Bars

NY Mirror

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My spiritual sister, Janeane Garofalo, turns up in The Independent, a weird little flick in which she’s the daughter of a Roger Corman type played by father figure par excellence Jerry Stiller. Garofalo told me last week that Stiller “is so nice that you think he’s kidding. I act very mannerly and almost soft-spoken and childlike around him.” Subjected to goofballs like me, though, the woman speaks up, saying, “I’d be shocked if the five people that see this movie did not respond positively to it!”

Garofalo will no doubt garner larger numbers when she turns up in the HBO version of Moisés Kaufman‘s The Laramie Project, in which she plays an openly gay University of Wyoming professor. “Of course Moisés cast Nestor Carbonell as himself,” she told me, giggling. “That would be like me saying, ‘I want Cindy Crawford to play myself in the story of me’!” (But Cindy’s already set to play me, honey—though I want the mole removed.) The comic’s also featured in a Barry Sonnenfeld movie called Big Trouble, but its release was delayed because of a kooky scene involving bombs on a plane. Garofalo said she’s glad the flick was held, “because I didn’t think it was the time to be promoting a comedy,” though she thinks this one is worthy, and the bomb scene is wackily fun. Is she up to coveting laffs at all these days? “Like everyone else,” she said, “I thought, ‘I’m quitting showbiz and reprioritizing and doing something that matters.’ Cut to me going, ‘But I have no marketable skills! I can’t work in an office!’ ” Earth to Janeane: What you do is important. We need you, baby, even when you’re acting mannerly.

The Independent isn’t the only esoteric little project coming out about a big dick. There’s Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy, a documentary about the zhlubby icon who, legendarily enough, can lick his own doodad (though he admits that the fatter he gets, the more difficult it is to do so. I know, dear, I know). Jeremy—nicknamed “the Hedgehog”—is a 48-year-old ex-teacher from Queens who made it big in porn thanks to that giant schlong (“It’s two inches . . . from the floor”) and his distinct everyman quality. (“I’m living proof that anyone can get laid.”) But though he still turns up in nudies like Ally McFeal, Jeremy—according to the documentary—craves way more mainstream exposure, as it were.

Well, the hung hero just told me that in the last couple of years, he has gotten bigger parts (to go with his bigger body parts). “I was in Detroit Rock City, which did really, really well on HBO and cassette,” he breathlessly related, “and Boondock Saints with Willem Dafoe—a real classic, which is at Blockbuster and did very well in Japan and parts of Europe. I have the fourth male lead.” And coming up—unless they replace him with Nestor Carbonell—he has roles in everything from Fast Sofa (with Jennifer Tilly and Eric Roberts) to Spun (with Debbie Harry, Mickey Rourke, “and the guy from Almost Famous“).

Jeremy still does adult work (“If it wasn’t for porno films,” he cracks, “I wouldn’t get dick, let alone pussy”) and has grown, literally, into his twilight stature. “Earlier,” he said, “I looked more svelte. Now they want me to represent Field and Stream more than Playgirl. With a little chunk like me, the guys go, ‘There’s hope for all of us. Go, Ron!’ ”

He also manages to do stand-up comedy—go, Ron—and I’m not the only one who finds his jokes arousingly funny. A typical one: “We porn actors can’t take holidays off. I can’t picture an actress saying, ‘I can’t do this interracial, anal gang-bang dwarf thing today because Jesus was born!’ ” Not funnily at all, Ron told me that the average male straight-porn star makes only 40 thou for a year of dropping trou. “We’re still basically props,” he said. “The big money’s in gay porn. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that, though. No self-respecting homosexual would even want me. They’d see my big, hairy, ugly keister on a wide screen and go, ‘We’re not that gay.’ Or ‘Just say no to crack.’ Or ‘We’d rather inhale anthrax.’ ” Yeah, but flip the guy over and I know there’d be takers.

Of course adult entertainment doesn’t have to mean double penetration; it can signify gambling, bright lights, and bountiful buffets, ka-ching, ka-ching. All those fantasies came true when Mohegan Sun, a Native American-themed casino in Connecticut, invited a bunch of us to gawk at its expansion, which makes the place more spectacularly sick than ever. From the Wombi Rock (an enormous, zigzaggy glass structure even bigger than Ron Jeremy’s you know what) to the indoor waterfall (you run through its mouth to get Italian food), there’s something happening, architecturally, in every square inch, all in the hope that you’ll unload your wampum on some slots and a show.

It’s not all glitter, though. In the Mohegan’s cabaret, comic Richard Lewis was greeted with half a crowd—including a couple of hecklers—though he did endearingly get through an hour of neurotic jokes about flatulence, vaginas, and his dead mother (if not interracial, anal gang-bang dwarf things). And in the Wolf’s Den—flanked by four wagging wolf statues—Jon Secada belted out a kinetic set, singing the shit out of a Ricky Martin smash he wrote, and otherwise acting as if the Latin boom hadn’t passed him by at all. The bizarre high point had Secada pulling up an audience member, though he didn’t go for his pal Gloria Estefan, who was sitting right there in a baseball cap. Instead, he dragged up an 80-year-old groupie and crooned a love song to the woman as she looked alternately thrilled, confused, and nauseous. (She coughed up phlegm at one point.) I hear she’s reprioritizing and quitting the biz.

In the big, glittering casino called Broadway, cynics who’ve seen Mamma Mia! have redubbed it Les Miser-ABBA; The Women must have used up its capacious budget, because three of the show’s stars, in glittering gowns, cutely boarded the shuttle bus from the theater to the opening-night party; and while Neil Simon‘s 45 Seconds From Broadway wisely uses its cash on a great set and the delightful Marian Seldes, it centers on a character who’s like Jackie Mason in every way except that he’s not funny! (Your average porn star is more clever.) What’s more, he’s surrounded by a Veanne Cox wannabe, an agent who laughs at everything he says, and an earnest South African playwright who eventually starts doing shtick too! It’s the kind of play where, when characters chat, the people at the next table blankly look at the menu for 10 minutes. The overall effect? To quote a character who ill-advisedly bitches out more successful shows than this, “I enjoyed it, but I didn’t like it.”

I didn’t enjoy dragging my ass to a Black Book party for Billy Bob Thornton only to find that the mag hadn’t told me the star couldn’t make it because of Saturday Night Live rehearsals. His latest movie? The Man Who Wasn’t There. . . . As you know, the adorable Rosie Perez isn’t there anymore for hubby, Seth Zvi Rosenfeld. Well, I had an inkling of their impending separation when I interviewed Rosie over a month ago and she said, “Whether Seth and I are together or not, he’ll be the love of my life!”

Loving my own life, I fled the Sidewalks of New York premiere when three irritating gay jokes turned up within the first 15 minutes. Start a national protest? Nah, I’m not that gay.


musto@villagevoice.com