“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: September 2015

September 29, 2015

Matt Damon

Matt-Damon-matt-damon-9040374-1024-768I think Matt Damon is a terrific actor, and not an awful person, but he keeps getting himself into trouble, most recently with his awkward, misguided remarks about gay actors. He said, essentially, that gay actors should remain closeted, because the personal lives of all actors are better left private and mysterious. Following an internet outcry, he went on Ellen to explain himself and insist that he’d been quoted out of context and misunderstood. He said that when he and Ben Affleck won Oscars for writing Good Will Hunting, some people assumed they were lovers; Matt said that he hated having to “throw his gay friends under the bus”, by announcing his heterosexuality. In a list of life’s agonies, a movie star having to publically confess that he’s straight doesn’t seem all that painful.

Matt has a history of concerned liberalism, but what his remarks demonstrated was not just an offhand case of straight-guy privilege, but movie-star distance. Matt’s been famous and applauded for a long time, which may have influenced his sense of everyday reality. Above all, his remarks are a classic example of the difference between straight people and gay people: I don’t think it occured to Matt that for a gay actor, words like privacy and mystery are code for homophobia.

Matt played Scott Thorson, Liberace’s boyfriend, in Behind the Candelabra. Liberace sued a magazine for insinuating that he was gay, and he died of AIDS while denying he had the disease – which is what can happen when a performer is desperate to keep their privacy and mystery intact.

September 25, 2015

At The Barricades

Police CarLast night I went to a movie on West 55th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, just as the Pope was appearing at St. Patrick’s Cathedral a few blocks away on Fifth Avenue. I was meeting friends, but I got there early, and a few minutes later, when my friends arrived, they couldn’t get to the theater because the entire block had been barricaded, with fences and stanchions and a garbage truck parked sideways. There were police officers everywhere, making sure no one got through. I chatted with the officers, who were incredibly nice; they’d been working since early morning and would be on duty till 4 AM. Try as I might, I couldn’t schmooze the officers into letting my friends through: the scene was just like the first act finale of Miss Saigon, when a helicopter descends and some people get to leave Vietnam while others are forced to remain on the ground and continue singing.

I considered skipping the movie and heading to St. Patrick’s, to see if the Pope might wave me over and tell me how much he enjoys my work. I would of course, blush and say, “It’s mutual!” and we’d hug. The Pope’s cute translator, Msgr. Mike, would hand me a card with the address of the Papal after-party. We’d all hang out and chat about Trump and the new season of Empire and how hard it is to dry-clean the Pope’s white outfit.

But instead the police finally re-opened the block and my friends and I went to the movies.I texted the Pope, “Later!” and I knew he understood.

Here’s what the evening would’ve looked like, if you substitute me for President Obama.


September 18, 2015

Worst Kinds of Waiting

waiting-21. Waiting for medical test results
2. Waiting behind a person who’s decided to discuss a purchase from three months ago with the cashier
3. Waiting for someone who still hasn’t started packing when you’re already late for your flight
4. Waiting for the light to change
5. Waiting for a college acceptance notification
6. Waiting while the salesperson checks to see if they have your desired item “in the back” when you know the salesperson is actually making a personal call about where to meet Andrea later tonight
7. Waiting for the check
8. Waiting for the bathroom
9. Waiting for the bathroom WHEN IT’S AN EMERGENCY
10. Waiting for the subway to start moving again after the lights and air conditioning have gone out
11. Waiting for someone at a restaurant or on a streetcorner and wondering if you’ve been stood up or if the other person has been in a terrible acccident – then you start hoping they were
12. Waiting for a repair person to arrive after the “four hour window” has long passed
13. Waiting on the wrong line
14. Waiting for someone after the show or movie has already started, and you know they’re still primping
15. Waiting for the brownies to have cooled down enough to eat without burning your mouth
16. Waiting for your turn to speak in any conversation

September 12, 2015


twitter1-2200x800I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for a bit, but I’ve been working away at a batch of projects and, God help me, I now have a Twitter account – @PaulRudnickNY. I’m pretty sure I’m the very last person on earth to begin tweeting. My observations:

– Rachel Griffiths, my glorious editor at Scholastic, encouraged me to join Twitter. By this I mean she came to my apartment and with the help of the brilliant and invaluable Jeffrey and Jeremy West, set up my account, showed me how to tweet and everyone barely suppressed their laughter at my incompetence. I am in their debt.

– Tweeting is fun and maddening. It’s a social and mathematical challenge. It’s like jumping up and down in a crowd of millions and trying to grab everyone’s attention. Without owning a gun.

– Some people are brilliant and funny on Twitter and others are not. It’s like a cocktail party where you learn who to avoid and who seems entertaining.

– I have a weakness for following celebrities who pay someone, or a team of someones, to tweet for them. You can feel the employees’ anxiety and terror, as they attempt to make the celeb come across as friendly and down-to-earth, while promoting the celeb’s latest projects and ignoring the celeb’s latest arrest for manslaughter.

– Like so much of the internet, Twitter is a variation on passing notes in class. It doesn’t accomplish all that much, but it sure beats Algebra.

September 3, 2015

God to Kim

Kentucky-clerk-Kim-Davis-contKim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who’s refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, claims that God has instructed her to behave this way. Here are some other things God’s whispered to Kim:

“Get married again. Fifth time’s the charm!”

“Every day is Casual Friday in Kentucky!”

“Keep saying that you don’t hate anyone. Then giggle to yourself.”

“Accept huge amounts of cash and legal advice from scary evangelical groups and individuals.Use the money to buy more barettes.”

“Think about also denying drivers licenses to gay people, because what if they drive to their demonic churches and get married?”

“Check to make sure that none of your Beanie Babies are gay. Make the gay Beanie Babies sleep outside.”