“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: October 2015

October 28, 2015

Important Moments In World Culture

homer-excited1. Whenever a decorator on an HGTV show refers to a room as “a masculine space.”

2. Whenever a host on home shopping refers to a pair of brown leggings as being “on-trend in all of the upscale boutiques.”

3. Whenever a character on any TV show says, “This isn’t a game!”, “What’s going on here?”, “You have no idea” or “Someone has to stop him before this happens again.”

4. Whenever a presidential candidate refers to himself or herself as “real”, and then adds, “because voters can smell it.”

5. Whenever the writer of a celebrity magazine profile begins the piece by discussing their ride to the interview location, how long they had to wait for the star to appear, and includes any compliment the star paid the writer, as in “You’re smart – no one’s ever asked me that question before”, or “I love your blouse.”

October 24, 2015

I Shudder

We’ve been shooting the pilot for the I Shudder TV series all this week. Here are producer Dan Jinks, our glorious star Hamish Linklater and yours truly on a Soho street corner, where we’ve just staged a car pileup.


Dan, Hamish, and me, courtesy of our superb director, Michael Patrick Jann:
FullSizeRender copy

We’ve been shooting all over the city, in nightclubs and office buildings and Washington Square. Everyone in New York has been helpful, good-natured and completely used to having film crews on every corner. The weather has been ideal, so New York looks especially beautiful. I’ll try to post more photos later.

October 18, 2015

Dear Ariana

44ariana_GrandeAriana Grande recently tweeted the following; “dear world, more compassion, niceness, encouragement, less judgement, intolerance, labeling bullshit pls”; she also tweeted, “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it.”

I know that Ariana means well, and who can argue with the need for compassion, but judgement is something else entirely. I’m sure that, on occasion, even Ariana judges, and I’ll bet she’s occasionally tempted to say things that aren’t quite “nice.” In honor of Ariana, here’s a guide, to modern judgement:

1. There are the kneejerk judgements we make instantly, in any situation, but don’t dare share in any forum.
2. There are the judgements we voice aloud, but only to our pets or to our face in the mirror, as in “I look awful, but at least I don’t look as bad as (substitute a celebrity’s most recent mug shot).”
3. There are the judgements we will share over the phone with close friends, preceded by phrases like, “you can never repeat this, I mean it, but…” followed by phrases like, “But you know I love her.”
4. There are judgements we’re willing to text or email, which means they can be forwarded.
5. There are judgements we’re willing to voice anonymously, online, because we’re in that kind of mood.
6. There are judgements we’re willing to make on Twitter or Facebook, where we can be identified. We justify these judgements by only attacking evil politicians or anyone we view as intolerant.
7. There are judgements we pretend aren’t judgements, by adding phrases such as “But that’s just my opinion, and what do I know?”

One of the ultimate problems with “niceness” is that it pretty much eliminates any effective works of art. Making nice is a crippling limitation. “Niceness” also hinders almost any political action. One of Ariana’s hit songs is called “One Less Problem”, in which she dumps her boyfriend, which isn’t a very nice thing to do.

I know just what you’re thinking: be nice.

October 12, 2015

Robert de Michiell


The wonderful artist Robert de Michiell has passed away, following a long illness. He’s pictured above, with his husband, Broadway General Manager Jeffrey M. Wilson.

I knew Robert because he illustrated all of the original Libby Gelman-Waxner columns in Premiere, and he provided the cover for If You Ask Me, the collected columns published by St.Martins. He also created terrific ads for the commercial run of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told.

Robert’s output was dazzling, and included everything from New Yorker covers to memorable Fire Island postcards to the posters for Broadway shows. He was a delightful, generous, brave man.


Robert had recently been putting together a glorious collection of his work, and he’d asked Libby to contribute. Here’s what she had to say:

A Heartfelt Appreciation

For so many years, I was America’s most beloved and irresponsible film critic in the glorious pages of Premiere magazine. While my words remained penetrating and vivacious, here was the magazine’s greatest challenge: who could possibly capture my physical beauty, and my frolicsome intelligence, in an appropriate image? A photograph was out of the question, because not only does the camera add ten pounds, but my enemies have been known to use Photoshop as a weapon. The only solution was to call upon a supremely gifted and totally adorable artist: the sublime Robert de Michiell.
When I first heard that Robert had agreed to portray me, I felt just like Barbra Streisand contemplating a warm bagel with every imaginable topping – all I wanted to say was yes, yes, yes, and how did I get so lucky? In fact, one of Robert’s finest illustrations pictures me graciously pursuing Barbra’s tour bus.
Every month I would treasure Robert’s delicious work, as I battled a chiseled Brad Pitt in Fight Club, tried on Uma Thurman’s form-fitting, taxi cab yellow warm-up suit in Kill Bill, and danced with Frodo. His portraits proved that I was young, lovely and above all else, triumphantly blonde. Whenever I see Robert’s work, on posters and magazine covers and gallery walls, I always think: he makes everything in this world joyous, playful and irresistible.
Robert was the only possible choice to create the cover for my collected columns, titled If You Ask Me. I worship this cover, and not just because Robert has me dangling a shopping bag with the logo Lox World. Another spectacular de Michiell? A practically nude, sparkling Libby in Showgirls.
I adore Robert de Michiell, and I trust him. He’s a masterful artist and a completely fabulous human being, if you ask me.

Libby Gelman-Waxner






October 7, 2015

Urbane Legends

schenck_whitney_2014_09_17_dsc_9261_1140These are the topics which cause certain New Yorkers to sigh and rage and hold endless, pointless, deliriously satisfying conversations:

– The price someone paid for an entire building in the Village thirty years ago.

– The price that person got when he or she sold it last week.

– The greatest restaurant ever until the tourists ruined it.

– The hottest club ever until the bridge-and-tunnel people ruined it.

– That incredibly hunky, shirtless construction worker who exhibited himself every day on a building site at 5th Avenue and 41st Street – every gay man in NY somehow knew about this guy. All you had to say was, “I was walking down Fifth Avenue…”

– Which mayor was the worst and why everyone now misses Bloomberg.

– Why the new Whitney is hideous/superb/a compromise. (It’s critical to have formed an opinion without having actually been to it.)

– Which neighborhoods and buildings various celebrities live in.

– Why there are no good bakeries/places to get bagels/all-night diners anymore.

– Why Brooklyn still doesn’t count.

October 4, 2015

Libby Gelman-Waxner: Space Case

the-martian-pic1Okay, here’s what I love about the space stations in The Martian: they’re spotless. Even when Matt Damon gets stranded on Mars, his encampment is filled with gleaming white equipment and carefully labeled white plastic bins; it’s like an inter-galactic Container Store. The much larger spacecraft which is sent to rescue Matt is like an orbiting boutique hotel, with modular furniture, picture windows and a spa-like gym, and the astronauts all wear sleek athleisure yoga gear. I kept waiting to see a zero-gravity housekeeper floating by, chasing a spray-bottle of Fantastik.

The Martian is great, but I can’t say that it’s very surprising. It’s another movie about a crew of mildly diverse, stalwart Americans who head out to rescue a handsome, noble white movie star, who boogies to vintage pop tunes. Every few minutes someone ingeniously solves a problem, then something goes wrong, and then it gets fixed – why can’t we just send Matt and mission commander Jessica Chastain to Syria, where they’d solve everything with a few innovative computer programs and some duct tape? Between Matt and Jessica and Jeff Daniels, who plays the weary, idealistic head of NASA, it’s a whole movie about the triumph of the American jawline.


Personally, I don’t get why anyone would ever want to go to Mars. It’s dry and dull and dusty; it’s like spending billions of dollars to fly to an abandoned mall in New Mexico. As a rule, I don’t like to explore any frontier without a Carvel, a Dunkin Donuts and some friendly natives selling their handcrafts. When I think about Mars, I keep seeing dead casinos and no FIOS.


I also saw The Intern and I just have to say it: I worship Nancy Meyers. Nancy is pretty much my ground zero. Nancy gets a lot of flak for making movies packed with gorgeous, restaurant-grade kitchens, sumptuous lofts and pretty people – she brings out the jealous snit in so many film critics, who can’t afford cashmere throws and farmhouse sinks. In The Intern, Anne Hathaway plays the head of a wildly successful Brooklyn start-up which delivers luxuriously packaged outfits and accessories – it’s sort of a Nancy Meyers supply app. Anne has a brownstone, a devoted staff, a furry house-husband and one perfect child. She’s feeling overwhelmed, and she’s advised by Robert De Niro, as a restless, retired executive who applies for a spot in Anne’s senior intern program. Anne and Robert are wonderfully charming together, and they never have to act gruff and wisecracking, like Matt and Jessica.

Some people have trouble with Anne, because she always seems very assured and pleased with herself, which is why she’s perfect in The Intern; I completely believed that she was determined and smart enough to run her own company. Even in her Interstellar spacesuit, Anne was gung-ho and fun – Anne is like someone who aced Harvard, overhauled Google and scored an eight-figure book deal. She’s a brunette Hillary.


Nancy Meyers reminds me of the writer Jennifer Weiner, who’s pointed out that women who write about First World, Platinum Card characters often get snubbed as chick-lit rom-commers. Frankly, I’d rather lead a mission to one of Nancy Meyers’ foyers than the arid deserts of Mars, if you ask me.