CBFC Interview • Interviewed by Beth Blighton
Interviewed April 2001
CBFC: Okay, here we go... What is your favorite word?
Clancy: (chuckles)... Oh, it's these kinds of questions....
CBFC: Yeah, it's these kinds of questions, all right! (laughter) But I think you'll like a couple of them.
Clancy: God, you had to be thoughtful...! I guess, if you go on The Actor's Studio, you can't just be off-the-cuff like you and I are!
CBFC: Well, it's up to you. You can go either way... (laughter) I mean, you are still being quoted out there as saying you wanted to be an acrobat and a fireman, because of some glib answer you gave somewhere...
Clancy: (laughing) Yes! Right!
CBFC: "Clancy Brown wanted to be an aristocrat, and an acrobat..." And I'm like, "Uh, right..." I laugh every time I read that because, not only did they believe that statement, but they passed it on! So now, here's your chance! So go ahead, it's time to come up with your favorite word.
Clancy: Um... What's my favorite word? I've been coming across such great new words, in getting ready to go to Ireland. Oh, I dunno.... I could say something really pretentious like "circumspection"...
CBFC: But the truth would be....? (laughing)
Clancy: I dunno... I like all of them! I like all these words!
CBFC: Okay, then you're really gonna like the second question, which is: What is your least favorite word?
Clancy: Yeah, cuz I say it all the time!
CBFC: What turns you on or is your favorite thing?
Clancy: My favorite thing is language, believe it or not, even though I can't come up with a word! My favorite thing is language and poetry, and the rhythm of language, which is why I'm flipping out about going to Ireland. They've got such a great facility for the spoken word...
CBFC: And the next question is: What turns you off?
Clancy: What turns me off is... thoughtlessness is the wrong word.... but kind of a knee-jerk thoughtlessness. The most cogent example, because we're reviewing on me, is Roger Ebert wrote this review of "Starship Troopers" that was thoughtless. I mean, the guy is supposed to be -- and he is -- a very smart, very learned, very articulate guy, and he just lambasted the movie for the most obvious reasons, without looking deeper, without doing his job. So maybe it's laziness... and cowardice, really. Maybe it's laziness and cowardice, cuz maybe he'd already heard that it was too violent for kids, and didn't look deeper or consider the source of the show, and all the rest of that. That really pissed me off. I thought that was a real disservice. But you see that all the time, like at my little girl's school, there's this beef that's going on, and some of these parents are just reacting without thinking.
CBFC: Yeah, people are pretty good at doing that, I'm afraid.
Clancy: It's like, if you're going to take the time to indulge your fury, ya know, your knee-jerk fury, please give us the respect of thinking about it for a couple of minutes, and try to come up with a solution, rather than just go on and on. That's why politics makes me angry these days, and news reporting, and all sorts of stuff... Cuz there is just no perspective left to anything anymore. It's really all sort of emotional...
CBFC: Plus it all just seems to be a game with some. The game to get the ratings or score the point or whatever -- that seems to be more important than anything.
Clancy: And ultimately it's laziness... It's just cynical and lazy! So that's really what gets me.
CBFC: I can understand that. Now.... What sound or noise do you love?
Clancy: Several! My daughter... Any sound she makes, just about -- except when she's whining for no reason. (chuckles) But I love the sound of my daughter sleeping, and the sound of my daughter laughing, and saying "Daddy", and telling me a story, or asking me a question... And the sound of dogs barking... as long as it's not too much in my house!
CBFC: And what sound or noise do you hate?
Clancy: Telephones! And actually all the things that are connected with them -- like beepers and cell phones -- I'm just so tired of that.
CBFC: And my favorite question: What is your favorite curse word?
Clancy: What is my favorite or which one do I use the most?
CBFC: Either one! (laughing) Or both!
Clancy: My favorite one is "Splood"... and "Zounds"!
CBFC: It's what? Okay, you're gonna have to spell those, cuz now I'm gonna have to transcribe this! (laughter) And where are you getting these?
Clancy: They're archaic curse words, and they mean "God's wounds" or "Jesus' wounds" or "God's Blood" or "Christ's Blood".
CBFC: And where did these come from?
Clancy: From Shakespeare!
CBFC: So those are your favorites?
Clancy: Oh, I love them! Oh, my God! If I could figure out a way to use them all the time... There was actually a time when I was saying "Zounds". And I used to swear regularly, but now I don't so much.
CBFC: Yeah, I imagine not so much any more, cuz you will hear those words come back to you from a little bumper seat in the back! But you don't have one that just pops out of your mouth, beyond all control?
Clancy: Well, nothing interesting. Just the general... You know, just whatever does it.
CBFC: Whatever suits the occasion! (chuckles) Now this question you have answered glibly before, so you will get the chance to straighten this one out: What profession, other than acting, would you like to attempt? -- And let's not say something like fireman, ballerina, or astronaut!
Clancy: (Laughs) Ballerina? I said ballerina?
CBFC: No... but you would have, if given the chance! (laughing) The only ones missing were ballerina, astronaut, and Indian chief!
Clancy: Hmm.... You mean, would I like to pursue now, or if I had it to do over again?
CBFC: Either one.
Clancy: If I had it to do over again... I probably would actually pursue dance. It's just so good for you, and there's a physicality of music that's a great thing. Cuz I really don't have that, and have never had that kind of mental discipline or that mastery. But I always had physical discipline -- with exercise, and I worked out (until recently), and I always enjoyed that. So that would be something... I don't know if I would have ever done it. If I could go back in time, I might have decided to play baseball.
But what would I do now? God, there are so many things, so many things...
CBFC: Has doing the acting ever made you think you'd like to do more in that type of field?
Clancy: Oh, I'd like to write. I'd like to go to the land of poets... The other thing I'd like to do, I'd like to check out archeology. That way I could be a historian and get to go to places and find out about the people who were there.
CBFC: And what profession would you not like to do?
Clancy: What would I not like to do? I would hate to be on Wall Street.
I would hate to be a lawyer or a finance guy. And not because I don't admire them, but I would hate to be a doctor these days! That's become just an impossible situation.
CBFC: You seem like the sort who would be a good lawyer, because you're very good at presenting both sides of an argument. Or is it the politicking of the whole thing that is the turn-off?
Clancy: Politics in anything is a turn-off. Lawyers especially. Like my brother said when he worked at the firm, "I really like the law, the only problem is... I have to work with all these lawyers!" There's just too many people in those professions who are in it for other reasons, rather than a love and a respect for what they do. Know what I mean? Same problem with doctors.... Doctors less so... well, maybe not less so, I don't know... but it's just so regulated and liable, and all that. I mean, how many lawyers do you know who truly love the law, and know the history of law -- rather than just some class they had a long time ago, back in law school? I think that's the measure.
CBFC: Okay, now this is the last question... If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive?
Clancy: (laughter) That Shakespeare is holding auditions... It's an open call...
CBFC: And there's a part for you, and it's a good one!
Clancy: They're holding a workshop, and here's the lecture schedule!
Sunday, July 20, 2003