NY Mirror

Last week, I emceed the party for the 3,000th episode of The Jerry Springer Show—disclosure: I was remunerated in ego gratification—mainly because it was a chance to revel in the fact that, unlike most of the show's guests and viewers, I live in a home that doesn't move. Jerry and I had worked together before, at a promo event tied to that Off-Broadway trailer park musical that, no doubt thanks to our efforts, closed a week later. This time—at Home, aptly enough—we did much better, though Jerry was as self-deprecating as ever, telling the crowd of boozy miscreants, "First of all, I apologize. I ruined the culture. I hope hell isn't too hot because that's clearly where I'm going." I'm actually looking forward to showing off my hot bod all year round. But how punishable should a show be that, however toilety, has inspired a full-scale opera and now a 3-D art piece, CHARLES FAZZINO's Jerry Springer's Wacky World, which happened to be unveiled that very night? Not at all! "It really depicts my life," said Springer as he admiringly surveyed the artwork's panorama of figures from his show and experiences, "which is depressing." But Jerry did finally concede that his mobile-friendly program has actually done a little good. "Now that it's seen all around the world," he said, beaming, "those countries don't want to take us over anymore!"

(By the way, off camera, Jerry happens to be a total pussycat, and one with culture yet. He told me he loves the wit of Countdown With Keith Olbermann, a tidbit that certifies he's got good taste; I'm a regular on the show, and in fact if it were The Love Boat, I'd be CHARO.)

BETH, YOU IS MY WOMAN
Alas, Jerry Springer the Opera never made it to our shores—it always sounded better than the reverse idea, a daytime talk show based on Turandot. But there's The Drowsy Chaperone, about a rumpled queen who sits around playing his old record of Valley of the Dolls, which magically springs to life in his living room. No, wait, that's my story. The Drowsy Chaperone has a rumpled queen playing his old record of a '20s musical called The Drowsy Chaperone, which magically etc., etc. (though he also gushes over the movie of The Music Man and pervily admits, "I had a craving for a young RONNIE HOWARD"). The show—as well as the show within the show—is cute, clever, and blithely inconsequential, but again, very cute, especially when the record skips or they put on the wrongrecord. At the opening-night party, BETH LEAVEL—who's a scream as the title character (or actually, as Dame Beatrice Stockwell playing the title character)—told me it's fun to take on two divas. "I bet Beatrice decided the show had to be named The Drowsy Chaperone or she wouldn't do it," she said, laughing. But Leavel, God bless her, made no such ultimatum.

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