"The 23 hours around the show is a little tough. You're in a town you don't know. Wherever you go, people know you, so sometimes you wind up just staying in the room. And if you already know your act, you might be working on one or two more jokes but that's it. Some towns are too cold to go walk around in. You're not ready for it; you don't bring your big coat. So there's a million things."
– David Spade
David Spade: Guy!
Guy MacPherson: David! Good morning.
DS: What's up, brother? Good to hear from ya.
GM: You're still a morning person.
DS: I'm not really but it's ten, it's fine. I just came from Arizona so it's like eleven for me.
GM: I'm reading your Almost Interesting book... What's it called again?
DS: (laughs) I think that's it, Almost Interesting.
GM: You said you didn't like the overnight sessions at Saturday Night Live so I thought you were a morning guy.
DS: Oh, you know what? It's funny, I never did cocaine at Saturday Night Live and that was probably the one place you should be doing it. That would have helped boost me up. There was no Red Bull back then so I just stuck with Diet Coke. I don't drink coffee, either, so I was at a disadvantage. Yeah, I never quite got into the all-nighters. And, you know, I didn't really have a life there. My life was all SNL and then on the weekends I would freeze and try to find $10 worth of quarters and go to the basement and do laundry. And that was it. So I don't know. It was very tough and I am still not an all-nighter person.
GM: I think there was Jolt Cola, though.
DS: Right. Yes, there was. But Sandler sometimes during these gigs wants us to eat after the show. He doesn't want to eat right before and I don't mind; I can finish a steak and literally walk on stage, I couldn't care less. But everyone's different and because he's amped up on stage, he wants to all meet and talk about the show and go have some food. And even that sometimes is tough for me. I'm the biggest baby of the group, for sure.
GM: You're talking about the tour now, right?
GM: Where are you now?
DS: I just got back to California. I'll be here until we kick off.
GM: I see you're going to play Phoenix the night after you're in Vancouver. Does Sandler let you headline there, your hometown?
DS: No! No! They're sick of me. They're excited about Adam, though.
GM: Everyone is.
DS: I can't say I've been to Vancouver.
GM: You have.
DS: I have? Okay. The other day I go, "I don't know if I've..." What did I do? I did Yuk Yuk's or something?
GM: No. You did the River Rock, which is technically in Richmond, so maybe you thought that's different but we consider Richmond part of Greater Vancouver even though it's a different city.
DS: Oohhh! I do remember that well because I remember there was some scandal with Kevin Farley. He was in the movie up there with Denise Richards. Something happened up there at that same hotel before I came up (Note: it appears it happened after. According to news reports, the incident happened on Nov. 9, 2006; Spade played the River Rock on Sept. 29, 2006). It's a casino, right?
GM: Yes. That's right, Pam Anderson and who?
GM: Who else was involved in that?
DS: Farley, Denise Richards. Yes, they were doing Blonde and Blo-- What were they doing up there?
GM: I can't remember. But I remember it was something to do with a camera being thrown (Note: it was a computer.)
DS: Yeah, somebody got hurt or something.
GM: Yeah, that's the place. I don't remember when that was but I saw that show because I'm a big fan of yours.
DS: So you did see that show? Okay, well I have three new jokes. This'll be great.
GM: Excellent! You did standup for years and years when you were starting out. Did you play Canada at all, or just not Vancouver?
DS: I played Toronto. We did three movies in Toronto. I never shot in Vancouver. I would hear, ‘Lemony Snicket's up there with Patrick Warburton.’ There's a lot of people that shoot in Vancouver and I hear only good feedback, to be honest.
GM: Adam took a long time off standup, didn't he?
DS: Yeah. Too long. I used to bug him about it. When we were doing The Do-Over, we talked a lot about my standup and if he was ever going to try it. I think when you do standup, which is what got him everything on SNL and all that, it's always in your blood that you want to try it again. And also just to show that you can keep up and you're still good. That's probably why I do it. You try to be good with all these people out there doing it well out there. And I know Adam's quick on his feet in real life and he writes movies. He started getting more interested during The Do-Over and then after that he said, 'Maybe I'll try to put some stuff together.' It's too hard to start from scratch and it's terrifying because he doesn't like to do old stuff and he also has to write music, which is impossible for someone like me. But he really got into it because he's a hard worker. So once he decided to do it, he hunkered down and wrote a lot. And then you also have YouTube people filming you so it's hard to go out and bomb or try new stuff without people judging you quickly and going, 'Oh, he's no good.' If someone saw one of my sets at the Comedy Store when I'm trying new stuff and it got out, people would be like, 'Oh, I wouldn't go see him. He's bombing.' But you have to go try stuff and then whittle it out and shape it. It's very hard these days because everyone has phones and they film it and then they send it to friends and they Snapchat it. Some shows go all the way to [having the audience] put your phones in a bag. It's getting to be sort of common. Chris Rock does it, Chappelle does it. I don't know if we do that yet, but it is hard to protect it because he's going to do a special at some point.
GM: I imagine someone at his level could coast if he wanted to.
DS: Yeah. He definitely writes more than we do and I do it all the time. But I get locked into bits that I like and I use them as tent poles and I write new stuff around it. Sometimes I flip it around. Some nights it's almost backbone stuff, you know what I mean? But I never know which crowd is seeing what. I just sort of change it, figuring out where I'm playing and then I go, 'I want to do this tonight and I want to try this stuff.' And sometimes when they're so big like this, the stuff from the clubs doesn't work as well because the crowd's so rowdy and they're big and loud and they don't give you a chance to do something super subtle or really take your time because if there's a whole, they start yelling 'Joe Dirt!' or something.
GM: So you don't have the time to whip out the xylophone and do your killer Jeopardy bit.
DS: Ha-ha! Bing-bong-bing-bong. Yeah, I love that bit. Believe me, there are some old jokes from my first or second year that would probably still work. Because I'm sort of the exact same style, pretty much. I was more high energy back then. I remember some of my first ones were like, (excitable) 'You guys ever been to the DMV?! I mean, it's crazy!' I don't know when I turned into the guy that just barely talks his act. I think the harder I try, the more sweaty it looks so I just wanted to say the joke and then you have to figure out if it's a joke or not.
GM: Reading your book, you say it took you a long time to get settled at SNL, which, by the way, I don't believe because I remember being a fan of yours from the beginning, I think. But who knows, memory is a funny thing.
DS: The beginning was a year before I did... I did Michael J. Fox on the second show and as I think I said in the book, they accidentally for the first time in history they didn't put my featuring name. You only got 'Featuring David Spade' back then if you were on that week. So I did it and they didn't put 'Featuring David Spade' so everyone just thought it was Mike Meyers because I was new. And then I didn't get on again for about 10 or 15 shows. So it took a while to get my feet wet but yeah, in hindsight, people know me from the show and thank God because I was never less healthy and more stressed out of my gourd then.
GM: You talk about when you finally found your voice on the show, that smart-ass character, that brash guy. But you've always been the smart-ass, brash guy in standup.
DS: Yeah. I couldn't get on and I was teetering to be fired every week but Lorne said, 'I wouldn't [lose? do?] any characters if I were you.' And I was like, 'Oh, really.' I guess it felt good we had Dana Carvey and Phil Hartman, and they're basically like De Niro. They were just doing the greatest stuff. And he's like, 'When you do these dry throwaway jokes, that's actually an art form, too, and no one's doing it here. I would focus on that.' I did Hollywood Minute and that's when he said two weeks later, 'Another Hollywood Minute this week?' This is the first time he's asked me to do something on the show, to be on the show. And I did it and two weeks later, 'Another one this week?' So it was the first attention I got, basically, from your step-dad or something. I was going to take every window I had because every summer the report was, 'I don't know if he's working out here. We might not bring him back.' And that's sort of a mental game, also, to keep you to shut the fuck up and never ask for a raise. I couldn't ask for a raise, and then the very last year I think I asked for a raise.
GM: The Hollywood Minute, which I loved, rubbed Eddie Murphy the wrong way, but throughout your career when you met others you took shots at, did it get awkward? Did it hurt you at all or were they just thrilled. Some people must have got it.
DS: Some people like it and some people said, 'Please, do it again. I love it. I love to hear my name out there and the fact that I'm in this thing is an honour.' And then some were quietly stewing. I remember even Jennifer Anniston once I said I would not make fun of her and then I did about a year later and she was, 'You promised.' Ha-ha! And I go, 'Listen, I hate it, too.' I was off the show and Chris Kattan played me, and I'm like, 'Fuckin' asshole. I'm not even barely out of the building.' But that's just the way it is. If [scope is on you?], unfortunately you're fair game, you know what I mean?
GM: I've gone to my high school reunions, I don't know if you've gone to yours. We all automatically revert to the ages we were when we were in high school. When we all get together, it's like we're still in high school. Is it the same when you and Sandler and Schneider get together? Not like three 50-year-old guys, but like three 20-year-old guys.
DS: We're morons, which is basically what we were. We were hanging out before SNL at Jerry's Deli and stuff. All we do when we get together is act stupid. If we're flying, or anything, we're just making fun of each other. That is the fun of going on the road. That's why everyone loves it because we still get to do shows. Basically we do the same stuff we did back at SNL and before. And that's a good excuse. I think Adam likes to go out. I don't think he'd have as much fun if it was just him. The road is tough. I've done it. We've all done it. The 23 hours around the show is a little tough. You're in a town you don't know. Wherever you go, people know you, so sometimes you wind up just staying in the room. And if you already know your act, you might be working on one or two more jokes but that's it. Some towns are too cold to go walk around in. You're not ready for it; you don't bring your big coat. So there's a million things. But you do get to see a lot of the country, which I like, and that's the fun of going on these tours. But we just bust each others' balls even on stage. If I hear Sandler laughing on the side, if I do a new joke and I hear him over there, that's the fun part, hearing those guys goof around. I think the crowd likes that we're all buddies and we're legit buddies, not just fake cramming it together a tour.
GM: How does Sandler's act compare today to his standup from before SNL? Same style?
DS: We're all very similar style to where we were. But we're different enough to where we don't bump each other. Adam does standup and then a song, but the song has a ton of jokes in it, then he'll do some more standup then he does another song. And he's got very catchy, fun songs that I get jealous of. He's got a buddy with him that plays the keyboards and they do a great job. So I just go up and watch and laugh. But it is sort of the way he used to do standup, that's true. The styles are not that far from what they used to be. And Schneider might be just a little more political but that's okay because we're not. So he's kind of gone a little bit that way but he also has stuff about his family and his mom, which is always funny. And Swardson's a little younger and more of a partyer and he has a whole different vibe, which we all like and we do the movies with him so we have a good time with him, too.
GM: But he's not coming to Vancouver, is he?
DS: I think Swardson is. He's on a couple of these but I thought he was on Vancouver. If he does, he does.
GM: Okay, well thanks, David.
DS: I appreciate you talking to me and I appreciate you reading the book.
GM: I'm almost done.
DS: Okay, good. I'll look for your article when I'm up there.