By Veronica Mixon
August 23, 2003
David Spade is best known for his Emmy
nominated role as Dennis Finch, the
wisecracking assistant on TV's Just
Shoot Me and his five-year stint
on NBC's Saturday Night Live.
The former Scottsdale, Arizona native
started his show biz career as a stand
up comic before SNL and was
named "Hot Stand-Up Comedian of
the Year" by Rolling Stone magazine.
She had rewarding partnership with the
late Chris Farley and has appeared in
such films as Black Sheep, Tommy
Boy, Light Sleeper and Coneheads.
So what's your experience with
any child stars?
Well, I got to work with about 30 that
you saw in the thing and they are complicated.
At one point they were all around the
show. There was something really great
happening and that screws their head--
a lot worse when you're a kid. Just
being on Saturday Night Live
for me when I was like a little older
than a kid, I was like 25, but just
getting cut from like 'Weekly Update'
really freaked me out and made me have
a rough week. It literally affects your
health. It affects everything. If you're
crazy enough to be in LA or trying to
be in show business, something's already
wrong. So you're already starting in
a bit of a deficit. And so when you
go out there and you're getting rejected,
it's true there's something there. There's
something real about that. Even the
ones that are doing great are crazy.
Like I meet stars that are huge stars
that couldn't have a better career and
they're totally coo coo. And I'm like
wow. They've gone through so many ups
and downs; by the time they get there
they're still mad about the down time.
So when you're a kid and you do that
I think it's so crazy and people start
on you. I mean I was shocked when I
got older if a movie didn't open or
if people wouldn't talk to me, friends
leave, girls act weird. So everything
in the world is based on this? And that's
how I related in the movie. Like some
of those scenes we wrote because, it's
true that people kind of adjust themselves
to how well you're doing because that's
your whole identity/ sell-worth.
Did you decide who would get
I had a say, but it was more of a crapshoot.
I'm like bring me Tootie. Bring me J.J.
Walker. [And they're like] well we have
Screech and we have Danny Bonaduce.
I'm like great, let's go. So it was
more like we all brainstormed. It's
not just who is a child star, but who
do we care about, who is interesting?
Is there anybody that you really
wanted that you couldn't get?
Fonzy, maybe, I loved him. He's my favorite
35-year-old child star. 'Cause he was
a high schooler. As a kid we had Jeff
Kineky and I think that's where we were
stretching. Grease technically
was high school. They were all 41, but
that's OK and he was a good sport about
it. We had a screening once and showed
some people 'cause we were trying to
get people for the song when the movie's
over. The guys from Chips came
and I'm like I think we've gone too
far now. These aren't child stars. Now
we've just gone back to nostalgia.
So what made you develop the
concept and how do you feel about the
whole concept of child stars?
I think it was ripe for the picking
to be honest. We did because we kept
seeing them on something. And you know
we wrote these two years ago. So even
since then the surreal life came out.
I'm like oh they do our movie and it
gets them to go do something else. We
still haven't come out yet. So it’s
an odd process, but there's some fascination
or there wouldn't be all these shows,
Star Dates. But it's a bit of a train
wreck. So you watch it that way. You
don't hear about the ones that went
on to sell insurance and have a happy
life and got married. That's no fun.
You want to hear about the guy that
Is there really a difference
between child stars like Alyssa Milano
and someone else that is just scratching
It’s funny though, because no
one even mentions that she's a child
star because she landed on her feet.
The same thing she's doing great, cute
girl, doing well, works and no story.
Danny Partridge and Greg Brady is that
their names? They were in the poker
scene, it was getting late and Greg
was ad libbing and Danny's like don't
make me beat you down again. It’s
like ok, because Corey has a band? Dustin
has a band? So there are snipes about
that. And they've never met each other.
So suddenly when its poker scene and
we're doing this thing and its weird
and it’s getting late and everyone's
tired. Its just one of those things
where even at the song at the end everyone
gets excited like hey you were my favorite
growing up. But there are a couple of
egos floating around.
Were you ever worried about
putting kids in your movies after working
Yeah I'm a little worried that the two
in our movie, its kind of funny that
they were child stars. I mean they're
not super huge stars, they're just actors
but that's just as bad. The moms were
cool and the little girl was so cute
and so sweet off camera. I think she'll
be fine, I hope. She didn't seem all
screwed up. We auditioned a lot that
seemed like American Idol Jr.
They're like let them do it again, you
did it wrong, its funny. I'm like I
don't want you around this set. So he
had to go too. Yeah, it's a tough thing
but there are good kids.
When did you start acting?
It started when I was 19 or 20, right
away I got stuff when I was at the improv,
then I got a big show on fox without
auditioning I was just doing standup
and I got a new agent and they were
like a big deal and he said turn it
down you don't want it, we got so many
big plans. I turned it down against
every got feeling and they put me out
in all these big auditions and I couldn't
get any. I couldn't act I never took
a class; I was getting it from just
doing standup doing it like Joe stand
up. I was like 15, so the show would've
been screwed that hired me but who cares
so then I didn't like 3 months auditions.
Agents dropped me back to zero. The
same ones that turned down the first
show, got rid of me and I was back like
I couldn't get an agent. I was like
oh my God I just had everything. It
was weird so I had to start over doing
standup for 4 yrs and finally got some
heat going, so it was horrible.
How hard was it to get the
other former child actors than it was
to get the other actors?
They were hard. Some were like hey give
me $50 and an apple and the other ones
were like I need a private jet, I need
an entourage and they sometimes stay
at the last level of their highest thing,
they didn’t wanna drop from there.
So it's like I need this, this and sweeten
out the budget for them.
What do you want audiences
to walk away from this film with?
A little bit of sweet but hopefully
this is just basically a comedy.
Maybe, a movie where I'm the son of
Santa Claus. That's what we're toying