Thirty years ago, the nerds defeated the jocks in the now iconic movie Revenge of the Nerds.
Now, actor Curtis Armstrong, better known as Dudley “Booger” Dawson, reflects back on what makes the film resonate today, and shares his most memorable – and grossest – fan encounter.
Did you ever think Revenge of the Nerds would be so iconic 30 years later?
At the time I questioned whether it was going to come out at all! There wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm at the time, and it sort of faded away until it got this second life because of cable and then video and now DVD.
It’s now become this huge thing, and it was actually just last year that it suddenly dawned on me that we were coming up on the 30th year anniversary, and it’s astonishing to me that it’s been that long. And here we are all these years later, and people still really love the nerds! That’s pretty wonderful.
Your character, Booger, was quite quotable. What lines will you always remember?
If it’s a question of popularity, the line would be, “We’ve got bush.” It’s the big one for him. I don’t know if I have a particular favorite one, but I have to go based on what lines people yell at me from across the street!
When was the last time someone yelled a Booger quote at you?
Well, the last time I left my house would be the answer. It happens all the time! I also get a lot of it when I make appearances at screenings or conventions. People will ask for an autograph, and they will ask me to write something horrible on the picture because it’s their favorite line.
What was your most horrific autograph request?
A couple of years ago I met a woman who had a picture of me as Booger, and she wanted me to sign it … but she also wanted me to put one of my boogers on the picture. She seemed like a perfectly normal woman, but she actually asked me to do it, and I said, “I am not going to do that!” And she said, “Oh come on! I’ll pay you!” I had to draw the line at sharing mucus.
Who from the cast do you keep in touch with?
I’m doing a TV show with Robert Carradine right now on TBS called King of the Nerds, which is a comedy reality show that is sort of based on the idea of Revenge of the Nerds, so as a result of that I see Robert all the time. And because of the anniversary, I’ve been seeing a lot of the others too. I see Brian Tochi often, I see Larry B. Scott, I see Julie Montgomery, Andrew Cassese, Tim Busfield.
We’ve kept in touch pretty well over the years. Every once in a while we’ll get together for a drink or something, and it’s nice to have stayed in touch with people for that long.
What later teen comedies do you think were influenced by Revenge of the Nerds’?
Well there are quite a lot of them, including some that I was involved with. Dodgeball has some of those elements in it, and Van Wilder is another one. There are a lot of movies that have come out that have a tip of the hat to ’80s movies in general.
Do you consider yourself to be a nerd?
Oh totally. I was useless at sports, I could never get a date, and I was a passionate book nerd. I was also a Beatles nerd, and I loved Star Trek. I was a devoted Sherlock Holmes fan and I still am, so I had those nerd qualities.
How does the message of the movie still resonate today?
I think the underlying message has to do with tolerance, acceptance and embracing people no matter what their race or their creed or their color or, as Larry B. says in the movie, their sexual orientation. All of that stuff is still incredibly important now. The Nerd movie was an example of when you could see people genuinely coming together for a greater good.
You’re now on New Girl, where Zooey Deschanel’s character totally embraces being “adorkable.” How do you feel about people now embracing being labeled a nerd or a dork 30 years later?
I think it’s great! There’s an entire fan base of people that don’t have a problem revealing themselves to be nerds. They relish it, and they’re proud of being nerds. And then you have a woman like Zooey Deschanel who is so gifted and so talented, and she is a nerd and she’s proud of it, so why not announce it?
Revenge of the Nerds will be available on Blu-ray May 6.
[IMAGE” “” “” “0” ]
Like us on Facebook for more stories like this!