For now, The Hollywood Retorter won't go on sale at newsstands but will be available on the NL Web site. Though the humorists claim to have spent several months on the project — "we had a team of 46 lawyers, then got it down to 38, then just one that never slept," jokes Rubin — the results hardly draw blood. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer sets Morocco on fire. CBS Entertainment president Nancy Tellem has never seen an episode of Becker.Sony AmericaCEO Howard Stringer announces "exclusive direct content for the human subconscious." DreamWorks SKG becomes SKGR by adding Eric Roberts. MGM/UA president Michael Nathanson mourns the death of the studio's "script-choosing" parrot. Producer Scott Rudin buys a screenwriter's grocery list. And Michael Ovitz forms Artists Valet Group to reinvent how parking is conducted in Hollywood.
But some bits do have bite. Those overhyped writers boot camps are now "Writers Concentration Camps." There's a dead-on obituary of an agent "reviled by many, hated by all, who finally died almost amazingly of natural causes." New junket rules at Paramount warn reporters "to remember we all work for the same media conglomerate, we know where your kids go to school and drifters owe us favors." Product placement is advertised on the Zapruder JFK-assassination film. And the Coalition of California Rehabilitation Centers congratulates its celebrity alumni "on staying alive."
The final page is a house ad for the National Lampoon featuring a group of guys — presumably the issue's staff — pissing on the Hollywood sign. They should have taken aim at their own work instead. The magazine and the company as a whole have to move way past this tired shtick if it's going to survive.