By Albert Samaha
By Steve Weinstein
By Devon Maloney
By Tessa Stuart
By Alison Flowers
By Albert Samaha
By Jesse Jarnow
By Eric Tsetsi
HBO's Entourage takes the Sex and the City formulathrowing together four people of the same gender, each with one major traitand bizzes it up by dousing its quirky quartet with name-dropping, in-jokes, and multiple head-shot sessions. The show was mirrored by life itself at the second-season-premiere screening, where bizzies swarmed a Lincoln Center tent to watch the biz give the biz back to the biz people, all as a Star reporter frantically chased me to ask, "Did you see NICKY HILTON?"
Yeah, and I also saw JEREMY PIVEN, who plays an agent on the series and told me, "There are so many great agent energies to take from." And DEBI MAZAR, who plays a publicist and told me the most absurd part of the business is "publicity! It's an odd thingpeople's interest in hearing intimate details over and over again!" And ROSIE PEREZ, whom I asked how her chocha isyou had to read last week's columnto which she laughingly replied, "My chocha's lovely!" She then introduced me to a scorching hot man and said, "He's the keeper!"and honey, if that's what you get to keep them, then I finally want one!
I was actually most gleeful to run into Vanity Fair's FRANK DIGIACOMO because I had just seen him in The Aristocrats, a funny upcoming documentary analyzing the classic joke about a family that fists, felches, scats, incests, and chocha-attacks onstage, proudly declaring the act "the Aristocrats!" DiGiacomowho appears only as a commentatortold me that his favorite versions of the joke are GILBERT GOTTFRIED's, SARAH SILVERMAN's, and the mute used in the film (who certainly does the fisting flawlessly). On-screen, Silverman is far from mute, even snarling out some horrid fiction that old-time TV host JOE FRANKLIN raped her. "Joe was in the audience when I saw it," said DiGiacomo. "Everyone looked at him when she did her routine and he was kind of low in his seat. But on the way out, he said he loved it!" Give the guy a fist, I mean a hand.
Another chat legend, MERV GRIFFIN, beamed when the Museum of Television and Radio honored him in a misty homage to a freewheeling personality, crack businessman, and self-professed "quartre-sexual." (Griffin had just smirked to the Times that he's always done anything with anyone for a quarter. No wonder he's so rich!) A lot of the zany clips they showed from Merv's old show were quite quartre-friendly. (The VILLAGE PEOPLE, JOHNNY MATHIS, Peter Allen, and BARRY MANILOW all zestily performed). And presenter TONY DANZA shockingly admitted he was doing Mervthough he only meant imitating him on his own talk show, later coming back to clarify, "I meant I'm trying to do him." But things reached a more profound level when Merv spoke to NANCY REAGAN via phonefor all of us to hearas a RUSH LIMBAUGH employee at my table started cheering. I would have screamed, "Shut the fuck up!" but Merv brought out the best in Nancy, commending her for pushing stem cell (if not AIDS) research. "Ronnie would have been proud of you on that one," said Merv, "even though it's the wrong party." Well, for people of a certain age, this was the right partyeven though there was no mention whatsoever of Mrs. Miller or DENEY TERRIO!
Some of the names at the Tony Awards may have been even more obscure, but I live and breathe these theater types and the great agent energies that handle them. In fact, I spend half the year cornering friends to shriek stuff like "I wonder which Doubt featured actress will get nominatedHEATHER GOLDENHERSH or ADRIANE LENOX?" When they both got it, I was so beside myself I was beside someone else.
For non-cultists, the telecast must have been an exercise in total bewildermentNorbert Leo who?but for me it was pizzazzy and ultra-gay-gay-gay, albeit with predictability and some clunkers. The big con this year wasn't with the characters' antics in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, it was that the voters became convinced The Light in the Piazza was not an arty-farty yawnfest. They also seemed to think the Sweet Charity girls and the Cagelles are two separate groups of people. What's more, they all became lulled into not being outraged that all four of the nominated musicals viciously break the fourth wall. Someone fix it, please!
But on the show, HUGH JACKMAN singing a snatch of "I Feel Pretty" was as delightful as SARA RAMIREZ hiking up her dress and thanking Claritin. Backstage, there were moments too, like the instantly humbled Piazza composer having to instruct us, "The last name is Guettel, like metal or shtetl." The better-known BILLY CRYSTAL crowed, "I'm just an Oscar and a Grammy away from being RITA MORENO." The gay producer of La Cage aux Folles,who married women twice, lectured us on the importance of accepting the gay lifestyle. And CHERRY JONES revealed, "I did something at the New York Theatre Workshop where I actually got to kiss a man, and it was exciting and refreshing!"
Future projects? Crystal might do Pal Joey, LIEV SCHREIBER is dying to play Macbeth, and Guettel-like-metal is writing "a fairy-tale adventure with a lot of swordplay." As for me? I'm busy musicalizing the mid-Tonys commercial for that hot-flash medicine. ("Don't use Premarin if you've had unusual vaginal bleeding, blood clots, liver problems, stroke, or heart attack, or think you're pregnant.") Finally, a show that will break the vaginal wall.