Avery in the News - Avery Ant

Avery, on Being A Mentor:

"I suppose I'd be willing to mentor a golf caddy. You know, on how to replace my divots, when to shut up, what time to pick me up, and how to pour a perfect vodka tonic."



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New York Times

Andrew Mackenzie - Special to the Times

"Let's get one thing straight," the diminutive star says rather testily over a plate of untouched Malapeques, his second Virgin Mary (he's been trying to cut back on alcohol), and the sugar cube he is never without. "This is my interview. You're just along for the ride."

He's right. Avery Ant has always granted very few interviews — but even fewer since his now-infamous disappearance," In fact, it was an unavoidable condition of this interview that no question be asked pertaining to the incident that mobilized police on both sides of the US/Canadian border and launched the famous "Where's Avery?" campaign. As we now know, he resurfaced months later when an innocent man was in jail for his murder — and Avery found himself in a whole world of trouble. What had started out as a simple publicity stunt had gone horribly wrong. Charges were laid, witnesses called, and in the end a jury of his peers found him guilty.

But there was an up side, too. In a time when entire towns had been built around the prisons that had sprung up to hold the legions of celebrities who had run afoul of the law, Avery stood out as different somehow — an ant among men. His quest for belonging and love through trickery and deceit touched something deep within the jaded heart of the North American public. And by the time he spilled his guts on a heart-wrenching Barbara Walters special, many were willing to look beyond his indiscretions and see him for the scared little pupa he was — a pupa whose only emotional choice was to run away from his past.

Avery had left a kitchen pest, but had returned a giant.

A.M.: Avery, why you? Of the millions of ants that have roved the earth, you and you alone have become a star. What sets you apart?

AVERY: A tough but fair question. No comment… Ha! Just kidding. I think it's a combination of things. My edgy, ansty, and burning desire to question authority, society, and all the other important topics that end in "ty." Then again, it might be my t-shirts. You don't see a lot of ants wearing them. They give me a certain insect magnetism, doncha think?

A.M.: Have you paved the way for other ants? Are you interested in mentoring other insects who'd like to follow in your tracks?

AVERY: No on both counts. Long before me there was Atom Ant. He's the ant who first put us members of the hymenopterous family on the map. And even though he was a sanctimonious drunk and an annoying no-talent, he didn't let that stop him. And sure, it only made him more annoying, but don't forget he had that superpower strength. And back in the 60's that opened doors in Hollywood. As for mentoring other insects, well, what are ya, crazy? I got enough competition as is. I mean, I suppose I'd be willing to mentor a golf caddy. You know, on how to replace my divots, when to shut up, what time to pick me up, and how to pour a perfect gin fizz. But since I can't afford a caddy anymore, it's really a moot point, isn't it? I did do some work with some inner city ants last year… Little bastards stole my wallet.

A.M.: What's been your favorite project so far?

AVERY: Well, if you've seen any of my movies, you'll probably guess that it wasn't any of them. Let me tell ya, playing the role of a mutated ant that wants to destroy the world, and thus ensure that horny teenagers everywhere never have sex, quickly turned me into a cliché. And then there were my comedies… I only wish they could have been half as funny as my dramatic work… I guess right now I'm enjoying the rants. I get to write my own material — and what I don't write I take credit for.

A.M.: You have a reputation for being difficult on set. Scorcese says he'll never work with you again. Sarah Jessica Parker is on record as saying, "Avery Ant is dead to me." Do you think you've been judged unfairly?

AVERY: For the last time, I told Scorcese before he hired me that I didn't do drag. And Sarah didn't say, "Avery Ant is dead to me." She said, "A.A. is dead to me," just after she fell off the wagon. You New York Times writers really might want to check your sources. 'Have I been judged unfairly?' Without a doubt. But what are ya gonna do?

A.M.: You're unpredictable, Avery — and you seem to follow a career path all of your own making. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AVERY: Yeah, I'm unpredictable. Sometimes I get asked a question that I don't have an answer to, and I do something spontaneous like this… (At this point, he began to dance and take off his t-shit, waving it much like a stripper might. Eventually he settled down and sipped nervously from my drink.) Hopefully I'll still be doing what I love. The main thing I gotta do is be careful with love. The last thing I want is some female dining on my thorax after some heavy mating — and I know that sounds like a stereotype...but they really do it.

A.M.: Boxers or briefs?

AVERY: You forgot the third choice.

A.M.: There were some dark days, Avery — and I know you don't like to talk about that — but was there anything that got you through those times? Any words of encouragement you'd like to pass onto our readers who might be facing their own journeys of the soul?

AVERY: You're right. I don't like to talk about that. So let's just say this… If it's only funny until someone loses an eye, then it's still half-funny. And half-funny is better than no funny.

Avery is distracted now. I've essentially been fitted in on a sugar break he's taking from an all-day meeting with NBC on a new as-yet unnamed project. The last morsel of sugar has rolled into his mouth and it's clear he wants to go. I'm angling for a longer interview, and, with a hint of desperation he clearly smells, I reach into my pocket and pull out another sugar cube. Avery doesn't take the bait.

"Thanks anyway, sport. But when you're Avery Ant, you can get sugar whenever you want."

When you're Avery Ant, you can get pretty well anything whenever you want.

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