– This week I received the best possible thing I could receive for free as a blogger: two free tickets to see Martin Short’s new show, “Fame Becomes Me.” In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Martin Short is one of my comic heros. I think he’s a genius. I know I’ve told you about my priziest possession, a VHS tape from a mid-90s Martin Short special with Phil Hartman and Jan Hooks that is the funniest thing I own. So I was super-psyched to go see the show. And boy was I not disappointed. I loved it. Every minute. It’s almost two hours of sheer comic energy exploding at you and not only is Short fantastic but all the supporting players (including the composer, Hairspray-writer and South Park Movie song orchestrator Mark Shaiman) are wonderful. (This woman in the cast did a Rene Zellwiger impression that had people literally screaming with laughter.) The best part is when Martin comes out as Jiminy Glick and pulls a celebrity from the audience to interview. Apparently, each night there’s a different celeb (otherwise they use an audience member). The night we saw it he pulled out Bob Costas, who was a great sport about it. I hear last night it was Chris Noth and there’s a rumor going around that Miss Bette Midler (who Mark Shaiman also works with) may be a celebrity guest in the future. If you want an evening of good campy fun, go see “Fame Becomes Me.” I even bought a poster.
– The feast I made on Saturday for the last chapter of my book went tremendously well. I can’t tell you any more but I can show you a picture. Aren’t the flowers pretty?
– I am now going to tell you a story about popcorn and Titanic. Another free thing I received recently was gourmet popcorn from Dale & Thomas Gourmet Popcorn. It was their signature kettle corn and it was excellent and Craig and I noshed it while watching “Titanic” on TV. Craig, an NYU grad film student, thinks “Titanic” is an excellent movie despite the crappy dialogue and over-the-top acting. “It’s a big Hollywood movie like they used to make,” he said enthusiastically. We watched and watched and then that scene came on where the guy who built the ship sneaks on to a life boat as it lowers down. “That’s morally indefensible,” said Craig and then began the fiercest debate I’ve ever had in my life about something that happened in a movie. We debated throughout the rest of the movie, through the rest of the night (including dinner) and all the next morning. I just said the human need to survive is an unconscious mechanism and self-preservation can’t be morally indefensible just because you did something wrong. If you steal a little girl’s favorite stuffed animal and then you walk away, feel guilty, and then see a train barreling in your direction, it’s not morally indefensible to step aside and save your own life. But Craig would say that it’s not the same situation, that the guy on the Titanic should’ve found someone to take that seat—a woman or a child. But I pointed out in that scene there was no one else around him, the boat was lowering and either he could get on it and save his own life or die a martyr, and his decision to save his own life is not “morally indefensible.” And so on and so on and so forth. But the popcorn was good.
– Diana and I have been having similarly heated debates, this time, though, about obesity and feminism. Over dinner at Pastis, (where Diana ate only half her Croque Monsieur because it was slathered with mayonnaise and Diana hates mayonnaise) I argued that it could be empowering for a woman to gain a lot of weight. “That way,” I said, “she’d be shirking society’s notion of what’s beautiful and therefore, outside of the norm, she can operate as a free spirit.” I pointed out that lots of powerful women, from Gertrude Stein to Roseanne, have been stout or overweight. Diana disagreed with me entirely and said, “Believe me, it’s never empowering to get fat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, it doesn’t make you more powerful in society to be fat. That’s the unfortunate fact of the world we live in.” Meanwhile, I enjoyed the mussels at Pastis–the waitress recommended them–and I liked dipping bread in the sauce. I found that empowering.