Saturday Morning September 8, 2007
Well, last night Mulan had her best friend sleep over and they are still asleep. I am up, I actually got up at 5:30 and couldn’t sleep another wink. I have coffee made, and NPR on, and the dishwasher is filled and the kitchen counters wiped down. This is my favorite time of the day. I often think that after about noon, it’s all just downhill for me. This has been difficult as I often work in a late night world: SNL, comedy clubs, nightclubs, theatre. It’s all against my natural inclinations. Even when I was on SNL I still got up early in the morning, even when I’d gone to bed early in the morning. Then I would take a nap later. Oh… a nap. I might be able to take a nap today. Sweet.
The highlight of this week was on Wednesday night when I attended a small dinner party in honor of Phyllis Diller and her recent 90th birthday milestone. It was at an opulent house is Beverly Hills and I would say there were about 25 to 30 people there for dinner. She was delightful: funny and articulate. Of course I love that she seems to love me so much, because I am a big fan of hers. She has been an outspoken atheist for…EVER. She was an outspoken atheist when you could have your name put on lists for it and you could be watched by the CIA for it. When I got to the party, she immediately sat me beside her and held my hand and told me how much bunk religion is and how could anyone for even one second take it seriously? Of course I agree and disagree. It’s true, that once I looked into the myths that religion is based on, and looked objectively at the architecture of religion, it was obvious that it was bunk. But I also understand that if you are raised to rely on religion, and it’s worked for you to reduce stress or make sense of the world, and the rituals have some positive associations, and don’t look into it deeply, it’s easy to see why people believe. In any case, I was flattered and thrilled to be with Phyllis and her friends. She was bawdy and funny and loved being the center of all the attention and love.
Bernie Brillstein was there and we had a nice conversation about SNL and Lorne Michaels. He was so sweet and gracious to me and I really appreciated it. Tommy Smothers was there as well as Betty White. It was wild to be with them. I have met the Smothers brothers many times, and last summer did a show at the Hollywood Bowl with them. I think a lot of people think of the Smothers Bros. and maybe even Phyllis Diller as kind of hokey, but to me they are heroes. When I was a kid, the Smothers Brothers were doing really edgy counter-culture stuff and it eventually led to their show’s cancellation. The Smothers Brothers Show was the first time I was aware of artists in conflict with a network, and particularly over political material. Tommy got up and toasted Phyllis and told stories about being backstage at the Purple Onion, a club they performed at in San Francisco. He had a funny bit about Phyllis being inadvertently naked backstage and it reminded me of Kathy Griffin being naked backstage at the Groundlings.
Other than that highlight, this week has been relatively calm. I am on a new writing schedule where, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., I turn off the phone, refuse to answer the call of the Internet connection, and I write. I am writing a pilot for Sony and I have to deliver an outline by next Friday. So far this method has proved successful. It might not seem like much time, three hours, but it is a Herculean effort to stay focused for that amount of time for me. If I can keep this up and keep those hours sacred, I think I can accomplish a lot. My aim is to write this pilot and then finish my “Beautiful Loss Of Faith Story” book which has been dogging me for years.
Wow, now it’s almost seven and the girls are still asleep. Do I organize my bathroom or my closet? It may seem silly, but I am giddy at the thought that I have that autonomy at this moment.