Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry stopped by the show today to talk about his new book, The History of the Millennium (So Far), and to show off his skills with a Telestrator (thanks to the fertile mind of TODAY producer Ryan Osborn). WATCH VIDEO
You can read an excerpt from the book HERE.
After the segment, I had a chance to talk to him for a few minutes about his book, what he's up to these days, and one of the biggest stories of the last millennium, O.J. Simpson (in terms of important moments from 1001-2000, O.J.'s murder trial clearly ranks somewhere between the invention of the printing press in 1450 and the advent of penicilin in 1929).
Q: This book covers a lot of territory -- this entire millennium. So we're talking about seven whole years or so.
Dave Barry: Yes, it's all about this millennium. I figured it would be good to get the first book out covering the history of the millennium. Most people would wait until the end of the millennium, but those people tend to use facts anyway. I find facts just slow a person down.
Q: Let's talk about someone from the last millennium who's back in the news: O.J. Simpson. What do you think about his return to the headlines?
DB: Speaking purely as humorist, this is something that we've come to rely on. Just when you think O.J. is gone, all of a sudden, he's back again. It's like Freddie Krueger. Now, I'm not comparing O.J. to Freddie Krueger. I happen to think O.J. is a worse person than Freddie Krueger. But they both keep coming back.
O.J.'s behavior, by any measure, is insane, bordering on stupid.
Q: Back to this millennium...What about Kyla Ebbert, the young woman who was told by Southwest Airlines that her clothes were too skimpy?
DB: I fly all the time. As travelers, we have all sorts of complaints, about food, delays, not enough leg room, all sorts of things. But I've never heard anyone complain that there are too many hot women on planes.
Q: So was she dressed appropriately, in your view?
DB: She was dressed just fine. Find me a man in this country who says she wasn't dressed okay.
Q: Another strange story in the news today -- the University of Florida student who was Tasered after he refused to give up the microphone at a Sen. John Kerry lecture...
DB: Yeah, this is clearly going to be the high point of this guy's life. I can't wait until he's old, he's got long hair, a long white beard, probably drooling, and he'll tell everyone, "Remember that day I got Tasered? That was me!"
Q: You stopped writing your column in 2005...so what are you up to now?
DB: I do a lot of blogging, actually. I write a lot -- I write books, screenplays. I just wrote a screenplay with Gene Weingarten from the Washington Post that has now joined the giant hill of screenplays in Hollywood that are "in production."
I play in a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders with a bunch of other writers [including Stephen King, Mitch Albom, Amy Tan and others]. We're really terrible. But we're always asking, "What separates us from other bands, like the Beatles, for example?" The difference, I think, is that the Beatles practiced. They went to Germany, practiced, got good, and that's the difference. We don't practice.
Q: What's it like getting so many best-selling authors together in one place?
DB: It's really wonderful, because we don't talk about writing at all. Usually that's all anyone wants to talk about with us.
Q: Is there any rivalry over who's sold the most books?
DB: Well, no. Not with Stephen King and Mitch Albom around.