Eddie Deezen: Before Geek was Chic!

Interviews | Oct 30th, 1999

You might not recognize the name, but if you’re a child of the 80s, you definitely know the face and voice. Eddie Deezen spearheaded the uber-geek movement Geeks so geek they were chic! From Eugene in Grease to Wesley in Midnight Madness, Eddie portrayed geekdom with such coolness his characters usually stole the show. You can also easily recognize his voice like a nasal Woody Allen sucking on a helium balloon as Eddie did voiceovers for practically every good cartoon in the last ten years (not to mention a good run as Pop in the Rice Krispies commercials!). Eddie is an 80s cult icon, gaining more popularity today as geek culture becomes the “in” thing.

How did you first get started with acting?
I worked at the old Comedy Store and did stand-up comedy three times. I bombed the last time and swore it off and went into acting. So then I was on the Gong Show and got gonged by Paul Williams, the singer. And you know, I met him 20 years later and he apologized to me about it!! He was going through a rough time at the time and he felt really bad about it. So things went full circle!

Is Hollywood a small world like that? Do you run into a lot of celebrities?
Oh yes, you meet a lot of people. You run into just about everyone.

Do you get star-struck still?
Yes, I get star-struck! I go crazy over them!

After the Gong Show was Grease, your big break. How did you get the gig?
I got an agent, I had three auditions, I had my hair all slicked back… They cut out some of my scenes, but it was great just to be a part of that.

Is John Travolta a nice guy?
Super nice guy. He always made it a point to say hello to me. He called me his buddy. And he was huge back then; but he was also very shy. I remember we had a sing-along around a piano and he was there wearing his turtleneck and he had his head down. He was singing to the floor!

Aww. How did you get into doing voiceovers for animation?
I did movies until the late 80’s and started doing voiceovers. Money started coming in like an avalanche!

Do you enjoy doing voiceovers?
See, I hated memorizing lines. For animation, you can read the lines off the copy. And movies and animation are two different communities. I think the voiceover world is a little nicer; it’s not so dog-eat-dog.

Okay, now I have to ask about Midnight Madness. Was that movie so much fun to do, or what?
(laughs) So many people tell me they love that movie!

It was my favorite movie as a kid. So did you have a blast making it?
Yes, it was great fun! Everyone was so nice. And a lot of big names came out of that movie.

Michael J. Fox, Pee Wee Herman…
Yes, it was their first movie. Michael J. Fox and I used to play handball on the set. He was really young back then. Everyone was really nice on that set. Except there was one mean guy. He was a prop guy, and he was like the resident asshole.

(laughs) So you were the ultimate geek in the 80s. Does it bother you that you’re considered an 80’s geek icon?
I don’t really mind it at all. I was one of the first to really do the nerd, and after me came a lot more nerds. But I was the first to really play it up.

Something that always bothered me – how come you weren’t in Revenge of the Nerds?
The same people in Revenge of the Nerds also did this movie I was in called The Whoopee Boys. They told me that they considered me, but couldn’t use me because I was too geeky.

Huh?
Well, the whole idea was that they were going to dress normal people up like nerds, but I looked too nerdy….But I’ve been mistaken in that movie so many times. A lot of people think I was in it.

Any good Hollywood stories? Inside scoops?
I once got to make out with Morgan Fairchild. We got to rehearse it so many times, and it was just surreal!

Were you like, “Oops I just messed up, let’s do the take again!”
Yeah! (laughs) This was in the movie Mob Boss, which came out in 1990. If you can find it, you should see it! Morgan Fairchild was actually very shy. She would eat lunch apart from the rest of the cast. One day she invited me into her dressing room to talk, and you know how guys are. We’re like “Oh wow, I’m going to get laid now!!!” (laughs) So I’m thinking I’m going to have sex with Morgan Fairchild and it’s all so surreal. You know how guys think like that. But we just talked and became friends and she told me really great stories. And I can tell you my best lunch story too! The best I had was with Steven Spielberg, Dan Ackroyd, and John Belushi. When the bill came, I got really nervous because I had no money but Spielberg picked up the tab!

(Laughs)
Belushi was a very warm guy. Dan Ackroyd was really into ghosts and conspiracies. And this was before Ghostbusters.

What was it like working with Matthew Broderick in War Games?
SUPER nice guy. VERY nice guy.

And Scott Baio in Zapped?
Really nice too!

You meet a lot of nice people!
I think top celebrities are the nicest people. They don’t have anything to prove because they’ve already done it all. Top stars seem to have this inner security. Most of them are very shy and nice.

I just have one more question for you. My friend Amanda is a huge Smurfs fan. Like, she has Smurf bed sheets and pajamas, and keep in mind she’s like 24 years old. So she wants to know which Smurf did you play?
(laughs) I was just on one episode! I was like a guest Smurf, an off-beat Smurf. I think I had a crush on the girl Smurf.

It was great speaking with you, Eddie. You’re a really nice guy!
So are you, Adam!

Check out Eddie Deezen’s website at (where else?) www.eddiedeezen.com. Answer his Beatles trivia questions correctly and win $$!

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