Actor and Comedian Denis Leary is known for a number of things: His brand of self-deprecating comedy, a great respect for first responders, being the co-creator of the FX series Rescue Me – but maybe he’s not the first guy who comes to mind when you think of celebrities involved in politics. That’s all about to change. In his new book Why We Don’t Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches, Leary takes “equal opportunity aim” at the most partisan issues of our current political climate. We sat down with the writer to talk about everything from dinner parties with his kids to his mission to #MakeAmericaLaughAgain…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
My ideal food day would be cheeseburger, cheeseburger, steak. All with fries.
You have a second book out this week; how’d you go from acting to writing?
I studied acting AND writing at Emerson College. Thank God. So, I always had the ability to self-generate material. But a comedian’s mind is always writing anyway.
Could you tell us a bit about your new book Why We Don’t Suck?
Why We Don’t Suck is aimed at making all of us laugh our asses off about the current state of affairs in America while reminding us all that we are – and will always be – the greatest country on planet earth. But mostly to make you laugh.
Literally, why don’t we suck as Americans (as you say) and what do you mean by Gray Lives Matter?
There are so many reasons we don’t suck – but you have to read the book to discover my take on them.
Why should we stop being “partisan little bitches” as you call it?
If we don’t stop acting like partisan little bitches, nothing is going to get accomplished. We need to find common ground. If we can all watch Game Of Thrones and talk about it at work the next day, there’s no reason we can’t discuss health care or gun control or tax reform and not find a sane way to solve them. Everybody should stop rage tweeting at each other and just listen for a little bit.
What does it mean that your mission is to Make America Laugh Again?
I think Make America Laugh Again is a pretty straightforward mission: Democrats and Republicans alike have lost their sense of humor. I’m here to bring it back.
Speaking of career changes, you mention the election proves you could be president one day. Would you ever run for president?
I would never run for President. Unless you want to hear the words “Shut The Fuck Up” during a live network debate. Then, I’m your man.
How does the book relate to Donald Trump? Did you write it partially in response to the election?
This book is anti-Trump, anti-Hillary and anti-all-politicians. But pro us, the common people. One of the best things about America is we get to fire the people in power every four years if we think they’re doing a shitty job. And right now they are ALL doing a shitty job.
Are you disliking each party at this point? What do you think of each?
Both parties have their heads planted firmly up their partisan asses. Nothing is being accomplished. They get more done in one season of VEEP than the real government gets done in a four year cycle. Julia Louis Dreyfus 2020, anyone?
If you could sit down and “grill” any one person over dinner, who would it be? What are some of the questions you’d ask?
I’d grill God. He has a lot of explaining to do.
What’s your personal definition of good content?
Good content was The Sopranos. Top to bottom and end to end, the greatest tv show of all time.
What’s the issue you feel most passionately about and why?
I feel passionately about too many issues to pick just one. That’s why my book is 300 pages long.
What’s been the best or most interesting dinner party you’ve ever been to? Who was there and what did you eat?
The best dinner party for me is always the one where my adult children come home to eat with my wife and I. The food doesn’t matter. It’s all about catching up.
How important are Twitter and Instagram to our society and why?
Social media is the reason you see people walking into intersections unaware that you have a green light and are about to run them over, while they favorite a photo some friend posted of a cupcake. But it’s also a powerful source for news and information. Cupcakes and earthquakes. Good news and bad. That’s the deal. I don’t post pictures of my food on social media. Why? Because I’m too busy actually eating it.
You say Americans search for fame and diet vodka, can you expand on that a bit?
The book contains a lot of funny stories about my own 25 year long stretch as a famous person. I want to point out how ridiculous and ephemeral fame is for all those people out there who are seeking it. We just elected a reality TV star to the highest office in the land. Time for some perspective on that. Being famous doesn’t mean you’re smarter or better than anyone. If you’re an idiot and you get famous – you’re just a very well known idiot.
If you could sum up the current administration in a dinner dish, what would it be?
A big fat bowl of Cheetos. Full of air and orange chemicals.
If you could put up a quote of the day to sum up your current mode, what would it be?
One I wrote on my birthday this year: “60 is the new go fuck yourself.”
*Denis Leary, photographed at Dante in New York, NY