The other night I was a celebrity speller at “Let It Bee,” a spelling bee benefit for [clmp] that was MC’d by literary agent Ira Silverberg.
And I managed to bring the whole level of the room — and in fact all of literature — down in just a few salty moments.
First off, I demanded “penis” for my word, to which Silverberg sardonically countered, “buttplug.” “OK, buttplug,” I replied. “I-R-A S-I-L-V-E-R-B-E-R-G.”
I then cracked that I had fucked his husband, who wasn’t on assignment in Brazil after all, he was hanging out at a gay sex club down the block. The audience tittered, but the other spellers — big-time novelists and publishers — were quietly texting, clearly plotting their way out of there.
And then came my word. It wasn’t penis, alas. It was “dirndl.” Something they wear in the Alps, apparently. I replied that it sounded a little like “Yentl” and therefore probably had no vowels towards the end. I was right about that, but unfortunately I was wrong about the vowel in the beginning. I spelled it D-E-R-N-D-L. Buzz!
Last year, I was given another fashion word — “eyelet” — and spelled it “islet.” Oy.
Well, Silverberg got the last word this time, telling the crowd, “Michael USED to know something about fashion.”