20 Questions

Dave Barry

by Karen Zarker

2 May 2010

Dave Barry was born in Armonk, New York, in 1947 and has been steadily growing older ever since without ever actually reaching maturity -- a condition which he struggles with in heart-rending detail and bare-his-breast honesty in his newest book, I'll Mature When I'm Dead.
Photo (partial) by
© Raul Ribiera (Miami Herald

Dave Barry was born in Armonk, New York, in 1947 and has been steadily growing older ever since without ever actually reaching maturity—a condition which he struggles with in heart-rending detail and bare-his-breast honesty in his newest book, I’ll Mature When I’m Dead (Penguin, May 2010). The still standing after 25-years, syndicated, Pulitzer Prize winning humor columnist, author of 30 books and bass player in a killer band (‘killer’ alleged – reckless endangerment and death by band lawsuits are pending) sits down, for a moment, with PopMatters 20 Questions for an in-depth, deeply personal, all revealing conversation about the important matters facing our world today.

cover art

I’ll Mature When I’m Dead: Dave Barry’s Amazing Tales of Adulthood

Dave Barry


1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Speed Racer. I was devastated. I was like, “Why did I sit through that? WHY???”

2. The fictional character most like you?
I would have to say James Bond, because we are both handsome and debonair, yet very masculine, and we routinely kill people, yet at the same time we are imaginary.

3. The greatest album, ever?
The Beach Boys Greatest Hits Volume 83, which for my money is even better than the legendary Beach Boys Greatest Hits Volume 127.

4. Star Trek or Star Wars?

5. Your ideal brain food?
Fear of having to get a real job.

6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I have a sewage lifting station (Number 16) named after me in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I am proud of this because long after I am dead and gone, this station will still be emitting odors that can be smelled as far away as East Grand Forks, Minnesota.

7. You want to be remembered for…?
My height.

8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, and the late Ethel Merman.

9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
The Mona Lisa. Don’t tell anybody this, but it actually, it does bear my signature, which I put there with a marker during a 1977 tour of the Louvre.

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Dave Barry’s History of the Millennium (So Far)

Dave Barry


10. Your hidden talents…?
I can make very realistic flatulence noises with my hands.

11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
My mother told me, “Son, it is better to be rich and healthy than poor and sick.” I have tried very hard to heed those words.

12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
The best thing I ever stole was a Boeing 747, which was a lot of fun until I crashed it into a house. Fortunately I had also stolen the house.

13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
I feel best when I am totally naked, just relaxing and feeling free, until the police make me leave the mall.

14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
I would invite Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Donald Trump, because for sure one of them would pick up the check.

15. Time travel: where, when and why?
I would go back to 1978 and do everything in my power to prevent Barry Manilow from recording “Copacabana”.

16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Hit man on Prozac.

17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?

18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
I love Miami. It’s a real live-and-let-live kind of town, once you get past the homicides.

19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
I want to say: “Joe Biden? JOE FREAKING BIDEN?”

20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
I’m writing a book with my friend Ridley Pearson, who’s the bass player in an author rock band I belong to called, the Rock Bottom Remainders (other band members: Stephen King, Amy Tan and Mitch Albom). We are a lot better at writing than at playing music. Our motto is, “We play music as well as Metallica writes novels.” And even that is probably unfair to Metallica.

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