Michael Jackson's Concert Writer Speaks!

Talking with the smart Jeff Daniels and plotting our Tonys revenge.

Then came Vanities, which—like 9 to 5—has three women bonded in sisterly oppression, though this time, they don't all get to tie up a man and spit on his crotch. A musicalized version of an old hit comedy, Vanities builds to a squishy new ending and, along the way, serves some clichés ("Time flies!") and bland self-help lyrics ("I had to learn priorities"). But it's mainly quite entertaining and well performed as the femme trio goes from cheerleaders to sorority gals to confused adults with power ballads.

The Tony Committee can't get me off the guest list for nightclubs, which is good news now that the Cuckoo Club (Sundays at the Hiro Ballroom) has started to charge. With the bash's freeness gone, so is door-person Connie Girl, since the promoter thought the place was "too ghetto." But Connie's official response? "I need time for me! I wasn't waking up Mondays!"

Well, I woke up Sunday for the Fire Island Dance Festival benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS, where, in between acts of stylized movement, MC Bruce Vilanch sprinkled in anecdotes about having written the last Oscars telecast (the one with only five Best Picture nominees).

Daniels has the answer, man.
John Baer
Daniels has the answer, man.


La Daily Musto
Mama has his own blog!

Vilanch said Best Documentary invariably goes to something in which Jews get killed ("Jews can't live and get an Oscar"). He said Best Song is usually "one turd after another." But the job was worth it, he said, "just to get to say, 'Sophia Loren . . . Jack Black.' Sophia had no idea who he was, but she was gracious to a fault. She stood there with one hand on her hip—she has to or she'd pitch forward—and talked to him in an Italian accent, which was not as good as Meryl Streep's."

After yelling, "Bravo!" I cornered Vilanch to wonder why he'd avoided Jacko material onstage. That's off-limits, he said. "Besides, they're all tired of hearing jokes like, 'Michael died of food poisoning. He was eating 10-year-old nuts.' "

Nutty Vilanch had been hired to write comedic voiceover material for Jackson's British concerts—I'm not making this up—and he even got "some of the money." (He said he might get more now that the rehearsal footage is being sold.) But did he get the memo about how kooky Hitchcock actress Tippi Hedren had to tell Michael's old tigers that daddy had died? "Her son-in-law is Antonio Banderas," said the comic, lighting up. "She's fine! All she has to say is, 'Come over, Antonio. A big pussy needs taking care of.' " Cue the violins.


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