By: Nate Sloan
Perhaps a sex manual--even a hilarious one--isn't public reading material. I kept inadvertantly flashing neighboring straphangers with the graphic words (Masturbation!) and imagery (malformed penises!) contained within Our Bodies, Our Junk (Available in book stores August 24th!). I'm lucky someone didn't take a grainy cell phone photo of me and alert some editor of Newsday about a hapless subway perv on the loose. Anyways, I sent some q's over to Mike Sacks, who you may know from the pages of Vanity Fair or last year's stellar interview collection, And Here's the Kicker. He's one of the book's five esteemed co-authors and is a top researcher for The Association For the Betterment of Sex.
Since you purport to be a sexpert in Our Bodies, Our Junk, I assume you'll be pretty open to answering some erotic gotcha questions to start us off: tell us Mike, what is your darkest sexual fantasy? What is the exact # of partners you've had? And who is the 'biggest' expert amongst the 5 of you (if you know what I mean)?
That would be me. Among the group I'm known as "Doc." Not for my intelligence, but because I legally had my name changed to "Doc." My darkest sexual fantasy would involve duct tape, a used Futon and AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" blasting in the background. You have to admit, that's very sexy. As for my number of partners, I don't remember. But I did use to live in New Orleans and I've been to about ten Mardi Gras. So maybe the answer could be "a lot of middle-aged women from Houston, Texas."
How did you come to team up with the other writers? Are you all friends from somewhere?
We've written together for a few magazines, such as Esquire, Radar and Vanity Fair. But we wanted to work on a larger project like a book, and sex seemed like a, burp, juicy enough topic to cover. Collectively we call ourselves The Pleasure Syndicate. Individually, Todd Levin writes for Conan O'Brien. Scott Jacobson's a four-time Emmy winner for The Daily Show. He's now working out in LA, writing for a very funny new FOX show called Bob's Burgers. It'll debut in September. Jason Roeder is a contributing writer for The Onion, and the author of a hilarious book called Oh, the Humanity. Ted Travelstead is on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair. And then there's me, "Doc."
We've just started work on our next project, another book, which should hopefully be out in 2011. It's going to be about the workplace. Sort of Dilbert meets GG Allin.
Since the writing style seems to have one unified voice, I'm curious--how was the writing split up? Was there a meeting where one of you would go, "Me me me! I want to write about masturbation! I'll take that section."
We came up with a pretty detailed outline for each chapter. Anyone could really write on any subject they wanted. We sort of just fell into this voice pretty easily. I think we've all written in this dry manner before, either for advertising, or for academic journals, or for associations. For the book, we wrote in a very authoritative style, but needless to say, we don't know what the hell we're talking about. For instance, we're absolutely convinced that the clitoris looks like a plum left overnight in the rain. Also, we're 100% convinced that there are exactly five acts of sexual intercourse that take place on a daily basis across the globe. This sounds about right.
Is there a release party or a tour happening in support of the book?
Yes! There will be a few readings, but the main reading will be at Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn on September 23rd. Also, there will be a reading in Los Angeles on September 15th at Book Soup. Andy Richter and Sarah Thyre (the husband and wife team who wrote the book's forewords) will also be appearing with us. All of the information is listed on our site: http://hq.ourbodiesourjunk.com/press_events/
Have you had a chance to compare and contrast your work with Kristen Schaal's Sexy Book of Sexy Sex? According to Amazon, the two are frequently bought together. You know, you could have combined your efforts and created one mega-textbook. Any Spy vs. Spy antics around that?
I haven't heard of that other book; I'm not familiar with it. With that said, if you buy our book before October 1st, you will receive a free beaver shot of all five of us authors, posing in a parking lot of a northern Virginia Wal-Mart.
Your last book, And Here's the Kicker--a treasure trove of deep dive interviews with the most influential comedic artists and writers of our lifetimes--is a must-read. Thanks for writing it. Did you have any takeaways or lessons to share from that experience?
Thanks. Yes, I learned quite a few things. First of all, I was just happy to talk with a lot of authors I've always respected. A few have since passed away, and I feel lucky to have been able to speak with them. I mean, talking to Irv Brecher about the Marx Brothers was like talking to someone about Babe Ruth. It was a real bridge to another time and place, long since disappeared. Also, Larry Gelbart was a real class act, as well as a brilliant comedy writer. He's really missed. He was the gold standard.