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I recently had the pleasure of talking to notorious best selling author and legendary alcoholic Tucker Max about his new (and final) book “Hilarity Ensues,” which you can pre-order here. We discussed the book as well as many other ridiculous topics, in what turned out to be quite the pleasant conversation. Given his reputation I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but he was actually pretty damn cool. That said he still found a way to get my nearest female relative pregnant and send me pictures. That’s sort of like a handshake to him.
Bacon: So first off, are you familiar with TotalFratMove?
Tucker Max: Yeah of course. I get TFM hash tags in my timeline at least once or twice a week. Someone will tag something that’s associated in some way and then they’ll add me on it. Oh yeah, I’ve known about it for a while, you can’t miss it.
Bacon: Give me a rundown on what the newest book is about, and what you’re excited for your readers to see.
Tucker Max: You know, I’m not gonna reinvent the wheel man. Like, my new books are pretty much exactly like my old books, just new stories. There’s two things in “Hilarity Ensues” that I think are really, pretty fucking cool.
The Miss Vermont story, which is like kind of the original thing that launched my website, when that pageant girl sued me, that story is now, well I had the story up on my site, I kept it up for a long time. But I never changed it or added anything to it, about the lawsuit or anything, because I was waiting to put it in the book. One of the great things about that story is that she had this website that was up, and I’m sure you’ve known pageant girls in the past, well this website detailed how nuts most pageant girls are, except it was unintentional.
But she took it down, it was like a year or two after the story came out. Thank God I had screenshots of everything, for the lawsuit. So I put in the book all the screenshots I had of her website, with my obnoxious commentary of course [laughs]. And then I wrote an explanation of the lawsuit and all the stuff that had happened behind the scenes and all that kind of stuff. So it’s kind of like an interesting, funny look into the mind of a crazy pageant girl.
And then there’s another story, and it was something I’ve never done before, but I think it might be the funniest thing I’ve ever written. I laughed the most when I wrote this part. So in the movie and on the cover of the last book I actually put up my phone number. If you look on the cover of “Assholes Finish First” it’s a staged mug shot and I’m holding up a placard, and the prisoner number is my phone number. I didn’t say anything because I wanted to see how many people would figure it out, and A LOT of people figured it out. I mean it’s obvious but I didn’t realize how obvious.
So people would call, I basically had to get a second phone because it made my first phone unusable. What I didn’t realize is that a lot of girls would sext me, or dudes pretending to be girls, I don’t know. At first it annoyed the shit out of me because I was like “I’m an adult, come have sex or leave me alone, I don’t want to pretend to have sex over the phone, what the hell is this?”
But one time I got really pissed off, and this girl would NEVER stop sexting me. So I just started going back and forth with her and basically my goal was to say the most repugnant, awful, offensive shit I could think of and see what this girl would do. And, um, dude, she loved it. A half hour after I started I was in tears laughing because it was the WORST stuff I could think to say and I couldn’t rattle this girl at all. It was like trying to rattle a 911 operator.
So then it became this game for me and I would start sexting back all these girls and it ended up being the perfect comedy form, because it was like crazy girls who are into sexting and KNOW that the guy they’re sexting is an asshole, but don’t care. And so I get to fuck with them all I want and say this preposterous shit and they would take me seriously. So I took all the best sexting exchanges, edited them down to just the good stuff, and put it in the book. I mean this is sort of a new thing, so I don’t know how people are going to respond, but I’ve never laughed so hard writing something in my life.
Bacon: These are supposedly your last books, at the very least the last of these types of books that you’ll be writing. Was there any kind of note you were trying to go out on?
Tucker Max: Not really. At the end of “Hilarity Ensues” there’s a little epilogue that says you know, that I’m 35 years old, I don’t do the shit I used to do when I was 25 anymore, so you know, I don’t really have anymore stories. These books, that’s kind of it. It’s not like I’m saving something for a retirement comeback like I’m Jay-Z or something. I wrote all my best stories down and I mean, there’s not really a message or anything. The last thing I want people to think is that I’m repenting or that I’m a born again Christian or whatever. I’m like, “Look, I had an amazing time in my 20’s, and if you want to do the same thing in your 20’s, go ahead and have a great time too.”
But, you know, everything comes to an end eventually. You don’t play with GI Joes when you’re 15 because you did when you were 5. So I’m just gonna move to another area of my life where I focus on different things, but I had a great time and I don’t really regret any of it, I just wanted to do something different now.
Bacon: You make it pretty clear that you’re an asshole. But even though you seem to overflow with confidence your writing is surprisingly self-deprecating. How important is it to your writing to have that quality?
Tucker Max: You know, it’s funny you notice that. Maybe this won’t shock you, because you write for TotalFratMove and you probably see similar things that I see, but I would say 90% of people who read what I write miss that. Like so many people, especially haters, are like “Oh Tucker Max you’re SO cool, everything you do is perfect, nothing you do is ever wrong,” and I’m wondering if they’ve ever actually read any of my work. Like, how could you read even one story and think that my stories are about how perfect I am?
Like NO ONE fucks up more and gets punk’d more in my stories than me, you know? Don’t get me wrong, when I do something great, I talk about it. But I also talk about when I do something bad, you know? I think the fans, the people who like my stuff, they get that, because they love that it’s honest. If I do something stupid or dickish I’m not afraid to just tell the truth about it and be like “alright, this is what I did, it’s totally fucked up but it’s what I did.” I think that’s why my stuff is so popular, because everyone does the same stuff I do to some extent or another, I’m just willing to be honest about it and then I write about it in a funny way.
Bacon: Of all the criticisms you’ve received, and you’ve received a lot of absurd criticism, what is the most outlandish one? I particularly enjoy when people say you promote a “rape culture” because I have no idea what the hell that means. But are there any that particularly stand out as being ridiculous to you?
Tucker Max: I mean… the rape culture… I think you might have nailed it. To me that’s the most ridiculous one. I mean if you’re talking about like, kooks that wear tin foil hats and think that I’m the reincarnation of some devil or whatever, that’s one thing. But as far as like real people criticizing me go, that’s it dude. The whole “rape culture” thing, that doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean I do A LOT of fucked up shit that I think you can criticize, but rape just doesn’t fit into it. It’s like accusing me of genocide or something. It doesn’t make any sense, I don’t get it! It’s basically someone wants to promote their agenda on my back, you know?
Tucker Max: [Laughs] I don’t think I ever gave Matthew Berry sex advice. I gave him dating advice. I don’t think I’ve ever given a dude sex advice, like that’s super creepy [laughs]. I don’t know who does that. If I have then, um, I don’t know, I’m embarrassed, I’m ashamed of myself.
Matt and I are good friends, but Matt is married now and has twin girls, so he’s not really looking for any dating advice, thankfully. But Matt and I have been good friends for a while and there was definitely a time when he was single, before he met his wife, where Matt was really bad with women. It was pretty comical.
It’s funny because we’ll go out together and we get recognized about the same amount, maybe one or two out of every ten people at a bar will recognize us, but it’s never the same people. We can walk into a bar and I can tell you who is going to recognize Matt and who is going to recognize me. The dorky or the jock-est dudes in the bar are gonna be all over Matt Berry and then either the frattiest guys or the sluttiest girls are going to be the ones who recognize me.
Bacon: As far as I can remember, at least for me, you were the first person to make blogging about more than sports or emo internet journals. At the very least you made your genre mainstream. So now that you’re “retiring” what do you think your legacy is? Specifically with the internet and blogging?
Tucker Max: I mean, you’re right, the New York Times said that I invented “fratire.” I mean the New York Times said that, I didn’t say that, you know? I didn’t even make up that name, “fratire.” But you know, I don’t know. I actually wrote about this in the epilogue of the book, and I wrote about for my site too, a little piece that goes up tomorrow, a longer piece about my retirement.
But that’s a good question dude, it’s not really up to me to decide what happens with my legacy, that sort of like other people’s domain. I mean just like you can’t give yourself a nickname you can’t really talk about your own legacy, it sounds ridiculous.
But I’ll say this, if I invented “fratire” or whatever, right? Then I think I’m only the Dr. Dre of it. Meaning that like the best people in “fratire” have yet to come along. Like the Eminem and the Jay-Z and the Biggie of “fratire” I think are still out there or they’re like just starting now. I think, you know, my stuff was funny and it was good, but I don’t think that it’s the best version of “frattire” that could ever exist. I think lots of people can write lots of stuff that’s really funny and really enjoyable in that genre.
Bacon: After a lady poops on your dick, is it ever REALLY clean again?
Tucker Max: [Laughs] It takes some scrubbing but it gets clean man, you’d be shocked. I think maybe prison rape you can’t wash off, I’m not sure, but uh just normal girl poop is disgusting but removable.
Bacon: What’s your process for piecing together the parts of your stories that occurred while you were blackout drunk? Considering how detailed a lot of your stories are that has to take some serious detective work sometimes.
Tucker Max: I just did an interview with the New Yorker the other day and this is one of the big questions that the guy asked me and then once I explained it he was like “Oh that makes total sense.”
I started writing at 27. Maybe 26, 27, but I think it was right at 27. And so what I would do, because yeah, like when I first started writing I didn’t really understand how to put a story together or whatever. I’d wake up the next day and I couldn’t remember the funny stuff I said. The night before I’d think that it was so good that I’d never forget it and then of course I’d wake up the next morning and couldn’t remember any of it.
So what I started to do is I would carry a voice recorder with me. And I’ve written about that before but for some reason people would think I would just turn the voice recorder on, lay it on the table, and talk into it like a fucking douche bag Howard Cosell or something, that doesn’t make any sense. No, whatever I would do is, whenever I said something funny or someone else said something funny or something really funny happened or, like, you’re a writer so I’m sure like when you’re out something happens and a wording, a line or phrase pops into your head you know? So whenever something like that would happen I would record it into my little digital voice recorder.
So I would wake up the next morning and I would have like thirty recordings. If it was like a really funny, good night I’d have like maybe thirty recordings. And what I would do is I would go through and listen to all of them. Of course I can remember some part of the nights and then whatever I couldn’t remember the recordings would usually refresh my memory.
So like the first ten would be super clear and made total sense. Then as I get drunker like the next ten would be a little slurred but if I tried I could make them out. And then final ten would be like a jumbled, untranslatable mess, it might as well have been French. Even if I could understand them they weren’t even funny and I would be like “Why would I think that’s funny, that’s stupid [laughs].”
So from those notes I would usually write out a rough draft of the story and then I’d call my friends and be like “here’s my story, do you remember anything else that I need to write?” Invariably there would be all these details that I forgot and my friends would be like “Oh dude what about this, and you forgot about this,” or whatever, and you know that’s how I’d reconstruct it.
But you gotta remember, I’m not writing a police report about the night, like who gives a shit about all the menial details? The only thing that matters in a story are the details that are interesting to people who weren’t there. So the funny stuff basically, and it’s pretty easy to remember all the funny stuff.
Bacon: You weren’t in a fraternity but just from reading your stories it’s obvious you’ve had quite a bit of interaction with Greek Life throughout the country. What’s your view on fraternities?
Tucker Max: Here’s the thing. I went to the University of Chicago [for undergrad], and we didn’t really have like a Greek scene there. There were only like four or five frat houses and there were maybe like, twenty cool dudes at the entire school, and they were distributed pretty evenly between the houses. So it was like ten percent of every frat were guys that were friends of mine and I liked and the rest were just doofuses, you know?
So like I didn’t go to a school that I think has a Greek Life that is emblematic of American college Greek Life. My girlfriend my freshman year went to Vanderbilt and I went down to visit her and I was like “If I went to this school I’d be in a fraternity no doubt.” Or my cousins all went to UVA and when I went to visit them, a bunch of them were in different fraternities there and I thought “Man if I went to UVA I would love to be in one of these fraternities, it’d be awesome.” I think mainly it just kind of depends on the school and the scene, you know? Like if went to Ole Miss OF COURSE I’m going to be in a fraternity. But there are other schools you go to and it just doesn’t make sense.
I mean, look man, your college years are supposed to be about drinking, partying, hooking up and having fun, right? If that’s what fraternities and sororities are about, then I don’t really see the problem. You know, like, anyone who has a problem with them I think it’s just their issue and I don’t think it has anything to do with the actual social scene itself.
Bacon: Yeah absolutely. One of the biggest criticisms TFM gets from various national organizations is that we don’t represent Greek Life. They say things like “TFM doesn’t represent Greek Life! We’re about PHILANTHROPY!” And we’re like “Of all things? Are you kidding me?”
Tucker Max: [laughs] I know. That always makes you laugh, it’s like, I know you have to say it’s about philanthropy because people get pissed if it’s not, but these are drinking and fucking clubs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t see why that’s a problem, you know? To have a social club based around partying and stuff, I don’t really see why that’s a bad thing.
Bacon: Some people say you make a living by being a douche bag, but you also have a law degree from Duke, so wasn’t that pretty much inevitable no matter what?
Tucker Max: I’m from Kentucky, alright? And I’m a Kentucky basketball fan, born and bred. So going to Duke, you don’t understand, there’s still friends of mine from Kentucky who like won’t talk to me or have problems talking to me because I went to Duke. But I didn’t go there for undergrad I went there for grad school and I only went there for grad school because they gave me a lot of money.
A bunch of other schools, great schools that I got into, you know like UVA or Harvard, I wanted to go there so I called them up and said “Duke gave me a bunch of money will you give me money?” And they laughed at me and were like “You’re a white man you should be happy you GOT IN to our law school! [laughs] How DARE you ask us for money!” But Duke gave me a bunch of money so I went to Duke.
But yes, I have to live with that stigma the rest of my life, so what can I say, there’s always the taint of douche on you when you attend Duke, it’s inevitable.
Bacon: Our readers are dying to know, would you pee in a girl’s butt?
Tucker Max: [laughs] I’ve actually heard that before, is that where it started? Did it start on TotalFratMove?
Bacon: We don’t think so, we think it might’ve started on Reddit. But the first place I saw it was on TFM. [laughs] I don’t think it started on TFM but Jesus Christ it has taken over.
Tucker Max: Yeah dude I’ve definitely heard that and I’ve definitely had girls say that in that context, and it’s happened more in the last six months, it’s definitely gotten bigger. I didn’t know you guys started or popularized it, or whatever, that’s pretty funny.
Bacon: We MIGHT have. But seriously, would you pee in a butt?
Tucker Max: I mean I’ve peed ON a girl already man, so if a girl asked me to pee in her butt I don’t really think it’s that big of a step. I mean I got a blow job on an X-Ray machine and, I mean, c’mon man, peeing in a girl’s butt is, like, I’m not going to ask to do it, it doesn’t turn me on, but like, of course.
If I had a journalism degree, it would have spontaneously combusted from shame after that last question. Luckily I don’t have a journalism degree… or self-respect.
Thanks again to Tucker Max for taking the time to talk to us. Follow him on Twitter @TuckerMax and be sure to pre-order his new book “Hilarity Ensues” here, or look for it in stores on Tuesday, February 7th.
Follow me on Twitter: @BaconTFM