“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: November 2015

November 28, 2015

Libby Gelman-Waxner: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Can I just say something? The title of this movie reminds me of my own name, because it includes way too much punctuation.

The-Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-Part-2-Final-PosterIn the first Hunger Games movie, Jennifer Lawrence, as the determined, sullen Katniss Everdeen, had to slaughter other teens and children in the arena, and now, in the final film, she’s killing all sorts of evil soldiers and mutant creatures. Like the Hunger Games books, the films refuse to glorify war, which means that Jennifer has now spent four movies looking morose, sorrowful and angry, and not just because of her lifeless brunette dye job. Jennifer is amazing, but I think we’ve all suffered enough, especially after Jennifer delivers what, to my mind, is the most genuinely tragic thought imaginable: “The bakery didn’t survive.”


Jennifer says this to Josh Hutcherson, who plays her boyfriend Peeta, who’s been brainwashed into wanting to kill her; Josh also sports the worst blonde highlights since my cousin Alyssa tried using Crest whitening strips on her bangs. Jennifer’s other boyfriend, Gale, is also still hanging around, along with a tattooed, culturally diverse batch of rebels, who look like a punk band on a Nickelodeon show.
They’re all struggling to reach the capitol and assassinate Donald Sutherland as the nasty President Snow. Donald is one of the only people in the entire series with a sense of humor, along with Woody Harrelson as Jennifer’s alcoholic ally; Woody amuses himself by playing with the tendrils of his stringy blonde wig, which balances atop his head like an exhausted squid.


A lot of critics have cheered for Katniss as a feminist heroine, which doesn’t really account for her spandex military bodysuits or the fact that she’s both selfless and irritable – she’s like a cranky Joan of Arc, with stylists and a major presence on dystopian social media. She’s basically someone who, in the words of my Mom, the beloved Sondra Krell-Gelman, “has had it it up to here.” She’s being advised by Julianne Moore as a rebel leader with a helmet of stern silver hair, like Meryl Streep in The Giver: it’s a look that says, “I use menopause as a weapon.”


Mockingjay was accompanied by a lot of trailers for the big Christmas movies, many of which feature spunky sci-fi heroines with hunky male sidekicks. It’s great to see so many young women wielding swords, phasers and grenades; as I told my perfect teenage daughter Jennifer, “In the future, women will get to kill anyone who uses hurtful language or who doesn’t pay them as much as a Hemsworth brother, if you ask me.”


November 17, 2015

True Progress

Here’s the apalling and entrancing new ad for Moschino Barbie, which includes a little boy:

November 15, 2015


Eiffel-Tower-Peace-SymbolDuring, and after, the hideous terror attacks in Paris, social media went berserk. The internet became a source of invaluable information, with links to the European TV feeds with the most immediate and reliable information. Facebook also helped people in Paris transmit their safety to farflung friends and relatives. The web then ran wild, with political grandstanding from every corner, dangerously unfounded rumors, bigotry, compassion, and the instant branding of a terrible event, complete with logos, hashtags and theme songs (including the Marseillaise and John Lennon’s Imagine.)

At its best, the internet becomes a global town meeting; at its worst, the internet encourages everyone, including me, to have and post an opinion, sometimes on events which don’t require additional input, especially from people straining for self-importance.

The internet becomes somewhat like the makeshift memorials which sprout on streetcorners following all sorts of tragedies: those sometimes mountainous heaps of flowers, candles, helium balloons, stuffed animals and personal notes. The current memorial outside the French embassy in NYC includes glasses of wine. Even people without a personal connection to any given tragedy feel a need to express their grief.


Landmarks all around the world have been bathed in the French tricolor, including the arch in Washington Square park:


It’s like an international funeral, where no one knows the right thing to do or say. Probably because there is no right thing.

November 10, 2015

David Rakoff

51Yt4yfdvKLLast night there was a terrific tribute to David Rakoff, held at the Symphony Space uptown. I was the host to an amazing lineup of David’s friends, who read pieces from The Uncollected David Rakoff, which has just been published by Anchor Books. I wrote a Foreward to the collection: if, like most people, you’re a longtime Rakoff fan, the book features many of Davi’s finest and most hilarious essays, and if you’re a newbie, it’s a great introduction to the Rakoff canon. The book also includes the full text of Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, David’s masterwork, which is, of all things, a delightful epic poem.

The evenings’ stellar readers included Jodi Lennon, Dave Hill, Patricia Marx, Jackie Hoffman, Simon Doonan, Randy Cohen, Julie Klausner and Jon Glaser. I especially treasure Simon’s rendition of “The Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name”, David’s sublime meditation on Stuart Little, the gayest mouse ever.

The place was packed, with David’s fans and family. Patty Marx and I commiserated over how, since we’re both obsessives, we’d brought two copies of what we’d be saying and reading, in case one copy was lost or stolen. Jackie did an especially sensational job with her excerpt from Love, Dishonor, speaking in verse and portraying multiple characters. All of the pieces were touching and funny and gorgeously written, so the evening was both a celebration of a wonderful writer, and a lament for a life cut tragically short, at age 47.

Here’s an especially memorable video, of David’s last appearance on This American Life: