“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 2015

March 29, 2015


cashierThere’s been some hubbub lately, over the fact that various fast food franchises and big box stores have required their employees to greet customers as “guests.” This can be degrading to both the cashiers, salespeople and servers involved, and the folks they’re dealing with. Here are some additional options for that first interaction:

“Welcome. I bet we both wish we could do better.”

“Hi. Let’s take a moment to sincerely and silently judge each other.”

“Hey there. This is my fake smile, let’s see yours.”

“Thank you for coming to Taco Belle. I promise not to tell anyone you’re here. Again. Today.”

“Nice to see you. I’m only working here temporarily to put myself through college and support my family. Oh, and to buy crystal meth. THAT’S WHAT YOU WERE THINKING, WASN’T IT? YOU’RE STILL STEREOTYPING ME EVEN IF YOU’RE RIGHT.”

“How may I help you? Maybe by steering you away from the pot roast?”

“Good morning, and yes, we do sell firearms! I know you didn’t ask, I was just guessing!”

“Have a blessed day, or go fuck yourself. Do you really think I care?”

March 26, 2015


thPatricia Marx wrote a truly hilarious and informative piece in last week’s New Yorker, about the staggering plastic surgery boom in South Korea. The subway ads for the thousands of plastic surgery clinics include the tag lines “This is the reason celebrities are confident even without their makeup” and “Everyone but you has done it.” One of the clinics is called “Magic Nose.”

I’m so late to the party but I’m reading The Goldfinch and adoring it. It’s one of those books where I keep thinking, “But how can this be such great literature when I’m having such a good time?”

If you’d like to chart the history of gay rights in America, just compare the gay sons on Dynasty and the current mega-smash Empire. On Dynasty, Stephen Carrington mostly had to mope around in torment, but on Empire, Jamal is now busily plotting to assume leadership of his family’s, well, empire. Jamal also got to have sex with his hot boyfriend atop his homophobic father’s desk.

If you can, track down the astonishing documentary Finding Vivian Maier – Vivian was a world-class photographer who spent her life as a nanny, and her extraordinary work was only discovered in an abandoned suitcase after her death.

Spring is arriving in tiny increments, to make sure we appreciate it. We’re grateful when the temperature hovers around forty degrees, causing a few more mounds of gritty snow to disappear. This causes me to think: fuck Spring. Would it kill the universe to unleash a truly warm sunny day?

March 24, 2015

Pouting Without A License

Gisele-gisele-bundchen-32437623-1280-800France is considering a law regulating the weight of fashion models, to discourage eating disorders. I feel that additional international statutes are necessary, regulating all models:

1. A model must not be allowed to enter a party wearing dishevelled clothing, glance around the room in a distracted manner assuring herself and everyone else that she’s the most attractive person present, and then head back outside to smoke.

2. Models must never be allowed to say that they were gawky and unpopular in high school. This is never true, because most models never went to high school.

3. Models must never be allowed to describe their work as “boring” and “just a job.” Truly boring jobs never involve experts doing your makeup while you sit there playing with your phone.

4. Models must never be permitted to claim that they never work out. The penalty for such assertions is either ten days in jail or a recurring chin zit.

5. Models must never describe how they were waiting on tables or pumping gas when they were discovered. Because even while performing menial, minimum-wage tasks, they still looked like models.

6. When an aging model appears in an infomercial promoting her skincare line, she must never use the phrase “just like everyone else”, in reference to aging, troubled skin, sun damage, etc. If a model was in any way just like everyone else, she wouldn’t have an infomercial. Also, on these infomercials, there’s always a doctor with whom the model claims to have developed her products. This “skincare pioneer” is always photographed wearing a labcoat and peering into a microscope. Whenever this person appears on camera the words “FAKE DOCTOR” must appear across his or her forehead.

7. If a model marries a sports star, a rapper or a hedge fund manager, the vows must include the words “to honor and cherish for the next two to three weeks.”

8. Often at bus stops there are huge framed ads of female models nuzzling each other while carrying $25,000 designer handbags. These models should be required to give talks at public schools, promoting both same sex marriage and marriage to $25,000 handbags.


March 20, 2015

A YA Glossary

booksPopular = Shallow and evil, especially if the character is blonde and/or rich

Orphan = Downtrodden, noble and reluctantly heroic

Depressed = Sensitive, bookish and secretly cute

Gay = Even better than depressed

Suicidal = Even better than gay

Jock = Bully, unless gay

Multi-racial friends = Absolutely necessary, especially for hugging

The future = A barren wasteland, thanks to the behavior of grown-ups

The past = Nonexistent unless there are teenagers present

The only person who can defeat the nasty grown-ups and save the world = A teenager

Playlist = The only true measure of a character’s soul

Slavery, Nazis, climate change and famine: Things grown-ups have created to deliberately hurt teenagers

A hot boyfriend = Something only a popular girl wants

A cute boyfriend, preferably with a crooked smile = Something awarded to a depressed, slightly chubby or dystopian warrior girl

A hat, personalized with buttons, fabric flowers or macabre doll parts = Proof of a female character’s intelligence and disdain for the popular girls

Divorce, drug abuse, alcoholism and parents with sex lives = Things which grown-ups do to prevent teenagers from studying and/or reading their favorite comic books

Social media = A tool for bullying

Vampires, zombies, unjustly accused criminals, people of other religions and races, people with disabilities or fatal illnesses = Potential boyfriends

Love = Something which only outcasts truly appreciate and deserve

Death = Almost as bad as having to switch to a new school





March 17, 2015

More Moments of Gay Zen

patrick-e-spongebob1The designers Dolce and Gabbana have recently made repellent comments regarding non-traditional families and children conceived using in-vitro fertilization. Domenico Dolce referred to “synthetic children.” I’ve seen Dolce and Gabbana’s fabric choices, and they should be especially careful about criticizing synthetics.

Pat Robertson has advised good Christians to treat their gay children as if they were drug addicts. Who mainline shirtless selfies and house seats to On The Twentieth Century.

I’m not ashamed: I used ebay to complete my mother’s china pattern.

Aaron Schock, the Republican congressman given to homophobia, pink gingham shirts, quoting Taylor Swift lyrics and working out with Navy Seals, travels with a personal photographer. When did the words “personal photographer” replace “special assistant”, “companion” and “nephew’?

The gay son on the wonderful series Empire came out by performing a jubilant, gyrating song at a glamorous white party in front of his homophobic father. Coming out is now a social event requiring engraved invitations, massive floral arrangements and a top-flight caterer.

I recently came across some of the hate mail I received during the initial off-broadway run of The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told (there were nicer letters as well.) Most of the countless negative letters were obsessed with insisting that the Virgin Mary was not a lesbian, and with explaining, in minute detail, the concept of immaculate conception. Many of these letter-writers were proud members of an organization called the Society of Mary. None of these letter-writers had seen the play, and were responding to rumors. The only reference to the Virgin Mary in the play is this: at the top of Act II, in celebrating Christmas, a character buys a plastic statue of the Virgin. He explains that the statue speaks, but that her microchip has been replaced with Barbie’s, so the statue says, “Math is hard!”

March 15, 2015

Critical Questions Which Demand Answers

questionIs life too short to ever truly wrestle with the aesthetics of wearing patterned or brightly colored socks?

If the Nobel Prize ceremony had a red carpet, would some of the nuclear physicists diet for weeks beforehand?

Why is trying to unravel the ethics of the Hillary email situation so exhausting? Exhausting to the point where I just don’t care, unless some of the hidden emails were sent to Beyonce?

After such a horrible and prolonged winter, why does the prospect of spring seem daunting, as if the planet is groaning, oh no, not another season?

An issue which has never concerned me: should I join a frat?

I’ve just seen that terrific new HBO documentary on Scientology, and here’s my question on joining a brainwashing, soul-deadening, entirely irrational cult: who has the time?


March 10, 2015

Apple Watch

AppleWatch-620x734As every devoted shopper knows, fantasy is 99% of the experience. There are certain objects which fascinate me, even if I have absolutely no interest in acquiring them, and if someone gave me such an item as a gift, I’d never use it. The highly anticipated Apple Watch is just such an object. I’ve never worn a watch, because I’m always too aware of something clutching my wrist – it’s the same reason I’ve never wanted to have children. The Apple Watch has the allure of a Mission Impossible gadget; like all the greatest tech innovations, it’s an expensive, unnecessary toy. I picture myself wearing it not in real life, but in a high-end commercial, set onboard a space shuttle, where I use it to chat with Charlize Theron. I imagine myself faux-accidentally displaying my Apple Watch at brunch, like a sorority girl’s engagement ring. For some irrational reason, I’d buy a new set of stainless steel flatware, to match my Apple Watch.

From what I’ve read, the Apple Watch needs to be in constant communication with the owner’s iPhone, and its battery requires frequent charging. It has a feature called Force Touch, which sounds like something you’d warn preschoolers to avoid. The best part of an Apple Watch would be using its screen to display images of oversize emeralds and rubies.

My Mom loved two specific watches: first, her sleek Museum of Modern Art model, and her collection of Swatches. None of these cost much money. Like me, my Mom would study the Apple Watch, admire it, and then wonder, “Why do you need it?”

The Apple Watch, I contend, will be most popular as a Bar Mitzvah gift. In fact, if I’d owned an Apple Watch during my Bar Mitzvah, I would’ve used it as a cheat sheet to display my haftarah portion, so I wouldn’t have had  to memorize anything. For Bat Mitvahs, the Apple Watch is the new tennis bracelet.


March 9, 2015


tarifas-taxiThe NY Times has reported that, due to the use of GPS, almost all of the geographical questions are being eliminated from the New York cabdriver’s exams – drivers will no longer have to know how to get to, say, the Empire State Building or Madison Square Garden. I propose that the following questions be added to the test:

1. Where did I leave my umbrella last week?

2. Can you take me to my friend’s apartment, it’s on the Lower East Side somewhere, you know, it’s near NYU?

3. Can you take me to that new restaurant, I can’t remember the name, but you know, it’s the one that got that great review?

4. Can you get me to the airport in fifteen minutes?

5. Can you slow down please?

In order to certify that they’re genuine New York cabbies, drivers should also demonstrate the following actions:

1. Once a driver has agreed to stop talking on his phone, he should comply by whispering on his phone.

2. The driver must be able to drive while drinking hot coffee and eating something which smells like putrefying skunk.

3. If a driver is asked for change back from a fare,  he must sigh heavily and take fifteen minutes to locate that dollar he’s tucked away, hoping that his impatient passenger will finally  snarl, “Fine! Just keep it!” and exit the cab.

4. The driver must make sure that at least one seatbelt is either gone or not working.

5. The driver must be able to play the music on the radio so loudly that he cannot hear requests to turn it down.

6. The driver must make certain that his license is unreadable.

A true New York cabbie should also be able to discuss the following topics at length:

– What  de Blasio is doing wrong.

– What Obama is doing wrong.

– What Cuomo is doing wrong.

– What the driver in front of him is doing wrong.

– Why Uber is the devil.

I haven’t included female pronouns in these questions because I’ve never had a female cabdriver who wasn’t incredibly friendly and professional. Female cabbies also get hassled far more than male cabbies, so they deserve a break.



March 2, 2015

Serious Yoga

9763238-healthy-woman-doing-yoga-outdoor-sunset-over-sea-body-care-meditation-conceptThere’s a debate raging all across the country, about whether yoga instructors should be legally certified. I’ve never taken a serious yoga class, but I have the utmost respect for all practioners. From observation, I feel that anyone wishing to pursue yoga should answer the following questions:

1. Are you willing to stop wearing normal clothing, and attend formal dinner parties wearing only layered tank tops and the thinnest spandex pants, all in shades of dried wheat and clinically depressed grey?

2. Are you ready, whether a male or female, to stop caring about your hair and just yank it back with a rubber band, so it won’t get in your eyes while you’re holding an especially difficult pose, like Downward Facing Associate Marketing Analyst?

3. Can you be seen on the street, wearing a $12,000 shearling coat over your yoga togs, talking on your phone while your nanny pushes the stroller beside you?

4. Are you able to alternate your daily, multiple spinning classes with your daily, multiple yoga classes, so that you never smell clean?

5. Are you able to lie and speak of yoga as a profound spiritual discipline, when you’re really using it as a hipper form of Jenny Craig?

6. If you’re a man, are you willing to look sort of like you’re in shape, in a slightly creepy way?

7. Can you breathe deeply, center your being, release all worldly thoughts, and still figure out a way to network with a celebrity’s wife who’s on a mat two rows in front of you?

8. Do you think of a large bottle of Smartwater, a rolled-up rubber mat, a Fitbit and a shoulderbag as your only real friends?