“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: August 2015

August 31, 2015

First Lady

1430785592_kim-kardashian-kanye-west-zoomLast night at the VMAs, Kanye West announced that he was running for President in 2020. While this was thrilling news, what really excited me was the prospect of First Lady Kim Kardashian. Here’s what we can expect:

– Instead of literacy or fighting childhood obesity, Kim will champion universal brow-shaping.

– Kim will stand proudly beside President West at his Inaugural, with her butt facing the camera.

– Kris Jenner will urge Kim to re-model the White House and add a mother-in-law apartment, granite countertops in the Oval Office, and she’ll push for turning the Lincoln Bedroom into a shoe closet.

– Kim’s official portrait will be a nude, although she’ll be holding a bottle of her latest fragrance.

– Kim’s sisters Khloe and Kourtney will open a boutique in the Rose Garden, selling leggings, fun tops and invitations to official dinners.

– Kim will demand that during Kanye’s presidency, the other branches of government will be spelled the Supreme Kort and Kongress.

August 25, 2015

Things the Internet Is Making Me Worry About

Flo_from_Progressive_Insurance1. The morality of a Caitlyn Jenner Halloween costume.

2. Is Joe Biden serious about running for president? Why?

3. Taylor Swift is now routinely bringing celebrities onstage during her concert tour, including Julia Roberts, Joan Baez and Alanis Morissette. Where are Ruth Ginsburg, Sheryl Sandberg and Flo from the insurance ads?

4. The wonderful and essential website D-Listed posted a real-life TV ad by a San Antonio mortician named Dick Tips. Is the name Dick Tips better or worse than Deez Nuts?

5. Can Youtube stars with millions of followers become legitimate movie or TV stars? Isn’t this something only the Youtube stars’ parents should worry about?

August 25, 2015

Ignorance 101

Fun HomeTowards the end of Tony Kushner’s magnificent Angels In America, a character predicts a brighter future, claiming, “the world only spins forwards.” I’ve always loved that moment, even though the world keeps providing evidence to the contrary.

There’s currently a particularly dimwitted freshman at Duke, who’s refused to read Alison Bechdel’s classic graphic memoir Fun Home (the book is part of a voluntary reading list.) Brian Grasso has said that, “I still hold that personally it would be dishonoring to God for me to read it and view it.” Naturally, Grasso claims that any objections to his idiocy are the result of discrimination. He says, “The purpose of the university is for people to come and hear different perspectives, and I thought I was consistent with that in my decision not to read the book.”

Arguing with Grasso is pointless, although he might at least acknowledge that if he doesn’t read books he might disagree with, how will he ever experience his beloved “different perspectives”?

Grasso is also nervous because he’s been told that the book contains sexual imagery. I’m assuming that Grasso has never seen any TV shows, movies, billboards or other people. My fondest hope is that someday, Grasso will be found trembling and twitching, unable to form words, with Fun Home open by his side.

August 24, 2015


I’m working on I Shudder, a pilot for TV Land, with the wonderful producer Dan Jinks. With the help of the superb casting director Bernie Telsey and his associate Conrad Woolfe, we’ve been assembling a sensational cast, including Hamish Linklater, Megan Hilty, Geneva Carr, John Behlmann and ten-year-old Brooklyn Shuck. I’ve been feeling very spoiled, as you can tell by all the superlatives in the previous sentences.

The show is inspired by the Elyot Vionnet stories from my collection also called I Shudder. Elyot is a very special guy, who lives in what he calls his “perfect studio apartment which almost overlooks Gramercy Park.” Elyot is apalled by indecent behavior and he resolves to help the world become a better, more compassionate and more stylish place. As he does this, through no fault of Elyot’s, people occasionally die. Elyot has perfect taste and he’s not afraid to use it.

The pilot will be shot in New York in October.

CBS Summer Press Tour Party - Arrivals




Slide 1

August 24, 2015

Giant Red Ball

This has been everywhere, but it’s still fun to watch on a Monday morning. It’s from an art installation in Toledo:

August 22, 2015

Ashley Madison

ashley-madisonBoth Josh Duggar and Sam Rader, a creep with a Christian vlog, have been caught with accounts on Ashley Madison, the website designed to promote extra-marital affairs. Both Josh and Sam have manfully admitted their transgressions, claimed that everyone’s a sinner, and they’ve asked the Lord’s forgiveness. The wives of both of these men have reportedly forgiven them. Here’s my question: what wouldn’t these decent Christian ladies forgive?

If their husbands cheated with women from a Jewish website called Rachel Melissa.

If their husbands publicly stated, “I hate my wife’s bangs.”

If their husbands cheated with men from a gay website called Chad Brice.

If their husbands publicly stated, “I love online porn much more than my wife’s mac and cheese.”

If their husbands not only cheated, but forgot to walk the dog and the dog peed on the wife’s favorite ribbed, slimming polyester cardigan, the one she likes to wear in the videos where the couple talks about how gay marriage threatens their freedom of religion.

If the wife suddenly realized why their 15th baby was named Ashley Madison.

August 21, 2015

Possible New Superpowers

superheroThe ability to re-open subway doors, with my mind.

The ability to remember that George Pataki is still a possible presidential candidate.

The ability to fly, in business class.

The ability to always get a window seat, in any vehicle, and to repel strangers from sitting next to me.

The ability to eat the pillow-size bags of trail mix, without gaining weight or getting stomach cramps.

The ability to finish reading, and understand, any article on the Greek financial crisis.

The ability to believably pretend to listen.

August 17, 2015

Difficult People

hulu-difficult-people-trailerI’ve been watching the new show Difficult People on Hulu, and it’s completely wonderful. It was created by Julie Klausner, and stars Julie and the terrific Billy Eichner as two frustrated, opinionated show business obsessives, lurking around the fringes of fame. In the course of the early episodes, the pair has managed to gloriously insult child understudies, Blue Ivy, PBS and so many other worthy targets. The cast is packed with people like Andrea Martin, Cole Escola, James Urbaniak, Gabourey Sidibe, Martin Short and Andy Cohen, all having a blast. The show is smart, fearless and always goes just a bit farther than you think it will. The first three episodes are now available, but I’m kind of glad that Hulu didn’t air the entire series all at once, so now I have something to look forward to every week. I’ve also watched and adored the full first season of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. Both of these shows are addictively pleasureable.

August 13, 2015

It Has A Name!

2974dd2233ecbaa73e6daaf448c978eaEver since I was little, I’ve never been able to instantly remember which was my left foot and which was my right. In gym class I’d sometimes use a Bic pen to scrawl a large R and L on the tips of my sneakers. If someone said, “Raise your right hand”, I’d have to think about it, and try to recall which hand I wrote with, and I’d often second-guess myself. Don’t get me started on trying to figure out stage-right and stage-left.

According to the NY Times, “roughly 15 percent of the population suffer from profound left-right confusion.” The Times also notes that this syndrome doesn’t matter very much, unless you’re, for example, a surgeon who has to decide which leg or arm of a patient to operate on. Mistakes have occured in these situations, which is why most hospitals now require the doctor to clearly mark the limb in question, by writing THIS LEG, IF YOU WANT TO AVOID A MAJOR LAWSUIT on the patient with a thick magic marker.

I feel much better now that my condition has been named, which will make it easier to hold Profound Left-Right Confusion fund-raising events, including triathalons where half the competitors will run in the wrong direction. I also want to develop a line of merchandise, with gloves knitted with R and L, which of course I’ll try to shove onto the wrong hands, and t-shirts reading NO, YOUR OTHER RIGHT HAND. I’m also pleased to suffer from a profound disorder, rather than something more shallow.

I will file this entire post under More Good Reasons Why I Don’t Drive.

August 10, 2015

You Can’t Complain About Strangers Watching You, Often With Disgust, If You Do Any of the Following Things In Public:

81304c6ec4384bb803fb57b5f12b54a4Use one of those cylindrical foam rollers to massage every part of your body on a mat at the gym. Especially if you moan.

Wear any garment with writing on it. Especially if the writing is on your butt.

Talk to your friend really loudly on the subway about how Shauna is a TOTAL SKANK I MEAN LOOK AT HER LEGS THEY’RE LIKE HAMS WHY IS JORDAN GOING OUT WITH HER?

Shave any part of your body while standing naked in a locker room.

Blow-dry any part of your body while standing naked in a locker room.

Jog wearing spandex while pushing an aerodynamically-designed stroller.

Walk along a crowded sidewalk with your arm draped around your loved one (any couple who does this will break up within a week.)

Stand in front of a painting at a museum and make little noises, as if you’re considering buying it.

August 8, 2015

Small Victories

Victory_Boizot_Chatelet_FountainGetting to the store just before it closes and buying the last of whatever item you’re looking for.

Realizing that you’ve accidentally made your computer do something you have no idea how to do.

Skimming the last pages of a book you hate.

Deciding that you didn’t need to watch the Republican debate, and you don’t need to read any of the recaps. Were there ever going to be any surprises?

Knowing that since you haven’t showered, it’s fine to wear a less-than-clean shirt. In other words, fully accepting that you’re a slovenly pig.

Remembering that it’s Saturday, so you have an entire additional day to remain a slovenly pig.

August 5, 2015

Writers Cred

To earn a certain sort of street cred, people will say things like, “I once killed a man with my bare hands” or “I just got back from my third tour of duty” or “I changed a flat tire.” Writers are a different breed, and to establish writers cred, you need to say things like:

“I once copy-edited my manuscript and removed over 314 semi-colons. From the first two chapters.”

“Real writers don’t use quotation marks.”

“Do you know the difference between capitol and capital? Do ya, punk?”

“Sometimes I don’t indent paragraphs. That’s right, baby.”

“I footnote my footnotes. Because that’s who I am.”

“My editor asked me to make my book’s chronology coherent. I just laughed.”

“Sure, I could Google the information about actual events. I just don’t want to.”

“Yeah, maybe the phrase Writers Cred needs an apostrophe somewhere. Do I look like I care?”