My Interview with Famous Comedian and Movie Star W.C. Fields
I used my time machine to travel back in time to visit with the renowned W.C. Fields, who was kind enough to let me interview him.
Before we get started with the interview, here’s some background on Mr. Fields:
“William Claude Dukenfield (January 29, 1880 — December 25, 1946), better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler, and writer. Fields’ comic persona was a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist, who remained a sympathetic character despite his supposed contempt for children and dogs.
His career in show business began in vaudeville, where he attained international success as a silent juggler. He gradually incorporated comedy into his act and was a featured comedian in the Ziegfeld Follies for several years. He became a star in the Broadway musical comedy Poppy (1923), in which he played a colorful small-time con man. His subsequent stage and film roles were often similar scoundrels or henpecked everyman characters.
Among his recognizable trademarks were his raspy drawl and grandiloquent vocabulary. The characterization he portrayed in films and on radio was so strong it was generally identified with Fields himself. It was maintained by the publicity departments at Fields’ studios (Paramount and Universal) and was further established by Robert Lewis Taylor’s biography, W. C. Fields, His Follies and Fortunes (1949). Beginning in 1973, with the publication of Fields’ letters, photos, and personal notes in grandson Ronald Fields’ book W. C. Fields by Himself, it was shown that Fields was married (and subsequently estranged from his wife), and financially supported their son and loved his grandchildren.”
Mr. Fields, I want to thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to answer a few questions. So let’s get started.
Q. I understand you do a little cooking from time to time and have a special ingredient.
A. “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.”
Q. You’ve had a long career in show business. What’s the secret to your success?
A, “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh**.”
Q. What are your views on sex?
A. “Some things are better than sex, and some are worse, but there’s nothing exactly like it.”
Q. Sometimes conflict is inevitable but, if you want to avoid it, what do you do?
A. “I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.”
Q. How do you handle criticism?
A. “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”
Q. You’ve made a few dollars in your time. What’s your attitude toward wealth?
A. “A rich man is nothing but a poor man with money.”
Q. What about voting? What’s your attitude about that?
A. “I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.”
Q. I’ve heard you’re pretty skeptical of lawyers. Why so?
A. “The only thing a lawyer won’t question is the legitimacy of his mother.”
Q. What are your thoughts on success and failure in life?
A. “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no point in being a damn fool about it.”
Q. What do you think is the key to success?
A. “Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill.”
Q. Some would say that your views about women are a little controversial. What do you really think about women?
A. “No doubt exists that all women are crazy; it’s only a question of degree.” “Women are like elephants. I like to look at ’em, but I wouldn’t want to own one.”
Q. Do you prefer younger or older women?
A. “I’d rather have two girls at 21 each than one girl at 42.”
Q. What about dating? How do you approach it?
A. “Never try to impress a woman, because if you do she’ll expect you to keep up the standard for the rest of your life.”
Q. You like to have a drink from time to time. What’s your philosophy about drinking?
A. “I drink therefore I am.”
Q. What about sleep? What are your thoughts on that?
A. “Sleep — the most beautiful experience in life — except drink.”
Q. There’s a lot of hate in the world. How do you feel about that?
A. “I am free of all prejudices. I hate everyone equally.”
Q. You would never take advantage of someone, would you?
A. “It’s morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money.”
Q. How do you celebrate Christmas?
A. “Christmas at my house is always at least six or seven times more pleasant than anywhere else. We start drinking early. And while everyone else is seeing only one Santa Claus, we’ll be seeing six or seven.”
Q. What’s your opinion about men's rights?
A. “A man’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another drink.”
Q. Has your drinking ever caused you any problems?
A. “A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.”
Q. How do you deal with hangovers?
A. “Back in my rummy days, I would tremble and shake for hours upon arising. It was the only exercise I got.”
Q. Last question. What’s your basic philosophy of life?
A. “Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.”
Thank you very much, Mr. Fields, for answering my questions.