"Generalissimo Francisco Franco of Spain is still dead!"
For months on end, Saturday Night Live got big big laughs and results from this on-going "news" announcement, made repeatedly in 1975 during SNL's first season.
•AND now I suggest that CNN can get the same results by continuing to lead into every announcement by saying, that it is "BREAKING NEWS," as they can hardly wait to get through other international information to announce the latest about the disappearance of the missing Malaysian air flight over the Indian Ocean.
I don't know that there has ever been any real information announced about this tragedy, just that it is still always BREAKING NEWS.
•MANY of you have asked how I feel about Stephen Colbert leaving his Comedy Central gig and taking David Letterman's hosting job on CBS.
This is what I think. Stephen Colbert is one of America's greatest actors. His impersonation of a dunderheaded conservative TV personality has won him seven primetime Emmy awards on Comedy Central.
But it is actually the theater Tony or the Hollywood Oscar that Colbert should be up for some fine day.
Now he'll give up quote "comic acting" to replace Letterman on CBS. He will then have to be himself -- witty, smart, liberal-minded, a host selecting and playing straight man to guest celebrities. Lots of people have predicted DOOM for this change coming in Colbert's on-air personality. He won't be like either of the two Jimmys (Fallon or Kimmel) or like Letterman or like Leno or even Johnny Carson.
Instead, he'll be a new Stephen Colbert and he'll have to drop his successful GOP actor hit. He says that he got the Letterman job only because he has good legs. We'll see.
It will become TV history after next year and who knows what we'll watching then or how we'll be watching it -- maybe we'll then watch such things on ring fingers. But I wouldn't bet against the brilliant Stephen Colbert.
Still I'll really miss him as an actor who votes Conservative!
•A RUMOR I hope is not true -- that 20th Century Fox is looking to do a sequel to "Mrs. Doubtfire." You remember, the tale of a divorced man so obsessed with seeing his children that he disguises himself as an old Scottish nanny? It starred Robin Williams and Sally Field. (Pierce Brosnan also appeared as a guy interested in Sally.)
Although beloved by many, I always found Mrs. Doundtfire one of the strangest movies ever made. Robins' character was an immature psycho, and Sally Field, who is the responsible working parent, is made to look like a soulless, humorless monster. I know it's just a movie, and a comedy at that. But I recall thinking, as the film wound up, "When is he going to pull a gun and shoot everybody dead?"
No word on Sally Field reprising her role. Well, listen, didn't she suffer enough as Mary Todd Lincoln?
•On Vanity Fair's website, I notice that good reporter Sue Carswell has an exclusive interview with the real Alex Vause of the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. The Vause character is based on a real person, Catherine Cleary Wolters, who served six years in prison for conspiracy to import heroin. Her 'crazy mad love affair' with Piper Kerman, author of the memoir on which the series is based, did NOT begin until both were working for an alleged Nigerian drug kingpin.
Kerman, a Smith College graduate, did time on a money-laundering charge. "We weren't girlfriends," Wolters says. "We were friends with benefits."
"But that is startling news to me," says Kerman to reporter Carswell. Of the few weeks they were incarcerated together, Wolters claims, "We were ghosts of the humans we had once been, milling about amongst hundreds of other human ghosts, shackled and chained, prodded through transport centers at gunpoint." Wolters goes on: "A reality that was too wretched and stinky for TV." (Apparently there was plenty of sex in the women's prison, but Walters claims, "Praying is about the most intimate thing two people can do in some places -- not sex.")
So much for cinema veritee! There is much more in the Vanity Fair interview, including how Kerman learned to communicate with Wolters in prison through the toilet. "A little something you'll never pick up at Smith," says Wolters.
•And speaking of real life turning into "respectable" literary porn, the other night at the appealing little Veau d'Or on 60th Street in Manhattan, there were Nan and Gay Talese (New York's distinguished book people) dining with the Daily News/Wash.Post columnist Richard Cohen. They were joined by an attractive brunette. Turns out she is California's Toni Bentley, a onetime ballet dancer whose book The Surrender: An Erotic Memoir received high praise in 2004.
Maybe you saw her on the Howard Stern show or on Topic A With Tina Brown. Ms. Bentley once danced under the tutelage of none other than the great Balanchine. She has written about her idol, dancer Suzanne Farrell, and also about costume design and is much in demand for her frank self-appraisal: "I became an archetype, a myth, a Joseph Campbell goddess spreading my legs for the benefit of all mankind for all time."
You never know who you might see at Veau d'Or where the proprietor Cathy Treboux might just shut and lock the door for conversation after 9:30. the comic Cassandra Sandra Bernhard...society writer Billy Norwich...old-timers from Time, Inc...cookbook kings...politicos from the Bloomberg era...Leonardo and DeNiro and I don't know who all love the Veau's informal atmosphere and its attractive owner!
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