On Friday, April 29th, we held a Spoken Word Event at my house to benefit the arts program at my daughter’s school. Let it never be said that I’m not a philanthropist, okay (but if anyone calls me a philatelist, theyre gonna get punched; I fucking hate stamps)? Because we raised twenty grand for that neediest of causes: kids in private school.
This was the second such event we’ve hosted at the house, the innaugural outing being last year, back when it was dubbed “The Poetry Event”. This year, I wanted to move away from calling it a “Poetry Event” and move toward something edgy and cool, a’la “Spoken Word Event”, because “Poetry Event” just sounds too… gay. And I don’t mean “gay” in that awesome, cock-sucking way. I mean “gay” in that horrible, boring-ass, lame, straight, breeder kinda fashion. See, I’m a friend of the gay community. I’ve always maintained that I’m just one cock-in-the-mouth shy of being gay myself. And I understand why gay dudes crave a big, luscious dick: hung like a kindergartner as I am, I, too, have always craved a big, luscious dick myself. Sadly, my thirst will go forever unquenched.
When I was a kid, I’d see movies about Hollywood parties and read articles about Hollywood parties (usually in Hustler) that portrayed any TinselTown get-together as merely an excuse to have an orgy, replete with pounds of blow and unnatural sex. But last year’s Poetry Event was a real eye-opener for me: I thought a few folks would rattle off some “Two roads diverged in a yellow woods” type shit, and then suddenly, BAM! An explosion of jism, with spunk criss-crossing the room, creating a veritable spider-web of bodily fluids. Naturally, I wouldn’t have partaken in the debauchery myself, as I’m a happily married man. But, fuck it – I like seeing shit go into other shit, so I’d have been more than happy to watch all that dirty boots-knocking (preferably from beneath a glass table). Sadly, however, I learned that “Poetry Event” isn’t code for “Wife-Swapping”. It means exactly that: “Poetry Event”.
For this year’s Event, we had so many requests for tickets that we over-sold the show, and roughly 100 people at $200 a pop got to cram into my living room and peep an impressive roster of readers, all of whom did a bang-up job busting with the stanzas and iambic pentameter. I was the emcee, and here’s how I introduced the evening’s readers
As police psychiatrist Dr. Emil Skoda on three of the four different “Law & Order” incarnations, he’s helped convict tons of felons, and as Vernon Schillinger on HBO’s “OZ”, he gets to rape all those felons. He’s worked with both the Coen Brothers AND Spider-Man, and since he’s also the voice of the Yellow M&M in those M&M commercials, he’s the only guy here tonight who can get away with the pickup line “I’ll melt in your mouth, not in your hands.” Ladies and gentlemen…
Our next reader’s the only person here tonight who’s been a guest on “The Love Boat”, “Hill Street Blues”, “Murder She Wrote”, “L.A. Law” AND “Doogie Howser, M.D.” As Hank Kingsley on “The Larry Sanders Show”, he introduced “Hey, now!” into our lexicon, and he played both George and Oscar Bluth on one of my all-time favorite shows, “Arrested Development”. Give it up for a star of stage and screen, and a funny motherfucker…
MR. JEFFREY TAMBOR.
Im pretty sure our next reader is the only cat in the room tonight who’s been on the stage at the World Famous Apollo. He’s just finished his first season on “Saturday Night Live” as a full-fledged cast member and he’s got a comedy DVD coming soon called “I’m Snap Famous.” Give it up for the the man from Hot-Lanta, Starkisha himself…
MR. FINESSE MITCHELL.
Our next reader is the first of two living legends in the house tonight. Nobody knows who created the Greek gods of myth, but when it comes to 20th century mythology, we can all say we KNOW who created some of the biggest icons of pop culture history: Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the X-Men. And since he also created Daredevil, I will always owe this man for providing me with a bottomless well of “Ben Affleck in tight red leather” jokes. He’s a gentleman, a scholar, a friend, and the hottest 84 piece of ass you’ll ever see. The star of “Mallrats”, ladies and gentlemen…
MR. STAN LEE.
Our next reader is one half of the comic duo Girls Guitar Club, so finally we’re getting someone up here who doesn’t have a dick. Besides me. You’ve seen her on “Mr. Show”, you’ve seen her on “The Larry Sanders Show”, you’ve seen her in “Dude, Where’s My Car?” but most folks probably know her as the CTU tech analyst Chloe O’Brian on the show that’s not habit-forming at all, “24″. Let’s hope her poem is called “Does Jack Bauer Get Out of the Baggage Hold With the Cassette Tape?” Ladies and gentlemen…
MARY LYNN RAJSKUB
Keeping the dickless mojo we’ve got going on now, our next presenter taught an entire generation of girls that it was cool to carry a laser blaster and wear your hair all fucked-up and stupid. In 1987, she published her first novel, “Postcards from the Edge”, and then followed it up with “Surrender the Pink”, “Delusions of Grandma” and “The Best Awful There Is”. She’s been in tons of movies, written the Academy Awards, and she’s a Mom. I’ve always wanted her to tell me she loves me while I was being lowered into a carbonite pit, just so I could offer her a pimp-like nod and say “I know. ” Give it up for an over-achiever…
Our next reader brings a screeching halt to the all-dickless reader streak we’ve been on, but while he’s all man, he’s also been known to get tarted-up a bit. In the year 2000, he took home two Emmys for his brilliant stand-up show “Dress to Kill” that played every other hour on HBO. If you haven’t seen his prior shows “Definite Article” and “Glorious”, you’re a fucking disgrace. He’s played both Lenny Bruce on stage and Charlie Chaplin on film, but he’s a legend in this house for introducing the phrase “Cake or death? ” into our lexicon. One of the funniest human beings to ever walk the earth, ladles and jelly-spoons, I give you…
Next up, we’re gonna drop a fucking Academy Award winner on yer asses who’s gonna hobble you dirty-birds with a cockadoodie reading. She taught us how to scream “TOWANDA!” in “Fried Green Tomatoes”, busted-dust in “Primary Colors”, and hot-tubbed with Nicholson in “About Schmidt”. And if that’s not impressive enough, she’s also directed a shit-load of episodes of “Six Feet Under”. Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the one and only BoBo…
Next up is our second Brit of the evening, which means we’re gonna hear more poetry the way it SHOULD sound: fucking gay. He’s another stage actor, but from the British stage, which means he’s better at it than Kathy Bates, simply by virtue of his nationality. You’ll probably know him best as Doctor Nigel Townshend on NBCs “Crossing Jordan”. Party people, let’s hear it for…
Our next reader is as important an L.A. fixture as the Hollywood sign. But unlike the Hollywood sign, she’s not nearly as old, and youll never find empty 40′s or used condoms lying at her feet. She’s a writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a host of “The Book Show” on PBS, a regular contributor to “Morning Edition” on NPR, a winner of five Emmys, four Golden Mike awards, and a pair of Pulitzer Prizes. But more impressive than all of that? They named a hot dog after her at Pink’s. Give it up for the lady in the hat…
Next up, we’ve got a lady who once gave a piano concert on a freeway overpass in downtown L.A. The author of several books, including the semi-autobiographical “A Year in Van Nuys”, she’s another NPR regular whose KCRW show “The Loh Life” was cancelled in 2004 after she said the word “Fuck” on air proving that America truly is the home of free speech. For her recent one-woman show “Mother On Fire”, the L.A. Times dubbed her “The high priestess of Los Angeles Humor”. For her appearance here tonight, we dub her simply…
SANDRA TSING LOH.
Our next reader was on a show my grandmother used to refer to as “her stories” the daytime soap “The Young and the Restless”. She once spoke candidly in Rolling Stone about her affection for vibrators, and as a result, fans started sending her sex toys in the mail. I’m pretty sure my grandmother sent her the three-speed, gyrating rabbit, batteries included. She’s on screens right now in “The Sentinel” so I’m sure she appreciates you all sitting here watching this shit instead of buying tickets for her flick. But she’s best known as the wandering wife Gaby Solis on the hit ABC show “Desperate Housewives”. Take your hands out of your laps and put ‘em together for…
We’ve saved the best for last, folks. Our second living legend of the evening is a man who fronted not one but two insanely influential bands. He does my house more honor than I fear my house can bear. Living history will stand here in a minute, but first, I’d like to read a note he sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when he declined, on behalf of his band, to attend their induction
“Next to the Sex-Pistols, rock and roll and that hall of fame is a piss stain. Your museum. Urine in wine. We’re not coming.”
So imagine our surprise when he said yes to this fucking thing.
Ladies and Gentlemen, and other cunts, never mind the bollocks here’s…
To say the event was a howling success would be an understatement. Every reader held the audience’s attention rapt. It was a great crowd, too all whooping and hollerin’ and whatnot (the open bar might’ve had something to do with it, natch).
Some highlights of the evening…
- Sitting at a table on the deck with Johnny Rotten on my left and Stan Lee on my right, and listening to them have-at one another. Always a gentle joker, Stan was saying “I can’t understand a word this guy’s saying,” about Johnny, and Johnny was hissing “Listen, Dad – you don’t know who you’re dealing with. I’m Rotten.”
- Jeffrey Tambor wrapping up his set with a dryly delivered “I’ll read one more piece, because I’ve got two more poetry events to hit before the night’s over.”
- Finesse Mitchell, doing a pair of impromptu poems entitled “Mapquest Don’t Know Where This House Is” and “Goddamn, This is a Nice House.” As funny as he was, he wrapped his set up with a really moving poem entitled “There Was Ugly in the Church Today”. That guy’s totally cool in my book.
- Stan Lee, working without a microphone, reciting three not-short poems from memory, and then humorously editorializing at the end of each. He was all prepared to do “The Raven” from memory as well, but decided to hold onto it ’til next year’s event. The man, mind you, is 84 fucking years old – and yet, he owned that room. The crowd loved him.
- Kathy Bates, riffing on my intro, saying “Now I wish I’d brought the other poem I wrote with me: Big, Luscious Dicks.”
- Carrie Fisher sweating the event once she heard the intro and some of the other readers, insisting she only came prepared with one short poem. Then, when it was her turn, she took the mic and said “Sherlock Holmes used to say that the mind can only house so much information. And when new things are learned, old things get pushed out. But this is something that I’ve been able to hold onto for a long time.” She paused, and then began “General Kenobi – years ago, you served my Father in the Clone Wars…” Yes – she did the entire “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi” speech from memory. Brought the cheering house to its fucking feet, she did.
- Mary Lynn Rajskub doing not just a really funny excerpt from her forthcoming, one-woman show, but also an extended hysterical intro about being “24″ famous and not knowing shit about computers.
- Steve Valentine rocking some Shel Silverstein, then following it up with reading some morbidly funny epitaphs he’d found online. And if that wasn’t enough, he capped his presentation off with a pretty wicked card trick, reciting patter from a 1930′s magician, set to a rap beat. He killed.
- Eva Longoria, post-introduction, saying “You mention liking vibrators in one interview, and it haunts you forever.”
- John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon launching into what seemed like a blistering, anti-abortion screed (“Bodies”) at a room full of terrified parents, calling one of the audience members out when she uncomfortably chuckled by saying “Is this fucking funny to you?! Are you an animal?”, blaming all of us for electing George Bush and then dismissing petrol-centric politics with “This is what you need oil for,” while rubbing his asshole over his pants and then patting a balding dude in the front row’s head, Benny Hill style, adding “Or this,” and then finishing up with an a capella version of “God Save the Queen” with the audience singing along. Fucking amazing.
In terms of a fundraiser, the whole thing couldn’t have been cooler. Big props to my wife Jen for pulling it all together, with massive help from PTA head Russell Milton and Daniella, his classy-ass British wife (and the person who suggested getting Johnny Rotten in the first place). All I did was monkey-it-up as the emcee; THEY did all the hard work. And man, was it worth it; truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.