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.