Aug 31, 2017
If you are like Mike Sacks, somewhere in the murk of your childhood memories, you have the remnants of some cheesy movies from Sunday afternoon TV watching. Might be rubber monsters battling over plastic model cities. Or a machine-gun-toting muscle freak saving his friends from dubious foreigners with ill intentions. For Mike, the movie that stood out featured a guy named Stinker and his pet chimp commissioned to get some precious cargo to the president before… well… something. Probably something bad. There was also a dim-witted trucker friend, a kid who can’t help but use profanity every other word, and a woman who loves a man with stuff in his mustache.
It was called Stinker Lets Loose!, and for a while, he doubted its existence. There are no traces of it anywhere on YouTube, and not even a tattered Beta copy in a thrift store anywhere. Sacks is pleased that his latest project is the novelization of that movie, presented in time for the 40th anniversary of the movie’s release. The name credited on the jacket for the novelization is James Taylor Johnson, and there are a few other names of those responsible for the film. It is silly and dated and offensive and a metric ton of fun.
I wanted to talk to Sacks about that, but we also have something common, in that we have both interviewed comedians as a job. Many of Sacks’s interviews are compiled in his two books, Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers and And Here’s the Kicker: Conversations with 21 Top Humor Writers. We spent most of the conversation on Stinker, but got to talk a bit about comedy and interviewing, as well.
After the conversation, stick around for “See You Through,” a new track from Ian Randall Thornton from his debut album Lineage, which he released last week. Thornton’s got a deep, rich voice and the song has a propulsive energy. You can find out more about Thornton on his Web site.