Who could you take in a fight?

Who could you take in a fight?

The Onion A.V. Club has taken advantage of many opportunities to ask questions of entertainment figures. Usually, these involve works being promoted or anecdotes from an intriguing career, but it's always a good idea to have a few stock questions on hand in case there's a lull in conversation—or, as is occasionally the case, you find yourself face-to-face with someone on an elevator or in a hotel lobby. Here are 35 entertainers and their answers to the question, "Who could you take in a fight?"

Hugh Grant is a floppy-haired English actor whose films include Notting Hill, Four Weddings And A Funeral, and Mickey Blue Eyes.

The Onion: I'm going to give you a platform to prove that you're a tough guy and not just an English fop. Given the opportunity, who could you take in a fight?

Hugh Grant: That's a good question. [Pauses.] I think I could probably beat Kate Moss in a fight. Do you know Kate Moss?

O: Yeah.

HG: I think I could beat the shit out of her, if I really concentrate. People think that I'm not hard, but I am hard. I was at this news agency in London the other day, and this little girl—she was about six—came in. She gave me this sort of stare and said, "Yuppie scum!" And I took her outside and slapped her about a bit.

O: Pretty tough.

HG: Yeah. It makes your chest swell.

O: With pride.

HG: With pride! I was also on the escalator the other day, and there was an old couple in front of me going way too slow. So I rabbit-punched the woman in the small of the back. It was enough to get her out of the way.

O: You could have just pulled out her cane and let her hobble down the escalator.

HG: Yeah. Bitch.

Matt Groening created The Simpsons, Futurama and the comic strip Life In Hell.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Matt Groening: I could take in a fight any actor over 70 years of age who refuses to appear on The Simpsons.

Ira Kaplan sings and plays guitar in Yo La Tengo, which just released an album titled And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Ira Kaplan: A fistfight? [Laughs.] I hope not to find out. I've gone a long time without putting that to the test, and I'd like to keep it that way. When I was young, I was able to avoid what few fights... I mean, my mouth would sometimes get me into trouble, but I could also get out of it with my mouth. Once, my brother and I were in a bowling league, and I got one of the other kids mad at me. He asked me to step outside, and he would certainly have killed me if I had done it, so the only thing that kept me from being beaten up was that I insisted we should fight right there instead of stepping outside. I guess I just confused him, and that was the end of it.

Jimmy Kimmel co-hosts Win Ben Stein's Money and The Man Show, and also makes regular appearances on Fox's NFL pre-game show.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Jimmy Kimmel: Oh, probably just about anybody. I bite, I get in there. Name some people and I'll tell you if I can beat 'em up or not.

O: Let's see...

JK: Ben Stein I can kick the crap out of.

O: What about the NFL guys?

JK: No, no. Each one of them can crush me in his own way.

O: [Fox NFL co-host and former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver] Cris Collinsworth?

JK: Believe me, you don't become a professional football player without being able to beat up a winger like me. I'm like 80% body fat.

Tom Leykis is a syndicated radio talk-show host.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Tom Leykis: Uh... Let's see... Who would I like to take in a fight? You know, I'd like to go after the juice man. Have you ever seen the juice man? He's on all those infomercials late at night, makes that juicer? He's 70 years old, but he says he feels like he's 30? I'd like to go toe-to-toe with the juice man. I want to prove that juice is not as good as he says it is. [Laughs.]

Catherine O'Hara is a comedian, SCTV alum, and actress whose work has included Beetlejuice, Waiting For Guffman, and many SNL appearances.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Catherine O'Hara: A physical fight? Um, someone sleeping.

Chris Smith is the director of American Movie and American Job.

Chris Smith is the director of American Movie and American Job.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Chris Smith: Anyone on your pansy staff.

George Carlin's comedy career stretches across several decades and includes countless albums and comedy specials

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

George Carlin: Uh, let's see... Probably Lauren Bacall.

Jack Plotnick is an actor and comedian who has appeared in Gods And Monsters, TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and a rental-car commercial.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Jack Plotnick: Um... [Long pause.] I could take the blind and the severely handicapped.

O: Actually, blind people are probably pretty instinctive.

JP: No, I think I'd do okay.

Steven Soderbergh directed sex, lies and videotape, The Limey, Out Of Sight, and Erin Brockovich.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Steven Soderbergh: [Laughs.] Let me think... Who could I take in a fight... Uh, what's that kid, Jonathan Lipnicki from Jerry Maguire. I could take him.

Micky Dolenz is a producer and founding member of The Monkees.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Micky Dolenz: You mean, bring with me to a fight?

O: No, who could you beat up?

MD: [Laughs.] Uh, specifically a name?

O: Yeah, a person in particular. Who do you think you could take?

MD: Well, probably just about anybody, 'cause I'm armed.

Mojo Nixon is the singer responsible for "Don Henley Must Die," among many others; his newest album is ¡The Real Sock Ray Blue! and he currently works as a radio host in Cincinnati.

Mojo Nixon: God, I could take damn near anybody. I wouldn't fight fair. Who couldn't I take in a fight? The guy from Metallica that burned himself up and didn't know it for a couple hours. James Hetfield. I would have to train for him. [Laughs.]

O: He'd probably fight pretty dirty, too.

MN: Oh, yeah. He's kind of old and grizzled his own damn self.

Pamela Hayden is the voice of Milhouse and Jimbo on The Simpsons.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Pamela Hayden: You mean, me or Milhouse? [Laughs.] Me, I could take Jenny McCarthy. [Laughs.] Couldn't take Sylvester Stallone. I don't think Milhouse could take anybody; Milhouse is going to be on a tower with a high-powered rifle in a few years, I'm afraid, like a disgruntled postal worker, so he couldn't take too many people in a fight. Jimbo could take just about anybody in town.

Bobby Slayton is a comedian, known as "The Pit Bull Of Comedy," whose newest album is titled Raging Bully.

Bobby Slayton: Um, maybe my wife. I don't know. I do a lot of material about girls, but I don't think I can beat up girls anymore. Who could I take in a fight... As far as comedians go?

O: Yeah, sure.

BS: I could kick anybody's ass if I wanted, pretty much. I could pretty much live up to my reputation as the pit bull of comedy. I'll kick your ass if the next question's not better, I'll tell you that.

Matthew Sweet is a pop-rock singer-songwriter whose newest album is titled In Reverse.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Matthew Sweet: [Laughs.] Gee, that's a hard one to answer. I don't know exactly what the angle is. Who could I take in a fight? Anyone I was angry enough at to really want to. But I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Beth Littleford is a comedian and actress best known for her work on Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Beth Littleford: Most people. I'm a bad-ass.

Billy Connolly is a Scottish comedian and actor whose credits include Mrs. Brown and the TV series Billy and Head Of The Class.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Billy Connolly: Who could I take down? Oh, Robin Williams.

O: Robin Williams?

BC: Oh, easy, yeah. I nearly had him last night. They pulled me off him. I nearly socked him on an' away off. Little bastard and his fucking woolly hat. Who do he think he is? As a matter of fact, if he wasn't flying me to L.A. today in his plane, I would have done it. [Connolly and Williams were appearing together at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. —ed.] I would have fucking had him. If it was my plane, I would have belted him. I just don't happen to have a plane.

Susan Messing is a Chicago improv and theater veteran, an actor in While You Were Sleeping, and a member of Second City.

Susan Messing: Who could I take? My boyfriend Joe. My fiancé Joe. We just got engaged yesterday.

Frank Kozik is the graphic artist behind countless rock posters and album covers; he also runs Man's Ruin Records.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Frank Kozik: I don't know. Nobody that tough. I'm pretty big, but I'm getting old. I don't know. I think if I was allowed to fight dirty, I could take just about anybody.

Joe Genaro used to play guitar and occasionally sing for Dead Milkmen; now he leads his own band, Butterfly Joe.

Joe Genaro: Let's see... I might not be able to take very many people. I thought I could take Beavis in a fight because he's only animated, but then they'd probably have to animate me and he'd probably get me. [Pauses.] Mother Teresa's dead, isn't she? I don't know who I could take in a fight.

Ben Stein is a movie actor, pitchman, columnist, and host of Comedy Central's Win Ben Stein's Money.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Ben Stein: In a physical fight? Jeff Greenfield. I think I could do all right with him. I don't know who else, though. I'm very weak, mentally and physically. Most people would say they're weak physically, but I'm going to tell you that I'm weak mentally, as well.

O: What if you had a slight advantage, like a crowbar?

BS: Well, then I think I could fight almost anyone.

Neil Hamburger is America's Funnyman; his newest album is titled Left For Dead In Malaysia.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Neil Hamburger: Hmmm. I think there are certain world heavyweight champions that I could beat—namely, the ones that are now deceased.

Birdstuff plays drums in Man Or Astro-Man?, the greatest band ever to come from outer space; its newest album is titled EEVIAC: Operational Index And Reference Guide.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Birdstuff: I personally could take the twin towers of the rock band known as Cash Money, because Cash Money is the Judy Collins of hard rock.

Seth Green is an actor best known for his work in the Austin Powers movies and the WB series Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Seth Green: [Laughs.] Um, Warwick Davis. He's the guy in Willow, and he played Wicket the Ewok. I'll kick his fuckin' ass. I'll throw him down a fuckin' flight of stairs. I'll grab him by the ankles and shake him out on a fuckin' concrete stairs like an Oriental rug. [Laughs.] I used to think I could take Gary Coleman until he beat up that lady.

O: He's like a security guard or something, so he's probably got training.

SG: Right, and I saw that chick. She was big, and he kicked her ass. So now I'm not as sure. I used to think he was the one. [Pauses, laughs.] Warwick Davis is such a good answer, man. [Laughs.] I'll fight the fuck out of Warwick Davis.

Alice Cooper is a rock legend who last year released a box set titled Life & Crimes Of Alice Cooper.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Alice Cooper: Um, you'd be surprised. Me, probably not anybody. But Alice is not afraid of anybody. I would take Alice into a biker bar and let him walk in and stare around, and I don't think anyone would hassle him. Myself, I was a track runner. I was a good miler and two-miler. I could outrun just about anybody. [Laughs.] But I think one of the reasons I created Alice was to do my fighting for me. And I'm pretty sure I could take Donny Osmond.

Mike Baron is the writer and artist behind Nexus and many other comic books.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Mike Baron: Al Gore.

Joel Hodgson was one of the masterminds behind Mystery Science Theater 3000; he now runs his own studio.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Joel Hodgson: I'd like to take on the Sheen brothers, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen. I think they're kind of spoiled brats and I don't think they could fight.

Kyle Gass and Jack Black are Tenacious D, widely considered the greatest rock band in the world.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Kyle Gass: I don't know.

O: Well, if you two were to fight, who would win?

KG: Oh, I would win.

Jack Black: He outweighs me.

O: If there were another singing duo that you were to fight...

JB: I'd fucking go up against any of them.

O: Everly Brothers?

JB: [Sighs derisively.]

O: Indigo Girls?

JB: [Sighs derisively.] I could take Ricky Martin, personally.

KG: I could take Jennifer Lopez.

JB: I could beat up Billy Joel.

O: He's forsworn rock 'n' roll.

JB: I don't care. All the better.

KG: He's a learned scholar of rock 'n' roll.

JB: I could take him.

Michael Winslow specializes in making strange sounds with his mouth; he can be seen in Spaceballs and all seven Police Academy films.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Michael Winslow: [Long pause.] Uh, I don't think I'd be put in a position to have to take anybody in a fight, though martial arts has always been a big part of my being. It's one of those things where I carry no belt, because I'm of the philosophy that most belts are useful for cleaning up spills on the desk.

O: I didn't know you studied martial arts. How long have you been doing that?

MW: Ever since I was a little kid, though I refuse to carry a rank.

O: It's an exciting field.

MW: It is. It becomes a part of your balance. Everything is in balance; there's a counterweight to every weight.

Styles is one third of The Mountain Brothers, whose excellent debut, Self: Volume 1, is available on Pimpstrut Records.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Styles: I could definitely take out Fred [Durst] from Limp Bizkit. I don't fully trust his hardcore demeanor, and I think he may have been the guy I saw a few seats over, sobbing softly during The Cider House Rules. Not only that, but I'm a chainsaw and I'll skin his ass raw.

Tommy Chong's pot-themed humor has become an American institution, most notably with former partner Cheech Marin.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Tommy Chong: Um, Frank Stallone.

O: Are you sure? He's kind of a big guy. And in Barfly, he beat up Mickey Rourke in one scene.

TC: He also beat up Geraldo Rivera in a celebrity wrestling match. But I could take him.

Monte Hellman directed the road-movie classic Two-Lane Blacktop.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Monte Hellman: Uh, I guess my dog. That's the only one I can think of.

Momus is a musician, essayist, and wit whose newest album is titled Stars Forever.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Momus: Well, if it was an intellectual battle, I could take just about anybody, but a physical fight I think I would lose with even [foppish The Divine Comedy frontman] Neil Hannon.

David Cross played "David" on the HBO sketch-comedy series Mr. Show With Bob And David; he's also made many movie and network TV appearances.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

David Cross: Um, probably Betty Boop and maybe Frasier.

O: So, pretty much just imaginary characters?

DC: Yeah. Oh, God, you mean in real life? No, no. Um, Bob [Odenkirk's] new baby I'd probably have a pretty easy time with. Uh, somebody made completely of water. Who else? Oh, that lady, the world's oldest lady in France. I could take her.

O: Is she still alive?

DC: All the more reason, if she's not.

Marshall Crenshaw has written many classic pop songs, including "Someday Someway" and "Not For Me"; he recently released the album #447.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Marshall Crenshaw: Who could I take in a fight? Oh, God... Well, I guess it would depend on what the fight was about, but I think the only time I really would fight is if I was just hysterical, if it was some kind of life-threatening emergency, and then you never know what's going to come out in situations like that. I once read a true-crime book about a woman who innocently went to visit her neighbor down the street. Actually, not so innocently, because the woman had had an affair with her neighbor's husband. But she didn't know that her neighbor knew about it. So, anyway, she went to visit her neighbor to borrow something, and the neighbor confronted her and threatened her with an ax, so there was a struggle and the woman who went to visit the neighbor wound up chopping her neighbor into pieces. It was just because she'd been in a life-threatening situation, and suddenly she turned into a killer. You never know what might happen if you really get into a serious fight.