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 An Interview with Zippy the Pinhead Creator Bill Griffith3 comments
picture 7 Apr 2008 @ 23:28
[excerpted from DoingIt!, May, 2005]

This month we are proud to bring you a chat with Bill Griffith, creator of the “Zippy the Pinhead” comic strip, philosophy and fine line of quaity cleaning products (okay, so no cleaning products.. yet). Since discovering the strip over 20 years ago I have always appreciated the feeling that comes across-- that life is to be enjoyed, savored, played with and turned inside out. In this, I feel Zippy (and Bill) are living the lives they’ve been given to the fullest! Zippy asks, “Are We Having Fun Yet?,” and out of his surrealistic observations we gain a bit of wisdom and are able to see our world differently and anew.

DoingIt!: The two-sided Griffy/Zippy conversation is within a lot of us. How would you best characterize it, and who is winning inside of you?

Bill Griffith: Zippy and Griffy are essentially two sides of my split personality-- not that I limit myself to only two sides. Zippy is my accepting, happy, uncritical nature, Griffy is the neurotic, insecure, analytical side. The Zippy daily strip is, in one sense, my attempt to join the two and keep from going crazy. Neither side is winning, because that would be the death of both my delicate persona and the strip. Griffy without Zippy on his own would be, I think, a big blowhard and a bore. Zippy without Griffy would be like eating only cotton candy for eternity. Something fun to do, but best in small doses. Griffy is aware that his cynicism masks a desire to be happy and he literally asks Zippy, on occasion, for help in getting in touch with his "inner Pinhead". I've done this in a few strips. Zippy has reciprocated in a few other strips, becoming suddenly "rational", but only when he’s frightened or angry (rare states). In general, Zippy does not yearn to be like Griffy. In fact, Zippy rarely yearns at all. He’s too busy absorbing and recycling sensory and psychic input.

DI: One particular Zippyism—“Adopt my lifestyle or I’ll have to press charges”—really stands out with me this month. There are seemingly a lot of self-appointed hall monitors in the world today spending more time keeping track of the goings-on of everyone else than appreciating and playing with all of the "godstuff" strewn about, and really enjoying things, differences, each other, etc. Do you foresee anything that can shake people out of that beyond the short-term and keep us in “the moment” longer?

B.G.: Comedy (and the act of laughter) is the only thing short of brain surgery I know of to release us from the stresses and illusions we live with on a daily basis. All response to humor, from the belly laugh at a pratfall, to the appreciation of cosmic absurdity, snaps us momentarily out of our socialized selves and allows us a glimpse of what’s behind the curtain.  More >