Making screening tapes: Groundhog Day all over again (which may be redundant, I know). I’ve been working to swap out the shot that annoyed Jonah and me (shooting into the sun=super-blown out exposure), finding one that (except for some coke can/coke bottle discontinuity) is way way better. Now, though, the same popping and frame snagging problem that nearly derailed us last week is back, even worse.
MoMA Benefit: what a laff riot. Spent hours in the afternoon rehearsing with David O. Russell, Lily Tomlin, and a posse of movie and museum people. It was a blast. My co-chair, Muffy, didn’t want to do any of the jokes I’d written for us (we were the fifth in a chain of intros and thank yous, and we introduced David and Lily, who interviewed him). Instead of Ben Stiller opening the evening, it was a clip from Flirting with Disaster, the one where Mary Tyler Moore lifts her shirt and shows off her aging-yet-still-firm breasts (let’s see what search engines do with THAT description). So after four refined, diplomatic, but slightly uptight intros by other museum dignitaries, my joke about Russell making movies for a TV generation that grew up wanting Mary Tyler Moore to take her shirt off went over fine. As did the line about thanking my lawyers and my manager who got me this job (people were just about thanked out). Ben Stiller’s appearance later, via “live” satellite hookup, was hilarious; he acted like he was accepting the award, then got confused and hurt when he was told it wasn’t for him. Finally, Will Farrell showed up, as James Lipton, and pulled all the actors onstage to fawn over them strangely. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me. Then we all ran upstairs for dinner (and, for the LA crowd, an American Spirit) and the party.
Here is a list of my new Hollywood friends (in Hollywood, if you hang out for a night, mentioning your respective projects, you can claim friendship.): Spike and Sofia (very nice. sat next to them.); the Leguizamos, Wes Anderson (very popular with the ladies, btw), Alexander Payne, and Glenn Fitzgerald. The agents were thick as thieves (in a good way), but, true to form, they don’t have entries in IMDB, so no linking. Anyway, my friends’ll understand if I have to get back to work. Let’s get together for breakfast.