Among the many reasons to open e.c. each Thursday, lies a single reason more compelling than a stroll through a PETA convention in a mink. e.c.'s own Eric Toffey; comedian extraordinaire, all around sex god, and a dashing faux Brit with a mouth bigger than Prince Charles' lobes brilliantly redefines drunken stupor with his weekly comic strip, Sauce. Inspired by the likes of UPN, serial killers, gangster rap, Otis Redding, goats, and pain killers, Eric swears he simply pens what fascinates him. It just so happens to rile up readers as well. In a blurb created solely for his future A&E Biography listing in TV Guide, Eric writes: 'Part time Crystal Meth dealer, Eric Toffey busts out of the dope game and into our hearts to wow audiences with his incredibly predictable, poorly drawn, totally useless comics. Now determined to forge his way into mediocrity, he pimps out his style with a comic strip showcasing his mindless creations. Even this bio was written with practically no creative thought or effort put into it. Apologies to those who have just wasted the last 20 seconds of their lives reading it.' And Penance to those - like us - who can't wait to read on.

How do you come up with such bizarre ideas?
I don't think up any of the ideas for my comic strip on my own. I have sweat shops with children who work there, and they basically write it all. That's why they don't make any sense. I just sit back and watch 'Joanie Loves Chachi' all day. And you don't even have to pay them that much. Kids don't know that $1 an hour's not a lot of money. Or that 14 hours a day is too long to work. What do they know? Basically, I'm just a figurehead for the comic strip. The children mostly do it all. Seriously, all the time I'll see something on TV - usually Cinemax after midnight - and I get a lot of ideas from that. I have all these different ideas and by the end of the week, I'll throw a couple of them away or combine them.

If you have a block, do you generally like what eventually comes out of it?
No, I pretty much don't like anything that I do. It's all crap. Usually I'll just start typing out a couple of ideas and then use what's the least disturbing out of those. But I get suggestions all the time. A lot of people want to be in it. So I think one time I'll get a picture of a baseball stadium where there's like a million people in the crowd and get them all over with at once. Actually, a lot of the suggestions are good, and I try to steal whenever I can.

What spurs you to mix your media?
I'm lazy. Whenever I can I'll just steal stuff off the internet. Drawing is just too boring. I love taking pictures off the internet or paying people to do it for me. Whatever I can do. Taking pictures! I love that.

Have you ever had a strip rejected?
I only had one comic strip rejected ever. I had to clean it up to get it approved. I have this friend Paul, who's awesome, and we had this idea: Things Paul Would Do for a Cohiba Cigar. I had this one picture of him standing in front a stream with a cigar and he had a fish in his ass. I got just the fish head from Price Chopper and he stood in front of the stream and clenched it; and I mean that's art right there. I thought it was a great picture! My editor thought some people might get upset. He's the kind of person I've been looking for my whole life to do stuff like this. Things Paul Would Do for a Cohiba - that's entertainment at its finest. I was a little bit upset, but we took that panel out and got a picture of him hitchhiking in a wedding dress.

What do you say to people who think you totally cross the line?
I totally agree. You see, I don't want to go for cheap laughs. I want real gut reactions. I want the audience to have gone through an experience - they love me, they hate me, they walk out. It's all great. See, I stole that from the movie -Man On the Moon.- I don't even write my own quotes. But really, sometimes I think it's more fun to upset people than it is to make them laugh. Most people want everything to follow a format or be a certain way. They want it to be black and white; and I like doing stuff that's not really like anything else. And I like stuff that I don't necessarily understand the first time I look at it. That's the good stuff. Not saying that Marmaduke isn't brilliant. Or For Better Or Worse, or High and Lois, they're brilliant too. But it's more fun to figure it out.

What is the last time you needed medical attention?
A lot of people that read my comic strip - when they find out who I am - mace me. But seriously, after you've been maced more than ten times within a week, you don't really need medical attention anymore. You build up a little immunity.

What is the best rumor you ever heard about yourself?
That I was talented. I went to Wendy (Maopolski) last year and I pitched her the idea of doing a comic strip because I was doing them since I was little. She said to put a couple together and bring them in to show her and I thought, piece of cake! Because I have tons of old stuff. So I went home and started looking through it and I thought, 'This is crap! I suck!' I asked my mom why she would ever encourage me. I was like, 'This stuff is so bad!' And she said, 'Yeah but I knew you'd get better.'

Who do you wish was your biggest fan?
I could say David Arquette because I make fun of him all the time. I hate David Arquette. He's just so annoying! I think It'd be really funny if he was my biggest fan. He sucks. Like why is he famous? And he's married to Courtney Cox. That might be why I hate him so much. -Cause he's such a dork - but he's married to Courtney Cox. But I'd have to say my grandmother. She's awesome.

What is the first time you ever beamed with pride?
Last year for the Film Festival, they shot a picture of me for the cover of the guide. Then I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show and they passed them out. During the show, people are throwing stuff and shooting squirt guns in the air; so everyone that has their guide takes it and puts it over their head. I'm sitting in the movie theater and I look around and there's 700 meÕs everywhere! That and, probably now that I'm going to be immortalized as an 'Up Close & Personal' with such celebrities as Jim Graham from Bliss, Dave Trygar and JoJo the Clown. It's pretty much all downhill from here.

What is some obscure Eric trivia?
That IÕm British. People don't know that I'm British. And also that IÕm huge in prisons and nursing homes. That's where my biggest following is from. I'm like Tom Jones. There's panties being thrown at me Ñ itÕs insane! You wouldn't think that either. But I think once I go on my killing spree, my comics will be looked at in a different way. They'll be studied, and even more people will appreciate them.

If you became famous, what quirks would you be able to indulge?
I probably would build a pretty decent size pit with chairs all around it, and I'd have all my friends over and have like monkeys fighting pigs, or maybe a midget fighting 20 chickens or something like that. And you'd bet on it, because who knows who's going to win between a midget and 20 chickens? Maybe a duck and three squirrels - you'd have to even it out. Or else maybe IÕd have one of my friends fight a couple goats jacked up on steroids. Are you kidding? That would be the place to go! I'd never leave my house. Do you think that'd be legal?

Finish this sentence: Life is...
Life is like a movie trailer. It's too short to get hung up on how crappy it may seem.

- by carlie nicastro


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