them all these years in their movies. It was even cooler having them watch themselves in these movies. They’ve done so many movies. They’re like, “I forgot I did that! I don’t even remember that scene.” It’s pretty amazing to watch them watch themselves. It was definitely like a Make-A-Wish Foundation kinda thing.

 

I love retro Euro porn because it’s sexy, it’s fun, it’s a foreign language, and they’re overacting. There’s so much acting being launched all over your face.

 

Were they critiquing their work?
Well, they gave us a lot of insight into porn and doing porn, the do’s and don’ts. Nina gave us the etiquette on a three-way, stuff like that. It was really cool to hear their professionalism about it. But remember: This is a time before Twitter and the Internet. I guess back then, all people had was porn—and nobody shaved. It was a wilder time.

Were you "star struck" to finally meet these people who you’d seen naked and having sex for so many years?
Yes. Every comic loves porn, because we’re on the road so much. To finally meet these people who helped us get through many a road gig is pretty cool. I felt like we all talked the same lingo, since they’re free agents too. They never know what they’re gonna do next week, and business is pretty rough and tumble. As you know, in the porn business, everybody’s illegally downloading, so there’s not much money to be had. A lot of people, they had to start whole new careers.

I guess the coolest part of the show is that, I’m the host of the show but it really is more of a free-for-all, it’s unscripted. We had lots of great comedians on: Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho, Jim Norton, Bill Burr, Adam Carolla. All these comics had their different take on porn, from the dirtiest, filthiest guy, Jim Norton, to dainty, super sexy, and funny Whitney Cummings.

Chicks like porn, and they are really cool with watching it, and it was great hearing their take on the scenes, because what you like, they don’t like, but what they like, you’re like, “You like that?” It was very refreshing. Whitney and Chelsea and Margaret are so cool. We were just very lucky to get them. It wasn’t a sausage fest. That’s what I’m trying to tell you.

That’s good to know. So were you able to glean any insights into how you might get your woman to watch porn with you?
Uh, no, it was none of that. There was really no redeeming quality to it. But another cool aspect was, since it is all retro porn from the golden age of the early '70s to the early '80s, from film to video, we brought in the porn stars of today—Belladonna, Kristina Rose, Bobbi Starr, all amazingly cool AVN-winning hot performers. For them to watch this stuff, they found it, like, quaint, ‘cause they’re so used to today’s porn of, like, pile-driving and it’s all about dropping bombs—you know what I’m talkin’ about—loads on this and that. [Laughs.]

These porns had stories and there’s like exterior shots. [The newer porn stars] were like, “I can’t believe they could shoot in the park! We can’t even shoot in the parking lot." So it was like a more free time. Porn was still underground and kind of seedy, but it was also kind of arty. But now it’s a business and these girls are very intelligent and they get it.

Nowadays, everyone is pushing boundaries further and further. To them, was retro porn almost Victorian in its propriety?
Exactly. It was like taking them to a Renaissance fair. [Laughs.] And what really blew them away is the no shaving, 'cause they’re all.... They’re into hair now, like, hair has come back. You live in Brooklyn, right? You know hair is back. [Laughs.] But it’s not back the way it was then—it was like outta control, like “Occupy Wall Street.” That’s a little too much, but it’s very cool to hear these girls talk about that stuff.

Tags: daves-old-porn, dave-attell, showtime, whitney-cummings, ron-jeremy, seka, belladonna, porn-stars, porn, pornography, bil-burr, daniel-tosh, chelsea-handler
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