“She is very, VERY old, so the crowd is going to be old. I’ve seen Cher perform and she is amazing. Hmm, the theatre itself is formal when you come in. It’s not like you can rouse the crowd with ‘Do You Believe In Life After Love’; it’s all gentle claps and hums. You really have to understand that it brings that mood.”
– Céline Dion explains why her concerts have more energy than Cher’s. And, Dion should know about old people — her husband has been collecting social security since their honeymoon!
I was lying on a gurney when I heard someone behind me ask, “Where do I drop off my urine sample for Dr. Wacker?” That took my mind off of the impending surgery, which I clearly survived. As I was being wheeled into pre-op (ironically BY a pre-op), I heard music playing in the distance. It was faint, but it was unmistakably “Silver Bells”. And for that brief moment, I stopped worrying about my mortality long enough to be pissed off that they were playing Christmas songs two weeks before Thanksgiving...and in a somewhat Hebraic hospital.
Not only am I thankful to have survived my procedure, I’m thankful to not be Alec Baldwin. Because yet again, Baldwin finds himself embroiled in a scandal. Last week, he was filmed calling a photographer a “cocksucking fag” (although Baldwin claims that what he actually called the guy was a “cocksucking fathead”). As typically follows a Baldwin outburst, he issued an apology: “I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have — and for that I am deeply sorry.” I once made an apology like that. I said to a dear friend, “I didn’t do anything wrong, but obviously it hurt your feelings, so I’m sorry for that.” It’s a way of apologizing without taking any responsibility — you’re actually telling the offended person to just get over it.
In short order, MSNBC pulled Baldwin’s “Up Late” chat show from the schedule for two weeks. Around the same time, someone from GLAAD pointed out that the term “cocksucker” is an anti-gay slur (which I’m sure is news to Chloë Sevigny). And, because he hates to be left out, Anderson Cooper weighed in via Twitter: “Wow, Alec Baldwin shows his true colors yet again. How is he going to lie and excuse his anti-gay slurs this time? Just read Alec Baldwin’s latest excuses. They are actually so ridiculous they are funny.”
But Alec had a trump card up his sleeve. The next day, he arranged a photo-op in front of the salon of his openly-gay hairdresser, presumably to prove that he has gay friends (who, one assumes, are cocksuckers). Nick Berrios told TMZ, “I don’t think he’s homophobic. I don’t at all. Whenever he is in here, we are always talking and cutting hair. He booked an appointment for today, he always does and he is a good tipper. He has a very big gay following. We love him more now. We always love a drama-filled story.” To say nothing of a good tipper.
As luck would have it, actor Maulik Pancholy just came out. You may not know him by his real name, but Maulik played Jonathan, Alec’s assistant on “30 Rock” for every year except for 2012 — the year he left to join the cast of “Whitney”. Although his character started out engaged to a girl, later in the season he realized he was gay and was soon written off the show. Happily, he returned to the welcoming arms of Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy. In real life, Maulik just celebrated his ninth anniversary with his partner. Congrats.
We often hear about gay people who pretend to be straight. But how about straight people pretending to be gay? British pop star Robbie Williams has been doing that for years. On his new CD, he sings a duet with Rufus Wainwright called “Swings Both Ways”, which he says refers to the spectrum of sexual fluidity. “There is a history of gay people pretending to be straight. I want to balance the sides. I’m a straight person pretending to be gay. I’ve had a lot of people to imitate. It’s easy when you’re British, we’re camp by nature anyway. My wife, who’s American, when she first came to England and watched the TV with me, she’d be like ‘Well, he’s gay isn’t he?’ No he’s not, he’s just British.”
Portia de Rossi realized she was a lesbian as a child, but fought it every step of the way. Throughout her teen years, she harbored many unrequited crushes. “It took me until I was about 18 when I realized I had to date other lesbians if I was ever going to fulfill that fantasy.” The problem was, she didn’t know any lesbians — at least not that she knew of. “I’d never met one for a start, and I just thought they were strange and that they hated men and they were very serious.” Obviously that changed when she met that laugh-riot, Ellen DeGeneres. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Chely Wright appeared quite regularly at the Grand Ole Opry. However, she hasn’t been back ever since she came out in 2010, and her fans are hoping to change that. They’ve started an online petition: “In the past three years, [Chely Wright] has had a new album, a book and a film that was part of the Nashville Film Festival. Yet she still has not been asked to sing at the Opry. We fans have started a petition asking The Grand Ole Opry to invite her back.” Thus far the petition has been signed by over 50 thousand supporters. You can find it at Change.org.
Then there’s the “Murder, She Wrote” reboot being prepped for Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer. When this project was announced the powers-that-be hoped to somehow involve Angela Lansbury — likely an idea cultivated to get the blessing of the original Jessica Fletcher. Alas, not only did Angie decline the invitation, she condemned the entire venture. “I’m sorry that they have to use the title ‘Murder, She Wrote’, even though they have access to it and it’s their right. I think it’s a mistake.” When asked about Spencer, she said, “I saw her in ‘The Help’ and thought she was absolutely wonderful, a lovely actress. So I wish her well, but I wish it wasn’t in ‘Murder, She Wrote’.” Intriguingly enough, Lansbury’s words carried quite a bit of weight. I’m told that the producers are considering changing the title and the name of the character if Lansbury would re-consider her involvement — something I’m told she’s actually toying with.
This week our “Ask Billy” question comes in the form of a “Could it be” item from a longtime reader. Karl in Maine writes: “Could it be that the subject of your most notorious blind items revealed himself on a sitcom this week? It sure looked like him — and for a guy of a certain age, his body definition shows he’s still trimming the fat.”
You’ve certainly said a mouthful, Karl. While I was surprised to see him in this role, I believe the art was imitating life when the script says he seems to want us to watch. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, we’ll deliver a couple grand to you courtesy of BillyMasters.com.
When I’ve survived a question, a blind item, and a surgery, it’s definitely time to end yet another column. Even slightly compromised and surviving the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, one thing is clear — it takes a helluva lot more than a urine specimen and a pre-op nurse to slow me down. While I’m enjoying the buzz provided by my narcotics, the best medicine is always to check out www.BillyMasters.com, the site that will never put you out. Even heavily medicated, I’m always here for your queries. So send them along to Billy@BillyMasters.com and I promise to get back to you before Alec Baldwin shows us what’s in his wallet. Until next time, remember, one man’s filth is another man’s bible.
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