Who Could You Take In A Fight?

Who Could You Take In A Fight?

"Is there a God?" "What happens when an immovable object meets an irresistible force?" "Why did Cyndi Lauper hang out with all those wrestlers?" For eons, a few simple questions have haunted humanity. The Onion A.V. Club has committed itself to answering the unanswerable by polling one of human society's most valuable resources: the celebrity community. What follows are dozens of responses to one simple, haunting question: "Who could you take in a fight?"

Actor, director, writer, and occasional singer William Shatner is best known as Captain James T. Kirk in various incarnations of Star Trek.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

William Shatner: I could take Salma Hayek.

O: Really? I would think she'd fight back something awful.

WS: Okay.

O: Do you want to back down on that?

WS: No, I'll just accept what's given to me.

Armistead Maupin's Tales Of The City newspaper serial ran for more than a decade, spawning six books and three television miniseries.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Armistead Maupin: A fistfight? Not very many damn people. I don't even think about fighting people. I have never started a fight in my life. I don't have a teacup full of testosterone.

O: You were in the Navy.

AM: Yeah, that's not the same thing.

The author of Take The Cannoli and The Partly Cloudy Patriot, Sarah Vowell regularly appears on the radio program This American Life.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Sarah Vowell: Hmm, let me think. I'm pretty sure I could beat up the vice-president. I wouldn't even have to fight him, because I could just feed him a bacon double cheeseburger with onion rings, and he'd keel over.

Rapper and actress Queen Latifah has a prominent role in the film version of Chicago.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Queen Latifah: You pick somebody, and then I'll tell you if I could beat that person.

O: How about Al Gore?

QL: Al Gore? You know, he is a man, but you didn't say it had to be a fair fight. If it wasn't a fair fight, I could pretty much take anybody, if I hit them first.

Steven Wright is a stand-up comedian, actor, musician, and painter.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Steven Wright: One of my nephews.

O: Are they older or younger than you?

SW: He's 6.

Elmore Leonard's books include City Primeval, Stick, Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, and the new When The Women Come Out To Dance.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Elmore Leonard: A little girl. I couldn't take anyone now. I'm 76. Past my prime.

Emo Philips regularly tours the nation's comedy clubs. His latest CD, Emo, came out in 2001.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Emo Philips: Hawking, Reeve. Not at the same time.

Trey Anastasio sings and plays guitar in Phish, and works frequently as a collaborator and solo artist.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Trey Anastasio: I think I could take Dave Matthews. No, I'll be braver than that. I'm ready to take on Henry Rollins.

O: He's a big, tough guy. Are you sure?

TA: Well, you've got to go big. Well, maybe not Rollins, but I will take Perry Farrell.

Filmmaker Mark Borchardt was the subject of the film American Movie.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Mark Borchardt: My wife.

Robert Forster is a veteran character actor, public speaker, and star of Medium Cool and Jackie Brown.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Robert Forster: Any of my ex-wives.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams recently starred in Insomnia and One Hour Photo, and made a high-profile return to stand-up comedy.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Robin Williams: Danny DeVito.

O: Not a very big guy.

RW: Not a big guy, but he's tough. You've got to aim low.

Paris is a rapper and activist best known for the song "Bush Killa."

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Paris: Like a fistfight? Or who would I want to take in a fistfight?

O: Either one.

P: I'll have to make a list. [Laughs.] It'll be like Celebrity Boxing. There's a whole lot of ass I should kick.

A member of Upright Citizens Brigade, Matt Besser was in the cast of the comedy troupe's excellent Comedy Central series.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Matt Besser: You know, it's not as much who I could take in a fight; it's who I'm afraid I can't take in a fight, which would be 'N Sync, 98 Degrees, and the Backstreet Boys. It terrifies me that I can't really... I try not to make fun of people in my comedy that I can't beat up, and that means I can't make fun of a lot of people.

O: When you can't beat up the easy targets...

MB: I know, I know. That's why I only make fun of women, old people, and dead people. And I used to make fun of God until, well, you know.

Comedian, singer, and Dolemite star Rudy Ray Moore has been hailed as the godfather of rap and the king of party records.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Rudy Ray Moore: It wouldn't be Mike Tyson. It would not be him, because if I wanted to fight, I would rather have a fighter, not a biter.

Posdnuos is one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group De La Soul.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Posdnuos: Whoo! I mean, I haven't been working out lately, man, but... I don't know. I don't want to call somebody out and have them beat me up. I don't wanna have them run up on me like, "I heard you say you can beat me." So I'll say someone I know. I could beat up Busta Rhymes. He won't be mad at me.

Peter Chung is the writer and director of the MTV animated series Aeon Flux and the designer behind Cartoon Network's Reign: The Conqueror.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Peter Chung: I used to think that way. I don't anymore. I think probably nobody.

Mike Binder is an actor (Minority Report), director (Blankman), and creator/director/writer/star (HBO's The Mind Of The Married Man). Sonya Walger co-starred as his wife on the recen

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Sonya Walger: Edward Norton. I taught him everything he knew for Fight Club.

O: He actually seems pretty tough.

SW: Yeah, but I could take him down.

Mike Binder: I think I could take you, if I sucker-punched you.

O: I've got a glass jaw.

MB: That's what I'm saying. But I think you're the only guy on the planet I could take.

Neal Pollack is the author of The Neal Pollack Anthology Of American Literature.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Neal Pollack: Anyone who has written a book. Written or ghost-written. Because athletes don't write their own books. I won't take the athletes on, but I'll take on their ghost-writers.

Herschell Gordon Lewis, the director of Blood Feast and 2000 Maniacs, is widely considered the godfather of gore.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Herschell Gordon Lewis: Osama bin Laden.

Actor and Phantom Planet drummer Jason Schwartzman is best known for his starring role in Rushmore.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Jason Schwartzman: I don't know. Name someone.

O: Gene Simmons? He's kind of a big guy, though.

JS: Yeah, with a little help from my friends, I could take him. But he's also got the KISS Army behind him. He never shuts up about the fucking KISS Army.

A singer and songwriter, most famously with The Kinks, Ray Davies tours the world with an autobiographical one-man show called The Storyteller.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Ray Davies: I think when I get mad enough, anybody.

Prolific comics writer and artist Frank Miller is best known for The Dark Knight Returns and his Sin City books.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Frank Miller: [Laughs.] Let's see. Give me a second. I'd say Little Lulu.

O: What about Tubby?

FM: Which one's Tubby?

O: The fat kid in the sailor suit. I think he was her boyfriend.

FM: Okay, I didn't know.

O: You say you could take her in a fight, but you're not familiar with her mythos? What if she has powers you're not aware of?

FM: Well, she doesn't exist. She's just lines on paper. If you want to go along those lines, I'll just say I could take Galactus. Paper rips.

The phantasmagorical novels of horror writer Clive Barker include Imajica, Weaveworld, and Abarat.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Clive Barker: Just about nobody.

O: No one whatsoever?

CB: That I could take in a fight? My mother, if she was being really kind to me.

Performance artist, musician, and author Laurie Anderson's most recent studio album is 2001's Life On A String.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Laurie Anderson: If I needed to fight... I'm trying to imagine myself needing to fight. I would run. I wouldn't fight.

The jangly guitar of Roger McGuinn, former leader of The Byrds, remains one of the most unmistakable sounds in rock music.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Roger McGuinn: I try not to fight anybody.

Singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega explored grief and isolation on her most recent album, 2001's Songs In Red And Gray.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Suzanne Vega: Oh, dear. I don't know. Beck is smaller than me, but he's got more energy. And I wouldn't want to fight him, because he's way too cute. Let's leave it at that.

Chuck Palahniuk is the author of Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, and Lullaby.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Chuck Palahniuk: Celine Dion.

O: Wait, is that someone you could take on, or someone you'd like to take on?

Chuck Palahniuk: Any day. Bring it on, Celine, bring it on.

Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle can currently be seen on Comedy Central's The Chappelle Show.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Dave Chappelle: I could beat the shit out of pretty much anybody under the age of 11.

Rod Roddy is the announcer for TV's impossibly long-running game show The Price Is Right.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Rod Roddy: Dame Edna.

British comics writer Alan Moore is the creator of Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and From Hell.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Alan Moore: Ooh, let me see. Most superheroes, really. When you know them, they're not anywhere near as tough as they appear. Whoopi Goldberg. I don't think I'd have any trouble there. Macaulay Culkin. He better not start anything.

O: What about both of them at once?

AM: Whoa, now, I don't know. I don't want to make any wild, rash claims. I figure if Whoopi and Macaulay were working some kind of tag-team thing, they could have me on the ropes pretty quickly. I don't want to underestimate them.

Actor Warwick Davis starred in Willow and currently runs a booking agency for short actors.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Warwick Davis: Mini-Me.

O: The character or the actor? Or both?

WD: I'll say the character, because Verne [Troyer]'s a good bloke. I wouldn't want to fight him. He'll get the wrong impression. So I'll just say the character.

Andy Richter, the former co-host of Late Night With Conan O'Brien, has gone on to act in movies and the sitcom Andy Richter Controls The Universe.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Andy Richter: Oh, lots of people. Kids, a lot of different ladies, little people. And by little people I do mean midgets. But that's a lot of energy you're talking about. I've never hit anyone in anger in my life, aside from siblings when we were children, because I've never really found anything worth that amount of stress. I just don't, though if someone was threatening my wife or my child, I might be able to now. But not, you know... Most fights are over "What are you looking at?" They're [adopts tough voice] "What are you looking at?" I'm more like [adopts sissy voice] "What are you looking at, huh? Wow."

Humorist David Sedaris frequently contributes to the radio program This American Life and has written the books Naked, Barrel Fever, and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

David Sedaris: I bet I could take... I could take that kid who was in The Sixth Sense. What's his name?

O: Haley Joel Osment.

DS: Yeah. [Laughs.] I could just beat the shit out of him.

Marvel Comics godfather Stan Lee has been a comics-industry icon since the 1960s.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Stan Lee: Who could I beat up in a fight? Are there any baby actors out there today?

O: There's Haley Joel Osment, the baby-faced kid from The Sixth Sense.

SL: I don't know, I'm not a very belligerent guy. If I could run faster than the other guy, I could probably run away from almost anybody in a fight. I don't get that angry.

Terry Gilliam is the writer and director of the dark fantasy films Time Bandits, Brazil, and The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Terry Gilliam: Small children and weak women.

Joss Whedon is the creator and producer of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the now-canceled Firefly.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Joss Whedon: God. I'm constantly yelling at Him. A lot of my writers are quite religious, and I'm always yelling, "Come on! Strike me down! Wuss!" I don't know why I have such anger toward somebody who doesn't exist.

Conan O'Brien can be seen every weeknight on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, repeats of which now air at a respectable hour on Comedy Central.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Conan O'Brien: Let's see, who could I take in a fight? Definitely Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Have you seen her? Her upper body is very frail. I think I could take her if she was sleepy and I had a two-by-four. She'd go down quickly.

The former lead singer of Talking Heads, David Byrne is an author, musician, and head of the world-scouring Luaka Bop record label.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

David Byrne: Who could I take in a fight? I can't even beat up my sister anymore.

Author and artist Berkeley Breathed is the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the comic strips Bloom County and Outland.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Berkeley Breathed: Bill Gates. Smug wanker... I'd take him down. Pin all my extremities behind my back, and I'd still clean his clock swatting him with my buttocks. But don't read anything into that.

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Richard Thompson has performed as part of Fairport Convention, by himself, and with ex-wife Linda Thompson.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Richard Thompson: In the sense of take out? I could probably do Tyson at this point. He's fading a bit. I'm not sure I can get close enough to him. And Holyfield's getting old, so I could do him, as well.

Bill Maher was host of the ABC late-night talk show Politically Incorrect.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Bill Maher: You know, I've never been in a fight in my life. Never once. Isn't that pathetic?

O: I don't think that's pathetic.

BM: Yeah, I guess so. But it's unusual, especially since I'm constantly making people mad. I can't believe I've never been in a fight, but that seems to... I don't know. I wouldn't say that I could take anybody, because I have nothing to compare it to. Umm... I don't know. I really don't.

Directors, producers, actors, and enfants terrible Trey Parker and Matt Stone are most widely known as the minds behind South Park.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Trey Parker: I could take a lot of people. I could take Prince. He's a little bitch, although he is God. I could definitely take anyone in this room. We just met a guy who does ad sales for Comedy Central, and we just got in a big fight with him. He was like, "Hey, buddy!" and we wouldn't even stand up—like, "Yeah, fuck you." We were such dicks to him. It was pretty sweet. He's a big guy, but he'd go down like a bitch for sure.

O: Ad sales guys can fight. They have to get out among the people...

TP: They're used to yelling at people.

Matt Stone: They can phone-fight.

TP: Yeah, they can phone-fight. They can puss-fight, but a brick fight, uh uh. They ain't winning a brick fight.

Chris Matthews hosts Hardball With Chris Matthews every weeknight on MSNBC.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Chris Matthews: Anybody on television.

Tobe Hooper directed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist, and recently worked on the SCI FI Channel miniseries Taken.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Tobe Hooper: Oh, my goodness. I probably wouldn't be in the fight to begin with. I can't kill anything or hurt anything, not even insects. I take spiders outdoors. But say if I was... Who could I take in a fight? Not my son. I'm not sure.

Michael McKean is a veteran comedian and character actor known for his parts in This Is Spinal Tap, Laverne & Shirley, and The Brady Bunch Movie.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Michael McKean: [Laughs.] I saw Debbie Reynolds the other day. She looked like I could take her in a second.

O: Looking pretty vulnerable?

MM: Yeah. Not because I don't like Debbie—I've only met her once, and I thought she was terrific, and I know her daughter and everything. But I could take her out.

Robert Altman is the director of M*A*S*H, Nashville, Short Cuts, and Gosford Park.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Robert Altman: Who could I take? A few older women.

Singer, songwriter, showman, and producer Rick James recorded such hits as "Mary Jane" and "Super Freak."

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Rick James: [Laughs.] I think I'd whoop Jermaine Jackson's ass. And I think even with a sock I could knock Eddie Murphy out. And Michael Jackson.

"Weird Al" Yankovic is America's premier song parodist and polka revivalist.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

"Weird Al" Yankovic: If it ever really came down to it, I believe I could take the Olsen twins. One at a time, of course.

Steve Albini is a founding member of Big Black and Shellac, and has recorded albums by hundreds of bands.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Steve Albini: Children, the infirm, the senile–just about anyone.

Nick Lowe has written and recorded hundreds of songs. His most recent album is 2001's The Convincer.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Nick Lowe: Oh, dear. I'm a lover, not a fighter. I don't like fighting much.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and label mogul Ani DiFranco will release a new album called Evolve in March.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Ani DiFranco: Who could I take in a fight? Well, golly. I'm a lover, not a fighter. How's that for weaseling out of that one?

Cristina Martinez sings in Boss Hog and is a former member of Pussy Galore.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Cristina Martinez: I don't fight. I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Alex Cox directed Repo Man, Sid & Nancy, and Three Businessmen.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Alex Cox: I have a friend who works for the BBC who's in a wheelchair with muscular dystrophy. I could probably take him out.

Murray Langston is a writer, actor, and comedian renowned for his stint as the paper-bag-wearing Unknown Comic on The Gong Show.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Murray Langston: After our interview, I'm pretty sure I could take you in a fight.

Eddie Vedder is the lead singer of Pearl Jam.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Eddie Vedder: I think it's best to communicate your way out of fights.

Todd Solondz wrote and directed Happiness, Welcome To The Dollhouse, and Storytelling.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Todd Solondz: I try to be much more peaceful. I shy away from physical conflict.

Documentarian, actor, author, and raconteur Michael Moore's newest film is Bowling For Columbine.

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

Michael Moore: Honestly, I have never been in a fistfight in my life. Even in school. I was always the biggest kid, and everybody was afraid to hit me, because I might fall on them. Even through all the stuff I do, nobody's even punched me in the nose.

O: It's funny that the most provocative people I interview always say, "Oh, I've never been in a fight." That's strange.

MM: Yeah, it really is true. I've never felt like hitting anybody–it's just not in my nature to do that. I don't know. I believe a lot in what Martin Luther King said about that, that a non-violent persona actually is a lot stronger, and has more courage than somebody willing to resort to violence.

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