Bobcat Goldthwait

March 2023 View more

By Mike Thomas

Comic—and local resident—uses his real voice these days

Bobcat Goldthwait
Standup shows April 21 and 22 at the Comedy Vault in Batavia

The western suburbs got significantly funnier when well-known comic, actor, and film director Bobcat Goldthwait recently bought a house on some wooded property near Naperville. It’s close to where his girlfriend, Nora, grew up and driving distance from his buddy and Police Academy costar Tim Kazurinsky in Evanston. So don’t be surprised to see Zed and Carl walking down the street. (Note, based on personal experience: It’s jarring.)

Goldthwait continues to perform frequently between writing and directing—he delivers material in his natural voice, by the way, having long ago ditched the trademark spastic screech that helped rocket him to fame—and has shows April 21 and 22 at the Comedy Vault in Batavia. It’s a big departure from the cavernous arenas he used to play in his far wilder heyday, but he’s perfectly fine with that. More than fine. “The happiest I’ve ever been,” he half-joked in the critically acclaimed 2021 documentary Joy Ride, “is when I turned away from success.”

During a brief break from standup, Goldthwait talked about his latest moves—geographically and otherwise.

Q: Why did you relocate to the Midwest?
A: I was over L.A. after 35 years. And it’s nice to be close to Nora’s family, it’s nice to have property, and it’s nice that I have deer in my yard most days. And the cold doesn’t bother me because I’m from Syracuse. I’m usually out in my rubber boots and underwear giving the deer apples.

Q: There’s an Instagram video of you chopping wood. Was that just for show or is it something you actually do?
A: I love chopping wood—that’s not a euphemism. It’s like scuba diving. You have to concentrate on it and you can’t think of anything else or you get hurt. And it clears your head. I like to imagine that the logs are certain executives’ heads.

Q: Do you still revel in making audiences uncomfortable?
A: No. At this point it’s just connecting with people. And I just finished a screenplay that’s actually very sweet, because I feel like the hardest thing to do right now is to make a sweet, hopeful film. I could probably make a very bitter and sarcastic movie about the way things are, but it’s not a cop-out to do the other thing. And I already made a movie [2011’s God Bless America, starring Joel Murray] where we shoot a baby in the first two minutes.

Q: Do people have preconceived notions of you before you go onstage, and is that an advantage or a disadvantage?
A: It depends where I’m performing. Any place where it’s [stuck in] the ’80s, they kind of think I’m gonna come out and do my act from the ’80s. I like playing rock clubs because usually those people are aware of what I’ve been about for the last 15 or 20 years. It gets asses in the seats, so I make money, but it works against me because often my sets are interrupted by people yelling “Do the voice!”


Photo courtesy of Bobcat Goldthwait