Saturday, May 18, 2024

Joy Behar: “The Wedding Ring Itches”


We won’t see the newly hitched Joy Behar on “The View” until September 6th. But in the meantime, she appeared last night in East Hampton in an all star version of “Celebrity Autobiography” at Guild Hall. Her twenty nine year fiance, now husband, Steve Janowitz, was in the audience cheering her on.

Why did they rush into this marriage after three decades? “A lot of things changed,” Janowitz told me after the show. “We have a grandchild now. And we’re doing things like estate planning. It just all came together.” And Joy? “All I know is, the wedding itches,” she told me. She keeps taking it off. When “The View” returns next month, Behar has prepared the Top Ten reasons to get married. “It’s very funny,” Steve told me.

“Celebrity Autobiography” brought other celebrities, like Bob and Lynn Balaban, and Alec Baldwin with his young yoga teacher girlfriend, to the theatre. East Hampton was otherwise deserted, but Guild Hall was packed to see Behar, Mario Cantone, Scott Adsit from “30 Rock,” Tovah Feldshuh, and a reunion of Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane from “The Producers.”

Broerick and Lane have remained close friends (nothing more, don’t get excited) since then. Indeed, Broderick and his son, James, had to bunk with Lane at his house since the Broderick-Sarah Jessica Parker homestead–closer to the beach–had to be boarded up for the storm.

And what of “Celebrity Autobiography”? It’s hilarious. The actors read excerpts from memoirs ?authored”–and that’s to use the word loosely–by famous people. Last night’s offerings came from Ivana Trump, Kenny Loggins, the boy band NSync, rocker Tommy Lee, Sylvester Stallone, Kathleen Turner, Ethel Merman, and Tallulah Bankhead. The books are badly written, the thoughts in them don’t track. All of it shows hubris, ego, and diffidence that would make Napoleon blush. Cantone juxtaposed Liza Minnelli with Broderick’s Geraldo Rivera– he insisted on pronouncing the Fox news man’s first name with a hard G–as Broderick recounted their almost-affair.

A show stopper: Behar reading from Madonna’s long lost “Sex” book. Long out of print, that raunchy tome merits a second look.Behar read a section in which Madonna, was then in her 30s, extolls the virtues of sleeping with younger guys. Delightfully low class and vulgar. Not exactly what you’d expect from the average admirer of the Duchess of Windsor.

Still the highlight of the evening was the entire gang’s reading of books by Elizabeth Taylor, Eddie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds, with Broderick playing Richard Burton and Lane as Mike Todd. The greatest Hollywood scandal–better than anything now–was a scream, especially listening to each participant’s different published take on how Fisher left Reynolds for Taylor, and Taylor left Fisher for Burton.

All of it–the above trio, as well as Tallulah Bankhead buying chimps and lion cubs well before Michael Jackson came along–just showed us nothing has changed. Celebrities are quite mad, and we are responsible. Lots of fun.

Now on to the Hurricane!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News