Dave Barry's 2011 year in review

Jan 03, 2012

At the beginning of 2011, Dave Barry, co-author of the riotous January novel LUNATICS, declared 2010 the worst year ever. So now that 2012 is upon us, what does he have to say about 2011?

Read Barry's Year in Review for 2011 and this chat transcript from Tuesday, Jan. 3.


Dave Barry's Year in Review: The 2011 Festival of Sleaze

The 2012 In/Out List

Celebrities' New Year's resolutions

Happy 2012. I hope. But enough small talk: Let's chat.

The only good thing about 2011 was the grist it provided for your amazing mill. Thanks--and better year ahead, I hope.

Every year I think, "Wow, that was a bad year. Next year can't possibly be that bad. And I am always mistaken.

I spent the first half of 2011 in a southeastern coastal city in S. Korea. We dealt with two attacks by North Korea; kimchee (possibly containing asbestos) made from Chinese cabbage due to crop failure; and guilt that Japan's tsunami didn't in the least affect us. Can your southeastern coastal city match this?

We do not have kimchee. We do occasionally have bales of marijuana drifting onto the beaches. You make the call.

I strongly suspect that most people who type "LOL", probably aren't.


As of Friday, I think that your 2011 Year In Review is one of the funniest things you've ever written. I may change my mind once I read it on Sunday.

Best not to ruin it.

You gave the troubled musical "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" a lot of priceless free publicity. Have the producers sent you any tickets yet?

No. But I don't really want tickets. What I really want is an explanation of the phrase "Turn off the dark."

This is Watson the supercomputer. Your column was illogical.

I have three words for you, and they are: Control, Alt, Delete.

Seriously, why do you hate the New York Yankees so much? What have they ever done to you?

They haven't done anything to me. Darth Vader never did anything to me, either, but I also root against him.

Dave, I am dull, morose, and remember saying only one mildly funny thing 37 years ago to my dog. How can I be just like you? Beer? A worse haircut? I say "booger" a lot, but no one laughs. Maybe I'm mispronouncing it? Thanks. Rod

Did your dog laugh?

Should I wear spanx?

I only recently found out about Spanx, and am told that sometimes the reason that women do not get intimate is not that they do not want to get intimate, but that they are wearing Spanx. So my feeling is, nobody should wear Spanx, except maybe Gov. Chris Christie. But also, for the record, and here I speak for all of Mankind: ladies, we don't CARE if you are or are not wearing Spanx. 

... that your otherwise fine review of 2011 failed to mention my presidential campaign that's being run on a shoestring from my parents' basement. My B.A. hotel management has given me unparalleled insights into the private sector and my 9-12-23-4,687 economic plan is clearly the only hope for this nation, yet I'm not only uninvited to any of the candidates' debates but I go utterly unmentioned in your list of the year's events. What am I to do?

Is this Jon Huntsman?

Who is it more dangerous to make a joke about, Ron Paul or Mohammed?

Tough call. I personally would never say anything negative about either of these fine gentlemen.

What should we do about the MLK statue, which has quotes on it that he didn't actually say?

We should rename it after whoever DID say those quotes.

Are any of the new planets discovered the Kardashian homeworld?

We should send them there and see if they thrive, or what.

I am reliving high school.

Here's what got me about the whole Twilight thing: You have these vampires, who are centuries old and fabulously wealthy and cultured and beautiful and intelligent, and what do they decide to do with their lives? THEY GO BACK TO FREAKING HIGH SCHOOL.

I do not think so.

Marion Barry has the marionberry named after him. Are any berries named after you?

Barry White.

In your picture, you're pretty tanned. How can I tell you apart from John Boehner?

I never move for cloture.

Well, maybe a couple of times, when I was drunk.

The sad part of Colonel Gaddafi's death is that he was just two weeks away from being promoted to General.

Don't feel too bad for the guy. He's currently polling sixth in Iowa.

Dave, I've been reading your year end column for many years now, and my family has in years past known exactly what I was reading by my very vocal and frequent guffaws. Sadly, this year, they had no idea when I was reading it. Did this year review feel different as you were composing it? Has anything changed about how you put the column together from prior years? Or did everyone else find it as funny as prior years' reviews, and as such, is it just me?

It seemed to get pretty much the usual reaction. I'm sorry it didn't work for you. 

Now that Andy Rooney has gone onto his reward (and is probably grousing about it), should Gene Weingarten take over his old spot?

Yes. I'd love to tune in and watch Gene deliver a monologue while spewing terror sweat from every pore.

The problem with "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark" is you go into the theater, the turn off the dark by turning on the lights, and the audience presumes that's it and everyone goes home during the first act.

Another problem is that it's a Brodway musical about Spider Man.

You described how, during a heavy snowfall in 2011, "more than a dozen planes at Chicago's O'Hare Airport [were] attacked by yetis." My question is: why hasn't this idea been made into a movie?

It actually has, but after a number of rewrites it came out as War Horse.

The world didn't end in 2011, but it was a very bad year. If the world ends in 2012, woudl that make it a worse year than 2011? Or not?

That would depend on how it affected the Yankees.

Hi, Dave, and Happy New Year. What was the worst, most awfulest, horriblest rock song (rock, pop, C&W, rap, whatever) of 2011?

My daughter, age 11, has been listening to this song called "I'm Sexy and I Know It." I said to her, "That's a joke, right? You were raised better than that." These kids today, with their crazy rock and roll.

If Prince Charles and Catherine Middleton had held their wedding in Miami, how would it have been different?

At least one of them, and probably both, would have had buttock enhancements.

How did Greece get in such a financial mess? Why didn't they just switch to a low interest rate Visa card?

Is this Paul Krugman?

What was the big deal about pepper-spraying in malls? I've gone to malls for years and been sprayed with Eau de Barfe and La Bowl de Toilette. That's MUCH worse.

Here's what I do not get: collecting sneakers. Sneakers.

OK, quick, no looking at your notes: Name three things you would abolish.

1. "Light" beer.

2. LinkedIn, whatever the hell it is.

3. Hunger. (This actually should be first.)


You wrote about Anthony Weiner's "congressional member rarin' to filibuster." How long did it take you to think of a descriptive phrase that wouldn't cause Editor Conniption?

Here in the professional humor business, we call that a day's work.

If I accidentally come across a Wisconsin legislator in Illionois, what is the appropriate response? Should I slowly walk away or crawl into a ball?

"Crawl into a ball"?

Mr. Barry, So I'm thinking about moving from the DC area in 2012, and after hearing you talk about South Florida so glowingly on "Wait Wait" last weekend, I want to give you the opportunity to tell me where you think I should move to. So have at it...

Definitely not here.

If a hen and a half lays an egg and a half in a day in a half can it get a valid Florida driver's license?


Love your work, in reading your year in review I am reminded why! Are you writing regularly anywhere? Or working on a new book? I miss you!

Thanks. I've been writing books, mostly. I have one coming out in a week that I co-wrote with Alan Zeribel, called Lunatics. It just got a review in the Boston Globe that said it contained -- and this is a direct quote -- "the funniest four-page diarrhea scene ever to be set on a submarine bound for Guantanamo."

True, the IBMcomputer can win "Jeopardy", but how would it do on "Wipeout"?

It actually does a pretty good job. The problem is, it's over in .0000000000000000007 seconds.

How do you decide what is the running gag in your,"Year in Review?"

Usually it's pretty easy: One story dominates the year. This year, of course, that story was "Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark."

Does anyone care about poor Pluto, no longer considered a planet ?

It's currently polling ninth in Iowa.

Are you able to produce your birth certificate? What does it say on it?

It says my hair is 100 percent natural.

Will you attempt to make 2012 more interesting by running for President? The Republican field doesn't have nearly enough potential for humor, I'm thinking we need someone in there who can generate some conversation.

I don't want to make my move too early, but: Yes, I am seriously thinking about running.  My campaign theme would be:


There is a nasty rumor going around that you were actually born in Canada, which would make you America's Funniest Writer Who Was Actually Born in Canada Eh? Say it isn't so. How can we concerned humor readers get a certified copy of your long-form birth certificate?

I was not born in Canada, unless there are tax advantages, in which case I was born in Canada. I hope that clears this matter up.

About your new book, "Lunatics," which I notice can be pre-ordered quickly and safely at Amazon.com or compassionately purchased at your local struggling bookstore -- how did you enjoy co-writing with Alan Zweibel? Was it a fun or horrifying experience?

It was fun, with occasional patches of horror, especially when we realized that we needed (1) some kind of plot, and (2) an ending. I'd say, "I thought you had a plot," and he'd say, "I thought YOU had a plot!" Then we'd call it a day. It's hard work, literature.

I think the real question is, if the wedding had been in Miami, how many members of the wedding party and/or guests inside the cathedral would have exchanged gunfire?

Not at a formal wedding. For those, we use grenades.

No mention of the Miami Hurricanes scandal? I thought that would be front and center.

I am not aware of any Miami Hurricanes scandal.

Prince Charles married Kate Middleton?? Someone better tell William.

Also, Camilla.

So is Fidel Castro still alive, or what?

There is no way to tell.

Can you get Lyme disease on another planet?

Let's launch some Kardashians and find out. 

You wrote your book with Alan Zweibel, not "Alan Zeribel." Though I'm sure the great Alan Zeribel appreciates the shout-out.

GAH! I spelled Alan's name wrong. It's ZWEIBEL. Now he will need years of therapy.

that the Bruins' Stanley Cup didn't make your cut?

The what cup?

It seems that Kim Jong Il's passing and subsequent news headlines would have made for great fodder in your 2011's year in review article. Will we be graced with the double-raindbowed spirit of this leader in next year's review?

He died too late for the deadline. I tried to tell him. "Kim!" I said, (for that is what I call him) "die now or you won't make the Year in Review!" But the crazy fool would not listen. That's Kim, though.

If I check out your book from the library, do you get reimbursed? Or should I spend I spend my dog's food budget and buy it?

Probably your best bet is to just mail me some cash.

It had me laughing out loud which is highly unusual for me. Particularly "he groundswell of voices in his Head." And The Republic of Burger King

Thank you.

Any more of your books under consideration for a movie?

Lunatics, which I wrote with Alan Zweibel, that's Z-W-E-I-B-E-L, or "Zweibel," has been optioned to become a movie, and we have already had many phone conversations with people in Hollywood about making it into a movie, and we are working on a screenplay for the movie, so the odds a very good that it will never be made into a movie.

Again, it's "Zweibel."

When you become president can you get us back to using the food pyramid instead of that plate thing?

I would have a Food Pile. It would be this pile of food, and the Department of Agriculture would invite you to dig in.

Would you consider Anthony Weiner as your VP for the 2012 campaign?

He is available.

Have you done any fracking in the past year?

When you get to be my age (137), you don't frack as much. I used to frack a lot. I was a real motherfracker. We're getting down to the part of the chat where I'm hoping nobody is actually reading this stuff.

Is it true that he only collaborated with you so that the book would be sorted earlier on the shelves?

To be honest, I don't think Alan is all that familiar with the alphabet.

Now that the Marlins have a new name, a new stadium and a new billion-dollar payroll, will Miami be avoiding the team even more than before?

Sometimes we will go to the stadium solely to throw our money onto the field.

I just wanted to say how moved I was by your column about bike helmets years ago when your son was hit by a car while riding his bike. I mention it to every parent I see walking along side a child withOUT a helmet on. What a great public service announcement! Sorry it had to come out of something so frightening for your family.

Thanks. That was probably the only column I ever wrote that had an actual point.

When will the Rock Bottom Remainders be "performing" again? & where?

We are planning a major "gig" (musician lingo, meaning "Zweibel") in Los Angeles in June. Details to come. We are considering learning a fourth chord.

OK, that's it for this year. Thanks for participating, and sorry if I didn't get to your question. Stay tuned for Gene Weingarten, who will be chatting about -- prepare to be surprised -- poop.

And happy new year.

p.s.: It's "Zweibel."

In This Chat
Dave Barry
Dave Barry, co-author of the riotous January novel LUNATICS, is a humor columnist. For 25 years he was a syndicated columnist whose work appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. In 1988 he won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. Many people are still trying to figure out how this happened.

Dave has also written a total of 30 books, although virtually none of them contain useful information. Two of his books were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom "Dave's World," in which Harry Anderson played a much taller version of Dave.

(Photo: Daniel Portnoy)
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