Friday, February 15, 2008

Ron Jeremy

A couple weeks back, I met Ron Jeremy. I was impressed. In the few brief moments that we spoke, he came across as funny, genuinely nice and honestly interested in what I had to say. It was kind of hard to wrap my head around the fact that this was a man I had seen in films going back to the early 1980’s doing some of the nastiest, most bizarre (and at times seemingly physically impossible) things onscreen. I had read his book in hardcover and he would later sign the new paperback version for me (seen here) and I remember being surprised at the seeming dichotomy between what he does for a living and who he is in real life.

For much of America, Ron Jeremy came on the radar as Tammy Faye’s unlikely friend on THE SURREAL LIFE. Over the years, he has outgrown his role as a mere adult film star and become a pop culture icon unto himself. He lectures at universities, appears as host or invited guests at various mainstream events and a cameo appearance by him in a non-adult film is considered a selling point! He’s even appeared on Saturday morning kids’ TV shows!

He has known everyone from the most famous to the most infamous. Robin Williams, Sam Kinison, John Wayne Bobbitt, Rick James, Keith Richards, Brad Pitt, Ringo Starr, Joey Buttafucco and our own favorite, Linda Blair, are just a few of the celebs who appear in a 16 page section of color snapshots in Ron’s book, RON JEREMY-THE HARDEST (WORKING) MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS. The book itself is a study in contradiction. Totally candid and explicit, a tad gossipy and name-droppy and yet a sincere portrait of a man who seems to want to make a real difference in the lives of his friends and in his world and is willing to use his own notoriety to do so.

I shook hands with Ron Jeremy that day and later I thought about where that hand had been and realized that it didn’t matter. What somebody does for a living does not define the person. What somebody has done in the past—even if it happened to get captured on film that follows them forever—does not define the person. Within the often sleazy industry of porn, Ron has long had a reputation as a rare nice, caring participant. He comes across that way in his book. I’m glad to say he comes across that way in person, also. Thanks, Mr. J. I enjoyed meeting you.


John said...

"What someone does for a living does NOT define the person." Very, very true...and an excellent point.

The things that truly matter are kindness, compassion and decency. I thought the interaction between Ron and Tammy Faye on The Surreal Life was awesome. They respected each other, despite the major differences in their beliefs (and lifestyles), and it was a beautiful thing to behold.

RIP Tammy Faye and all the best to Mr. Jeremy.


t-o-n said...

enjoyed the read, though I must say that your description of your encounter treats Mr. Jeremy with a little more dignity than mine does: