Les Miz, Sean Penn, and 33 years of love

Chair, here.  Quick story –

It was 33 years ago this weekend that my husband and I had our first “date.”  Well, actually it didn’t start out that way. 

I was taking him to a party because a mutual friend of ours in NY told me there was this guy he went to school with who’d just moved to LA to get his PhD in film. 

And he didn’t know many people and he thought we had similar sensibilities.

He emphasized this wasn’t a fix-up, more just a way to show this guy around and introduce him to some friends.

I know I know #duh

That was fine because it’d been more than a year since I extricated myself from a very troubled relationship and had finally decided I was done with dating, commitment phobic men and, um, men in general.

Anyway, my husband rang my doorbell while I was blasting the Les Miserables soundtrack and about to dump the garbage.  When I opened it I remember here was this cute guy in a vintage vest and, well, since I wasn’t dating it really didn’t matter.

Sorry Colm, but you should really hear my “Bring Him Home”

I wasn’t embarrassed in the least.  In fact, I just told him to hold on while I dumped the garbage.

Unbeknownst to me, he loved Les Miz and somehow found my behavior rather charming.

Then, we went to the party.

There were lots of gay men there and I had in advance told the friend of mine who was having this shindig that I was bringing someone new to town that wanted to meet people.  Well, this particular friend took me very seriously and at some point introduced him to a blonde guy his boyfriend knew who worked at a bank, thinking it would be a match.

It was then that I began to get….jealous?

This basically sums it up

But how could that be?  Just because this guy from NY and I were having some fun conversations on the way to this party, following a long talk on the phone a few nights before? 

Oh, whatever.  And who really cares if he is now taking to this blonde guy who works at a bank.  I have loads of good conversations with lots of people.  I’m known for giving good conversation. 

WHAT? Everything IS fine!

In any event, time went by and I mingled with others.  But at various points I kept spying the guy I brought talking on and off to this blonde guy, who truly wasn’t all that good-looking, especially if you didn’t go in for that type.   

In fact, I couldn’t imagine who would.  Not that I really cared. 

Uh oh Chairy #catchingfeelings

But suddenly the group I was talking to was disbanding and I turned and suddenly saw the NY guy I had brought, sort of looking in my general direction.  So I figured this was a cue for me to go over and, well….rescue him???

I did and by that time his group was also dispersing, and that blonde banker (?) along with it.  We talked for a bit, a few people left and somehow this NY guy who could never in a million years be my husband, and I, decided to clear out a bit early.  He looked a bit awkward and bored at that point anyway, and, well, I didn’t want him to feel that way.

It was Saturday night so we decided to take a walk in the only neighborhood in L.A. two gay guys would even think would be fun to walk around in at that time – West Hollywood.

Cue my Grinchy heart growing three times

At which point, I proceeded to answer some of his questions and tell him a bit about myself, what I did and, well…who knows what else.  It was easy to open up to him and I kept thinking, wow, he’s a good listener and I guess he finds this interesting and funny because why else would he keep asking me to keep going and occasionally laugh at my self-deprecating humor?

Of course, he remembers this as mostly a long monologue about a screenplay I was writing at the time that, though he didn’t find uninteresting, seemed beside the point of why we were walking.

Me, but more charming of course

When somehow the walk ended and I drove him back to his small apartment downtown on the USC campus he asked me if I wanted to come upstairs.  Sean Penn, who was then married to Madonna and in the tabloids every other day for punching out paparazzi, was hosting Saturday Night Live that night, and well, for those who weren’t around then, just know this was a potential HUGE event because, well, ANYTHING could happen.

What I learned from that night is that at ANY moment in time ANYTHING can and WILL happen.   And often when you least expect it.

I guess I’m pro Cupid!

Thirty-three years later it might seem a little sad that we are this weekend limited in what we can do for our anniversary in light of the pandemic.  But wouldn’t you know that the gay gods in the universe have provided once again.

They scheduled the fabulous Adele to make her hosting debut on Saturday Night Live where she will step back into the international spotlight for the first time in a long while after a huge weight loss – wearing designer clothes and, no doubt, hawking a bit of her about to be released latest album.

Check and mate.

Life is often perfectly flawed but, let’s face it, sometimes it can be flawlessly perfect. 

And, almost always, at a time when you least expect it.

One Day More – Cast of Les Miserables

The Pand-Emmys

What’s more meaningless and wasteful and escapist than watching an awards show during a pandemic several days after human rights icon and US Supreme Court Justice extraordinaire Ruth Bader Ginsberg died?

Not much.  Especially since at least 12 different people have assured me in the last 24 hours that the world as I know it will soon end.

As if it already hasn’t.

Welp

Anyway, this is one of many reasons why I decided to tune in to the mostly virtual 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night.

What could be better than escaping into a sea of pop culture calamity?

My hope was for a night of diversion and bitchy commented asides that would allow for the venting of so many things that, okay, I haven’t exactly been holding down.

At all.  And not towards anyone.

If you’ve been reading here lately, or ever, you know.

And we still love you completely

Still, my husband and I are suckers for free Hollywood crack so gathering ourselves and our guacamole and chips around the TV at 5:00 PST to not exactly hate watch, more like love-hate divert, seemed like the best idea in at least five minutes.

Plus – we don’t have to social distance, wear a mask or even think about that sh-t – I mean, patriotic duty and kindness towards our fellow citizens – which we do happily since it’s no big deal and, truly, why would anyone in their right mind be complaining about it at this point?

Wear the damn mask

Like your past, who you are and what you are thinking follows you around like the plague and can rear it’s ugly head at any inopportune moment.  Which is why it’s best to show that unsavory, albeit snidely fun side of you only around people who get you’re not the total a-hole you seem to be, people like your significant other, best friend or even pooch…..during a Hollywood awards show…when you can talk back or even catcall to the screen at people in fancy clothes and over-privilege who can take it.

Even virtually.

WWJRD (What would Joan Rivers Do?)

This, of course, was not to be on Sunday night.

None of it.

This, in fact, was the opposite of what we hoped.  Overly polite people trying their best to gingerly entertain in a responsible way while consistently making the point that there was nothing really important going on this evening on this show except, well, group human hugs in a particularly difficult time of what could be our soon-ending civilization.

Ugh.  How disappointed were WE at my house?   (Note: Okay, mostly I).

Fortune 500!

But, I mean, what did we think?  That host Jimmy Kimmel wouldn’t wear rubber gloves to hand the winner’s envelope to in studio presenter Jennifer Aniston?

Or that we wouldn’t soon see that despite the early canned laughs and celebrity shots the massive Microsoft Theatre really had no audience at all and Kimmel was  really speaking to a sea of appropriately empty seats?

Or that instead of buying seats and ads and throwing lavish after parties the studios and TV Academy would pool their money and combined raise $2.8 million during the broadcast to feed hungry kids? (Note: nokidhungry.org).

Really channeling my inner Larry David

Or that many of the award categories, nominees and winners would be read by COVID-19 first responders like nurses, doctors, farmers and truck drivers?

The people putting their lives on the line to keep society going?  People taking time out of their day to appear on a silly awards show to amuse the likes of me?

These were people I bet were even expecting half of us watching at home would make fun of their hair, how they spoke or at least whom they were wearing.  That’s how cool they were.

Alas, we couldn’t do any of those things.  Nor, I suspect, could much of anyone else.

This but there’s nothing else on

Because despite how much we might very, very, VERY much want it, there is no true escape from the reality of these days.

I mean, if an award show can’t even deliver that, we truly have no choice but to face facts and become the actual heroes and heroines on our favorite TV shows in real life.

At least partly.

So yeah, it’s great that Schitt’s Creek set a new record for a TV comedy and swept in every major category – series, directing, writing, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress.  And that an out and proud gay guy, showrunner Dan Levy, took home four awards in one night.

Melting my cold dead heart

It’s also great that Succession, a show that takes on the unfeeling, corporate rich, won best drama series, best directing, best writing and best actor.

For this scene alone, Jeremy Strong earned it

Not to mention it’s great Watchmen was awarded best limited series, writing, actress and supporting actor for its original genre bending depiction of the destruction of Black Wall Street and the justice that, in turn, could have wrought.

I mean, is anyone better than Regina??

Kudos to all of them.  And many, many more not mentioned.

In fact, here is the complete list.

But what this year’s Emmys will best be remembered for, if it is at all, was for being the first major televised awards show up that best encapsulated the strangeness of our times.  (Note: Feel free to substitute strange with the angriest, or bitchiest, word of your choice).

This works too

As much as it did its job I’m hoping next year the 73rd go-round are A LOT worse, and, in turn, bring out the worst in those of us at home.

Because that will mean all of us, on the whole, are doing a hell of a lot better.

Emily Hampshire – “Maybe This Time” (from Schitt’s Creek)