Question: What are some of the positive responses from celebrities who got skewered on the Celebrity Deathmatch?
As Celebrity Deathmatch grew in popularity, it became en vogue for stars to be parodied on the show. Whether they were up and coming “flash in the pan” type celebs or bona fide Hollywood Icons, for some, seeing their name on a Deathmatch fight card was acknowledgement enough that they had made it in show biz.
We couldn’t resist animating a battle between Mötly Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and porn star legend Ron Jeremy (a.k.a. the Laurence Olivier of adult cinema). At the time, Tommy was probably better know for his sex tape exploits with former wife Pamela Anderson, than he was for his musical abilities. With two notoriously well-endowed superstars such as these, what better way to change up the show’s format than with a down and dirty COCK FIGHT!
We replaced the ring with a dirt floor, set the fight in an “undisclosed” location and dressed our combatants in chicken outfits. With double entendre commentary such as “This is going to be a long hard cock fight,” and “That move really got a rise out of Ron Jeremy” this deathmatch would push the limits of bad taste and basic cable standards.
In an MTV interview, Tommy Lee commented on the fight in his own inimitable style: “I think it’s hilarious, man. I wanna meet the guy who does the cartoon things, cause when I saw the one of me and Ron Jeremy I was like, dude, I mean…I just wanna meet him cause he got every single detail, like, crazy. I wanna meet that dude, or maybe it’s a chick, who knows.”
Some combatants were genuinely invested in the outcome of our fantasy battles. For them, it wasn’t enough merely to be featured on Celebrity Deathmatch – they were out for blood. When we put our unique spin on the charity event known as Live Aid, our “Death Aid” became a three way free for all between comics Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopie Goldberg.
Whoopie, the undisputed victor, ended the match by demonstrating one of the first rules of comedy -- If bends it’s funny, if it breaks it’s not – before brutally snapping Robin Williams in two!
Not long after, I received flowers and chocolates from Whoopie, along with a note that said: “I love your work. I love you guys and I really love that I won!”
But most celebrities we featured reacted positively to Celebrity Deathmatch, win or lose. Donny and Marie Osmond, who lost the “Battle of the Slaphappy Siblings” to Eric and Julia Roberts, invited me to appear on their talk show. Also appearing on the show was Carmen Electra. There I was, heading into the proverbial lion’s den, about to be surrounded by three celebrities who met their untimely deaths on my show. As it turned out they were super-nice. They were all good sports and genuine fans of the show. For them, simply being part of Deathmatch was a badge of honor.
Of all the celebrities who showed their support for show, my favorite would have to be none other than Steven Spielberg. Clearly, Mr. Spielberg got the joke when we put him up against the master of suspense, Sir Alfred Hitchcock.
As one might imagine, we had a blast cooking up sight gags inspired by everything from Vertigo and Psycho, to E.T. and Saving Private Ryan.
In the end, stop-motion Spielberg met his fate at the hands of a trio of disgruntled demons who felt they had been short changed out of residuals from Raiders of the Lost Ark. They proceeded to tear the acclaimed director from limb to limb.
In a show of good sportsmanship, Spielberg sent us the following note: “I want a rematch! I have a new arsenal of digital weapons – a T-Rex and a great white shark as my corner men. I would match that against Hitchcock, Cary Grant and James Stewart any day. Accept the challenge. By the way – great show. Our kids loved it. All my best, Steven Spielberg.”
Mr. Spielberg, if I ever have the opportunity to make more deathmatches, I will gladly take you up on the offer!