HBO’s Entourage takes the Sex and the City formula—throwing together four people of the same gender, each with one major trait—and 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 thing—people’s interest in hearing intimate details over and over again!” And ROSIE PEREZ, whom I asked how her chocha is—you had to read last week’s column—to 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!” DiGiacomo—who appears only as a commentator—told 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 Merv—though 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 phone—for all of us to hear—as 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 party—even 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 nominated—HEATHER 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 bewilderment—Norbert 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.
UTTER DIS, MAY
As sure as The Pillowman should have used a “vote your fingers” campaign, I’ll bet you four quarters that the first show of the new season, ELAINE MAY‘s triple feature After the Night and the Music, won’t get any Tonys next year. It dabbles in dated themes, drops rickety references, and has a lispy quartre-sexual who cries during The Wizard of Oz. What’s more, the second playlet owes a shitload to an uncredited Dorothy Parker piece in which a woman desperately waits for a man to call. (But since that was written in the ’30s, you can understand her not having call waiting.) On the bright side, the first playlet—a dance-hall fantasia—is a wispy delight, and there’s no mistaking May’s wry twists throughout. But as sure as BILL IRWIN‘s life will be hell from now on, forget about getting any Tonys.
My award for best funnish Wednesday gayish party is BANG! downstairs at No. 1 Chinese, where MATT BELL, JIMMY IM, and BABY C host and LOGO cameras have been shooting it all for posterity. “Even the straight guys seem gay,” remarked a guest.
And the best gossip: I hear MAXWELL‘s CD Black Summer’s Night is being held up as the label tries to figure out what to do with his lyrics, which are more sexually revealing than they’d like. I knew he was one of us!
Anyway, I’m Tony Sinclair. Ready to Tanqueray?
Watching each other’s backs: Mr. (Brad Pitt) and Mrs. (Angelina Jolie) Smith
photo: Stephen Vaughn/SMPSP
KIDDIE KIDDIE BLING-BLING
I just ran into the eternal DR. RUTH in a TV greenroom, where we both looked spiffy and a little overanxious. “What we won’t do for TV!” she trilled. . . . Or for the stage. If MICHAEL JACKSON really ever ends up performing at Wynn Las Vegas, he’ll be in the same casino as the gay-multiculti-stripper puppets of that racy children’s show for grown-ups, Avenue Q. Sounds like a fascinating fit. . . . I hear that grown-up musical about kids, Billy Elliot—which just got raves in London—beefs up the miners plotline, so the show’s tutu-wearing young lads share equal time with the grimy-faced, striking macho workers. Picture The Boy From Oz (but straight) meets Les Miz.
In the adult world of Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a line that gets a laugh has a couples therapist asking Brangelina, “How often do you have sex?” “I don’t understand the question,” answers Ms. Jolie evasively. . . . I don’t understand Cinderella Man, which is basically Seabiscuit with boxing gloves, and which amounts to a piece of glowingly made cornpone fraudulence that could have easily been propagated before call waiting.
But back to the kids: With two of Madagascar‘s lead animals voiced by African Americans, am I the only one who feels the plot is uncomfortably reminiscent of a PRINCESS MICHAEL type “go back to Africa where you came from” idea? Yes? OK, I’ll shut up now. No, wait. Club goddess CODIE RAVIOLI tells me that, despite murmurs, she’s not selling her NAN GOLDIN photos to get anything else. “They’re photos of me 15 years ago!” said Codie, sensibly.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 31, 2005