Having a conversation with Ron Jeremy is a trip. It's not just because at 53 years, 200-plus pounds and seriously hairy, he's the world's most famous porn star. Or because in the last 30-odd years, he's appeared in more than 1,700 adult films and slept with-combining his film shoots and his personal life-something like 4,000 women. Seriously.
No, it's because Ron Jeremy, just kicking off a tour for his autobiography, Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz, doesn't have much of a raunch filter. His life in porn is so intertwined with everything else that he'll talk about his mother's Parkinson's disease before segueing into the delicacies of anal sex.
But that is the charm, if you will, of Ron Jeremy. He's a nice guy, reasonably well-spoken, fairly sensitive and brimming with stories about his life inside the industry and out. His book is breezy-some of it good, some of it bad, plenty of it ugly-but like the man himself, it's generally affable and funny. And it's all in Jeremy's un-raunch-filtered voice, from his introduction to porn to his master's degree in special education, from films made with John Wayne Bobbitt and Divine Brown to his classical piano skills and his brown belt in karate.
Jeremy has some history with San Diego: He was arrested here, for pandering, while shooting a movie back in the '80s. Still, the easy-going Hedgehog (the origins of that nickname are found in the book) doesn't bear a grudge. "You got a great city!" he says. "In fact, the police were usually pretty nice. But it was creative expansion of the law, which was mostly written to protect escorts from being beaten up by their pimps. Prostitution was a night in jail and a slap on the wrist. The pimp gets three years per count. But there was a lady DA down there in San Diego who was so out to get me. There were 10 girls on my shoot, so she wanted to give me 30 years in jail." Before his case went to trial, the California Supreme Court ruled that making pornography is not prostitution, nullifying the charges.
Though he has made inroads into the mainstream world, appearing in the film The Boondock Saints and on VH1's The Surreal Life, Jeremy, who still shoots porn films, has made the bulk of his money in his 30-year career in the adult-movie business. Jeremy has formal acting training and always planned to move from porn to mainstream films.
"I got into the business feeling like an actor. There was no DVD, no VHS, no computers, no herpes, no HIV. It was a fun business. You'd work on a movie for 10 days. You'd get up in the morning, memorize your lines, fly all over the world for shoots. There was real dialogue."
But he's not sure if he would go the same route today. "It isn't the same thing by a long shot. I would probably have a hard time justifying it as an acting performance. You walk on the set and your dialogue is like, "Hi honey. Here's a cup of coffee. Eat this.' Cut, great scene, great dialogue, what a great actor. But the girls I fuck are better looking now. Look at the old movies and look at the girls of today. They're absolutely breathtaking. And the sex is probably better."
At the same time, the multibillion-dollar adult industry is more mainstream than ever before, and Jeremy says that "college students are my main demographic." But would he point them to the business? "There are a lot of good reasons and a lot of bad reasons to get into porn. The bad reasons can have horrifying consequences. Bad reasons being rebellion from the family, piss off your dad, nothing else is working in my life, maybe I'll try this. Those are all bad reasons. Now, if you want to get into the business because you want mainstream acting work, well, it could be a stepping stone, but it also limits you. You're not going to get a job with Disney. But you gain notoriety, and some young filmmakers like that. Look, I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm a role model, but after having done it myself, I couldn't very well say that this isn't for you, walk away, don't do it. Hopefully you'll do it for the right reasons, and sock some good money in the bank."
As for Jeremy, if he could make it as a mainstream actor, he'd walk away. "I would not do porn, no," he says. "Why would I? I love porn, but if I could make a better career move, go on to bigger and better, why would I want to go backwards?"
Uncle Ronny's rules for romance
Ron Jeremy's line of work has gotten him girls on a number of occasions. But what about when he's off-duty? In the spirit of Valentine's Day, the most famous porn star in the world offers some advice for the fellas.
Finding a date
"Best place to meet women? A discothèque. I'll tell you why: Anywhere else, a Laundromat, shopping, it's socially unacceptable to approach a girl and start talking to her. She could say, "Get lost, asshole' or "I've got a boyfriend' or "Who the hell are you?' But at a disco, there's an unwritten rule that you have the right to approach a girl and ask her to dance. You're allowed to break the ice. She can just smile and say yes or no. If you ask enough girls, one of them is going to say yes. It may be the ruthless, toothless one, but who cares. Someone will say yes. Buy her a drink, give her a kiss goodbye, tell her you'd like to go out with her sometime."
"Be a perfect gentleman; bring the girl flowers. As corny as it sounds, girls still like flowers. Forget the candy-everyone's on a diet now, and they'll kill you for the chocolate. And look, girls love being taken out for candlelight dinners. Maybe a little dancing, if there's a place there. Perfectly romantic. So, dinner, maybe a little dancing, you take her home, and maybe you'll get a nice big sexy kiss outside the door."
If You Get Lucky...
"If you do get friendly, if you do actually get to have sex, you follow the guidelines set by my old friend Sam Kinison: Lick the alphabet. That way you know exactly what you're supposed to do."