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CNN Larry King Live

Chris Hansen and John Walsh on Catching Sexual Predators; David Spade Interview

Aired March 17, 2007 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, men looking for sex with children caught on tape.

CHRIS HANSEN: Could you explain yourself?



KING: They could be your next door neighbors. Their families stunned to learn what they were living with. Now, inside "To Catch A Predator," as Chris Hansen, the man who confronts those potential sex offenders, opens up about his scariest and most shocking stings.


HANSEN: What are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I would come see him.

HANSEN: Come see him for what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to meet him.

HANSEN: What is a 54-year-old man doing coming to this home to see a 13-year-old boy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously, I made a big mistake.


KING: Plus, John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" saying `Right on' to Chris Hansen for exposing this threat to America's kids.

And then, comedian David Spade, the celebrity who gets laughs thrashing other celebrities. But tonight, as you've never seen him, on the moment he learned that his best friend, Chris Farley, had died of an overdose.

DAVID SPADE, COMEDIAN: I walked back to the table, sat there for second and fell apart for at least a half-hour. They had to like drag me in the other room. And I couldn't quite deal with it; it was pretty brutal. KING: It's all next, on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Chris Hansen, correspondent for the "To Catch A Predator" series on "Dateline NBC." He's the author of the new book, "To Catch A Predator: Protecting Your Kids From Online Enemies Already In Your Home."

There you see its cover.

Joining us, as well, from West Palm Beach is John Walsh, our old friend, the host of "America's Most Wanted," the 1981 abduction and murder of his young son Adam transformed him into this relentless campaigner.

He's teamed, by the way, with the creator of the Baby Einstein videos to produce "The Safe Side" DVD series for kids. And they, by the way, are terrific.

First, let's spend some moments with Chris.

How did "To Catch A Predator" happen?

HANSEN: You know, I was on the phone with a friend of mine who's a reporter in Detroit. I used to work in Detroit. And he said have you heard of these people, Perverted Justice?

I said no, what do they do?

And he laid it out. They go online pretending to be teens. They have a profile. Guys hit on them. There's a conversation. The guy makes a date. And then they would post them on the Web site so people would know what these guys had done.

Well, I started to think, if we could use their expertise, you know, their decoys and we could use our technology, you know, to wire a house with hidden cameras, we could do a pretty compelling piece.

There was anecdotal evidence that this was a real problem. There were high profile cases where kids had met people online and ended up dead.

So we decided let's try it.

KING: Did you have any moral question about being sneaky?

HANSEN: Well...

KING: I know you're after bad people.

HANSEN: Yes, at the end of...

KING: But does bad allow a bad?

HANSEN: Well, I don't think it was a bad. I mean we use hidden cameras in a lot of different areas. And, at the end of the day, this was no different than using hidden cameras in Cambodia to expose sex trafficking of underage children, in India to expose child slave labor in the silk business.

We thought that we were taking -- and we believed we were taking these same techniques and merely pointing them at the problem of online predators.

KING: So no qualms on your part?

HANSEN: Well, we obviously were very careful the way we put this together. We consulted with our lawyers. We consulted with, you know, law enforcement experts and with our standards people.

KING: Because these people are suspects, right?

HANSEN: The people who are coming into our house.

KING: Yes.


KING: They're suspects. They're not convicted...

HANSEN: They're not convicted.

KING: ... until they're convicted.

HANSEN: And the first two investigations we did not have law enforcement doing a parallel investigation. So, you know, it was a lot to consider. But we thought that we had taken all the precautions we could.

KING: The first one you did...


KING: Was it kind of weird for you to be hiding...


KING: ... and...

HANSEN: First of all, I'm on my way to this house. I'm stuck in traffic on the Throg's Neck Bridge, on the way to Long Island. And I start to wonder, you know, what is nobody shows up? You know, what if I've just wasted thousands and thousands of dollars of NBC's money?


KING: Did you pitch it to NBC?

HANSEN: Yes, it was my pitch.

So, you know, as a "Dateline" investigation. So seconds later the phone rings and it's my producer, Lynn Keller, who says, you'd better get here. We've got two guys on the way. And I brake through traffic and I get there and, you know, they've got the transcripts all over the place.

Now, we didn't have it down to a system in those days like we do today.

KING: Yes.

HANSEN: And, you know, I'm scrambling, and for the next two-and- a-half days, guys were bumping into each other coming into this house.

KING: How many do you do a year?

HANSEN: We have done 10 investigations, which translates into, you know, more than 20 shows in about two-and-a-half years.

KING: Before we bring John Walsh in, let's take a classic look at a classic "Catch A Predator" moment.

Chris Hansen faces a man who's shown up to meet an underage girl after some highly sexual Internet exchanges.



HANSEN: What are you doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting my ass kicked.

HANSEN: Getting your ass kicked?


I knew it. I knew I should have -- I knew it was a setup.

HANSEN: I need you to sit down, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I need you to just arrest me and take me to jail and execute me.

HANSEN: I need to talk to you first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I -- you know what?

I didn't -- I didn't bring anything, I didn't want to do anything.

HANSEN: Well, why did you come here, though?

Help me to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because I'm a sick son of a bitch. I've never done it before. I talk about it online all the time. I've never done anything with anybody except my wife. Ever.

HANSEN: What are you doing here on a Saturday morning coming into a house where you believe a 12- or 13-year-old kid is home alone with no parents here?

Do you have kids?


HANSEN: Well, how would you feel if some guy...


HANSEN: ... in his 40s walked into your house trying to hook up with your kids?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd feel pissed.


KING: John Walsh is in West Palm Beach, Florida.

John, what do you think of this whole concept?

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, I think it's great. I think that -- my hat's -- my hat is off to Chris Hansen, to NBC, to the people at Perverted Justice for showing the American public repeatedly that the creep who preys upon our children could live next door. And he could be a rabbi, a school teacher or a priest or anybody. That -- I think they've done a great job. Now that they've partners with law enforcement and they're putting these guys away, I think they've provided a tremendous educational tool to the American public.

KING: One puzzling thing, John and Chris, is when you see these things, they're so ordinary, these guys.

Right, John?

I mean...

WALSH: Oh, absolutely, Larry. I mean...

KING: Like your guy next door.

WALSH: There are 605,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States, 100,000 of them are out there at large right now in non- compliance with their parole and probation. Those are just the creeps we know about. And I don't think why it should surprise anybody that it's the guy next door or it's the rabbi or the special-ed teacher.

I think it's -- I think people have known this for years, but thank god for Chris Hansen and "Dateline." They're -- they're driving that point right home. They're driving it home that guys will drive all night with a six pack and condoms or whatever to have sex with a 12-year-old and then get there and say -- even though a lot of them have rap sheets and have been previously convicted -- not all of them, but many of them say oh, I would -- I don't know why I'm doing this. I would never do something like this.

Well, why did you drive all night?

I think it's great. I think people need to realize it's not the pervert under the bridge the with trench coat, it's the guy next door. It's the guy across the street. It's the guy who's driving the school bus.

KING: Are you ever shocked, Chris, by what you see?

HANSEN: You know, every time we do one of these investigations, Larry, I think I've seen it all. And every time we do another, I'm shocked.

You know, I once went an entire year at "Dateline" not using the word shocked, because I thought it was overused. But there have been things we've seen -- there's just no other word you can use.

KING: Since everybody knows about "To Catch A Predator," why does anybody come?

HANSEN: Well, I think it speaks to a couple of things. One, I think some of these guys don't really think it's ever going to happen to them. "Dateline" can't be everywhere. Law enforcement can't be everywhere. And I think the second thing is these guys develop such obsessions and compulsions and addictions online that this line between reality and fantasy gets blurred. And the next thing you know, they're knocking on our door.

KING: You ever feel compassion for anyone?

HANSEN: I feel sorry for some of them. I'm not defending what they did. But I, you know, there are some sad cases that have walked in that door.

KING: Pathetic sometimes.

HANSEN: Sometimes. Sometimes. Yes.

KING: Do you ever feel at all that you're -- you're using entrapment?

HANSEN: No. It's a very strict protocol. The Perverted Justice decoy goes into a chat room, has a profile that includes a picture that is unmistakably underage. That decoy never makes the first contact. It's always the potential predator.

KING: Still to come, what about the other victims of these child sex predators -- their own families?

That and more straight ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.


HANSEN: Well, you made the decision to walk in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, sir, but I wasn't going to do anything, I swear.

HANSEN: That's not what it sounds like in this chat log.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I was just fooling around, sort of.

HANSEN: "Damn, you're very sexy. Do you have a boyfriend?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I'm sorry. Sorry. Please.

HANSEN: "So, have you ever been with an old guy before?"

No, I need to stay in the chair, please.

Sit down.





HANSEN: Who did you think you were going to meet here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just this kid I have been talking to.

HANSEN: This kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know she's a kid.

HANSEN: How old?


HANSEN: Thirteen. And how old are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too old for a 13- or 14-year-old.

HANSEN: Too old. What do you do for a living?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not saying. Who do you work for?

HANSEN: I will get to that in a minute.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I would really like to know. I'm sure I'm on TV or something right now.

HANSEN: Why don't you just tell me what you do for a living?


HANSEN: And what grade do you teach?


HANSEN: Sixth grade. So you teach kids about the same age as the girl you were coming to see?


KING: We are back with Chris Hansen, the author of "To Catch a Predator: Protecting Your Kids from Online Enemies Already in Your Home." And here is West Palm Beach's John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted."

One reminder, tomorrow night, Governor Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, candidate to be the Republican nominee for president, will be our special guest.

Before we show another clip, Chris, how many convictions come out of all of these? And how many are thrown out?

HANSEN: None have been thrown out.

KING: None?

HANSEN: We have had right around 250 of these cases being prosecuted. Probably half have gone through the judicial system and each and every one has resulted in a guilty plea, a no contest plea or a conviction.

KING: Are the tapes used in court?

HANSEN: The tapes of the broadcast that air are sometimes used in court, yes. Along with the transcripts.

KING: Let's take a look at another dramatic moment on "To Catch a Predator." The man on the tape is Donald Morrison (ph). He pled guilty to computer porn. Got nine months in prison and then three years probation. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a compulsion for younger women, just meeting them. I haven't -- I've met about a dozen of them online.

HANSEN: And so this is something you do frequently?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I haven't done it in -- let's see, I have not done it since I moved here to Florida.

HANSEN: And where did you live before?


HANSEN: And so you did this a lot in Texas? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mm-hmm.

HANSEN: Did you ever get in trouble for it?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I got in trouble because I met a girl in Michigan.

HANSEN: And how old is that girl?


HANSEN: And what trouble did you get in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her grandfather tried to charge me with something, they couldn't do anything, so they arrested me for possessing child pornography because I had nude pictures of her on my computer. They ended up dropping the charges.

HANSEN: And how did you get the naked pictures of the teenage girl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I met her in Michigan and I took them.

HANSEN: You took the pictures of the girl.


HANSEN: And then you put them on your computer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On my computer, yes. They were digital pictures.


KING: Incredible stuff. John Walsh, a psychiatrist -- I forgot where I read it, said the other day that in focusing so much attention on they are incurable, post their addresses, throw the key away, you're focusing away from the fact that there's a possibility these people can be helped. And since you're not a doctor, how do you know they can't?

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, I say this. There was an incredible front page article in The New York Times about a week ago that said, that should we try to keep finding out how we can cure these people or how we can identify them? Absolutely.

That the vast majority of programs up until now had been an incredible failure. That these people were great at conning the public, getting out of prison. Two-thirds of the sex offenders in prison are -- have committed crimes against children.

And that, yes, I say we should study them. Of course we should study them. We should try to find a cure. It's a public health problem. But up until that time, we should know who they are.

You know, you'd mentioned something about the families. Let's look -- the families of these creeps. Let's look at the other side. Let's say there wasn't a Chris Hansen there or there wasn't a "Dateline" there. Then they had come to have sex with a 12-year-old child. That would be another victim.

And what about their nieces and nephews? I think it's a good thing that these people are exposed. And I'm not saying we're -- that this is a violation of their civil liberties. They readily, voluntarily came to those homes to have sex with an underage child and Chris Hansen and "Dateline" was there to catch them doing this.

KING: Chris, an e-mail question from Mike in Minneapolis. "I'm all for stopping sexual predators, but what about the hurt and shame that befalls the predators' families by having this all over television? They have done nothing wrong." Is there not a better way?

HANSEN: Collateral damage.

KING: Yes.

HANSEN: And that collateral damage exists whether one of these guys walks into our hidden camera house or whether he walks into an FBI sting. One of the reasons we explore this in the book is because I got an e-mail from a woman, and it stuck out from all of the rest. And she said, you should take a look at what happens to the wives, the children that these guys left behind. And that's a whole other area where people are being victimized in this.

KING: Is there a common thread among all of them?

HANSEN: The common thread is, for the most part, these guys don't have the word predator tattooed on their forehead. They look like the guy standing next to you at the dry cleaners or grocery store on Saturday morning.

They come from all walks of life but they are regular guys. Few of these guys, by the way, are convicted sex offenders. We have had our fair share in some really astonishing cases...

KING: What are they then?

HANSEN: They are guys with -- for the most part who don't have criminal records. They come from three categories in our experience. One, the young guys who are opportunists, not defending what they are doing, but they don't see anything wrong for a 23-year-old to have sex with a 13- or 14-year-old.

The other guys, hardcore. They would be doing it anyway. These are the guys who sometimes have criminal records. And the others develop these compulsions and addictions and probably would not be taking part in this behavior had it not been for the Internet.

KING: And, John, what we don't know is why this compulsion, right? WALSH: Well, that's what The New York Times said, that we should be still studying it. That it is such an overpowering compulsion, that someone can risk their whole life, their whole career and the collateral damage of their family, their reputation and all of those type of things.

But I think we also have to focus on the collateral damage of, what if they were successful? Again, what if they made it to that house and there was a 12-year-old there? And lots of times I profiled tons of guys that just simply never got caught or they had adjudication withheld.

It's illegal, it's a compulsion, it's something we need to study. We have got to hope that we can figure out what to do with these people. But until then, I think it's great that the public knows that they can be the guy -- as Chris said, they can be the guy that lives across the street.

And I feel sorry for their families. I absolutely do. But I think if you wanted -- if you're going to do the crime, you have got to do the crime (sic). And unfortunately, the families suffer tremendously.

KING: Well said. Up next, the man behind a Web site called Perverted Justice. What led him to launch it and what he has to do with catching these predators when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


HANSEN: It appears to be clear from this transcript that you are open to the idea of having sex with this girl?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Well, appear, yes. Would I? No. Or maybe. All right. Maybe.

HANSEN: What is it, Alonzo (ph), yes, no, maybe so?


HANSEN: Maybe. So maybe you would have had sex with this girl?


HANSEN: What should happen?




HANSEN: What is your plan tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just out cruising around.

HANSEN: Just out cruising around. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

HANSEN: How old are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty-five, 40.

HANSEN: Thirty-five, 40? You don't know the exact age?


HANSEN: You're 40. And how old is the boy you wanted to meet tonight?


HANSEN: How old did he say he was in the chat?


HANSEN: Eighteen.


HANSEN: And I can give you the chat, and I want to you tell me where it says that he's 18.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just went by what his profile said.

HANSEN: The profile said he was 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His profile says he is 18.

HANSEN: No, he tells you right here he's 13.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I apologize for all of this.

HANSEN: "OK, I'm 13." "Damn, you're cute." He says, "But let's go a little slower, dude."


KING: We are back. Chris Hansen remains. The correspondent for "To Catch a Predator" series on "Dateline." He's the author of the book with the same title. John Walsh, one of America's heroes, the host of "America's Most Wanted." He's in West Palm Beach. We are joined now from Portland, Oregon, by Xavier Von Erck, he is the director of operations for

We will talk to Xavier in a moment. But one question for Chris from our control room.


KING: Somebody walks in the house, they see you. They see a camera, why don't they just say, Good-bye? You can't grab them. Hello, good-bye. HANSEN: Well, some guys do -- no, we can't retain them. They don't see the cameras at first; they're all hidden cameras.

KING: They see you.

HANSEN: They see me.

KING: Why do they sit down with you?

HANSEN: I think some of the guys are actually relieved. They have known they have had issues for some time. And some of these interviews turn into counseling sessions, you know? And I think some of them now know they are going to get arrested and they figure, well, why not hang out here as opposed to getting arresting.

KING: Have you have ever had anyone say, So long?

HANSEN: Oh, yes, several, yes.

KING: Xavier, how did this all start?

XAVIER VON ERCK, PERVERTED-JUSTICE.COM: It started pretty simply. I was a chatter in chatrooms on Yahoo! and you would see guys come into the rooms and they would say things as brazen to everyone where everyone could see: Are there 14-year-olds in here or 15-year- olds in here that would like to make money? And you would see the same guy six months later or a year later. And eventually we decided, well, let's try to do something about it.

KING: So how does it work? How does Perverted Justice work?

VON ERCK: We go into chatrooms, regional rooms on Yahoo!, AOL, MySpace, we pose as 10- to 15-year-old males or females. And we basically sit, as weird as that may sound, we just go into the room, we sit and we see what happens.

KING: And then what happens when you get contact?

VON ERCK: When we get contact, the individual is usually obviously an older male. He will lead the conversation. He will start talking about sexually-related topics and things he would like to do to our decoy profile. And from there he will bring up the idea of meeting and he will usually come over and meet Chris Hansen or law enforcement.

KING: So you -- did you contact Chris, or did Chris contact you on working together?

VON ERCK: We had done a multitude of local stings. Just small- scale stuff. Guys would come to the house, the door would open, there would be a reporter, they would run. "Dateline" contacted us and wanted to do something a little bit bigger and a little bit more oh, journalistic. And now we have pretty much had 10 investigations. They come in and it has been very fascinating.

KING: How do you make money? VON ERCK: We get a consulting fee from "Dateline" now. The first three stings we had done gratis, but "Dateline" is such a huge show that it was starting to impact our organization. We couldn't keep our Web site up, where we do all of our work. And they supply us a modest consulting fee.

KING: How many people work for you?

VON ERCK: We have at this point about 100 people who do full- time work going into chatrooms and a full administrative staff.

KING: We have an e-mail question for you from Betsy in Christina Lake (ph), British Columbia: "Keep up the good work. Could I or anyone who is interested become a member of Perverted Justice in order to put these criminals where they belong, in jail forever?"

VON ERCK: That's right. All they have to do is go to the Web site,, click on the "how to help" page, and it will provide you a road map of how to volunteer and one day be trained as a chatroom decoy and have a guy show up, possibly on "Dateline."

KING: John Walsh, what do you make of this?

WALSH: I think it's great. I know that Perverted Justice and "Dateline" and Chris Hansen dot their I's and cross their T's and this is not about violating somebody's, you know, rights. I think it has really educated the public, number one, what a huge compulsion this is. That a guy will drive for hours to have sex with who he thinks is a 12-year-old, probably knowing all along that it's totally illegal and that he may get busted but he's willing to roll the dice and how really dangerous the Internet is.

The whole world has changed. I mean, the information superhighway is a tremendous asset. But now it brings the predator into your living room and that predator can talk to your 12-year-old child and you don't even know what's happening.


KING: Ever fear for your life, Chris?

HANSEN: We have a...


KING: ... take out a gun and shoot you.

HANSEN: That could happen. I mean, we take a lot of precautions. You know, we had this guy show up in our last investigation with an arsenal in his car. He was a police officer. But we have a very strict security protocol that we follow. And a lot goes into it. So I feel comfortable.

KING: All right. Xavier, what is the first thing parents should know about all of this? VON ERCK: They should know that this is a real crime. It is not just something you see on TV. There are countless stories that we have heard about of minors who have been lured by the Internet and they have been molested, abused.

We have had involvement in trying to find real kids ourselves and we found one who had unfortunately been taken to a place in Washington, put into a basement and abused for a two-week period in the most inhuman and cruel ways.

So parents need to know this is a real crime. They need to have that computer in the living room, in the family room. Don't have it in the child's bedroom. And under no circumstances, never buy your child a Webcam. There's no reason for it. And it's just a gateway into your child's bedroom.

KING: Great advice. Now, John, other than watching, everybody should really watch "The Safe Side," that DVD series you produced with the Baby Einstein folks. What should kids know?

WALSH: Well, I think kids are starting to realize how dangerous the Internet can be. And you mentioned Julie Clark and "The Safe Side" videos, the new one is about Internet safety and you can get it at

But I think kids are starting to realize they can be easily victimized. I wish they didn't think they were immortal. Cox Broadcasting did a survey and said 70 percent of teenagers have been solicited over the Internet. About 30 percent of them have been asked for specific information.

And 15 percent of those kids have gone out and met someone that they had never met before, went out to a location, just like we have been talking about, and -- to meet a stranger. And I think kids are starting to realize that the Internet is not all fun and games. It can be a really dangerous playground.

KING: Chris, has this series changed you?

HANSEN: Yes, it has. It's -- in a strange way, I have learned a ton and it has changed the way that I look at the Internet. You know, one of the most important things, I think, for parents to do is to set a limit on Internet time. Because if a kid knows he has only got two or three hours, they are going to get down to the business of downloading music, chatting with friends and seeing what the movie schedule is for that weekend and there's less time to be perusing these chatrooms.

KING: Let's take a call. Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Hello.

CALLER: Yes, I wonder what can families do when there's sexual abuse -- severe sexual abuse within the family? People are more than glad to fuss about perpetrators until they find out it's in the family and then parents, children, other relatives.

KING: John, you have had to deal with that? WALSH: Oh, absolutely. We get calls all of the time over our hotline about relatives suspecting someone in the family or from kids directly. And I send a message, if there are kids watching or if you know that there's abuse in your family, you have got to have the guts to report it. You can do it anonymously. People don't have to know who you are.

But you have to have the guts to report it, to call police, social services. You can remain anonymous. Or if you tell somebody and they don't do anything about it, just keep trying to tell a trusted authority figure or an adult. And you know, that's a real problem, the not having the security to tell someone that it's happening within the family.

And the lady who is -- if she -- I got a sense that she feels she knows something, call somebody. Tell somebody. You can remain anonymous.

KING: One other quick e-mail question from Greg in Georgetown, Cayman Islands: "Are there any cities or police departments that you have wanted to feature on 'To Catch a Predator' that refused?"

HANSEN: You know, that's a good question. We obviously rely on Perverted Justice in most cases to contact police departments. And the way it works is usually the police department will reach out to Perverted Justice and say, hey, look, we think we have a problem. We need your expertise. And then P.J. will say, OK, do you mind if "Dateline" is part of this investigation?

KING: Chris, how long will "To Catch a Predator" run?

HANSEN: We take a look at it after every series, you know, and we will make that decision once this next series ends.

KING: It is not losing its attention-grabbing, right?

HANSEN: It's not, and it's not stopping people from showing up. I mean, we have guys talk about this show in their chats and still show up. We have guys who recognize me instantly and sit and talk.

KING: Wait a minute. That means they want to be a celebrity.

HANSEN: No, it's as -- you know, this isn't "To Catch a Predator," is it? And the decoy says, what's that? "Dateline." I have never seen "Dateline." Oh, It's a show where they blah, blah, blah. Oh no, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. And the next thing you know he's in the door. Swear to God.

KING: And your explanation of that is?

HANSEN: The drive to meet a young boy or girl is so strong they are willing to risk it. Or they just don't think it could actually happen to them.

KING: Bizarre.

HANSEN: It is.

KING: Keep on keeping on.

HANSEN: Thanks, Larry. I appreciate it.

KING: When we come back, a very different side of comedian David Spade. He'll do his sarcastic thing on Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith and more, but wait till you see him open up like he never has before about the death of his best friend, Chris Farley.

David Spade's up next, when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


KING: We are back with one of my favorite people, David Spade. The host of "The Showbiz Show with David Spade," which returns for Comedy Central for its third season this week. He's also the co-star of the CBS sitcom, "Rules of Engagement," a very funny show, by the way.

SPADE: Thank you.

KING: I really get a kick out of it. How did this thing start for you with show business stuff, where did that come from?

SPADE: I think it's just you know what you know and you know what business you're in. And when I was doing "Saturday Night Live," I would sit around and read magazines and just kind of talk out loud, stuff that made me laugh about photos they take of people and what celebrities are doing. And then that turned into a little segment I did on the show.

And then I kind of thought about things more, because I was writing for that. And then when I left the show and did "Just Shoot Me" and I did movies, or whatever, it's just always something you talk about with your friends and it's basically what you do when you sit around with your buddies. Because everybody is in the same biz.

KING: So did they come to you, Comedy Central, or you go to -- how did it come up?

SPADE: Yes, it came up as an idea with a show with a friend of mine that worked on "Saturday Night Live." And he said we should do that as like a half-hour show. And I said, well, there's "The Daily Show" about politics. That kind of makes sense, you know, to go in there and kind of make fun of show biz. So we put it together, we had a different host, and I was working on something. And then they said, we will pick it up but if you jump on as the host. So it was just one of those quick things like, why not?

KING: Is it easy to find something every day?

SPADE: Surprisingly, yes, Larry.


KING: It's that kind of business?

SPADE: Well, you know, we've been off the air for six months, and look at so much that has happened. I mea, it has just been a -- from Mel Gibson to Michael Richards, Britney Spears.

KING: Do you miss it when you're not on?

SPADE: I kind of miss it. I mean, we still talk to -- you know, within my comedy friends and other people I run into.

KING: No, miss being on?

SPADE: I do miss being on. Because there is so much juicy juiciness to get in there and make fun of.

KING: What do you make of your friend Al Franken running for the Senate?

SPADE: Franken, I didn't -- I heard little mumblings about that. I don't know.

KING: He is an announced candidacy in Minnesota.

SPADE: All right. Well, I'll see. He doesn't have me yet. Let me see what...

KING: Doesn't have you yet?

SPADE: Not yet. Let me hear what he has got to say.

KING: You worked together, didn't you?

SPADE: Yes, but I want to hear what he has got to say, I'm tough.

KING: Ah, David, you're tough. All right. We just discussed it. What do you make of this whole Anna Nicole thing?

SPADE: Anna Nicole is a tough one because she passed away and it was kind of the angle I saw was, it went from being, you know, someone we joked about a lot. She ballooned up to about three bills. It was just kind of, I don't know what was going on. And now there's a funeral that's like Lady Diana going through the town with little John-John out there and bagpipes.

I go, when did this happen? When did it turn from like the biggest thing in the world -- you know, I don't know what happened there that it got very important. And I think it snowballs to where even CNN is...

KING: Even.

SPADE: You know what I mean?

KING: Didn't we all help create it? SPADE: Yes, created it. And you know, it got pretty chaotic and even right now with the baby daddies and there is a guy in Arizona that now says he's in the mix. And it's really -- I think it's such a carnival-like situation, even though it's real people in real life, that people are just fascinated. They can't get enough.

KING: So you have not had to deal with it, because you've been off the air.

SPADE: We have been off the air. And I don't...

KING: And now you are back. Are you going to leave it alone?

SPADE: Yes, we're back. Thursday night it will be on. I don't think we ever really leave anything alone, but I don't think we have any -- we will do it in a recap. We are going to recap a little bit of what has been going on. But I just can't hit that too hard because it has been hit from so many sides, it's hard to come up with a new angle.

KING: Would you look -- on your show, even though it's basically humorous and a good slant, would you break the story on your show?

SPADE: I would try but sometimes people will e-mail me or I'll run into people out at night and they will tell me basically secrets or think this is going to happen, and this person is coming out or this is -- and to me, I can't really break that unless it's common knowledge so people can laugh at it. It looks like I'm making it up.

KING: So you're a reactor?

SPADE: Yes. I'm kind of a reactor. And it's like, maybe if it -- you know, it's a little bit like "The Daily Show" in the way we have people on and celebrities and blah, blah. But if someone wanted to come on and talk about something, I would do that and let them get it out, get it off their chest.

KING: All right. What do you make the Britney -- by the way, do you know Britney?

SPADE: Britney is one of the few I don't think I've even run into. I see her out. I thought she's a pretty girl. She sold a lot of albums. She was a big influence on kids. She has done a great job. And I think when she got into that K-Fed stuff, it got a little iffy, where people started to go, hmm.

And then it just kind of spun from there. But you get questioning, is it -- when you're in the paparazzi and stuff so much, do you miss it if you're not? Or are you truly trying to do normal things and it's just them making you crazy?

KING: All right. Do you ever think, as they often think, that you and others are taking advantage of them?

SPADE: Yes. I think I am a little bit. I mean, I just think...

KING: Well, you're rare because you're a talent.

SPADE: Well, yes, that's a little different.

KING: Most of the people report. You're a talent. You're a funny guy.

SPADE: Super talent, yes. Thank you.

KING: You are super, super talent.

SPADE: Oh, thank you.


KING: Frank Sinatra once told me that the trouble with gossip is that the people doing it are taking advantage of those eminently more talented then themselves.

SPADE: Right. I kind of follow that. Well, I think that it's less -- our show is less about gossip and more -- you know, one thing people say is like, we go after celebrities. It's not really like taking potshots. We will read the paper and read what happened to some celebrity and then do a joke about it.

It's not like we are looking off camera going, this guy has no career. Let's go kick him in the you-know-what. So we are just doing like what Chris Rock does or what Letterman does. It's that kind of thing.

KING: More of that than, hey, I've got something to tell you?

SPADE: Yes, yes, yes. It's more like -- it's not Rona Barrett.


KING: Rona Barrett.

SPADE: Yes, I change it for your audience there.


KING: Still ahead, we will delve...


KING: We are going to delve into David's personal life, including his relationship with a very famous actress and sex symbol. Don't go away.



UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You want to join us, Russell?

SPADE: At the table on your creepy cult of monogamy? No thanks. I'm just picking up a coffee to go.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You know, you just make jokes about relationships because you wish you could have one.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Yes, you're just jealous.

SPADE: You know what? I'm a little bit jealous, you're right. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go do whatever I feel like doing, all the time.


KING: That's a funny show. "Rules of Engagement." He's the single guy and he makes it very, very appealing. Good script.

SPADE: Thank you very much.

KING: Do you have any part of the writing.

SPADE: I don't have a lot of it. I think it's -- they let me add jokes and screw around like we did in "Just Shoot Me" and that's great.

KING: OK. You have received a lot of tabloid attention about involvement with Heather Locklear after her breakup to rocker Richie Sambora. Give us the scoop.


KING: Come on, David. What's it like? I like Heather.

SPADE: Heather is great. Nothing not to like. Knew her a little bit when she hosted "Saturday Night Live" when I was there. I always thought she was cute and sexy and just one of those kind of girls that is always like up-beat energy and fun.

We were friends, and then those two split up and we just started hanging out a lot, and then she went through a tough time with him. And then her buddy, her friend, and that didn't go well. So I kind of was there during all of that. And it was a rough time for her, you know.

KING: And did it develop into a romance?

SPADE: It was something along those lines.

KING: So it wasn't when she was married?

SPADE: No, no, no.

KING: All right. What about everybody goes to rehab?


KING: There must be a rehab bus.

SPADE: And "Little Miss Sunshine" is in "prehab." It's all bad.


SPADE: This rehab thing is a little intriguing because we were going to do a field piece about it because I wanted to go to the therapist that Isaiah Washington, the guy from "Grey's Anatomy" -- you know, one of these therapists that is a legitimate therapist and say, listen, I don't -- how do you make me like black people? Or, I want to like gay people? So I have got one week. I have got to get back to work.


SPADE: And so turn me around. It's so funny like the regular booze rehab is one thing and that's -- obviously, it's hard to make fun of. But we do. But because seemingly people are trying. Now the Lindsay Lohan, who I think is great, but when you go to rehab in Malibu, and you can kind of -- it's kind of pretend where you get to leave to shop. Have you read this? And then they leave...

KING: I didn't know, they leave?

SPADE: Yes. You can leave. And you can leave to go to bars. It's like, well, I will do that. I don't have a drinking problem. I just want to live in Malibu. But if you can just go back and forth, that's the tough part. It's kind of answering the public as everything in the celebrity world, as we all get how it works.

But if you're caught doing something, you have got to do something to show people that you are not really that way even if you are. Like Michael Richards, he doesn't -- he says he's sorry, but you know -- you don't know. And he's there with Jesse Jackson. Well, you didn't like -- didn't seem like he liked these people a week ago. This is probably your worst case scenario.

But now you're suddenly happy and everything is great. I get it. You're just -- it's a free speech thing where you're allowed to think certain things, and if you are, are you allowed to say them?

KING: What is their success ratio, do you think?

SPADE: I think 100 percent people saying they are changed. But are they changed? That's the hard part. But I'm in this, too. And I go out and I have drinks at night and whatever. There's definitely a thing about being someone known, that it's somewhat stressful, or, to normal people, being stressful.

KING: Our fascination with celebritydom (ph) is...

SPADE: Yes. It's a little weird that people take your picture and walk around and know who you are wherever you go. So sure, I guess people go to booze. It's hard to keep everything at a normal level. I'm a pretty normal guy but it's very hard. So I feel for some of these people, I get it.

KING: Do you ever want to go to rehab just to see what it is like?

SPADE: Meet girls. I mean -- oh. What did you say?


SPADE: No. I have had some people I know in rehab and it seems like a drag.

KING: A lot people think you and Ellen DeGeneres may have been separated at birth. That you look alike. We are going to show the picture here.


SPADE: Yes. Ellen and I.

KING: You could be brother and sister.

SPADE: She is cute. You know, I had a crush on her when we -- I told her this on the show, we did the Dallas Improv years ago, way, way back, and I liked her because she was the headliner and she had a Walkman, so I thought she was rich.

So we hung out and I was going to ask her out, until I got the news. And actually we had the news a while back. Because in the comedy world, I was told, you shouldn't ask her out, Dave. I go, she's cute. She is cute, Dave. Not your type.

KING: Whatever happened to the Walkman?


SPADE: That's a whole 'nother half-hour.


KING: ... SkyMall and the Walkman?

SPADE: My bits are full of this stuff. Stay close. No, the Walkman...

KING: It's gone, right? It's gone.

SPADE: I think so. I think that's the end of that.

KING: Coming up in our final segment, David's thought on a late, great "Saturday Night Live" star Chris Farley. As we go to break David and Chris in the hilarious movie "Tommy Boy."



CHRIS FARLEY, ACTOR: Review time, let's do it up. Feed me.

SPADE: First, what are the three grades of Callahan brake pads? FARLEY: Personal, commercial and agricultural.

SPADE: And what is our carrying charge for all of the merchandise in the warehouse?

FARLEY: Oh, man!

SPADE: One-and-a-half...

FARLEY: Half percent! I knew that! What can't I remember it!

SPADE: Try an association like, let's say the average person uses 10 percent of their brain. How much do you use? One-and-a-half percent. The rest is clogged with malted hops and bong resin.


KING: What about Chris Farley, David, how close were you?

SPADE: Chris Farley was -- I met my -- met his first day of "Saturday Night Live." I had been on the show four episodes, and then we had a summer break and I came back as a writer basically and Farley was a performer. And Farley, Rock joined. Sandler joined later that year. But Chris Farley and I connected the day we walked from the hotel, the set the first day and did not really separate ever since.

We were -- I would say my best friend there and had a great time. I love Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, all of my friends there. Had a special thing with Chris because of the movies. And we were together 24/7. We were like an old married couple except we slept in the same bed.

KING: Where were you when he died?

SPADE: See, they are coming...

KING: I got it.

SPADE: I was -- you know what, I was doing "Just Shoot Me." We were doing a table read and I got the call from my manager and said you're going to hear this in minimum an hour from anywhere across the world. I just want to tell you first. Died of an overdose. Got to go. And I walked back to the table read, sat there for second and fell apart for at least a half-hour. They had to like drag me in the other room and I couldn't quite deal with it.

It was pretty brutal. I mean, I can't say I was shocked. And that just -- you -- he was so tough and so much tougher than me. He could do all of that stuff more than me. I thought he could pull through anything. And to have it stop, it just rocked me for a long time.

KING: Was he sick?

SPADE: I mean, I guess, you know, for the most lovable kind of sweet-natured guy that was such a people pleaser and so great, you know basically, when I met him on "Saturday Night Live," I think the wheels had come off. It was just fame, money, girls, just pouring gas on it. It just got worse from there. I think he already would have been in danger and it just -- it didn't help.

KING: He was another Belushi, wasn't he? He was in that league?

SPADE: Yes. He was to me, I would say, funnier. It is arguable. But when we were on the show and he would go, I want to be like Belushi, I want to be like Belushi. I would go, you're as good as anybody. I mean, you will ask guest hosts, from Steve Martin, Bill Murray, people come in would be like, you're unbelievable.

So he would wear Belushi's pants from wardrobe if he found his name in them over his pants and wear them on the show to get the magic, to get anything it was from Belushi. And I would go, you're an idiot.

But he was very into that. They both died at 33. But a sweetheart of a guy. And I tried everything i could, because I was there for all of the times, no one knew what was going on. So by the end I kind of avoided him.

KING: Oh, really?

SPADE: Well, because, you know, when we were like walking down the street and people are like in New York going, Spade, Farley, have a drink with us. You go, hey how are you doing? But he would go, all right. And even they would be surprised. What? Oh, get a chair, he's coming. And he would stay with them for 24 hours.

KING: Was it hard not to laugh when you did scenes with him?


KING: Like that scene we just showed?

SPADE: Yes. The "Tommy Boy" was -- I did it on "Saturday Night Live." You know, Lorne would yell at us, this one -- and the GAP girls (ph) I wrote, I would write him sounding dumb as he would say to me every day. And "Tommy Boy" I had had jokes from too, because I think it was -- I was good enough of an ear, wasn't as funny as him but I could tell when he was really good and I would remember it and go do fat guy in a little coat, or dude, is this fading (ph)?

KING: Did he ever do stand-up?

SPADE: This one, we all laughed, even Sandler, this is so funny because I only wrote that so we could all be in rehearsal together all week. And Farley steals it.

KING: Thank you so much. Oh, by the way, do you want to give us one of your bye-byes?

SPADE: Oh, buh-bye. Can't get off a plane without it anymore.

KING: David Spade. Funny guy. Thanks for joining us tonight. We've got a huge week coming up on LARRY KING LIVE, including: presidential contender Barack Obama on Monday; Heather Mills from "Dancing with the Stars" on Tuesday and Bill Cosby on Wednesday.

But for now, stay tuned for more news on CNN, your most trusted name in news.