“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 2014

February 28, 2014

Things I Once Believed


When I was young and innocent:

I thought that if someone had been horribly murdered in an apartment in Manhattan, that no one else would ever want to live in that apartment, or at least that the rent would be cheaper.

I thought that people who had lots of hardcover books in their homes were better and smarter than the people who didn’t (I still believe this, but at least a tiny part of me knows I’m wrong.)

I thought that those Entenmann’s products which were labelled Fat-Free were actually good for you. Even Entenmann’s gave up on this particular scam, once consumers noticed that while a French Crumbcake might be technically fat-free, it still contained enough calories to cause heart attacks in people who, after they’d eaten the entire Crumbcake, would tilt the box to swallow the last remaining bits of crumb topping.

Note: The remarks above should in no way be taken as a form of disloyalty to Entenmann’s. I still believe in their products, especially the holiday cupcakes, which often include candy corn in the frosting.


I thought that certain movie stars really hadn’t had any plastic surgery. I had a friend who worked with a star who’d always denied having any work done, but he once stood a few rungs down from her on a ladder, and he said that the scars behind her ears were like the wads of chewing gum stuck under a seat at a cineplex.


The above photo depicts chewing gum left on the Berlin Wall, which pretty much describes this actress’s acting style.

I thought that I could always tell if someone was a drug addict or an alcoholic.

I thought that Republicans were only pretending to believe in their idiotic notions just to spite me, and that at some point they’d all yell, “Kidding!”

February 27, 2014

Ken’s Buddy

This may be my favorite thing ever.
It’s sort of Brokeback Mountain by Mattel.

I especially like that because they’re the same size,
Allen can wear all of Ken’s outfits.

I think that after Jan Brewer saw this video,
she knew that equality was the only way to go.

I’d like to think that Allen and Ken are
now happily married and living in Fort Lauderdale,
and that Barbie and Midge run a gallery together
in Santa Fe. Skipper is in prison, after another DUI.

February 26, 2014

More Rules for Riters


1. Just because something is true doesn’t make it interesting.

2. I can’t remember who told me this, but it’s come in handy, especially in terms of playwrighting: it’s not only a good idea to begin a play as far into an ongoing crisis as possible, but the action should continue until the play’s very last line or moment. In too many plays, the action has been resolved and yet the characters keep talking things over. Those final moments need to be necessary and not merely literary.

3. It’s helpful for writers to think like actors. Good actors don’t judge their characters; they see everything from their character’s point of view. Villains rarely think of themselves as villains.

4. If you’re writing a comedy, and the audience isn’t laughing, fix it. Or just stand by the door and as the crowd leaves, tell each person, “I’m sorry, but that was funny, and you’re stupid!”

5. I’ve noticed that some readers, especially of YA, don’t like descriptions, of anything. I assume this is because they don’t have nice things.

6. In YA, girls are either poor, brave and unappreciated, or rich, pretty and mean. Boys exist to make the poor girls feel better. To quote Oscar Wilde, that is what fiction means.

7. The wonderful thing about YA is that it tends to hold your attention. The wonderful thing about adult literature is that you don’t always have to finish it.

8. If writing was fun, it would be called eating or sleeping.

February 25, 2014

LGBT, etc.


Whenever a new gay-themed film, TV show, play or novel emerges, especially if it focuses on gay men, the creators involved, when interviewed, will almost always say the following things:

“It’s not a gay (book, play, movie), it’s about people.”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a realistic depiction of gay lives.”

“It doesn’t portray gay men as clowns or as minstrels.”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen gay characters whom I could relate to.”

“I wanted to show gay characters who are just like me and my friends.”

“Why do all gay characters have to have great bodies and wild sex lives? Why can’t they just be as normal and boring as everybody else?”

“This new generation of gay people doesn’t like labels.”

While many of these statements may be true, they’ve turned into a well-worn playbook.

Whenever there’s a new lesbian-themed movie, many straight guys will immediately ask this incisive question, regarding the cast: “Are they hot?”

It’s been interesting to watch the actress Laverne Cox and the author and activist Janet Mock, who are both trans people, negotiating TV interviews with Piers Morgan and Katie Couric. The interviewers almost always focus on surgical details, instead of the larger issues of trans lives, including the discrimination and violence which many trans people encounter all the time.

The best LGBT spokespeople turn the conversation around. Like Kate Clinton, Dan Savage and Rachel Maddow, Laverne Cox and Janet Mock are smart, experienced and funny. They know that they’re going to be asked stupid and offensive questions, and they know when to be patient and when to erupt.

February 24, 2014



I’ve just received several calls from a service claiming to represent Microsoft. The callers all said that my computer was in grave danger of being hacked, and then the callers wanted me to go online and do everything they said. Before things went any further, I asked one of the callers for the name of their company. She provided it, I Googled it, and I immediately discovered that the whole thing was, of course, a scam.

In the future, here’s what I would advise such scammers to do, to increase their credibility:

1. When you cold-call someone, you should open by saying, “We’re calling only the most physically attractive PC users in your area.”

2. Google told me that many of these scams originate in India. Everyone who called me did have an Indian accent.These callers should have said, “I realize that while I may sound Indian, it’s because I’m just practicing my accent for my role as Indira Gandhi in a one-person show here in Illinois.”

3. If a person like me is reluctant to go online and begin following orders, the scammer should start saying things like, “So what’re you so scared of, little fraidy cat ballerina pussy boy? ”

4. If by the third call, the scammer still isn’t making any headway, the scammer should start to cry and ask, “Why do you hate me?”

5. The scammer might try an alternate pitch, like, “Not only am I going to keep your computer secure, but I’m also going to help you to lose those last ten pounds and meet the man of your dreams! In fact, he’s here with me right now! And he just told me, ‘I can’t wait to meet Paul, and take him on a glamorous date to a popular celebrity nitespot, once his computer is secure!”

6. As a last resort, the scammer should say, “Okay, you’re right, this is a scam. But it doesn’t change how I feel about you. Because I love you. I love you. I love you so much. There, I’ve said it. Now let’s get started.”

February 23, 2014

I Was Bullied


Bullying, as we all know, is a terrible menace to our society. But I have been the victim of an especially insidious form of bullying, by which I mean BULLYING BY INANIMATE OBJECTS.

I know that you’re thinking, I can’t read this, Paul’s story will be too heartbreaking. BUT YOU MUST.


This is my story:

Yesterday, I was bullied by a bag of No Salt Added Utz Potato Chips, which forced me to eat THE ENTIRE BAG.

This afternoon, a listing on EBay would not stop harassing me until I agreed to purchase a beautiful shirt WHICH I DID NOT NEED. I ALREADY HAVE SHIRTS.

On Thursday, my television grabbed me and held me down and forced me to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory WHICH I HAD ALREADY SEEN. I SCREAMED BUT NO ONE HEARD ME.

I was reading an article which was explaining the new power balance in heterosexual couples with children, when the newspaper told me that if I didn’t stop reading the article after the first two sentences IT WOULD CHOP OFF MY FINGERS.

A video of a polar bear cub experiencing snow for the first time put a gun to my head and said that if I didn’t watch the video three more times and make appreciative cooing noises IT WOULD FORCE ME TO FORWARD THE VIDEO TO EVERYONE I KNOW.

Five minutes ago the book I’m writing started choking me and said that if I didn’t go into the kitchen and eat half a bag of Pepperidge Farm Milanos while reading People magazine IT WOULD FORCE ME TO FINISH THE BOOK EVENTUALLY.

I have to go now. There’s an unopened can of Planters Cocktail Peanuts coming up the stairs and it keeps hissing, “You can run but you can’t hide, you disgusting little worm! EAT ME! EAT ME!”

February 22, 2014

Disney Princess

Here’s the video of the hit song Let It Go, from Disney’s Frozen, which has now grossed
almost one billion dollars. Idina Menzel provides the voice of
Elsa, the princess who’s tormented by her ability to create a CGI winter palace.
I find this song both thrilling and disturbing,
especially towards the end, when Elsa’s gown morphs
into something skin-tight and sparkling, and she
swivels towards the camera like an unholy combination
of Barbie, a brilliant drag queen and a Vegas showgirl:

Here is actress, model, Bond girl and Playboy centerfold Denise Richards.
In her Bond movie Denise played physicist Christmas Jones.
Denise is currently appearing on ABC’s Twisted,
as the anguished mother of a teen suspected
of murder:


I think that Denise looks like a Disney princess
after a few bad marriages, maybe a little too much
botox and way too much spray tan. I like Denise, because she
was married to and divorced from Charlie Sheen, and then
she volunteered to raise Charlie’s kids from a later
marriage, after those kids’ mother went into rehab. Denise
has appeared on Dancing With The Stars, in a Madea movie
and on her own reality show. Denise
knows things that a Disney princess could never dream of.

February 20, 2014

16 Billion


It’s been reported that Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have just paid 16 billion dollars for WhatsApp, a mobile messaging service. Here are some other things Mark could do with 16 billion dollars:

1. He could buy St. Petersburg, Florida and re-name the town
St. Zuckersburg.

2. He could market an online game called Angry Zuckerbirds.

3. He could pay everyone in the world one dollar to say, “No, Mark, I like you for you.”

4. He could give the money to his wife with no strings attached, and then he could leave the toilet seat up, just to see if she’d say, “I can’t live like this!” and dump him.

5. He could get a better haircut.

6. He could rent a space shuttle, fly to the moon and sit there for a few hours, scarfing Lucky Charms and watching porn, without his Mom knocking on the door and asking him what he was doing.

7. He could give Bono all the money to build schools in Afghanistan, on the condition that Bono write an arena anthem called “In The Name Of Mark.”

8. To counteract the effect of The Social Network, he could produce a movie about his life, starring Justin Bieber as the young Mark Zuckerberg, who could’ve been a pop star but instead decided to help humanity by allowing people everywhere to post photos of themselves hugging their BFFs in Cancun.

February 20, 2014

From the History of Sugar


I adored the playwright Wendy Wasserstein for many reasons, one of which was that we shared an overwhelming love of chocolate. Wendy once announced her engagement to a four-foot tall chocolate bunny in the window of Lilac chocolate, which was then located on Christopher Street.


Wendy and I were once both in a very bad mood about something or other, so to cheer ourselves up we went to a favorite candy store located in the Citicorp building on Lexington Avenue. We bought huge brown paper bags filled with chocolate-covered raisins and other treats, and we wandered through the building’s atrium. A local acting troupe was performing excerpts from Shakespeare on a platform in the atrium. Wendy and I were making so much noise with our chatter and our brown paper bags that a security guard asked us to leave.

Before the rise of the cupcake shop, Manhattan was filled with chocolate chip cookie stores. The most renowned chain was called David’s, and David’s cookies were large, delicious and filled with still warm, melted chocolate chunks. Wendy had gone to college with the woman who was married to David. Using this connection, Wendy and I had dinner at the restaurant which David owned on Third Avenue. Our dinner consisted of a cake which David had generously baked for us, made entirely out of layers and layers of chocolate chip cookies.

There was a branch of David’s Cookies right across the street from my apartment, which was also on Christopher Street. I went to this store pretty much every day, but sadly, almost no one else did. I was there so often that the staff asked me why I thought the store wasn’t more successful. I told them that I was doing my best.

Wendy died far too young, at 55, after an especially terrible illness. I’d like to think that wherever she is now, there are bunnies and cookies and no need for dieting.

February 19, 2014

Here She Comes

This is the video of actress Ellen Page coming out at a recent Human Rights Campaign event.
It’s a wonderful speech, and it’s got me thinking about the whole
idea of coming out.

1. I’ve always found it unfair that only gay people are expected
to come out, as if they’re
required to make a public confession.
Straight people never have to come out as straight; their
straightness is assumed. I think that from now on every
straight person should be legally commanded to stand up in
front of their friends and family and say, “I should’ve
told all of you this a long time ago, but I’m straight. Whew.
Please don’t hate me.”

2. In movies, books and plays, a character’s coming out is often an agonizing experience.
And yes, in real life, when a gay person comes out,
they can sometimes be shunned or assaulted or worse.
The current situation in Nigeria and Uganda defies belief.
But I hate always associating a person’s coming out with
anxiety and tragedy.
That’s why I wrote the movie In&Out as a comedy.
I wanted it to be gay-positive, life-affirming and romantic.
I wanted to use coming out as an increasingly common
social ritual, like a first date or a wedding.It’s a celebration.

3. As so many activists have noted, the more gay people who come out,
the better. This normalizes gay lives.That’s why it’s helpful
when celebrities come out; I’ve always felt that true equality
requires not just gay Nobel prizewinners, but also gay reality
stars, gay supermodels and gay penguins.

4. Of course, some gay people are never satisfied.
Whenever a gay celebrity comes out, they insist that
the ultimate test will be an openly gay male action hero.

5. Whenever a particularly good-looking male star arrives
on the scene, two groups will immediately announce that
he’s gay, especially online. These groups are gay men
and straight men. The gay men somehow imagine that even
if Hugh Jackman was gay, they’d have a chance with him.
The straight men get nervous around good-looking,
well-built men: they don’t like the competition.

Here’s a scene from In&Out on this topic,
featuring the sublime Joan Cusack,
who was nominated for an Oscar:

February 18, 2014

Sentences Which Will Not End Well


1. We need to talk…

2. Okay, just one more thing…

3. I need you to be totally honest…

4. Any sentence which begins with a group identification, as in:

“As a woman…”

“Speaking as a gay man…”

“As a transgendered Asian-American…”

“As a registered Republican…”

“As a tenured faculty member…”

The subtext of such introductions is always, “And you’re not.”

5. If it’s not too much trouble…

6. I know I have no right to ask this, but…

7. I’m listening and I hear what you’re saying but…

8. Maybe because I’m younger than you…

9. Maybe because I’m older than you…

10. But if I were you…

11. Right now I just need you to be quiet and listen because…

12. Hi, I’m calling on behalf of…

13. Speaking as your mother, in case you’ve forgotten that you have one…

14. Excuse me, but this will only take a second…

15. I agree with everything you’ve just said, but…

16. I think we’re all on the same page here, but…

17. I know I keep talking about myself and I promise I’ll stop, but…

18. I can’t remember, but have I ever told you the story about…

After you’ve heard almost any of these openings, you will most likely stop listening, but you should remember to keep looking at whoever is speaking, and nod occasionally.

February 17, 2014

Secrets of the Snowpeople

As the recent hit film Frozen has shown us, snowpeople lead desperate inner lives. The snowfolk below are roadside sexworkers. They hate it when customers make jokes about snowjobs or getting plowed.


This next snowperson is feeling a certain bittersweet joy, because while he’s about to publish his first collection of short stories, he’s worried that this jacket photo makes him look fat:


You may want to look away from this next explicit image, which is a news photo of a snowperson love triangle gone terribly wrong. The depression at the center was just starting college:


His Mom was a snowperson, but his Dad was a jack o’lantern. This is the last time he was seen upright:


Facebook has just released over fifty different options for referring to a person’s gender. But where is the designation for “Someone whose genitals have melted”?