Stars' words come back to mock them

Bravo comedians puncture pomposity

December 11, 2005|By HAL BOEDEKER | HAL BOEDEKER,ORLANDO SENTINEL

Brad and Angelina don't enthrall you? Jennifer and Vince haven't earned your friendship with their teasing? Tom and Katie didn't have you at hello?

Anyone weary of star preening - and the media's slavish attention to it - will find delirious relief in Celebrity Autobiography: In Their Own Words. This adult special, premiering at 10 p.m. Thursday on Bravo, punctures performers' pomposity with stinging success.

Celebrity Autobiography started seven years ago when Los Angeles comedians transformed vapid memoirs into zany theater. Bravo's fast-moving TV version, also performed before an audience, carries on the wacky tradition but requires frequent bleeping.

With Andrea Martin, Fred Willard and Jay Mohr offering inspired readings, you can't help but wonder: Why did these authors commit such idiotic or personal observations to paper? The delusions of Norma Desmond, fictional star of Sunset Boulevard, thrive in the real world.

The readings are either uproarious solos or more elaborate group readings. In the show's standout solo, Mohr delivers a jaw-dropping rendition of David Cassidy's intimate thoughts about Partridge Family co-star Susan Dey. You'll never look at a Partridge Family rerun the same way again.

SCTV alumna Martin exposes Ivana Trump as a pushy mother who forced her children to ski down hills at age 2. Willard drives home the point that Mr. T did not have ghost-writing help on a wretched autobiography. Yes, you'll pity the fool.

In florid style, Doris Roberts explains that Zsa Zsa Gabor found hope in jail by recalling Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. Kevin Nealon skewers the bewildering psychobabble of Kenny Loggins. Julie Brown reads Madonna's brief but dumbfounding recollection of a sexual liaison.

Comedian Eugene Pack, who dreamed up Celebrity Autobiography, shares George Takei's insipid thoughts about landing the role of Sulu on Star Trek. Takei, the lone target in attendance, proves he's a good sport by laughing heartily.

The funniest group reading features the words of Loni Anderson (Cheryl Hines), Burt Reynolds (Willard) and Elaine Blake Hall (Martin), Reynolds' former assistant. In their books, Anderson and Reynolds supply wildly different versions of their sexual intimacy. Reynolds knocks Anderson's acting ability and complains, "It's scary to see your life turn into a TV movie."

But less scary than seeing your life spoofed in this special. Any targeted performer witnessing this program should be saying: Stop me before I write again. Still, sequels are likely.

Hal Boedeker writes for the Orlando Sentinel.

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