“He has a whole other perspective because he’s not a movie business insider,” says Vilanch.
“He really is the audience in Miami that’s watching the show.
It was five years ago that Barry ditched his beloved humor column that appeared in 500 newspapers, won him a Pulitzer, and explored such scholarly topics as exploding toilets.
Barry has not exactly pulled a Salinger: he writes children’s books with co-author Ridley Pearson and still files occasional columns to the Miami Herald.
But publishing a book about “what it means to be an adult”—it almost sounds introspective—sort of begs the question: What has Dave been doing with himself?
“I never wrote a column to be read years later,” Barry said, “and I certainly didn’t write them to be called ‘classic.’”Let us begin with the vasectomy.Now that he has time to reflect, does Barry have some existential angst, some memory of humiliation, that drives him to be funny?“I would say to the extent that I do,” Barry said, “it goes back to the very beginning of being funny: this small, puny, hairless kid, wearing glasses and getting his classmates to like him and that was the only way.”But Barry said he discovered that a long time ago.“He doesn’t strike me as tortured soul,” says Joel Achenbach, a Washington Post reporter who worked with the author at the Miami Herald.(“I suspect that La Guardia is an elaborate prank, and New York has a real airport nearby that only locals know about,” he tweeted from this book tour.) Barry also has a lively blog.He aggregates news about giant African snails and locust pizza in Australia—the sort of stories that in the old days would be sent along by an “alert reader,” as Barry called them, and that Barry, in turn, would blow out into a column.The unlined, boyish face that appears on the cover of I’ll Mature When I’m Dead, Barry’s new collection of essays, looks eerily like the unlined, boyish face that appeared on the cover of Dave Barry Turns 40.“I don’t really get a whole lot older- looking,” Barry explained by phone the other day.He added: “But, really, I’m a whole lot older.”Questions of mortality were in the air.Outside of some men-vs.-women riffs that feel familiar, I’ll Mature When I’m Dead is quite funny.Barry has an imagined script for the Fox series 24 that is the best and most pointed thing ever written about the show.Barry is married to Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman, his third wife, and, in 2000, they had Sophie, the author’s second child.As he writes in the new book, this made Barry a regular at dance recitals that ran longer than the third season of The Wire.