- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Five days a week, Steve Doocy provides the comic relief on Fox News Channel’s popular “Fox & Friends” morning show. Judging from his new book, the former reporter for Washington’s WRC-TV also provides comic relief at home.

In “The Mr. & Mrs. Happy Handbook,” Mr. Doocy and wife Kathy dispense advice on such topics as how to have the perfect marriage by arguing without gunplay.

The following are excerpts from a recent interview with Mr. Doocy:

Q: When did you first discover you are funnier than Dave Barry?

A: Just now, thank you. My dream in life was simply to be funnier than Marion Barry. …

Q: Most comedians hone their skills through adversity and bad childhoods, but you grew up in Kansas. Explain.

A: Oh, I’ve had personal adversity. Actually, after watching that guy on Oprah who made up big chunks of his story … I thought I’d write about my days behind bars. But I’ve never actually been in a prison, unless you count the 10 years I worked at NBC. Yes, my childhood in Kansas was rural and simple. It was like “Little House on the Prairie,” except there was no Michael Landon telling me to go churn butter.

Q: There are some portions of the book that describe physical pain, emergency-room visits and diapers. Are you a Marx Brothers fan?

A: I’m actually more of a Brooks Brothers fan. Have you seen that new wrinkle-free dress shirt? It’s coated with Teflon, which I’ve coated over the children to prevent physical injuries or excessive solar radiation. There is a lot of bleeding and semi-annual tetanus shots in the book from the “do it yourself” days when we lived just outside of D.C. in Virginia — the “Who Needs a Permit?” state.

Aside from tipping the riding lawnmower with my son on my lap, falling down the stairs and breaking my foot after I was bit by a snake — a rattlesnake, I’m certain — the most painful injury was my discovery that while fiberglass insulation looks like pink cotton candy, it’s actually glass. The doctor in the ER told me, as he fished some of it out of my eye, which now has a ripped cornea. “I told you to hire somebody,” my loving wife reminded me as she drove me home, my left eye patched and bandaged. “Did you hear me, Popeye?” Popeye nodded.

Q: Has your wife read the final draft, and is she still speaking to you? Have the kids filed libel suits against you?

A: My wife has read the final draft, and she’s OK with it because she gets to be on the cover. My oldest son thinks it’s fine because I mention when we went fishing and how he tried to thread a water moccasin on a fishing line — “Danger” is his middle name. My youngest is fine with it, because she comes off as generally cute and adorable — despite pooping all over a restaurant highchair at a restaurant, where we are no longer allowed.

My middle daughter was very quiet after she read the book. In particular, she was bugged when I wrote how hard it is as a parent to negotiate with a teenage daughter why she really should not go out in public in a skirt the length of a beer cozy, yet she insists and winds up looking like your family’s youngest prostitute.

I didn’t even name her in the book, so why is she so bent out of shape? Maybe I was talking about somebody else’s teenage daughter.

Actually, my girl is fine now. I just gave her my American Express card, and she’s online buying a new wardrobe for herself and her imaginary friend, Midge, who’s helping her cope with her father calling a girl her age, who lives at our house, a “beer cozy-wearing hussy.”

Q: Money is probably the toughest adjustment in a marriage. What advice do you give for spenders vs. savers?

A: This is a major problem. I’m a saver. I still have the $10 bill grandma sent me for my 18th birthday. My wife is a spender. It would not shock me to hear that she’s hired a private tutor to teach our golden retriever to speak Dutch.

Over our first 10 years of marriage, I did my best to redirect her shopping, or “retail therapy,” as she calls it. I took her to big-box stores and wholesale places, where she learned that buying in bulk was fun and that she could shop with a forklift. She never wore a hard hat at Macy’s.

She still loves the occasional big-buy binge. I expect to come home one day and find something new in the driveway.

“Where did you get the helicopter?” I will inquire.

“Homeland Security, and I used a coupon.”

I’ll probably make her send it back. But, we would be the first on the block with a Sikorsky, and that would really bother our neighbor who has a Mercedes.

Q: On “Fox & Friends,” you guys can get pretty political. How did you keep politics out of the book (except for the marriage advice from President Bush, which was actually very sweet)?

A: The “blue state vs. red state” politics is not discussed, but being married is very political. … Men and women need to edit their honesty. Most wives don’t really have to inform their husband that a wild hair growing out of his ear is long enough to use as dental floss. And when a pregnant woman with a healthy appetite explains that she’s “eating for two,” the husband should never say, “Two? Who? You and Shaquille O’Neal?”

Q: Is President Bush still speaking to you, or have you been blackballed from White House dinners?

A: Are you kidding? He’s got a great sense of humor. He had [Homeland Security Secretary Michael] Chertoff come over and put one of those GPS tracking chips in my neck, like the one my dog has. That way, if I get within 15 nautical miles of the White House, the president jumps on his dirt bike, cranks up the IPod and heads for Beltsville. …

Q: So what is the secret to a happy marriage? A similar sense of humor, separate bathrooms or new socks?

A: All three are needed at various times in life, but none more than separate bathrooms. Think about it: Separate bathrooms let people conduct their private business in private. It lets spouses keep their stuff in its own place in their own way, reducing the chance of things going missing. …

As soon as couples realize that separate bathrooms are one of the keys to a good marriage, home remodeling will skyrocket when millions of couples turn walk-in closets into private bathroom sanctuaries.

As soon as we end this interview, I’m calling Morgan Stanley and sinking all of our savings into porcelain futures.

Q: Children and pets, why do we want them? Why should little boys play with guns?

A: Because children are cute. I have a kid in college. You know what that’s costing me? Don’t ask. I don’t even know. My wife won’t tell me.

But I do know exactly how much our dog has cost us and the insurance company, $327,000, so far. Long story short, our dog knocked over my wife, shattering her kneecap, which [required] five painful surgeries, then a total knee replacement. It should really be called total bank-account vacuuming.

If more people knew the answer to the question, “How much is that doggie in the window?” — which is “more than your house” — cat sales would skyrocket.

As for the question, why should little boys play with guns? As new parents, we overdid it in the over-protective department with our first child, a boy. We didn’t mean to, but we probably raised the “boy in the bubble” without the actual bubble.

We insisted that wieners and grapes be cut into atom-sized bites so he wouldn’t choke. Whenever he went outside near the pool, we insisted he wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved, full-body flotation device. And we never gave him a toy gun, even though he wound up shooting at squirrels and rabbits with his fingers locked in an Uzi position.

Luckily, we wised up, and by his 18th birthday — to make up for his ammo-free childhood — I toyed with the idea of giving him a set of brass knuckles and napalm, but he settled for luggage.


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