Susan Olsen - Cindy Brady on TV's "The Brady Bunch"
On the phone with Philip Anderson - July 2000
Remember way back when, when TV was the safe haven of pure and wholesome family entertainment? No? Try asking your grandparents. They should remember far enough back. In the meantime, for the rest of you who have heard rumors of such TV and sometimes get to see some of the "retro" shows, you may remember "The Brady Bunch". The Brady Bunch was possible one of the purest families on the tube who, without superhuman endeavors, were able to solve the greatest of crises in less than 60 minutes (including commercial breaks).
You remember the Bradys, don't you? A mom, a dad, six kids, a housekeeper and a dog (when he was alive). The tale began of two divorcees (how typically American) attempting to befuddle the TV viewing audience into believing that families were pure, wholesome, incredibly intelligent and resourceful, and were able to do anything so long as they put their collective noggins to the test.
Youngest daughter, Cindy Brady, was played by Susan Olsen. She was the tattle-tale with the lisp who was forever inquisitive and sometimes clueless. Well, Susan has grown up - quite a bit - and become involved in everything from writing, acting, music, graphic arts to currently being a host on an Internet radio show. Little Cindy Brady is no more. A more worldly Susan Olsen exists now, ready to make her mark on the entertainment field, whatever she may do.
We recently had the opportunity to meet with Susan at the VSDA Convention in Las Vegas and then later speak with her about her past as Cindy Brady and Susan's own further careers. At 38, Susan is looking better than ever these days. She was quite charming, candid and energetic and was more than happy to share her thoughts as we chatted about being a Brady, working with Pat Boone, her affecting the Vietnam War, as well as her careers as a graphic artist, musician, radio show host, and more.
K2K: How is life being an Olsen as opposed to a Brady?
SO: Well, I was always an Olsen. I never thought of myself as a Brady. I referred to being a Brady. I referred to the other cast members as my family. I never actually wanted to be a Brady. I always preferred my own family to the Bradys. I actually preferred the cast members to their characters.
K2K: So, was the Brady clan just to far goofy for you?
SO: Hmmm... To me, as a child, it was hard for me to see the show with any clarity because I was in it. To me, the characters paled in comparison to the people who were playing them. It's like, none of the kids were as intelligent as the kids they were playing.
K2K: How did you feel the first time that you saw your first episode?
SO: Well, I had seen myself on TV before. I cringed. I hated seeing myself, as always.
K2K: How old were you when you did The Brady Bunch?
SO: When I did Brady Bunch, I was 7 years old. By the end, I was 8.
K2K: How old were you when you did your first acting gig?
SO: I was 14 months, but I quit. I got out of the business and was, like, rediscovered when I was 5. There are four kids in my family and each kid has been discovered by a talent scout. It became easy to be discovered. My oldest brother was standing on a street corner, with my mom, when he was 5 years old and an agent pulled up and said, "That boy is beautiful. Take him on this audition." The subsequent kids, it was more a matter of we were around the set and so the director would come along and say, "Oh! Can I use that baby in this movie?" or whatever - which was the case with me, but I got out of it when I was 3 because my sister, who was 8, decided that she didn't like doing it anymore. My brothers had since quit, and they were much older. So mom took me out too.
I was in kindergarten and a talent scout came from the Pat Boone Show, to my kindergarten and picked me to sing on the Pat Boone Show. I was 5 [then].
K2K: How was it working with Pat Boone?
SO: Actually, as a little kid, I suppose I was a little weird. I'm sure that he's a lovely guy but I thought he was kind of a jerk. They wanted me to sing the Monkee's song, "I'm A Believer". I guess I was really cute when I sang it because I would do all the instruments and stuff. I was just weird, persnickety. I got on the show. I started the song and I screwed up the words and so I stopped. "Oh, I goofed." Pat says, "Go on. Start over." I said, "No." (laughing)
K2K: You said "No" to Pat Boone?
SO: Yes. I said, "No I can't." He said, "Come on. It's OK. Just start over." I went, "Uh-uh. Nope."
K2K: Did you ever finish it?
SO: No. I can still see him now with his freckles poking out through his make-up. I was thinking, "Would you go on? Would you just move on? I don't want to sing this song."
K2K: So at 5 years old, you were already standing up to the Hollywood power people.
SO: I guess. Although I had had a bit of a history of being really meek at times. I was mortified that I had screwed up the words and I felt that I shouldn't have any other chances.
K2K: What was the very first acting gig that you did?
SO: When I was a baby. It was for Downey Fabric Softener. I've tried to find it. We've gone through the Downey archives but to no avail. I also did one for Clairol hair products. Something like the mother picks me up and her hair's all shiny and straight and I run my hands through it or something.
K2K: So, Pat Boone. Do you have a copy of that show?
SO: No, and I really felt that the beginning of many cases of my prayers being answered, like, in an amazing way. I knew that I had screwed up. We're on the way home. I was mortified over the fact that I had refused to start the song over. So I'm feeling really embarrassed and really dumb, like "Oh, I really screwed up." The time for the show to air was coming on and "No. I don't want to see it! I don't want to see it!" Mom had planned to get together with all of her friends at one of her friends' houses. I thought, "That's great!", now there's going to be all these other women watching me screw up. I was like, "Please God, I don't want to watch this." It came time for the show to come on. Mom was saying, "Susan get it here. Come watch yourself." All of the sudden, President Johnson comes on with "We interrupt this program for a Special News Bulletin." I guess they were sending more troops into Vietnam. So, I thought I was responsible for some aspects of the war. I never put it together but I was just so happy that the report lasted long enough that my thing was over.
K2K: Have you tried to get a copy of it since?
SO: No. I don't have it. When we were doing the special, "Brady's Fun Home Movies", we tried to find the commercial, but we never looked for the Pat Boone show.
K2K: Now I have a mission. I've got to get it to put online.
SO: Oh God. That would be something. I would love to have that. I don't know how it came off, but I was like, "I can't do it again. I can't start over. The Beatles don't start performing and then start over."
K2K: You thought that at 5?
SO: Yeah, well they had a big impression on me when I was 3.
K2K: That's pretty precocious though.
SO: I guess so. I think I was a lot smarter when I was a kid. (pauses) I guess I wasn't that smart because I thought the Beatles lived in the TV set and that I could play Barbies with them.
K2K: Did you ever hear Pat Boone's album "In A Metal Mood"?
SO: No but Dweezil Zappa talked about it. I guess he played on "Smoke On The Water".
K2K: I love it! He can't sing for shit on it though.
SO: (laughs) Certainly not rock and roll.
K2K: It's not a rock album though. It's rock songs done in lounge style.
SO: It isn't? Oh wow! Have you heard Tiny Tim? He did a version of Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven". He did a rock album. It's pretty bizarre. His version of "Stairway To Heaven" is really, really trippy. [Bill] Murray did that on Saturday Night Live.
K2K: What's the first clear memory from your career?
SO: Doing a fashion show and not really wanting to do it. I was probably 3. I also remember my mother saying, "OK honey. If you don't want to do these, you don't have to." I remember getting out on stage. They had these Enchanted Trees and they scared me. I told my mother and she said, "OK."
K2K: How did you like being Cindy Brady?
SO: As a child, I hate to sound like a spoil sport because I totally understand the value in Cindy, but to answer the question honestly - I loved working, I loved my job but I wasn't really fond of Cindy. Cindy did a lot of stuff that I would go back to public school and get teased for.
K2K: Which brings me to my next question - Did you get totally hassled or any extra favors for being Cindy?
SO: I got totally hassled. Yeah. I mean, maybe later on, there are some circumstances where you get favors but I think those happen when you're an adult. I don't know. If I had been on, like, the coolest show on the Earth, I'm sure that I still would have been teased. Eve Plumb and I were talking about this on my show. She said, "People don't realize that we had a rough time about that as kids." I had someone else say that I'm concerned about my son. He looks so much like me and he lisps. It's like, gee, if this keeps up, I'm concerned about him getting teased.
K2K: Oh yeah, was your lisp [on the show] real or not?
SO: Real. Absolutely real.
K2K: Really? I can't hear it at all now.
SO: I worked really hard on it. It wasn't until I was 19 and I was at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I went to a special "S" clinic. That's what they called it. I've been getting better and better over the years. I can still hear it, if I wear headphones. It's funny though because before I went to the "S" clinic, or after, I went on an audition and a woman said, "Hey, you're great, you're terrific but this is going to be on videotape and you have a really sibilant 'S'. You have a bit of a lisp and I'm afraid that it's just too distracting. Then, a week later, I went on an audition and the lady said, "I'm sorry, we want a brunette and someone a bit older. You're just not the right type. But I've got to ask you something. How did you get over that lisp? I know it's difficult but you've done such a beautiful job at it." There you go. God must have had those two things happen to show me that you can't trust two people's opinions.
K2K: How's it like working with Maureen [McCormick]? Was she 'Marsha, Marsha, Marsha' or no?
SO: She's a lot like Marsha. She was always kind of dreamy in her own Marineland (Maureen-land). At the time there was an amusement park, so that was the joke. Maureen-land. But really sweet. Totally sweet. She was the youngest in her family, so I think there might have been a bit of sibling rivalry between she and Eve, although they got along like best friends. Me, she loved the idea of having a little sister. In some ways, I could do no wrong in her eyes. She couldn't be sweet enough to me. We used to tease her a lot because she was so vapid at times. I mean, she'd just be lost in a cloud. When someone is lost in a cloud, you just want to stick signs on their back and put gum in their hair.
K2K: How much of Cindy was you?
SO: Her body. (laughs) I don't know. How different can 7 to 12 year old kids be. She wasn't deep enough. The character wasn't developed enough to where you could say, "Well, this is how she was." She probably wasn't all that different except that, the ways she was different to me were ways that were very obvious to me, like tattling, things that were really uncool.
K2K: What was the last Brady show that was on? "Growing Up Brady"?
SO: Yeah.
K2K: How much of that stuff was real?
SO: OK, "Growing Up Brady" was supposed to be based on Barry William's book. Barry's book is accurate. Absolutely accurate. The movie based on the book is not. The basic gist of everything is in tact. It's just that nothing happened the way that it was illustrated. If you want to know what really happened in this situation or that, you can go to Barry's book for that.
K2K: So they basically embellished it for the purpose of making an entertaining TV show.
SO: Yeah, yeah. They combined characters. They made things happen at different locations, at different ages. They made Maureen a lot more interested in Barry than she actually was.
K2K: That brings up this question - How innocent were all of you?
SO: Extremely! I mean, you know, Bobby and I making out in the doghouse, we were just kissing. We didn't know what else. Eve was actually more sophisticated. I don't think that she had had any experience really in dating because she was very young. She was just so different than Jan.
K2K: What was the age range of all of you kids?
SO: At the beginning of the show, I was 7, Eve was 10 and Maureen was 12.
K2K: The boys were...
SO: 8, 11 and 14. Barry had his 14th birthday while we were shooting the pilot.
K2K: Do you still keep in contact with everyone? Are you guys all still good friends?
SO: Yup! Yeah.
K2K: You don't really consider yourselves the "embittered child actors" then, do you?
SO: No, no.
K2K: What do you think of that whole idea and term?
SO: It's funny because I've always gotten up on my soapbox and said I'm so sick and tired of seeing so much commotion over the child stars that do go bad. It's not the majority. There's plenty of them who don't go bad. I've even been thinking of starting a tally. I'm learning that there's quite a few of them who go bad. [Partridge Family's] Danny Bonaduce once said that if you take the cross-section of child actors and a cross-section of the normal population, you're not going to find any more drug addicts. As he says, "I am not going to blame my privileged past for my adult problems."
K2K: Good for him. I respect that.
SO: Right. He's like, "What kind of a loser would I be to say what kind of shambles my life is because I was such a lucky kid." I mean, there are a lot of factors that could make a person miserable. Back then, if you were a kid actor - I think it's better now - if you had any plans of being an actor as an adult, you were really barking up the wrong tree. The industry kind of had this "No, no. You were a kid star." kind of idea. It's not just a matter of money, although these days kids get paid enough that they probably don't need to work too much. The problem is that the person is old enough that they need to work to make a living, the only thing that they know how to do is what they are already washed up in. So, it is a lot harder life. I would say that the one's that you find had the most problems are the ones who had fame. Fame does more of a number on people. Most of the child stars today, I can think of people back when I was working, they simply chose to get out. "I'm not enjoying this anymore. I'm going to go to college and learn a new trade." But the thing is that, no matter what, the media looks upon this and says, "If you didn't continue on in acting and succeed in acting, then you're a failure."
K2K: Right. Rather than looking at someone as a multi-faceted person.
SO: Right. They just can't comprehend that anybody would actually choose to leave acting. Look at Meg Tilly. Nominated for an Oscar, this and that, she didn't like it and she left.
K2K: Right. When I read about you about 10 years ago with your interest in bass playing. It just said that former Cindy Brady is looking for a band. The way that they made it sound was kind of snotty. I was thinking, "How totally cool! I've got to get her in my band!"
SO: Aww. How totally cute. I think it would've worked out well if I would have continued. I don't really understand why it didn't. I think music served more of a dream to me than an actual practicality.
K2K: Did you start off by playing bass?
SO: No, I started off playing guitar. I was 16.
K2K: Was that inspired by the Brady thing?
SO: Partially. Yeah. Indirectly. I had the musical thing but I wanted to do the opposite of. I kind of saw music as a way of getting away from the image that I had. To me it came from a huge love for music. My love for rock 'n' roll was partially spawned by the fact that it was so anti-Brady and anti-wholesome.
K2K: Weren't you sort of a punk rocker?
SO: More of a hard rocker. I did get really interested in punk rock. I never really adopted the look. I never adopted the look because my parents would kill me. I thought it was a good extreme but I had a friend who was in the punk rock scene. He was sort of my ambassador.
K2K: Did you start playing around? Were you in bands?
SO: No, no. The only band that I was ever in, we were just pretending to be an underground band and put out our own recording. To sort of avoid the club scene so that we wouldn't play live until we had real venues.
K2K: Did you ever record anything?
SO: Yeah, on our 4-track. We had, basically, a little recording studio in a shop front on Pico Blvd.
K2K: You know where my line of questioning is going to go next, right?
SO: Do I have any tapes. I wish to God that I did. Me and the other members of the band got kind of pissed off. You see, my husband got involved in the band. The first husband. When we split up, the band split up. He was the bass player. He had been in bands since he was in high school. He had come to LA to do music production and to be in a band. He discovered painting and wanted to be an artist. He has this great music background. Some friends of mine wanted me to come out and try my luck at bass. I had never played bass before but had played guitar. I hadn't played in years really. So, I tried it and I really sucked. They said, "You have a great sense of rhythm. We think you can learn. We'd like you to play with us." So, I'm playing. The singer decided that he didn't want to play bass anymore and that's why he wanted me. He wanted to concentrate on his singing. My husband said, "OK, I'll tell you what. You can play on my bass because I want you to learn on the best." It was a huge guitar.
K2K: Was it a Rickenbacher?
SO: No, it was a Fender Precision. Full scale neck. All pre-CBS. I put a BadAss bridge on it and a couple of other things. It was a really nice bass. He came over to jam with us once and he was playing my guitar. He ended up in the band. So, anyway, when we split up, the band split up. When he moved, he didn't tell anybody. He took all the recording equipment with him and he has the master tapes.
K2K: Do you talk with him anymore?
SO: No, because my second husband forbid me to. (laughing)
K2K: Geez! (sarcastically) Not much co-dependancy there.
SO: No. It was real healthy. (laughing) But he put it in these terms, "Look, this guy has not been a very good friend to you." He didn't leave me, I left him, but he had a lot of debt and stuff. To me, it was like, "Yeah, he's not really a good friend. I wouldn't trust him a lot, but I don't mind keeping in touch with him."
K2K: Yeah, but you can feel better by knowing how much better you are doing than him.
SO: Right. That used to be what I enjoyed. I was doing well enough that I didn't gloat over that anymore. The issue was 'how dare my second husband set rules'. That was MY past.
K2K: So, are you married now?
SO: No, the second divorce is almost final. When they do things like control, there is usually an indication that he is not a well-developed person. Then, after you have a child with him, you really see that. But he's working very, very hard on developing himself and is making a lot of improvements. He darn well better because he gets my son every other weekend.
K2K: But the best part of the story is that Cindy Brady is available for dating again.
SO: Yeah, well, I'm not too eager about it. It's like people saying, "So, are you dating?" No! In the first place, I'm so turned off by the idea of relationships that it will take a while to get over the shell-shock. In the second place, I'm not going to get involved with someone and get my son involved - unless it's worthwhile. As long as you don't make a relationship into something that it's not, which is unfortunately what we did by getting married. Maybe the matter was me being concerned that my ovaries were going to dry up and fall out. And everyone's saying, "But he's such a great guy. Why are you letting him go?"
K2K: So now that he's out of the picture in that sense, what does it take to get your tapes back?
SO: I don't know. I think I could contact his parents and maybe get a hold of him. I don't think that anything was very good. There was one song that turned out half-way OK. It was called "Dead By Dawn". You know the Sam Raimi film "Evil Dead"? We had heard that there was an Evil Dead 3 and we wanted to send him a tape.
K2K: What would it take to get you to either record again or perform live onstage, at least once?
SO: Um, I would love to do that. I would have to acquire some ability to play. I literally have not played in 10 years. It would take a lot of Crazy Glue. I have no talent. I actually took my bass out and left it out for a while. It got really dusty and it didn't remind me to practice. Now I'm so swamped with work. I think about that a lot. I'd love to once get some gig and get everything out in tablature and have about 5 years to practice.
K2K: They had a show on recently about some old TV stars who went on to be musicians and there's a few who are really, really good.
SO: That's cool because, unfortunately, usually TV stars who do that make a bad name for everybody. My idea has always been, of course this is back when I was in high school, that I was just going to be in this great band and no one was going to know. At that time I was thinking that if anyone was going to know who I am, they're going to throw crap at me. I would try to keep it a real secret.
K2K: What else, in films, of notoriety have you appeared in?
SO: Just little things here and there. I really got out of the business and became a graphic artist. Not anything that is worth looking at. A highlight would be being on Howard Stern's old WAOR show when Mike Lookingland, "Bobby Brady", and I played Hooker Hollywood Squares. That was the one piece of video tape of me that I wasn't embarrassed to look at. "Hey, this is cool." (laughing)
K2K: What has been your favorite role that you've played?
SO: I haven't had one. Gosh. Geez. As a child, I was always playing some generic child. I'd had some auditions that I really liked but I can't say any role that was a favorite.
K2K: Was there any role that you would have liked to try out for that you didn't get a chance for?
SO: I'm sure there is. I'm drawing a blank. I would have loved to be in the last Alien movie.
K2K: Really? What kind of role?
SO: Winona Ryder's. I maybe saw the movie, I rented it and there was a party going on. I didn't even know what she did.
K2K: What about Terminator 3? That's coming up.
SO: That would be cool. I would love to do something with prosthetic make-up where you wouldn't know who I was.
K2K: Because you're such a gore fan?
SO: Well, no, because I would be self-conscious. I'm not really an actress. I'm not really an actress type. I'm an entertainer. I'm in the right position doing what I'm doing right now being a personality on the radio.
K2K: Which brings us to what you're doing right now.
SO: A talk show. A whole new network that, right now, is only on the Internet. The intention is to be syndicated across the nation to different radio stations. Even that's not the goal. The goal then is to wait for broadband to be mainstream and that's what we're set up for. When WebTV is TV, then we'll be a TV show. The network is Comedy World.
K2K: At
SO: Yes. With Allen Havey. I'm a sidekick. Really I'm a co-host.
K2K: That guy is one of the funniest people whom I have seen on TV.
SO: No kidding!
K2K: I used to watch his Allen Havey and the Audience of One.
SO: Yes, yes! We're thinking of bringing that back once we get more than an audience of 10.
K2K: I never got to be an Audience of One.
SO: Awww.
K2K: I absolutely loved that show.
SO: I never got to watch it, so I wasn't familiar with it.
K2K: He's frighteningly bizarre at times.
SO: I have to tell you that he was a bit intimidating.
K2K: He has that deadpan look.
SO: Yeah, like Herman Munster. In working with him, you've got to really understand his essence. It takes a while. With me, it's a sign of someone who's really interesting. I couldn't just sum him up at all. I think that what he's doing now is really accessible. There is a lot of stuff, underlying, that is extra for people who do get him. I think that anybody who listens to our show could get it and like it. He's not going into the full Havey arena. We're trying all the time to remember that we're gearing the show to young people.
K2K: The only problem is that some of the best comedy is intelligent and a lot of comedy in our country is dumbed down.
SO: Well, unfortunately, dumbed down tends to be the name of the commercial game, which I don't like at all. The people that design the dumbing down are the people who understand it probably the least.
K2K: So, have you ever had any fantastic tabloid stories told about you?
SO: No. I've had rumors but never any tabloid.
K2K: What kind of rumors?
SO: That I was a porn star. Yeah! It was even on Big Brother. I don't know if you've seen the show. It's horrible. They talk about which celebrity is dead or alive. I guess Eve Plumb, they said, "She's alive. She was Jan Brady. Hey, didn't Susan Olsen go into porn?"
K2K: Well, there are a few who did.
SO: Well, Dana Plato did.
K2K: Lisa Loring?
SO: No, she never did porn. She was married to a hard core porn star and she had a heroin problem. Jerry Van Dyke, his daughter.
K2K: Peter Sellers daughter.
SO: Oh yeah. She was one of Heidi Fleiss's girls.
K2K: Dana Plato didn't technically do hard core anyway, but that's sort of a whole joke in itself anyway.
SO: Yeah, right. I have known people in the porn industry.
K2K: Don't we all?
SO: Well, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. How could you avoid it? I mean, Boogie Nights is like, "Hey, it's our town." I had a fried who was a graphic artist who worked for a dildo company. (laughing) It was a job. He was freelancing. One day he said, "I got another job." "Oh really? Where are you working?" "Oh, another dildo company." He designed packages and stuff. My first husband, his paintings, he borrowed one of his paintings to use on a package for SuperGlide lubricant. We were really proud of that.
On Big Brother they said that I did porn. Then somebody else said, "No, no. She just contributed for the soundtrack for a porn film." It's true, but it was sound effects and it wasn't moaning and groaning. I told the story on a radio show in LA. My manager got a call from some producer wanting me to do background moaning and groaning for some film. Was he listening to my story? I had gotten a synthesizer and messing around with making different noises and sounds. You start out with a sine wave and this and that. My husband, first husband, is on the phone with a guy who happened to be a video porn editor. (laughing) A really good guy. I mean, there's actually really normal people... He said, "Hey, I need spaceship noises. Get Susan on the phone. Can you program space noises and ambient space sounds?" I said sure. We had the 4-track recording equipment and I programed these sounds. It probably sounded pretty cheesy.
K2K: What film was this for?
SO: Love Probe From A Warm Planet. I used to have the first 20 minutes of it. I told him that I didn't want the whole movie but just the sounds from it. He gave it to me. On the tape, he had taped in a girl's audition tape - if you can imagine a girl auditioning for a porn movie. She was auditioning in a pool. He had slowed it down and put on really slowed down music on it. It was really bizarre. It was weird. After I got divorced, my cousin and I were living together and I showed him my 20 minutes of porn fame. When it got to this audition tape he said, "No, no, no! Don't turn it off! Leave it!" Oh, he loved it, so I gave it to him. (laughing)
K2K: I want to take some real hard core porn films and overdub some burps, farts and spitting noises.
SO: Just leave the real sounds in. I'm sure you'd get them.
K2K: I think the "money shots" should have the sound of hocking a loogie. That would take the attractiveness right out of it.
SO: I think the attractiveness is pretty well gone to begin with, actually.
K2K: Ah well, anyway, Comedy World, how long has it been on?
SO: It launched in June [2000].
K2K: So you just started this.
SO: We will be on our first affiliate in September [2000]. The plot was just to get the network up and running, on the Internet, so that when they try to sell it to an affiliate, they can say, "Here. You can listen to it." Go online. Everything is already in progress.
K2K: What times are you on?
SO: 9 - 11, Pacific Time. Every weekday.
K2K: Tell me about the studio - the trailer park.
SO: They've got two huge sound warehouses, where our studios will be built. They'll even have a cabaret for live performances. In the meantime, while Comedy World is still being sold, we're set up in temporary headquarters. In one of the large warehouses, every show has its own trailer. So there's all these trailers inside the warehouse. The production studio is in a trailer too, so it almost looks like a trailer park.
K2K: So, it's a white trash heaven.
SO: Yeah, they even put down Astro Turf and those little trellis things, so yeah, it is. Everybody then decided to decorate their own trailers. A lot of people found themselves claustrophobic inside their trailers, so they put couches and such outside of the trailers. It's turned into this funky little community. Now, Allen and I have refused to decorate our trailer. I have one thing to add to the white trash ambience. My son's Fisher-Price scooter, that he's outgrown. It's all faded from the sun. I put that out in front of our trailer. What's a trailer park without some evidence of breeding.
K2K: What's a trailer park without a car up on blocks.
SO: We don't really have room for that.
K2K: Put the scooter up on blocks. Get a Big Wheel up on blocks.
SO: (laughing) Up on cinder blocks. Yeah.
K2K: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
SO: It would be nice to be doing a really good comedy TV series. That would be wonderful. One of those things were I would actually see residuals for.
K2K: As a writer or an actress?
SO: Both, actually. To have one of those Seinfeld type things, or Friends, where it will be in syndication forever and actually get residuals for syndication - unlike The Brady Bunch - and I'll never have to work again.
K2K: No more Cindy Brady then?
SO: Um, others can play her. She doesn't have to die.
K2K: Aside from acting, you are also a graphic artist? What do you not do?
SO: I don't do anything well. I'm a Jack Of All Trades and Master of None. I still have not blown glass yet. That's a dream of mine. I love all arts and crafts. I think blowing glass is one of the most beautiful things. I knew a girl in San Francisco who blew glass and I thought that would be so wonderful. It's really, really hard. It's really hazardous to your health because of so many chemicals. Inhaling chemicals from the colors can be dangerous.
K2K: In graphic arts, you used to work for Disney or was it contract work?
SO: Contract. Most of what I did was glorified T-Shirt design. I ended up being an art director at a company during the mid-1980s. Designer T-Shirts with prints on them were very popular. We would design those and sports wear and then we had the whole gifted tourist trade. I was in charge of the gifted tourist stuff. I had an opportunity to get a Disney account at Disney World for one of their sporting shops. Every artist in the department kind of did the designs. They looked back and said, "Whoever did these two designs is who we want to work on the account." It was me. I was like "Oh my gosh!" They said that they "liked the way this person understands the characters." To me, that was like Da Vinci saying "I really like the way you draw helicopters." I got really into it and worked really hard. I worked way into the night. That's how I got deranged and realized that Mickey Mouse is the Anti-Christ.
K2K: Once you figured out that D-I-S-N-E-Y spells out DEVIL, you quit.
SO: (laughing)
K2K: How is it that you keep looking better with every year?
SO: You're looking at a different me than I'm looking at.
K2K: You've lost some weight though, right?
SO: I think that I can do nothing but improve from where I was at 3 years ago because I was the Amazing Colossal Woman. I just gained 15 pounds though because I quit smoking. I'm on the verge of losing that. At least now I'm pretty certain that I can remain smoke-free. After 20 years, I thought it's not going to get any easier. But thank you. I just got huge when I got pregnant. I keep looking at everything going, "Oh my gosh. What's happening here? What's happening there?" Finally I had to say, "Susan. Stop it. It's only going to get worse and you're going to wish that you looked like this, so enjoy it."
K2K: Do you have any final thoughts for your fans or for Brady fans?
SO: I would love for them to tune in to Comedy World because it's something that I really enjoy. If I can get the Brady fans to hop on the bandwagon and support me in that, then I'll get to do something that I really enjoy. Then we can expand and I get to stay on. Also, bear in mind that it's not for your kids to listen to. I have to point out that there are some Brady fans who were into the wholesome aspect of the show that might be offended by it. Most people are kind of relieved.
K2K: I personally would like to see you on stage rocking out.
SO: Aww, I would like to see that too. I have a feeling that it may happen somehow.
And with that, Susan had to tend to her son and his new-found discovery of how to go potty by himself - that and trail some around to share with the house.
Make sure and check out Susan on her show at Comedy World - 9 to 11 am, California time.
[Comedy World is no longer operating. - Ed.]
Written by Philip Anderson / Photos © 2000 Philip Anderson / Tara Hauff

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

All rights reserved © KAOS2000™. No portion contained herein, either text or graphics, may be reproduced anywhere or reposted on any other website for any purpose without the expressed permission of the publisher. All violations shall be punished as the law allows.

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