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Could the decline of American culture put John Waters out of a job?
The director has made a career shocking decent society with brute vulgarity. But when everything’s vulgar, how do you keep that act going?
“Bad taste. I don’t even think there is such a thing anymore,” Waters tells Town & Country. “I think what used to be called bad taste is now American humor,” he says. “When I started, it was sick jokes: ‘That’s about as funny as an iron lung.’ Now the kind of stuff I had in my early movies is normal. That’s why my movies are now playing on television, which I never thought would happen. Ever.”
Waters, known for films like “Hairspray,” and “Cry-Baby,” has a new novel called “Liarmouth,” coming out in May; is working on a film script; just held “Comic-Con: Camp John Waters,” at Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut; will appear in the popular shows “Search Party,” and “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and is re-working his one-man show, “This Filthy World,” for a post-Covid world.
“Every single thing is different after Covid. You cannot do the same show. Nothing’s the same,” he says.
As for all the numerous projects, Waters says, “You have to learn to ride the waves, and you always have to have a backup plan. That’s why I did books. That’s why I always had spoken word shows. They weren’t less to me … It was just a new way for me to tell stories.”
For him, staying in touch with fans is most important. “It’s pressing flesh,” he says. “It’s like campaigning. They [the fans] come see everything you do for the rest of your life. Elton John told me that. The day you stop touring, it’s over. I always say to someone, you blink and somebody’s there to steal your place. I believe you have to constantly be out there.”
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