I fucked a pie. I’m pretty sure (and I hope) that I’m part of a very small group of people who can lay claim to this rather questionable experience. I do remember reading about a teenager in Idaho who, after the release of the first American Pie, went to the hospital with third-degree burns on his penis after he attempted to fornicate with a still-hot pie. Poor kid. Shoulda went à la mode. But for all intents and purposes, I am the Pie Guy. Not some singed idiot in Idaho. Not anyone else. I am. I am the motherfucking Pie Guy.
Back in my comparatively innocent late teen years, I was just an ambitious newcomer to Los Angeles, auditioning for every part that made sense for a Jewish-looking teenager and a lot that didn’t. As Malcolm Gladwell might point out, my timing was good: 1998 was the comeback year of the teen movie, and I had plenty of opportunities. Of course, I would have happily accepted any job that was offered to me. Little did I know that the one I would get, a small (by studio standards) production that was at the time called East Great Falls High, would not only go on to change the way people made high-school comedies, but also come to define me.
I remember reading the script and thinking how funny that scene in particular was. There was something about this kid fucking a pie. Jim was so innocent, so eager to get laid, so well-meaning — you just couldn’t help but feel for him. But then in the days and even hours before filming the scene, I think I might have said something to the effect of, “Holy fucking shit am I really gonna do this what the fuck what if nobody even sees this movie am I ruining any hopes I have for a career holy balls I’m freaking out maybe I shouldn’t do this.” The reality of what I was about to do had hit me, and my confidence was briefly compromised. I mean, sure, it was funny on paper, and I loved it, and our small group of filmmakers, actors, and crew members loved it, but what if the world hated it? Or worse, what if the world didn’t even bother going to see it? How would I move forward in my career with this pie-raping skeleton in my closet?
I had to do it. I had to stick to my gut. I knew this was funny. And the only way this scene was going to work was if I wholly committed to fucking the absolute shit out of this inanimate object. This couldn’t be half-ass. It had to be full-ass. Full, pasty, not-yet-super-hairy-the-way-it-is-now ass. Game on.
I remember being recognized from the movie by fans the morning after it came out. I was walking to breakfast, and a car full of teenagers drove by and shouted out the window: “Hey! Great movie! Do the dance!” They were referring to my striptease for Nadia that was broadcast over the still infantile Internet. Holy shit! No mention of the pie! Maybe it won’t be getting as much attention as I thought. Ha-ha. Yeah, right. Over the years, I can’t even begin to guesstimate how many times I’ve heard remarks about the pie scene. For the most part, they all kind of blend together. But occasionally one will stand out. Attractive women wondering if they “could be my pie” always used to get particularly high grades in my book.
People ask me all the time if it’s annoying to be known as the Pie Guy. To which I respond: I’m not just known as the Pie Guy — I’m also known as Pie Fucker, the Guy Who Fucked the Pie, and Adam Sandler. So there. Truthfully, though, I’d say there have been three fairly distinct stages in my life post-Pie. The first was pure awesomeness. This movie, this scene, had just opened up doors for me professionally that I had been dreaming about since I was a little kid. And the chicks! Wow! So, because I’m in a movie, you wanna hang out with me? Well, that sounds really superficial, but … okay! The second stage involved a bit more concern — concern about being pigeonholed and stereotyped for roles. And the truth is, that happened. Sometimes it still happens. I will always have to work a little harder at getting the more dramatic roles; I will always have to be a bit more aggressive in my pursuit of roles that are not Jim-like. But the third and current stage involves acceptance and gratitude. To be a part of something that has become such an iconic symbol of a generation, that’s some pretty amazing stuff. I will probably always be known as the Pie Guy. But how cool to be recognized for something you worked hard at, and for. And who knows? Once the fourth installment comes out, maybe I’ll be known as (spoiler alert!) the Penis Guy instead.
American Reunion, the fourth(!) installment of the American Pie series, comes out on Friday, April 6.