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By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
My Audition Conditions: GIRL. Brooklyn. Jewish. GIRL. Sexual, smart, outspoken. Apparently extremely, unbelievably, incredibly, threatening. (Peep!) My audition spot, 11:20. Following Robin Williams. My managers (Lehman Brothers) should have postponed the evening. Ennyway .
As usual, Robin went way over the 20-minute time allowance. By midnight, the word fuck had lost its meaning. Dick and balls echoed like a ronde. Pussy was merely a substitute for “um.” He was stellar. The audience was shredded, spent, splayed. I was hoping the guys from the show would leave. They didn’t. Well, I thought, if they’re staying, I hope they understand the spot I’m in.
From ’73 to ’75, I was the hostess at a comedy club in New York. I was the one who always followed Richard Pryor, Lily Tomlin or Rodney Dangerfield when they dropped in. After the stars left the audience limp, the other comics would exit fast. I couldn’t because I was the paid hostess. I was left, and then I was on.
It’s me, Elayne.
So here’s how you do it: You turn into the skid. Turn into the skid, slowly get control of the vehicle, and then gently guide it to where you need to go (and try not to poop while doing this). Everyone who drives knows this. My upcoming spot was now nothing if not a potential traffic accident. If those Tonight Show protectors of America’s delicate sensibilities who had just gut-laughed their way through an hour of Williams’ cock-cuck-suck-pussy-balls didn’t know that, then they had no business working for the Department of Motor Vehicles. What I needed was someone to say, “C’mon folks, move along, show’s over, nothing to see here.” But there’s never a cop around when you need one. To avoid ending up in the center of a chalk outline, I turned into the skid.
“A very fine good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” I huffed tightly in my best Margaret Dumont. All that were missing were my ball gown and lorgnettes. “I must say I don’t approve. You look entirely spent, and I must apologize to you for what you were just subjected to in the name of quote unquote levity. If that is humor, then I am a herring.” Uncomfortable silence. Heading straight for the center divider. “Is that what passes for entertainment now?” I sputtered in umbrage, drawing myself up stiff. “Is this it, then? The coarsening of our dear republic? Ohhh, for the good old days, the days of lavender and lace, of gentlemen and ladies.”
People were now looking around, not sure what to make of the melodrama. The wheels are starting to align. “Let me tell you how it used to be, when gentility prevailed. Why, not a week ago I had an ethereal evening of true delight. My gentleman friend arrived for me promptly, bearing lilies, sporting a cravat. He took my arm, escorted me to dine, to sip, to dance.” The audience had its energy back. People sat up to listen, exchanged looks, wondered if someone was going to throw a net over me. Gently turning the wheel. ... “We chatted, tittered, arrived home at a civil hour, whereupon I invited him in for a cup of herb tea, and then voraciously sucked his cock.”
Traction! Explosive laughter. I accelerated with all four wheels under me and cruised into my five minutes, windows down, hair blowing. Unfortunately, the Tonight Show CHP stood as one, and single-filed out of the club, missing my roof-rattling, perfectly clean set. Afterward, I cried outside as my managers called me self-destructive. It would be a full year of tow trucks and chilly nights before I got to audition again.
I was told once at a commercial audition, “Can you do that again but 75 percent less?” I thought, exactly 75 percent? After all that rigorous conservatory training in New York, I figured it was time to take an acting class, L.A. style. When I walked into Lesly Kahn’s “Comedy Intensive” in 2002 I was hoping she’d just hand me a stack of US Weeklys and a bloody mary and we’d be done with it. But on the first day, as we sat in the teacher’s living room, this familiar-looking girl raised her hand and asked if she might pass around a portfolio of pictures of herself. The girl proceeded to pass around the book, explaining: “Here’s one from my birthday party in Tokyo!” “Oh, this one is when I was Madonna for Halloween!” “Look, that’s the lingerie my boyfriend bought me on Valentine’s Day; I’m modeling it in the limo we rented that night.”
A girl next to me whispered, “Who the hell is this chick?” She wasn’t that famous yet, but I recognized her from the society pages I read so religiously. “Her name’s Paris Hilton,” I said. “Her dad owns all the Hilton hotels.”
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