My dinner party with 5 famous people: #5 Joan Rivers

Last but not least, I would round out my celebrity dinner party with Joan Rivers. She might seem like an odd choice, after all, she’s known for her catty fashion criticism and overdone plastic surgery, but she still amazes me. I didn’t really appreciated Ms. Rivers until I watched the documentary, A Piece of Work. That woman works her butt off. Comedians have tough lives. It’s not easy being on the road for most of the year, getting heckled, cancelled, or made to feel irrelevant. Yes, all this is hard, but it was specially hard for a young woman in the 60s who was expected to be at home with the kids. A young woman who was told she’d never have a career because she wasn’t pretty.

In this documentary she bares it all. Her husband’s suicide, her regrets about betraying Johnny Carson, and her never ending feeling that she’s not good enough. She puts herself out there. She is so vulnerable but at the same time you realize nothing could get to her. She is absolutely fearless.

Joan Rivers and me doing a segment on The View, before we grab some lunch.

Joan Rivers and me at a booth. I’m obviously trying to get the waitress’ attention.

You watch her jump on a plane and do gigs in five different cities in 3 days. I couldn’t do that at 28. I don’t know how she can do that at 78. The whole time you watch this documentary you see a person struggling with mortality. It’s like she thinks if she does one more show she won’t be forgotten. But it works… how many other female comedians have been a household name for almost 50 years?

I love Joan because she’s sassy, and I know if she’s the first person to arrive, and I’m wearing something ugly, she’ll have the balls to tell me to change. I love her because she’s a fighter. Because she will not go softly into the night. I love her because she’s shocking and reminds us to lighten up.

I would serve her Vodka on the rocks and a wine chaser. Maybe she’ll nibble on some appetizers but I don’t see her as a big foodie. I’d sit her between Dan Savage and Sir Issac Newton. Dan and her would be hilarious, and she would have a field day making jokes about Newton’s weird behavior.


My dinner party with 5 famous people: #3 Sir Isaac Newton

I first learned about how crazy Sir Isaac Newton was from Bill Bryson’s amazing book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I’ve loved him ever since. (On a side note, my boy Bill was soooo close to making the guest list, but he can also be hyper-critical in his books, and I don’t want that vibe at my party. Sorry, Bill.) Besides for the fact that Newton helped us to understand force and motion, he also had an insatiable curiosity that led him to do such crazy things as stick a needle in his eye. My third dinner guest would have to be Sir Isaac Newton:

Me and Newton waiting for a seat at the trendiest new restaurant in NYC

Me and Newton waiting for a seat at the trendiest new restaurant in NYC

The night would start like this,

“Wow, Sir Isaac Newton, what an honor! May I call you Isaac?”

“I prefer Newt. Hey what’s that?” he asks, pointing to my microwave.

OK, after the initial enjoyment of explaining all the recent technology to a genius wears off, the real fun would begin. Newton was a crazy MoFo. When he didn’t think math was comprehensive enough he invented calculus! Who does that? But since he thought it would be too boring a subject (that’s my interpretation), he kept it a secret for 27 years. He learned Hebrew because he thought he could decipher clues as to the second coming of Christ. He was obsessed with figuring out how to turn base metals into precious metals. I just imagine him staring at his fork during dinner, willing it to turn to gold. It would give Louie CK a lot of great material.

Here’s a passage from A Short History of Nearly Everything:

“Newton was a decidedly off figure – brilliant beyond measure, but solitary, joyless, prickly to the point of paranoia, famously distracted (upon swinging his feet out of bed in the morning he would reportedly sometimes sit for hours, immobilized by the sudden rush of thoughts to his head), and capable of the most riveting strangeness… Once he inserted a bodkin- a long needle of the sort used for sewing leather – into his eye socket and rubbed it around “betwixt my eye and the bone as near to [the] backside of my eye as I could” just to see what would happen. What happened, miraculously, was nothing – at least nothing lasting. On another occasion, he stared at the Sun for as long as he could bear, to determine what effect it would have upon his vision. Again he escaped lasting damage, though he had to spend some days in a darkened room before his eyes forgave him.”

I’ve watched many things fall without having a single intelligent thought. Newton observes an apple falling and suddenly our whole world makes a lot more sense. We understand why things move or don’t move because of him and his three laws. He gave us the reflective microscope and the color and light theory. The least I could do is invite him over for dinner. I would serve him Turducken, baked apple and wine, and as I said before, he’ll sit next to Louie CK.


My dinner party with 5 famous people: #2 Louie C.K.

As I wrote in my last post, I’ve decided to take a cue from the classic college application question: If you could have dinner with five famous people (alive or dead) who would they be and why? It’s a good question because it shows what you value in a person, and what you hope to gain from the interaction. So without further ado, here’s the second person I would invite: Louie CK.

Louie and and me at a diner

Louie and and me at a diner

I was pretty late to discovering the comic genius that is Louie CK. I kept hearing his name mentioned, and sometimes when someone would say “you know, like on Louie,” I would smile and nod, having no idea what they were talking about. Netflix had been suggesting his show for months, and finally one day I plugged my computer into the t.v. and sat down to watch the show. By the next day (embarrassing to admit) I was done with season one and ready for more.

The magic of Louie CK is that although he can be disgusting, he’s so earnest and full of heart. He puts all of his insecurities, fears, and desires on the screen and you can’t help but relate. Sometimes he just looks like a lost puppy and I want to wrap him up and take him home with me, but then he’ll talk about how much he masturbates and I change my mind. I like a man who keeps me on my toes 🙂

I would serve Louie CK pizza, french fries, a fried appetizer sampler, some milkshakes and some beer. I don’t think I could sit him next to Oprah, so you’ll just have to wait for the future posts to see who he will sit next to! I’ll leave you with my favorite clip from the show:


Free Giveaway!!!


Most people close to me know that I’m a huge fan of Oprah. Ok I was a little bit obsessed. When I was in high school I rushed home so I wouldn’t miss a minute of her show. I remember thinking I would never be able to have a 9-5 job because then I would miss Oprah (that was before tivo).

There are few other celebrities that have so much dignity, vulnerability, and a continuing drive for self improvement. I find her completely inspiring and I love her for the stories and causes she brings to my attention.

After her show ended (and yes I cried a lot) I got a subscription to O magazine. It was the first magazine I read that wasn’t about celebrity gossip or the best jeans for every figure. In ever glossy issue there’s a reading list, financial/spiritual/ health advice, motivating interviews, eye-opening investigations, and yes, some beauty and fashion. In my eyes, it’s the best magazine out there.

And now for the giveaway… It’s time to renew my subscription, but they gave me the option of sending a free subscription to a friend! I figured I would extend that offer to my blog friends. So if you would like to win a free year subscription to O magazine, please leave a comment telling me about your favorite Oprah moment. On Wednesday at 10pm I will choose a winning comment at random ! Good Luck!!!