It's not every day that we get to play phone tag with Ron Jeremy. But when that day came, we realized that, holy, shit! we're playing phone tag with the fucking Hedgehog!
Best known for his large male member and steamy roles in films not fit for children or Harold Camping, Jeremy is also a trained actor and a really nice fatherly-type guy. He came down to Miami for Exxxotica this past weekend to thrill his fans and promote his new rum, Ron de Jeremy.
When we finally got the really big guy on the phone, we learned a lot about his acting creds, his serious opinions on web porn, and what nuclear energy and the internet have in common.
Cultist: You used to be an educator. How was the transition from working with kids to working in the porn industry?
Ron Jeremy: No, I was actually teaching more mentally handicapped, so I was teaching all ages, I was teaching handicapped adults. So then I was in upstate New York in the Catskills and then I quit teaching to do theater, so I didn't go from teaching right to adult movies. I was teaching, I quit, I did theater, off-off Broadway and off-Broadway. I even studied under Cafe La MaMa which is Joel Zwick who directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding
I was doing theater for about a year and a half, and the reason why I went with adult film was because the market is so horrible for actors. Uck, it's abysmal. When I went to the casting for La Luna, the movie, 2,000 kids came down. I said how do you get a job when you're competing like this? So I got approached after doing Playgirl Magazine. It was a great response, a great response, even upped my social life a bit (laughs). And I went on to adult films after that.
The same directors that were doing adult were doing a lot of mainstream stuff, because back in that time after Deep Throat, there was no video, no DVD, no computers, none of that existed yet. So you felt like an actor. There were a lot of directors went on to become mainstream directors, and some of them became big. So, I worked for some of them when they were first.
So it was the Playgirl article that made you first think you could be a star?
Oh, yeah, the competition was cut down quite a bit. Rather than competing with thousands of other people, there were hundreds. Not everyone wants to do porn. It worked out good for me.
I met you once in LA and you were very nice, one of the nicest celebrities I've ever met. Do you find it tiresome when everybody wants to come up and shake your hand and meet you?
That's ok. It's fine. You work hard to get known and then you're going to complain once you're known? It's part of the ball game, you know? When I see mainstream actors complain, I laugh and say, you could have stayed doing theater on Broadway. If you love the craft of acting that much, you've got a Lee Srasberg, Stanislavski training then you decide to go mass media, video, TV, you're going to get recognized! If you love the craft itself stay in theater and you won't get recognized. You won't make as much money either, but you can spend the rest of your life on and off Broadway. And you'll never get recognized outside New York, once in a while maybe. So, you can't try hard to get known and then complain. It's actually fun sometimes.
You do the Exxxotica circuit?
I'm here right now! I do the Exxxotica in Miami, I do the Exxxotica in New Jersey and Chicago sometimes. I do the XTC one in Chicago, I've done the AdultCon in Los Angeles, and of course the large one the AVN show, of course in Las Vegas in January. That's the biggest one. And the XBIZ awards shows in Vegas in LA. Fox awards, XRCO, X-Rated Critics Organization, Free Speech Coalition dinner-dance, usually in June, the dancing convention in August where I'll promote my rum. So, it's a lot of fun trade shows, I can't complain.
What do you most enjoy about them?
The best thing I've done every year for 28 years, I've been the guy introducing the Miss Nude North America Pageant and the same day introducing the Miss Nude Galaxy Pageant. I face an audience of about 6,000 people and introduce about 100 naked women and 25 naked men competing for the title. I've brought in celebrities such as Kid Rock, Jonathan Davis of KORN, Gene Simmons, Corey Feldman, Gilbert Gottfried, Andy Dick, Grandpa Munster, the late Sam Kinison, the Nelson Twins, Slash, I could on and on.
What about your side projects? What are you working on now?
I do a lot of feature film work, I worked on a film with Dane Cook called Detention. I had a film that ran over at Showtime, I had two on Showtime, one was called Finding Bliss, with Denise Richards and LeeLee Sobieski and Jamie Kennedy. The other was called One Eyed Monster with Amber Benson from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So those two films are really good and theaters are going to see the Dane Cook film really soon. And then a bunch of stuff. Working on the rum, which I'm excited about, it's a very, very good rum, people like it a lot.
Would you want to go back to straight acting on the stage?
Maybe, yes, maybe. I'm trained for it.
Do you have a favorite actor that inspired you as a kid?
Sir Lawrence Oliver, Marlon Brando, Charlie Chaplain, to name a few. I got to meet a lot of famous actors certainly in my day, I worked on Ronin which Robert De Niro starred in, I went to France to work on it. I got cut, but my name is on the credits as Ron Hyatt. I've also worked on a lot of films that I'm in where I was not cut, the biggest one being a Wilhem Defoe movie, he was nominated for an Academy Award once for Nosferatu, it's called Boondock Saints, it's a huge film. It's a cult film pretty much. There's always Orgazmo from the South Park boys, and then there's Detroit Rock City, the kids film, some I've had pretty good parts in. I could go on and on and on. It's been pretty good, I can't complain.
Do you have any feelings on what's going on with the porn industry and the internet?
Who wouldn't? I feel bad. I don't own a company, I'm not being hurt as much as my friends are, but, yeah, it's outright disgusting. It's rotten, and it's outright disgusting. Not so much the fact that the internet exists. Originally the internet and porn got along just fine. Most major companies had their own web sites, but now, with a lot of these tube companies and the freebees, they start to play little bits and pieces of the scene to inspire the viewer to go on the actual companies' web sites. They play the full scene including the finish, so you never have to go anywhere else. Essentially, it's stolen.
It happens to recording artists as well, the industry got so bad for recording artists and porn with people downloading stuff for free that no one buys, and everyone's going out of business. On my street alone, or near me, Sunset Boulevard, they closed down Tower Records, Tower Video, Virgin Record Store, Warehouse is on its way. Blockbuster is going out of business. And there are major companies going out of business. How do you compete with free?
I know Hustler, Penthouse, Playboy are all suffering because of it. I predicted it. So it doesn't really affect me. My life is largely based on mainstream stuff and traveling and doing dates and all kinds of stuff. So, I'm fine, but I see my friends are suffering and going out of business.
And the part that's really disgusting, is the FBI made these laws 2257, where all of the adult companies have to be compliant, they have to provide IDs, which they were doing anyway, but now they're being visited by the FBI once in a while. IDs, drivers licenses, passports, that kind of stuff, for every person that works. Even if you're a person my age, I have to show proof that I'm my age. Which is ridiculous but, we go through all of this, after you're over 18. I think it's safe to say that I'm over 18. But we all have to do this, right?
Here's the part that's disgusting, the pirates and the thieves don't have to do that. They go in and out of cyber cafes in Amsterdam or wherever they're doing their illegal business, stealing the industry and no one goes after them. The legitimate people are being visited by the FBI having to show proof of all the ages, you know, and showing their paperwork. The people that steal that stuff, and some of them operate out of America, aren't being brought to the carpet at all. And you can play the stuff on their web sites free of charge.
Foresee any sort of solution?
No, I'm not a fan, I'm not very computer savvy, and I'm not a fan of it either. I look at the computer like nuclear energy, cause nuclear energy is one of the safest cleanest forms of energy but it also makes a bomb. So, I'm looking at a computer as having a certain value as the information superhighway, but it's also a piece of crap it's allowed people to commit crimes anonymously, you know, hiding behind fake names, cause it's the computer, you don't know who they are.
There's the woman who disguised herself as her own son to tell the girl how disgusting she is, she killed herself, they put her on trial, but I don't think anything came of it. They have find new laws to prosecute stuff like that. The internet has allowed basically criminals, and thieves, pirates, and basic scumbags to make a huge living and make millions of dollars, when under normal conditions they'd be lucky to get a job shining shoes or working as a dishwasher. Unskilled except for they go to computers.
And what really also pisses me off is that nobody seems to care. There must be a zillion make-believe website that I supposedly sponsor, and do not, and you can really stop it, you have to go along with it. You've gotta find a way to stop it, find a law. And if no one cares to stop them... If you have a have a bank and steal 50 bucks have a million cops with guns pointed at your face, or whether you steal millions on the computer and put people out of business because you're just a disgusting scumbag, who just takes pride in creating one of the viruses, you get a slap on the wrist, one night in jail and then you get a job at IBM or you get a job at a major company and then the major company says we want you help us catch thieves and creeps.
That's how it works, they don't punish these criminals, they catch them and then they don't give a rat's ass. A major company hires them to make their security to catch people who are like they are, thieves and scumbags! (Laughs) Am I right? A slap on the wrist and a job!
What do you enjoy doing here in Florida?
I enjoy the beach, I enjoy the nice weather, meet a lot of people, sign a lot of autographs, just be my own personal self, keep the brand going, people know Ron Jeremy, they remember the name. Hopefully, I'll sell some rum. My book did really well, it became a New York Times bestseller. It's got a very funny title. It's called Ron Jeremy: The Hardest Man in Showbiz. Get it?