Talk Hole is the bi-weekly spoken column of New York’s alt-comedy darlingsEric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst, offering their oracular powers of cultural analysis on all corners of the zeitgeist (high, low, top, bottom). On a call between Nantucket and LA, Schwartau and P-H (as Steven is lovingly referred) talk to American actor and cultural icon Tara Reid, proving talk is still chic. Tara—of The Big Lebowski, American Pie, and, most notably, Sharknado fame—joins Talk Hole to tell us how Serbia is the new Italy, LinkedIn is the new Hollywood, and how she arrived at the center of the 2020 election.
TARA REID: How are you guys?
STEVEN P-H: Phenomenal—we’re such big fans. I like your zebra print couch.
REID: It’s actually a throw on the couch.
ERIC SCHWARTAU: My lighting could be better. But you know what? Sometimes it’s more authentic to have bad lighting.
P-H: It’s crazy how we all have to be our own lighting directors now. Oh my god, I love your house, Tara.
SCHWARTAU: Tara, do you know who we are?
REID: To be honest, not really.
P-H: I barely know who we are too. That’s why we do this column, to try and discover ourselves. In any event, we’re two gay guys and we do a column in Interview Magazine where we talk mostly about ourselves. [Reid’s boyfriend walks by.] Oh, hello—
REID: That’s my boyfriend.
SCHWARTAU: I wish I had a hot boyfriend walking in the background.
REID: I’m always like, Nate, get out of the shot!
SCHWARTAU: And he’s got the Sharknado tee on.
NATHAN MONTPETIT-HOWAR: My shark killer girlfriend.
P-H: That’s a good boyfriend—a walking billboard for your project. We need to start getting our boyfriends to have the URL of our column on a t-shirt. So how are you doing?
REID: I’m doing great, actually.
P-H: Do you think you’ve gotten nicer? I’m nicer to my boyfriend after four months in quarantine.
REID: You just get used to each other. Everyone has to fight a little bit. But you understand more—you also check on friends more. One of my friends had corona, and she still does. I check in on her every single day. I haven’t seen her in like, six months. COVID-19 teaches you who your real friends are.
SCHWARTAU: All your acquaintances just disappear.
P-H: Those people who you see at a party and you’re like, “Oh my god, I love you!” … Gone.
REID: I just took my first meeting outside, at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Everyone had their masks on, but it was still kind of scary. I think if everyone could just stay home for once, we would get through this so much better.
P-H: I won’t get on a plane. I’m too afraid.
REID: I don’t want to get on a plane right now, either! I’m shooting a movie in Vegas, but I’m driving there.
SCHWARTAU: What are you doing in Vegas?
REID: It’s a vampire movie.
P-H: That’s very now.
REID: We have to like, bite each other’s necks! That’s definitely very close. But everyone’s testing negative. They take the temperatures of everyone all the time.
SCHWARTAU: I’m sure vampires had a lot of diseases going back and forth.
P-H: If you bite someone with Invisalign on, maybe you would be safe?
REID: I think we’re going to use angles where you don’t really see the bite.
P-H: Can I ask a question: I say Vay-gas. But you kind of said Ve-gas, is that the local way to pronounce it?
REID: Well, I’m from New Jersey.
P-H: Well, I actually love Jersey. This is a brag, but I’ve got EWR tattooed on my arm because my best friend is from New Jersey.
REID: That’s cool.
P-H: Isn’t it? I respect Jersey culture.
SCHWARTAU: That’s the Newark Airport code. I’m not sure that it really speaks to all of Jersey.
REID: New Jersey is beautiful, even though it gets a bad rap. It’s called the Garden State for a reason.
P-H: I’m from Newton, Massachusetts, which is known as the Garden City. And I’ve always thought of New Jersey as our sister state.
SCHWARTAU: You know who’s from Jersey? Meryl Streep.
REID: I didn’t know that.
SCHWARTAU: There you go. Another actress.
P-H: I want to talk about online bullying, which some would say I am a champion of. There’s a lot of vitriol out there—is that a constant with being in the public eye, or is it worse now?
REID: People are home right now, with nothing to do. Everyone’s on their computer. They just want to pick people apart. You know the other Tara Reid? Everyone was writing the meanest stuff to me. I’m like, it’s not me!
P-H: It must be very strange to have someone who literally has your name suddenly become the center of a presidential campaign.
SCHWARTAU: I mean, it did pique our interest in what you’re up to.
REID: And everyone really thinks it’s me! It’s insane. I’m like, “I’m not Tara Reade. It’s a totally different spelling.” I’m going to come out with it a million times.
P-H: Also, you have been an actress for many, many years—it would be a little random if you had this secret career working in politics the whole time.
SCHWARTAU: Have you ever met Joe Biden?
REID: No, never.
P-H: I met Joe Biden once on Nantucket. He was a little handsy, I will say. I was sixteen at the time—we posed for a photo and his sun-damaged hand found its way to the small of my back rather quickly. I don’t know if that’s just his “way,” but I very much am inclined to believe the stories.
REID: Yeah. I definitely didn’t have that experience.
SCHWARTAU: Put it on the bucket list.
P-H: We were actually just watching one of your movies which deals with sexual assault—Body Shots—which I really loved.
REID: I love that movie. And I love that it was shot Rashomon style, so you don’t really know if he did it—
P-H: —or if he didn’t do it.
REID: You see both sides of it. The audience has to figure that out themselves.
SCHWARTAU: I loved the late ’90s aesthetic. Smooth but also angular. Tight yet baggy. Cool colors but … warm. Juxtaposition and the lack thereof. Chopsticks in hair … sorry, where am I?
P-H: I think you’re trying to say that the styling is cool and the way it’s shot is cool. The vibe is, dare I say it, cool?
REID: And all the actors really have good characters.
P-H: For our readers who haven’t seen this gem, it’s about a group of friends who go out on the town in L.A., and the next day their different stories float to the surface, like flotsam from a drunken shipwreck. Your character accuses Jerry O’Connell of rape, but you can’t necessarily take either of their versions as 100 percent accurate. Yet, he’s still this jerk—this bad guy. So despite the lack of unassailable facts about the event itself, you can draw conclusions about his morality.
REID: Absolutely. He comes off as a bully. So it makes you not like him, yet you really don’t know what the answer truly is. She’s really kind. But to see both sides is, I think, a really interesting choice that most films don’t do.
P-H: Your character is the messy girl in the friend group. But that doesn’t make her a bad person, and it makes her or her experiences no less valid.
SCHWARTAU: I tend to be the messy girl of other people’s friend groups.
P-H: Rent-a-mess. Do you think the party girl was less respected in that era? Back then, we didn’t even have the vocabulary to say that “slut-shaming” was a bad thing.
REID: I don’t think that it really has changed at all. If you look at, for instance, Jersey Shore, those kids became so famous, and those girls were completely wasted, and they got paid a fortune. But if you’re a movie star—do that and you’ll never work again. Of course, if you’re a guy and you’re a movie star, you’re super cool. So the double standard has not changed.
P-H: That’s interesting. You might even say it’s maybe harder, because now as an actress you have to be the well-rounded girlboss— the businesswoman, the artist, the girlfriend.
SCHWARTAU: Messiness has to be staged and self-styled. You can be the party girl, but only if it’s a carefully concocted perfume.
P-H Eau de chica.
SCHWARTAU: I think that’s the name of Kate Hudson’s new vodka line.
P-H: And Cameron Diaz’s new natural wine! It has to be about wellness and business-savvy empowerment, never just fun.
REID: What’s really unfair about America is that they don’t find people having fun to be a good thing. In other countries, you’re allowed to dance and have fun and do whatever. Americans aren’t really allowed to celebrate life as much without being so judged, and it’s a really sad thing.
P-H: This could not be more true. Americans are so puritanical. We’re so afraid of change. We’re so afraid of people who aren’t like us. We’re so afraid of pleasure!
REID: I agree with you a thousand percent.
P-H: It’s a real problem. It makes people unkind.
REID: If you work hard, you can play hard. On your days off, you should be allowed to do whatever you want. It’s no one’s business—you shouldn’t be judged and prevented from getting roles in movies because of it.
SCHWARTAU: We all deserve a siesta and an espresso and a club mate, some tapas, a pitcher of sangria, multiple lovers, and free healthcare after this call.
P-H: Speaking of Europe, I was looking at a list of countries that we, as Americans, are allowed to go to right now. We can’t go to France or Italy, but we can do Albania. So I’m thinking of going on vacation there. Have you ever been?
REID: I’ve never been, but we’re gonna be shooting a movie in Serbia soon.
SCHWARTAU: Serbia sounds fun. I wonder if Marina Abramovic has a hot gay nephew or something. Morón Abramovic?
REID: Eastern Europe is beautiful. I’ve shot a lot of movies over there. We’ve all been to France and Italy before, but there are so many places in the world that we can go see now instead. Bulgaria and Romania are open.
P-H: This is what we were saying about Americans being so afraid all the time—it’s time to take risks! I mean with locations, not with spreading moisture molecules, obviously.
SCHWARTAU: As Ivanka says, find something new!
P-H: Okay, well I’m going to Kosovo. Tara, you’re going to Serbia to shoot a movie. Eric, you have got to figure out somewhere in Eastern Europe to go.
SCHWARTAU: I like the sound of Albania. I was reading that it’s a very mountainous country with beautiful beaches and very biodiverse. I’m also curious about the biodiversity of the gay scene there.
P-H: We found a gay beach on Nantucket just the other day.
REID: I never thought that they would have a gay beach on Nantucket.
SCHWARTAU: To find the gay beach, you always just have to walk a little further. That’s the trick.
P-H: Yeah, to the place that’s harder for families with kids to get to.
SCHWARTAU: Do you feel like you’re a gay icon?
REID: Um, I don’t know about icon, but most of my friends are gay because A) they’re not in competition with you and B) they tell you the truth. They tell you when you look horrible.
P-H: Wait, are you saying that straight girls will let you go out of the house looking bad on purpose?
REID: Straight girls don’t want you to look good. They say, “That dress. It’s great on you.” They purposely do it. But you can trust the gays.
SCHWARTAU: That’s so true. It’s about competition. Steven’s always saying I look hot in a sack dress with a chunky necklace, face-kini, and ballet flats.
P-H: All I’ve said is that a statement necklace could pull focus from other areas.
REID: This is why gay friends have more hot girls around them. Because they’re not threatened by them. Do you know what I mean? You always see a gay guy with a million hot girls because the gay guy is safer. And they’re more fun.
P-H: We try. We spent a lot of our teens not having fun, so we have to make up for it. I was mostly just on the computer searching “gay” on AOL.com and crying myself to sleep with my pretend crush on Elisabeth Hasselbeck. This isn’t really on topic, but I just remembered this quote from Body Shots where your character says, “Never marry a man who doesn’t order appetizers.”
P-H: Do you stand by this quote?
REID: I love to eat, so I want to share as much food as possible. I like appetizers. I like to taste a bunch of different things.
P-H: Exactly. If you’re going to all the trouble to go to a restaurant, why not get a spread?
REID: Why limit yourself? And people go crazy. “Do I get the fish or the chicken??” Just get both and don’t talk about it for an hour.
SCHWARTAU: I mean, if you’re going out to eat every single night, getting appetizers can feel indulgent. But I think in general, yes, it’s good to marry someone with a generous nature.
REID: It also depends on who you’re with. If you don’t want to spend that much time with someone, don’t get appetizers.
SCHWARTAU: That’s very true. Maybe just go straight to getting the check.
REID: Let’s just get a drink and get out of there.
P-H: My next question is just, Trump in general.
REID: You know, I don’t really talk about politics. I just don’t want to get involved.
SCHWARTAU: So you won’t say whether or not you would play Ivanka in a movie?
REID: Oh, I could play Ivanka. I could play anyone in a movie.
P-H: That’s fair. I mean, we know very little about politics ourselves. My knowledge is mostly confined to having run into Joe Biden that one time on Nantucket.
SCHWARTAU: My political knowledge is as confined as the black beans in an Ivanka-clutched Goya can.
P-H: Oh, here’s a question. Did you ever go to Sqirl in L.A.? The moldy jam emporium?
SCHWARTAU: I always preferred FRRT (short for Ferret). Where do you like to go out to dinner?
REID: I like Italian places. e. baldi, that’s one of my favorite ones. Nate, what’s the other time restaurant that I love? [Nate responds off camera] Madeo.
P-H: I’m writing this down.
REID: And then, of course, if you want a great steak, Mastro’s is really good. Fish tacos at Soho House.
P-H: If you’re a member.
REID: But most people will at least know someone who knows someone that has a membership.
P-H: It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon? But it’s more of a $27 bacon hollandaise.
SCHWARTAU: I went on a few dates with the graphic designer for Soho House, and I know he reads this column. So, fish tacos on me?
P-H: Are you guys still on good terms?
SCHWARTAU: I think so, although he’s been posting pics from upstate, and all vacation pics feel like a slap in the face unless I post them. I mean, I also have a new boyfriend, but he’s Canadian so people don’t really believe me.
P-H: Michael! [Calls to off-camera boyfriend.] He’s gonna make an appearance really soon. I swear to god.
SCHWARTAU: He’s out back with the pool boy.
P-H: Ooh, what about himbos?
REID: What’s a himbo?
P-H: A male bimbo.
REID: Oh yeah, there’s a bunch of himbos, obviously. I find them actually really funny and entertaining. They’re so innocent in a certain way. It’s beautiful.
P-H: I couldn’t agree more. There’s something just really genuine and pure about it. [To Michael] Yes, absolutely walk by! [To Tara] Tara, this is my boyfriend, Michael.
REID: Hi, Michael, how are you?
MICHAEL MCCLENAHAN: I’m doing well. Wow, nice to meet you.
REID: You too. Hi!
P-H: Wow, Eric. The only one without a boyfriend. I think you gotta go.
SCHWARTAU: I already feel like the spare tire on this four-wheel drive.
P-H: Tara, your house is lovely. You have a breakfast bar, which I love. When I’m a homeowner one day, I’m going to have a swim-up pool brunch bar and CBD grill.
REID: [Giving an apartment tour] Here’s my painting of Marilyn Monroe.
SCHWARTAU: Oh, wow.
REID: I got this one done in Australia. It’s really cool—it’s a painting of a fish. I love paintings. These ones are Andy Warhols.
SCHWARTAU: Fish art!
REID: Yeah, then this is my crazy clothes cart.
SCHWARTAU: Wow, it’s humongous. Paging the Bling Ring.
P-H: I feel like I’m at Fred Segal right now.
REID: This one is a Marilyn Monroe quote. It says, “First, I’m trying to prove to myself that I’m a person. Then maybe I’ll convince myself that I’m an actress.” It’s kind of funny. And then my mom got this one for me, but I hide this one. It’s a painting of me.
P-H: Oh my god, that’s you!
REID: To put a painting of me in my house, that’s a little much.
P-H: I have a painting of myself hanging above my bed, so there’s no shame in being, what’s it called?
P-H: It activates the space. Do you have any projects you want to plug right now?
REID: I’m producing my first movie. I have five movies right now that I’m about to shoot. This director and I started our own company, and we just met today at the Beverly Hills Hotel. That’s the one we’re going to shoot in Serbia. I’m really proud of that. And then there’s so many movies that were just done. There’s, like, ten, if I can think of all the names. There’s Bloodthirst, that’s the vampire movie. Ghostkiller, Mixer—
REID: —yeah. Nate, what’s the other one? [Nate answers off camera.] Dogman, Primary Target, there’s a couple more. I just can’t remember them all.
SCHWARTAU: How do you even have this much time?
REID: It’s crazy because I don’t have my own agent or manager. I do it all by myself. When I had them, they were so lazy. They just waited for the phone to ring, and I’ve gotten so much more just by connecting on LinkedIn with people. All of a sudden my whole life has changed by me taking responsibility. And I love it. You build your network up; I’ve never been this busy in my life.
P-H: I’m writing LinkedIn down in my notes in huge letters and underlining it.
REID: I was always like, why are these girls that nobody knows on this show, when I could be on that show? So now I handle all this stuff myself, at a time when nobody has a movie or a TV show or anything going on, and I’ve never had so much stuff going on in my life.
SCHWARTAU: It must be empowering to take control.
REID: No one is going to do a better job than you are at getting work for yourself.
SCHWARTAU: Or not getting work.
P-H: PUA queens to the front! And the worst thing about so many people in Hollywood is if you can make them money, then they like you, but if they think that someone else can make them more money? Zero relationship.
REID: No loyalty.
P-H: Loyalty is an absolute mirage! It’s a rough town. Maybe there’s more loyalty in Serbia?
REID: I’ll let you guys know.
P-H: Maybe we can all meet up at some point at some beach in Croatia or something?
REID: I love Croatia. Men are so hot there.
P-H: Again, I’m writing this down.
SCHWARTAU: Would love to see your notes. Man. Woman. Croatia. LinkedIn. Loyalty. Very cognitive memory test vibes.
REID: Croatian guys are so hot. It’s one of the best places to go for guys.
P-H: Where do you think the best-looking women are?
REID: That’s a hard one. It depends on what you like. Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil—I’ve been in so many places and there are sexy people all over the world.
P-H: That’s so true. You can find sexy people in any country, just like you can find dumb people at Harvard.
REID: Absolutely. There’s something for everyone.
SCHWARTAU: Wait, how did you meet your boyfriend?
REID: I met him through— Nate, how did we meet? [Nate answers off camera.] We met at this party in Beverly Hills.
SCHWARTAU: I’m a firm believer in meeting people in person.
REID: It’s good to have some mutual friends.
P-H: When you have mutual friends, you can gossip about the same scene! There’s nothing like gossip to bond lovers. Okay, I don’t want to keep you any longer, but this was so much fun. We both have been huge fans for a long time.
REID: You call me whenever you want.
SCHWARTAU: Just hop on this zoom link whenever you miss us.
P-H: See you in Belgrade.
SCHWARTAU: ‘Til we meet in Tirana!