Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jersey Boy

On occasion, the girls and I have been known to kill some time at our local Borders bookstore. The girls are in it for the amazing hot chocolates from the Seattle's Best. (Seriously an excellent cup of cocoa that comes with every kind of chocolate - milk, white and dark for the equally outstanding price of under $2.)

So today, we found ourselves in the children's section, which is located right next to the humor section. I've been working my way through Artie Lange's comedy memoir Too Fat To Fish since before Christmas.

Back in the day, I had the pleasure of knowing Artie when he was a comic in New York and would often hang out in the office of another comic/copywriter at a large advertising agency in New York City. This was before MADtv and Howard Stern.

I'm sure having known him years is ago is the only thing that drew me to the memoir, because the cover art alone is enough to turn most people off.

It's the kind of book that is best taken in small doses. If the language doesn't do you in, then the too true tales of drug, alcohol and other excess are sure to make you wish you were reading something more worthy of your time. But like listening to Howard, it's often that most disturbing bits that make it hard to turn away.

Today, I was rapt with the tales of the first season taping MADtv. As a side story detailing a forced intervention and subsequent second stint in rehab Artie retold a tale about a bit part he played (and that was later cut) from the hit film Jerry McGuire. He described what it was like working with Tom Cruise and Kelly Preston. He said that the whole crew would wait while Tom jumped rope to the point where he felt ready to perform the scene. When he was ready Tom would tell the director Cameron Crowe to yell "action" and Tom would toss his rope to his handler and begin his lines. Tom apparently reworks much of his scenes and deviates from the script and eventually ended up yelling at Artie who only had a brief cameo. The story continued with Artie's retelling of how he'd pass time between takes by throwing a baseball with one of the PA's. Apparently a small boy ran up to them and Artie rolled the ball to the 4 year old. At which point, Kelly Preston appeared and accused the two of trying to hurt her son. The PA revealed that the entire crew had to sign a contract not talk or interact with either Tom or Kelly during filming. The boy was Jett Travolta.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this story exactly, just that it was fascinating to be caught in the time conundrum between someone I knew in the past and celebrities I kind of feel like I know and the strange death of a child that occurred after the book was published. The story ended with Artie mercilessly making fun of the child's name. I can only imagine what he'd have to say about the moniker Suri.


mlb said...

Darrell is laughing his ass off at this one. Can I borrow the Artie Lang book when you are done, or is it a memento now? (We are broke.)

I had Sirius for awhile and loved Howard with Artie (having listened to him daily in DC on my drive into teaching 7th graders -- maybe not the best way to psyche yourself up for an educational environment.)

You didn't need a "point" to the story. The tom cruise crap was brilliant on it's own.

Biscuit said...

I don't know who Artie is, but I loved the insight into the Jerry Maguire movie. Tom is so weird, being an actor must be very bizzare. Finding the balance between your "art" and taking yourself waaaaay too seriously! Thanks for the story! :)

mrs. blogoway said...

Wow, crazy story. After visiting NYC I can see why people love to live there. It's so exciting and full of energy and people... you're very lucky to have lived there. I wish I knew someone off of MadTV...

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