David Duchovny’s newest novel, Bucky F*ing Dent, takes its name from a 1978 playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, in which the titular Yankees player devastated Red Sox fans with an unexpected home run. (The colorful epithet is his eternal punishment from angry New England residents.) That climactic game does show up in the book, but as Duchovny explained to Seth Meyers on Thursday, the name and event are more thematic touchstones for the novel’s story of a complicated father/son relationship.
“One of the characters says towards the end of the book, ‘It’s never Micky Mantle who kills you. Never Babe Ruth or Willie Mays. Never the guy you prepare for. It’s always the head cold that kills you. It’s Bucky F*ing Dent,'” Duchovny said. “It becomes like a eulogy for the losers in life, and the underdogs in a way. That’s kind of the underpinning of the whole book.”
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In some ways, the novel’s origins go back even further to the beginning of Duchovny’s career, when he started acting in order to be a better writer.
“I was 22 and I just didn’t want to sit in a room alone,” Duchovny said. “I thought, how could I write and not sit in a room alone? In a collaborative way, I could write a play or a screenplay, and at least I’ll be out with people making a play. And then I thought, to learn something about writing a play, I should probably learn what it means to say somebody else’s words.”
Watch the full clip below, and read EW’s review of Bucky F*ing Dent here.