Monday, November 29, 2010

How Joan Rivers saved Christmas

Went to New York for Thanksgiving this year. There’s something really special about watching the Macy’s Day Parade on television when you’re actually in the city.

The flight to New York was a cross between the Beverly Hills Gymboree and Lord of the Flies. If the flight attendants went down the aisle selling noise-canceling ear buds, people would have paid a thousand dollars for them.

We arrived at 4:05. Winter arrived at 4:11.

Rented a nice apartment on the Upper East Side. Among the conditions in the contract -- we were not allowed to invite Charlie Sheen over.

Somebody on the street was distributing free Kabbalah shopping bags. The wisdom of the ages and a way to carry your liquor!

The giant Christmas tree was up in Rockefeller Center. A bit of a letdown.  But I’m sure it looks better at night when the scaffolding is all lit up.

Heath Ledger’s apartment is for sale. $5,000,000 but includes ghost.

Thanksgiving morning. Threatening skies, 39 degrees, and windy. I joke, but if you’re ever in New York, at least once in your life, do treat yourself and see the Macy’s Day Parade in HD.

Some highlights from this year’s march past:

--Al Roker interviewing Ben Rappaport, the star of NBC’s uh, “hit” new show, Outsourced, and calling him “a fish out of comedy”.

-- The Mickey Mouse balloon doing a “Heil Hitler” salute.  From son, Matt:  When did they un-freeze Walt Disney?

--Offstage announcer: “Coming up next: a one-of-a-kind performance from the U.S. Pizza Twirling Team!”

--The cheerleading captains all-star squad. Can you imagine the bitch quotient there? From daughter, Annie: “A thousand girls all yelling, “I want to be in front!”

--The Black Eyed Peas medley from some high school marching band. I never really appreciated their music until I heard it with tubas.

-- The kids dressed as dancing sausages on the Jimmy Dean float.

--Offstage announcer: “Coming up next: the official start of the holiday season with Joan Rivers!”

--Jessica Simpson, who’s gained a pound or two, appropriately riding the Pillsbury Doughboy float.

I dunno. The parade is just not the same anymore without the Bullwinkle, Underdog, and Nathan Lane balloons.

The real reason to be in New York for Thanksgiving: The Odd Couple marathon on WPIX.

There’s a lot of daring theater on Broadway currently. The risk-taking Elf musical, the untested Lion King, the chancy Mary Poppins, the groundbreaking Pee Wee Herman Show, not to mention, the always controversial Donny & Marie Show.

The long-delayed Spiderman rock musical is due to finally go into previews. Considering all the accidents they’ve already had, it’s more like a rock musical of The Hurt Locker.

Your best theater bet is La Bete starring David Hyde Pierce and Mark Rylance. David was kind enough to stop the stage manager from running us off after the show.

Lots of Frasier alums on Broadway these days. Kelsey Grammer in La Cage Aux Folles, Bebe Neuwirth in the Addams Family, and Eddie has gone into Driving Miss Daisy. Thanks again, David, for a wonderful evening.

Remember when stores opened at 5:00 AM on Black Friday? Kohl’s opened at 3:00, thus getting a big jump on all those homeless shoppers.

There’s now a dress code for New York City taxi drivers. No more tank tops. No more bathing suits. They are still allowed to reek, though. They’d quit en masse if they couldn’t do that.

Little Night Music was a huge disappointment. What should be a light frothy soufflĂ©, in the hands of director Trevor Nunn, is a leaden German pancake. But Bernadette Peters sang “Send in the Clowns” beautifully, and Elaine Stritch remembered many of her lines.

A man reading Sondheim’s bio in the row behind me said to his wife: “I didn’t know that – he also did the music for Company.” Probably a Tony voter.

Don Draper would be proud. This is Cadillac’s new holiday slogan: “This year, give the gift of asphalt”.

Came home on Saturday rather than Sunday for the same reason I don’t go to Macy’s at 5:00 AM on Black Friday.

Managed to negotiate JFK without getting X-Rayed. And that's with Kabbalah bags. Personally, I’m outraged by these new, highly invasive, demeaning screening methods. Either preserve our constitutional rights and discontinue them, or let women pat down the men.

Now that Joan Rivers has given the okay, the holiday season is officially here. Have a fabulous one!


Tom Quigley said...

Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is always fun... I'm just waiting for the year that they decide to inflate Willard Scott and turn him into a balloon.... I can see all those Macy's volunteers, straining at the guy wires to pull him down Broadway while he's up there about four stories high yelling "With a name like Smucker's, it HAS to be -- oh, shit, I just hit a light pole!" ... And with a loud gaseous exhaust of helium, he plummets to earth, landing right on top of the NBC reporters' stand, inflicting mass destruction and carnage, and leading to a new opening sequence the on the network the following morning: "This is the TODAY show, with NBC News senior correspondents, Kathie Lee and Hoda".... Yeah, I think that would be fun to watch...

amyp3 said...

Oh man, this would be the time of year to be in NYC. Seeing the Macy's parade in person is on my bucket list.

Been watching/ listening to lots of Sondheim again lately. (My first writing aspiration as a child was to be like him. But there's only one him.)

And now,just like Black Friday starting on Wednesday, I'm getting an early start on Friday Questions. What do you think of Fox suing this writer for sharing scripts online?

Does it bother you if nerd writers like us want to read your scripts to see how to do it - so that the same nerd writers can someday write for Fox and make loathsome Rupert Murdoch even richer? (OK, I've probably shown my own bias in that question.)

velvet goldmine said...

Actually, it seems in this and other recent photos as if Jessica Simpsom is at one of her "downs" in the up-and-down weight war. In other words, she looks fab to me. Perhaps you stretched the truth just to get in the Pillsbury Dough Boy joke?

YEKIMI said...

He may have stretched the truth but not as much as Jessica stretched the elastic in her underwear....I could hear the screams from it all the way from NYC to Ohio.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of the parade was the dancing penguins,159624

Not sure how to share this with you, but it did leave me speechless with awe and wonder.

Anonymous said...

Here are the penguins ...

I giggle just thinking about them. I need a life.

cadavra said...

Ken, you were kidding, but there actually is a fourth FRASIER regular treading the boards right now: Edward Hibbert is doing his patented stuffy-Brit-twit opposite Cherry Jones and Sally Hawkins in the revival of Shaw's MRS.WARREN'S PROFESSION.

Cap'n Bob said...

Nothing says Christmas to me more than an ancient Jewish harridan sporting 10 pounds of botox in her face. To be fair, though, she was alive during the first Christmas. I know Mary was taken aback when Joan shoved a megaphone in her face and asked, "Who are ya' wearin'?"

John said...

As a kid, nothing said "What the hell am I doing here?" more than standing in slush while watching everyone else freezing at the Macy's T-Day parade back in the 60s. My second worst Macy's/holiday related highlight (the other being about a decade later, when the beggar with only eye sockets and no glasses on was competing against the Salvation Army bell ringer stationed outside the Broadway entrance. Ah, New York in the 1970s...)

Bill said...

Macy's Day?

Bill White said...


I was there, too! I wish I would have run into you, not that you would have known me from Adam.

For my take on NYC on Turkey Day, go to: