Skinema Review / Interview
[ by sean o'neal ]
Chris Nieratko has lived a lifetime of misadventure and outrageous fortune, from his early days getting into scrapes with the crew at seminal skateboard magazine Big Brother (which later formed the basis for Jackass) to stints working for Disney and Larry Flynt. More recently, Nieratko has garnered a fervent following for "Skinema," a column he pens for the beloved/hated hipster bible Vice. Ostensibly a series of porn reviews, "Skinema" is actually a sounding board for Nieratko's hazy memories and scatological rants, filled with some of the most brutally honest, foulest language possible—like the world's best bar stories, told by the world's most unapologetic asshole. Vice recently collected several years' worth of Nieratko's columns into Skinema, a twisted memoir of sorts that traces Nieratko's journey from pill-addled miscreant to—as of last year—happily married man, albeit one constantly in search of a threesome. The A.V. Club recently spoke to Nieratko (out now on a nationwide tour of bookstores and skate shops) about Skinema, his continuing efforts to impregnate his wife, and how he's survived 10 years of "retarded situations."
How's the tour going?
The turnout has been swell and everyone has left drunk, so I guess it can be called a success. Tampa was interesting. I did an interview with a porn star for Bizarre while I was down there. The classic porn-star scenario: She's 20 and her husband is 40. They fell in love four years ago. You do the math.
So was he her agent or her director?
A little bit of everything. She makes it so that she only works with him—well, she tries, anyway. She's still forced to use other penises as the job dictates. But yeah… 16 years old, with a 36-year-old penis inside her.
What's this show about, exactly?
Every time it's different. In Williamsburg, I just yelled at the people and walked off the stage. In Philadelphia, I did "speed befriending," where I went and sat with each person and told them a story. Chicago and Tampa were slideshows, where I had my wife pick a bunch of random slides and I told fucked-up stories about them.
How does that go over?
Generally with a lot of laughter, but it might be because of the alcohol. Most of the stories have to do with she-male prostitutes in Brazil and straight-edge Portuguese men getting wasted with me. It's all over the board. A good story that I just got told at the Philly thing—because everybody wants to give me their craziest sex story—was how this guy had taken this older businesswoman home and was having sex with her, and she got a phone call and took it while he was still inside her. She gets into this argument with this person who ends up being her husband—and that's awful, but to make it worse, when she got off the phone, she said, "Don't worry about it. He hasn't had sex with me in three years, not since the accident." [Laughs.] "He's a paraplegic from the waist down." That killed any boner my buddy had left.
What kind of people turn up at your shows?
People that can't afford their own beer. Tampa had a bunch of 50-year-old hippies. There are a lot of sexy, tattooed, loose women. Lots of skateboarders. And then there's a lot of lost people asking for directions who find out there's free beer and stick around.
Do you have groupies?
There was one fella in Boston who burned me every Ghostface song ever. He kept trying to get me to do drugs with him, and I was like, "Buddy, I haven't done drugs in years." He was rich and kept trying to buy everything and everyone. He took about 20 dirty skateboarders out to the most expensive restaurant in Boston and put his card down, so of course my friends were ordering six-packs and just putting them in their pocket. They're like, "Can I get a filet mignon to go?" He kept saying we should "spend more time together," and that me and the wife should come to Connecticut. I told him I don't go anywhere near Connecticut—there's too many white people there—and he said, "I'll get you a helicopter from Jersey, so you just have to go over Connecticut." I was like, "Yeah, fantastic. Just e-mail me the details."
Are you still traveling with your wife?
I actually had to kiss her goodbye yesterday. In two weeks, we get reunited in Hawaii. I'm already losing my mind, because she's the one who keeps order in my life. I've already lost my socks. I left one of my computer batteries on a fucking airplane, and my entire CD book of all my DVDs for this trip. Yesterday I almost left Vice's video camera on the plane—thank God I remembered as I was getting off. I'm really absent-minded without her.
How did you celebrate your recent one-year anniversary?
We got completely smashed with our family. And you're supposed to save that top layer of the wedding cake to eat a year later, so we did that. It tasted like Styrofoam. All the ketchup in the world couldn't make it any better. She said she has a special anniversary gift waiting for me when I get home. I'm hoping it's a naked woman in our bed, but I'll go out on a limb and say it won't be.
c/o the a.v. club
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© 2007 chrisnieratko.com