With his Golden Globe–winning racism drama Green Book, Peter Farrelly has reinvented himself as a serious director, putting distance between himself and his past body of work, such as Shallow Hal, the 2001 rom-com which encouraged audiences to laugh at Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit, and 1998’s There’s Something About Mary, which educated the world about the dangers of getting semen in your hair. Another thing that Farrelly has hopefully put distance between: the fact that he apparently used to really like whipping his dick out on set.
Here’s a quote from a Newsweek story back in 1998, which refers to his penchant for displaying his penis in both the intro …
THE FARRELLY BROTHERS HAVE something they want to show you — and it isn’t their new movie. In fact, it’s something you’d probably rather not see at all. Something of Peter’s. Something anatomical in nature. The Farrellys have concocted a variety of clever ploys designed to get you to look at it. Bobby, 40, is the straight man, all innocence as he lays the trap. Then Peter — lankier, edgier and a year older — delivers the coup de grace. You may think you’re going to be examining a mysterious blotch on Peter’s torso, or checking out his new watchband. The reality is a good deal more shocking, but as actress Cameron Diaz puts it, “When a director shows you his penis the first time you meet him, you’ve got to recognize the creative genius.”
… and conclusion:
Has [Fox executive Tom Rothman] ever been taken in by one of Peter and Bobby’s trademark gags? Has he seen … it? “I have been flashed,” he admits. “It wasn’t a pretty sight. In fact, I’m still recovering.”
And in a 1998 Observer article available on Nexis, by writer Nicola Barker, Farrelly goes into more detail about his, um, technique:
Apparently, I say nervously, Peter showed Cameron his penis during the filming … Peter interrupts, horrified: ‘No. We did it before she was in.’ So you risked losing a big star by showing her your penis before she was on board? Peter smiles at my foolishness. ‘Of course! That’s what got her in.’ He stops smiling for a moment. ‘It’s a joke,’ he explains patiently. ‘It’s not like I make a habit of just whipping it out and saying, ‘Hey! Look! My cock!’ We do a joke where, it’s like, Bob says, ‘Pete’s been really crazy, he went out and spent $ 500 on a belt buckle.’ I go, ‘Bob, it’s an investment, it’s not a big deal.’ He says, ‘You’re stupid! $ 500 on a belt buckle!’ I say it’s not stupid … Finally she says, ‘Let me see it.’ And I lift my shirt and have it …’ he grins ‘hanging over.’
Peter admits that after doing this trick ‘easily 500 times’ he is now in a state of forced early retirement. ‘Tell me,’ I say, digesting this news and feeling a complex mixture of relief and disappointment, ‘which you find more tantalising, the thought of someone laughing at your penis, or the thought of someone laughing at your films?’ ‘Tantalising?!’ Bobby echoes, perhaps just a fraction alarmed.
Peter gives the issue some serious thought: ‘Boy, that’s a tricky one … I don’t like it when they laugh at my penis …’ he volunteers finally. ‘But I do like it when they stare.’
In these stories, it’s notable how Farrelly’s behavior is treated like a cute running prank instead of egregious sexual misconduct, illustrating just how much things have changed in the past two decades — indeed, much of it in the past year.
“True. I was an idiot,” Peter Farrelly commented through his representative. “I did this decades ago and I thought I was being funny and the truth is I’m embarrassed and it makes me cringe now. I’m deeply sorry.”
This post has been updated to include Farrelly’s comment.