The star of ''Something About Mary'' can't wait to ruin your appetite -- again

By Liane Bonin
Updated July 09, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Scary Movie 2: Linda R. Chen
  • Movie

Woogie, the sore covered nutjob Chris Elliot played in 1998’s ”Something About Mary,” has finally met his match. In ”Scary Movie 2” (in theaters), he plays Hanson, an obsequious butler who steals the show from costars Marlon and Shawn Wayans in a gag inducing dinner scene. Fortunately, the star of the cult TV series ”Get a Life” has no such nasty habits off screen. The writer – actor, 41, talked to about his start with David Letterman, his ”Cursed” TV history, and movie grossouts.

You started your career as a regular on ”Late Night With David Letterman” in 1982. Any idea why he keeps the studio so damn cold?
It keeps the audience alert. If you’re in a warm studio, you’re less likely to laugh. It’s better to be a little uncomfortable and entertained for an hour than sweltering and bored. It’s something he learned a long time ago while doing clubs.

In ”Scary Movie 2,” Hanson ruins dinner by rubbing his mangled hand all over the turkey and mashed potatoes. Who can we blame for turning us off drumsticks for all eternity, you or the Wayanses?
Most of that was improvised. We shot that scene over four days and it kept getting more and more insane. The last day Keenan Ivory Wayans said, ”Just get loose and do whatever you want to do.” That was the really bizarre stuff that ended up in the movie. Actually, I’m addicted to turkey after doing that scene. It’s the tryptophan.

Did you keep your mangled hand? Tell the truth.
I think there were five little hands, and I did get to keep one. It’s on a bookshelf. I didn’t keep any of the warts or boils, but I keep a lot of wigs. This is the first prosthetic thing that I have.

As a veteran of the NBC series ”The Steven Weber Show,” a.k.a. ”Cursed” — do you think that unlucky title got you booted off the air?
Yeah, it did. It’s too bad, because I actually thought that show was funny. If it just started as ”The Steven Weber Show” it probably would still be on the air now. But I don’t think it ever got out from under that cloud of apologizing before it was even on the air.

Speaking of cursed, you’ve had lousy luck when it comes to TV shows, though ”Get a Life” has plenty of fans on the Web.
Well, I’ve done a lot of bad stuff too. There’s some stuff that I’ve done just for the money. The Weber show I was pretty invested in emotionally. There’ve been projects like ”The Naked Truth” [starring Téa Leoni], which was horrible. It’s a bit of a badge of honor to do a show that has a cult following, when people say, oh, that was funny, that shouldn’t have been taken off the air. But it would be nice to do something that lasts a while.

Even though 1994’s ”Cabin Boy” wasn’t a hit in theaters, it’s developed a kind of mystique too. How weird is that?
There is a huge cult following for that movie, and a lot of it is thanks to Dave [Letterman]. He kept the joke alive in a weird way. So I’m not embarrassed by ”Cabin Boy.” It was actually a funny movie that was widely released — which it shouldn’t have been — and was touted as something it wasn’t. There were lots of problems with it, but I’m proud of it.

You’re reteaming with your ”Something About Mary” cohorts, the Farrelly Brothers, for ”Osmosis Jones,” which is out next month. How gross does it get?
It’s half cartoon, half live action. The cartoon stuff is inside Bill Murray’s stomach, and then the live stuff is outside it. I play either his friend or his brother, I’m not sure which. I was heavily sedated during shooting. I think my name is Uncle Bob in it, so I think I’m his brother. I’m not sure. It didn’t really matter. I can’t even remember the entire plot of it. It has something to do with this unhealthy guy and it’s like the battle going on inside his stomach between a Rol-Aid and stomach acid. It’s pretty bizarre, but it’s funny.

Scary Movie 2

  • Movie
  • R
  • 90 minutes
  • Keenen Ivory Wayans