You might not see Bobcat Goldthwait as often as you did during his '80s heyday, when he starred in Police Academy 2 and other high-concept comedies. Nonetheless, he's around, albeit in different places.
"I have been out of the loop, so it's strange to get recognized," Goldthwait says.
That's because he's been behind the camera more than he's been in front of it, directing everything from an episode of Chapelle's Show to the Comedy Central movie Windy City Heat. And you're more likely to hear his signature shaky voice than you are to see his face -- he provides voices for the deranged puppet show Crank Yankers and (more disturbingly) for quite a few shows on the Disney Channel, including Hercules and Lilo & Stitch. And when he does appear, it's in unlikely, non-comedic places, such as the Johnny Depp film Blow or an episode of CSI.
To hear Bobcat himself tell it, he's happier out of the limelight. Engaged to his gorgeous Unhappily Ever After co-star Nikki Cox and committed to his standup comedy, he doesn't long for the days of having to set a chair on fire (as he did on Jay Leno's Tonight Show in 1994) to get attention. "I miss doing HBO specials, but I don't miss anything else about being in the public eye," he says.
And then there's Shakes the Clown, Bobcat's oft-maligned 1992 directorial debut, the infamous "Citizen Kane of alcoholic clown movies," which he defends to the death. "Y'know, I actually run into quite a few people who say that Shakes is their favorite movie," he says. "It's one of the few things I'm proud of."
History may bear him out; films such as Death to Smoochy and the Christmas hit Bad Santa have cribbed Shakes' nihilist humor, which Goldthwait feels "good and strange" about. "Maybe we could do a [Freddy Vs. Jason-type] movie where Shakes meets Bad Santa," he suggests.
Goldthwait brings these and other brilliant ideas to a free in-store signing at 3 p.m. at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Boulevard, 314-721-4096) on Saturday, February 7, and to the Fairview Heights Funny Bone this weekend (6900 North Illinois Street; call 618-628-4242 for times; $20 to $25). -- Niles Baranowski
The Art of Business
On tiny cards
Business cards, those ubiquitous wallet-stuffers, are so prevalent that they're almost invisible -- which may be a good thing. The idea of a person's identity being condensed down to a two-by-three-inch snip of cardboard is depressing.
Shannon "Maddie" Earnest fights the tyranny of the business card in her new show, Dealer's Choice, at the Commonspace (615 North Grand Boulevard, 314-531-1707, opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, February 6). After gathering cards from various St. Louisans, Earnest aesthetically enhances them with custom rubber stamps and then organizes them into themed decks ("Movers and Shakers" features politically active St. Louisans such as Vince Schoemehl, while "Television Celebrities" features Terry Crouppen, among others). Dealer's Choice remains on view through March 9. -- Paul Friswold
For some people, "all-you-can-eat" is an option; for others, it's a command. We're not going to come right out and advise you to do your imitation of Al Roker busting open his surgically diminished stomach at the Freedom Masonic Temple's annual All-U-Can-Eat Pork Sausage Dinner. However, if you eat enough sausage, you will prove your dominance over the rest of the assembled throng. Then you can suddenly rise to your feet, folding chair skidding back behind you; with gobs of sausages in your upraised fists and pork grease running down your arms, you can let fly a burst of maniacal laughter, like the deranged sausage king you really want to be. (4557 Lemay Ferry Road, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., $4 to $7, 314-892-5119, carryouts available). -- Byron Kerman
Magic, Thy Name Is Arnold
There is an evil presence lurking in Arnold. Beneath a swirling, eerie fog, in a quiet suburb, lies the dark lair of romantic horror novelist Laurell K. Hamilton, author of New York Times-bestselling novels peopled by vampires, werewolves, fairies and other imaginary (and usually lovelorn) beasties. Her latest, Seduced by Moonlight, is sure to be a hit with the local science-fiction-convention crowd who embrace her as their favorite daughter. Hamilton reads from and signs her tale of a grown-up "fairy princess" thrashing her way through an adult Harry Potter-world of magic and intrigue at the St. Louis Public Library's Schlafly branch (7 p.m., 225 North Euclid Avenue, 314-367-6731, free). -- Byron Kerman