Friday, December 22, 2006

The Death Of Santa Claus

It was Christmas Eve and I got up when I heard noises downstairs in the living room. I don’t recall how old I was; I may have been in my thirties for all I remember.

Sidebar: I only have a good memory for ex-boyfriends and the things they do that are just so patently wrong. Seriously, a mesh shirt? Is that a cry for help or something?

I was finally going to see Santa Claus. I tiptoed to the top of the landing. My little, or gigantic, thirty year-old, heart was pounding in my ears. Wouldn’t every one of my miserable friends be jealous when I told them this story? I peeked down the stairs and saw my parents putting gifts under the tree and eating Santa’s cookies. I wanted to scream We have other food in the fridge you big stupid heads because it hadn’t hit me; even with the seemingly incontrovertible evidence, Santa wouldn’t be coming. Not tonight. Not ever.

The next morning I didn’t say anything because my sister was two years younger and if I had confronted my parents in front of her they would have punished me. I had already been penalized for some of my other ItWasJustAJoke infractions:
-I threatened to stab her with a kitchen knife if she didn’t stop snoring. (they made me cut meat with a fork for a month)
-I forced her to help me slide raw eggs under our refrigerator to drive my parents crazy with the stench. (she eventually ratted me out)
-We’d go to malls and I’d tell her to get on the Up escalator with me and then I’d run back down while she burst into tears and had to go up alone. (and yet she kept getting on escalators with me)
-I’d wait until she was coming upstairs to our bedrooms and then jump out and scream at her. (come on, that shit never gets old)

I find it ironic that when we’re young we’re lied to with the approbation of the entire world about Santa, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and why Mom and Dad don’t sleep in the same room. And then told never to lie to our parents. Are you shitting me? This is WHY I lied to my parents. I was paying them back.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, an organization made up of the United States and Canada, tracks Santa Claus every year. I can understand why Canada is tracking Santa Claus; they have plenty of free time on their hands. But the United States? People are gunning for us all the time. Shouldn’t we be tracking where Kim Jong Il drops off his plutonium? Or in which cave Osama Bin Laden is reading back issues of How To Kill Americans Digest? It’s all over the news, this Santa tracking. How many 7 year olds are watching the evening news? Hello, is this thing on?

This was the quote of the week from NORAD “In the end, I hope that the Canadians and Americans are assured that NORAD is prepared to respond to threats as they present themselves and more importantly, to deflect and deter those attacks before they occur.” Seriously, if they’re tracking Santa Claus, I’m not all that assured that they’re prepared to deflect and deter attacks from giant killer tomatoes, much less suicide bombers.

Recently, a teacher in the UK and a priest in California told children there was no Santa Claus. The teacher was fired and the priest had to issue a formal apology. Yet kids are encouraged to tell teachers who brought the semi-automatic weapon to school and Catholics are urged to go to confession three seconds after they’ve screwed up.

I don’t have children of my own but I’ve dated four men who did. If any of the kids had asked me if the above fabled entities existed I would have lied and said yes. Once again, I’m part of the problem.

End of chat.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Twelfth Card Of Christmas

This postcard was given to me by Grandma Jean, a woman I love more than life itself. She is 97 years old and the kindest, most loving person I have ever known. We are not related but in my heart she is my family and the grandmother I never had. She once told me that she got up each morning assuming that the day was going to be beautiful. She is always in a good mood.

I have a huge postcard collection, started for me by my father when I was in my teens and kept in a six foot tall revolving rack in my living room. A Starbucks, a newsstand and a few airplanes and I could pass for an airport.

Friends send me postcards all the time and this was one that Jean passed along many years ago. There is no postmark so I don’t know what year it was sent. There’s a one-cent stamp on it and it’s addressed to Jean’s maiden name on R.R. 10 in Indiana. She married her husband John in 1928 after dating him for a year so obviously it was sent before then. The back of the card is signed ‘Shorty’. When I decided to run the card as the last in the Christmas card series, I called her in the assisted-living facility where she now resides in Ohio and she didn’t remember anyone named Shorty from her youth. I don’t remember yesterday, what am I going to be like at 97?

Jean and John were married for 59 years. Jean’s parents were married for over 60 years and her grandparents were married for over 60 years and Jean always talked of that missed year with regret.

John died of Alzheimer’s in their 59th year. Please support stem cell research.

End of chat.

End of cards.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Eleventh Card Of Christmas

There’s a story that I tell over and over that’s quintessential Behar. (Comics always refer to each other by their last name. I have no idea why)

Comics have home clubs. Back in the 80’s New York City had around ten comedy clubs and the home clubs were the ones that gave you the most stage time. I had two home clubs, The Improv and Comedy U and sometimes Catch a Rising Star, especially when Louis F. wasn’t booking it, and Joy’s home clubs were the aforementioned Catch and Greene Street. Neither of us played The Comic Strip, which was home to Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld. Every Christmas, all the clubs hosted parties and the best one was always at The Strip. Their comics worked for months shooting short films, writing sketches and staging roasts that resulted in a highly insulting and hilarious event.

Sidebar: After I moved to Hollywood, I got a call from Dave Edison, a regular at The Strip who had also moved out here. Dave has since gone on to become an award-winning director and videographer in L.A. but back then he was shooting a short movie for the Comic Strip Christmas party and wanted to know if I would play one of the parts. That’s how committed their comics were to that annual event. Even if they didn’t live in New York anymore, they still participated.

So Joy and I went to a Strip party. If you didn’t play a club, you didn’t really go to the party. I mean, you could go, and many people did, but you just felt like an uncomfortable interloper. But this one particular year we went because they had acquired quite a reputation and we wanted to see what everyone was talking about.

The show began. The movies were shown, the sketches presented and their MC’s appeared between segments to ridicule everybody. Everyone was laughing their asses off and then I heard one of the lines, “Well at least she’s not a bitch like Joy Behar and Suzy Soro.” I looked at Joy. She was doubled over laughing. I was embarrassed but did that fake laughing thing that you do when you want to pretend that your feelings aren’t hurt and you're in on the joke. The MC’s moved on to decimate other comics and I turned to Joy.
“Behar, they called us bitches.”
“Yeah, so?”
“We don’t even play this fucking club.”
“We don’t even play the club and yet we managed to make it into their annual Christmas roast. Think about that, Soro. And when are you going to get it into your head that ‘bitch’ is a good word?”

End of chat.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Tenth Card Of Christmas

This was one of the Christmas cards that Leslie Norris and I used for our group Single, Married & Divorced. We toured the U.S. for eight years and Leslie played Married and I played Divorced. Even though I’d never been married and was dating The Impotentate, that relationship supplied me with enough bitter material about men to fake it, something I became an expert at during those seven miserable years. Please don’t ask me why I stayed with him. I clearly had a brain tumor that was developing slowly.

Leslie and I used many people over the years to tour as the Single girl, five I think, and every one of them was borderline psycho. I won’t tell you which category the one in the picture fell into but two were mean drunks, one was a stripper, oh excuse me, show girl, one was an opera singer who had no punch lines and one had a terrible case of OCD. She could not go onstage unless she touched the top of her head a certain amount of times. Not a deal breaker if she went out on her own, but as a group we opened with a song and a sketch and filed out in a line. Leslie first, then Her OCDness and then me. So Leslie would hear the music cue and strut out and I would stand there waiting for the head tapping to end. I could never figure out how many taps needed to be completed because like a small child mesmerized by shiny things, I would lapse into a trance and lose count. More often than not, the tapping didn’t end and I had to push her out onstage.

The baby that Leslie is holding is her first born, John. This was the last time we used him in our photos because not only had he gotten too big but he was constantly squirming around, as you can see in the picture. We did all our group photos at Sears because they had the best lighting for multiples and they were a lot cheaper than Los Angeles photographers, who really didn’t know how to take photos of a group in under seven hours. Plus Sears had the cheese factor, always important to those of us who take ourselves way too seriously.

The following year we were back at Sears desperately trying to get John to calm down when we spotted a Chinese woman standing in line with a sleeping newborn and begged her to let us use him in the picture. She did.

Sidebar: I want more than life itself to write Single, Married, Divorced & Ching Chong but that would be wrong, wouldn’t it?

That year Leslie and I agreed to send the Improv on Melrose a card. At their Christmas party we found all the cards from comics and industry taped on a large wall of the club and discovered that we had each sent one. We were horrified, what kind of ass-kissers card bombed a comedy club? We waited until everyone was drunk (ten minutes after the party started); and stole one of them back. No sycophants, we.

End of chat.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Ninth Card Of Christmas

This is my friend Karen Lorshbough… again. In the 90’s, Karen worked for a company in NYC that supplied entertainers for parties, promotional events and lots of Mitzvahs, both Bar and Bat. Among other events, she worked the opening of Trump Tower on 5th Ave and Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.

This picture was taken at the home of Princess Grace’s eye doctor in Harrisburg, PA. The party was given in Prince Albert’s honor. Known as the most eligible Prince in the world, the 32nd ruler of Monaco had a blonde date who they all assumed was hired from a modeling agency since he ignored her the whole night.

While you sit around and think your life sucks and if only, if only, you were a royal and life would be different, look at the Grimaldi’s.

The youngest, Princess Stephanie, has three children from two different men. Her first marriage ended after a year when her husband was spotted cavorting with a Belgian stripper. She had a third child in 1998 but refused to name the father. She also dated an elephant trainer and the head of the Circus Knie, a Swiss troupe with whom Stephanie and her children traveled. In 2003 she married an acrobat with the same circus. For years she was accused of driving the car that killed her mother.

Prince Albert has two illegitimate children from two different women. If he dies without a legitimate heir, the throne passes to Princess Caroline, who has been married three times and has four children by two different men. After her second husband died in a boat crash, she married the Prince of Hanover and had one child with him, who is the Princess of Hanover. You think your kids don’t get along, imagine that one of them is born royal.
“I’m a princess and you’re not.”
“Are not.”
“Am too.”
“Are not.”
“Am too.”
“Princess, come give Mummy and Daddy a kiss before you ride to hounds with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. You other kids polish her tiaras and feed her pony."
"See, I am a princess."
"Are not."

Yes, I know the three children of Prince Rainier have a lot of money and a privileged life but that doesn’t bring their mother back or amend their unfortunate choices of significant others. Shit, if that’s all it takes I would make an excellent Grimaldi.

After Karen got the pictures back from the party, she decided to send one to Prince Albert along with this note:

Dear Prince Albert of Monaco (or so you said)
Enclosed is a picture of the night you proposed. So where’s the ring?
Anyway, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Love, Karen

He sent her a Christmas card with the official family photo, signed by the entire lot of them. No ring.

Karen was lucky, someone who sent text emails to Princess Stephanie ended up in prison and was deemed ‘disturbed’ by the courts. I should call Karen because now that I think about it, I haven’t heard from her in a while.

End of chat.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Eighth Card Of Christmas

I used to run into Mary Ellen Hooper, 1998’s ‘Best Female Comic’ at the 12th Annual American Comedy Awards, at every airport in the country, or so it seemed. We were always either arriving or leaving clubs that we each had played over the years, so there was plenty of comparing, contrasting, lots of air kissing and “Gotta run.” Sometimes we ended up on the same plane and didn’t know it until we landed at LAX.

One of my favorite Mary Ellen stories is about The Improv’s. Notoriously sexist, The Improv chain has always been booked by women who hate women. (Translation: women who didn't pursue their dreams dumped their anger and frustration on those of us who did) They mistakenly thought that women didn’t do well in the headliner spot. But Mary Ellen was headlining all over the country at every club but The Improv’s, where she was only the featured act. (Comedy clubs have an opening act, a feature or middle act and then the headliner)

She got a call from the Brea Improv to open for Richard Jeni, a very funny comedian who insisted on a female opening act.

Sidebar: I’m sure he thought that a female comic would be easier to follow than a male comic. I love ya Richard, but yawn.

Mary Ellen went out that first night on the gig and crushed. She got a standing O and never had to middle The Improv's again.

She now tours regularly with 3 Blonde Moms along with two of my favorite comics, my good buddy Joanie Fagan and Helen Keaney. You can see them on the E! Channel or check them out when they come to a town near you.

End of chat.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Seventh Card Of Christmas

The Christmas card I received from the comedy team of Carl and Buzz reminded me of why I love comics. Nothing is too sacred to destroy. A laugh is a laugh is a laugh.

Carl Bradley and I met at a backer’s audition for a Broadway-bound show. He was not impressed with my limited knowledge of Sondheim and my inability to sing on key but he gave me a callback anyway. I had mentioned my Costco card in passing and I have a feeling that figured prominently in the callback but maybe I’m just paranoid.

A lot of people may recognize Buzz Belmondo from his eight years on Out of This World and two years on Baywatch. You gotta love someone who goes by the name Buzz.

These two funny guys decided to combine their considerable talents and start over as a comedy duo which of course I found highly suspicious. What’s next, a run at the White House? Although a bitter ex-network executive and a comic from the Philippines would probably do a terrific job since they’re already used to being laughed at.

I once called Carl and said I was thinking of doing a one-woman show about my pretend funeral. I thought I could lie in a casket onstage and then have people get up and speak about me. I thought it might be a little out there and asked Carl what he thought. He loved the idea and sent me a detailed two-page email with his suggestions and a note, ‘As long as you don’t sing.’ See why I love comedians?

End of chat.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Sixth Card Of Christmas

Bill Rutkoski is another comedian friend of mine who put some muscle into his Christmas cards. And Bing Crosby.

One winter Bill and I were booked to do a standup gig in Burlington, Vermont. As we drove north from New York City I looked longingly at the snow-covered houses and farms that were spread out picture postcard style along the highways. How peaceful it would be to have a normal life in a quiet part of the world, I thought. What a relief to not be driven by something as ephemeral and unpredictable as fame.

Suddenly Bill turned to me and said, “Wouldn’t it be great to be normal and just live in a house in a quiet part of the country and just be a regular person?”

Bill moved to L.A. a few months after I did and one day we got locked into a conversation about how annoying it was when people found out what we did for a living. One of the best things about being a standup comic is making people laugh. But one of the worst things about being a standup comic is listening to the suggestions of accountants, teachers, salesclerks and anyone else who thinks they understand the complexities of comedy.

“I’m a temp; you should do a skit about that.” They did, it’s a movie called The Temp.

“You should see the people at my office; you could do a whole skit about them.” They did, it’s a sitcom called The Office.

“I’m a waiter; you should do a skit on that.” They did, it’s a reality show called The Restaurant.

“I work in an ER; you really need to do a skit on that,” at which point I’ve lapsed into a coma and could really use an ER.

For starters, stand-ups don’t do ‘skits’; that word went out with Vo-do-dee-oh-doh. Improv players do ‘sketches’ and stand-ups do ‘jokes’. And please, let me save you the trouble: Yes, we write our own material and No, we don’t know how we come up with our jokes. And please, please, please don’t tell us a joke and if you must, try not to tell a racist, homophobic, sexist joke and then tell us we can use it. We’re never going to use it.

Bill has since gone into acting full time and told me he stopped telling people what he did for a living. He now just says he sells shoes.

End of chat.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Fifth Card Of Christmas

Steve Altman consistently made the most creative cards I’ve ever seen at Christmas time.

We met at a club around San Diego over ten years ago. It’s a little fuzzy but I remember that the owner of the club put us up in separate condos and then later that night paid for all my drinks, going so far as to walk over to the bar and get them for me. He also offered to buy me a massage from His Massage Girl, as long as he could watch. He did not offer Steve these perks and Steve was the headliner. I turned him down. Well, not the drinks.

Steve killed that first night and I was glad I didn’t have to follow him. That weekend he ran interference for me with the owner of the club who was only interested in talking to me about how he would be glad to help me with some of my jokes, which female comics were not as funny as me and had I considered wearing shorter skirts on stage? It was a long, long weekend.

To punish me for not returning his attentions, he wouldn’t pay me after my last set until after Steve’s part of the show was over. Steve did an hour and sometimes went longer. I had a lengthy drive back to L.A. in the little gray Ford Festiva, which pretty much doubled the trip time. I pitched a fit and he finally paid me after he deducted the cost of all the drinks he had bought me on that first night.

After that, Steve put me on his Christmas card list for a few years. Then there was a period of time when I stopped getting them. I guess he might have been a bit fuzzy on how he knew me as well. I tracked him down and begged to get back into The Christmas Card Club. He let down the velvet rope.

Some of the songs on this album, Santa Lane, are Reindeer’s Garden, Here Comes the Son, Beclause and Mean Mister Macy. That's Bing Crosby bringing up the rear, walking behind Steve.

P.S. I’m off the list again, out of the club. I’m pretty sure Studio 54 was easier to get into.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Fourth Card Of Christmas

This picture was inside the last Christmas card I got from Clark Henley. He was the first friend of mine to die of AIDS and the best friend I ever had. We met in San Francisco and were inseparable for years and when I eventually moved to New York, we spoke regularly on the phone. He always sent me postcards from his travels because he knew I had a huge collection of them. He was generous, thoughtful, kind. And funny. Endlessly funny.

His HIV+ diagnosis was a blow. It was 1986 and AIDS had just been in the New York public awareness since 1983 and only because The Village Voice did an extensive story on it. I wasn’t really clear on what the disease was or how it ravaged the body and I wasn’t alone in my ignorance. There was no AZT cocktail back then, no Diana, Princess of Wales touching HIV-infected people in front of international cameras. No one knew much about it except that it seemed to be a death sentence. When Clark got full blown AIDS I told him that if or when it got really bad I would come and take care of him for as long as he wanted. Every time we talked I mentioned that he only had to say the word and I would drop everything and fly to San Francisco. He said okay. We had a deal. Clark would call if he needed me.

Presuming he was all right I never bothered to make sure. To double check. I was so wrapped up in my standup career that I didn’t take the time to call his other friends or his family to see if he was, in fact, okay. The late 80’s were the boom years of standup. There was so much work I could’ve opened a club in my living room and had a full house every night. I was working constantly and it seemed that Clark and I spoke less and less but I never questioned why. He was living his life, I reasoned. He was okay. I zoomed ahead in standup with fifty dollar gigs at The Duplex and late night MCing at The Improv, a weekend at The Comfort Inn in Niagara Falls. Yes, there was a gig there. I was happening, people. I was on my way. Clark would call if he needed me.

Clark had my sister’s address in his daybook, but not mine. He knew mine by heart. So when the family sent out death notices, they sent one to my sister. That’s how I found out.

What kind of person had I become? What kind of friend was I? How could I have thought that my ridiculous career was more important than a person I cherished and loved?

The weeks that followed swallowed me whole. Why didn’t it ever cross my mind that Clark might have been protecting me from his pain or from possible infection if I went to take care of him? Those were the days when people thought that if you touched someone with AIDS, you got it. Did Clark think that? Why didn’t he call me and talk to me about it? Was he even too sick to call? More importantly, why didn’t I call him? How could I have been so incredibly passive, so pathetically shallow and self-involved in my own boring little world of MeMeMe?

I’ve never been that selfish again. If anything, I’m more than there for all my friends. I go above and beyond because one day I didn’t.

Clark always refused to call me Suzy. He called me Susan because he said I was most definitely not a Suzy.
“Like Susan Hayward, that’s how I think of you.”
“Because everything you do is very, very dramatic.”
“Well sure, if you’re gonna count that.”

Clark came from a wealthy Bay Area family and never had to work a day in his life so he had plenty of time to be creative. The Christmas tree in the background of this picture is entirely decorated with elephants. I think of him at least once a week. And always will.

End of Chat.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Third Card Of Christmas

Joy Behar sent this card out one year, a photo of her and Richard Simmons who is either kissing her shoe or hiding from his boyfriend. Or her boyfriend. Or a decent hair care product. (The picture is crooked on the card so don't get all up in my face over my photo shopping skills which P.S. I don't have anyway)

Joy and I have been friends since we started doing standup in NY back in 1983 at Comedy U on University Place. One of the first jokes I wrote was: My first sexual encounter was a rape. Thank God he didn't press charges. Joy walked over to me after I did the joke and said, “Get rid of it, rape is not funny.”

"Joy, it makes me out to be the bad guy."
“Yeah, still not funny.”
“But I need this joke; I don’t have a lot of jokes.”
“And never going to be funny....”
“But I....”
“ anyone’s lifetime.”

I 86’d the joke.

Joy is as funny in person as she is on The View. Funnier actually because she’s got that ABC Daytime Kung Fu Death Grip on her comedy. If you get a chance to see her live, do.

End of chat.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Second Card Of Christmas

This is a picture of my funny friend Karen Lorshbough with Ringo Starr. She was performing at the 50th birthday party for Barbara Bach, Ringo’s wife, at their home in Beverly Hills. Karen is not only a standup comic and a mime but she is probably the only Silver Friedman impersonator in the free world.

Sidebar: Silver Friedman is the ex-wife of Budd Friedman, the former owner of the L.A. Improv on Melrose. He and Silver owned the Original Improv on West 44th Street in New York City and she got it in the divorce.

Silver has an unusual voice, flat in timbre and somewhat disdainful. Karen was the only comic who ever mastered it, not to mention dared to do it. Silver had a cat named Tits that had free reign of the club. We were discouraged from playing with Tits, which is a line you really don’t want to give a comic.

After Karen moved to L.A., I made her come to my house and record my outgoing message as Silver. During the recording she said, ‘Excuse me, but please don’t touch Tits, leave Tits alone.’ as if she was talking to a comedian across the club. Every comic who called was laughing on the tape and then said, “How in the fuck did you get Silver Friedman to leave your outgoing message? And isn’t that cat dead yet?”

End of chat.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The First Card Of Christmas

I have some insanely creative and inventive friends. These are a sampling of their Christmas cards from the last few years. They are not your average holiday fare, no families dressed up in sparkly, matching sweaters sitting beside a Christmas tree petting the puppy. And no, that is not a euphemism.

One a day for 12 days.

This is a picture of my friend Alan Purcell and RuPaul, who I’m totally obsessed with. Alan is a fashion photographer who has worked New York, San Francisco, South Beach and now calls Hollywood Home Sweet Hell. (He took one of my all time favorite pictures of me which I use on the IMDb website.) This photo was taken at the end of a shoot with RuPaul, and Alan, who also shot it, used it as his Christmas card that year.

Sidebar: I have stared at pictures of RuPaul for Hours. Days. Years. The makeup, those legs, the wigs. I’ve seen Ru in his regular boy clothes in photos and movies and I just want to scream, No Girl, put that skirt back on and let’s curl some eyelashes. End of chat.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

On The Road In Canada, Where They Can't Spell

Starting tomorrow.......................The Twelve Cards of Christmas

Monday, December 04, 2006

Ding Dong The Bitch Is Dead Part 1

Kevin Meaney, Colin Quinn, Mario Joyner, Stu Trivax and Chris Rock at Catch A Rising Star in New York, also home to Seinfeld, Joy Behar, me and countless others

Judy Brown has been profiting from comedians for a very long time. She compiled nineteen books of comics’ jokes before Jay Leno made an attempt to stop her.

There is no form of writing harder than joke writing. Joan Rivers hires people to create a new act for her every year. The sitcom Seinfeld used to open with a standup segment. A lot of it came from Jerry but eventually they had to hire someone to write that part. When that cold open was finally dropped, I’m sure no one was more relieved than the guy writing those jokes every week. The lore in our business is that you write five great minutes a year.

Any respectable comic will tell you it takes ten years to become a good comedian. Twenty to become great. And for all of that effort, Judy Brown doesn’t even make reparations to the comics she steals from. But you get the credit, I was told. You can’t pay rent with credit. Well that’s not entirely true because in an effort to save money I’ve put my rent on a credit card. The rent was seven hundred and sixty-five dollars but my monthly minimum payment was only forty-two fifty. That’s one of my jokes. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

One of the plaintiffs in the Judy Brown case is Sue Pascoe, the widow of Ronnie Shakes. Ronnie was one of the most gifted writers in our field. This was one of his jokes: After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, 'No hablo ingles.'

Ronnie died in the 1980’s. And Judy Brown is still using his jokes to depositar dinero en un banco. I’m still all about the Spanish, socio.

Sidebar: When I first got to LA, I was sitting in a little café on Santa Monica Boulevard eating frozen yoghurt with my friend Sheila Kay (BIBing, sorry) when this girl walked up to me and said, “Aren’t you Suzy Soro?”
“I know all your jokes!”
“Oh yeah?” How could she know my jokes? Not to mention recognize me. I had just moved to Hollywood and hadn’t done more than one or two TV shows. Shows like Caroline’s Comedy Hour that three people watched.
“I take standup classes with Judy Brown and she makes us choose a comic we like and then we do their routines in class.” This girl had chosen me. I guess Judy Brown was one of the three people watching Caroline’s Comedy Hour.

When I wrote for a website here in L.A., I asked my lawyer to amend the one-sided contract the editor required me to sign. It didn’t allow me to keep either the content or the name of my column. It also demanded a five year no-compete clause. And in other news from the planet I Don’t Think So my attorney couldn’t take the case because he wasn’t familiar with Intellectual Property Law. He referred me to an IP attorney. These lawyers are in big demand because of the Internet and all the stealing and copyright infringement. Meanwhile, I just purloined Ronnie’s joke off a website and reprinted the AP article without permission. Apparently, I’m part of the problem. End of chat.

Leno, Others Sue Over Joke Book

The "Tonight Show" host and NBC Studios have sued humor editor Judy Brown and her publishers in U.S. District Court, claiming that her collection of joke books has profited from material filched from his standup routines. Leno and other comics, including Rita Rudner, are seeking unspecified damages and a permanent injunction against Brown's 19 books - mainly compilations of jokes by comedians including Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers and Jerry Seinfeld, according to the lawsuit. "Her books credit the comedians who wrote the jokes, which only serves to make the copyright violations more egregious: The books sell precisely because they include jokes by famous comedians," the lawsuit claims. "Ms. Brown has even sent representatives to comedy clubs to record comedians' routines, so she can then copy the jokes into her books and profit from the original comedic works of others," according to the lawsuit. Brown's books include "The Funny Pages," "Funny You Should Know That" and "Joke Stew."

Spokeswoman Kathy Hilliard of Andrews McMeel Publishing, one of the publishers named in the lawsuit, declined to comment Thursday. She also declined to comment when asked how Brown could be contacted. Messages left at the offices of two other defendants, Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. and Rowman & Littlefield Inc., were not immediately returned. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, says the plaintiffs contacted Brown and Andrews McMeel Publishing during the summer to request that they stop publication of any past and future "infringing works." "We never heard back from her," said Theodore Boutrous Jr., attorney for the plaintiffs. "We think there's a very important principle at stake: protecting intellectual property of the comedians," Boutrous said. "These jokes are products of a very careful choice of words." The other plaintiffs are comics Jimmy Brogan and Diane Nichols, and Sue Pascoe, wife of the late comedian Ronnie Shakes.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


BIBs. Blank Idea Bloggers. They talk about what they had for lunch and ask you what they should buy at Wal-Mart. Write in your diary and spare me your tedium. Please. And every day? We need to hear from you every day? I don't even like getting mail every day, why would I need to hear from you with the same regularity, especially since you're not sending me checks. Seriously, give it a rest. Instead, do something you're really good at, like ironing.

So P.S. I'm sitting at the computer tonight at 3 a.m. and wanting music. My stereo 5 disc changer is not working so I had to resort to iTunes. But I got bored with those songs that I paid 99 cents for and had to turn on the pedometer. In an effort to stay fully stocked with useless crap I bought a pedometer that talks. It tells you how many calories you've burned, how many steps you've taken and it also plays FM radio. It's better than a boyfriend. Mainly because it can't see how many pounds you've gained. I mean lost.

My Sharona on FM radio. The song that reduces all other dance music to shame. And now I'm a BIB. Kill me, soon.

End of chat.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'd Rather Sniff Armpits

There comes a moment every fall when I first see a mutilated pumpkin, a twinkling Jesus in a window or a nude blue Spruce waiting forlornly for an abusive owner who will forget to water it, and something inside of me dies. My soul. I'm pretty sure that the grand gesture that was expected of the human race each Christmas did not start at a Best Buy sale.

And for that reason, I'd rather sniff armpits for a living than go through the protracted agony of the holidays. For starters, I have a standing rule that I don’t accept gifts at this time of year. I have enough crap and you have bad taste. While we’re on the topic, doesn’t Totes make anything the rest of the year? If you know anyone over the age of twelve who has given someone a Chia Pet, drop them immediately. The Clapper has survived five U.S. Presidents and eight terms of office. It will be around after a global nuclear holocaust. Someone somewhere will clap their hands and a generator in Slovenia will turn on.

I hear you. But what about the children? Fuck the children. How many presents do you have to give them until they have high self-esteem? What about getting together with the family? Fuck the family. Families fight more at the holidays than at any other time of the year. What about the extra days you get off from work because of the holidays? Interestingly enough, I embrace that one.

The famous Secret Santa of Kansas City, Missouri has outed himself this year so I decided to out myself as well. For me it started in the early 90’s with the boyfriend who couldn’t get it up, otherwise known as The Impotentate. On Christmas day he had not invited me to his family’s celebration. Lonely and bored, I drove around my neighborhood in my 1990 gray Ford Festiva and decided to hand out money to the homeless. Even if they were getting high, I wanted them to be smoking The Christmas Crack. When I was down to a dollar I decided to pack it in. On the way home, I saw one last guy trudging up a hill and stopped my car.
“I’m really sorry; I only have a dollar to give you.” What was anyone going to do with a dollar in Los Angeles? (Don’t say the 99 cent store you miserable fucks)
“You know,” he said, “This morning I asked God to help me and now I got a dollar!” (I’m not God, right?)

I never looked back.

Some years I make mistakes, some years I hit a home run but generally I just wish I was as rich as the Secret Santa of Kansas City. One homeless man was camped out under the awning at Big Lots. I handed him a five-dollar bill but he wouldn’t take it. He wanted a meal from McDonalds, which was right next door. I asked him what I could get him and he said some combo-name I didn’t recognize and believe me, I’ve done hard time at McDonalds. I went into the restaurant and scanned the list. I finally found what he wanted; it was the most expensive breakfast McDonalds had. $3.85.

One time I gave money to a guy who looked at my car and said, “I think you need this more than me.” Fool. Another year I saw a real bad case, a man who looked like he wasn’t going to make it to the end of the day. I gave him ten dollars and asked him what had happened to him. He said he had been living on the streets after being thrown off the Planet Nebutron and sent to Earth in a time capsule to repopulate Wyoming. And I thought to myself, ‘Good Lord. How am I going to get my ten dollars back?’

Another year I gave money to two guys walking down the street with an empty supermarket cart. They took the money but looked at me strangely. Something was not right. So I drove around a few blocks and when I came back, they had collected another cart. They worked for a supermarket, which I would have realized had I looked at the backs of their jackets, which said Ralph’s.

Two years ago I saw a man and a woman living out of their car. They had parked in a deserted lot and taken a few of their possessions out to rearrange. I stopped and buzzed down the window of my car (the Festiva was long gone). The woman looked at me with the most stricken look on her face and yes I was wearing makeup. I waved two five-dollar bills and she came running over.
“Here, this is for you and your friend.”
“Oh my God! ThankYouThankYouThankYou, can I hug you?”

Before I had time to answer she had reached inside my car and gathered me up in a giant bear hug. And the entire time all I could think about was, ‘Dear God let her not steal my Nicole Miller purse.’

End of chat.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks For Nothing

This is the dumbest holiday Americans celebrate. For starters, there are no gifts. And what are we supposed to be thankful for; stealing the United States from the American Indians? Thanksgiving is just an excuse to string an extremely tedious Thursday into a 4 day event because people hate their jobs so much that they would rather spend time with their families. And you know that is just wrong.

Spare me your desiccated turkey, your mother’s recipe for a vegetable you wouldn’t be caught dead eating in a four-star restaurant and the inevitable tedium of playing party games with your dumbass neighbors and your psychotic family, people I don’t ever want to spend quality time with unless I'm in a coma.

Last year I was invited to a Thanksgiving where I was asked to bring food. Am I supposed to be thankful for being invited to a dinner where I had to supply part of the meal? If you can’t afford to fund a party, for the love of God, please don’t have one. It just makes you look cheap. Do you think Jackie O ever asked anyone to bring a covered caviar dish to one of her dinners?

And stop with the party games. Hi, I’m an adult; join me in reading a book and talking about something important. Like George Clooney.

End of chat.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

OJ Can't Get On TV, Michael Richards Can't Get Off

I met Michael Richards twice. Once at a birthday party for the late Phil Hartman and once when I did Seinfeld, the show, not the man. Focus, people.

I was introduced to him at Phil’s party and Michael was gruff, uncommunicative and withdrawn. I thought what I always thought when I met someone in Hollywood who acted like him: He’s high and if he talks, everyone will know.

I did Seinfeld less than a year later. The first person to introduce themselves was Jason Alexander. He walked right up to me and stuck his hand out, welcomed me to the show and gave his name. I’d known Jerry for over ten years since we did standup together in NYC. Julia introduced herself during the actual filming of our scene. But I had no scenes with Richards so I didn’t see him until there was a break on set. I walked over to him and reminded him of my name and that we had met at Phil Hartman’s party. He glanced at me, made some grunting noise and walked away. That would normally not be out of the ordinary given my track record with celebrities. I do make people run screaming into the night.

I didn’t go near Michael Richards for the rest of the shoot. Comedians are notoriously strange individuals with idiosyncratic behavior that can border on the insane, see Andy Dick, Andy Kaufman, Roseanne Barr, Robin Williams and of course, the beloved Donald Rumsfeld. So I passed it off as such.

Sidebar: During the shoot, I stepped on one of Julia’s lines. For those of you who have normal lives and jobs and may not know what that means, it meant I started talking before she finished her speech. The director yelled ‘cut’ and as we waited for notes from Larry David, I apologized to Julia. “What for?” she asked me. I told her I had stepped on her line and would be more careful next time. She said she hadn’t even noticed. Jerry looked at me, took a beat and said, “Your first time doing comedy, Suzy?”

The word on the street in L.A. is that Richards had taken to the comedy club stages some time ago in an effort to remain in the public eye. The word was also that he sucked and sucked big time. He was not a comic. He was a funny actor. I’ve never met a comedian who hasn’t been heckled. It’s part of our job. It’s like a dressing-down from the boss, which in our case is two hundred and fifteen drunken bosses. After years in front of a mike, you get better with the hecklers. You either have previously-used comebacks to shut them up or you ignore them. I make the heckler come on stage with me. I tell him that he is probably funnier than I am so I want to hear a joke. I hand him the mike and walk to the back of the stage. The heckler breaks into a cold sweat, can’t say anything because of the primal fear that doing standup brings out of you like measles on a seven year old, and then hears from the audience the very thing he has been telling the comic, “You suck.”

It’s a beautiful thing.

I’m upset that they cancelled the O.J. interview. The only other person who is as upset as I am is my friend Louise McLoserstene. Even though we both know he’s guilty, we wanted to Hear Him Confess. If I Did It was a confession. After years of hearing people complain and grouse about how he got off scott-free, I would have thought the public would want their pound of flesh.

Yes, we know O.J. just wanted back in the limelight (see Michael Richards' success with that); we know O.J. is a murderer. But if we had seen it, seen him cry like a little girl, the public abuse would have been worse. He would be even more vilified than he is now. Ron and Nicole aren’t coming back any time soon. All we have left is the man who murdered them and was going to tell us how he might have (really did) do it. Yes, I know it’s in the book. But folks, TV interviews are FREE. End of chat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Step Away From The Celebrities 2

Two weeks ago I was pulling into a spot at Mayfair Market here in the Hollywood Hills when I saw a sleek, silver car park about twenty feet away from me. The driver of the car and I met up at the same time at the entrance of Gelson's.

"Excuse me, what kind of car is that?"
"It's a..."
"Oh my GOD, you're Patrick... Stewart? No, this guy was not bald. Ewing? No, this guy was not black. Swayze? No, this guy was not dancing.

It was McDreamy, who I know has a last name but seriously, what's the point? For the first time in my life a man rendered me speechless. I mean, besides George W. Bush.

McDreamy was wearing a tight, navy blue ribbed sweater and had one of those scalp-hugging knit hats on in the same color. And jeans. Really nice, butt-hugging jeans. Like you didn't want to know.

"I love your show," I said as he started walking (running) away from me.
"Thank you, very kind," he said turning left (breaking into a full gallop) into produce. He eats produce. How cool is that?
"Truly great show."
"Much appreciated," he shouted over his shoulder as he approached a security guard. Is he hotter in person than he is on the show? Oh fuck yes. It was like looking at someone through a pink gel, the ones they put over the lenses in movie making (and that I'm trying to have installed here Chez Soro) that make you look soft and line-free. The Sex Factor was dripping off him like a Popsicle melting in the sun. I might have to take a teensy, me-time break here...

I was down in Santa Monica months ago and as I pulled up to a light, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw ten black SUVs queued up like gamers waiting for the new PlayStation 3. That can only mean one thing in this town, paparazzi or bodyguards for someone really important. I glanced to my left and in the Benz next to me were Maria Shriver and the Governor of our mentally unbalanced Democratic state, the Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had just seen Maria on Oprah, where she discussed her upbringing and how the Kennedys and their spouses always encouraged their kids to be of public service and to always be doing something with their lives. Her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics and her father Sargent Shriver started The Peace Corps. Maria had just published another book when she went home to her parents' house. Her father asked her what she was doing. She replied that her book had just come out and he said, "You wrote that book two years ago, what's next?" Apparently no one got to rest on their laurels, or a chair.

So there sat Maria in the passenger seat of the California State Benz, staring at me. I mouthed the words I LOVE YOU to her. She smiled and mouthed back THANK YOU. Then I nodded towards her husband and mouthed, NOT HIM, JUST YOU. She must have laughed out loud because Arnold looked over at her and thank God the light turned green and I took off. I do not need a state tax audit thank you very much.

The reason I talk to all these people and make a fool of myself is because the one time I wanted to talk to someone who had changed my life, my ex-boyfriend Gary, one of three guys I was engaged to in my life, told me not to.

We were at a New York Friar's Club roast for Milton Berle. Gary was a very distant cousin of Milton's and had just completed a documentary of him for the Museum of Broadcasting. The roast was to coincide with the documentary of this legendary comedian. Every major Hollywood and New York comedian was on the dais. When the roast was over, Gary and I mingled, said our goodbyes to Milton and then headed for the exit. We got to the elevators and as the door opened, the two people ahead of us stepped inside. It was Lucille Ball and Gary Morton. I looked at my Gary with wide eyes. He shook his head No. I gave him the Are You Fucking Kidding Me look and again he nodded No. As I stood there fuming I looked over at Lucy. She had backed into a corner and had her face down, staring at the fascinating linoleum floor of the elevator. Her Gary was standing a few feet away and staring into space.

She did not want to be recognized. She did not want to hear for the 80 trillionth time that I was her biggest fan. That because of her I went into comedy when I was 14 and never looked back. That I once did the Lucy Cry at an audition in New York and got the callback and it was for a Shakespeare production. That I have watched I Love Lucy my entire life and tried to figure out what it was that made her a genius. The most famous comedian in the world wanted her privacy. So I kept my mouth shut. And have been regretting it every day of my life since. Thank God I didn't marry Gary. Seriously.

End of chat.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How Can I Break Up With Gym?

Before I bought a scale I used to walk to the gym, weigh myself and then hike the three blocks home. In my defense, the walk back was uphill. So a few years ago I decided to get serious and hire one of the trainers at Bally's. I chose Nasto. He had been Mr. Bulgaria twice, Mr. Northern California in the early 90’s and he had written three fitness books, which was three more than I had written. I liked him. His business card was an unevenly scissored piece of Xerox paper. He was earnest and committed and I just knew he had a family waiting in a cramped one-bedroom apartment somewhere in Korea Town expecting him to put borsch on the table. He had that sad, vacant look that people who do not ever expect to catch up with life have. If I didn’t break up with The Impotentate, a man who couldn't get it up for five of the seven years we went out, there was no way I was going to break up with Mr. Bulgaria.

Sidebar: No, this is not a picture of Nasto, but of my best friend ever, Clark Henley, the first person I knew to die of AIDS.

I hate working out but I hate eating even more. I don’t like food. Hand me a pill called LUNCH and leave me alone. I refuse to cook. I’ll eat out, I’ll take out, shit, I’ll put out, but I’m not cooking. When I get my dream house I’m going to have them put a McDonalds in on the ground floor. If you don’t want to impress me, invite me out for dinner and then ask me where we should go, what we should eat and what we should order. Then as we’re eating, ask me how my Sea Bass is, or if I want to try your carpaccio or split a dessert. Just so we’re clear, I don’t like to discuss food, shop for food or try out the food at the new restaurant in Who Cares, New Jersey. I can hardly wait until I’m rich enough to have Emeril move in. It’s the only reason I’m still breathing in and out.

When I think back on it, I only kept going to the gym because there were cute guys there. But sometime in the last year my gym became a meeting place for old Chinese women. Mr. Bulgaria deftly escorts me through them as if he's afraid I will suddenly stop and spontaneously break into a mah-jongg game.

The gym rat in our family is my sister, who once graced the cover of Muscle & Fitness magazine. She goes around spewing communist propaganda like, “I’m really craving an apple.” Please, Johnny Appleseed didn’t crave an apple. If you’re at her house and want something fattening to eat, you have to lick the grease off her stove. She’s the kind of person who you will ask, “How do I look in this bathing suit?” and she’ll say, “You look fabulous.” Then ten days later she sees you in shorts and says, “Gee, you really look great; not like you did in that bathing suit.” She got so addicted to exercise that she had to join a 12-step program. I don’t think it worked because now she’s up to 27 steps. As for the rest of our family, we would rather die with a stent in our hearts than a deltoid on our wherever-the-fuck the deltoid goes.

I went to World Gym in Venice with her one day many years ago. Arnold Schwarzenegger owned it then and Stallone hung out there a lot. I was having a rough time in the business and my sister, who was friendly with both Arnold and Sly, had told them about my struggle. Sly was there that day and when she introduced me to him, he had that crooked half-smile going on and came towards me with his arms outstretched. “Aaaayyy, somebody needs a hug.” His bodyguards surrounded us and Sly hugged me like I owed him money. I knew he had had a rough ride in Hollywood before Rocky hit and I knew he understood where I was in my slide into artistic hell, or as I to refer to it now, a big agent who thought he could do something with me and was wrong. “Aaaayyy, don’t give up, it can happen to you,” he continued.

Sly and his body guards left and my sister and I began to work out in earnest. (She did, I was staring into space and wondering if Sly noticed that I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows) My reverie was finally broken as I watched my sister admire her calves. She inspected them as if they had USDA stamped on them and were going to market in a refrigerated truck. A line formed. Now other people were inspecting her calves. Suddenly one of these voyeurs took time out from his busy schedule of ogling her and eyed me suspiciously.
“What’s that on the back of your arm?” he asked.
“A triceps?”
“Well,” he continued, “have a doctor look at it; it might be cancer.”

End of chat.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Other Psycho

There are ten events that psychologists identify as the most stressful things that can happen to a person. Number one is public speaking and losing someone to death is number two. There’s also divorce, moving, buying a house and changing jobs. Getting into a bikini should be on there but I’m guessing the list was compiled by men.

I’ve never been divorced nor bought a house but I have sold two of my Dad’s condos, moved seven times, lost loved ones to death and did standup in numerous clubs with various people two or three times a month spanning twenty years, nine countries and twenty-four states. And I’ve worn bikinis, tankinis and did it without the help of martinis.

During the Bosnian War I had to sleep in a red-tagged bunker in Macedonia with the U.N. Peacekeepers guarding the compound with machine guns. I was in a Blackhawk helicopter over Serbia in a blinding snowstorm with zero visibility when the co-pilot said he didn’t advise landing as we were landing. I starred in a musical review in Paris for seven months, becoming only the second American in French history to lead a Can Can. The first was Josephine Baker, the third was LaToya Jackson.

I traveled alone to India for three weeks to have experimental surgery. I did shows on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean where I was issued a gas mask and then shown how to plunge a hypodermic filled with antidote into my thigh in case the Agent Orange and Mustard Gas escaped from their containment drums on the island. (I would have died long before I got the needle in but they don’t tell you that. I heard it from a soldier on the island) I am not a coward, a baby, a whiner or someone who doesn’t take chances. Nothing fazes me. Except going to someone’s home as a house guest.

For starters, you can’t eat a bowl of cereal while sitting at the computer naked. What’s up with that? People also prefer it when you help them cook. And clean up. Well, if I did that at my house, sure, I would do it at yours. But I don’t so I’m not so don’t ask. And look up the word ‘guest’ while you’re at it. And if you don’t have an extra room for me, I’m not coming. I didn’t go camping when I was a kid and I’m not going to start now.

But the thing that really spins my rinse cycle is in the bathroom. Hiding like Olivia Newton John’s boyfriend in Costa Rica is the shower control panel. While there are many variations on the theme, the most vicious of them all is the little Ferris wheel that has red and blue markings lifting off in a faux rainbow, presumably to tell you how hot and how cold you can make the water. These deleterious disks reveal the biggest lies you will encounter outside of a romantic relationship. No matter how low I go on the red dial, I still end up with second degree burns. And no matter how medium I go on the blue dial, I have to don a parka before I step in. How is it possible that you can go into anyone’s house anywhere in the world and work their computer but need Faucets for Dummies to turn on their water? By the time I’ve figured out the dials and managed to take a shower, the people I’m staying with have either reported me missing or moved.

There really is no place like home. End of chat.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Devil's Guide To Hollywood

Joe Eszterhas has been a screenwriting legend for many years. He brooked no crap from anyone, including the bellicose Mike Ovitz, who terrorized show business and threatened Joe’s life when Joe fired him. Joe is a polarizing force and people either love him or hate him. He once took a dogon fighting stick and bashed in the conference room table of someone who was trying to mess with his script. Eszterhas’s screenplay Basic Instinct earned him three million dollars and he was once paid four million dollars for a four page outline.

He left Hollywood years ago and moved to Ohio after marrying Naomi, the ex-wife of one of his best friends, who had famously dumped Naomi for Sharon Stone who then dumped him. Joe got throat cancer, gave up cigarettes and drinking and swore off screenwriting. But he’s finally back in the game and hopefully his Showgirls and Sliver days are far behind him and he has another Flashdance and Jagged Edge left. His solipsistic world view notwithstanding, the book is a great read. Along with Shane Black, Joe remains one of the highest paid screenwriters in Hollywood history. He does not believe in plastic surgery, obviously.

Here are some quotes from his new book, The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood:

“One man wrote War and Peace. Thirty-five screenwriters wrote The Flintstones.”

“With the exception of Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson, there are few stars able to play super macho parts today. Many of Hollywood’s top male movie stars are either gay or bisexual.”

“Milton Berle said ‘Don’t tell jokes only the band laughs at.’”

“Knowing nothing about writing a play, Paddy Chayefsky taught himself playwriting by sitting down at the typewriter and copying Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour word for word. He said, ‘I studied every line of it and kept asking myself, Why did she write this particular line?”

“Even though I had nothing to do with the sequel to Basic Instinct, The Arkansas Times wrote in its review of it: ‘It’s the kind of movie that makes me wish Joe Eszterhas’s mother had left a few more dry cleaning bags around when he was a kid.’”

“William Goldman said there hasn’t been a truly famous writer since Hemingway. He was at a Knicks game last year when Norman Mailer was introduced to the crowd. Half a dozen people around him said, ‘Who?’ and one guy went so far to as to ask, ‘Who did he play for?’”

“At the 66th Academy Awards, a screenwriter hired an airplane that towed a banner behind it proclaiming WORLD’S FUNNIEST SCRIPT, along with a phone number. It didn’t do him any good, the script remains unsold.”

“If a studio has flown you to LA for a meeting and is picking up your hotel bill don’t put any drinks you may have had in the bar on it. A studio accountant will let the executive in charge of your project know how many drinks you had. If you had more than a few, the studio will decide that you have a drinking problem and will not hire you for the project.”

“Michael Douglas had a full-rupture hissy fit over the ending of Basic Instinct. He wanted to blow Sharon Stone away at the end. He said the film lacked redemption and would fail at the box office. The studio didn’t like the script’s ambiguous ending either, and the only reason it stood is because the director, Paul Verhoeven, wouldn’t allow the film to be focus-grouped. The focus group would certainly have voted down the ambiguous ending.”

“There has always been the issue of ageism directed toward screenwriters, directors, producers and actors in Hollywood. An agent set up a meeting for a screenwriter with a studio executive.
The agent says, ‘How old are you?’
The screenwriter says, ‘I’m 28.’
The agent says, ‘Let’s make it 23.’”

End of chat.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Hollywood is a town where people are always out of work and yet no one is ever home. Among cell phones, voice mail, Treos, answering services, answering machines, three-way calling, call-forwarding and Spanish speaking maids, I can usually find someone, although the maids just say ‘Meesis no home’ over and over until I’m forced to hang up. But I’m starting Spanish lessons and soon I’ll be able to tell them to fuck off before I hang up. And believe me, those will be the first two words I learn.

I have a friend in the Midwest who doesn’t have a cell phone, an answering machine or voice mail. But she assures me she can make blackberry pie when I bring up the eponymous PDA. I yell at her all the time to get something that takes a message but she says technology is going too fast and she longs for a simpler time. Yes, for god’s sake, let’s get out the butter churn, throw it into the covered wagon and head over to the quilting bee.

What is she really missing? Texting? That’s as gay as it gets. You’re already on a phone, people. Dial.

PDAs? I got an email from a friend in NYC who had picked up my email to her and was returning it five minutes later from the # 6 Lexington Avenue subway. Was I awaiting her decision to give me a kidney? Lend me a million dollars? No, I was just asking her how she was.

Caller I.D.? I didn’t mind *69 which was great for trapping people who lied about calling, including me. But the *82, the *62, not to mention all the ones I can’t remember, what kind of control freaks have we become? I once starred when I should have pounded and my friend Metia looked at me horrified.
“Now he’s going to know you called because you didn’t STAR it, you POUNDED it.”
“Hey, pound this; I just wanted to know if he was home tonight, that’s all. And he wasn’t.”
“What if he’s home having sex and not answering his phone?”

The ubiquitous cell phone? I miss the days when I was bothered by someone’s chirping pager going off ten feet across a room. For seven seconds. The instruction book for my cell phone has eighty-four pages. It might actually dust and do dishes, but I wouldn’t know since I’m not about to read those eighty-four pages anytime soon.

And finally, the home phone as corporate grift. I have MCI, which is hooked up to my Delta Frequent flier program and I get five miles for every dollar spent. If I call Shanghai every day for six years, I’ll get a round trip ticket to Cleveland. And if I use MCI’s online service, I get one dollar off per month on my bill, but there goes sixty free miles a year on Delta because you have to choose one or the other. I could always fly American, which long ago merged with T.W.A., thereby boosting my frequent flier mileage to just one hundred and thirty-six miles under the twenty-five thousand miles required for a free trip. But for just one hundred and twenty-five dollars I can still turn them all in and get a round trip ticket from San Francisco to Berkeley or hook the phone line up to Blockbuster’s new program so I can get one out of every four DVD rentals free. Only I hate DVD’s because I don’t care what went on behind the scenes during filming, what scenes didn’t make the final cut and the alternate endings that the studio hated but the director loved. I never want to hear what M. Night Shyamalan has to say about anything at anytime unless he explains why his middle name is ‘Night’. Yes, I know I don’t have to watch those special bonus features but what was wrong with VHS again?

Maybe I’ll stop yelling at my friend in the Midwest and just write her a letter.

End of chat.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who's Your Favorite Midget?

I was watching the end of the Megan Mullally show and by end I mean just for that day, sadly not for all time. She has many talents but hosting a talk show doesn’t appear to be one of them.

A. Megan held an audience dance contest. There were four contestants, three women in their late 20’s to early 30’s and one woman who was 61. The three younger women were great; the 61 year old looked like she was having an epileptic fit. Who won?

B. A year ago my family and I were on a cruise to Hawaii. There was a dance contest in one of the lounges so we went to watch. It was three men dancing first, then 3 women dancing last. There was one hot guy, one average looking guy and one chubby guy. The hot guy and the average guy were great dancers and the chubby guy couldn’t dance at all. Who won?

C. Then the women danced. There was one hot girl, one average looking girl and one chubby girl. The hot girl spent all of her time dancing in the audience, having not understood the complicated request to dance on the stage. The average girl was the best dancer and the chubby girl couldn’t dance at all. Who won?

A. Old woman
B. Chubby guy
C. Hot girl

A. We feel sorry for old people, but not sorry enough to hire them
B. Chubby men get more sympathy than chubby women
C. Hot girls win no matter how stupid they are
D. Duh
E. End of chat

Monday, October 09, 2006

Little Mary Sunshine

At the beginning of every October I keep all the lights on in my place starting at 4:00 p.m. because otherwise I get cranky. This lasts for about six weeks or until I get used to the darkness. I don’t think anyone should get used to the darkness but that’s another topic altogether. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, which is a malady that didn’t exist before 1984, which is probably when doctors discovered they could charge it off to insurance.

Currently, these things get on my last October nerve:

1. Straight men who wear matching earrings in both ears. You look like a girl. Seriously, quit it.
2. People who never use Spell Check. If Microsoft, Macintosh and your IP assume you can’t spell, why don’t you?
3. Baby Daddy. Enough already.
4. Pimping your ride, your crib and your mama. Just stick to the hos, okay?
5. Overalls on grown women. Are you kidding me?
6. Emoticons. Just a way of lying and masking it with a little yellow frown. You can’t meet me for dinner? I promise you that will not make you sad. Unless you have SAD.
7. Women who have tubular boobs. Donna Karan at the VMA’s, it’s called a breast lift Donna, look into it.
8. Tattoos. Send me a picture of yourself when you’re 76, I’m going to need a good laugh.
9. Hair extensions. Unless you’re Cher, which you’re not. And that means you Nancy O’Dell.
10. Rachael Ray. Shut the fuck up and stir.
11. Sunglasses on musicians. If Andrea Bocelli doesn’t wear them, neither should you.
12. Rubber flip flops, unless you’re 8 years old.
13. UGGS. The name says it all.
14. End of chat.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Are You Hot?

The Girls Next Door to me aren’t, they all need an Extreme Makeover or a visit to Dr. 90210. And haven’t those girls had their 30 Seconds Of Fame? Must we watch the rest of the fifteen minutes?

My Big Brother is hot but he’s one of those irritating Newlyweds who got into a Blow Out with me over The Family Jewels. Since I’m a Bachelorette Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, I think I should get them but he disagrees. We also fight over a Blind Date he set me up on after he explained to me How To Get The Guy. But I didn’t get the guy and he was only an Average Joe, so what does that say about me? Or my brother’s advice?

My neighborhood is littered with interesting and eccentric people. So one day I got into the Cash Cab to go up into The Hills and check out a Million Dollar Listing. I was wondering What Not To Wear when female Cops pulled us over. Turns out they thought I was a Rock Star and wanted to know if I could introduce them to The Bachelor. “So, Deal Or No Deal?” they asked. I said the best I could do was take them down to Laguna Beach and introduce them to My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé. They got mad and wrote me a ticket and as we drove away, they pulled up next to us and started to play a mean game of chicken. It was an Amazing Race.

We passed countless celebrity homes. Whitney Houston’s ex-husband was outside on his lawn just Being Bobby Brown. A homeless guy was standing on a corner with a sign that said, I Want To Be A Hilton, like he had a chance. I Pity The Fool. I went down a small street close to the Hollywood sign and there was a guy sitting on the curb crying because he was Breaking Up With Shannon Doherty. There was so much noise coming from The House Of Carters that I had to roll up my windows. Then a Celebrity Mole ran in front of the cab and I told the driver to try and hit it because aren’t there enough celebrities in this town? Here’s a thought, don’t you think that Dog The Bounty Hunter and The Osbournes should do a Wife Swap? But that would just make them Cheaters and we’re already way over our quota here in L.A.

Well, I’m off to get Inked but I’d just like to say that in The Real World I consider myself a Survivor of Adventures in Hollywood. Or maybe I’m just The Biggest Loser.

End of chat.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Vive La France, But Not In August

My mother is arriving from Paris in a few weeks and I’ll have to face the same questions Americans ask me when they find out I have a French mother. So here’s my list of answers:

1. I’m half French and half American but when I go to France I just treat myself like shit.
2. The French do not hate Americans, they hate everyone.
3. My mother does shave her armpits, sometimes twice a day.
4. She also bathes, sometimes twice a year.
5. Juicy Couture is not real couture. Only the French government can hand out that title.
6. The French think fast food is a one hour lunch.
7. They take a month’s vacation and if you didn’t know that before you booked your trip for August, the vacation month of France for the last zillion years, then stop using Travelocity.
8. The French gave us The Statue of Liberty, which is 151 feet tall. The Americans gave the French a replica of the Statue, which is 35 feet tall.
9. The French are more generous than the Americans.
10. The structural engineer of the Statue of Liberty was Gustav Eiffel.
11. When it was being built, the French hated the Eiffel Tower.
12. The French don’t speak English when Americans address them in English because they find it rude that Americans assume their language is more universal than the French language.
13. English is the Universal language of the world.
14. If you’re from a red state and still referring to French Fries as Freedom Fries then you need to book a ticket on Travelocity and go home, now.
15. The accent never goes away, no matter how much your children wish it would have when we were teenagers.
16. The word Boutique is not pronounced Boteek.
17. “Pardon My French” is an expression the British invented because they thought the French were vulgar and sex-obsessed. I can only vouch for sex-obsessed.
18. During certain wars when the French were accused of not letting planes fly over or under or around or beside their country, it’s because they hate everyone.
19. Or it was during the month of August and no one was around to give their permission.
20. End of Chat

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Step Away from the Celebrities

I can’t stop talking to celebrities. It's harder than when I gave up cigarettes and that took me two years and twenty pounds.

Most of them start out thinking they know me because I’m very affable, very non stalkerish, like I've known them all my life. Half of them are pleasant and the other half can hardly wait for me to walk away. Okay, probably all of them can hardly wait for that.

I always say the wrong thing when I open my mouth yet it sadly doesn’t stop me from doing it again. I told Kathy Baker that I thought she was a brilliant actress and I watched everything she did and that I missed Picket Fences and seeing her on TV and she said she was on Boston Public.

Dr. Joyce Brothers once honked her horn at me and asked for directions. God knows where she ended up since after I told her what a fan I was and wouldn’t shut up; she stepped on the gas and ran a red light. And for the record, I’m not a fan of Dr. Joyce Brothers, I don't even think she's a celebrity and I'm unclear as to whether or not she's still alive.

I met Mick Jagger when the Stones were on tour in Paris. My sister was dating Ron Wood (the guitarist who replaced Brian Jones) at the time and I was starring in a cabaret show. Every night they were in town, I would head over to their hotel after my show to meet my sister. I was a big Jagger fan and I was dying to meet (have sex with) him. One night I saw him walking towards me. I met him half way and we both stopped. He smiled and I asked him where the ladies room was.

I met Oprah on the set of a movie I was filming here in LA and bored her to distraction with a tale of how male standups never let me watch her show in the condos we had to share on the road. Later on, when we were all on set, I looked at her and she waved at me. I turned around to see who she was waving at but there was no one there. I looked at her again and she waved again and once more I looked behind me. There was no one there. I looked back at Oprah and she waved and pointed to me over and over. Finally I got it and waved back. Lame a Go Go.

Believe me, I don’t start out thinking I’m going to talk to these people but somehow, like a heroin addiction, it overtakes me and suddenly I’m tying off and shooting up inane conversation.

I was down in Malibu one day with a friend and the stalkerazzi were following Pam Anderson. She and her children went into the Cross Creek pet shop and the photogs all huddled outside like piranhas, waiting for her to come out. My friend and I ducked into the book store next door since we wanted to get a look at her. When she finally emerged, the paparazzi went ape shit and I lost it. I ran outside waving my arms and screaming at them to leave her alone, that she was with her kids and to just stay away from her. Pam (like I know her) jumped in her SUV, threw it into reverse and sped off while I was still yelling. After she got away I went back into the book store to retrieve my friend.
“Those assholes, they scared her half to death.”
“Uhhh Suzy? I think she was more afraid of you.”

End of chat.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm A Perfect 10

After moving to Hollywood from New York I found a rental in a 1960’s era building with the pool in the middle and the neighbors all fanned out in a voyeur’s circle. Exactly like Melrose Place but without the sex.

Now I’m not one of those people who has to know what my neighbors are up to (I’m lying) so I only open my curtains to let in the sun. (Lying again) I made management put a screen on my front door so I could keep it open and let a breeze in. (My DKNY pants are on fire) I did not miss New York, where people kept their doors closed or slammed them in your face.

But like New York, I could walk anywhere in my neighborhood and do all my errands, which was a plus. I went to my local supermarket one day and while standing in the check out line eyeing the candy and pretending not to read The Enquirer, I found my favorite, a Snickers bar. I reached for it only to discover that it was hard as a rock. I reached for the one behind it and it too was hard as a rock. Maybe Corporate Snickers had not let Los Angeles Snickers know that the preferred mode of eating them was when they were edible. I asked the cashier if they had any more.
“What’s wrong with those?" she asked.
I kept my Big New York Sarcastic Mouth shut and bought one anyway. I unwrapped it in the car and discovered that parts of the chocolate had discolored to a grayish brown. I called my sister.
“Why are the Snickers bars at the supermarket hard as a rock and discolored?”
“Because they sit there forever. And why on earth would you eat one of those?”
“I love them.”
“We don’t eat those here. I mean, do you want to die?”
“I had a craving for chocolate.”
“How much do you weigh?”
“I’m 5’5”, that’s totally normal.”
“Maybe on Planet Jumbo, but not here in L.A.”
“That’s a size 8.”
“It used to be an 8, in the Midwest it’s now a (she whispered this part) twelve. Here in L.A. it’s still only a 10 but unless someone is referring to how you look overall, you do not EVER want to be a 10.”
“How much do you weigh?” I asked.
“Well I weigh more than you because my muscle mass weighs more than your fat. Once I measure your B.M.I. you’ll see what I mean.”
“I don’t have a BMW.”
“B.M. EYE: Body Mass Index. Don’t you read Muscle & Fitness?”
“Yeah, only I call it Vogue. So what do you buy when you go to the movies?”
“Bottled water.”
“Have people over?”
“Soy Delicious.”
“Have a craving for something sweet?”
“They should post signs at the airport, Attention: Now Entering a Food-Free Zone.”
“Very funny. Just up your protein intake, more chicken, fish, and edamame, you like edamame, right?”
“Unless that’s a fancy word for candy, I’m guessing no.”
“And no food after six p.m.”
“Sometimes I want something in the middle of the night.”
“Oh my God, you have NES.”
“Impossible, I haven’t had sex in months.”
“Nighttime Eating Syndrome. Just eat more protein and you’ll lose your sugar cravings.”
“I don’t want to lose them.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t. First I lose the sugar cravings and then what? I start voting Republican?” She hung up on me.

I now weigh 122. Well not really, but my sister reads this blog.

End of chat.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Plastic Surgery For Dummies

There are two kinds of New Yorkers who move to Los Angeles. One is dreaded and hates L.A. because there’s no winter/smoking/people who read. Then there’s me. I loved it because there were hot cars, hot homes, and most importantly, hot people everywhere. Not to mention my building had a pool and a view of the Hollywood sign. I know there are gorgeous people who live in other parts of the world but it couldn’t possibly compare to the pulchritude this town spits out like olive pits from a dirty martini. And Los Angeles was littered with car dealers to the stars, realtors to the stars and plastic surgeons for the rest of us. This is where Hot comes to die and the Mother Ship had called me home.

Even though no one in L.A. has actually had plastic surgery, is ever going to have it or would ever admit it if they did happen to have it while accidentally sleepwalking into downtown Beverly Hills for a three p.m. appointment, there sure are a lot of people ahead of me when I go for my Botox shots to my plastic surgeon’s office. I admit to having it because I love it and will be having it to the end of my life. As a matter of fact, I’ve booked my doctor for my embalming or autopsy, whichever comes first. I’m going to exit this world looking glorious, especially since I’m surely not going to feel that terrific.

I just don’t understood women who say they would never have plastic surgery. I’m pretty sure Janet Reno does not spend all her free time returning Jude Law’s calls or texting Colin Farrell. I once heard Cindy Crawford interviewed and she said that if she felt she needed it, she would have it. Cindy Crawford, not Broderick Crawford.

I wasn’t obsessed with my looks until a week after I moved to Los Angeles and was walking down the street with my mother. We ran into an old family friend who hadn’t seen us in many years. The friend looked at us and said, “Wow, you two could pass for sisters,” and I thought, ‘Man, how bad do I look?’

So I bought a jar of face cream that claimed to reduce the visible signs of aging and I tried it. It didn’t do much for my face but I used it on my 1998 Toyota and now it looks like a 2001. I knew then that the only thing that really reduces the visible signs of aging is death. And an upper and lower blepharoplasty.

When I had the eye job I told my friend Metia and she replied “You’re kidding, you can’t even tell.” Well, if you could tell, it wouldn’t be called an eye job; it would be called a lawsuit, now wouldn’t it?

Then I wanted my nose to tip up so I had a piece of my ear put in right above my nostrils. The manager of my Hollywood Hills apartment complex asked me if I could hear through my nose. So apparently there are some people here who don’t read. Restylane? Captique? Mesotherapy? Sculptra? Had it, had it, had it, need it.

A lot of people are afraid of surgery and I can understand that. When I had my eye-lift, the last thing I remember before I went under anesthesia was the doctor holding a scalpel, the fluorescent lights and the smell of burning flesh. I was mortified. Do you know how bad you look in fluorescent lights? The nurse asked me to count backwards from 100, giving me the illusion that I was going to be awake for a really long time. Meanwhile, no one makes it past 98. Why don’t they just make you count backwards from 2?

The truth is that I’d rather have plastic surgery than go to the gym with all the mutants oozing toxins out of their pores. If I see toxins coming out of any part of my body, bring me a margarita and check me into the Chateau Marmont.

Because my friends all know I’ve had plastic surgery, they ask me if they need it. Yes. Even if they don’t think they need it now, yes, they need it now. And for those of you stalwarts who think you don’t need anything done ever or are too afraid or too cheap I can only say this: When your rear grazes your ankles and you’re carrying your breasts around in a little red wagon and your husband is sleeping with the baby sitter, don’t come crying to me. Just remember that King Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines and I’m sure he has male descendants out there somewhere. And I’m sure the hot ones ended up in Los Angeles. End of chat.