Etrange 2013 Interview: Stephen Sayadian Is 'The Most Interesting Man In The World'
I started out as a young kid as a satirist, doing parodies. I used to send things in to comic books, to Mad Magazine. I started out at Hustler because I was trying to get a job at the National Lampoon. I met Chris Miller, who was their lead fiction writer and who went on to write Animal House, and he saw my work. He said to me, “if you were really smart, you’d discover this men’s magazine Hustler. It’s just in its infancy, but the word is, this things gonna go somewhere. We going down the hill, and they’re on the uprise.” He put me in touch with another magazine editor who told me the same thing. Then I had heard about it twice, so I got in contact with them.
The period spanned in The People Vs. Larry Flynt, I was there practically from the time the film opens to when it ends. Crispin Glover kind of played out a combination of four or five of us. I was there for every bit of that, more than I could even tell you.
When I first got hired there, Larry was getting national advertising from the cigarette and liquor companies. But as Hustler started to push the boundaries, they started pressuring him to change to magazine. Larry being the guy that he is, said from here on out we weren’t going to accept advertising. We’d make our own ads selling our own line of sex products. Vibrators, dildos, love dolls. I was a 20 year old kid, and he told me, “I want you to use all your humor, and I don’t want the reader to know if its editorial content or advertising. Even I sell only one product, it’s more valuable than just a cartoon. Do what you want, but know that I’m going to treat it like editorial.”
So I ran with that. We had coupons and 800 numbers. People couldn’t get enough. I remember being told by the guy who ran the division, that at one time it was as much if not more profitable than the magazine itself.