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JOY BEHAR SHOW

Interview With Bill Murray

Aired November 25, 2009 - 21:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOY BEHAR, HLN HOST: Tonight on THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, he started in Chicago`s Second City and has become one of Hollywood`s biggest stars. Tonight, I`ve got him here in New York with me; the fabulous Bill Murray.

Then, collecting coins or books or memorabilia is considered a good hobby, right. But collecting trash or garbage until it is piled up to the ceiling is not a good hobby. It is a disorder known as hoarding. We will take a serious look at it tonight.

All of that starts right now.

My first guest tonight needs no introduction but I`m going to give him one anyway. He`s one of the most successful and admired actors of the last 30 years and one of the funniest. His new movie is "Fantastic Mr. Fox," which I saw last night and loved it.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t buy this tree, Foxy. This is Boggis, Buns and Beans, three of the meanest, nastiest, ugliest farmers in this valley. You`re moving into the most dangerous neighborhood for someone of your type of species.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your comments are valuable but I`m going to ignore your advice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A cuss you are?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you cussing with me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you cussing with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t cuss and point at me. Just buy the tree, ok?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: He is the badger or the voice of the badger and he is here with me right now. Bill Murray. Bill Murray is here.

BILL MURRAY, COMEDIAN: Ok.

BEHAR: So Bill...

MURRAY: We don`t go home until you clap. Let`s go.

BEHAR: I really like this movie. It`s more adult than kiddish in a way isn`t it?

MURRAY: Well, it is that it is for adults is what`s refreshing about it. But I was thinking about it the other day, and I thought the way to describe it would be it is smart enough to take your kids to.

BEHAR: Smart enough to take your kids to. How many kids have you got?

MURRAY: Six.

BEHAR: Of your own?

MURRAY: Yes. Well, people don`t loan them to you anymore. They just don`t. No matter what kind of ad you place, they just will not loan to you.

BEHAR: Well, why did they give their practice up? It was so useful.

The other stars of the movie, I mean, Meryl Streep, plays Mrs. Fox, and George Clooney. I mean I found myself strangely attracted to the fox. And then I realized why. It was George Clooney underneath that fur.

MURRAY: Yes. He`s got a brilliant smile.

BEHAR: He did. He was such a charming, sexy fox.

MURRAY: He is great.

BEHAR: And Jason Schwartzman, what did he play again? I recognized his voice.

MURRAY: He plays the fox`s son.

BEHAR: Oh, the kid. Right.

MURRAY: The kid. And the director, Wes Anderson`s brother, Eric Anderson plays the cousin. Those two guys are amazing.

BEHAR: Kristofferson.

MURRAY: Kristofferson. The son and the cousin are -- that to me, that`s like the funniest stuff in the movie. I really liked that.

BEHAR: Well, they have that little sibling rivalry going on which is so relatable to the kids who watching and also the adults of course.

But your career has been very interesting, Bill. You are, you are the darling of the indie filmmakers, a lot of that, don`t you think?

MURRAY: Well, you know, that is not always good. I don`t think. Thank you for tipping me off to that. You know, it`s usually just before that that you are selling insurance late at night.

BEHAR: No.

MURRAY: Or TV.

BEHAR: No, to me that`s -- you know, it`s like Woody Allen used to say or said one time, you don`t want everybody to love your movie. You don`t want to big a big blockbuster all the time. You want movies that are smart, like the ones you do.

MURRAY: It is true. I used to make movies that were successful and I prefer the ones that aren`t. You know.

BEHAR: They`re successful. Your movies are.

MURRAY: No, you don`t want to be, I don`t want to be like that -- it`s too much work.

BEHAR: To do what?

MURRAY: To be in blockbuster movies. It`s too much, you know. I don`t want it.

BEHAR: Was "Ghostbusters" a blockbuster? Would you consider that one?

MURRAY: Yes. I would.

BEHAR: You would.

MURRAY: It`s one of the biggest movies of all time, that movie.

BEHAR: Yes. But I mean, was it a lot of work? Or was it just...

MURRAY: No. But the impact. Had a lot of impact.

BEHAR: Yes. One of my favorite movies of yours is -- what was it again? "What about Bob" my favorite all time movie that you ever made.

MURRAY: That is a really great premise. It`s a really wonderful premise. A patient follows a doctor on a vacation.

BEHAR: Haunts him and nudges him until he wants to kill him. And the fact that Dreyfuss gets jealous of you is one of my favorite moments also. It`s so great.

MURRAY: Yes, it`s funny.

BEHAR: Also my other favorite movie that you were in, which you weren`t in a big part, but you stole the movie in a certain way "Tootsie".

MURRAY: "Tootsie" was a really good movie too.

BEHAR: What is the line -- I sit there and I watch you and you say, "That is some crazy hospital."

MURRAY: That is one nutty hospital.

BEHAR: Nutty hospital. Hilarious stuff, you know.

I understand that you do not have an agent or publicist?

MURRAY: Are you in that business or are you thinking?

BEHAR: Did you come here by yourself?

MURRAY: I came here by myself. Well, I got a ride.

BEHAR: A taxi?

MURRAY: Well, it`s a little nicer than a taxi. It was black.

BEHAR: It was black.

MURRAY: It wasn`t white. It wasn`t a block long. There was no hot tub in it or anything. It`s just a car.

BEHAR: No, that`s not your speed, huh?

MURRAY: No.

BEHAR: Is it hard to find you?

MURRAY: For some people. For the thick, yes.

BEHAR: For the thick?

MURRAY: It`s virtually impossible.

BEHAR: What`s the thick?

MURRAY: The thick, like, oh, God I saw him on TV. Maybe he`s on TV. You know, that`s thick.

BEHAR: Oh, I see.

MURRAY: If I saw him on TV. Maybe I will look on TV. Maybe I will find him there.

BEHAR: Is it hard to find you if somebody wants to hire you?

MURRAY: It`s a little bit hard. But that`s ok. If they really -- if somebody really wants you they will find you.

BEHAR: Have you lost any jobs because of it?

MURRAY: Not that I know of. You don`t know.

BEHAR: How would you know? They can`t find you.

MURRAY: Maybe somebody threw me a quarter yesterday. I have no idea. I didn`t get it.

BEHAR: Is this badger, this is a great little.

MURRAY: It`s really nice, yes.

BEHAR: Is this for sale or something?

MURRAY: That -- now, I am told that these things cost...

BEHAR: It`s a lovable animal.

MURRAY: I know.

BEHAR: It`s an ugly thing in a way but I don`t mind.

MURRAY: It`s all right. It`s good, you should get your picture taken or be on TV. It`s a nice guy. He`s -- if you have to be one of them. These are extremely expensive and very difficult to make. You can touch it all you like. If they built it they can fix it right.

BEHAR: Maybe I shouldn`t touch it in that area.

MURRAY: In the area --- you are safe with the badger. It may even be a marsupial, I can`t remember.

BEHAR: It`s not a rodent?

MURRAY: Let`s go to the -- let`s --

BEHAR: Can somebody Google badger and find out what this animal is.

MURRAY: Someone is a marsupial that I wasn`t aware of. I don`t remember.

BEHAR: But you know what? It sort of follows in a way that you would do this movie for some reason to me because it`s kind of a serious -- it`s not a cartoon. I don`t know what would you call this?

MURRAY: well, technically it`s called stop motion animation.

BEHAR: Oh yes.

MURRAY: But the story is written by a fellow named Roald Dahl who`s a very famous English writer.

BEHAR: Oh, I know him. He was married to Patricia Neil.

MURRAY: That`s right.

BEHAR: Hello.

MURRAY: Hello.

BEHAR: And there was a little bit of her there.

MURRAY: And there was a thing in the...

BEHAR: Problem there.

MURRAY: There was an issue.

And they had some issue too. They had a couple of beautiful children.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: Yes. But I think, people grow apart sometimes but she was certainly one of the most beautiful women. And he is a fascinating man.

BEHAR: Is he still alive now?

MURRAY: No. He passed away ten years ago.

BEHAR: Isn`t Sophie Dahl his daughter, the model/actress?

MURRAY: Yes.

BEHAR: Yes indeed. And his other book -- "The Chocolate Factory".

MURRAY: Willie Wonka.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: "James and the Giant Peach".

BEHAR: All his stories are very -- they have depth.

MURRAY: They have some moves to them. They have some highs, some light and some dark.

BEHAR: That`s why I was saying I think that this was right for you. Because your work to me is not kind of flimsy, crazy comedy as much as -- I don`t know --- they call it dramedy in a way. It`s kind of like -- I hate that, I know, it`s annoying. You have a better word for it? Tragedy.

MURRAY: A comma.

BEHAR: Just comma.

MURRAY: Comma-da.

BEHAR: Comma-da we`ll call it.

MURRAY: But dramedy gives me the willies.

The fellow I`m working with though, Anderson, Wes Anderson. He`s really a great film maker; he`s a young man. I worked with him in a few movies. He calls me up because he, he know how to find me.

BEHAR: He`s one of the few who actually can find you.

MURRAY: But I really enjoy working with him. He is a great; he`s a great person. I really enjoy him personally.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: He does great movies. We have had great luck. We`ve had good success and some challenging times.

BEHAR: What was it look to work with Sophia Coppola?

MURRAY: She`s a doll; a total doll. She knows exactly what she wants to do and she does it. She is very soft-spoken. People think that that means she has no -- she is -- velvet hammer. She is very talented and very kind. Very sweet. Real nice.

BEHAR: Very kind. Her father is kind I think too?

MURRAY: Yes, yes, yes. Hey, very warm. Warm people.

BEHAR: But both of us are in the comedy business. I used to be until I got this job.

MURRAY: Until success broke out. Yes. I know. This happens.

BEHAR: But we all did the comedy thing.

MURRAY: This is really great.

BEHAR: I`m enjoying this very much.

MURRAY: And I saw your show that`s why I wanted to come here.

BEHAR: Is that why?

MURRAY: You had someone on. That looks wholesome or something.

BEHAR: It looks wholesome?

MURRAY: Well it looked. Maybe that is a disgusting word. It just looked -- friendly and it looked like it was -- you know people weren`t dying over it. You know, there was no bloodshed.

BEHAR: It`s a friendly show. You have time to talk and elucidate.

I want to talk about comedy a little bit with you. Because you know, again, Woody Allen, I keep quoting him. But he used to say, or he said, that the industry does not respect comedy really. They hardly ever give an Oscar to a comedy.

MURRAY: He can say that he is the only one that ever got one in our lifetime. But he`s accurate, true.

BEHAR: Yes. What about "Tootsie"? Didn`t "Tootsie" win?

MURRAY: No, "Tootsie" didn`t. They gave it to that little man with the diaper. It was the one that...

BEHAR: Who?

MURRAY: It was "Gandhi."

BEHAR: Gandhi". Whoa, that`s a tough act to follow. Hilarious as "Gandhi" was.

MURRAY: I know. I mean, he was a nut. He was a nut.

No, Sydney Pollack used to tell me that he had to go to every award show for like a whole year and every time it was Sir Richard Attenborough giving the speech about this little man with the diaper. He had to sit through it like 11 times. Any way the little man with the diaper won that year.

BEHAR: But it should have won, "Tootsie" because you know comedy is harder to do...

MURRAY: It`s great.

BEHAR: It`s much more difficult. Why doesn`t it get the respect?

MURRAY: It`s much harder.

I don`t know. I don`t understand why. But "Groundhog Day" actually was a good -- a comedy...

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: But what a brilliant screen play that was. That kid wrote an amazing screen play.

BEHAR: Who wrote that?

MURRAY: Great.

BEHAR: I`m sorry. I`ll never forget what`s his name?

MURRAY: Oh God, Danny Reuben, I`m sorry, thank you.

BEHAR: Danny Reuben.

MURRAY: That was close.

BEHAR: He has those CD, thanks God.

MURRAY: For some reasons I wanted to say Andy Glover. I have no idea who Andy Glover is.

BEHAR: He just got married, I think, Danny Glover.

MURRAY: Yes.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: Danny Glover.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: Or maybe that`s where I was and then I came up with Andy. Because I knew Danny Glover doesn`t write. So I changed the first word to Andy.

BEHAR: Whatever.

MURRAY: Any way that was a good one. But like "It Happened One Night" was a comedy. And that won the Best Picture. But that`s 1935.

BEHAR: `39, I think it was it was the same year as all the other ones.

MURRAY: Way back, way back. And "Gone with the Wind" and all that.

MURRAY: But you know, they don`t. Maybe -- but now they have this crazy thing, where they get to nominate ten films for the best movie.

BEHAR: Oh yes, that`s new.

MURRAY: Oh yes, that`s this year. I don`t know, how are they`re going to -- sometimes they can`t find ten great films, you know so that would be interesting.

BEHAR: That`s going to be hard this year.

MURRAY: So it`s clear enough that something could win now that wouldn`t, you know, I think "Zombieland" might have a chance.

BEHAR: "Zombieland" definitely, that sets a really...

MURRAY: But something like that could -- something...

BEHAR: That`s up there with "Citizen Kane".

MURRAY: ... could win now. Because well, you know, it`s all voting.

BEHAR: Ok, will you stay with me for a little while longer?

MURRAY: Sure.

BEHAR: We`ll be right back with Bill Murray and Danny Glover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, let`s start planning, who knows shorthand. Great, Linda, (INAUDIBLE) you`ve got some dry paper. Here we go, oh, Mole, (INAUDIBLE) what have you got?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can see the dark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s incredible. We can use that. Linda.

LINDA: Got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rabbit or (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m fast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You bet you are Linda.

LINDA: Got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beaver, (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can chew through woods.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Amazing Linda.

LINDA: Got it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Badger (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Demolitions experts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since when?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They close you in this flames and this burning thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Demolitions expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ok, Linda.

LINDA: Got it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: You have got to know that you bring it out the animal in me. Let`s get physical, physical I want to get physical let`s get into physical let me hear your body talk your body talk let me hear your body talk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: He`s so inspired.

I`m back with Bill Murray one of the stars of the new movie "Fantastic Mr. Fox" that clip, you just saw, you were David Letterman`s very first guest. What year was that?

MURRAY: I don`t know.

BEHAR: God knows, it`s a long time ago.

MURRAY: I don`t know, he was still with us then.

BEHAR: He was still with us. Are you shocked by all of the revelations about Letterman?

MURRAY: I think it is ridiculous.

BEHAR: It`s ridiculous?

MURRAY: Stupid and ridiculous.

BEHAR: Yes, ok.

MURRAY: He`s a nice, he`s a good man.

BEHAR: I know he is.

MURRAY: The guy works in New York for 25 years is he going to have a date every once in a while. So what? Give me a break. If he didn`t we`d have issues.

BEHAR: But that was the thing that was shocking. You know I`ve done his show. I did a long a long time ago. He doesn`t talk to you before. He barely talks to you during. You know? And then he kind of is mysterious. So everybody always thought he was just a nerd who just disappeared into the woodwork. And then we find out, no, au contraire.

MURRAY: Well the quality of his works speaks for what kind of person he is.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: He is very committed to doing an excellent job.

BEHAR: He`s very good. Oh yes, absolutely.

MURRAY: And he`s great. He does it better than anyone.

BEHAR: Yes. Now we would...

MURRAY: Present company included.

BEHAR: That`s all right.

MURRAY: So you know, you do great.

BEHAR: We found out during the break that a badger is a weasel. No - I find that hard -- badgering somebody is a negative and being a little weasel, is negative. And yet, this is the most endearing little animal that I`ve been accustomed, in love with him.

MURRAY: Yes, people have taken that weasel thing in the wrong way. I think that some of the people that are uninformed. This is really the king of the jungle right here. This is one of the kings of the American jungle.

BEHAR: And when you did him, well you didn`t do him, you played him.

MURRAY: What time are we on here?

BEHAR: 9:00. It`s ok.

MURRAY: Ok.

BEHAR: When you played the badger, you played him with that Wisconsin accent.

MURRAY: Well, I tried and worked...

BEHAR: Where did you learn that? You are not from Wisconsin.

MURRAY: Well, I`m from Illinois. But I got these tapes of NPR Radio from Wisconsin listening to people talking about planting things. And I really had it. It was great too, but he`s just I did a couple of takes. And he kind of went -- you know I`m thinking he`s more of a like a saddle row (ph) lawyer kind of a badger.

BEHAR: A what?

MURRAY: Exactly. Exactly. That`s right. That stops all conversation. Well, I`m just going to go grab a cup of coffee and think about that. Ok.

BEHAR: Yes, ok. Now, you know and let`s go back to your career for a minute, because I`m interested in that a little bit. Because you were -- you exploded in a way. I mean, not literally, but figuratively exploded in the 80s. You had Ghostbusters, Meatballs and Stripes, and Caddie Shack all in a very short period of time. So did you freak out? A lot of people do from fame.

MURRAY: Well, you know, everyone, I`ll give you my whole rap on fame. I think everyone becomes a jerk for about two years when they become famous. And you get to -- I give you, so I give people two years to figure it out and pull it together.

But beyond that behaving poorly -- because there`s just no training for it -- there`s nothing your parents ever did no matter what kind of people they are. Because everything just gets different. The information coming to you becomes differently -- comes differently. And people treat you differently, sort of. And everything changes for us.

So it takes you a little while to figure it out.

BEHAR: Yes.

MURRAY: But then you can figure it out. And then it`s ok.

And I was really fortunate that I was just behind two friends of mine, Danny Aykroyd and John Belushi who were like a class ahead of me sort of at "Saturday Night Live." So I got to see them do the things that I said I`m never going to do that. But I did it anyway. But I mean, I learned a lot of, I learned a lot from having them in front of me.

BEHAR: Maybe they were role models.

MURRAY: They weren`t role models.

BEHAR: Negative.

MURRAY: But they were, no, no, no...

BEHAR: No.

MURRAY: They are really wonderful people, you know and...

BEHAR: No, I mean, of well, Belushi, we know what happened, he had a rough time and...

MURRAY: Well, he was also one of the most fun people you`ll ever meet in your life.

BEHAR: He was hilarious...

MURRAY: He could make more fun out of nothing. It was just an accident. He had like that, whatever that sleep apnea thing going on. It was just a weird accident. It shouldn`t have happened. He was a lightweight in terms of that sort of thing. And it just an accident.

BEHAR: You know, we asked the twitter people out there, do you twitter?

No. Well a lot of people like this twittering thing. They twittered me questions.

MURRAY: Oh, I understand that. The twits will do that.

BEHAR: And the first question is, "first, a groundhog, now a badger, is there something he is not telling us about his relationship with gerbils?"

MURRAY: All right, this is the audience you are getting. You got to be careful. You got to be careful.

BEHAR: But they`re out there.

MURRAY: Those stories are all (INAUDIBLE)

BEHAR: Ok. I have to take another break. Up next, more of your questions for Bill Murray. Back in a bit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t marry you until I finish college and become an established concert pianist and first female open heart surgeon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll wait for you. I`ll wait for these too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: That was Bill Murray with the late Gilda Radner on "SNL".

Ok, I have a couple questions from the twitters -- twitterers. Hey, joy.

MURRAY: They`ll take over the show. Be careful. You are new here. You don`t know how they`re going to operate. It`s like letting, letting the executives tell you what to put on. Be careful.

BEHAR: Like the badgers, underground. "Hey, Joy, ask him if he realizes he is super-sexy. I can`t be the only woman that thinks so. And how come "People" magazine leaves him out of the sexiest man list?"

MURRAY: There you go.

BEHAR: What do you think?

MURRAY: How come? I don`t know why. Every year I grab my issue and my subscription comes to the door, I rip it open. And I`m never on the cover. I just rush right past Johnny Depp. I saw him in the grocery store the other night. It`s Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp. He is cute, sure, but...

BEHAR: You know why they don`t pick you?

MURRAY: Sure, just let me -- George Clooney won three times. He called himself three-time sexiest man alive.

BEHAR: George Clooney yes. That`s true. He is a recidivist.

The reason that you are not on the cover, you don`t have a publicist. That`s the reason.

MURRAY: I know. I got to get there.

BEHAR: You know? Ok. "Who dead or alive would Bill look to work with?" That`s what the question is.

MURRAY: Well, it would be nice -- you just saw Gilda. It would be nice to have Gilda and Belushi. They`d be fun. They`ll be probably my number one and two choices.

BEHAR: How about the living?

MURRAY: The living.

BEHAR: Scorsese.

MURRAY: He is pretty intense, that guy. He`s great. My asking him to work with him is like, you know, some of the kids saying I have a chance with Princess Diana. It`s not going to happen.

BEHAR: Why? The Irish mob. I could see you doing the Irish mob.

MURRAY: That`s true. I like the actor, I did work a little bit, not exactly with him, an actor named John Heard, English actor. He`s a guy I really like.

BEHAR: He played Caligula in the "I, Claudius" series.

MURRAY: He`s fantastic. He`s just fantastic.

Michael Gambon is another English guy.

Who do I like?

BEHAR: How about women? Well, you now worked with Meryl Streep, a great American actress. Vanessa Redgrave.

MURRAY: Foreigner. Let`s see. I don`t know.

BEHAR: How about somebody like Steve Martin who`s going to be hosting the Oscars.

MURRAY: I worked with him.

BEHAR: You`re over him. Next.

MURRAY: Next. I don`t know. I can`t think -- get the twitter people to make a list of people.

BEHAR: All right. Never mind. That`s too hard sometimes. It`s too hard. How about this one? Before we go.

MURRAY: I like, I`ll think of it.

BEHAR: What was your most mind altering experience.

MURRAY: Mind altering. If I could remember, I would. What was that? I had it then it was gone.

BEHAR: Did you ever do LSD in your day?

MURRAY: Oh, I don`t know.

BEHAR: You don`t remember?

MURRAY: Maybe. Could have. Could have. Could have.

BEHAR: Is there anything you haven`t done that you would look to do still?

MURRAY: Well I have never done any crack. But I don`t know anyone that has any. I don`t know where to get it. I have no idea.

BEHAR: Bill. Thank you so much. You are absolutely delightful.

MURRAY: I would look to do a Shakespeare comedy. That`s what I want to do.

BEHAR: Oh, Shakespeare comedy, yes that`s a riot.

MURRAY: Well, they can be funny. The guy was funny -- that`s because the people that are playing him aren`t always very funny.

BEHAR: All right. Thanks to Bill Murray. "Fantastic Mr. Fox" is playing in theaters everywhere now. So go see it.

MURRAY: Suits you. You should get a -- it looks good on you. You should take a picture.

BEHAR: We should take a picture with you and me and the badger.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BEHAR: Back in 1947, two New Yorkers known as the Collier Brothers were found dead in their townhouse less than 130 tons of garbage and other things that they collected. Back then the brothers were called eccentric. Today the behavior has a diagnosis and a name.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been a messy person all my life. I hoard food. I feel guilty about wasting something that somebody could be using. I use duct tape to close the freezer door sometimes when I have got too many things in there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: That was the clip from A & E series "Hoarders." Hoarding is defined as acquisition and inability to discard worthless items. So is hoarding a hobby out of hand? Or a clinical problem with potentially dangerous consequences. Here to discuss that are two people who have been treated for hoarding. Jake and Jennifer, a certified professional organizer, Geraldine Thomas and Dr. Renae Reinardy founder of the Lakeside Center for Behavioral Change. Welcome everybody to the show. Let me start with you, Dr. Reinardy, what the difference between a pack rat and a hoarder?

DR. RENAE REINARDY, FOUNDER, LAKESIDE CENTER FOR BEHAVIORAL CHANGE: Well that`s a good question, Joy. It becomes compulsive hoarding when people are not able to carry out their daily tasks. When they`re not able to sleep in their bed. When they are unable to prepare a meal because countertops are cluttered. So it switches over from just collecting or being messy or being a pack rat to compulsive hoarding when it causes really impairment in daily functioning.

BEHAR: So somebody who let`s say a survivalist, you know those people who collect stuff and hoard stuff in case there is a nuclear war or in case a blackout of some kind are they considered hoarders or is that normal behavior?

DR. REINARDY: Well I think as with anything it occurs on a continuum. And sometimes they can be normal. It can be a good idea up to a certain point. But unfortunately, with hoarding, it does tend to go over the top to the point where it is not useful and not helpful just because the behavior has gotten so out of hand.

BEHAR: Jake and Jennifer you both were in the A & E show, "Hoarders" let`s take a look at Jake.

(BEGIN VIDE CLIP)

JAKE: Pretty much whatever comes in my house doesn`t leave. Food wrappers, bottles, can any kind of garbage really.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: Jake, why didn`t you look to throw things out?

JAKE, COMPULSIVE HOARDER: There was pretty much a specific consequence behind each object being thrown out. Like one object might, if I threw it away might tell me I`m going to get cancer if I do that. Another might say that my dog is going to die prematurely.

BEHAR: If you threw something out you would believe that?

JAKE: I have obsessive compulsive disorder. So, I mean there`s no rhyme or reason to it really.

BEHAR: I see. And I understand that some of this led to suicidal thoughts on your part?

JAKE: Absolutely. I think mostly because it is just easier to think about ending it rather than dealing with it. But, yeah, I spend a pretty good amount of time fantasizing about suicide at least.

BEHAR: Do you really? You are better now, right?

JAKE: I`m a lot better now. You know, actually I`m writing a book on my experience with OCD and a few other things. But I, I think a lot of it was I -- I needed to find a purpose for all of my suffering. And this show has really helped with that actually.

BEHAR: Really?

JAKE: Yeah, because I found my purpose is I can help people. I don`t have a problem for no reason.

BEHAR: That`s interesting. You feel look you are doing well for somebody else. Now Jennifer, you and your partner, Ron. Right?

JENNIFER, COMPULSIVE HOARDER: Uh-huh.

BEHAR: You and your three kids were living under piles and piles of stuff. How did that get out of control?

JENNIFER: You know it is a process that happens over time. And you know -- it came in waves. There was times when it was better. There were times when it was worse. Before they came to film -- before my dad passed -- dad was sick, he was dying of cancer. And it`s kind of like you are on it. Going. You`re going. The more you have to do the more you get done. So it was much more managed. Then after he died it`s like you -- you know, everything sort of falls in on you.

BEHAR: Kind of a depression?

JENNIFER: Absolutely. A shutdown.

BEHAR: Wasn`t it you and your husband, Ron.

JENNIFER: Ex-husband.

BEHAR: You had different roles in the process didn`t you?

JENNIFER: Absolutely.

BEHAR: You were the shopper and he was the hoarder?

JENNIFER: I was the impulsive, I was the acquirer.

BEHAR: So you would go out and buy stuff, you know just raid Costco, come home with the stuff.

JENNIFER: They don`t have a Costco. I need to hit one of those.

BEHAR: You would do that. Buy all the stuff. The fun part. Then bring it in. Then he would never let it out of the house?

JENNIFER: Right. If we had it was going to be useful. All useful stuff. There was too much of it. And no space to use it in.

BEHAR: Let me ask you the doctor, does shopping and hoarding go hand in hand. Do these two things - do they work together?

DR. REINARDY: They tend to. Compulsive acquisition and compulsive shopping tends to be a component in hoarding behavior. But not always. It can be gradual accumulation of items over many, many years or when compulsive shopping is a factor it doesn`t take very long like in Jennifer`s case too that something that being very young and still being able to acquire quite a few possessions that`s most often the scenario with compulsive shopping, is that clutter accumulates very quickly.

BEHAR: Geraldine, what is your role in all of this as an organizer?

GERALIN THOMAS, CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER: Well I often collaborate with the psychologist, or psychiatrist or licensed social worker. And I work doing the hands on part of the organizing in the home with the hoarder. And sometimes the psychologist will come into the home, sometimes they don`t. But sometimes I am a liaison between the client and doctor.

BEHAR: So what is some kind of things you see when you enter one of these hoarders` homes.

THOMAS: Well you can see variety of things. You try to find out what the person is hoarding. You also try to assess are there co-existing conditions the person might have?

BEHAR: Like what?

THOMAS: Like depression, bipolar, obsessive compulsive.

BEHAR: And then what do you do? Do you refer them to a shrink?

THOMAS: I often, in my own business I won`t work with somebody unless they agree to work and collaborate with a therapist.

BEHAR: I see. I see.

THOMAS: I just think it has better outcomes if we all work together.

BEHAR: I am fascinated by the fact you walk into somebody`s house it could be real stinky in there too. Because a lot of the stuff fermenting. Right?

THOMAS: Yes.

BEHAR: Some people who hoard cats. There was somebody had a bunch of dead cats under all that mess. How do you handle that? Do you wear a gas mask; I`d wear a hazmat suit. I mean what do you do?

THOMAS: Well in season two you will see I actually am in a hazmat suit.

BEHAR: Oh really.

THOMAS: We go into a hope with bed bugs and we had to protect ourselves. So, yes there are smells. There are things you want to protect your skin or your eyes or your lungs. There are dust mites and mold and toxic chemicals. You are right, fermenting food. All sorts of things.

BEHAR: Disgusting sometimes isn`t it? You guys?

Yeah.

BEHAR: What types of things do people hoard, doctor? What is the stuff that`s most popular to hoard?

DR. REINARDY: Well I would say most common are going to be items of clothing, food hoarding is very common. Information hoarding where people save newspapers. And information hoarding can also be digital hoarding as well. Saving emails and downloading movies and - things like that.

BEHAR: Oh yes.

DR. REINARDY: So that is another sub type. Pretty much anything people can end up hoarding and - like I - and it does occur on a continuum. It could be just about anything. I`ve seen. I can`t think of anything that I haven`t seen in a home so.

BEHAR: It`s interesting, so, that she says that because I think I know people who collect stuff. There`s a guy who works here. I`m looking at him right now. His name is Frank and he has 12,000 emails on his computer. Yes. Now that`s an email hoarder right? He also collects newspaper clippings and piles them up and say I`m going to read that. Yes, 100 years from now you`re going to read it. But he believes he`s going to read it.

DR. REINARDY: Right.

BEHAR: Does that make him a, as I said, is he a sick puppy or what?

(LAUGHTER)

DR. REINARDY: Well I think it can become problematic if it`s interfering with his relationships, with his jobs, things like that. And that`s really where it crosses that line. Going from - most of us have too many pairs of shoes or too many emails. Or have too many articles around. But it really becomes a disorder - and that`s so important to understand about hoarding, is that it`s not about being messy. It actually is a disorder.

BEHAR: Yes.

DR. REINARDY: We can see it on a physiological level even looking at brain scans. There`s genetic research on compulsive hoarding. So it`s important when somebody is working with somebody who hoards to really understand that this isn`t just about cleaning out a house. And like Geralin, the Professional Organizer said, often times it does require some assistance with a mental professional. So -

BEHAR: Right. I mean what about children? Like the octomom, does she hoard children? Is that a hoarder - or is that some other craziness?

DR. REINARDY: Maybe. I mean we get to - there`s lots of ways to compulsively acquire. And sometimes compulsively acquiring information or friends or over committing ourselves, I don`t know about having eight children or not but I think, yes, hoarding can come in lots of different forms. That`s why a real thorough diagnostic interview in the beginning is so important because it stems out of lots of different morbid conditions. So -

BEHAR: Did you ever lose house - I mean what happens if someone visited your house?

JENNIFER: Nobody ever visited my house.

BEHAR: Nobody ever visited -

THOMAS: That`s one of the signs in hoarding you will not hoarders - hoarders don`t have overnight guests -

BEHAR: Is that because you are ashamed of the situation -

JENNIFER: Absolutely yes.

BEHAR: I mean you can`t fix it right? It`s a terrible thing really.

JAKE: My friends would come over but I mean, really, like I would have certain designated areas of the house where they could go. They couldn`t o to my bathroom because there were so many molds in the toilet. So if they want to use the bathroom, I`d usually send them to my neighbor but -

BEHAR: OK, yes it`s embarrassing. And you want to fix it. And you`re working on it. OK, back with more on this fascinating behavior in a minute. Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER: Well, my house is a mess. It doesn`t feel like a home. My porch is sort of the catch-all for things we can`t fit into the house. And then you come into the living room and the floor is pretty well consumed. And the kitchen - the kitchen, you know, the sink is an old slop sink. So -- water spills out of frequently. There are a lot of spills that don`t get cleaned because there is stuff on the floor. The hallway is our laundry hamper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: OK that was another look at the A & E show "Hoarders" and we`re talking about hoarding with my panel. Two hoarders, Jake and Jennifer. A certified personal organizer Geralin Thomas and the Dr. Renae Reinardy, founder of the Lakeside Center for Behavioral Change. I want to talk to you for a second. Jennifer, is running in your family, does this top of thing run in your family? You have kids are they little hoarders?

JENNIFER: As far as rung mine family, no. I don`t know anybody in my family to be hoarders. Which is interesting why I wound up in it? My mom threw everything away.

BEHAR: Your mother was the opposite of you?

JENNIFER: Yes.

BEHAR: Throwing things away. That`s interesting, doctor, don`t you think that is interesting, that her mother threw everything out and now she has become a holder-onto-things.

DR. REINARDY: It`s interesting. It is hard to determine where hoarding came from. Sometimes it can be a symptom of other things that are going on. It can be learned. I think in Jennifer`s case it was more about the compulsive acquisition and then with her partner, wanting the tendency to save things - it was, I think those were contributing variables to their situation.

BEHAR: Well she is divorced. Does she get any points for getting rid of her husband? OK. So tell me, how it felt when, when Geralin came into your house and said to you and you too, Jake "This has to go. I am taking this away" what did you go through?

JENNIFER: For me, again, I don`t think it was the typical reaction. I was very excited.

BEHAR: You were excited?

JENNIFER: Very excite them were coming.

BEHAR: You didn`t feel anxiety when she said you must throw away your favorite teddy bear?

JENNIFER: She never made me throw away anything. One of the great things.

BEHAR: She never made you to throw anything away?

JENNIFER: She taught me through the process.

BEHAR: So you volunteered to throw it away because of her tutelage.

JENNIFER: Right, if I asked her she threw it back at me.

BEHAR: Same with you.

JAKE: I was really excited. But I kind of have a reputation among my friend for being dramatic. I did cry a lot. I cry a lot by nature anyways.

BEHAR: It`s all right. You are like Glenn Beck, he cries too.

JAKE: Please, don`t compare me to Glenn Beck. Ouch. But, no, like I was really excited because I have been in therapy for OCD for years. So I mean like.

BEHAR: Isn`t there medication for that?

JAKE: Oh, yeah.

BEHAR: So are you on the meds?

JAKE: I am drugged out of my mind.

(LAUGHTER)

BEHAR: I don`t think you are drugged out of your mind.

JAKE: It`s good. It`s good. I think if you see a psychiatrist and they genuinely think medication is right for you there is no reason not to take it. And there is a stigma behind it definitely.

BEHAR: Are you on meds too, Jennifer?

JENNIFER: I`m treated for A.D.D. Chronic disorganization.

BEHAR: What did we do in the old days when there were no letters?

JENNIFER: We were too busy for hoarding.

BEHAR: What is the technique she is describing? You don`t tell her to get rid of anything. How do you coax her to unload the stuff?

THOMAS: Well we know from experience, and the doctor would probably back this up, but the person who is being treated for hoarding has to buy into the system.

BEHAR: Uh-huh.

THOMAS: It is a process. So we know that if we go in there and clean sweep the house and, you know, no time flat, could have repercussions. So the person has to be vested in it. It has to be their decisions. And it`s really about changing patterns, and beliefs and behaviors.

JAKE: Learning new tools.

THOMAS: And learning a lot of new tools.

BEHAR: So what new tools do you have now?

JENNIFER: My favorite one that I learned from Geralin was how frequently is you going to use it? How important is it, you know what, what role does it have in your life today? Where is it going to be? And - -

BEHAR: But the fantasy is I am going to use it sometime down the road.

JENNIFER: Right, right but now I know that is a fantasy. Before I didn`t. Before that was real.

THOMAS: Also, Jennifer would acquire things and not have a place for them. She would be in a store and get all jazzed up thinking she has to have something. But not thinking gosh, where I am going to put this when I get home.

BEHAR: Right. Place for everything. Everything in its place. Doctor, can a hoarder be cured?

DR. REINARDY: Yes. Definitely. I have worked with, really hundreds of people with this condition over the last ten years. Successfully with hundreds of people with this condition over the past ten years as well. So it is -- more complicated often times. So the is does require a certain level of expertise. And cognitive behavioral strategies are useful. As Geralin mentioned, it`s teaching new patterns of thought and patterns of behavior. And that is really what is needed to overcome this behavior.

BEHAR: They always say, you know, if you are not going to wear it, if you haven`t worn it in a year, you should throw it away or give it away rather because it`s perfectly good clothing. So Am I a hoarder. I have too many outfits. I only wear the same. I wear black all the type as do you, obviously. But --

JAKE: Brown.

BEHAR: I don`t wear all the clothes are I a hoarder because I don`t throw is away or give it away?

THOMAS: No. First of all we don`t diagnose. I am not in the business of diagnosing people.

BEHAR: You took a guess that I was not a hoarder.

THOMAS: Just a fun guess.

BEHAR: What made you come to that conclusion?

THOMAS: There are certain things we do look for in the organizing business I know we can drive through neighborhoods and when you start seeing things piled up on people`s front porches you will see lots and lots and lots of clutter.

BEHAR: Backyards.

THOMAS: Backyard. Side yard. That`s one sign. Another sign is if you have neighbors who never, ever, open their blinds or shutters or shades or windows. And they keep it closed in. That`s a sign like these two were saying, they lived kind of isolated they --

BEHAR: That`s a sign of a lot of pathology. You can be a child molester back there.

THOMAS: Yes absolutely. That`s correct.

BEHAR: All kind of weird behavior behind closed doors.

THOMAS: Yes, yes. But I`m not looking for that though.

BEHAR: All right we`ll be back in just a minute. We have more on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE: Every single object has a meaning behind it. Say my mom buys me a water bottle. I feel like if I throw the water bottle away that, I am saying I don`t love my mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BEHAR: OK. I`m back with my panel and we are talking about compulsive hoarding. Okay, so, let`s finish up the conversation with how well you`re doing now. How do your houses look now?

JAKE: My house looks really, really clean. Like I think if you looked at it, you would think, obviously, a 22-year-old lives here, but it`s clean. Like, it`s sanitary. It`s not dangerous.

BEHAR: Was there a poster of Lady Ga Ga on the wall or something?

JAKE: Oh, god, I hate Lady Ga Ga.

BEHAR: Well, who do you have up there?

JAKE: Actually, Laura Dern.

BEHAR: Laura Dern, that`s an interesting choice.

JAKE: I`m a David Lynch fan. I`m a weirdo.

BEHAR: How about your house? How does it look?

JENNIFER: It looks good.

BEHAR: Looks clean. How about the recidivism rate for people who have this issue? Do you have to go back again and again and again?

THOMAS: Yes. Jennifer and I are in contact a lot. We text each other and she is still a very good student and wants more and more tips and life skills. So she`s still learning.

JENNIFER: Well I think to make the point really quick, when you asked the doctor if you can be cured, I think "cured" is the wrong term. It`s never going to be over.

BEHAR: It`s like being an alcoholic.

(CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: But the younger the person seems to have better results. When they`re willing to come forward and get help at a younger age, in my business, at least, people seem to have a better treatment rate.

BEHAR: So how -- your lives have gotten better, I presume?

JAKE: Absolutely.

BEHAR: I can just straighten out a table and I feel better. I can just imagine the anxiety that you`re when you`re in the middle of a mess like that.

THOMAS: Right.

JAKE: It was like a spiritual experience, almost.

BEHAR: To clean it up?

JAKE: Oh, yeah.

THOMAS: They were living in a hoaranado.

(CROSSTALK)

JENNIFER: It is isolating. And now you know, if you do have issues coming along in your life, you can bring the people that care about you in.

BEHAR: I was looking at the e-mails we got and some of them were hostile. You know like this one says, "give me a break, they`re filthy pigs." very hostile. I mean people don`t have sympathy for this particular illness. Why not?

JAKE: They think its laziness. They do. I think there`s a stigma behind any mental health issue, any mental health issue. People just think that, you know, it`s just an excuse to justify your behavior.

THOMAS: But years ago, people used to say, for kids with ADHD, just control them, spank them, punish them. But now we know that`s not always the case.

BEHAR: Spanking and abuse never works for anything. This one says, "oh, my god, everything`s a disease these days." people are not -- this is going to take a while for people to understand that this is something you suffer with.

THOMAS: No one chooses to live like this.

BEHAR: This is interesting. Someone says, "I think part of the problem, some of the things they keep link to the past, a happier time, or to someone they love." is that true?

JAKE: Absolutely. In my case. On my episode, a lot of issue was around dog hair. I couldn`t throw dog hair out, because I thought it was going to age my dog.

BEHAR: If you threw the dog hair out?

JAKE: Yeah. It`s just quirky, weird --

BEHAR: Is that why you`re shaving your head?

JAKE: No, no, that`s just laziness.

BEHAR: Get the hair back on your head. Looked very cute with the hair.

JAKE: Maybe.

BEHAR: This one said I worked with a lady that hoarded animals. Now, that was disgusting and awful. These people who hoard animals, we have to go, and I feel so close to you, I don`t feel like letting you go.

JENNIFER: You can hoard me.

BEHAR: OK. Thanks very much. Hoarding the hoarders.

JENNIFER: I`m expensive.

BEHAR: Good luck to you guys.

Thank you.

BEHAR: thanks to my panel for joining me tonight and check out A&E`s new season of "Hoarders" premiering November 30th. And thank you for watching. Good night, everybody.

END