The Swearing-In of Carrie Keagan
– By Stacey Gualandi
Carrie Keagan has never met a curse word she didn’t like. Like that time she dropped the F-bomb on her grandmother when she was 3. Or when she got sent home from high school for wearing a t-shirt that read “Motherf—er.” Oh, and that other time she blurted out, “It’s all about the c—k” during a TV interview.
Not once has her mouth been washed out with soap (“I was a good kid. I just experimented with my language”). Instead, this “cunning linguist” parlayed her potty mouth into a lucrative on-camera career getting celebrities to swear.
“There was always this inner dialogue in my mind saying, ‘Just do you. Let Carrie be Carrie.’ The older I get, the more that rings true. You have to listen to your own intuition. You have to live in your own skin.”
As the face and founder of No Good TV (ngtv.com), the digital online network she created with her visionary partner Kourosh Taj, she became one of the first YouTube stars with over two billion views. The turning point in her career? Her interview on Borat’s lap (!) which led to the cover of The Hollywood Reporter; movies roles in The Hangover; and TV host/producer gigs for VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live and Bravo’s After Hours (now in its second season). She even appeared on the New Celebrity Apprentice with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
As a fellow entertainment reporter, I have admired Keagan since I saw her uncensored online debut in 2007, and read her 2017 memoir Everybody Curses, I Swear. Uncensored Tales from the Hollywood Trenches! This is a gal who changed the status quo by “giving people a fun and safe place to verbally let their hair down.” When we recently met at the W Hotel in Hollywood for a drink and an expletive-filled chat-fest, she explained how f-ing with the famous is the “great equalizer.”
“I think why these celebrities were always so open with me is because I never gave them the feeling I was out to get them,” says Keagan. “I threw myself in the middle of it with them…I was about the ‘come here’ not the [tabloid] ‘gotcha’.”
Everyone from Cage (her first) to Clooney (her fave); Washington (the wisest) to Willis (the worst) has shot the proverbial shit with Keagan. But this so-called “Naughty Critic” admits she wasn’t always popular. Growing up in Buffalo, she was bullied relentlessly. “I got boobs in the fifth grade. (I didn’t mean to!) I figured out early on [that] what I was being bullied for were things I couldn’t change. [So] I learned to take control of what I could control,” she says.
It worked. Keagan has amassed nine thousand innuendo-filled interviews, fanatic followers called “Keagals” (wink, wink) and her own “Index of Profanity” (see: Everybody Curses). This year, she says she’s working on something big…a role she was meant to do. Until then, Carrie will keep on being Carrie…both naughty AND nice. Because as she puts it: “When I’m good, I’m really good; but when I’m no good, I’m better.”
Deluxe Version Magazine: Has much changed in entertainment since you first went viral?
Carrie Keagan: Not much: There is still no woman in late night television. Thank God all this #MeToo stuff is happening right now. It’s coming out finally, so maybe something will change. I see a little shifting in our direction. Go girls!
DV: How do you relate to this shift?
CARRIE: There are two sides to this: my personal journey, and what happened when the cameras were rolling. When rolling, I was in control. It got as dirty as I wanted it to, or allowed it to. There was never a moment where I felt out of control. BUT, I can’t say ‘not me’ because #MeToo.
DV: You write in great detail about the “blatant misogyny that pervades the entertainment industry.”
CARRIE: I was told right off the bat if you want to get a job in the record industry, ‘you gotta fuck somebody in the mailroom.’ Well, hello?! Countless people were inappropriate, or tried to use their power to manipulate me in some way, or dangle job offers, or threaten me. An agent told me, ‘We should just have sex because I’m not going to rep you anyway.’ Was I asking? It’s been accepted like this since the Stone Age. The most important thing [about the #MeToo movement] is this could not have been done by one woman. It had to be a bunch of us.
DV: How did being bullied as a kid prepare you for Hollywood?
CARRIE: I read once, ‘Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue.’ When you go through something like that…it can destroy you or toughen you up. I get flashbacks every once in a while, [about] executives. But I’m an adult now. I don’t have to take their shit now. Back then, in school, I didn’t know what I was doing.
DV: Many stars who have let loose with you in the past have recently been pulled in to the #MeToo movement (Dustin Hoffman, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, etc.) Do you look at your interviews differently now?
CARRIE: I do think they were being their true selves with me because they were in a safe place to do that. Nothing that ever happened in my space was something to be afraid of. I never felt harassed, worried or threatened, because I set the tone.
I don’t want this all to be the death of innuendo. I want there to still be a place to joke around and be the sexual animals that we are, but in a good space!
DV: You were really ahead of the curve when you created the “Emancipation Dicklamation.”
CARRIE: That really goes to what is happening right now. Women need to take back the control. We need to own the word ‘cunt’ and take power over of all the things that scared us. We need to start owning our reputation rather than letting people use that against us.
DV: Which celebrity is playing hard to get?
CARRIE: Howard Stern! We’ve never interviewed each other. (I think he might be afraid of me…ha!)
DV: Before I forget, you say you’re a “glass-half-full-of-whiskey” girl. I’m a whiskey virgin. Tell me what to order?
CARRIE: Since you enjoy espresso, I suggest a Yamazaki. Neat.
DV: And last question: What do you hope people say about you years from now?
CARRIE: She gave a f—k! And she kept on giving them!
Photo by Matt Sayles. Wardrobe Stylist Quentin Owens.