By Bill Kohlhaase
Ron Jeremy! You’ve just had sex with 4,000 different partners (some more than a few times). What are you going to do now?
The answer, as Jeremy relates in his new autobiography Ron Jeremy: The Hardest (Working) Man in Showbiz, certainly surprised us. He wants to fight world hunger. He wants to be in a committed relationship. He wants a baby. He wants to be a legit actor. Ron, buddy, say it ain’t so!
These may be the only shocking revelations in a book that promises an insider’s view of the porn business. Unless, of course, you’re shocked to learn that at the end of filming, a porn set is littered with disposable douches. Or that actress Lynn Redgrave once let her house be used in a blue shoot. Or that Jeremy has never jerked off to porn in his life, but did to Gilligan’s Island. (Okay, maybe this last item is a bit of a shock.)
Jeremy—now 54, and with some 1,750 XXX films to his credit—has been billed as the greatest porn star who ever lived, eclipsing once better-known and better-looking male stars as Harry Reems and John Holmes. His secret is his longevity, a rarity in the porn business, which he credits to the fact that he doesn’t do drugs (though he’s fronting a line of rolling papers), takes insane precautions against sexual disease and has (mostly) avoided organized crime. His fame is almost as large as his penis. Even those who’ve never seen a porn film (anyone?) recognize Jeremy from bit parts in B-movies, music videos and television and comedy club appearances.
The book seeks to buttress the nice-guy reputation that the pudgy but loveable “Hedgehog” has cultivated for over two decades. Jeremy asserts he’s the opposite of what we think of when we picture the denizens of the sex film industry. His co-stars respect him for his gentlemanliness. He plays classical piano and the violin. He likes to cuddle and, as he tells one romantic interest, even though he has sex with countless women, he wants to come home to his mate at the end of the day and be “devoted as ever.” Easy for him to say.
And maybe that’s the real shock of Jeremy’s story. In the end, porn stars just want to be loved. And Ron Jeremy, as one rap star mused when he saw the cocksman nuzzling a lamb, is wild for affection. Those that need more proof should consider the fond memories he has of his teenage loves. Or his heartbreak at the death of his hairless pet rat, Fetus.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of dirty goings-on in these pages. Jeremy divulges tricks of the porno trade, detailing what it takes to keep the action up, or from coming to an abrupt end. Jeremy’s technique for postponing a scene’s climax? Think of dead animals. Need more ejaculate? Try chicken soup. He sets straight those who fantasize about the business. “Porno is hard work,” he claims, with no mention of a pun.
Jeremy has plenty of practical advice for those of us not so experienced, offered in the form of rules (“Always be up front with your swinging partners”), lists (“Reasons To Stay At a Party”) and lessons (“Sex Advice From Dr. Ron Jeremy, Part 2: Anal Sex,” wherein he defines “the gape”). He’ll even guide you through one of his most famous tricks: giving yourself a blow job. And, for the first time, he explains “The Grip,” a technique that allows even the severed likes of John Wayne Bobbitt penetration.
Short of shock, the book does contain its surprises. Jeremy is as star-struck as any Hollywood devotee, and he proudly drops the names of the famous whose elbows he’s rubbed. He paints detailed pictures of scenes he’s known, from the swinging set that orbited New York’s Plato’s Retreat in the 1970s, to the Sunset Boulevard rock crowd of the 1980s. There’s a revealing, somewhat comical chapter on porn’s legal problems in the ‘80s. Always the gentleman, he’s careful as he dishes, but with a few exceptions. Billy Idol enjoyed “ass cheek foreplay.” Rock club legend Bill Gazzarri was a ponderous farter. Sam Kinison was a terrible driver.
If the joke’s on anyone here, it’s Jeremy. He, ah, pokes lots of fun at himself and comes out the other side even more human, more the regular guy. Take the story where he screws up the filming of a soft-core film with his idol, Marilyn Chambers. To his and the director’s dismay, Ron can’t keep it soft. “We can’t shoot anything until you get that thing out of the way,” complains the director. Guess where our hero hides the offending member?
Ron Jeremy, The Hardest (Working) Man In Showbiz: Horny Women, Hollywood Nights & the Rise of the Hedgehog! By Ron Jeremy with Eric Spitznagel; Harper Entertainment, hardback, 343 pages. $25.95.