“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

June 2, 2014



John and I have just returned from a trip to North Carolina. Our hotel was located in a “planned residential community” called Ballantyne. Ballantyne was mesmerizing. It’s only a decade or so old, but every inch of this vast Stepfordshire is coordinated and gated and manicured. It’s divided into many individual cul de sacs and hillsides and hamlets, all with Scottish-inspired names like Stonebriar and Kensington Walk and Troon. There are garden apartment complexes and estates, along with a country club and an industrial park, all in serene tones of gray and taupe brickwork. The various malls have names like Promenade Park and Edgecrest Corner. It’s like a small city entirely designed by Thomas Kinkade, the reknowned “Painter of Light”, just before he committed suicide.



The only people we saw on the immaculate, winding streets were joggers and an army of gardeners, trimming the curbside grass to a terrifying perfection. Even the cars seemed to be mandated, in tasteful silvers and creams; the rare red car, with out-of-town plates, felt like an atrocity. The stores included a kids’ wear boutique called, chillingly, Once Upon A Child, which would be a great title for either an Edward Gorey book or a Lifetime movie about some terrible case of abuse.


I’ve read that the residents of Ballantyne are trying to secede from the larger city of Charolotte, and I hope that someday everyone in Ballantyne will be required to wear matching kilts and sashes, in a muted plaid.



I completely understand why people adore living in Ballantyne; it’s safe and strict, and no one will ever be allowed to display a rusting U-Haul or a pile of tires left out in their yard. I’m sure that Ballantyne looks exactly like the original architect’s scale model, right down to the oaks and pines which resemble the perfect plastic shrubbery which surrounds model trains, or those miniature Victorian villages which can be found beneath certain rigorously decorated, artificial Christmas trees.


There were two of these arches, with carvings saluting the town. I didn’t dare walk under them, because they were obviously portals to a planned residential community in another dimension.