Pinchot: Heís NOT Ridiculous!
Written by Celeste
Photography by Timothy White / Onyx
Grooming by Joe Haly
Illustrations by Juanita Kuan
When you meet Bronson Pinchot for
lunch, itís hard to know what to expect. Youíre almost ready to see
some silly guy with an accent shouting "Donít be ridikalaus!" like
he does as Balki, the country bumpkin Mypiot shepherd on the hit TV show
Instead, you find a nice,
low-key, very smart, normal kind of guy. Well, okay, make that sort of normal.
In the course of the meal, he yanks at the waitressís apron strings, makes
faces across the table, and giggles crazily at his own jokes. So, who is
the real Bronson, you wonder: the calm one or the crazy one?
Read on and decide for yourself .
. . .
character, Balki, is almost like a big kid. Do people often confuse you
with the role you play on TV?
A: Well, yes and no. I donít
think they really expect me to speak with an accent. But Iím pretty sure
that people sense that when I goof around as Balki, thatís the way I goof
around when Iím alone with my friends. And theyíre right.
you funny as a kid?
A: My whole family was
funny. We spent a lot of time doing imitations of each other.
Sometimes now, Iíll call my motherís answering machine and leave a whole
conversation as if she picked up. Iíll imitate her saying things like,
"Oh my God, your brotherís bankrupt again! And your sisterís
driving me crazy. What am I going to do-o-oo!!" She gets a real
kick out of it.
four kids who do imitations of their mother Ė thatíd drive any mom Ďround
A: My mother was pretty funny
herself. She was always doing weird voices to make us laugh. For
example, my brothers and my sister all had troll dolls [a troll is a
mythological goblin-like creature]. And they all had names. My
mother would tape interviews with the dolls like she was on "60
Minutes." She would ask them questions about their country
and they would answer in accents. Sheíd even create a national anthem
for them. It was hilarious.
I read somewhere
that you werenít real popular in school. Is that true?
A: Yeah. Mostly in junior
high school. See, at the time I didnít know anything about sports.
I knew about Shakespeare and about Renaissance
art because my mother exposed all of us to a wide variety of things. Sheíd
read plays to us around the dinner table. But I didnít know the first
thing about catching a softball. Consequently, if the coach put me on the
softball team, the other kids on the team would get really upset because I
couldnít hit a ball.
The first time anyone ever taught
me the right way to catch a football was when I was 23 years
old. I was on a film set and this other actor said, "Letís go and
throw a football around." And I said, "I donít know how to
throw a football around." He couldnít believe it. But nobody
ever taught me how to do it. So this guy taught me.
Did you have a
girlfriend in junior high?
A: Yeah. Kathy. The
funny part about it was that Kathy was really sporty. She was good
at girlís softball. As a matter of fact, she was the only one who
took me to the park and showed my how to catch a fly ball. Then weíd go
back and kiss on her front porch. It was great!
Were you fat as a
A: Yeah. I was the fattest
kid at school.
considering how thin you look now. Did you have a favorite dessert?
A: Chocolate eclairs. And
my other favorite thing was a sandwich with chunky peanut butter with grape jam
or strawberry jam on wheat bread dipped in chocolate milk.
about your happy dreams as a kid? Did you ever dream you could fly?
A: Sure. I used to dream
all the time that I was flying around our Sunday school because it had an
unbelievably tall ceiling. It was wonderful. It was like swimming
through the air.
are you strongest dislikes?
A: I donít like violence.
I donít like cruelty. I donít like phoniness or
anything that messes up the environment. I donít like anything thatís
plastic or shiny.
shiny? What about shiny tinsel on a Christmas tree or a shiny birthday ribbon?
A: Nothing shiny.
Bronson. What about glossy photographs?
Nope. I like matte finishes on photos.
A: I hate it. Everything at
my house is old, like weathered stone from old demolished buildings or old wood
furniture from New Mexico that has been
weathered by the sun. The only thing I like to be shiny is my car after itís
been washed. But nothing else.
To change the
subject completely, is it fun being famous?
A: Well, I think my experience is
much different than, say Tom Cruiseís. Nobody faints or screams when
they see me. They smile and wave and laugh as if theyíve known my for
years. Itís like Iím everybodyís cousin. And I think thatís
last question: If you designed a personalized license plate to sum up your
philosophy of life, what would it be?
A: Iíve got one on my
car. It says, "Mypiot."
Balki is from the
island of Mypos, so heís a Mypiot, right?
A: Exactly. And Balkiís
point of view pretty much expresses my view of life, which is simply this:
Ignore the ugliness. Look for the good things. And always look for