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The Other Half: Q & A with Method Man

In this exclusive interview, Method Man speaks with Spin about ’70s sitcoms, the Wu Tang Clan, and why Ol’ Dirty Bastard needs to start smoking crack again.

Spin: Did you grow up on stuff like Good Times and What’s Happening?All that, The Jeffersons. What I hate about the black shows, right, is the more years they go on, the less black they become. You know what I’m saying? I don’t know what happens. They all become industrialized.

Can you tell me the progression of how you went from How High to having your own sitcom? Was this show always in the works?No, I was trying to wait for Universal to use me and Redman for some more stuff, it never came around, so I was like, Hey, I gotta work. I’m gonna do this. So I started taking little bit parts here and there, and then I was like, To hell with this. The same way I was trying to get into movies before and nobody would give me a damn part, you know, he’s a rapper, he’s green, this that and the third, so we had to make our own damn movie–same thing here, we had to do our own sitcom.

So the success of How High and the attention that it got you, that didn’t carry over, didn’t help you?It did in a way because it opened people’s eyes up to who we were, but it’s like now everybody wants us to do comedy–I’m a dramatic actor.

I saw you in Garden State–that was a great little part.Yeah, it was cool, Zach called me through–actually it was my girl Pam Abdy, she’s one of the producers on there, she called me through, she’s like, I got somebody that’ll do that part, and I came through and I got to meet Natalie Portman. It was a kick in the head. Just to hear her say–just to see her raise her hand when I said, “Who saw some titties?” and she raised her hand–I was like, that’ s priceless, right there. Price-less.

Were you meeting with all the networks to get this set up, or you just went straight to Fox?No, we knew we were–we weren’t going to go to ABC, because, you know, that Eisner dude, and CBS, definitely not, because that’s 40 and up, and NBC was a shot in the dark, but we wasn’t really looking at NBC. We thought Fox was definitely where wanted to be, and that’s where we pitched it to–we only pitched it to Fox. It didn’t go good at first because we weren’t prepared, but then we went back in, Kell, the writer, he did his homework, and went back up in there, and they picked us up, and that was dope.

Was there any concern when they look at you and say, How are we going to get this guy to show up on time, every day, make sure he’s learned his lines, he’s ready to go off book every day–was that a factor?No, because they knew what they was getting into ahead of time. I’m pretty sure they asked around, because any time I did any movies or television shows, anything like that, I’ve always been on time. And I don’t just show up, I show up–what you said, I go right off the page, I go in with my sides and shit like that, ready to work. That there, that’s why I’m saying, Damn, there should be a whole hell of a lot more parts out there for my black ass. Word up.

I’m going to get this wrong–I did my research and you were the one of the two who grew up in Staten Island, right? Have you had an experience like you have on the show, where you’ve moved into a community like this and people were suspicious of you? Nope, not really, because the places we lived at was like, the houses are so far apart, you don’t have to see anybody if you don’t want to. You know what I’m saying? When I pitched my idea, before Kell was even brought in to Regency, the pitch was about five–not even five, I’d say about two minutes long. I said, two rappers, myself and Redman, move into a gated community. And we having all these parties and shit, people all over the place, and then my mama moves in. And everything goes out the window–we gotta sneak around her now. They transformed the shit into what you see now. I ain’t mad at it. I ain’t mad at it, because it gives it a balance. You know what I’m saying? We’re not just seeing our side of the story, we’re seeing the neighbors’ side of the story.

But it doesn’t feel like you’ve had to give anything up, or that you’ve had to–you still get to be you, on the show. They showed me the pilot this morning, and one thing I really liked is that you still get to keep your attitude, you still get to make all your pot jokes. Yeah, yeah. That right there. But there’s a lot of other things that we are getting away with, because the FCC is crackin’ down on people now, since the Janet Jackson fiasco. I think they was just looking–they using Janet as a scapegoat. They was just looking for any reason to lay down that axe, you know what I mean, all these–I can’t even put into words how I feel about these people, but if it wasn’t Janet Jackson, they would have did it to somebody else and blamed them for it. The next thing you know, they’re going to be burning books and shit like that.

Well, the good thing is, now you’ve got Rupert Murdoch on your side. He’ll stick up for you.Who’s Rupert Murdoch?

He’s the guy that owns Fox.Ohhhhhhhhh. Okay.

Hopefully you’ll get to meet him someday. He’ll get a kick out of you. He probably doesn’t know you’re on his network yet.[laughs] We under the radar right now. Big up to Gail Berman for giving us a shot. Big up to the whole staff, everyone.

Is it funny to you that this is a show where you get to make fun of white suburbia, while at the same time, those are the people who are going to be watching your show, primarily?That’s what they expect from us. Honestly. Any black comedian that jumps up on stage, who’s he poking fun at? He pokes fun at his own people, but the majority of the black comedians, who do they poke fun at? The white people! And who’s sitting in the audience? White people! And they laugh just as hard as the black people do, because it’s funny, because most of the stuff is just so far-fetched, that it’s comedic. It’s not really no harm done. I really don’t date white women. [pause] ‘Cause I’m married. You know what I’m saying. Shit.

Is it expected that when you’re going to pitch a project, like a film or a TV show, is there always the expectation that Redman is going to be a part of that?We’re a franchise. I think we’re a franchise. But not all the time. Nobody would just sit and watch a show with just Method Man. They’re gonna expect to see Redman, especially after How High, and most of the viewers that are tuning in, they’re gonna want to see a How High-type of sitcom. I mean, we’re close to that, but like I said, FCC’s only gonna put up with so much shit. Then we’ll be like Arrested Development–one of the best shows that can’t stay on the air. Because it’s too risque. Did I say risque? Yes I did. Yes I did! This nigga Hollywood! Somebody call! Goddamnit.

Do you live in LA now, full time?Nope, no f-ing way they’re gonna get me to stay. I have to stay in LA now, but there’s no way I’m moving out here. I will fly myself on a private jet, spend my own checks so I don’t have to live out here. I can’t take Hollywood.

Is there still hope of there being another Wu-Tang record at this point?Of course, because I don’t think it ends like that for us. Not the way we came in the game, and how we changed the way record labels make their deals. Yes, we’re the reason why you dudes can sign on as a group and get solo deals outside the group. That was us. All right? They used to call it a Wu-Tang deal. So of course we’re definitely gonna come back. We just need a label right now. And everything will fall right into place.

What do you say to people who say, now he’s gone Hollywood, how can we respect him as a hip-hop artist anymore?,br>Tell ’em, Eat a dick. In big letters: Eat a dick. All right, cause they don’t have to feed my babies. And I’ve been getting a lot of backlash from people reviewing my album, and it has nothing to do with the music. The reason why I say that is, any time you start a music review with shit like, “The Right Guard pitchman,” that’s bullshit. Judge me on my merits as far as a musician. An artist. Don’t judge me based on me doing these movies and television shows. They’re acting like instead of making records, I’m making movies. No no no no no no. I did two Wu-Tang albums in between this album right here and my last album. And an album with Redman. So people need to get they thumbs out they asses and look at that shit for what it is. I work very hard to do what I do. And for a critic to sit there and act like he knows me, what I should do with my career, and what words should come out of my mouth, and talking ’bout I’m rusty, they’re gonna say that regardless because it’s been five years, and they like to hear themselves–they love the words, they like to mess with the words and fascinate themselves. It’s their own narcissistic way of using the pen. Fuck ’em all. Eat a dick, every last one of y’all sons of bitches. I hate critics.

Just for the record, I’ve never reviewed any of your albums. I only cover TV and film.That’s what’s up. That’s what’s up.

So when is Ol’ Dirty going to make a cameo on the show?If he was the old Ol’ Dirty Bastard, I wouldn’t have any problem with it. But now it’s like Dirty, he’s quiet now. He’s more docile. I need the Ol’ Dirty that was on crack! I need the drunk Ol’ Dirty Bastard! Word!

Are you ready to get your ass worked this summer–are you ready to promote the show?Yeah, and promote the album. I’ve been doing it all. I can’t wait. Show these people exactly where I’m coming from. I’m serious, man, and the fact that they gave me an executive producer credit, they know how serious I am about it. And I don’t take that shit lightly. It’s not just a title.