BY DAY, HE'S THE POISONED KEYBOARD BEHIND THE WIDELY-READ WEBLOGS PORK TORNADO AND ATLANTA ILLUSTRATED'S SALAMI TSUNAMI. BY NIGHT, HE SLIPS INTO HIS CRIME-FIGHTING BATHROBE AND HOPS SILENTLY FROM ROOFTOP TO ROOFTOP, FINDING HUMOR WHEREVER IT HIDES AND ROOTING IT OUT FOR PERSONAL GAIN. SMOKIN' JOE BLOW CAUGHT UP WITH MILD-MANNERED DUSTY SCOTT TO SEE WHAT MAKES HIM TICK.
Smokin' Joe Blow: First of all, I just want to say I've been reading your stuff for a while, ever since I found a link to The Top Ten Worst Album Covers Ever. I hadn't quite finished wringing the tears out of my eyes before that link was on its way to a dozen other people. I was shaking like a lab monkey, I was laughing so hard! Thanks.
Dusty Scott: Ah, the album covers. The epitome of a mixed blessing: good and bad... like vomiting candy. Definitely one of the less inspired things I have written, but also the most popular. Sometimes people just like to laugh without having to think too much, which may be why it works. If you want further proof, watch any "comedy" programming with the words "blue collar" in the title. That stuff should be outlawed for making people dumber. I am constantly amazed at how much harder people laugh about me having my balls attacked by a spider than they do about something that is actually clever. On the other hand, the album cover entry has provided me with lots of opportunities, so in the interest of not punching a gift horse in the mouth or whatever, I'll take it.
SJB: What made you decide to keep a weblog when there are literally hundreds of thousands of them on the Internet?
DS: At the time, I thought I was the first one. Well, maybe second. When I started it three years ago, I had never even heard of the concept. A friend of mine had one, so I also started writing, thinking I could be funny and let my friends read about my wacky adventures and relationships with psychotic women. Now the whole thing is just out of control.
SJB: Where did you get the idea for Pork Tornado, and how did you attract such a devout readership?
DS: The name was blatantly ripped off of the band Pork Tornado, because I thought it was a funny name and never thought that more than ten people would ever read it. As for the readership, it comes from a combination of reaching an audience of tasteless people with unrestricted Internet access at work, and being super-fucking-awesome sexy 100% of the time. And staying humble.
SJB: See, I've always thought that bright, intellectual types made the best comedians: I personally prefer Eddie Izzard to Jeff Foxworthy. Do you feel that comedy aimed at a broader audience of people is better because it makes more people laugh at a time when there's so much unfunny shit going on in the world? I mean, is it better to aim low and pay the bills, or do what makes you happy and hope to survive that way?
DS: So, you're trying to tell me that you don't think war is funny? Whatever, man.... I'd agree in general that it takes a good mind to make the observations that most comedians do, but it takes an even better mind to be versatile with their material. I know that if I had a schtick that was packing arenas across the nation, I'd be pretty hesitant to change it. But I've never met anyone who regretted following their instinct when it came to their profession, even if their endeavor was met with failure. If the style of comedy is lowbrow and someone can make millions laugh, I celebrate their achievement, whether I appreciate their brand of humor or not. To the last part of the question-- make no mistake; if you are doing what makes you happy, you will survive, and be more fulfilled for it.
SJB: What's in your CD player right now?
DS: Two condoms that I tried to hide from my mom when I picked her up at the airport. I know, I'm 32 and I shouldn't be worried about hiding condoms from my mom, and putting them in my pocket would have been way smarter, but instinct just took over and now they are stuck. When my CD player isn't stuffed with prophylactics, you'll find my latest favorite-- Anchor Drops by Umphrey's McGee. Superior music, by any measure.
SJB: What's the last book you read?
DS: A Life On The Road by Charles Kuralt. Well-written, but more interestingly, the guy lived enough to fill ten lifetimes. He met everyone and saw everything. Sure, his family life was destroyed because he was only home about 12 minutes a year, but the dude did what he loved 100% of the time, and that is beautiful. I think that may be the reason I haven't gotten married yet. There's just too much to see and do, and I'm too busy enjoying it all.
SJB: What are some of your favorite movies?
DS: I don't watch many movies, but the ones I take the time to see had better make me laugh. I loved Super Troopers, and when I get the time and medication to sit still long enough, I'll go see Napoleon Dynamite and Anchorman. If another Star Wars or Lord Of The Rings movie comes out, I'm considering setting myself on fire in protest.
SJB: How do you manage to get so damn many injuries?
DS: My parents abuse me and then force me to write funny stories explaining it so they won't go back to jail. Actually, I probably fall down and slam my dick in the trunk of my car the same number of times in a year as anyone else. I just think it's funnier than most people do.
SJB: If you could have dinner with any ten people, who would they be?
DS: Depends on who's picking up the tab. Off the top of my head, I'd say Jesus (because I want him to answer a few questions, and when you're sitting at a table with Jesus, I'd imagine you'd at least get free wine), Phil Hendrie (to make everyone laugh), Eric Von Haessler (because no one believes that I have actually met the smartest man alive, and if he and Hendrie got together, the result would be a supernova of smart comedy), Kim Lichtenstein (maybe if I told her it was for a project she'd lift the restraining order for a few hours), my brother, sister, and parents (they'd want to meet all of these folks, too), Jack Black, and one person of Jesus' choosing. Unless he chose Michael Moore. Then I'd have to argue with Jesus. If I had to narrow it down to one, I'd pick Phil Hendrie. If you haven't listened to his radio show, you have not yet experienced true comedic genius. That is not my opinion; that is fact. I would cut off any body part-- except my head-- (and then write a hilarious story about it) to sit in on his show one day.
SJB: Who were some of your heroes as a child?
DS: I do remember thinking that my dad was pretty much a god. That hasn't changed much, but I give my mom most of the credit for it now.
SJB: If you were stuck on a desert island for a year, name five things you'd take with you.
DS: Assuming that the food and water situation is taken care of, I'd bring a boogie board, a boogie boarding instructional video, a TV/VCR combo (which is only considered one thing-- I checked the desert island rule book), a generator, and a towel. Then it's boogie board city, 24/7, 365! Or a hooker, and four suitcases full of money.
SJB: What are you working on right now?
DS: A few paintings and such. I do some portrait art for people. Everyone reading this should go to dustyscott.com and commission at least one piece. Shameless, I know. I am also in the process of getting a book published. More to the point, I am in the process of figuring out how to go about trying to get a book published. I have no idea how, but I want to author a book, and not knowing how to do something has never stopped me before.
SJB: How did you land your new blog for Atlanta Illustrated, the Salami Tsunami (and can you get any of our staff a date with Kim Lichtenstein)?
DS: Nathan Abbot (owner of AI) published those damn album covers, and then one of us asked the other one if I could write for them. It all went to hell from there. And no, I will not hook you up with Kim. I'm trying in my own socially awkward way to convince her that I am good enough for her. In fact, watch this: Hey, Kim? If you are reading this, will you go to dinner with me? I'll buy, and I promise not to say anything any more inappropriate than usual the whole night. Jesus might even be there.
SJB: Where do you see yourself, politically?
DS: Pretty much politically irritated. See, I know I'm right about everything, and people keep trying to tell me I'm not. Mostly I am just awestruck by the pessimism I see everywhere, and people's belief that the government should be there to do everything for them rather than believing that they can achieve for themselves. As long as the government will keep the bad guys away from me and do some basic infrastructure maintenance, I'll pay them some portion of my money to have them continue doing their job, and otherwise succeed on my own.
SJB: What do you want for Christmas?
DS: I guess more of the same good fortune that I have had this year. And a TiVo. Then I'd officially have everything. Plus, I could watch Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Reno 911 all the time and never have to sit through another shitty sitcom.
SJB: What do you see yourself doing in five years, and what are some achievements you're proud of as a graphic designer?
DS: In five years I plan to be independently wealthy, writing and drawing pictures for anyone who will read or look, and maybe volunteering as a teacher in some creative field, like interpretive dance or full-contact yoga. I'm pretty proud of my versatility as a graphic designer (you'd be surprised how many designers can't draw), and my first cover illustration for a magazine in last month's Upstate Link.
SJB: How do you know you're not just a brain in a vat being controlled by an evil alien?
DS: If this is the best an evil alien can do with a brain in a vat, then the human race has nothing to fear. Ever.
SJB: What's the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you?
DS: I ended up being a funny-guy writer. I would have guessed I would be in Riverdance before I would be writing.
SJB: Do you remember your first sexual experience?
DS: Yes. This past Saturday: it was all I dreamed it would be, except I thought there would be more electric guitars wailing in the background, and less apologizing afterward.
SJB: Lastly, a question we ask of all of our interviewees: do dogs have lips?
DS: They only have one lip. There is an ancient Greek legend that says that dogs used to whistle as a rallying cry to one another, forming vast packs that would do battle with tribes of rogue warriors. Whistlehounds are depicted in the petroglyphs of the Romans defending their strongholds until near the fall of their empire. The legend says that the goddess Penelope married one of these dogs, unaware of the hound's affinity for fellating any human in a prone position. The dog was equally unaware of Penelope's celebrated and feared "many-toothed womanhood". As a result, the hound's lower lip was sheared off, leaving the entire species unable to form a cohesive fighting unit, and giving rise to the urban myth about the girl with peanut butter on her crotch. Dogs were henceforth cursed into the service of man, forced to pretend that they are our best friend. But you'll notice they still come running when you whistle.
SJB: Dusty, thanks again for taking time to do this. I'll give you a call sometime!
DS: Even after reading that last answer? It's always an honor to even be considered for an interview. Like I said before, if tastes like chicken ever needs another contributing writer, I'm available!