Ted Danson participated in a “Random Roles” chat with the AV Club Monday, a feature in which the website asks actors and actresses about various characters that have defined their careers over the years. The whole thing is a great read, and Danson discusses everything from his current part in FX’s Fargo, to his iconic role as Sam Malone on Cheers, playing himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, and a cameo in a Beastie Boys video.
One anecdote, however, stands out above the rest, and it’s about Leslie Nielsen’s love affair with his fart machine. If you’re unfamiliar, Nielsen was known for bringing the device to interviews, where he would use it to prank talk show hosts by pretending to innocuously let one rip, mid-interview.
Danson and Nielson worked together on 1982’s Creepshow, in which Nielsen plays a wealthy psychopath who murders Danson’s character and his wife after catching them having an affair (in appropriately horrifying fashion, of course). And based on Danson’s experience, Nielsen’s obsession with the fart machine extended to well-beyond just interviews.
He was relentless! Most people would do something like that, get a few laughs, and put it away. He… would not. We literally got asked to get off an airplane because we were in first class, and when we sat down, he was on one side of the aisle and I was on the other side, and every third person who would walk by, he would do his fart machine. [Laughs.] Restaurants would ask us to leave. He was relentlessly in love with his machine, with no sense of shame.
Keep in mind, this was also the early ’80s, long before you could get kicked off a plane for just looking at a flight attendant the wrong way. Here’s one of just many videos that exist on YouTube of Nielsen farting during interviews. This man was a national treasure.