Dolly Parton
Jay Leno
Interview from August 24, 1998

Jay:  Here we go.  My first guest.  Legendary country singer, songwriter.  Has her new CD out, this one right here called Hungry Again.  It will be in stores tomorrow morning.  She's gonna sing later but we want to talk to her first.  Please welcome our buddy, Dolly Parton.

Dolly walks out.  Audience applauds loudly.  Dolly hugs Jay, waves to audience and sits down.

Dolly:  Well, hello!

More applauds from audience.

Jay:  Look at that!

Audience continues applauding ... and applauding ... and applauding...

Dolly laughs.

Dolly:  Well, this is my . . .

Even louder applauding . . .

Dolly:  Boy!  Wew!  That's a great audience.  I swear I didn't bring any of 'em.  But I'm gonna pay 'em after.  Thank you.

More applauding . . .

Jay:  Ya know, with all that foil, that's the best looking baked potato I've ever seen.  Wow!

Dolly:  Well thank you.

Jay:  Just put a little butter on there.  Man, look at that!

Dolly:  Well, you're a pretty hot potato yourself.  How are ya'?

Jay:  (laughing)  Good, good.  Hey, congratulations.  You know, this is a great CD.  You wrote all the songs, right?  Hungry Again.

Dolly:  Yes.

Jay:  And how long did it take you to do this one?

Dolly:  Well, actually I spent all last summer writin' these songs.  I wrote thirty-seven  songs during that period of time an' condensed it down to twelve.  And, uh, so Hungry Again I wanted to write like I was hungry again, sing like I was hungry again, cause I am hungry to have some records try and get played on the radio.  But, anyway, I had a good time.  I went back to my old home place, wrote all those songs and they just came straight from my heart.

Jay:  Did you try to get hungry again?  I mean, did you go back to the old days when you were working and you didn't have any money and you . . .

Dolly:  Well, actually, my life has been good and I don't regret any of the wonderful things that happened to me, but at this time in my life, I-I wasn't really sure what I should be doin' as far as my music and my career and so I went home and I fasted for ...

Jay:  You fasted, how long?

Dolly:  Three weeks.  For the first week, I did juice and fruit.  Second week was nothin' but water.  And the third week-

Jay:  Nothing but water?

Dolly:  Nothin' but water.  And it was tough, so that's why I was hungry again.

Jay interrupts.

Jay:  Now wait a minute.  Now wait a minute.  Now, I wish I had a bible right here to put your hand on.

Dolly:  Oh, now don't ...

Jay:  Now you don't look like you could go a week on just ... were there any, little, sneak...

Dolly:  Well, you know, it's hard to fast.  I've done that off and on all my life, but, you know, and that second week was when it's hard, you know, you get these terrible fasting headaches.  And worse come to worse, I'd just take a couple a' cheeseburgers and go to bed.

Jay:  Ah ha!  Ah ha!

Dolly:  I really didn't.  I really didn't.  But, uh, it was...

Jay:  Did you get dizzy? I mean...

Dolly:  Yeah, you still feel good when you fast.  But I actually wanted to do it to, you know, to get my body cleaned out a little bit and my mind mostly and just for self discipline.  And so it was a very unusual summer that I spent up there.  I went back and forth uh, to write these songs and then my, my cousin, my first cousin, Richie Owens had a little studio in his house, has a band of his own called Five Dollars, I think they called it.  Five Dollar Bill now, but anyway, at that time, the group was called Shineolah.

Jay:  Shineolah?

Dolly:  Uh ha.

Jay:  I know them from ...

Dolly:  You don't know songs from Shineolah?  (Laughing)  I actually wrote a song called "You Don't Know Love From Shineolah", as one of the group, but it's not on this particular record.  But anyway, it was an unusual summer.  I'm very proud of this album.  There's a lot of traditional songs and acoustic things that, uh, haven't done in a long time.

Jay:  You're going to do a song from here later, right?

Dolly:  Yeah.

Jay:  And you are in the Grand Ole Opry?

Dolly:  Uh-ha.

Jay:  Cause I, I got to play at Ryman Auditorium once which is a great thrill, you know, to tell jokes on that stage.

Dolly:  Oh, did you?  On the Grand Ole Opry.  When was that?

Jay:  Oh, God.  Probably about ten years ago, twelve years ago.

Dolly:  Oh, really.  Yeah, it's a great place.  And I'm very proud-

Jay:  Now, you've been in there since, since when?

Dolly:  Well, I haven't been on the Opry in a couple years.

Jay:  No, but a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dolly:  Oh, I've been a member since 1969 I believe, was when I joined.

Jay:  Oh, okay.  Cause, you know, I was tryin' to, I, I have some pictures from back then and I must say-

Dolly:  Oh, do ya'?

Jay:  You know, you haven't changed.  You look exactly the same.

Dolly:  You think?

Jay:  The only thing that changes is maybe, the hair.

Dolly:  Well, ya'.  It does change, but it don't, it don't get less, it just gets, different.

Jay:  This is one of the great hairdos of all time.  Can we show...

Dolly:  I don't know which one you got.

Cut to old Porter Wagoner Show clip

Jay:  Look at that!

Dolly:  I tell you, that hair was hard as a brick, too.

Dolly and Jay keep laughing as clip plays.

Jay:  There it is.

Dolly:  There it is.

Cut back to interview.

Dolly:  I think that video I think they said was from '67.  [I] seen that when we used some things, when I was puttin' my Paradise Road...but that hair was so hard.  Oh.

Jay:  Did ya' spray it up?

Dolly:  Well, ya' have to.  There was bees and everything in that one.


Jay:  You know now.  There was a story you told once.  Now, about the country fair?  You know what I'm talking about, the first time you went to a country fair?

Dolly:  Oh, the Alligator Girl.

Jay:  What is that?

Dolly:  Oh, I know.  That's the first time I went to the country fair.  Well, that was years ago.  Well, back home, growin' up like we did.  You know, the big families, and you don't get to do anything an', an' we were restless.  You know, it's just a part of special people like me and I had this cousin who was as 'bout as crazy as I am.  And she was always runnin' off.  She was from a family of like, there was ten or twelve kids in their family, too.  And so she was always runnin' off with every holly roller preacher that come through town, every salesman, yeah, anybody that came through town.  But anyway, she got gone.  She left.  The county fair came to town.  Nobody saw her.  And we just assumed she just run off with another preacher or somethin', we didn't link it to the fair 'til the next, the next year.  The fair comes back to town, so I was always very fascinated with all this.  And they had this sign out, "See The Alligator Girl, Straight From The Nile."  So, I had my dime.  Me and a bunch 'a girls went in.  So they had this big ole water tank, uh, and so they had this Alligator Girl.  I couldn't wait to see her.  You know, they had, on the picture they had like in this suit, this leopard skin suit an' the whole thing.  So I go in, an' there's my cousin.

Jay:  She the alligator-

Dolly:  She's goin' flyin' around.  And she's swimmin' in this water and I, I said, "Geneva!  It's me!"  Change the name to protect the guilty.  But anyway, I said, "It's me, Dolly!"  And she just kept swimmin' around.  An' anyway, so her daddy found out.  Her daddy was real rough on her, that's why she kept runnin' away from home.  He found out she was the Alligator Girl, so he comes and drags her outta the water, front of everybody.  There she is with her chipped, red nail polish, straight from the Nile.  And anyway, so soon as she got a chance, she ran away again.  Is that the story I told?  On a Barbara Walters thing...

Jay:  That's very bizarre.  That's like the strangest story I ever heard.  Now-

Dolly:  It's true.  It's even funnier.  It was more bizarre, but anyway, that's...

Jay:  Are you following the adventures of Bill and Hillary?  Do you follow all this?

Dolly:  Well, I mean, I don't, I follow Hillary, you can't keep up with, Bill I don't think.

Lots of laughing...

Dolly:  I know where she is.  Well, I mean, how can you not? I mean, that's everywhere, that's you know.

Jay laughs.

Dolly:  What?

Jay:  Well, I just.  You know, he's a southern boy.  I just wondered if there was a-

Dolly:  Well, he's a southern boy.  That's true.  What are you trying to imply?  That-


Dolly:  Are you trying to imply that...

Jay:  I mean good ole boys.  I mean how do women, you're a southern woman.  How do women in the south look at this.  Is this like, "Oh, just men will be men."  I mean, how do you see it?

Dolly:  Well, I don't think, uh, being horny is limited to the south.  I mean-


Jay:  Well, I hope not!

Dolly:  I mean, just about every guy I've ever been around has had his brains in the head of his subpoena.

Lots of laughing.

Dolly:  Subpoena!

Jay:  Subpoena!

Dolly:  Yeah, I don't think that's limited to the south.  But Bill, he, he gets around I guess.  That's what they say.

Jay:  Let me ask ya' something.  Ya' always, you always say when you come on, "Jay, you can ask me anything."

Dolly:  Yeah, I don't care.  You're doin' pretty good!  I don't wanna know what you're gonna ask me, but I-

Jay:  Well, here's something.  Cause, you know, we get the tabloids every week.  And, you know, every couple weeks, like, there was a tabloid story.  I don't even know where this was come from, it says, "Dolly Parton has not had sex for ten years."

Dolly:  Yeah, that was-

Jay:  Did you know that one.

Dolly:  I saw that.  That was about...six weeks ago.

Jay:  Yeah.

Short pause.

Dolly:  It's not true.

Lots of laughing.

Jay:  Really!?  Thank God for that.

Dolly:  But, what, I don't know where they come up with, like I would tell somebody even if it was true.  I mean, it's like, where, where do they get this stuff?  I haven't had enough sex in ten years.  But I don't know where they just come up with that.

Jay:  And then the other one.  Dolly, oh, you're having a child.  I think it said "Dolly Parton-"

Dolly:  Oh, that's after I haven't had sex in ten years.  But next week, it says, "Dolly has baby at 52."

Jay:  But that, that seems to pop up a lot.

Dolly:  But actually, that one was about me adopting.  I guess you'd call that immaculate disception, wouldn't ya'.  But anyway, that was, I've adopted that same baby four times.  Once in the Globe, once in Star, once in the, uh, Examiner, and once in whatever the, but anyway, that's a picture that I made with some fan's baby.  I have no idea whose baby that is, and they keep showing this.  And they, but it, I'm not adoptin' a baby.  It'd be nice to have kids.  I don't have any, but anyway, I don't know where they come up with these stories, but long as they're talkin' about me.

Jay:  That's good you're a good sport about it.  I mean, you can joke about it.  Cause, I see them and it seems so ridiculous and then, you know, you don't get mad, you just sorta laugh it off and you have fun with it.

Dolly:  No, I get some of my best stuff on stage.  I'm like you, I just try and into a-

Jay:  And you're gonna sing for us a little bit later?

Dolly:  Yeah.


Jay:  Have you met Cheyenne?

Dolly:  No!

Jay:  Oh, yeah.  Very, uh, he's like the Jay Leno of Latin America.

Dolly:  Oh, okay.

Jay:  Okay, we'll be right back with Cheyenne.  Dolly Parton right after this.