By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
By Roy Edroso
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
By Zachary D. Roberts
Will Ferrell has come to Broadway—no, not in Talladega Nights, The Rock Opera, or Elf on Wheels. He's starring in a play called You're Welcome America. A Final Night With George W. Bush, which promises to be the last time Dubya will amuse us with his intellectually challenged hijinks. At a promotional meet-and-greet in a rehearsal studio the other day, Will sat down for some stepbrotherly-like grilling about how he rode his blades of glory to the legit stage.
Q: Hi, Will. Do you have a theater background? A: My mom forced us to see a production of Chekhov. Q: Wasn't Joyce DeWitt in that? A: You know who was in it? Thomas Hulce. I thought, "This is a long play, but I do have respect for what's going on." Q: Do you approach playing Dubya as if he thinks he's a hero? A: I do that with myself, then I realize, "I can't lift cars." But yeah, his attitude in the play is, "Hey, I'm pretty kickass. Sure, I made some mistakes, but any president does, and, for the most part, I did a good job."
Q: Hilarious! Any advice from former SNL co-stars? A: I talked to Ana Gasteyer. She said, "Don't do it." (Laughs.) Q: But you are, and we're coming to buy the merchandise. How will you avoid the mercury poisoning that's been felling so many Broadway stars lately? A: I'm not eating any fish! Q: More importantly, will your show have a circle jerk à la Spring Awakening? A: There will be hundreds of wild birds and a choir of thousands—so big they'll have to be piped in from Madison Square Garden.
Q: Watch out, Julie Taymor. Speaking of wild birds, will you beat Liza Minnelli for the Special Event Tony award? A: No one beats Liza—ever. Q: Even David Gest? Anyway, last penetrating question: What did you do on Election Night? A: Well, Adam McKay [the show's director] and I were doing a circle jerk and saying, 'We should really do this onstage!' (Laughter all around.)
Fish Gotta Swim, Turds Gotta Fly
But back to the tuna eating: Showbiz types have put a circle around the jerk—i.e., Jeremy Piven—and made him the common enemy of the Western world. But as mad as they were over at Speed-the-Plow, did you notice that even after Norbert Leo Butz stepped in for him, a large color photo of Piven was still deceptively mounted outside the theater? At least the quote above it said, "Ferocious!"
Speaking of employment opportunities, Page Six recently reported that Anna Wintour might become our Ambassador to France. (She'll adore the fries!) Meanwhile, I'm hearing a concurrent rumor that she might take over the Costume Institute at the Met instead of just telling them what to do one night a year. Or of course she might just stay put in her Vogue office, where insiders swear she just renewed her tenure.
A chic scene full of interesting costumes happened at the premiere of the Hindi action comedy Chandni Chowk to China, where there were swarms of Indian people waiting in the lobby for the star, all jostling for position. But I was distressed to catch some man guiding them through their paces, instructing, "When he arrives, you all yell 'Chandni Chowk to China! Chandni Chowk to China!' " Hmm. Is movie-premiere pandemonium as rehearsed now as the sneer I affect to get a reserved seat?
Inside, things were not much more spontaneous, the director going onstage to warn, "If you see someone using their mobile phones, someone will have their back broken." I started to wonder if the guy hosts the Mumbai version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? on the side.
Cultures collided once again thanks to Broadway's Soul of Shaolin, where I heard movie star Jennifer Tilly cutely giggle during a serious part. At intermission, Tilly explained to me that the anguished look on one female character's face reminded her of an ejected heckler at a recent Artie Lange show! But Tilly herself looked positively giddy since she's heading to London to do a Wallace Shawn play with Miranda Richardson. Said she: "Wally feels, 'The English love me—the Americans, not so much!' "
They adore me in Chelsea, so I went to Café 50 for the pop duo Whore's Mascara's Golden Whore awards honoring the biggest 'hos and mascara wearers of '08. Whore of the Year went to Bristol Palin and Biggest Closet Case was snagged by Condoleezza Rice—or was it the other way around?
I whored out to guest star in Stand Up. Lie Down at Comix's Ochi's Lounge, where humorists submit to Lisa Levy's unlicensed but insightful therapy. At one point, a sultry woman in the audience volunteered some sound advice of her own as to how I should handle my mother. As she spoke, I realized it was two-time Tony winner Bebe Neuwirth! I will do exactly as she said!
Therapists also advised me to go to the Mao PR party for Mauricio and Roger Padilha's lush book about Day-Glo designer Stephen Sprouse, and that proved even more creatively cathartic. An astounding assortment of my old '80s cohorts had crawled out of a time tunnel to be there, like trannie diva Teri Toye, who now lives in Des Moines, of all places. As fashionistas preened and flashes popped, I asked Teri what that town is like. "It's not like this," she said, "which is what I like about it!" Is she still friends with her old mentor, photographer Steven Meisel? "I haven't talked to him in 100 years," Teri cooed. "I haven't kept in touch with anyone. It would give me anxieties." But going to the bathroom didn't. Someone shady followed Teri in and noticed that after she finished, the toilet seat was up. You know what that means.