Today, I’m Talking Trash with John Waters!

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He’s shocking, raunchy, and can’t ever be censored. Today, Ricki talks to her lifelong friend John Waters, whose iconic film “Hairspray” has become a theater favorite. It’s also where Ricki, playing Tracy Turnblad, made her movie debut. After working on several films together, the two have become lifelong friends. They dish on their crazy memories of working on set, John’s appearance on The Ricki Lake Show, and what it’s like to have your work labeled as “trashy.”

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Ricki Lake, John Waters

Ricki Lake  00:00

Hey, heads up. In today’s show, you’ll hear discussions about weight and body image, which may be triggering for some listeners. If this is a topic you’d rather avoid. We recommend you skipping past the first 12 minutes of this episode or waiting to the next one. Take care. Hi, everyone, its Raised by Ricki and yes, it’s me, Ricki Lake. I’m so excited to talk to you today. But I don’t have Kalen with me. I miss him very much. And I know you do too. But do not worry. He will be back next week. But that doesn’t mean I’m alone. No, I’m going to be joined by my friend and lifelong mentor, John Waters. Yes, John Waters. John Waters, as most of you know made his fame and counterculture subversive films. His first real standout was Pink Flamingos, which was released in 1972, 50 years ago this year. And of course, that’s the film were demine a dogshit and you know, the rest is history. He also released Female Trouble, Desperate Living. Together, all three of those films were called the trash trilogy. And John was always about bad taste and making films that shocked people, which earned him the nickname The pope of trash. Many of John’s films featured his good friend and mine the drag queen, the late Great Divine. Divine Of course, played my mother Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, and it was the time of my life working with him getting to watch him work and see him create this character. I also work with John on his other films Cry Baby, Serial mom also was in a dirty shame and […] Demented with Melanie Griffis. Now, I filmed all of these movies in the late 80s and early 90s. Before I had my talk show, so it’s really hard to come up with the words to describe how much John means to me as my friend, as my you know, leader, my mentor, someone who just showed me the ropes and gave me the opportunity of a lifetime opened up every door I give him every bit of credit for giving me this amazing life that I’ve managed to have for all these years. He helped me to kind of see people as people and without judgment and to celebrate our differences. He made me love my body. You know, I was such a young, very overweight and insecure 18 year old and he really helped me to come to a place of loving myself, you know, and for that and so much more. I am eternally grateful to him, and I’m so happy to have him on this podcast. I’m excited to talk to John today about his connection to the Ricki Lake show he did make a couple of appearances very memorable appearances. And I also am curious to talk to him about how both my work on the talk show and his work has been labeled trash and trashy and what that means to him. We’re also going to go down memory lane with the crazy memories of all the people we worked with over the years from Divine to Iggy Pop and Traci Lords and of course Johnny Depp. There were so many I mean serial mom with Suzanne Somers and Kathleen Turner. I mean, his knack for pulling together the most incredible casts ever, and having them do the craziest things on film. It’s classic, so I cannot wait any longer. Is that a doorbell? John, it is such a pleasure to talk to you as always, but particularly for this project. I’m doing this podcast about my old talk show but I want to go back before that to Hairspray. Can you tell the origin story of how you found me? And what do you remember our experience?

John Waters  03:48

I remember finding you through, oh god, what was the casting agent, Mary Calhoun was great. She’s no longer with us now. But she was the first and she worked with Pat Moran who was always with me casting all my movies so we did it together. And I remember we were even politically correct them we did not say we were looking for an F word girl, fat. 

Ricki Lake  04:10

That’s the memo I got.

John Waters  04:14

We said an ample woman who’s proud of it. That’s how we put it out in the casting notice. We would never have said the effort even then. But you might have heard that.

Ricki Lake  04:23

I think I saw like one of the tablet what are the trades you know, like showbiz and backstage and I was a freshman in college. I was 18.

John Waters  04:32

But you had done one movie, right?

Ricki Lake  04:35

had done like a small part in a movie that went right to Disney. It was I mean, I don’t even remember the name but yeah, so I got my sag card. I don’t remember the name.

John Waters  04:50

You forget the name of the first movie you ever made even if it was […]

Ricki Lake  04:58

I think it was called starlight.

John Waters  04:59

Wait, let’s tell the story. Let’s so basically I had gone in to see you I was on a break from my finals week of my freshman year of college at Ithaca Yeah, I drove down five hours got a speeding ticket on the way net you did not know who you were. I had no clue I’d never heard of divine I really didn’t know what I was getting into except it was maybe going to get me out of going back to school the next semester. So I went to this audition walked in met you I met you on the first call. I was wearing a big Ithaca College sweatshirt and I remember you were like looking over the desk looking at me to make sure I was as big as I looked.

John Waters  04:59

Yeah. Okay, so basically, Mary Calhoun found you and brought you in. And to be honest, I’ve told the story before, but there was only about seven people that tried out for the park total. Three times later, when they did hairspray for NBC television to remake a musical they advertised there was 1000s of big girls showed up. You gave the example to every fat girl that you could be the star of a movie. So by then, you had, you were Tracy Turnblad you had confidence you could dance you were one bit uptight about it. And the other people that tried out I don’t even remember them it was so obviously you from the first time but we did to have to have callbacks and you know the story this other one she’s watching.

John Waters  06:16

Well. Yeah, we wanted to make sure this was not about a plump girl, this was about a big girl and ample woman who is proud of it. And you seem to be that even in real life and doing the role I mean you, what did you read, what did you have to read?

Ricki Lake  06:32

I had to read two scenes to and I guess I remember that I said it the way you wanted it said like I feel like there are other girls that didn’t say it the way you had envisioned.

John Waters  06:38

That’s the thing, you know since I write all the parts I played every role in my head the whole time and I don’t tell them probably I did give line readings but then sometimes I remember Christina Ricci did this in pecker. She just said it exactly the way I wanted without any direction and that’s who always gets the part.

Ricki Lake  07:02

Right, so lucky me lucky me I was able to channel you before I even knew you.

John Waters  07:06

And maybe he’s just read the dialogue maybe there’s only really one way you can read it. Who knows.

Ricki Lake  07:11

And when I left the room did you think I was the one that first time you met me?

John Waters  07:17

I mean I remember talking to Pat I think yes, we found her this girl was great you know immediately I know it’s gonna be you it was never, except and they had another one and this other candidate came in and she was great. She was like little […] 

Ricki Lake  07:31

So what is little […] that people don’t know, she’s like a cartoon character right?

John Waters  07:37

A lewd of a girl a big girl but kind of like […], but in a great way. And she was pretty she was a pretty galoot.

Ricki Lake  07:43

Oh, I remember sitting across from her at the callback, and I looked at and she just looked exactly like this character. And I you know; she was a lot bigger than me. She had a bow in her and around her neck, and her hair was perfect. And I think I made like small talk with her and told her that she looked really pretty. And she responded with a thank you that included a major speech impediment.

John Waters  08:08

Well, yes, and that I felt bad because when she read you know, and believe me in a John Waters film, you couldn’t be the star and have a speech impediment. […] had a speech impediment. It was in a lot of my movie, right? He had one she had a list, right? So it’s not unheard of. In my movie, we hired the handicapped and ample and proud of it. But she, was lovely. But as soon as she spoke, I kind of looked at you. And we looked at each other, and knew the studio was not going for that. Even if I did like or no, I knew that you were the one anyway, it was an exercise, in fairness, to have everybody come in and have a second reading we had to for the studio. But you had the part from the moment you walked in that door.

Ricki Lake  08:49

And I mean, it changed it. I mean, to say it changed the trajectory of my life is like an understatement because it literally opened every single door, every opportunity that came my way was because of that, of that playing that role. And I mean, did you ever think that that movie was going to ever have the legs that it’s had?

John Waters  09:11

No. And I think the Broadway show had obviously a huge amount to do with that the movie was a modest hit. But as you know, Devine died a week after it opened, which did put a damper on the box office from hairspray because, you know, everybody just see footage of him being interviewed and then they cut to the funeral a week later.

Ricki Lake  09:29

It was eight, literally eight days after we were celebrating in Baltimore at the premiere of Senator theater. I remember it really, really well. And the shock of it, you know, he died what in asleep at 42. And for me, I mean, it was such a strange kind of juxtaposition of just like here I was becoming a star overnight. star overnight and to deal with the tragedy of losing my costar, you know, do you remember me meeting divine and you introduce me for the first time, you remember where I were?

John Waters  10:01

Divine was helpful, Divine wasn’t you know because Divine always wanted to play both roles, but that newline wouldn’t let me I was gonna be like a Parent Trap divine was gonna play Edna and Tracy which would have been who knows how that turned out. So who knows what happens but I remember you always telling me you wanted to be a TV star and I kept saying, Oh, don’t worry, you don’t want to be on TV. Then TV was looked down on you know movies was now it’s the other way around, kind of. But then you kept saying you wanted to be a TV star and you ended up being a much bigger TV star venue. We’re from a movie star from hairspray in a way. So it’s weird how things turn out.

Ricki Lake  10:41

Do you remember, okay, so serial moms so of course I did cry baby with you which was the best frickin summer the best living at that tree mount hotel with that crazy cast of characters Susan Terrell.

John Waters  10:53

But remember how hard it was to make it rained every day. It wasn’t a glorious set for me because so many things went wrong. I mean, the mob scene of our gang was great, you know everybody hanging out together people didn’t come over and ask for autographs when the cast ran into a restaurant. They ran away when they saw [..]. Terrell regard every person say, hi I have the pussy of a 10 year old, I doubt she did but still, don’t say that to my mother.

Ricki Lake  11:22

And […] like hanging out in the bar with our little girls than what because we did night shoots that whole movie basically was at night and we’d wake you know we’d wake up the bar at 7AM after we wrapped and everyone be in there from Johnny to Iggy Pop to Tracy Lords. I mean […] I mean these people that you cast and all of your movies is classic but Serial Moms so I’d, so I don’t know if you remember Serial Mom was right before I did the talk show. Yeah, moved from Los Angeles. I remember it was April 1st, 1993. I went to Baltimore for the three months and then moved directly to New York to do the show. And I remember telling Suzanne Summers while we were doing Serial Mom, I told her I’m doing a talk show and she laughed. She laughed because she thought it was hilarious. I think everyone didn’t really take it seriously. What did you think when I was about to embark on this.

John Waters  12:14

I was always mystified because I didn’t watch talk shows in the daytime talk shows, so that you were gonna do it. I was thrilled that you got it. And then you went on to reinvent a whole new kind of talk show before anybody ever did it.

Ricki Lake  12:28

Okay, kids, we need to take a quick break. When we come back. John and I dig into the Ricki Lake Show and the meaning of trash TV. You know, my show was called Trash TV for a while, right? Back in the day.

John Waters  12:50

By you? 

Ricki Lake  12:51

No, not by us. 

John Waters  12:53

I’m not saying that wasn’t your ad?

Ricki Lake  12:54

No, it was not our ads. No, no. Okay, so I wanted to save like the trash TV thing. Here. You’re known as the pope of trash and you have a series of movies that are trash trilogy’s? When is media trash? And is it always a bad thing to you? What do you think?

John Waters  13:09

If you call yourself that first, it’s just be it’s not beating the critic for the typewriter. It’s owning it, like any negative word that people use for outsiders, you take it back and call yourself that. So to me, I call the movie Mondo trash. Oh, you know, and I was making that movie at the exact same time that that Andy Warhol was making trash and neither one of us knew it. They came out with for fame time. I mean, you know, I didn’t know that. So trash to me was a word that was always a word used against things that I embraced right from the beginning. And when they called you trash TV, they just didn’t have a new word for it. They didn’t have a new word for this was before reality TV. It was before any of that you did come first. So it did scare the normal talk show people because they weren’t going there. They didn’t know how to do it. They couldn’t have talked to the guests like you could, was it camp? No, no, because I never say that word from an old queen in 1962. Talking about Rita Hayworth in an antique shop. To me, no cap, technically men so bad. It’s good to me. You knew what you were doing there was you knew exactly what you were doing. It didn’t accidentally turn out to be trashed. Like, you didn’t think you were doing right. 

Ricki Lake  14:32

It wasn’t like show girls or something. Right? 

John Waters  14:34

No, and show girls and he says today it was supposed to be funny. He’s lying, it is funny but he meant it seriously, I believe you know, so it’s very hard today to have real camp, real camp takes itself seriously. You were serious about having a hit talk show. But you knew some of the humor and some of the subjects were outrageous. It wasn’t something you were trying to do so serious that ended up without your knowledge being outraged. Did you ever say to any of your producers that’s too trashy? I’m not doing it.

Ricki Lake  15:05

There was one show that I refuse to do in all my years. It was, how can you be with him when he is half the man that I am and it was little people. And it was a little person named Smurf. And that was, that was the one show I said, I can’t do this. I can’t. And that was it. I mean, everything else I just did as I was told, you know?

John Waters  15:27

What do you think today with political correctness? Could your show have ever even happened?

Ricki Lake  15:33

I don’t know. And I feel like we’re at this point where you? I mean, do you feel like you’re afraid to say certain things or that? 

John Waters  15:40

No, I don’t. But I walked the edge and I have never been canceled because I make fun of things I love not hate. I make fun of the rules that I live by not other people’s. So at the same time, though, yes. If I’m gonna get censored, it’s from yelling, rich college students, not dumb white Republicans. They gave up on me. I proudly called myself trash, you hid from the term, we both are successful. So just embrace the tea t-word.

Ricki Lake  16:06

I completely embrace all of it. I think it’s a mixed bag. It’s a complicated thing. Like we certainly gave the marginalized a voice and a platform that had never been seen and heard from on television in that in that way. And that kind of genre. And, you know, I think we did a service for gay people for gay couples. I mean, I don’t know if you are aware, but like we showed every couple and treated them equally.

John Waters  16:29

Yeah, you did. And also, sometimes you did it to cause trouble to rise so that people would rise to the bait. So you were a good spirited Jerry Springer. But he had lies. I know people that went on there, but faked every story. They told nobody. And I’m sure you had a couple.

Ricki Lake  16:48

So you know, people wait, you have friends that went on the show? 

John Waters  16:51

On Jerry Springer, several times and made up the entire thing. And I’m sure that you at least had one guest that did that, come on Ricky member when I went on as your surprise. We did three tapes. So how much of a lie was that? 

Ricki Lake  17:10

Did I even know you were coming on? I think it was a surprise to me at first. But the first time I did not know and I remember. I most certainly did not because it was so surreal. We had Mary Lou […] I didn’t know but like coming out segment one. 

John Waters  17:35

She had the affair with a student?

Ricki Lake  17:39

Mary, Mary Lynn, Mary Lou.

John Waters  17:43

You would have her? You want to have her on her grandchildren on and her grandchildren.

Ricki Lake  17:49

No, we had Mary Lou Retton. The gymnasts, the famous gymnasts with the cute little short haircut.

John Waters  17:55

I don’t care about gymnast; I hated the gym. 

Ricki Lake  17:58

I was like nine months pregnant with Milo and you come at we’ll I want to show you the clip. Can we pull up the clip and you can see to refresh our memory. It was so funny.

John Waters  18:35

She knew every better I was coming out here.

Ricki Lake  18:40

I did not, not the first time you’ve brought a sandwich lunch with you. Do you remember you got me? Did you buy me an actual present?

John Waters  18:59

It’s a prop they gave me.

Ricki Lake  19:06

It looks like their pants for a baby little mono. It’s a little crop top.

John Waters  19:15

I would not I don’t know probably. I could have bought that. I used to buy weird baby clothes for people all the time.

Ricki Lake  19:23

It looks like it has a jester hat.

John Waters  19:28

Well, so then we did do three takes and you were just as believable on the second one. You are a great actress and people should watch Serial Mom because that you’re so good in that movie and it’s a smaller part but you’re great in that movie and I think that should definitely be ahead of your acting reel.

Ricki Lake  19:46

I don’t have an acting reel. Is there any chance you’re going to make another movie and maybe find a role for me?

John Waters  19:53

Sure there is I’ve got two in the works but I can’t talk about curses. I got enough curses against it without picking up a new one.

Ricki Lake  20:03

But you know even though I’m doing this podcast I’m available. You can put me back on the big screen. You were also on we promoted serial mom on my show. Do you remember that?

Ricki Lake  20:12

You came to visit me Dancing with the Stars. 

John Waters  20:12

I might have been I remember I was avoiding it when you were on the world’s the dancing show. I did something on that. 

John Waters  20:13

But I was too scared that Nancy Grace, I would see her in the hall and punch her. I can’t stand her. And she goes against my friends who are in prison. So I was you know, I really was afraid I would ever see through one person I never want to meet.

Ricki Lake  20:36

She was on that year, she was.

John Waters  20:39

I would definitely say something yes. I would disagree with her politics on crime very much but anyway, she was on there that year. That’s the time that was another fake when we did.

Ricki Lake  20:49

That was definitely a fake one. We have to come back because my show was not fake.

John Waters  20:55

I’m not accusing it. That one time it was fake. When you know, I came on for this.

Ricki Lake  21:01

We had to redo your entrance. Yes, I had to fake being surprised. But for the most part, you know, the tagline was, it’s got to be real. It’s got to be Ricki and I, you know, we used to, we would pride ourselves on the fact that we’d had real stories real people. And it was a really, really good time.

John Waters  21:19

I remember the time I was on you got mad because you didn’t you do two shows a day. And I was hanging out with a guest for addicted to porn, and you couldn’t find me. And they were on the episode. The other episode, I was back up. So which one did you like? Is that your favorite? And then you said, where is he? And then they said he’s with the porn in the back.

Ricki Lake  21:39

So it was actually an enjoyable experience for you?

John Waters  21:42

Yes, it was. Oh, I had a great time. Yeah, she treated me well.

Ricki Lake  21:46

Oh my god. Were you ever on like Oprah or any of those shows? Did you ever do.

John Waters  21:49

there. Do you remember when I was arrested? Yes, of course.

John Waters  21:49

I was on every nighttime talk show. Did the Letterman a million times. I just really I can’t think of one I didn’t do I’ve never done Oprah even though she was from Baltimore. She got famous here. And I never did, Ellen. And I’ve said I would I guess they don’t want the filthy as people alive on earth.

John Waters  22:10

I remember when you were arrested. I found recently from a biker I know who’s a Hells Angel who sent me a court drawing a view that was on the news and I sent it to you, that was from a Hells Angel. What I remember is that you got busted for animal rights. And then we rated […] store. You and your first.

Ricki Lake  22:33

It was his offices. It was his private offices.

John Waters  22:37

The peanut people got you out but left your boyfriend and because he wasn’t famous.

Ricki Lake  22:41

That is not true. We got out together because we went together to do Letterman.

John Waters  22:53

I thought you said that they got you out.

Ricki Lake  22:54

Here’s what happen, let me clarify. He was sent, we were the tunes, right? You know, the tunes, right? The famous. So he was separated with the general population. The males were separate. I was with all the women that I was arrested with. So I was treated differently. But no, we got out together. We were in jail for 30 hours. And I went straight to Letterman. And it was one of those experiences.

John Waters  23:17

Talk about torn from the headlines.

Ricki Lake  23:20

It was exactly, it was literally me Tracy Turnblad behind bars watching myself on TV. I didn’t get to lick the television this time. But it was so surreal. And I called collect my pre interview producer at Letterman and did it from jail.

John Waters  23:36

They were so thrilled, you know?

Ricki Lake  23:39

I showed up, I kept my commitment. I always like try to stick to my word.

John Waters  23:43

But that picture that drawing that cord drawing that was for moving when you actually went back and had the hearing, you got found what not guilty or?

Ricki Lake  23:52

The charges were dropped. So I was charged with a bunch of I mean it was really do remember is Rudy Giuliani was the mayor and he tried to make a big example of me and you know, I was on the cover.

John Waters  24:01

He got even worse.

Ricki Lake  24:02

I knew he was a piece of shit back then. But I remember you told me on the set of hairspray you said don’t trust anybody who hasn’t been arrested at least once.

John Waters  24:12

Well, I believe that. I still believe that. 

Ricki Lake  24:16

So did you think more highly of me after my experience that I had?

John Waters  24:20

I thought you were more well-rounded.

Ricki Lake  24:24

Yes, and you remember you were gonna marry me and Rob? Do you remember?

John Waters  24:28

I did a wedding just this week. But what happened?

Ricki Lake  24:32

I got divorced. That’s what happened.

John Waters  24:35

I know but I didn’t marry you.

Ricki Lake  24:37

We ended up going to Vegas. We went to that chapel and you counseled us. You were gonna make some deal with us that we were gonna have to pay you something if we ever got divorced. But what if we get divorced? Isn’t there something that like some?

John Waters  24:51

No, I didn’t have that, I should start adding that if you get divorced, you owe me $7000.

Ricki Lake  24:55

Of all the couples that you’ve married, how many are still together?

John Waters  24:58

I’ve married maybe 25, and only three including you got divorced, but I didn’t marry you. So only two. That’s better than the Catholic Church.

Ricki Lake  25:08

That’s a really good track record. All right, we have to take a break. When we come back, John tells me about his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right near the gutter. Let’s talk about you know, you have you’re getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Am I going to get an invitation? Am I coming to that?

John Waters  25:34

Yeah, I mean, I don’t know how it works. Or hopefully it’s going to be at the same time when my academy awards museum show is going to open. Its 2023 the fall and you have some of my stuff for that. Oh, a lot of stuff is going to be in it. They’ve been working on it for two years. It’s going to be amazing. Amazing. So yes, my store I don’t know where it’ll be. I hope it’s near the chipmunk, basically. But I don’t care where it is. I heard it’s worse location, or worse location, the last one in an alley right before that’s where I want my star. But you don’t get to pick.

Ricki Lake  26:12

And you anyone can get one they can just pay like.

John Waters  26:15

No, you have to be first of all you do people’s hair, you have to pay for it. You do have to pay the upkeep, which is roughly $50,000 for a certain time, but you don’t pay you have to get an organization to sponsor you. And Outfest is sponsoring me and they came with the whole idea. And then you audition, then we send in all the things, you send why you want to send your resume and everything ever and then they decide if you’re gonna get it or not. They only pick a few it’s not like everybody not you can’t just get one night you have to have an respected organization sponsor you and then they have to approve your resume.

Ricki Lake  26:50

Does it mean something to you?

John Waters  26:53

Yes, of course, the first day I ever went to Los Angeles. I drove across the country. I got out of Hollywood and Vine walked across the street got a jaywalking ticket and looked in and saw all the stars on Hollywood Boulevard. Yes. I mean, that’s the first thing I ever saw there. So I think and somebody quipped, I said this on Bill […], it’s true closer to the gutter than average, which is true. If you’re on the pavement, you’re right next to the gutter. So I’m hope I’m near a dream.

Ricki Lake  27:21

I want I’m proposing that Lemonada Media sponsors me for my star. No, I’m kidding. Divine would be great. And Andy Cohen just got one Andy’s a good friend of mine. And I went to his party. And it was really it was I mean, I guess it is sort of the you’ve arrived when your name is on.

John Waters  27:44

No one gets it when they’re 18. Unless you’re a fucked up child star, right? No, it’s when you’re about to leave not arrive.

Ricki Lake  27:53

Okay. Okay. Well, I guess yeah, I’m not close to that yet. Hopefully. John, we can we talk about the letter that I wrote to you, thanking you after I did hairspray.

John Waters  28:03

I mean, I thought then, but you found it or they hadn’t.

Ricki Lake  28:07

You reached out to me and said is it okay if we use this?

John Waters  28:12

The […] film archive that is my film archive has been collecting stuff since the mid-80s. So I don’t remember everything I gave him in 1982. You know, this was after that because the move was 88. But they found it. It’s great. It’s a lovely letter. It’s heartfelt.

Ricki Lake  28:28

So many like cross outs. I didn’t believe in second drafts at that time.

John Waters  28:33

It’s fine. It’s heartfelt. You know, that’s the real thing. Not a forger.

Ricki Lake  28:37

I can’t wait to see it. When is the art museum open?

John Waters  28:40

We don’t know the Exactly. I think it’s in the fall of 2023.

Ricki Lake  28:44

Oh, so it’s next year. Okay. So and the star is next year as well. 

John Waters  28:48

We’re hoping they’re not. They’re hoping to work together. So it’ll be around the same time because it would be a great kind of tie in, but the academy show they’ve been working on for two years. So it’s amazing that the Academy Awards institution is giving my films I mean, like I’m hoping to get Divine’s cheater back. I’m not gonna go next in the same building. As Dorothy’s Ruby slippers. That’s kind of amazing. 

Ricki Lake  29:09

It is beyond amazing. Do you remember sitting me down after we finish shooting hairspray it was before the movie came out. It is so clear as day to me. You sat me down. I believe we were on the set. It was we were just finishing filming. And you said I want to tell you that your life is about to change. And I want you to remember these three things. Always stay true to yourself. Always stay humble. And if you’re going to read and believe the things that people say about you, you’re going to, the good things people say about you you’re gonna have to read and believe the bad, do you remember having that conversation? 

John Waters  29:42

It sounds like a bad greeting.

Ricki Lake  29:46

Literally, I think that is..

John Waters  29:48

I guess that’s all true. I always say now the good reviews, read them twice and put them away the bad ones once and never look at any of them again. I think I made a career on band reviews. They didn’t stop me they helped me but it was a different time that wouldn’t work today.

Ricki Lake  30:04

You piss Rex Reed off so much right?

John Waters  30:07

Well, but see with him, we used his ads in the quotes. And then I finally met him and he was awkward. Tennessee Williams and he was following us around trying to go to the parties we were going to run everything but I’m a pro you know, that’s what he does. I didn’t you know, say anything shitty or anything. You know, we used his reviews he used me to be outraged. You use each other and show business you can’t hate the press and be in show business. It’s a losing battle. You use each other it’s free advertising. You get also, they get to make stories and sell advertising it’s the whole thing is a thing that you have to learn how to do I don’t hate the press. I read millions of papers every day. That’s how I get my material. 

Ricki Lake  30:47

You still get the actual physical papers and magazines don’t get fixed delivered, you are responsible for so much of this climate bullshit with you. Do you recycle?

John Waters  30:57

Yeah, of course I recycle, but I still love the little Evian bottles I love them and I get them off the top of out of state and get them mailed to me, which is even worse. It’s the one that now I am politically correct. I love the little abbiamo What is it about them why, they taste better at noticing my little fridge, Whenever I bought one? I can have a little sip. And it’s a good thing because they just found out all the water in Baltimore has poison in it. So I need my little emergency bottles of evianne in case they have to go down the fallout.

Ricki Lake  31:32

You do have a fallout shelter in your house?

John Waters  31:38

When I grew up, we had one.

Ricki Lake  31:40

John, it’s so fun going back in time with you. Words cannot, I cannot fully express to you how grateful I am to you.

John Waters  31:51

You don’t have to do that. Because we’ve been friends forever.

Ricki Lake  31:54

I know, honestly, I feel like you just showed me the way and I feel like I my career has been so rich and so abundant.

John Waters  32:04

You would have done something else. If we didn’t make hairspray, you would have ended up in show business, you would have found another vehicle you were too talented, you would have found another vehicle.

Ricki Lake  32:13

I’m just glad it was you. I love you, John.

John Waters  32:17

I love you too, honey.

Ricki Lake  32:26

That was so fun talking to John, I’m so grateful he took the time to be here. Now I have to disagree with him when he said that he thought that I would become famous and successful in show business without him. No way. There’s no way in hell. I mean, it’s just it was the timing was as they say divine, him finding me I happen to be there when he was casting his role, and I could not have been more right for it. So I don’t know what would have happened to me if I didn’t go to that audition back in 1987. So I agree to disagree with him. And, you know, the advice he gave me that I remember and I don’t remember a lot, you know, I have a lot of like lapses in my, you know, bringing back these old memories. But I do remember when he sat me down that day before the movie came out and gave me you know, this advice, it’s really managed to keep me I think sane and normal and grounded. And you know, he’s just the guy that really not only gave me my big break but really managed to kind of guide me along this journey for 35 years. You know he’s someone I can go months without being in touch with but then we get together for dinner a couple times a year and it’s like no time has passed. He’s really someone that is so special to me, and I love what he’s continuing to create in the world. I have a bunch of his art all over my house and I just love the guy. So I hope you enjoyed our talk. I really had a lot of fun. Thank you so much for listening. Please guys, don’t forget to rate and review us It helps us with keeping us going. So thank you again and we will be here next week.

CREDITS  34:15

Raised by Ricki with Ricki Lake and Kalen Allen is a Lemonada Media Original. This show is produced by Claire Jones and Nancy Rosenbaum. Our associate producer is Tiffany Buoy. Our senior director of new content is Rachel Neill, VP of weekly production is Steve Nelson and our executive producers Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer and DeRay Mckesson, and the show is mixed by Johnny Vince Evans. Music is written and produced by Jellybean Benitez, Jason Peralta and Jay Coos for Jelly Bean Productions.

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