“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: March 2014

March 7, 2014

Nice Doggie

There’s been a report, all over the web, about a 57-year-old man in Tampa who was arrested for having sex with his pitbull in his yard, while his horrified neighbors watched. When the police arrived they found guns, ammunition and eight more pitbulls. The man, Bernard Marsonek, was charged with sex with animals, cruelty to animals and gun possession, although I did not know that any of these things were illegal in Florida. Bernard was released on $17,500 bond.

This situation brings up so many issues:

1. Did they add the cruelty charge because the sex was in Tampa?

2. Doesn’t having sex with a pitbull sound like a reality show challenge on Survivor or Fear Factor? Or on a lesser season of The Bachelor?

3. Was it consensual sex? Had Bernard bought the pitbull dinner, or at least provided dry food and a rawhide chew toy? How old was the pit bull? Was it a male or a female pit bull? Were both Bernard and the pitbull wearing dog collars?

4. Could Bernard and the pitbull appear on Letterman as both a Stupid Human Trick and a Stupid Pet Trick?

5. Does this event give a new meaning to Best In Show?

6. Will this inspire a ripped-from-the-headlines episode of Law&Order SVU, or a new show called Law&Order Kibbles&Bits?

7. Were Bernard and his pitbull forced to have sex in the yard because the cleaning lady was dusting the bedroom?

8. Were the neighbors upset by the sex, or the barking?

9. Did they meet on PDate or Canine Mingle?

10. Was the couple’s love inspired by the comic strip Mutt&Jeff?

11. Wasn’t Bernard worried about rabies? Wasn’t the pit bull worried about its reputation?


12. Yes, that’s a photo of Bernard. And I know exactly what you’re thinking: that poor dog.

March 6, 2014

Larger Questions

1. If there is a heaven, what prevents the people who get to go there from feeling smug and superior?

2. Are the people in Ukraine as concerned about John Travolta’s hairpiece as they should be?

3. A policeman was photographed at the police station, carrying Justin Beiber’s urine specimen for Justin’s drug test. For at least a split second did that policeman think “Ebay”? For another split second did he think, “I have a teenage daughter. If I give this to her, she will become so popular”?

4. There’s now an Italian magazine devoted to the Pope and Catholic teachings, called Il Mio Papa. Does it have horoscopes? Is there a page of candid photos called “Jews – They’re Just Like Us”? Will there be comparison photos of various Archbishops on Easter Sunday, under the heading, “Who Wore It Best”?

5. Last week on Good Morning America, the entire ABC news team was forced to participate in a “Let It Go” sing-a-long, for a peak moment in televised embarrassment. When anchorperson David Muir threw out his arms and mangled a few lines from the song, did this somehow prove that he both is and isn’t gay?

6. Charlie White is a figure skater who just won a gold medal in Sochi. Charlie has skated to, among other tunes, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, opera and a medley from My Fair Lady. He claims to be in a relationship with Tanith Belbin, a female figure skater, but says that they’ve had to keep their love a secret during competition. This is Charlie, with his skating partner Meryl Davis:


If Charlie is actually straight, which is entirely possible, would this be considered a shattering of the time-space continuum?

7. Are there now far more TV shows about serial killers than there are real-life serial killers? Could serial killers be a rare over-represented minority?

8. Is music the universal language, or Legos?

March 5, 2014

Living Dolls


This is the ad which Dove was about to unleash
on the world as part of its new campaign promoting
desirable armpits. The copy reads “Dear New Jersey,
When people call you the armpit of America, take it
as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.” New Jersey’s state
government wasn’t amused, and Dove has withdrawn the ad.

First of all, I’ve always been suspicious of Dove’s
Natural Beauty campaign, which has used models of
many races, body sizes and ages. While Dove is promoting
healthier body images for women, the whole thing can feel
condescending, as if Dove is crowing, “At last! Beauty
products for people who aren’t beautiful!” Dove keeps
patting itself on its corporate back, for being inclusive.

The campaign reminds me of the attempts at
manufacturing more realistic dolls, in opposition
to Barbie-like perfection. These dolls had more ample
proportions and were called things like Just My Size
or Happy To Be Me.
The only problem was, little girls didn’t like playing
with these dolls and the dolls were always discontinued.
The dolls were too P.C. and patronizing; no self-respecting
child wants to play with a loser doll.

An even sadder doll was My Buddy, from Hasbro.
My Buddy was supposed to be a doll which little boys
could play with.


My Buddy was a misguided attempt at creating a
butch doll for manly little boys, but he looks more
like a mentally handicapped gay preschooler. He was
also, of course, the inspiration for the homicidal Chuckie.

The most terrifying doll ever is My Twinn, which is a very
expensive doll customized to resemble its owner. The
company then makes a fortune selling matching outfits
for the doll and its BFF.






My Twinn dolls were among the few playthings ever created by Diane Arbus.


March 4, 2014

So Happy


I’ve just had an eventful few hours, because today I died and came back to life.

I’ll explain. Yesterday I received a letter from my bank, addressed to “The Estate of Paul Rudnick.” It said, “We’re writing to let you know that we have received notification regarding the potential passing of Paul Rudnick.” It went on: “If Paul Rudnick has passed, please accept our condolences.” As proof of my demise, the bank required “A newspaper clipping, a copy of the obituary, a copy of the death certificate or a prayer card.”

I was concerned. So today I went to the nearest branch of my bank, where everyone was extremely helpful, and intrigued by the letter. A bank officer and I at first agreed that it was most likely a scam. We were both especially interested in the phrase “the potential passing of Paul Rudnick”, and I asked, “But how would someone know if I was about to die? Unless they were planning to murder me.” When I used the word “murder”, the bank officer looked very nervous.

The officer phoned the central office. As he spoke with someone in the Estates Department, he kept looking at me and saying things like, “No, he’s sitting right here. He looks fine.”

It turned out that the letter was legitimate, and that for some reason, a few weeks earlier, the bank had sent me a letter, asking if I was dead. I never got this letter, but someone else sent it back, checking off the box marked “Deceased.” The bank officer asked me if there was anyone in my apartment building who could’ve intercepted the earlier letter. The bank person on the phone asked me who would want me listed as dead. I replied, “I can make you a list.”

Although I still have no idea who returned the bank’s letter, everything was cleared up. The various bank officers kept asking me, “So how do you feel?” just so I could say things like, “All better!”, “Fully recovered!” or “Do I look pale?”

All I know is that I now must write something with the title The Potential Passing Of Paul Rudnick.

March 3, 2014



Okay, you know how most mainstream movies feel like they were directed by a mini-van filled with blindfolded studio executives, headed in the wrong direction? And you know how most indies seem like they were directed by very nice, well-meaning people wearing shapeless khakis and rumpled t-shirts, who don’t have all that much to say?

Okay, let me start again. Let’s say that you’re sitting on the subway platform, waiting for your train, and everyone around you is a decent, ordinary person with a backpack. And then all of a sudden, you see someone who looks absolutely amazing, just strutting along, and everything about that person, whether it’s their genuinely original hair color or their velvet cape or their big smile just makes you feel terrific, and restores your belief in at least the possibility of happiness?

That’s how The Grand Budapest Hotel will make you feel. Because it’s not only a truly great movie, it’s a revolutionary anti-depressant.

I know that some people are wary about Wes Anderson movies, because they’re intensely art-directed, and the dialogue is very precise, and they can feel like those kind of toys which are so expensive that your parents won’t let you play with them. But I’ve always liked Wes’s movies, because I can tell that he’s obsessed, and that he’s probably spent a lot of time around cuckoo clocks, pop-up books and German stuffed animals.

But all of Wes’s other movies were just a warm-up for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which takes place mostly in the fictional country of Zubrowka. Ralph Fiennes is beyond heavenly as an elegant, loony hotel concierge, who gets involved in all sorts of international intrigue. I can’t really describe the plot, but it’s absolutely delightful, like a Jason Bourne movie with ascots and marzipan.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is also the perfect antidote to our currently endless winter, even though it does include a sleigh chase. It’s romantic and dashing and sad, just the way movies should be, instead of gloomy and tired and Important.

So if you’re feeling blue, because your shoes are caked with slush and salt, and because your apartment building hallway smells like other people’s takeout, and because if you read one more word about the Oscars you’ll cut your throat, go see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Because not only will it make you ridiculously happy, it might even make you stop wearing black all the time, if you ask me.

March 2, 2014

I Can’t Live Like This


I once took an acting class taught by a very sweet woman who’d led a sheltered life. She was directing an actress in a scene where the character had to express revulsion. The teacher grew highly agitated and said, “I want you to think of the absolute worst thing you can possibly imagine! I want you to think of…SNOT!”

I have a dear friend who has an immaculate apartment. He once arrived home to discover a single sheet of blank white paper on his gleaming glass dining room table. He turned to me and said, without a shred of irony, “I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS!”

When I first went away to college, my mother would call me and ask about my apartment, saying, “It’s filthy, isn’t it? Just admit it. I can only imagine what it looks like, and smells like – are there bugs?” To torment her, I’d say, “You’re totally right. There are cockroaches the size of cocker spaniels. Oh my God, here comes one right now! It’s huge! It’s tipping over the garbage can! AHHHH!!!!”
Then I’d hang up.

My mother had the ability to hear grime.

With regard to organic, “green” cleaning products, my mother would say, and I agree with her, “Oh please. That’s just a spray bottle full of dirt.”

March 1, 2014

Little Debbie

If you’ve been following this blog, you’re aware that I have a sweet tooth. But even I have standards, and there is a line which I will not cross. That line is called Little Debbie.


Little Debbie is manufactured by the McKee Food Corporation in Collegiate, Tennessee. The company’s founders, O.D.and Ruth McKee, named their products after their 4-year-old granddaughter Debbie, who is pictured on all of the labels. This was in the 1960’s, which means that Debbie is now in her fifties. Has she been eating Little Debbie products? Is she still little?


I have never eaten a Little Debbie product.I find them frightening, for several reasons. First of all, many of the Little Debbie items are obvious knock-offs of Hostess classics. The Little Debbie Cloud Cakes are bastardized Twinkies, the Little Debbie Swiss Rolls are crude approximations of a Yodel, and so on. In each instance, Little Debbie seems to add twice the creme filling and twelve times the sugar, creating gross, marauding monsters.



Far worse, but mesmerizing, are the more original Little Debbie desserts, which can only be served by hooded figures, who leave these grotesque treats on the floor, at the center of their pentagrams. I’m talking about unholy genetic experiments like the Bat Brownies, the Banana Pudding Rolls and of course, the Devil Squares. Do you remember that horror film called The Island of Dr. Moreau, where the unhinged doctor tried to engineer creatures who were half-warthog and half-human? I’m convinced that, as a child, Little Debbie spent her summers on that island:





Sometimes, when my partner John and I visit a Super Stop and Shop, I drag John towards the Little Debbie display, just to terrorize him. John is the bravest person I know, but he refuses to even look at a Little Debbie product.


When I think of an ultimate armaggedon, I think about the special Little Debbie holiday-themed treats, which always resemble bloated sponges:




This haunts my nightmares: the Little Debbie Donut Sticks. Because if something is a stick, then it’s NOT A DONUT:


Little Debbie, in her ravenous lust for world domination, has recently purchased the remnants of both Hostess and Drakes. She is also manufacturing collectibles. Here’s the Swiss Roll, who resembles what everyone fears most: a bowel movement with arms and legs:


So remember, you’ve been warned. She’s Little. She’s Debbie. And she’s already here.