Dave Barry is a best-selling
humor columnist who has written over 20 books and won a Pulitzer Prize. He is one of my favorite
writers. Here, Dave discusses being a guy, eating a cricket, and librarian groupies.
You’ve lived in Miami a long
Yeah, I’ve lived here
since a supreme 1986.
If you could make a new slogan for
Miami, what would it be?
My slogan for years has been: “Come
back to Miami - we weren’t shooting
at you. ”
That’s a good
I think they should make bumper stickers out of it. You could do
bumper stickers, t-shirts ...
Do you remember what
your wrote your first column about?
You mean way back in high school?
Well, I wrote about a football game that never actually happened. It was really a bunch of high
schoolers just going out and drinking beer, but there was a football involved, and I wrote it as an
actual sporting event for the high-school paper.
Not that I approve of
that at all, of course not.
tons of books, over 20. Which is your favorite?
really have a favorite. I’m always writing new books so I don’t dwell on the
ones I’ve already done. I think that’s a habit from being a newspaper guy because
you’re always writing columns and you can’t reflect on the ones you’ve
Are you working on a book at the
I’m working on a children’s book with a
friend of mine. It’s kind of Harry Potter-level. It has to do with Peter Pan, quite a
departure from stuff I’ve written.
seems very different. You have two children, what is the biggest difference between being an old
parent and a young parent?
They’re quite far apart in age,
one is four and one is 23. The difference hasn’t really been my age, the difference is that
one’s a boy and one’s a girl. They’re nothing alike, nothing. The
thing is, girls are little human beings, while guys are well,
You wrote The Complete Guide to Guys, so what
is the hardest thing about being a guy?
The hardest thing is that women
don’t accept that we really are just pathetic, labrador retriever-like creatures and that
we live in a world where women actually expect us to think thoughtful thoughts and have real
emotions, which we don’t. That’s the hardest part. In other words, trying to
live up to the imaginary ideal that women have of what men are, instead of us just being what we
are, which is just a pathetic creature.
You do book tours a lot. Are there book tour groupies?
authors don’t usually get groupies the way rock stars do, which may be a good thing . . . I
don’t know. The closest would be,
That’s good though
. . .
No, you wouldn’t want a
I saw you on tour once and
you’ve got a massive following. It’s crazy.
do come out, and that’s always nice. I’m happy about
It seems like your writing is able to cross
over. What is your mass appeal?
I get letters from young people and old
people and people in the middle, and that’s always been a nice thing. People must have
something of the same sense of humor, and it’s not like I’m writing deep
thoughts. It’s not intellectual. You don’t have to think really hard to get the
joke. I think humor in general appeals to
You’re in a rock band (The
Rock Bottom Remainders) with other authors including Stephen King and Amy Tan. How did that
It was meant to be a random, one-time thing. There was a
booksellers convention in California and somebody thought it would be fun to get together a band of
authors who had been in a band or were interested in being in one. We were only going to play that
onetime in 1992, but we had so much fun that we did it again, and again. We’re still doing
it 14 years later.
Who is the best musician in the
That probably be a three-way tie between Mitch Albom, who wrote
Tuesdays with Morrie, he’s a great guitar player; Ridley Pearson, the bass player and the
guy I’m writing the children’s book with, and a guy named Greg Isles. He writes
novels as well, he’s a really good guitar player. They are the three best
Which of your columns has
generated the most hate mail?
I got some really angry mail when I made
fun of telemarketers. Most of the mail was extremely positive, but the telemarketers were not at all
happy. I also got very angry mail when I made fun of Barry Manilow. Don’t make fun of Barry
Manilow. Well, I do it anyway, ’cause it’s fun. Likewise, Neil Diamond. People
don’t like it when you make fun of a celebrity. When you make fun of a celebrity,
you’ll hear from really loyal fans of that
Your Bad Song Survey received a massive
response. What do you think is the worst song?
A song called
“Honey, ” which no one ever played anyway. I’ve always hated that song
“Seasons in the Sun, ” always hated the song. And “My Way. ” I
really hate that song a lot.
make all the Sinatra fans angry.
You wrote Dave Barry’s Only Travel
Guide You’ll Ever Need. What’s been your craziest travel
It once took me 23 hours to fly from Miami to Salt Lake
City. Probably 14 of those hours were spent on the runway in Dallas-Fort Worth, which
apparently never had snow before. They didn’t even know what to do about
it, didn’t even know what it was. They had to send out for
chemists, “What’s this white stuff coming down? Just stop all the planes where
they are on the
What’s been your worst
moment in a foreign country?
I was confronted with some scary food in
Japan. I ate a cricket not knowing it was a cricket. I think they just make up the food as jokes and
feed it to tourists.
What’s the worst
tourist attraction you’ve been to?
A little place called the
Blue Grotto on the Isle of Capri in Italy. It’s just a dank cave that smells like body
odor. You have to wait for hours, pitching up and down in little boats with people barfing all over
the place. All the guidebooks say it’s supposed to have this mysterious blue glow, but all
it is is B.O. I would strongly advise against it.
you have any hobbies?
Well, I play the guitar. Not well, but
I’ve played it for a long time without getting any better ... which is not
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.