Celebrity Autobiography:In Their Own Words
A rotating cast, including Matthew Broderick, Kristen Johnston, Richard Kind, and Donna Murphy, read the unintentionally hilarious words of American celebrities.
In this cleverly conceived evening by Eugene Pack and Dayle Reyfel -- who also appear on stage -- the performers read verbatim from the unintentionally hilarious autobiographies of these so-called luminaries. Did you want to know what Neil Sedaka eats every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Did you want to hear about Marilu Henner teaching her husband how to please her in bed? Did you want to know how Joan Lunden (side-splittingly portrayed by Rachel Dratch) stacked her clothes so she could get dressed at 4am before heading out to Good Morning America? Then you've come to the right place.
Of course, the cast -- some of whom appear every week -- add their own idiosyncratic spins to the material, often to hilarious effect. Could there be anyone less sugary-sweet than Kristen Johnston to read the oddly unprophetic words of Kathie Lee Gifford or less demure than Richard Kind to reveal the worst thing that ever happened to Vanna White on the set of Wheel of Fortune? A particularly appalling section of David Cassidy's autobiography, in which he talks about his night of quasi-passion with onscreen sister Susan Dey, received an extra dose of laughter thanks to the deadpan delivery of Matthew Broderick. And Claudia Shear was priceless as a hard-edged Ivana Trump, mercilessly sending out her crying two-year-old onto the ski slopes.
The evening's coups des graces -- and final two sketches -- were simply brilliant. In one, the autobiographies of Burt Reynolds, his now ex-wife Loni Anderson, and Burt's former assistant Elaine Blake Hall are interspersed in a point-counterpoint detailing the couple's courtship and dissolution of their marriage. Even better was a similar treatment regarding Debbie Reynolds, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton, and Elizabeth Taylor -- with Donna Murphy delivering a practically Tony-worthy performance as La Liz. Reading these books in the privacy of your home couldn't possibly be this much fun.
Celebrity Autobiography also serves as a cautionary tale: Future memoirists may think twice now before putting pen to paper. I immediately went home and shredded my scribblings. You probably should too!