ATLANTIC CITY - Dennis Hof called the other day to remind me that the next episode of Cathouse will be on HBO. “Why They Come” starts airing on Friday (May 12) and hits HBO OnDemand shortly thereafter. “The popularity of the show is so huge that rather than giving an 11 week series, they’re giving one show a month,” Hof said.
The new installment “interviews couples and guys about why they come to the Bunny Ranch. What’s the reason behind it. One of the things that I loved was a ring toss. That’s what a guy wanted. They have different sized rings and girls stand back and take aim. The girl that gets it, gets it.”
We start discussing how Dr. Ruth once talked about using large onion rings as an erotic ring toss. game. Hof lets me know that the Moonlite Bunny Ranch (in Carson City, Nevada) does cater to the food fetish inclined. He spoke of a regular that enjoys making the Bunny Babes sweeter.
“He will fax us a list and our driver goes down to our local grocery store, Albertsons, and buys about a couple hundred dollars worth of food,” Hof said. “It’s always different things. He spends a lot of time coming up with these ideas. Maintenance empties out a room. They put a plastic tarp down and he goes to work. It’s all fun and partying. Ice cream, sprinkles and syrups. You name it.”
Bunny Love has done the food fetish parties with the regular client. “I really appreciate the banana, ” she purred. “He likes it all. He likes the syrup. Anything that gets really messy.” Lobster? I suggest. “Would you pay to eat a lobster off me?” she asked this reporter. “Think of all the butter. You have to have real butter,” she demanded. Why did this interview have to be done over the phone. Bunny Love has no idea how nasty and messy I can destroy and pick clean a Maine lobster. Although such a moment would allow Anthony Bourdain to finally have a visual definition of Food Porn. Unfortunately the food fetish guy isn’t ready to step in front of the camera to share his dining tips.
A big note to Cathouse director Patti Kaplan: I’ll perform the lobster fest on Bunny if HBO picks up the tab. Have plastic bib, will travel!
How have people been reacting to her appearance on the show? “For the most part, people like me. They think I’m a goofy, buffy, dorky girl. That’s alright. I like it.” Thanks to the internet, Bunny has been keeping touch with old friends. “A lot of people from high school send me Myspace messages and emails. I was a big tomboy and had a mohawk for a majority of high school. They used to say, ‘Why don’t your dress like a girl. You’d be so cute.’ It wasn’t my thing. So now they see me on the show and send me messages saying, ‘I was right!’”
One of the big characters this season was Tiffany, the woman who tried to work as a hooker without having to give blow jobs. Bunny has very brief memories of this woman. “She made me look better. I had to handle her business.” The episodes were taped over a year ago, but some viewers think the show is nearly live. “I get people all the time saying, ‘You should fire that Tiffany girl!’ They think she’s still working here.” Tiffany lasted only two days. Bunny Love will be celebrating her second year at the ranch in July.
The show has made new clients think that the show is always being filmed. “People think we have cameras in our rooms,” she said. They’re always scoping the scene. They’re trying to find out where things are hidden. The only cameras that we have are surveillance for the girls’ protection in the hallways. When HBO is there, you know they’re there. You’re not going to accidentally end up on film.”
“Some people want to be on film. I don’t know if it’s for their 15 seconds of fame or so they can be a porn star and make a little money off it. What’s better than coming to the Bunny Ranch where you were going to pay for sex and in turn you’re getting paid to have sex?”
The big difference between Bunny now and when the shows were filmed can be found in her mouth. “I used to wear my retainer all the time so I sounded like a dork.”
For those of you folks (like myself), begging for an Isabella Soprano update, she’s not working at the Ranch although she is on the series. “She’s pretty much retired and hanging out with her vegetables,” Bunny reported.
Lately Bunny has been pondering entering the world of adult videos. “I’ve talked to people about it before. For a long time I wasn’t considering it. But I’ve been talking to folks in L.A. I’m thinking about seeing what they have to offer. I’m pretty picky. I’ve got it so well at the Bunny Ranch. It’s kinda dumb for me to branch into other areas if it isn’t financially worth it.”
We discuss the rift between hookers and porn stars. Bunny said., “Some of them are cool with us. There’s kind of a beef between porn stars and hookers. Unless you’re a contract girl, porn chicks make in one set what we can make in 30 minutes. There’s a beef there. For the most part I get along with no matter what.”
The Bunny Ranch was noted for being a crossover brothel when a few years back it started featuring porn stars as guest hookers. There was a lot of resistance in the porn community over this “meet your fans” opportunity. But quite a few crossed over.
“They love it, too. That’s why some porn stars are for it. They see all the money that can be made so they hop on the bandwagon. It’s also the same with hookers and strippers. (The Strippers) think they’re better. They think we sleep with more people than they do. It’s all the same. It’s all about money. And we’re getting more,” Bunny said. “We’re giving them satisfaction. We’re not giving them visuals.”
The success of Cathouse was something she saw coming. “I came into the Bunny Ranch right after they had finished the first season. I saw all the media attention. You could tell it was going to blow up. It was kinda a bummer that I missed the first season.”
The brothel hasn’t turned into place where hopeful actors appear to get face time on HBO, “I don’t think customers are concerned about screen time as much as being a part of the experience. I’ve never seen anyone adamant about being on camera,” Bunny said. “If you act like yourself and have fun, they’ll want to film you.”
Cathouse is directed by Patti Kaplan. I asked Bunny what it’s like to work with the most influential director in America. “Patti is a nice handful. She’s fun. She’s a kick in the pants.” Even though Patti has worked for years making HBO’s Real Sex series, she’s not jaded by filming in the Bunny Ranch. “You can tell sometimes that she gets excited when ideas come up. She says “What!” and you can see her jaw drop. I think she has a good time.”
The phone was passed over to Brooke Taylor, the newbie of the show has gone from a semi-innocent girl from Illinois to a queen of the Ranch. How does she react to those episodes showing her arrival in Carson City? “It’s kinda like looking at your junior high yearbook. Why did I wear my hair like that? It’s fun.”
She’s been doing more than just working at the Ranch. She seems to pop up in a variety of places with Dennis and Bunny Love. “It’s nice to travel and meet all the people. Everybody knows what I’m doing so there’s no reason why I can’t be open and honest about what I’m doing. I’m having a great time.”
Brooke appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox special “I enjoyed it a lot. I felt I got a couple good digs on him.”
One person who had a dig on her was that Tom guy. “I had a Myspace page until it was deleted. I got deleted. They haven’t responded to tell me why. I didn’t have any nudity,” Brooke complained. None of the other Bunny Ranch women had their sites yanked. “The Myspace dude (Tom) is not my friend any more.” You hear that Tom?
Tiffany came up in the conversation. Brooke has finally seen all the footage since our first conversation. She too was taken aback by the blow job-free hooker-wannabe. “I thought she was planted. That’s like me saying I want to be a janitor, but I don’t want to touch trash. Pick a job that you like the job description. I want to be stripper, but I don’t want to dance.”
Stripping is a profession that Brooke had zero interest in pursuing. “There’s something about standing there naked and they don’t have to pay. Plus where I’m from, you get a lap dance for a dollar. I don’t work for a dollar bill. That’s why stripping didn’t appeal to me. If they put a dollar on the stage, you have to put your breasts in their face. Not for a dollar.”
When I ask about how things are going with her and Hof, she calls out, “Dennis, are we dating?” He says something I can’t make out. “Yes,” Brooke replies. “We are.”
The series shows the relationship develop between Hof and Brooke. “It is our courtship on film. HBO was just out there filming again. It was a completely different this time around since I’ve been with him for a little while now. There’s a little more security there then the first time around.
“I was a fan of the show and I was never impressed with Dennis’ choices. I always thought he could do better than that. I didn’t think Sunset Thomas treated him well. I thought the twins were just crazy. No girl that he’s been with is going to come back and be a threat. If the twins were great, they’d still be around. So would Sunset.”
While there’s no crossover episode in the works, the gals from Cathouse have paid a visit to The Girls Next Door. “We were at the Playboy Mansion not too long ago. We met Kendra,” Brooke said, “We told her we were doing a new show called The Girls Next Whore.”
Brooke sees her show as having an advantage over Hef and his trio of girlfriends. “They don’t have sex on their show. Sex sells. We got it. They don’t. What people do is watch Girls Next Door to get the tease of it all. Then they come to us to get the release of it all.
“If we were on the E! channel, we wouldn’t be able to show what we are. They push their limits as far as they can. Being on HBO, it’s not television, it’s HBO. There’s not as many boundaries and rules.”
After over a year at the Ranch, Brooke is happy about her career choice. “I have the easiest job in the world. I have the job of being myself. People enjoy or they don’t. So far they enjoy it, so I can’t complain,” Brooke said.
When Hof gets on the phone, we also joke about The Girls Next Door. “We look at ourselves as the fulfillment center for Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, Vivid and Wicked. let them tease them. We’ll please them,” Hof promised.
Hof’s business book for aspiring brothel owners is still in the works. “I really haven’t had much time cause of the TV show. Harper Collins wants to do a 4 book deal. I just have to sit down and spend some time on it.” A majority of his time lately has been devoted to the show. “HBO is in there 8 or 10 weeks a year and I spend almost as much time promoting it.”
Hof is proud that, unlike a recent trend in Reality shows that are secretly scripted, his show doesn’t outline the action. “We don’t create any drama. Any drama you see is real drama.” We speak of the trend of certain shows that are staged. He hates being compared to them.
“It’s not reality,” Hof declared. “I don’t have any editorial control at all. I didn’t ask for any. The attorney asked if I wanted it. I said no. HBO, they’re the monsters. Let ‘em do their deal. Whatever they show they show. I think Brooke had it right; whatever we give ‘em, we give ‘em. Now I’m smart enough not to explode or go off on somebody during the show. I don’t do that anyway in my real life. If there’s a situation in the house of something negative, like too much alcohol or drugs with a girl, we’re not going to broach it with HBO there with a camera. It’s a personal thing with the girl and it’s my job to help her with it. We just do our deal and just have fun with it. The ratings are incredible and that’s way.”
He sees the segments where the girls and clients learning about new toys and sexual pleasures as vital to the show. “I think education is extremely important. We have shows where they’re educating girls and others where I’m talking to guys. There’s so much people want to learn about sex. They know so little. So it’s our job to give it them.”
He does have very little to give Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the alleged madam who turned over her customers’ phone numbers to ABC news. “She’s Madam Scumbag. That’s what she is. She’s outing her clients. That’s the first rule of our business, is privacy and discretion. She broke the cardinal rule. I hope she ends up with the ugliest girl in the penitentiary.”
Dennis was recently in the headlines when he had the firemen burn down the Mustang Ranch brothel that he had bought from the government.
“It was the right thing to do. It gave fireman many experiences in there that they can’t recreate,” Hof said. “They had a 20,000 square foot building with eight wings. They got to do a bunch of exercises to see how a fire acts within a building. They controlled the burn. Theory is one thing, but practical experience is priceless. It was the right thing to do.”
The burning brothel proved to be a news sensation as Dennis found his name all over the global media. “I was even in the South China Post!” he said. “I did the right thing for the fire department. I got a (tax) write off and I got giant media exposure for being a good guy.” He did get a nasty phone call from the former brothel owner who is hiding from the US government in Brazil. “He did call me and said some threatening things to me after it burned down. I said, ‘Bring it on.’ There’s nothing he can do.” This insures that we won’t be seeing Cathouse: The Rio Vacation.
Remember that each month will bring another episode of Cathouse to HBO. If you want to stop watching the show and live the dream, visit www.bunnyranch.com for details.
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