Some may recall an early ’60s Lenny Bruce routine about Shelley Berman and the Chicago Shtarkers. It was about Berman performing on-stage at Mr. Kelly’s, a famed Chicago club, and getting more and more irritated by a couple of deep-voiced mafiosos who wouldn’t stop talking and interfering with his act.
Berman didn’t know they were mob guys, but that might not have mattered. In any event he finally blurted into the mike “Jesus, somebody shut these hoodlums up!”
Berman might’ve gotten walloped in a back alley, but the mob goons didn’t “hear” the insult. They may have physiologically heard the words “shut these hoodlums up” but psychologically they didn’t penetrate because “nobody would ever talk to them that way,” Bruce explained. So the taunt bounced off and Berman lucked out.
I’m mentioning because in a certain sense I was a mafia guy this morning as I was planning to attend a 10 am screening of Vice. The emailed invite said it would happen on Sunday, 11.25. (And it still will.) But like those Chicago goons, the 11.25 date (seven days hence, three days after Thanksgiving) struck me as so nonsensical that I waved it off like a house fly.
I did so because Los Angeles journos saw Vice yesterday, and why, I asked myself, would Annapurna delay showing Vice to New York City journos for eight (8) days? Nobody and I mean nobody handles an award-season roll-out this way.
You can’t offer a special peek to the L.A. crowd and then turn around and say to their NYC counterparts, “Just sit tight, fellas…we’ll show it to you next weekend so hold your horses for eight days.”
This isn’t the 1950s. Early showings of big-deal movies are always even-steven or favored-nation as far as the two coasts are concerned. So the date was a “mistake”, I told myself, and so I emotionally and psychologically rejected it.
I can be an occasional ditzoid about screenings, granted, but this was something else.