October 6th, 2010 WW Editorial Staff | Special Section Stories
 

Paul Provenza

     
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IMAGE: Dan Dion

After he finished offending everyone with his epic dirty joke movie The Aristocrats, the author/director/stand-up comic spent his time interviewing other comedians in green rooms for his new book ¡Satiristas! He appears 8 pm Saturday on the Wordstock edition of Live Wire! as well as at 2 pm Sunday as part of the “Cracking Up is Hard to Do” panel with Steve Almond and Jess Walter on the McMenamins stage, and 5 pm Sunday on the Powell’s stage.

What are your favorite themes to write about?

Comedy, politics, and comedy about politics.

Name three books on your nightstand or shelf right now.

1. Fear of Hat Loss in Las Vegas by Brendon Burns

2. Globalization and its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz

3. The Morality of Laughter by F.H. Buckley

What’s your personal writing ritual?

A cup of coffee and a high-speed Internet connection. Provides everything I need to write with, and everything I need to procrastinate from writing with.

The most beautiful word in the English language is:

“Art.” Its definition is indefinite, its meaning intuitive and personal for each of us. Thus, the word “art” is actually a work of art in itself.

What authors made you want to pick up a pen in the first place and why?

The combined trilogy of:

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke,

On Directing Film by David Mamet,

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

Name a book you think is highly overrated. Be honest.

The bible. What crap writing. Not a single original idea in it, and no actual discernible point of view whatsoever. That’s what happens when things are written by committee.

The dumbest thing I ever did is…

…believe for a second that I could actually make a deadline.

The best piece of advice I ever got was…

“You only know what you know, you don’t know what you don’t know.”

What’s your literary guilty pleasure?

Internet porn.

The closest I’ve ever come to quitting is…

Waking up every single day.

Most recent nightmare:

That I will wake up again today.

Your cure for writer’s block:

IS THERE ONE? TELL ME PLEASE!

A dead person you’d like to meet. (They’d be alive during the meeting.)

Mark Twain

What was your favorite book as a kid?

Ok, this is weird, I know… but I actually loved to read the dictionary. Which is probably why I was a rather loquacious kid, often downright circumlocutory.

A short paragraph from a story you’re currently working:

“It is compelling to me that the ‘National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’ have made the conscious decision not to change their very own politically incorrect name in this day and age so rife with controversies over such matters. NAACP is not just an acronym anymore—it’s an ‘anachronym.’”

 
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