James Leavey's Sharing An Ashtray With... Matt 'mr. Cigar' Alan

Matt 'Mr. Cigar' Alan

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James Leavey's Corner
  By James Leavey

The swift-thinking,wise-cracking, cigar-totin', martini-guzzling,magician/presenter of 'Outlaw Radio - Live from the Lighten Uplounge' exhales across the Cable Radio Network to over 26million homes across America every week.

Catch up with him at www.mrcigar.com.

JL: Where did youstart smoking"

MA:  Out in thedesert in northern Nevada, with my 'hippy' Uncle Dick; I wasprobably 15 years old, and we would go out arrowhead hunting,because I love the desert - I really am a desert rat.  UncleDick had some 'Swisher Sweets', and turned me on to one ofthose. So I started smoking cigars with these sweet tips. It'sfunny, more than actually enjoying the cigar itself, I feltthat I was very Clint Eastwood-like. And then these othertypes of cigars without tips that were cheroot-like and lookedlike something Clint would smoke - because I've always been afan of Clint Eastwood, and especially his Spaghetti Westerns. So we would just spend hours and hike way way out into thedesert and search for arrowheads, and any other relics that wecould find around there.  My uncle, now, is officially arelic, so maybe I could find him.

JL:  What do yousmoke now"

MA:  Well, let'ssee...my favourite cigar right now - and I say this andthey're not a sponsor of my show - is just an incrediblecigar, the El Rico Habano, made by the legendary ErnestoCarillo - maker of the La Gloria Cubana.  And it iseverything, if you like strong cigars, which I do, it'severything you're looking for in a cigar.  It's not strong,just to be strong, or for the strength itself.  Which a lot ofcompanies - you've probably noticed - over the last couple ofyears - everybody loves to gloat about, "Oh we've got thisnew, very strong, blend cigar." And then you taste it and,yes, it's strong, but it's got no finesse.  It's got no real,what I call 'base response', which you can get in a reallygreat old Cuban cigar.  That 'base response', that 'bottomend'. This El Rico cigar that I'm smoking right now has that'base response' and it also, believe it or not, has a certainsweetness to it.  Now, I generally don't like sweet cigars butit's not sweet as in candy, it's just a certain sweetness. Like, some of the Davidoffs tend to have a certain sweetnessto them.  I tell you, Ernesto Carillo is one of the mostbrilliant cigar guys on the planet. I actually prefer the ElRico to his better known La Gloria Cubana brand. If youcompare the two, I think he's lightened up the La Gloria'sblend to make them more consumer-friendly.  So this cigar isgreat.  I also truly enjoy the Fuente Don Carlos more than theOpus X, but the best cigar Fuente makes is the Ashton VSG. Ona personal level, Carlito Fuente is a class act.  Another'kick ass' heater Is the Fonseca Serie F made by the gentlemanof the cigar industry, Manuel Quesada, Also, don't miss theintensely strong Joya de Nicaragua Antano, smoke it after abig ol' Porterhouse Steak...As far as the giant cigarcompanies go, I take my boxers off to the General CigarCompany.  They are producing cigars as good and sometimesbetter than my favourite boutique brands, which include theexceptional Sancho Panza double maduros, Ramon Allones,Partagas Black, and the Cohiba XV. But, if you're going tosmoke a flavoured stogie, I'll take Heaven, and this hasnothing to do with the fact that the owner of Heaven is aknockout!

JL: So why do yousmoke flavoured cigars"

MA: The only reasonis because this is the first flavoured cigar that actually hasthe flavour through the entire cigar. And when it says'chocolate', it actually tastes like chocolate, all the waythrough.  They have this special flavouring method, and it'skinda funky because it's a bit moist on the tip, which isnever a bad thing - unless you need a penicillin shot. (LAUGH)If, on occasion, you have a hankerin' for a sweet taste,without all the fat and the calories, I highly recommendHeaven.

JL: You don't haveto wear a dress to smoke it"

MA: No.  But ithelps.

JL And how manycigars do you smoke a day"

MA: Let's see,during the week, four to five.  On the weekend, oh my God! Westart the show at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon but I getgoing earlier during the day and, you know, I'll go throughseven or eight. But no inhaling them. I've never smoked acigarette so I think I'd probably throw up if I inhaled acigar.

JL: It's funny yoursaying that.  I'm asthmatic and I find cigars soothing.  It'scigarettes I cannot inhale.

MA: James, I lovethe fact that you said that because one of our regular 'Demonsof Decadence' on the show is a man named Don Woldman; he isthe King of all divorce attorneys and a true friend - he didthe Marlon Brando palimony suit. Well, Don's wife is a reallygreat woman, except that she professes to be asthmatic andwon't allow us to smoke in the house. That would be fine butDon's pool table, or should I say, "billiard table"(PRONOUNCED WITH A HIGH-BROW ENGLISH ACCENT), is located onthe third floor, downstairs, away from everyone. Even thoughthe pool room is hidden away, smoking is not allowed. I say ifyou're gonna play pool, you must smoke a cigar. Pool playingand stogie smokin' go together like O.J. Simpson and sharpcutlery. You simply cannot separate the two. Matt's new law:"If you can't enjoy a cigar whilst playing pool, get rid ofthe table!" To add insult to injury, I caught her smokingcigarettes the other day. Do asthmatics smoke cigarettes"...hm,...Ithink not. I truly believe that she uses the asthmatic ruse sothat we won't 'stink up' her home. I do forgive her, though,because she's really hot, and isn't that really the mostimportant thing.

JL: I know what youmean - at least about the asthma, not Don's wife - who I'venever met.  I've appeared on a number of television shows herein Britain, fighting the smokers' corner - usually by windingup the ant-smokers with the facts.  Anyway, I was on a showrecently and a woman representing the National AsthmaAssociation came on and blamed the rise in asthma in youngBritish children to the fact that their parents smoke, i.e.passive smoking. And I replied, "How can that be, for thenumber of adult smokers in Britain has actually decreaseddramatically in recent years.  So how on earth can you blamethis recent rise in asthma on smoking"  Why don't you put theblame on the real culprits which includes the fumes from cars,junk food and all these other chemicals in the air." And, ofcourse, the following week, my answer turned out to be farnearer the truth.  I also pointed out on that show that I'masthmatic and my asthma, to my knowledge, has never beentriggered by second-hand or even first-hand smoking.  "Whatactually triggers my asthma," I told that woman, "is listeningto people like you.  It's enough to make anybody breathless,with anger."  She didn't answer, oddly enough...  So, I don'tagree with that asthma claim at all.  Not long after, I foundan old tin of tobacco, which is now in the Fox Museum in StJames's Street, London, and it was called 'Potter's AsthmaMixture'. And on the tin, which is probably 50-60 years old,it says, "This will make you breathe more easily, and it'svery beneficial for everybody else in the same room whenyou're smoking..."

MA: That'sbeautiful.

JL:  In post-WorldWar Two Britain, doctors used to prescribe tobacco for certainailments.

MA: They did thesame thing here.

JL: There's amedical reason why smoking cigars can actually help asthmasufferers...

MA:  It controlsbreathing, for one thing. George Hamilton talks about this allthe time - he's been on the show a bunch of times - and hetalks about how it fores you to relax.  It forces you to sitdown and relax and controls how you breathe. I think it works.

JL: Yeah, I thinkhe's right. Aside from your backyard in Encino, where else canguy enjoy a quiet smoke in public in California, these days"

MA: Nowhere.

JL: Really"

MA: Well, there isone place, which is a private club in Beverly Hills.  My'Demons of Decadence' from the show, including movie castingguru, Michael Hirschenson, and I, get together there everyThursday night. Tonight is that night so we'll be there thisevening.  We get together at the Grand Havana in Beverly Hillsand it is the only, as I understand it, the only smoking placeyou will find in California indoors.  Occasionally, you willfind a place that will allow it, for a few minutes - we'retalking outside now - as long as someone won't bitch aboutit.  And I think about my rights, and what about that hideousperfume they're wearing.  What if I bitch about that, willthey move their table"  Well, no, that's absurd! That's why Ithink we have such a loyal following to the 'Lighten Up'lounge and why we have celebrities just show up out of nowhereon a Saturday. They show up because it's the one place wherethey can sit back and they can have a Ketel One vodka - fromHolland - martini and a cigar and no one is gonna bitch aboutit.  In fact, the only time people bitch, is when they don'tdo it...Oh, I just thought of another venue to smoke indoorsin California - the Tiki Ti on Sunset Boulevard, in Hollywood.It's an exceptional tropical drink bar that legally allowscigarette and cigar smoking because it is manned by a fatherand son with no employees - a California-smoking-loophole. TheTiki Ti has been in the same location since 1960; which is oldfor us, yesterday for Europeans.

JL: Don't you findnow that cigars are really great for networking"

MA: Gosh, it isamazing. It is the greatest leveler.  It is a bond that islike no other bond.  And it doesn't matter whether you're atruck driver, a cab driver, you work on the roadways, oryou're a multi-millionaire, a stockbroker, a CEO of a majorfilm company, or an idiot radio personality. It is the onething that really brings everyone together and there is nohierarchy when all those folks get together and smoke cigars.

JL: Let's talkabout Cuban cigars.  How easy are they to buy, in California,these days"

MA:  I steer awayfrom the Cubans, because I feel that they're inferior at themoment, with the exception of the Cuaba brand.  But we have acouple of guests, including a guy from a very prestigiouscasting company, who usually comes equipped with a Cuban - notthe cigar, but his personal valet, who hails from the smallIsland.  The other guy, not the afore-mentioned attorney, butanother attorney, he has a walk-in humidor in his house -larger than most humidors in tobacconists, and he has cigarsdating back to the 1980s and early 1990s, and he'll have somepre-Castro stuff too.  And this guy smokes 'em because heloves 'em.  But he really truly also enjoys domestic cigars aswell, he really does.

JL: Moving on toyour show, what gave you the idea for 'Outlaw Radio - Livefrom the Lighten Up Lounge'"

MA: Well, for many,many years - and I am still a workaholic - it's weird but Ienjoyed nothing but work. I never really went out. I wouldoccasionally go to a fine restaurant, but usually I'd go to atruck stop and eat a chicken-fried-steak; which, by the way, Istill enjoy.  That was really my enjoyment, and it was fairlyone-dimensional.  And I was in a cigar/wine party at afriend's house and he, the famous radio magnate, Jack Silver,had these incredible cigars; some domestic, some Cuban. Now atthis point I didn't know much about cigars, and I wasn't evenaware that Jack didn't even know about the Cuban embargo. Which, if you talk to a lay person not into cigars, theyreally don't know, they're not totally aware.  So I went tothe party and I smoked a little bit of each one - there werethree of them - and there was a Hoyo de Monterrey doublecorona, and I smoked, I don't know, about a quarter of it andI brought it home with me. And I left it on the front stoop ofmy house and the next day I realized that it was still outthere. It was a Sunday.  So I went out front and grabbed thecigar, I was by myself, and just lit that thing. And aboutfive minutes into it I really started to get it.  I reallystarted to understand what this was about...the flavour, thenuances, and the relaxation.  And because of me being aworkaholic it caused me to kick back and relax, for once in mylife.  That was really the beginning of my real passion forstogies.

JL:  You're been onradio for many years"

MA: Since I wastwelve years old.

JL:  So, what gaveyou the idea for 'Outlaw Radio - Live from the Lighten UpLounge'"

MA: Oh yeah, thatwas the original question - maybe I should have answered it,that would have helped!  The idea really came to me in1992/1993 and I thought, "What a ridiculous idea."  It came tome in a dream about three o'clock in the morning and I woke upand wrote down, "Cigar radio."  When I woke up the nextmorning and looked at what I had written down I thought, "Boy,that's a stupid idea."  But all these things started coming tome, like the 'Good Life' and the 'Fun Things in Life' and'Enjoying a great cigar and a great cocktail and hanging outwith your buddies.'  I wrote down a few more ideas, and so on,and then I made some calls to friends of mine in the cigarindustry.  Because since 1989, I really developed a tremendouspassion for cigars, and when I develop a passion for anythingI want to know everything about it.  So, I learned by callingand talking to people like Dick Dimeola who, for many years,has been one of the big cigar guys.  Robbie Levin, over atAshton, became a friend of mine. And I said, "What do youthink of this"  I wanna do a radio show and it'll be aboutcigars but also be about lifestyle and having a good time. And I'll throw a few celebrities into the thing and make itmore appealing than just interviewing those folks that justlove cigars.  It'll bring people from the outside, who wouldnever even think about smoking a cigar, into this programme,because we're having so much fun."  And Robbie said, "Sign meup!"  Dick Dimeola, who was with Consolidated, said the samething.  And two or three other companies said, "You knowwhat...we'll sponsor it if you do it."  And that was it.  So Iput in on the air and we did one satellite thing in about 1994at Premiere Radio Networks - which was kind of a test run -Premiere is a radio syndication company.  And I had a buddythere who also smoked cigars and we'd get together like two orthree times a week in a little watering hole down the streetcalled the Valley Inn, which is kind of a famous place in thevalley where lots of celebrities have gone ...and a lot ofwriters.  It's more a writers' joint than anything else.  Andso we would sit there and just smoke cigars and so on, and wetalked about this and talked about this, and he said, "Whydon't you go up and do a test run""  So I grabbed some guystogether and we went on the satellite - which I don't know ifanybody heard the damn thing - and we got a demo out of thething.  And from that, I put it on the air, and startedsyndicating.

JL:  And now, it'ssyndicated right across America"

MA: Yep.  Allacross America, and then, through the Web, all across theworld.  We just did a deal with the Cable Radio Network andthey're in 26 million homes in America, and it's radio throughtelevision. CRN is run by an innovator, a brilliant guy namedMike Horn, who also happens to be a lover of cigars and greatlibations. The response has been just tremendous on this.  Ihad a buddy, my best friend out of Seattle, he was in a littletown in Alaska and I got a call from him one Friday night -because the show plays on Fridays at 7pm West Coast Time onthe Cable Radio Network - and he called me and said, "Jesus! I can't get away from you."  He was flipping around thechannels and Boom! he heard my frightening voice and heard theshow.  And he said, "I think this is the best thing you haveever done."  So it's the Cable Radio Network, and 26 millionhomes, and we have a portion of that audience.  And, yeah,we're pretty damn happy about it.

JL:  So what's thenext stage - television"

MA: Yeah, with RyanStiles, from England.  He originated the American version of'Whose Line Is It Anyway' and is one of the stars of 'The DrewCarey Show', and he and I are executive producers of the TVversion of 'Outlaw Radio'. We shot the first show six weeksago and are negotiating with several Networks. Ryan simplystarting coming to the show as a guest and fell in love withthe concept. He is even known to listen to archived shows onvacation at www.mrcigar.com because he misses it so much. Whatit is, is taking the radio version, which is really about abunch of guys and some good-looking women and just...hangingout, and talking about show business and talking aboutpolitics and talking about freedom. I call my guys our'Freedom Fighting Fanatics' because we believe as long atobacco is a legal product - for Gods Sakes! - then why shouldthis hatred for cigar smokers be in the eyes of everyone inAmerica.  You know, if they could, I think they would killus.  They'd line us against the wall.

JL: And theywouldn't give us a final cigar...because it's bad for ourhealth...

MA: Yeah, that'strue!

JL:  I'd like afinal double corona before I go. That way, I could hang aroundfor a couple of hours.

MA: Yeah, give me aMonte 'A'.

JL: If you couldconvince them to give you a box of Monte 'As', you'd be aroundfor another month...if you smoke 'em real slow.

MA:  Yeah.  Thisshow is really about a Hollywood lifestyle meets cigars andKetel One martinis in an interview show BUT at an 1876Virginia City-style bar here in the hills of Encino.  Whichgoes back to hanging out with my 'hippy' Uncle Dick, out inthe desert, and Virginia City, a goldmining town which I haveloved since I was five years old.  So this bar in my backyardis a replica of a bar up there.  It also has a little MagicCastle thrown in there too - the Magic Castle is a privatemagic club in Hollywood that's been around since 1962, in anold English Victorian mansion.  If you look at the interior ofthe Magic Castle and look at some of what we've done to the'Lighten Up' lounge - which is the bar here in the backyard,you'll notice some similarities.  It started off muchsmaller.  We took an old pool house and we ripped a hole in itand then we added an awning and some other stuff.  And then,eventually, we just kept building on, and we enclosed it, andadded an authentic old tin awning.  And then we added anotherfive feet, about nine months ago.  It keeps growing larger andlarger.  Soon, it'll take over the pool.  We'll have no pooland it will become part of giant lounge...

JL: Or maybe thepool will become a large ashtray"

MA:  It alreadyhas.

JL: It must be sofrustrating in America, just like in Britain, where they haveinitiated all these smoking bans but not actually banned thesale of tobacco. How hypocritical!  And it's not as if allthose millions of smokers can, or want to, suddenly quitsmoking.  People must be getting so tired of all thispolitical correctness, or what we call in Britain, 'The NannyState'. I imagine your show must be quite refreshing to allthose smoker-friendly listeners.  It reminds them of what theyshould all be doing - just having a bit of fun.

MA: It's true.That's why bigwigs and gurus of the industry will stop by hereon a Saturday.  Marshall Silverman, from Warner Bros, whocalls the shots over there, he's the head counsel for WarnerBros, he's been there 22 years.  He could go anywhere on aSaturday, and this guy decides to come over here and hang without us. Stan Winston, who is the most famous special effectsguru on planet Earth - he's the guy who did all the'Terminator' effects, including 'Terminator 3'.  He missed acouple of weeks when he was working on 'Terminator 3' andemailed me, "Man, I miss it so bad!"  Here's a guy who hangsout with Arnold Schwarzenegger, or should I say GovernorArnold, and he chooses instead to hang out with us on aSaturday.

JL: That must tellyou something...

MA: It does.

JL: Arnie used tosmoke cigars, before his heart attack. I don't know if he hassmoked any cigars since then"

MA: I don't knowreally but I would tend to say yes.  Even David Letterman, Ithink, lights up a cigar occasionally, even after his bypass. I tell you what, I really don't believe it's gonna kill ya. Take a look at Milton Berle - it nailed him at 92.

JL: Which leads meon to my next question.  Of all your cigar-totin' guests, overthe years, who's your favourite"  Would that be Milton Berle"

MA: There areseveral of then.  Milton was certainly one of my favourites,if not the top one or two.  Just because he was ano-holds-barred kind of guy.  He would say what's on his mind,and it didn't matter, even on the show.  He said, "Yeah, Ismoke and I think it's great for you, and I love it, and Ienjoy it, and I have loved it since I was a kid."  He told meabout the time he smoked his first cigar, and he mentioned itseveral times because we used to hang out together at theFriars Club in Beverley Hills.  He had tons of stories.  Allhis cronies who were sitting around the Round Table therewould eventually be gone and it would just be Milton and I.And then I'd either take him home or take him down the road tothe Peninsula Hotel where, at that time, you could smokecigars.  He had his own little corner there, and his wifewould meet up with him.  He told me the first time he smoked acigar was on a cruise ship.  His mother and him were gettingon this thing and they were on the gangplank and heading up. And it was just a crowd of people and he noticed some guysselling cigars, so he picked one up and bought it - he wasjust a kid. It was a Cuban cigar and he lit this thing up andhe started smoking it.  He was kind of choking at first butafter three minutes or so he started enjoying it.  And hismother noticed he was smoking a cigar and, as he said, "Justwhapped me upside the head."  And he said, "But Matty, sheknew how to hit me so it wouldn't show.  She was a showbizmom."  He said the only reason he smoked a cigar, at least inthe beginning, was because it made him look and feel older. "Now," he'd say to me, "I don't really have that problem. Ismoke them out of enjoyment."  I think it was after he was hitby his mom that he got into boxing.  He was a hell of a boxer.

JL: I hope hedidn't hit his mother back...

MA: I think he wasvery afraid of her. She was a very controlling, out-of-the-boxperson.  He talked about his mother all the time; he didn'ttalk about his father, that much.  But his Dad did give him aword of advice.  Milton said that one day, many many yearsago, his Dad took out of his wallet a crumpled 100 dollar billand gave it to him, and said, "As long as you have that 100dollar bill in your billfold, you'll be OK."  And Milton keptthat 100 dollar bill in his wallet, for the rest of his life.

JL:  What otherguests would be among your favourites"

MA: Peter Salingerwas pretty good. He was a fairly outspoken gentleman andtalked about the time that JFK Kennedy sent him to Cuba to buyall those Havana cigars before he signed the Cuban embargo.

JL: Straight out ofthe horse's mouth...

MA: Yeah, he saidit, and I believe it's true. This story has been printed manytimes.  I asked Salinger if it was true and he said, "You'dbetter believe it's true."  My God, on this programme we'vehad Lee Lacoaca, the inventor of the Mustang - who's just oneof the nicest guys on the planet. He's coming back to OutlawRadio in three weeks.  I had to get him a very special cigar -I forget what the hell it was - some kind of a little Cubanrobusto, and he loves that and he loves his whisky.

JL: Of all thepeople, alive or dead, who would you love to share an ashtraywith"

MA: It's kind of atwo-part answer.

JL: You can mentiona live one and a dead one, if you like.

MA: OK.  I'll do adead one first.  When I was fifteen and a half years old I wasliving in the Seattle area and I was doing radio andtelevision there.  I was also doing my magic shows, atshopping malls and community colleges, anywhere they wouldhave me.  And so I called the Magic Castle in Los Angeles. It's one of those places where it's a real honour for amagician to perform.  It means that you've made it.  So Icalled there and I said if I came all the way out to L.A. canI get an audition.  And they said, "You bet you could." So,here I was, this brash little fifteen and a half year old, andat the same time I wanted to be on 'The Gong Show', with ChuckBerris. He was, like, America's Game Show Guru, he did adating game, and a newly-wed game, and all that. So I calledand set up an audition for 'The Gong Show', in the same weekthat I set up an audition for the Magic Castle.  So I jumpedon a Greyhound bus with my giant truck of magic and took thebus to Hollywood.  And with no reservations anywhere foundthis motel called the Motel 8 on Cahuenga, in the heart ofHollywood, just a seedy place which someone told me, later,was a hooker motel.  I wondered why the women used the payphone outside over and over...and they were very scantilyclad.  But I had no idea, I was just a kid. So I went down andtook my gigantic truck of magic - and it weighed a hell of alot.  And I didn't know about cabs, at that time.  L.A. is nota very cab-friendly city.  But I knew that the audition was onCahuenga.  So I went down, auditioned for 'The Gong Show', andI got the gig - that's another story.  And then, right after,I felt great about it, and I went up the street to FranklinAvenue, where I knew that the Magic Castle was.  Now, at thispoint, I didn't know if it was right or left, I just had afeeling, took a left, and it was about half a mile down thestreet.  I found the Magic Castle, found the one guy that didauditions there - who happened to be there at the time, beforeit opens.  This was about noon and the club opens at five inthe afternoon.  So I walk in and all of a sudden this man bythe name of Peter Pit, who was just one of the greatperformers of all time, he came out to the lobby and said,"So, why are you here"" And I said, "Well, I'm here toaudition." And he said, "Well, I guess we can spare a coupleof minutes, but I'm kind of busy right now." Then, all of asudden this huge fellow walks in, this gigantic mountain of aman.  And we're the only three people there at the MagicCastle at this time of the day.  So, before being addressed,he says, "Matt, come on in" and we walk into the Palace ofMystery, which is the big performing area there...they havemany different performing areas in the Magic Castle, it's aplace you would love to death.  So, now all of a sudden, thisgigantic man introduces himself and he says, "Hello young man,what's your name"" And I said, "It's Matt." And he said,"Where are you from"  And what type of magic do you do"" And Isaid I do this and that and that.  And then he said "My nameis Orson Welles, I've been in the radio business, and inmovies..." and so on. And all I knew about this guy was thathe was the Paul Masson wine spokesman on TV commercials:"There'll be no wine, before we dine."  I didn't know about'Citizen Kane' or 'War of the Worlds', I knew nothing aboutall that.   I ended up spending two hours with him at theMagic Castle, just him and I sitting there watching Peter Piton stage as Orson was blocking out a television special he wasputting together.  And he would say, "So what do you thinkabout that move there"" And he was asking my advice about hisshow and it was just amazing. And he was smoking this big fatstogie.  At that time I was not smoking.  But that was one ofthe most amazing things on the planet.  Peter Pit passed awayabout four or five years ago.  And before he passed away Isaid, "Peter, I hope you never die, because no one willbelieve this story."  Because I never got a photo and I neverhad Orson sign anything for me.  So he was the one guy that Iactually did get a chance to meet and, knowing now - I wishI'd known this then - My God! - I would have talked to himabout everything on the planet.  I wish Orson was stillalive.  I have the greatest memory of spending those two hoursin there with him.  He was the nicest man on the planet.  He'dbe the greatest person to share an ashtray with, because youcould tell he loved his cigars, loved 'em.  Currently, itwould be down to two people: Johnny Carson and ClintEastwood.  Why"  Clint Eastwood, always with those cheroots inthe Spaghetti Westerns.  I've been a fan of his since allthose things.  I'd just like to talk to him about all thoseSergio Leone movies and the motivation, and when he wassmoking that cigar was he choking it back or did he reallyenjoy it.  Johnny Carson - why" - because he's the guy I haveadmired since I was seven years old.  I don't think there'sbeen a guy, before or after, who's been the quintessentialtelevision star and who is the greatest interviewer on theplanet.  When Johnny Carson would walk into a room - thiscomes from the owner of the Magic Castle  - you could haveyour back to him but you would know he was there.  There'd besuch a silence, all of a sudden.  He was that big and thathuge.  There were only two men with this presence. Cary Grantwas the other one.

JL: Finally, ifthere was a magic button, that stopped everybody in the worldsmoking cigars, immediately, would you press it"

MA:  Currently, the'Magic Button' belongs to my girlfriend.  When I push itcorrectly, great things happen.  Sex is the only thing thatcomes even remotely close to enjoying a fine cigar.  Eliminatethose two things and say GOODBYE TO HUMANITY FOREVER...OK, soa wee dram of Macallan Gran Reserva ain't bad either.

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