Simon with other Sea Shepherds in Taiji.
You've built a career on comedy, and animal activists are often portrayed as being incredibly humorless. Is that true?
It's funny that you mention that. I've been struck by the same thing, too. And there's no one with a better sense of humor than Ingrid Newkirk or Paul Watson. I know it's hard for people to believe. It's not like the individuals don't have a sense of humor. But I particularly think of that Sarah McLachlan video. Even I need to change the channel when I see that thing. It's asking you to to go down and pick up a dog at the shelter -- this is something that should be the happiest day of your life! I don't know, they must test this stuff, it must work. But there's a style to it that's off-putting. I have a radio show where we talk about this stuff and we don't do that. I think we're funny.
For people aware of your cancer diagnosis, the trip to Japan seemed like a great sign that you were doing well. Are you?
I'm at a good spot in my treatment. To be honest, I'm still recovering -- I still haven't gotten out of bed since I came back. And I think it was pretty grueling for everybody who went, which means I'm not sure I should be doing it. But I'd rather do too much than too little. And overall I think its very therapeutic to be doing things like this.
When did you get back?
I think we got back Thursday.
[We spoke to Simon on the following Monday evening.]
Well it's a tough trip. But your prognosis, originally, was . . .
Three to six months and I guess it's been about a year and three months.
But it's very hard to get them to tell you how long you have. They don't like to give you the answer to that question. Look, I'm not complaining that [my doctor] got the answer wrong. He did ask me, the other day, if I've thought of leaving anything to [his university oncology department] in my estate planning. I'm not sure how to interpret that. [Laughs.]
He admitted it was an uncomfortable conversation. [Laughs.]
I'm uncomfortable just hearing about it. But are you doing things you wouldn't do, were it not for the diagnosis?
The things I wouldn't be doing would be buying the zoos and the circuses. That's just a pleasure. One of our bears, Marley just had surgery. She had the exact same break on both her front legs, so someone clearly beat her with a pipe or something. . . I'm thrilled to be doing that, and I am going to continue doing that.
I just love when we let them go. It's a great thing.