“Gleefully wacky and irreverent.”

–The New York Times

“Line by line, Mr. Rudnick may be the funniest writer for the stage in the United States today.”

–The New York Times

“Deeply funny musings and adventures elevate Paul Rudnick to the highest level of American comedy writing.”

–Steve Martin

“One of the funniest quip-meisters on the planet.”

–The New York Times

“Paul Rudnick is a champion of truth (and love and great wicked humor) whom we ignore at our peril.”

–David Sedaris

“Quips fall with the regularity of the autumn leaves.”

–Associated Press

Month: February 2015

February 25, 2015


31-photo-mood-usa-new-york-winter-city-town-beautiful-snow-2The benefits of a particularly vicious winter:

I can alternate my wardrobe of knitted wool hats.

Handsome wool scarves are pearls for men.

In New York, far more than crime or the economy or education, winter is the test of a Mayor. How quickly have the streets been plowed? Which neighborhoods have been ignored, due to vengeful agendas? Why can’t that layer of packed, implacable ice be dealt with? Has the sidewalk in front of Grace Mansion been cleared?

The only thing which causes neighbors to speak to each other in elevators: the cold.

My partner John has a particular hatred for certain local TV weathermen. John grows especially gleeful when these weatherpeople are wrong. John believes in a website called the Weather Underground, which he swears is far more accurate. For some reason, I associate the Weather Underground with that Silk Road bitcoin-based, drug trafficking site, whose founder was recently convicted of masterminding a criminal empire.

When the temperature remains above 20 degrees, this now feels balmy.

Ugly footwear is not only allowed, but essential.

I stare at  especially grimy corners sprouting especially forlorn trees, and try to picture that corner in springtime. This is how especially terrible poems get written.

February 23, 2015

Oscar Night

in-and-out-2When we had to fake the Oscars for In&Out, the superb Production Designer Ken Adam used a chunk of Lincoln Center for the exterior red carpet, as seen in the photo above, and a college theater up in Purchase, NY, for the ceremony itself. The film clips from To Serve and Protect, the movie Matt Dillon’s character is nominated for, were also filmed in New York, with a beach in Queens substituting for a Vietnam battlefield, with the addition of some palm trees and a lot of smoke. Many of the scenes set in the fictional town of Greenleaf, Indiana were shot in Northport, Long Island, where the cameras had to be careful not to include glimpses of the Atlantic Ocean. The high school sections were shot in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, and the scenes at Matt’s Malibu estate were filmed in the luxurious beachfront community of Deal, New Jersey – I grew up in NJ and I’d never heard of Deal, which is staggeringly deluxe. Kevin Kline lent his own Academy Award, which he’d won for A Fish Called Wanda, for use in the movie.

I’ve never been to the real Oscars but it was a treat to recreate them, especially with one of those whirling, abstract sets and the gracious presence of Glenn Close and Whoopi Goldberg as Hollywood royalty.

February 18, 2015

You the Jury

cq5dam.web.1280.1280I’ve just finished jury duty, but since I wasn’t picked for a jury I’d like to support our justice system in my own way, by providing this list of questions for all prospective jurors:

1. Could you ever convict someone who was seriously attractive?

2. Would you be willing to implement the death penalty for a defendant who reminded you of your creepy, emotionally unavailable ex?

3. If you were on jury duty during an especially cold February, would you wonder if your hat hair would sway your chances of being picked for a trial?

4. Would you be willing to send a member of your own family to prison, even if they hadn’t been charged with a crime?

5. Would it be proper to have a jury find a defendant “Guilty But With A Great Smile”?

6. Do you consider a defendant stealing something which they really needed, like a cashmere cardigan in exactly the right shade of plum, to be a crime?

7. Would you be willing to convict an innocent person if you were going to get their rent-controlled apartment?

8. Do you think that all jurors should be required to wear matching t-shirts silk-screened with a picture of Judge Judy?

9. Before the jury foreman reads the verdict, should the Final Jeopardy theme be played over the courtroom sound system?

February 17, 2015


jewishA lawsuit has been brought in Jersey City against a group called Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing, or JONAH. According to the New York Times, this organization claimed that it could cure patients of their homosexuality; one of the plaintiffs was told to “grab a tennis racquet, scream and beat an effigy of his mother as if killing her.”

Here are some additional options for curing gayness:

1. Make an effigy of a beautiful lady and introduce her to all of your friends and coworkers as “my fiancee, Caitlin.”

2. Bring Caitlin with you to see a hit Broadway musical, and make out with her any time a shirtless chorus boy does a backflip.

3. When you go to an orthodox synagogue, make sure to either seat Caitlin upstairs with the other women, or check her in the coatroom.

4. Bring Caitlin with you to your family’s Passover seder, and make her say “Shalom!” to everyone in a high-pitched voice.

5. Marry Caitlin in an Orthodox ceremony, exchanging her cheap blonde wig for a heavier sheitel, and dressing her in a turtleneck, a long skirt, thick black stockings and sensible shoes.

6. Buy 14 Cabbage Patch dolls and tell everyone that the dolls are your kids.

7. Finally confess to Caitlin that you’re attracted to men, and then find her another Orthodox gay husband on JDate.

8. Make an effigy of a hunky guy in a Speedo and a yarmulke and introduce him to everyone as your new husband, Jonah.

February 12, 2015

Valentines Day

This is dedicated to my partner John, who’s a big-time Doris Day fan. And the song says exactly how I feel about John.


February 12, 2015

How To Hurt A Writer’s Feelings

writers-blockBe unable to remember every word the writer has ever written.

Mention a terrible review the writer received ten years ago, a review you’d always assured the writer that no one had ever read.

Refuse to hate every other writer who’s ever lived.

Okay, you’re allowed to sort of like a very few safely dead writers. Like Homer or Aristophanes. No, I take that back: Aristophanes was a hack.

Mention another writer’s movie sale, Pulitzer or great hair.

Tell the writer that you “really enjoyed” their last book or play or poem. The correct word is “worshipped.”

Post a Top Ten Whatevers list online and don’t include the writer. Even if it’s a Top Ten list of professional football players.

Neglect to post five star reviews of the writer’s work on both Amazon and Goodreads, using as many different aliases as possible.

If you’re a receptionist, salesperson or dental hygienist, ask the writer what he or she does for a living. Then, once the writer has replied, “I’m a writer”, ask, “But what do you do for a living?”


February 10, 2015

Who Do You Trust?

Tom-HanksAccording to a research firm called the Marketing Arm, Brian Williams had once been listed as the 23rd Most Trusted celebrity in America, but he’s now fallen to 835, on a par with Gene Hackman and one of the Duck Dynasty stars. I checked the Forbes Most Trusted List for 2014, and the top ten are Tom Hanks, Carol Burnett, Morgan Freeman, Michael J. Fox, Betty White, Robin Roberts, Denzel Washington, Maggie Smith and Ron Howard. Bill Cosby has recently descended from #3 to #2615. This is from a study of 6000 celebrities, which means that shockingly, there are stars who people trust even less than Bill Cosby.

The Readers Digest Most Trusted list includes, in its top ten, Alex Trebek, Bill Gates, Sandra Bullock and, at #1, Tom Hanks.

So there it is: Tom Hanks is the most trusted person in America. I love Tom Hanks, but would I lend him money? Would I leave him alone in my house? Would I give him any of my PIN numbers?

Here are attributes which may account for a star’s trustworthiness:

1. They’ve suffered from either an illness or the loss of a child.

2. They’ve continually played the roles of trustworthy, appealing, paternal characters onscreen. Morgan Freeman has played God more than once.

3. They’ve avoided public scandals.

4. They’ve consistently entertained America without being particularly edgy.

5. They’re a fantasy version of a favorite aunt, uncle, cousin, coach, parent or designated driver.

6. They’ve written at least one inspirational autobiography.

7. They’re not pushy about their appeal.

8. Interestingly, three of the women on the list are extremely funny.

9. They’ve endured.

But here’s a larger question: why do we need to trust our celebrities? Are we going to list them as emergency contacts on our health insurance? Are they going to drive our Moms to the doctor? Are they going to remember to feed and walk our dogs?

The only reason to ascertain a star’s trustworthiness is to measure their value as a spokesperson. So according to the list, Tom Hanks could sell the rest of us Jell-o, handguns, whiskey and condoms. Trustworthiness does not seem to be required for a signature fragrance.

February 9, 2015

Silent Movie Responses

this_is_theDivaPiovra_originalIn certain situations, I enjoy responding to simple, sincere questions as if I’m either the innocent heroine or the dastardly villain of a silent movie, only I speak.

For example, sometimes when I’ve been interviewed, the interviewer will become visibly nervous before finally saying, “Um, I hope it’s okay to ask this, but are you, well, openly gay?”

More than once I have responded by widening my eyes, staggering backwards and declaring, “HOW DARE YOU?”

When someone offers me, say, a family-size bag of peanut M&Ms, I will turn my head away, raise the palms of my hands and murmur, “I couldn’t!”

If the person then actually tries to take the bag away, I’ll grab it and announce, “BUT I SHALL!”

My friend Candida has often quoted two responses from Reflections in a Golden Eye, which is an especially delerious film version of a Carson McCullers novel set in the deep South, and starring Marlon Brando and Elizabeth Taylor. For no particular reason, Candida’s eyes will blaze, and she’ll say, with great Dixie bravura, “Cuttin’ off her nipples with a pair of GARDEN SHEARS? You can’t tell me that’s normal!”

At other moments Candida will become haughty and grand, borrowing from a moment where Liz  brandishes a riding crop and, referring to her prize horse, tells Brando: “You can’t ride my Fireball. You can’t possibly ride my Fireball. Fireball’s a STALLION!”

Reflections in a Golden Eye1

February 5, 2015


Here’s the trailer for Magic Mike XXL or as I like to think of it, Magic Mike Plus Size. The heavenly Channing Tatum seems to be playing the Jennifer Beals role in Flashdance. Of course if Clint Eastwood had directed this movie it would’ve been called American Stripper.

Libby Gelman-Waxner has told me that she can’t decide which movie she’s more excited about, this or Fifty Shades of Grey. As she put it, “At last, some serious films for women.”

February 5, 2015


Bruce-Jenners-MOTHER-Confirms-Him-Transitioning-Into-A-Woman1Esther Jenner, Bruce Jenner’s 88-year-old mother, was recently asked to comment about her son’s transition, and she replied, “I never thought I could be more proud of Bruce than when he reached his goal in 1976, but I’m more proud of him now. It takes a lot of courage to do what he’s doing.” Esther is truly a great and loving Mom, and the Bruce Jenner story has become a perfect media mega-tsunami for the following reasons:

It involves the reactions of an entire wealthy, much-publicized clan: it’s a Dynasty moment.

It will confound the far right, who will struggle to reconcile their skepticism of all transgender-related issues with their feelings for an Olympic hero who appeared on the Wheaties box.

It will allow transgender advocates to compose infinite op-ed pieces concerning the correct and respectful way to report the story.

It will most likely annoy Kim Kardashian, because for the duration, she’s been moved to the edges of the spotlight, which may account for her recent flurry of hey-remember-my-butt nude photos.

It will permit every media outlet to devise endless angles, from promoting Bruce’s nail polish choices to positioning Bruce as a symbol for just about everything.

Since Bruce seems happier than he’s ever been, the story may have a happy ending.

The whole deal may lead more viewers to watch Transparent on Amazon, which is a terrific, superbly written and cast show and a helpful guide to much of what Bruce may be experiencing; in the best way, Transparent is the Bruce Jenner Cliff’s Notes.

The story will at last give Kris Jenner just what she’s always dreamed of: even more publicity.


February 3, 2015

I Believe

spirituality11That when classical pianists play solo pieces, even if they claim that the piece is by Bach or Debussy, they’re just playing random notes

That whenever a star like Jennifer Lopez or Mariah Carey is photographed  with their young children, somewhere Joan Crawford is smiling

That after Mitt Romney decided not to run for President again, he did something depraved, like drinking a sugary soft drink

That no one really needs a pitbull

That dodging black ice and bottomless puddles of slush counts as an aerobic workout

That while Uber is clearly an idea whose time has come, it’s still a creepy form of dating


February 1, 2015

Hardcore Porn for Obsessively Tidy People

thA Gif of that blue painters tape being peeled off, revealing that the none of the wall color has bled onto the cornice

An entire website devoted to streak-free mirrors

An 800 number which plays the sound of a squeegee eliminating buildup from the inside of a glass shower door

A Glf of someone accidentally spilling Cheerios onto the floor and then vacuuming up every last Cheerio with a Dustbuster, including the three Cheerios under the refrigerator

A silent documentary set entirely in the factory where they make Bounty paper towels

A Glf of someone almost setting a glass of red wine onto a white marble countertop and at the last second deciding not to

A session with a prostitute who would meticulously break down cardboard boxes, stack them, securely tie the stacks with twine, and then neatly set the stacks out in the appropriate area on the appropriate recycling day

A snuff film in which an enormous industrial vacuum sucks up a human being as they’re eating a full meal on a subway or inside a movie theater