Warning: Before this interview is over, Ron Jeremy will provide men with a set of instructions that might have a negative impact on their relationships and their employment status. He is a porn star, so some of the content is of a graphic and adult nature. Read at your own risk.
Things you may not know about Ron Jeremy: He has a pet turtle and uses the Internet to learn about turtles. He does an uncanny imitation of Larry Flynt. He plays piano. He has a brown sash in kung fu. His mother was an O.S.S. decoder during WWII. He holds two master's degrees. And before he was a porn star, he taught special-needs kids. There's lots more too. But Jeremy knows most reporters aren't calling to talk about Chopin.
"Nine-and-three-quarter inches long. Yes, we all get tested, and my favorite actress to work with is Tabitha Stevens," he rattles off before any questions can be asked. "Those are the questions I always get asked," he explains.
Jeremy has long hoped to parlay his unheard-of 26-year career as a porn star into a career in mainstream film, but other than a few bit parts here and there, success has eluded him. And he knows exactly what people want to talk about.
"[Former adult film star] Tracy Lords refuses to discuss anything other than her current career. That's stupid," Jeremy says. "C'mon! Me and her, we're interesting because we came from [porn] and now we're doing [more mainstream work]. So she's nuts. But yeah, it would be great to get that call and hear a reporter say, `Hey, so I heard Steven Spielberg is giving you the lead in E.T. Part II.' It just hasn't happened yet."
Imagine the typical female porn star: a fantasy vixen, waxed smooth and augmented into a caricature of chauvinistic perfection. As men go, Jeremy is, in every way, the exact opposite. His industry nickname is the "Hedgehog" because he's dumpy and covered in thick black hair. Some have posited that it is this Every(horny)man quality that has made Jeremy a perennial favorite. Some think he offers hope to the average man that he too might someday have a date with a pair of sex-starved Asian twins. Yeah, right. Jeremy's longevity in the demanding industry stems, in a large part, from the fact that he can "perform" on cue, if you get my drift. In the industry, men with this ability are called woodsmen, and among the woodsmen, Jeremy is the undisputed king.
When Jeremy began his career, porn was still shot on film. The films attempted to have plots and could claim, to some degree, to be a legitimate and artistic alternative to mainstream cinema. And then came the coked-up 1980s, when the video revolution exploded and quantity of product became far more important than quality. Porn actors who once made a dozen films a year were now being called on to work weekly. This was pre-Viagra and lots of guys couldn't cut the mustard. Ron Jeremy could. He just kept on trucking. Or something like that.
"Video brought porn into the home," Jeremy, who worked as a consultant on the film Boogie Nights, says. "Lots of people wanted to see porn. But before [the '80s], they had to go to those theaters, you know? Porn has always been ahead of everybody else on technology. That's what has made us king; that's what has made us so important. Porn has been an experimental medium. The first CD ROMs, really, were X-rated, and then the industry followed us. The first DVDs. The biggest stuff on the Internet other than Amazon.com and eBay is X-rated."
But as technology advances, so does raunch. In the 1980s, as storylines disappeared from porn, the films got nastier. And now, with the advent of the Internet, porn has become ever more available and ever more shocking. Clicking through the daily spam, deleting e-mails with subjects like "Barnyard Babes in Toyland," it is hard to imagine where the adult-entertainment industry can go from here.
"I did a hologram shoot once," Jeremy says. "The future of porn will probably be seeing movies in 3-D. More interaction. You'll have DVDs you can talk to. A company I work with, Metro, already has that technology. Eventually you'll have `life dolls.' Dolls that are real-looking. I did a movie with a bunch of those that was really funny. But they'll put the holograms [of porn stars] over the face [of the dolls], just like that ride in Disneyland where you ride the ride and then you have the little guys in the seat with you. Anyway, you'll have a button where you can pick your favorite porn star. `Hey, I think I want Jenna today,' BOOM, there's Jenna [talking dirty]. So eventually you'll have sex with your favorite porn star. Then eventually it will go into the mainstream. Maybe you'll have Britney Spears É who knows?"
The time has now come to dispense with all pretense to taste and to ask the Hedgehog the one question every man in the world is dying to have answered. You see, Jeremy has the uncanny ability to É well, do something to himself. To do something to himself that no man should ever be able to do to himself. Eddie Murphy once said that if he could do it, he would never leave the house. I think you know what I'm talking about.
"Oh yeah," Jeremy says. "I discovered that I could do it while I was in Boy Scouts, lacing up those high shoes. I didn't realize I'd be doing it years later in a movie. It was never done to be an erotic thing. It was like a comedy thing."
But the question remains, given the mighty cult of self-improvement, why hasn't Jeremy put out an instructional video?
"It's because nobody can really do it," he claims. "John Holmes used to seriously ask me, `Hey, Ron, how do you do that?' I said, `Bend down just as far as you can go and have a close friend jump on your back. When you come out of the hospital, there'll be a [BEEP] in your mouth."
So, guys, if you want to meet a man who has lived the kind of life us average fellas only dream of when we're sure nobody is looking, you might not want to try that little stunt. Well, not just yet anyway. Ron Jeremy will be coming to Memphis to do his standup comedy, screen his documentary Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, and do a Q&A session with the audience on Friday, September 5th, and Saturday, September 6th at Stop 345.