Q: A whole pizza?
A: Oh, sure. I could eat really anything I wanted, and I stayed thin. But then there comes a time where it all kind of backs up on you.
Q: You dropped out of college.
A: Actually, I got a job in an off-Broadway musical called Best Foot Forward, which was Liza Minnelli’s debut. She was 16 years old. I was 18. I had auditioned and I got the job and it was just about the end of the school year, and that was it. I was never keen on school, to tell you the truth. I was probably not qualified for advanced education.
Q: Would you advise people to do the same thing?
A: No. Everybody does what they have to do. It worked out nicely for me. You have to be good at what you do, and you have to work hard and take care of yourself and all that, but I think everybody has to be lucky, too. Luck is a very big factor.
Q: I understand that you have an odd grooming practice: You yank your own hair every day.
A: Oh, yeah. President Kennedy had this great hair, and I read that somebody came and massaged him because he had that back problem, but he would also get his hair pulled. As men get older, the skin on their heads tightens and the blood gets constricted. Apparently, if you keep your scalp skin loose, you’re more apt to keep your hair. So I just grab it with both hands and yank on it while I’m watching the news.
Q: A lot of guys my age are obsessed with your “More cowbell” routine from Saturday Night Live.
A: I was eating in a restaurant in Singapore, and an Asian couple was at the next table, and the guy turned to me and he said, “Chris, you know what this salad needs?” I said, “What?” He said, “More cowbell.” Recently a guy asked me if I would say “More cowbell” on his answering machine. And I did.
Q: You could make a lot of money by recording “More cowbell” wake-up calls for hotels.
A: “Wake up, it’s time for more cowbell.” SNL would probably be on me“We own that!” I don’t know who owns these thingsI don’t have a computer.
Q: You don’t?
A: No, I don’t. And I certainly wouldn’t know how to work one. I don’t have a cell phone, either. But I was thinking about eBay, because I like to paint, and it occurred to me: What would happen if I put a painting on eBay? You think I could sell it?
Q: You’d make money. You know, it’s not commonly recognized as one of your masterpieces, but I must say I was totally shaken up by Communion, from 1989. You were really convincing playing a man who’d been abducted by aliens.
A: Well, the guy who wrote it, Whitley Strieber, had tapes of himself when he was under hypnosis, which were very interesting to listen to. I’ve heard he would go out at night and claim that he’d been in some sort of abduction.