Vegetable matter 

Digging to the root of comic sensation Carrot Top

Carrot Top is well known to most TV viewers as the spastic guy with the big mop of red hair on the AT&T commercials who urges you to call collect. He is also one of the most successful standup comics in the country. His shows are known for their high-energy, rapid-fire delivery, their laser lights and rock ’n’ roll music, as well as for his custom-made props—such as a boxing glove with built-in chatter teeth, designed, he says, for Mike Tyson, so he can box and bite at the same time.

Carrot Top is bringing his “Made in America” tour to Missoula this Friday. His manager, Stacy, let it be known that Carrot Top was willing to talk, and somehow it was decided that I would get to talk to him. Well, OK. But I didn’t want the interview to be just another opportunity for Carrot Top to tell jokes and prove how funny he is. I wanted to find the real Carrot Top, get a sense of his inner molten core. So I dusted off some psychoanalytic questions that were posed to me long ago by my high school sweetheart, Lisa, whose parents were both psychiatrists. She asked me these questions on what turned out to be our last date—and I was curious to see if Carrot Top would fare any better.

Missoula Independent: My first question sheds light on things that you like about yourself. Carrot Top, what is your favorite animal?

Carrot Top: It’s got to be a puppy. Not a dog, just a puppy.

MI: Why?

CT: ’Cause they’re just so cute. They’re so innocent and cute. They don’t know yet...They’ve got those big ol’ paws, and they just kind of flop around...A friend of mine just had a party and everyone brought their dogs. And this woman’s little puppy was gonna be a big dog because it had big feet. But it didn’t know how to walk yet, it just kind of hopped. And I swear we watched this puppy for hours, just laughing at him hop.

(Hmm… this might be working. Carrot Top likes the part of him that makes people laugh. But most of all, he sees himself as an innocent, supple creature. As far as the big paws...well, other theories could also be applied.)

MI: Carrot Top, if you could be any body of water, what would you be?

CT: Wow. I was gonna say Lake Tahoe, because it’s so beautiful there. But it’s so cold, and I don’t like being cold, so I’m gonna have to go with a warm body of water. I think I could be the ocean. Do I want to be the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean? The Pacific’s cold, so I guess I’d be the Atlantic ’cause it’s warm.

MI: I got these questions from a friend of mine...a psychoanalyst.

CT: Really? Does it say anything about being warm or cold?

MI: The answer you give to the water question sheds light on your conception of sex. So by choosing a warm body of water, you are choosing warmth. Or maybe hot. And your choice was warm, and big, enveloping perhaps, rather than cold and beautiful.

CT: There you go. Right on. So I answered that one GOOD!

MI: Carrot Top, I know from your Web page that your favorite color is plaid. Why?

CT: I just think it’s kind of fun. The more creative you are it’s good. I don’t want to be normal. What’s that question about?

MI: Your favorite color describes your emotional state. Your answer indicates fun, goofy, abnormal.

CT: There you go.

MI: Imagine yourself in a white box. All you can see around you is white. How do you feel?

CT: God. I’d feel like I’m in a Wal-Mart.

MI: That’s how you feel about death.

CT: I wouldn’t like it, it would be boring. Does this mean I’m going to heaven? MI: I think it might mean that you are going to Wal-Mart.

CT: Oh, God. (After dusting off the sensitive side of Carrot Top and getting him into a reflective mood, I decide to probe his depths on some of the pressing issues of the day:)

MI: Carrot Top, if you could change one thing about America, what would it be?

CT: Probably the hate. We just love to hate, and I still don’t know why. People love to loathe, and it’s too bad. You know, after Sept. 11, maybe we could learn something...a little more humanity maybe. It sounds goofy and silly but just like, in general, if people could be a little more respectful. How’s that? I went the serious route. I could have said something like, no more parking meters! But I went the serious route.

MI: Good for you. What would you change about men?

CT: Men? I think men could be a little less dog-oriented toward women. As a form of humanity, I think men are more immature. Like strip clubs or Playboy magazine. People act like they’ve never seen naked people. I mean people go crazy. “Look, boobies!” You know? And I always think, “God, how old are you?” I think we are a little immature. Men could be a little bit more compassionate you call that...

MI: Women?

CT: Oh boy, I knew that was going to happen. Women? Well, women could be a little less mean to me. No. I think...women...boy...what could change about women? Well, I guess if we changed our men, the women would probably change their feelings about men. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just say women don’t have to change anything. They are just great the way they are.

MI: Um-hmm.

CT: Yeah.

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