“This is my last hit,” says Dave Attell between cigarette puffs, in typical self deprecating fashion.

“No, Dave, The Gong Show was your last hit,” I reply.

This is Attell’s next potential hit, and it goes back to something near and dear to the stand-up comedian: Pornography. Specifically, old porn. Most specifically, Dave’s Old Porn, which debuts late Thursday night on Showtime following the second-season premiere of Gigolos, a reality series about male escorts.

“It’s the Mystery Science Theater of porn,” Attell tells The Comic’s Comic as we walk through the streets of Greenwich Village. “Premiere episode is this Thursday on Showtime. It’s Whitney Cummings and Ron Jeremy. Whitney’s the one in the dress.”

How much of Dave’s Old Porn came about after you hosted the AVN Awards in 2010, which also aired on Showtime?

“Oh, no, I’ve been working on this idea for years. It’s a long, convoluted trail to get this thing on the air, but Showtime was definitely the best place for it, because they’re very into uncensored…I couldn’t do it anywhere else because of the porn aspect, and language, and for the majority of the footage, it’s uncensored. They really didn’t give us many notes. That was cool. So it was me just trying to figure it out, which was really hard. Because it’s, as you can see — unscripted, uncensored — that’s a lot of choices.”

Right. Although I did notice from the still photos from the show, you used black-box VHS tapes to cover some of the footage.

“Yeah. We have to do some cover, or else it’s porn. You know, now it’s art.”

Isn’t part of the concept of your show the fact that the porn films of the 1970s and early 1980s were more artistic?

“It’s very arty, very hairy. Incredibly hairy. This is before waxing. It’s before waxing, texting, any of that stuff. And I guess the real fun of this show is seeing these elaborate storylines, the dialogue, and of course, the stars of yesterday. The legends…from Sharon Kane to Paul Thomas, Nina Hartley, of course Georgina Spelvin, who was the godmother of porn. She was in the biggest porn movie that was probably ever made, The Devil in Miss Jones, so we were really lucky to get these people. And you know, the thing with older porn stars, is that they’re really hard to get in touch with. Because that was a different chapter in their lives. They’re not necessarily out there promoting themselves. So it took a little bit of digging to get these people, and I think a lot of them thought it was going to be this, like, James Lipton kind of thing. It wasn’t that at all. It was a celebration of their work and a tribute. Being a comic who has been on the road for so long, porn has been very important. I don’t think I could have gotten through the road without porn.”

How did you decide which actors and actresses and which movies to use?

“A lot of it had to do with the footage we had available to use, and then it was approaching different people. There were a lot of people in the porn business of the legendary golden age, which was the early 70s to the mid 80s, when it went from film to video.”

The Boogie Nights era.

“The Boogie Nights era. Exactly. Those people, they’re a little older, and some of them passed away. Jamie Gillis, who’s a legend in porn. John Leslie. And we do shout-outs to them when we see them on the screen. Lisa De Leeuw. Different people, like John Holmes, who are no longer with us, but they’re a really big part of this era, and the early stages of porn. But this was when porn was not so much of a business, you know? It was underground. It was kinda arty. And people saw them in theaters. The whole (wearing of a) raincoat. I remember seeing porn in a theater. And this generation, I think they only know of porn on the Net. But before you had to get up and see it. It’s like farming. Before Whole Foods delivered…”

And they can get it for free, too.

“Yeah. It’s really hard in the porn industry now, so I feel for these people. We also, you don’t see it on the site, but we also brought in some of the younger porn stars to take a look at the old stuff. Belladonna, Kristina Rose, Bobbi Starr — who are AVN Award winners, every one of them.”

I think that’s episode three.

“Episode three, yes. The coolest part of the show, if I can keep talking, would be having the ladies — the comedic ladies — watch the porn. Because you never watch porn with a hot woman in the room, unless you’re a swinger or something like that. Seeing Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings and Margaret Cho watch these classic retro films and hearing their takes on them was a lot of fun, and I think they enjoyed it.”

Was there anything they said that surprised you?

“Well, a lot of them talk about what they like and don’t like about the porn. The shaving aspect, I think we all kind of agreed on it. Shaving is kind of smoking now. You’ll never be able to smoke indoors, you’ll never be able to have a full-grown bush again. But you know, evidently, the bush is coming back a little bit. At least according to the younger stars.”

I saw there’s already a Twitter and Facebook page for the show, so your show already is more involved in social media than you are?

“Absolutely. All of that stuff frightens me. That’s where I draw the line. But if you watch some of these old porn movies, you get to see really great politically incorrect stuff. Smoking indoors. Rotary phones. Just crazy talk that no longer can go on.”

Things that kids wouldn’t even understand.

“It would blow their minds.”

So they have to see it.

“They really should watch. It’s like a trip to the museum. It’s like Night at the Museum, with penetration. Kind of.”

And the network was pretty easy-going about it all?

“Yeah, Showtime was very cool about doing it. It’s part of their late-night block. So you’ll never see it as, ‘Right after Nurse Jackie, this show!’ No. It’s a late-night show…Showtime is definitely putting out some good product lately. Homeland, that new show there. I like that show. Claire Danes wasn’t available for this project, and now I know why! I was like, ‘Claire, come on!’ She was like, ‘Porn? I don’t know.'”

But once they start watching season one…

“Well, from the drab look on your face, who knows if there’ll be a season two,” he deadpans. “But. I mean. I’m sorry it’s no Tim and Eric meets Harold and Kumar. But it is a great chance to use the greenscreen, which is never used enough.”

And it’s playing behind you guys, at least in the photos.

“No, we’re in the porn. We did a Pixar kind of thing. We’re in those porns. There’s a flying couch and a couple of other tricks that we used. I guess the cool thing about it, as a porn-watcher myself, who watched hundreds and hundreds of hours of retro porn, I would say, the more of it you watch, the more you realize that the porn of today is so different. Everybody today is so worked out, everybody’s in really great shape. Bill Burr, who’s one of the guests on the show, said, ‘I like this. These are like regular looking people.’ It’s not like they’re P90X, Bowflexed out. It’s just a dude. And it’s less intimidating porn.”

“It’s something a little different. It’s light. I think it will be a fun show. I give it two-and-a-half funs.”

I know when you were taping it, comedians were saying they had fun doing your show.

“Yeah, I think everybody had a good time. I’m a horrible host. But I know some porn. Everybody was great on it. Like Greg Fitzsimmons, Jim Norton — who knows porn better than me — he is the Indian scout of porn. He knows filth. He was on with Seka. Seka is a legend of porn. So it was cool that Seka came on, because she doesn’t do much press or anything like that, and we got to sit with her and watch some of her greatest hits. Films like Ultra Flesh, Prisoner in Paradise. Stuff you wouldn’t really see today…We get a lot of our porn from VCX, a classic porn site. They were very cool with us, letting us license it…Yoshi (Obayashi) and Evil Angel also were really helpful.”

“I would say I enjoyed doing this. It’s different from the Insomniac thing, which is what people know me from. That was outdoors. Also an unscripted show. But it wasn’t a drunk experience. This, we were punch drunk with porn! I have piles and piles of porn in my house. Being indoors and getting to hang out with other comics is always a fun time. Much like The Green Room, which I was on this season. See, this shows you how Showtime is pretty cool to the comics.”

Dave’s Old Porn debuts at 11:30 p.m. Thursday on Showtime.

Links: Showtime site; Facebook page; Twitter @oldp0rn