I was having lunch with Jerry Stiller, Christopher Lloyd, and Robert Vaughn at the Friars Club yesterday–you heard me–when comic Stewie Stone dropped by our table and spilled some old beans.
“Engelbert Humperdinck is a horrible human being,” said Stone, who used to open for the singer and found him repellent.
“Tom Jones and Engelbert hated each other.
“Tom once said to me, ‘How can you stand him?’
“I replied, ‘When they sentenced John Gotti, they offered him a choice between life imprisonment and two weeks on the road with Engelbert. He chose the jail time.’
“Made up name, made up person,” continued the comic. “He’s not a bright man.”
I loved all this insider, old-school, show bizzy, chopped-beef-with-mushroom-gravy-circuit griping.
“After The Lovin” indeed.
But back to Jerry Stiller, Lloyd, and Vaughn.
They’re in a new comic movie called Excuse Me For Living, about a suicidal young drug-user who becomes engrossed in the lives and wisdoms of seniors.
They were at the Friars to receive the honor for “Best Ensemble Cast of Yesterday and Today,” though I inevitably had to puncture the merriment by bringing up the Danny DeVito/Rhea Perlman rift.
“It’s horrible, ” said Lloyd, their old Taxi costar. “I heard it on the radio last night. I haven’t seen Danny in a while.”
“Weird,” said Stiller–who by the way has been married to Anne Meara for 60 years and isn’t budging, thank God.
Speaking of married life, Stone left me with one more observation:
“Here’s my impression of a Mormon comedian:
‘Take my wife, take my wife, take my wife…’ ”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 10, 2012