I’m thinking we’ll go do the show, and then we’ll go get… If you want to do a slice, we’ll get a slice.

I’ll do a slice if I can get a fountain… – Let’s go in here. Do they have fountain soda? ‘Cause I don’t like cans. Yeah, this is it. – I love it, yeah. – Yeah, right. But my point is, if I got an indoor ball… a woman’s ball… and I was at the top of the key, I’d sink more threes. Yeah, but we’re not allowed at that Y anymore. No, but I’m saying if… Look, you don’t have… You can go in disguises to any place you want, if you know what you’re doing on the hard court. – I’m nervous about tonight. – Why? ‘Cause we’re filming it for the TV thing. I don’t care. I’m gonna get high before…

♪ Tonight when I chase the Dragon ♪

It’s show time! – It’s show time!

[announcer] Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Lyceum Theater. Unfortunately at this performance, the roles of Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland will be played by Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland.

Let’s do Broadway. I’ll see you after the show.

So fucking dumb.

And now, please welcome, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland. [applause]

Oh, hey! I know you.

[both] Oh, hello.

Charmed I’m sure, I’m Gil Faizon – And I am George St. Geegland. And we are two legendary bachelors who live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Which is the coffee breath of neighborhoods.

We want to give a shout-out to the mezzanine and the balcony!

[applause]

You guys are the reason we do this show! But we will be making eye contact solely with the orchestra. We are gonna have so much fun tonight because theater is the hot, new thing right now. There’s Hamilton and no other examples.

Now, speaking of theater being hot, you’ll notice that we are filming the show tonight. Yes. You see cameras all over the place.

We’re filming this as a special for Investigation Discovery.

No, it’s for Netflix.

It’s a binge-watch. It’s a binge-watch. You watch an episode of a show, then you wait a week, and then you binge-watch another episode. Also, if you see a camera, you know, look right down the barrel of the lens, all right?

And you know, we’re trying to convey that we have a diverse audience, so if you’re white, tonight, if you could just not be. Yeah! [audience laugh]

All right, that covers the business. We want to also give a shout-out to our dear intern Ravi in the booth. Shout-out to Ravi! OK. This is Ravi. Ravi is a junior at the NYU Tisch School for the Arts.

Yes, he’s studying to be a playwright, so he’s doing tech for us, unpaid, for nine months.

Yeah. He’s Ravi Nandan, OK? He’s one of these new Indian types. He’s a real “Aziz, I’m sorry.” [audience laugh] But we like to joke that Ravi is the master of fun.

One of our famous turns.

Back to us. Some of our accolades: We are the recipients of a 1997 restraining order. Keeping us 100 feet at all times from America’s greatest actor, Mr. Alan Alda.

Alan Alda, double A, beep, beep! “Get off my property!”

But who are we really? You know? What is our essence? How to describe?

You know when you get to the bottom of a tub of hummus. And you can’t fit your carrot in there, so you gotta use your fingies to scoop it out? Bam! That’s us, baby! [applause]

How can I describe the kind of vibe we give off? You know when you walk by a travel agency and you’re like, “What?” – There you go.

Yeah. We are the Yerba Mate tea bags, steaming the counter top of American pop culture.

But who are we as individuals? Do you mind if I get into my big story?

See the stage, use it.

And I accept the stage from you, sir. Of course, you all know me, I’m George St. Geegland. – [crowd hooting] – Hush. I’m the type of man you would catch at a party going through the coats. I am neither Jewish, nor a woman, but like many men over the age of 70, I have reached that point in life where I am somehow both. I was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and I am responsible for reintroducing the Polio virus to my school district. As a novelist, I was once compared to Philip Roth. I was also once compared to a police sketch of this Central Park flasher. And guess what, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been married three times.

Unlucky in love, we like to joke.

Wonderful! Wonderful! Wonderful! All three of my wives died in the same way on the same staircase. Each death learning from and improving upon the death before it. And a fun fact for this evening’s performance, I am on competing medications. [applause]

Well, charmed I’m sure, I’m Gil Faizon. I am a Tony Award viewing actor. And whether I live in your building or not, I am somehow on your co-op board. I look like if Steven Spielberg hadn’t made any money. [audience laugh] Over the years, I’ve had a real back and forth a tête-à-têtes of sorts with fellow actor, Richard Dreyfuss. He of course got the lead in Jaws, and I have lockjaw from all the cocaine I’ve done. I’m also an unlicensed doula. But I’ve made the most of my living as a voice-over artist. I was very nearly the official voice of CBS.

Yes he was… I’m sorry, I did not mean to interrupt you, but you did such a beautiful audition for CBS. Would you do for them tonight your CBS audition?

I don’t know if the audience wants to hear it. [applause] I was gonna do it regardless, you know. This was my audition for CBS. [clears throat] Charmed, I’m sure, this is Gil Faizon represented by Don Buchwald & Associates. Reading for the role of CBS. This is CBS, baby!

Fun and flirty, but am I nuts, did you do like a second alternate take? – Yeah.

Right, you did. As an actor, you got to give options, OK? This is one of the main things that I teach in my acting seminar, which is called, “Improvisation for Non-Listeners.”

It’s a five-hour seminar, and you get a chicken lunch.

It’s a buffalo chicken wrap.

It’s so cold…

It’s 90 percent romaine lettuce. It’s a cold wrap, a warm Sierra Mist, – it’s on a Saturday, it’s 900 dollars. – Yeah… It really is, it really is, OK. This is take two, Gil Faizon, charmed, I’m sure, formerly represented by Don Buchwald and Associates, reading for the role of CBS. CBS? [high pitched] All right!

Perfect! Perfect! And let me say something, I am like, Raven-Symoné level upset that you did not get that job. George, That is so Raven of you to say.

It’s not ravin’, it’s true. You, Gil Faizon, how many times have I told you? You are the strongest actor in New York?

Ah, this guy… This guy is my rock. He was the one who broke the news to me that I wasn’t gonna get the CBS job. – Who knows? Who knows? Who knows? – [high pitched] Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know what? He wouldn’t let me sulk for one single second, nay, nay, nay. He made me go right back on the horse. We started doing heroin that afternoon.

And we’d shoot it between our toes to keep our arms clear for racquetball. Yeah. And then what did he do? He gave me the greatest gift that a writer can give an actor. He wrote a play for me to star in.

Which brings us to tonight. You see, over the years, I’ve written several plays for Gil and I to perform…

George, you remember the first? – The first play we ever did? – Yes. – Yes. I’ll never forget it. The first play we ever did? I’ll never forget.

I was inspired by and directly stolen from… Sam Shepard’s classic, True West. Yeah, but ours was called, True Upper West. That was the big M. Night Shyamalan twist at the end. Is at the end, you’d widen out, which is hard to do in a play. But you’d widen out. And the whole time it had been the Upper West side, and there’s like, a Judaica store, that’s always closed.

Who’s that? Who’s that? Who’s that guy?

That’s a sewer pop-up guy. You know, a guy pops out of his sewer, “No, thanks,” back down.

Now, famously in the revival of True West, you’d see Reilly and… – I’m sorry. And “Phil Sey” Hoffman. – [groans] I’m sorry.

It’s hard, because we get choked up on cue at the same point, every show.

We just really wanted to make Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death about us. You know?

Ladies and gentlemen, it behooves you when a famous person dies, blame the year and make it about you.

[George] Yeah, yeah. – [audience clapping] To take a Getty Image, a watermarked Getty Image, […] It means the world to these dead people. Now, famously, in that revival of True West, John C. Reilly and “Phil Sey” Hoffman would switch parts every night. We would do our version of that. We would switch medications, OK? I would take George’s anti-psychotics.

And I would apply Gil’s eczema cream. But many of you millennials probably know us from our hit existential drama, Waiting for Godot…

Hello. But in our version, Godot shows up, like three minutes in, and then we prank that mofo with Too Much Tuna, baby.

We come out with bowler hats on. We take them off, [clicks tongue] we got two tuna sandwiches on our heads. And the audience was in stitches.

Literally, because we were performing at a burn ward in Washington Heights. And these…

Say it.

These fucking Dominicans… It was like… Hey, shut the door. It was like… Like they didn’t understand it. And those that understood English, it was like, they didn’t like it. Most of our plays had been mounted in hospitals, or kill shelters or as a skit during break at AA. Which is why it is such an honor to be here tonight.

At the Winter Garden Theater!

No, no, the Lyceum Theater! [applause]

I thought we booked the Winter Garden Theater.

Have you fucking tried dealing with the Shubert Organization?

I mean, this is a historic theater. Liza Minnelli mounted her iconic Liza with a “Z” on this very stage, directed by the great Bob Fosse. And if you listen very closely, you can hear in the rafters the ghost of Bob Fosse, snorting Dexedrine and drinking Visine.

Here in this theater, haunted by ghosts who could not book a different theater. Here in this theater which is basically on Sixth Avenue. So many great playwrights have staged their works. Tennessee Williams and his sister Serena. You know, they were rivals but they loved each other.

I blame the father.

[both] He pushed them too hard. – I like your take. – I like your style. That’s why this is the perfect venue for us to present to you… our new play! Ravi, curtain! [cheering]

Can you imagine a Broadway show exceeding your expectations by having a set?

All of this stuff cobbled together from discarded Broadway sets from some weird warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey.

They have everything at this place. Old props, old costumes, the cast of Newsies huddled over a flaming garbage can. This right here, this is the actual set from the 2005 revival of Steel Magnolias mounted right here at the Lyceum Theater. Steel Magnolias, first a play, then a movie, then again, a play. The Broadway equivalent of moving back in with your parents.

What about this wall and staircase from a classic work of August Wilson’s. August Wilson, the acclaimed African-American playwright. I could name so many titles of his plays, but I’m gonna walk over here now.

And what’s this right here? A trapdoor, yes. This is the trapdoor from the set of The Diary of Anne Frank. Yeah! Not to be confused with the diary of Anne Hathaway which we stole out of her purse at the Gotham Awards. And what’s inside? Oh, no, what’s this? Oh, me, oh, my! It’s the pillowman from Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman. And for those you at the crappy sightline who can’t see this, raise your hand. Raise your hands if you can’t see this. All right. OK. So what you’re missing is… It’s a pillow with googly eyes and paper towel arms, all right? So next time, get your tickets earlier or just make more money.

And in honor of Jean-Paul Sartre’s classic play, No Exit, we have installed a “No Exit” sign. Which the city of New York informs us is a massive fire hazard.

And what’s this right here, the gramophone and shelving unit from a Tony Award winning play, again mounted right here at the Lyceum Theater, I Am My Own Wife.

You know, I once had Gil pretend to be my own wife, in order to throw off the homicide detective’s timeline.

I wore a dress. Why he wore a dress to make a phone call, we will never know. And what’s this right here? This is the heart and soul of this set. This is the original stoop from The Cosby Show. Which we got for like, nothing. They paid us to take it. They were like, “This thing’s got bad juju, get it off our hands”, you know.

But of course, the final piece of inanimate set decoration, is you, the audience. A collection of comedy nerds and theater dorks and… [laughs] children whose parents have made a severe miscalculation. All of you gathered together, wondering if there will be an intermission. There will not!

While you’re here in the theater, some ground rules to follow. Ground rules, first off, cellphones, turn them on! Take calls. Take calls, text people. But if you’re gonna text someone, do it like your dad in temple, you know?

Also, we have free Wi-Fi for everyone here tonight. The network is “Kimpton Hotels,” and the password is “guest.” If you have winter hats and coats, put your shit wherever you want. Treat this theater the way an Ultra-Orthodox Jew treats an airplane. Spread out! That chair is for your hat, baby.

Perhaps you didn’t have time before the show to eat at Guy Fieri’s Great American Garbage Fire. – Eat food in the theater.

Eat a meal during the play. Even if you’re like a Jamaican nurse, and you brought your dinner in a big weird Tupperware. And when you crack the lid, wow! It changes the pH of the room.

Maybe you brought yourself a sweet treat ’cause you got low blood sugar. Make sure to open your little plastic candies… – [crinkles paper] – Very slowly. Thinking they’ll make less noise, whereas this will make so much more noise.

Really, indulge the crinkle as you undress your Swedish Fish, the Lamborghini of the gummies.

Or perhaps you brought yourself a Werther’s Original, the AMBER Alert of caramels. [audience laugh]

Now, those of you familiar with our oeuvre, which means eggs, will recognize this play. It’s a little more autobiographical than our other plays.

That’s right. Oh, Hello.

Oh, Hello. We draw on 70 years of a life lived. A first job, a second marriage. When you open your cab door into a city biker as a silent protest against Mayor De Blasio. It’s a play about those emotional moments in life, like when you get a multi-vitamin caught in your throat and it burns so bad that you bail on your daughter’s wedding. I play a character named George Reddington. Yes, he’s a bit based on me. He’s a very successful novelist, who’s having a lot of trouble with this Swedish Fish right now.

And I play Gil Stone, a working actor who just got yelled at backstage for moving a chair in a Union House. I’m sorry. Oh, yeah? Well you know what? In England, that’s a slang term for cigarettes, so… We love the great traditions of the theater and that is why we plan to pay humpage to them tonight. For example, the one-sided telephone call.

Oh, this is very good. The one-sided telephone call. This is when a character in a play, does a telephone call, but they repeat all the phone call information out loud to the other characters on the stage. First, get a telephone no one would have in real life.

Oh, hello.

Then as an actor, do way too much business with the phone, all right? Really make a fucking meal out of it. And now, we humbly present the one-sided telephone call. Ravi, a melodramatic wash. Oh, hello? Oh, charmed, I’m sure. The police? That’s who you are? A car accident? George’s daughter? Her head ended up where?

Are they talking…

I’m on the phone, I’m on the phone, man. OK, yeah, I’ll tell him. Oh, charmed, I’m sure. Hey, George, my friend of all friends. Look at me! I have awful, simply horrible news, but that was a one-sided telephone call! [airhorn sounds] [applause]

You are so stupid. My daughter is not dead, I talked to her a year ago. Another device I love in theater is coughing into a handkerchief to show the audience that you are dying. – Would you assist me with this?

All right. [groans] Hey, little kids, get your ice cream. Get your…

Are you sick, Mr. Manzini?

No, Giuseppe. I’ma gonna be OK. Boom time! He’s not well.

That guy is sick as a dick. – Audiences like to be screamed at.

Correct. The backbone of contemporary American theater is screaming stuff. For starters, it wakes the audience up towards the end of the third act. But also it reveals things from the past.

My father was my brother and that’s why we can’t go to lunch today.

Do you want to know why? Do you want to know why, Karen? Because I could not afford Adobe Photoshop!

My baby. My chair baby. He killed you. Why? [applause]

That is of course, from Ionesco’s Chairs.

Let’s talk endings. I like when a character says something mildly significant, and then the lights dim, and you’re sitting in your seat, you’re like… Huh? Is that… is that… “Is that the fucking end of the play?”

May I demonstrate one of these awful dim lights?

Porcupine please.

Thank you. Is there a center mark for me to stand? OK, that’ll do. Ravi, can you write a “G” on that so I know it’s for George and not Gil? Thank you. Ravi, hit me with the spotlight. By the way, Ravi, way too loud with the intro music. Way too loud. You bring the house to half, then you do the announce. Don’t ever pooch the opening in my show again. All right, we’re having a nice time, so… So this is a line of dialogue and then it dimmed. You know, looking back, my father was a poor man, but in the end, he gave us the greatest gift of all, a 1997 Toyota Tercel. [laughter and applause] Thank you.

What are you eating?

Cashews.

Oh! – That’s expensive.

But imaginary. – There you go. – All right, yeah. I’m allergic. – Uh, I take grievance.

With my performance?

No, the performance was Pontiac perfection. Yeah – I take grievance with the dialogue.

Too poignant?

Too significant. – Yes. I like when a play ends just a sentence.

That naturalistic thing, where the playwright is trying to say, there’s no good dialogue in real life, – so why should I work that hard?

Yeah. Mother, may I?

Speak in plain, child.

[mumbles to self] Oh, waiter, I’ll have one more root beer, please. Man… [laughter and applause]

I got the chills. I got the chills. [yelping in delight] – I got the chills.

You got the chills, man? – Are you… – [yelps] I got them. You got the chills, are you sick? No, I got the chills from your magnificent performance. – Though I do have pneumococcal pneumonia.

All right. You know, I have mesothelioma.

How did you get it?

From a commercial.

Well, we are about to get started. But before we do… – You gonna hold that?

Yeah.

All right.

It’s got a flick… – I’m just gonna flick the tip. – OK. That made it a billion times worse right there. We are about to get started. – No, fucking… No. – What?

Not in life or in the play ever, ever put your nail in between my nail. In my fingie meat. For real, don’t ever do that ever again, for real. – This… That’s a protected settlement.

Yeah. [indistinct] Then I’m Netanyahu, baby!

‘Cause you’re my little Bibi. – Yeah, that’s right.

Why are you holding on to my finger?

‘Cause I’m nervous. I want the show to go well. Because we’re on Broadway. But, Gil, remember what we always say? Treat a four like a six, and she’ll be grateful. No.

Let’s do our best.

Oh!

Jesus Christ!

Enjoy the play! [cheering]

* * *

This crowd sucks. – Yeah, it’s great.

[dramatic music] George steps forward to read stage direction. He leans to one side because the “stage direction” is italicized. Our play begins on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, 73rd & Columbus, to be exact. The setting: A large Upper West Side rent-controlled building. The kind of place where all the recycling bins are filled with used oxygen tanks. And what’s this up here? What? Why, it’s the front door of our two heroes’ apartment. A mezuzah is nailed to the door frame. Just below the painted over nails of a former mezuzah. And for those of you observant enough to clock, that this mezuzah is on the wrong side of the door frame, you’re at the right play. [audience laugh]

We open on a brown room, with pea-colored sunlight illuminating what must be pounds of flaked off, old man dry skin. We meet George Reddington. George can hardly get hard, so he must use a tongue depressor as a splint on his schvantz. I don’t know. George is hung like a hotel painting, in that it’s crooked and has seen awful things. [audience laugh] He speaks on the phone. Shh!

Well, I’m doing pretty well, considering I’m a 72-year-old novelist, and I live with my best friend Gil and he’s an actor. OK, bye. Just then, Gil Stone, aged 40, enters. – Are you sure you can play 40?

[high pitched] Yes!

Gil Stone, aged 40, enters. He is soaked from the rain. No matter what health food store you go to, Gil is blocking the vitamin aisle. Gil’s hair, it’s like the JonBenét Ramsey case. The more you look into it, the more questions you have. Gil speaks and says his lines as written.

George, have you ever noticed that New York in the rain is like jazz music?

No, I haven’t, my friend, but keep going with this.

Well, they’re in drops. There like a brush on a tight snare drum. [snares play] And the honking of the horns. Oh! That’s like Miles, baby. [jazz music plays] And for the subway? You got yourself a xylophone. Bing bong. “Stay clear of the falling rain, please.” I don’t want to do the water anymore.

Whoa! Whoa! The water spray is the fucking strongest part of the show.

Makes my glasses all watery.

Look, I know that, OK? You know, Mark and Judy came with their adult son last week, they told me they love the water spray.

But Mark and Judy like Stomp.

You know, I like Stomp.

I love Stomp. They bang everything. It’s the new…

You have got to go see Stomp on tour. – It’s the same. – Ah! So tell me, Gil, how was your meeting today with your agent?

It was horrible.

Oh, no.

I mean, he doesn’t get me at all. You know? I’m a serious theater actor. He’s got me going out for commercials. Can you imagine me, Gil Stone, hocking Scotch Tape?

There you go again with that artistic integrity. See me? I’m all about money. What are we, two characters with different perspectives? [splattered laughter]

I can’t do it anymore, George.

Gil.

I got to get out of this rat race.

Be pragmatic. I walked out of an audition today. For Clamato, I mean… We’re talking about Clamato, George. The number one clam/tomato juice operation in the country today.

Some would say the only. How could you walk out of that? What is going on with you?

I made a promise, George. A promise. To my parents. I miss them, you know. You know, my father, before he died, he told me two things. First, that he ratted out other Jews during the Holocaust. And second, and more importantly… He said, you got to be yourself. And that’s what I’m trying to do every day in this crazy rat race, man. Is, I got to be me. I got to be Gil!

This line hangs there in the air like Lenny Kravitz’s very nice, very full penis, remember when his pants split and it fell out. There’s a video of it. This was like, 15 months ago. We here it at Oh, Hello feel this did not get enough attention at the time. [audience laugh] Gil continues speaking. But then suddenly and quite inorganically, he starts singing.

So I walk out of the audition, and I head over to Fairway Supermarket to molest olives. And that’s when it hits me.

♪ Sweet Rosalie She’s working at the five and dime ♪

I have had that song stuck in my head all day, Gil.

♪ Train back to Hackensack With rosemary wine ♪
♪ Yo deedle doidle dee ♪ [mimics bass] ♪ Cocaine, snort ♪
♪ We both like to do cocaine ♪

God, what is that song?
It’s got to be Steely Dan, right? Oh, it’s a billion percent Steely Dan.

Remember seeing Steely Dan at the Beacon Theater, nine nights in a row?

I love the Beacon Theater.

Oh, the Beacon Theater, it’s like the Apollo Theater for people who are scared to go into the Apollo.

Walter Becker from Steely Dan, playing his guitar like he’s in the band at the end of a Lunesta commercial.

Donald Fagen on the keys looking like if Ray Charles played the organ at a reformed synagogue. [beatboxing the bass guitar] George, did you know the name Steely Dan originated as a dildo in a William Burroughs novel?

Of course, I know that. You and I know a lot about Steely Dan. – Gil?

Here.

Would you check the mail for me?

All right.

I’m waiting on a reply from my publisher about my new novel, Next Stop: Ronkonkoma. It’s the story of a Long Island railroad trip told from a hundred different perspectives.

Let’s see here. [clears throat] “Attention, tenants. Water will be shut off from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. to punish the unemployed.” Seems mean-spirited, right?

I make my own water.

Oh, yeah, OK. This one. “Dear Mr. Reddington and Mr. Stone, Your rent controlled apartment is no longer rent-controlled.” But we’ve been living in this apartment for 40 years, paying $75 a month. It’s our God-given right to pay the same amount of rent regardless of property value or inflation.

This is an outrage. Ravi, I need that chair to shatter. Let me see this. “Your rent is being increased to $2,500 a month.” Twenty-five hundred dollars for a measly five-bedroom with office, crown molding, and fireplace? How much money do I even have on me? What is this? “Remember, you have Alzheimer’s.” What does that even mean? I’m so sick of finding all these stupid notes in all my shit. When I find the guy that’s putting them there…

What are you gonna do to him, Georgie?

You know, c’mere jabroni. Stay out of my mirror. [Gil] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Tell me, Gil, is there a third… Tell me, Gil, is there a third letter from my… – It works best if I do the set up.

OK.

Gil, is there a… Fucking wait! [loud laughter] Say, Gil, is there a third letter from my publisher? Maybe if they sent a big enough advance, we don’t have to worry about the new rent. – Give me the fucking letter.

Just ask for the letter.

Are we on the same team? –

Yeah. The ’86 Mets.

You’re all right, you know that?

Yeah, thanks, man.

It’s from them and it’s nice and thin.

Less is more, Georgie. Good news comes in thin envelopes. “Dear Mr. Reddington. We received your amazing manuscript, Next Stop: Ronkonkoma. A one thousand page, totally unproofed document. Unfortunately, we are only interested in young adult puff pieces now. Like Twilight or The Corrections. Maybe you should give more thought to a younger audience.” The nerve of these people. I think about teens all the time.

But, George, what did the letter say?

It said I’m not gonna get the book deal. Oh, my God, I’m not gonna get the book deal. And I already bought that sheep dog for the author photo. Boy, that guy is going back to Chinatown. [audience groans and laughs]

Strap in, folks. [laughter and clapping] What happens if you don’t get the advance?

Without that advance, we don’t have any money, and we’re gonna lose our apartment.

But we’ve been living in this apartment for 700 Sundays.

[upbeat music plays] 1951, Flatbush Avenue. I’m five years old and there’s two things in this world that I love. The Brooklyn Dodgers, and when my mom pushes my head in between her big Polish tits. [ice-cream truck music plays] The Ice Cream Man is here. He says I can have a big boy cone if he can stick a finger in my tushie.

1951, Providence, Rhode Island. I’m five years old and my mother is raising me as a girl. My father is drinking whiskey in a pitch-black room and we are not allowed in there. My big brother Spuddy grabs me. “Hey, George, you want to go see a dead body?” He takes me down to the train tracks, but I had seen that one already.

Flash forward. I’m a freshman at Zero Mostel High. My best friend Lamar challenges me to drink a whole bottle of canola oil. I do it, and to this day, when I burp, popcorn comes out.

Flash forward. I’m a sophomore at Jonesy School for Misfits. It’s just me and a nun and a young Robert Durst. Fun fact: Robert Durst and my mother jumped off the same roof. On the one hand, I was sad my mother killed herself, but on the other hand, I was happy it was my birthday.

It’s true. He was. He really was. Flash forward to the oft forgotten and rarely discussed decade, the 1960’s. – Ravi?

Cue music. Ravi, music. [music starts] [George] Ravi, goddammit! Late! Late! Ravi, late! Excuse me. As soon as he says “1960’s,” you come in fast with the groovy music.

Ravi, you got to hit that cue or he’s gonna go bananas.

No, no, I’ll go banana bread on you, and it will be too dry to swallow. You ever fuck up one of his monologues again, and I will choke you out, Slumdog.

George! That is so chivalrous of you.

You need to lose like seven pounds. [audience laugh]

It’s true. It’s all the Tate’s cookies, you know? They’re so thin… You finish one sleeve and you’re like, “Well, there’s just one sleeve left.”

Flash forward, the 1960’s. I’m at Columbia University as a trespasser. I was handing out flyers for this cult I had joined, you know. Fun fact: I’m the only guy to ever get kicked out of a cult for being too into it. But we were a great group. It was an LSD bicycle cult, now known as Soul Cycle.

The 1960’s. [no music] [music cues in late] I’m a student at Columbia after an Army psychiatrist deems me too violent for Vietnam. 1969, millions watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I’ll never forget where I was. On a sound stage in Queens helping to fake the moon landing. But the ’60s, you know? I remember one day, I’m walking through the Columbia quad.

But the ’60s, you know? I remember one day, I’m walking through the Columbia quad. [both] And I see this really cool dude.

Oh, a peace, Oh, hello.

’60s peace Oh, hello to you. Marijuana. I just heard about this really groovy new apartment on 73rd Street. – You want to be room mates?

I do want to be room mates, new friend. But I should warn you, I may have to move out soon, ’cause I’m engaged to this girl who will not shut up.

Well, I should warn you that I am afraid of raccoons. These guys are crazy, they got these little shoulders and that big belly like a furry jar, you know? Watch out, raccoons, they’ll steal your food, but next thing you know, they’ll steal your heart. Raccoons said, “What are you? A cat, or a fox, you neither?”

You’re a raccoon.

You’re a raccoon, exactly. And then all of a sudden, they stand up straight, that’s weird, you know? They got those tails that look like tie-dyed Swiffers. And have Swiffers even been invented yet? You got those human hands that’ll [pop] pop your eyeball out, eat it like a green grape. You ever heard a raccoon eat a green grape? It’s like… [grunty gnawing] And I bet in Australia, they call them rubbish burglars. And they are so, so sexy. And another thing about raccoons…

And we’ve lived together ever since. [applause]

And then a letter comes in the mail from some mailman. Because we don’t have $2,500, we’re gonna lose our home.

♪ Oh, George, I’m so depressed That we’re moving out ♪ [harmonizing]

OK, all right, that was interesting. I got a few big problems with that, Gil. First off, we do not have the rights to Bill Joel’s “Movin’ Out.”

Right, that’s why I yodeled it.

That was way too big of a line reading. So don’t do it again.

Oh, yeah, sure, of course. [clears throat] Um, if we’re doing feedback, I-I was thinking, maybe you don’t have to give me notes during the play.

Oh! – Oh, big kid, huh?

No…

Oh, big Gil rides a big wheel now, huh? No, no, no, hey, I like it. Uh, Let me ask you a question. You don’t want to blow this the way you did CBS, do you? [audience oohs]

No.

You think if you OD’d tomorrow anyone would give a shit? You’re God’s born loser, you know that? You are God… No. No escape.

Hey, no, no! [clears throat]

Look, we both said a lot of hurtful things, OK? But we got a nice audience, so just please, cheer up, Gil. Do Mike Jackson, do King Pop. Come on, Jackson. Yeah! [mimics camera clicks] – Mike Jackson. –

I want to hang a baby over a balcony. That was the funniest thing that ever happened. There’s only one way back, Mike. Yes. – Mike Jackson.

Yeah. – You got good at that. – I want to walk on the moon one day.

Oh, that’s sad. OK. Let’s slip right back in, OK. I don’t think the audience knows. And then a letter comes in the mail from some mailman. Because we don’t have $2,500, we’re gonna lose our home.

Oh, George, I’m so depressed that we’re moving out.

So am I. But you know what? Let’s not be depressed. If this is our last stay in New York, let’s have some fun. I was thinking. What if we went down to the old WOLO Studios and taped a little episode of You Know What.

You Know What? Our game show that contestants had to guess what you knew?

That was such a vague and hard game show. ‘Cause we never narrowed it down what it was, I could know. And the one time that guy guessed it, I lied. No, fat feet, I’m talking about our other show.

[mood music plays] We take you now to a big midtown New York City diner, where even ice cream tastes bad. Everyone there is ugly. Do you know what I mean? Every single person… in their own way… is ugly. The menu is like, 19 pages long. And even though it’s a diner, it has stuff like lobster on it. And you’re almost tempted to order it to see just what would happen. We see beautiful Gil Stone. Because he’s in a diner, he eats like he’s in a 70’s movie.

Hey, sweetheart, bring me chicken cacciatore or another food that doesn’t exist anymore.

Hey, darling, could I get a 1970s coffee, so watery and gray and a gun next to it on the table.

Hey, dear, bring me a half cantaloupe, scoop cottage cheese, and a side steak Diane.

Oh, shit, shit, we’re live. [clears throat]

[both] Oh, hello. [woman] ♪ Too Much Tuna ♪ [applause]

Oh, hello and welcome to Too Much Tuna on WOLO Public Access. We welcome all of our viewers. Whether you’re a cat, alone in an apartment.

Or a Honduran cleaning woman who is not sure if she’s allowed to change the channel.

We welcome both of our viewers.

Too Much Tuna is a prank show…

Eh, eh!

Oh, shit. Can’t say? Right. Take two. – Too Much Tuna is a talk show – Yeah! – With no prank element. – No, no. We merely interview the greatest personalities in New York and they don’t at all get a huge fucking tuna comeuppance.

This is our final episode of Too Much Tuna ever as we’re being forced to leave our apartment in Manhattan.

But for our final episode ever, we have a very special guest.

We really do.

He’s a good guest.

He’s a great guest. Sort of good get.

It’s a good get. He began as a writer on the Smothers Brothers’ comedy hour, and since then, he’s been one of the rising stars in the world of entertainment. Please welcome, Steve Martin. [applause]

Bye, thanks for coming. God bless you, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. ♪ Too Much Tuna ♪ ♪ Welcome Steve to Too Much Tuna ♪ ♪ Welcome Steve to Too Much Tuna ♪ How long do I need to do that? [cheering] [Gil] Come on! [Steve] Thank you. Yeah, your belt?

I look great with this… – Yeah, you do. You want to untie… I’m actually already wearing a mic because I always wear a mic. – You never know. You want me to do this? – Sure. Oh, yeah, go ahead. Let me get in there. – Like you dress. – Yes. Oh, thank you. Yeah, I look like you now. – I don’t want that button. – No, OK. You want to leave it open? – You know, I’ve been around. – Yes, OK. Oh, no. We know. – What a joy. – Yeah. By the way, the sound is great. – Good, that’s good to hear.

Thank you for that measured compliment.

Let’s put it this way, I have great hopes from here on out.

Oh, that’s so nice. You yourself are a playwright of some great esteem. Well, thank you very much. – But I think you’ve nailed it. – Thank you. – You nailed the essence of playwriting. – Thank you. By the way, you know what Mike Nichols told me once. – He said, there was the… – Oh, you drop something. Jesus Christ. Two minutes in to the interview. – Not that Mike Nichols. – Oh, all right. He told me that RKO Pictures had a philosophy that if… In their movies, when the phone rang, if the news was sad, you answer the phone happy. And if the news was happy, you answer the phone sad.

I don’t understand. – Can I see an example of this? – Yes. Where’s the phone? Let’s get Steve a phone, OK. Here we go. Do you want to do a cross? Or do you want to be seated? How do you wanna do this?

I think I have to cross. We have to be talking. Is the news happy or sad? – It’s gonna be sad. – It’s gonna be sad. Oh, that’s so… I know, it was so great. That was so funny… Sorry. OK! Action one. Action one. – I think to be fair, I should… – Yes, OK. I’m much worse in quiet banter than he is, but I’ll do my best. I will do my best, OK. Ba, ba, ba, ba…

Oh, my God. Oh, my God. I was so… She is? Did I tell you who told me that story? – Who was that?

Mike Nichols.

Oh, my God!

Mike Nichols his podiatrist on 83rd Street. – Let’s keep it. – You want to keep it? – First of all, I’m taking it. – You’re taking it? You’re welcome to it. Everyone, by the way, take anything you want. Anything you guys want.

Do you have any memorabilia from films, things you’ve taken that are special to you? – Yes. – Would you name them now?

Oh! I have my Three Amigos outfit. – Do you ever put it on? – Do I ever put it on? – You ever wear it? – I don’t want to go there now. – You could be deported very quickly. – [Gil]Yeah! [applause]

You know, Trump is doing a remake.

Oh, he is?

Yeah, it’s called No Amigos. [Steve] Yeah. Did you ever know Trump in your dealings… – I never met him, no. – Never? He wasn’t at New Yorker cocktail parties? – No. – No? – That would be very unlikely, wouldn’t it?

Yes, it would. And you never went to Maxim Hottest 100 parties. – But you are an art collector. – Yes, that’s… Well, I have collected a few paintings uh, through my life. I’m happy to say that I’ve actually earned more money doing that than show business.

Really?

No, I’m kidding. Hello, who’s that guy? Did Jews not control the world of art? – Do people think you’re Jewish or no? – No, they don’t. Oh, congratulations.

I can honestly say that not one person. You’ve never been stopped on the street? “You Jewish?” – “You Jewish?”

No. Presbyterians don’t do that? “You Presbyterian? We need 10 Presbyterians to make a mayonnaise sandwich, please come with us.”

There’s always a crisis with Jews on the street. Are you a religious man?

No, not at all.

No?

Did you ever believe in God?

Probably when I was a young kid. But no more. Was magic… Was it because you believe in magic? Yes, learning… When I realized card tricks were actually a trick, – I said, there must be no God.

Yes. You started re-reading Jesus’ miracles and you’re like, “I know how to do that.” Plexiglass under the water. You just break a fish up into a bunch of different pieces. – Or palming a fish. – Yeah, you palm a fish and… Oh, look what I have here. What was your first trick you learned? Do you remember?

That’s really private. No, I don’t. I can’t remember that. It was probably a store-bought trick.

Not just simple slight of hand?

Well, I learned that later. Yeah.

Do you still know slight of hand? – I still know a little bit of it. – Could you do it with a French fry?

Sure. [applause]

It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s OK. It’s for you. Yeah, that’s right. Oh, OK.

You have a child now.

I do. So what is it, like money wise? I mean, is it tighter now? She’s paying her own way. Oh, that’s great. Already working. That’s wonderful. That’s so cool.

And what do you do for fun?

I’m a comedian, actor, writer, yeah. [blabbering] You know, which one do you love the most?

When you’re doing an amphitheater, Steve Martin, 1979. You’re doing an amphitheater. You’re doing a Hollywood Bowl. What are you making for that night?

Well, in those days, I was criticized for charging a high price. – What was that?

Ten dollars. – You know how much these… – I know. I’ve been trying to get into your show for so long, and I could not get a free ticket. And then tonight, you said, if I could come on stage with you. You had to sell a Picasso to get in here.

You did that… You wrote… – No, let him struggle.

My answer is… Uh, uh, uh.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile, This is a play you wrote. I’m ramping into something.

Wow, you made a great transition.

He’s covering for me because I couldn’t remember Lapin Agile, – Yeah. What were you gonna say?

Picasso at the Bistro.

I was gonna say Picasso at Au Bon Pain. Which is a French expression for breakfast at LaGuardia. How did you first hear about that this was a historical instance of Einstein and Picasso meeting at a bar.

It’s a made-up. – It’s made-up? They never met, as far as I know.

They didn’t meet? – No, I don’t think they ever met. I thought the whole thing was that they met…

Well, it’s called a play! – Yeah. – I mean, is this real? – OK, I’m sorry.

I don’t know. It is?

By the way, how do we get Uber on this? – You do Uber? – I do, yeah. What’s your address? Now, Steve, here we are… I’ll tell you. SteveMartin.com. Steve, here we are. We’ve been eating our French fries and our fake hamburger, and you have not had a single bite… – [rousing music plays] – Oh, my God! [Gil] Steve, Steve. [George] This has never happened before. [Gil] This has never happened before in our lives. – And look what has… – Yes! Oh, my God. ♪ Too Much Tuna ♪

Steve! Steve, what has just descended from this prop that we stole from Angels in America? At first, I thought it was a Rauschenberg. No, it’s… Look at the size of that thing. Look at this.

Look at this fucking Botero in front of you, huh? Look at the size of this.

It has a wonderful aroma too.

Yes. What we do is, it’s mayonnaise and tuna fish, and we prepare it and then we put it under the lights at 5 p.m.

And it looks like…

You keep moving it away from you. – Yeah. – It’s my subconscious.

I know it is. We modeled it after… Well, it’s Chris Christie’s gunt, is what it is.

I don’t know if you saw when Chris Christie wore a baseball uniform, but he really squeezed into it just like that.

I wish the audience could see what I’m seeing.

Yes. [laughs]

It’s like the Kandinsky is painted on two sides. Yeah, it’s a Kandinsky. Pretty smart, huh, Steve? The play and the painting.

Well…

Do you like tuna fish?

Uh… I like tuna fish, but I like it with pine nuts.

Oh, pine nuts.

We don’t have that. – I like it with avocado. – Avocado is nice. – And some may object, mustard. – You like a little mustard?

I have learned that the worst thing about a tuna sandwich is tuna. Yeah! Well, unfortunately for you, you got a big fucking mountain of it in front of you now.

I have to say that this actually, too much tuna for me.

Yay!

♪ Too Much Tuna ♪

Steve Martin, everybody. – Steve Martin, everybody. Thank you, thank you, thank you. – Have a wonderful night. – I’m stealing this out of your pocket. – I’ll keep my mic. – You want to keep your mic? I’m gonna keep my mic so I can comment for the audience. Keep your mic and whenever you think something is not funny, let us know.

Ladies and gentlemen…

People around me now.

Yes, Steve Martin, everybody!

♪ Too Much Tuna ♪ [applause]

Steve just whispered to us. He will be in the lobby after the show, talking about the early days. And also, what a great guy. He would like to take a cellphone picture with you.

Yes. But he said, “Make sure to give your camera to someone who doesn’t know how to use it.”

You know, Steve, there’s a wonderful story behind the expression, too much tuna. You see, years ago, we used to drink tunatinis.

Yeah, that’s it. Tuna-fish-based Martini. Otherwise known as the Martuna.

Or as it was known in the lesbian community, the Martuna Navratilova.

The point is, we would drink fish. And one day, the bartender made a mistake and Gil famously said, “There’s too much tuna on my tunatini, but his Martuna needs more tuna,” and we laughed over it.

And you know, Steve, we submitted that to the Talk of the Town, and the New Yorker magazine, and they canceled our subscription.

One more time for Mr. Steve Martin. [applause] Fabulous job, yo.

And now, back to the play.

Actually, George, can we just take five minutes? My stomach’s a little…

No, I’m good.

George and Gil had been evicted from their apartment, despite having several adult children with guest rooms. They are living in Riverside Park.

[both] Oh, fuck.

Can’t believe we’re living on a park bench.

We could be living in the subway tunnel if you hadn’t blown it with the mole people.

Living in the park isn’t so bad. I’ve met someone. She’s gorgeous. Simply glamorous. Her name is Lisa. She’s a raccoon.

A new raccoon, how did you meet this one?

At the garbage can. We’re both eating the same piece of pizza from either side, kind of like Lady and the Tramp.

That’s adorable.

But in this case, I end up having sex with the raccoon.

You know, it’s an open park, I saw it.

That’s New York, you know what I mean?

OK.

New York used to be a city for artists and people who claim to be artists, but those days are gone.

I hate to be the first to say it, but New York has changed. Remember the way this city used to be in the 1970’s?

The 1970’s? Boy, do I?

[music plays] Late 1970’s, New York is a bankrupt, crime-ridden mess, and it is awesome! Tires roll down the street on fire. And inside of those tires, babies with knives.

The 1970’s, Broadway theater is a hellhole. There’s no Disney theater. Disney is just a man in California, trying to freeze himself so he can outlive the Jews.

Flash forward. The 1980’s. [rock music plays] Ed Koch. Ed Koch. New York City mayor, Ed Koch rules New York with a limp fist. Sexual politics are changing. Gil and I go down to the drag queen shows made famous in Paris Is Burning. God, those were some great-looking girls.

Those are guys, George. They were girls, remember, they were in dresses. No, they were drag queens, those were men dress… No, no, no. I blew a girl. Wait a second. Where did I park?

Flash forward, 1989. The Berlin Wall falls. People in gray coats hugging people in beige coats. Everybody ugly. But the Iron Curtain crumbles, so that many years later, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump can ride shirtless on horseback over the charred remains of humanity.

Flash forward. The 1990’s. [music plays] Mad About You, pesto sauce, O. J. Simpson breaks his 45-year no-killing streak. O. J. Simpson kills those two people so hard, they stopped making the Ford Bronco. Can you imagine doing something so fucked up, there’s no more Toyota Camry?

[fast beats] Meanwhile on the East Coast, Sieg heil, Rudy Giuliani rules New York with his Gestapo-like tactics. Excuse me, the guy gets rid of all the pornography in Times Square, now you got to walk one block west to 8th Avenue? And now 8th Avenue is this cesspool. You go to 44th and 8th to that hand-job parlor? What’s it called again, Shake Shack?

[music stops] Oh, yeah, come in our Wacky Shack and we’ll shake you off, and there’s a line of goddamn families going out of there?

While you’re waiting, here’s a vibrating butt plug to stick up your tush.

So I take this nasty thing and shove it in my prostate, while I give myself a shake off. And I’m the one that gets thrown out?

But Rudy Giuliani, he truly was the hero of 9-11 because no one else was mayor that day.

September 11th through September 19th, 2012. Steely Dan plays the Beacon Theater for nine straight nights, and their sound fills the New York air.

[both] ♪ Talking ’bout Sweet Rosalie ♪
♪ She’s workin’ at the five and dime ♪ [mimics guitar] ♪ Train back to Hackensack with rosemary wine ♪ [yodeling] ♪ I’m sad, cocaine ♪
♪ Snort ♪
♪ We both like to do cocaine ♪

[both] Oh, shit.

I’m starting to think that song doesn’t even exist.

Maybe it was just a dream, like our time in Manhattan. [phone rings] Suddenly, there is a phone call. Gil rises and cross the stage right to answer the telephone. But he does not lift the receiver and the sound effect continues until he does, – so this time, Ravi waits.

Oh! [ringing continues] [audience laugh out]

You’re like genuinely a poor man’s Steve Martin.

Yeah, all right. May I ask… Give me some examples.

Gray hair to gray hair. Someone who, in his case, actually does a number of things.

And I am literally poor. You’re someone who claims to be, playwright.

This is our first successful show.

You believe that now? – After all the ones we’ve had. My version of The Color Purple was good.

It was a one-man show, though.

It was a one-man show called The Color Purple where I just wear a cock ring.

Yeah. And then remember when I directed that version of Bye Bye Birdie sponsored by Grindr called Bye Bi-Curious.

Yeah. Maybe Steve would help us out with our Terri Schiavo musical. [ringing continues]

You mean You Snooze, You Lose? – Yeah. Let me get the phone.

[laughs] [mock sobbing] Oh, hello? The head of New York One? That’s who you are. You saw Too Much Tuna, you loved it, you want to make it into a TV show and pay us enough money that we can afford our rent and then some? Well, head of New York One, I’m happy to say to you, no, thanks, bye.

What? “No, thanks, bye”? We just get offered enough money to save our apartment by doing Too Much Tuna, and you say, “No, thanks, bye”?

I’m not some corporate stooge, George!

Jesus Christ! Again with our character differences? [audience laugh]

I haven’t been totally honest with you.

Be completely candid.

I don’t want to leave the park. Things are getting pretty serious with me and Lisa.

You know, she is becoming a Yoko between us. A raccoon Yoko. A raccoko! – Break up with her.

I can’t.

Kick her to the curb.

No, they love the curb. Just dump her. She’s a raccoon.

She’s a piece of trash.

George, she’s pregnant! Lisa is pregnant and it’s my raccoon baby.

You didn’t wear any protection?

She said she was on the pill.

Think back, did she?

It’s possible that I just saw her eating Advil out of a puddle.

What are we gonna do? Kill her, skip town?

No! I’m gonna marry her, George!

But you’re Jewish and she’s a raccoon.

She wants to convert. She’s taking classes with a Rabbi.

The raccoon and the Rabbi sit across a desk from each other? That’s like every New Yorker cartoon pushed together. – I’m happy for you.

Thanks.

It’s just, I’ve never had money before and I want some. There’s things I want to buy. [melodramatic music] Things I’ve never told anyone about before.

Like what, George?

I want to lease on all-new Kia Sorento. I want to buy a ThunderShirt. It’s a shirt you wrap around a dog who’s freaking out, and the dog stops freaking out, for the most part. The dog still shakes a little. These two things I desire…

Oh, George, I had no idea.

How can I ever tell anyone? Growing up in my family, boys didn’t lease Sorentos.

‘Cause Kia wasn’t a car brand yet.

It’s such a recent brand. I didn’t know.

All right, I’ll do Too Much Tuna on New York One with you.

All right, Gil… But wait a moment. You’re so quick to leave the park. Is everything OK with Lisa?

George, I just got a text message. It turns out that Lisa is a possum with a burglar mask on!

Again?

Thrice! Thrice I’ve been doped by false possums.

Cheer up, Gil, ’cause we’re gonna be on New York One. The channel that comes on automatically when you restart your cable box.

New York One, the number one channel chronologically! [high note]

We are now at the midpoint of Act One. At this point in the play, we’re gonna add a surrealist ballet. Now, this is in hopes of winning the newly-created Tony Award for choreography during a limited run vanity project. And we now humbly present, Gil and George’s dream dance sequence, which will take you and us way, way, way out of our comfort zones. This dance was choreographed by an old Asian woman doing tai chi in Prospect Park.

George and Gil descend the stairs like two walking Swastikas.

We are now in that cemetery that you see on the way to LaGuardia.

[making airplane noises]

We see the grave of Ed Koch.

The grave of Ed Koch, a symbol of a New York that has died. But from LaGuardia, we see the beautiful New York skyline, with the paternal light phallus of the Empire State Building.

Work it. And the maternal light nipples of the San Remo apartment towers. Oh, my God, look at the audience getting all turned on. Like they’re at a regional production of Chicago.

The front row trying to hide their boners under a mountain of dry ice.

You know, this is not a sex show. – This is primal art.

This is prehistoric.

Mother, Father. Mother, Father. Mother, Father. And baby?

We see a tuna baby, we must go to it. We go to care for our tuna baby, but… [tuna laughs] The baby is demonic.

The baby is possessed by the devil like when Mia Farrow had that evil child.

Soon-Yi?

Correct. After a solid Soon-Yi burn, we run. – Gil, where are you?

Where is my friend George? Gil, save yourself. Fly away.

Oh, no. I don’t need to fly. I’ll just run with you. It’s fine.

You remember, if you believe, you can fly! George, I’m not really strapped in. It’s not a good idea. Fuck it, no. I’m not gonna do it. I saw too many productions of Spider-Man where a guy died. I’m not doing it.

Fine. Gil and George are now safe from the tuna monster. [roar]

[both] This looks expensive. [cackling] That’s Too Much Tuna… trademark.

There’s so much production value.

George and Gil are now legitimately dizzy so they take a knee.

And then a bridge pose, and then a Martha Graham, and then we lay down. [applause]

George… George and Gil now rest in real time for, like, two minutes.

Ravi. Ravi. It’s George. I’m on the floor. My blood sugar is crashing. Could you go get me a Ferrero Rocher chocolate? Or a Lindt Lindor truffle? My favorite flavor is blue.

Ravi, it’s Gil Faizon, charmed I’m sure. Would you go to a bodega for me and get me a box of Kashi Good Friends Cereal? The highest, dustiest box you can find.

Ravi. It’s George, I’m on the floor. I need you to go to Just Salad, at like, 1 p.m. when they’re at their busiest. And just get on line and be like, “Now, let’s see, how does this work?” Ravi, it’s Gil Faizon. Will you go to Chipotle and get me a big bowl of Ebola?

Ravi! Will you go to every pizza place in New York and bring me the most sun-faded headshot of Danny Aiello?

Ravi, it’s Gil Faizon, charmed, I’m on the floor. Will you go to the Magnolia Bakery as featured in the Sex and the City walking tour and just open fire?

Ravi! Will you go to Long Island City, Queens, ’cause I won’t.

OK, nap time is over. Flash forward. One year later. George and Gil are on New York One and living on top of the world. Gil can not stand up because he has polenta body. Meaning, it all holds together but it’s soft and absorbs tomato sauce. Gil is now standing like a toddler in a YouTube video.

Flash forward, one year later. Too Much Tuna is the huge hit show in the whole Tri State Area, and George and Gil are living the high life. They can get a table at the La Famiglia Pizza in the port authority any time they want. George can finally afford to fly JetBlue Mint from JFK all the way to LaGuardia. And Gil fulfills his life-long dream of trying biscotti, and it is not worth it.

George re-enters in a look that can only be described as pussy safari. [techno music] We are now on the set of the corporate and successful Too Much Tuna. God, people treat me so differently now that I’m famous. It’s like suddenly, jewelry stores do have a bathroom I can use.

Hey, what’s up, everything?

Hey, space grandma.

Oh, hi. Oh, good you got the craft services that I like. Watermelon that’s been in the fridge for three weeks, so that when you eat it, it’s like spicy.

Hey, Gil, let’s take a press photo. [camera clicks] We’re gonna be on the cover of Wired magazine because anyone can be.

Things really are changing. You know that black high school that I walk by? The kids used to scream, “Hey, shiboy fruity booty” or “Look at that mop-looking motherfucker.” Now when I walk by, they all just cackle and scream, “That cream-a-wheat nigga got a TV show.”

All right, let’s get to work, everyone. Now that our mascot has arrived.

Hey, what’s up, Tony? – Hello, Tony Tuna, how was your weekend? Oh, my God, he’s using again.

I didn’t want to say anything but he’s not going to meetings any more.

Jesus! It’s that new girlfriend of his. She’s helping him do the cocaine.

‘Cause he ain’t got no arms. – Who, Tony? – No, he’s a sandwich with eyeballs. – [phone rings] – Oh, hello? – Oh, hello? What? No, New York One, please, that’s unacceptable.

What? This isn’t a cellphone?

Did you hear what New York One is gonna do to our show?

They want to turn us into clam show called “That’s A Lot-o Clamato”?

Which is a terrible title. I would call it, “You Got Clam Juice, You White Trash Idiot.”

George, uh, I don’t know if you remember but I said, I got to be Gil, I got to get out of this rat race. I won’t work for Clamato.

Then neither of us will. Gil, we’re gonna confront the president of New York One, and tell him our integrity is not for sale.

Great! So let’s take the subway, the 4-5?

No, let’s take the R and then walk. Shake!

[dramatic music] The climax of the play. We are now in the plush, billion-dollar headquarters of New York One. There’s a glass trophy case, filled with Xeroxes of other people’s Emmy Awards.

George…

Gil and… Gil and George, armed with their integrity, – are ready to do battle with the evil…

George, please, I just need…

with the evil network president, who, tonight, in a very special treat for us, and for everyone here, is played by Broadway legend, Mr. Matthew Broderick! – Hold! – Hold? Shit! Matthew, no. Don’t come out. We’re on a hold. What’s the hold? I got to go to the bathroom.

No, you’re gonna hold it. – I’ve been holding it since Steve Martin. Please. Please, do not do this to us, OK? You’re an adult. You can control your bowels.

No, it’s getting pointy. [audience laugh] Can we just take an intermission?

No! No fucking intermission! They ruin the flow of the show. Would you stop the Super Bowl halfway through to do a bunch of bullshit? You are not leaving to go to the bathroom.

[moans softly] OK, I don’t… I don’t need to go to the bathroom anymore.

Come here. Let me talk to you a bit. Come here. Did you just take a shit in your show corduroys? Did you just take a shit in your show corduroys?

No!

Goddammit! We don’t have doubles of those! Lights, Ravi. What?

George Reddington wouldn’t call for the lights. I am not George Reddington anymore. I am George St. Geegland and you are Gil Faizon, and this is over because you ruined it! Matthew Broderick is waiting right behind that door. Waiting to come out and act, and you ruined it!

George, I’m a Peter Pan. I don’t know when I’m gonna grow up or when I’m gonna go to the bathroom. It’s what makes me so charmed, I’m sure.

Except you’re not charming, Gil. Richard Dreyfuss, he’s charming. But you’re an immature idiot. I can not believe the CBS people wanted to give you that voice-over job! What did you just say? N-Nothing. You just said CBS wanted me for the voice-over job? No, I’m just delirious. I’m so sick. That’s not gonna work on me. I know that’s sheep dog blood. OK, if I were you, I would just drop this right now. How can I drop this, George? It was a life-changing opportunity for me. Just drop it, before I have to start screaming revelations. – I can handle it. – You booked it! You booked the CBS voice-over job! You booked it! And I took the message and I lied to you! I lied to my best friend and I loved every second of it! Is that what you wanted to hear, huh? You wanted to hear how fucked up I am inside? Which take? – Why does it matter? – George? At least do me the service of telling me, which take the CBS higher ups responded to? The first or the second, George? Only because I know how much you appreciate feedback. Most of the higher ups responded to the first take. This is [high pitched] CBS, baby! You go too big. You go too big. You’ve always gone too big. You would have embarrassed yourself.

And I was protecting you.

Protecting me, from what? I’m the strongest actor in New York, your words. I was lying to you, Gil. [crowd awes] You thought you were the strongest actor in New York? There’s like seven guys ahead of you.

Name one.

Bobby Cannavale, Stanley Tucci, Oliver Platt, Liev Schreiber, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nathan Lane, Griffin Dunne. No, excuse me. Griffin Dunne is not New York-based. What the fuck did you just say? Oh, I’m sorry, ’cause the last time I checked, Griffin Dunne lived in Rhinebeck and could be in Manhattan in an hour and 15 minutes! And every fucking casting director in town knows it, so how dare you pretend not to? How dare you fucking pretend not to know where goddamn Griffin Dunne lives? No. No. George, if you… [groans] If you don’t apologize to me right now, then, I walk, this play is over! If you had booked that job, we would have hung out less. I am never apologizing. Then I guess I’ll say my goodbyes. Goodbye. Thanks for coming to the show. It’s nice you guys are holding hands like that. You don’t have to stop holding hands. My guess is, you made the choice to hold hands a long time ago, and then you’re like, “How do we break this holding hands thing?” Bye. I look out in the crowd, I thought Dr. Ruth was dating Bill Clinton. Goodbye, thanks for coming. Sorry. Goodbye. Steve, an honor, truly. Goodbye.

How old are you?

Sixteen.

Sixteen. How about you?

I just turned 14. You just turned 14? Did you like any of this? [Gil] Goodbye. But I guess I’ll miss you most of all, mezzanine and balcony! [applause] [whoops and cheers] Wait, Gil, wait. Go kiss your boyfriend, you homo. Fuck you. You know what, I don’t need you. I don’t need you to write for me. I don’t need you at all. Oh, you don’t need me at all, do you?

Well, tell me, how does a toaster work?

Gremlins. You know what, we don’t need each other. [theme music plays] [Gil] Ladies and gentlemen, please enjoy Gil Faizon’s new show that he wrote himself, Oh, hello and welcome to Gilspeare In The Park. Today, we’re doing Romeo and Juliet, with me Gil Faizon, charmed I’m sure as Romeo, and as Juliet, we have Lisa, the raccoon. Oh, my sweet Juliet hath died. I shouldn’t check to see if she’s just sleeping. I guess I’ll kill myself too. Nobody else says it, but Shakespeare is a fucking hack, all right? Yes, hello, ASPCA? Hi, I was wondering. Who do I call, if I know an adult man who fucks raccoons? Oh, that’s what 3-1-1 is for? Oh, OK. ♪ I just met a raccoon named Lisa ♪ Hey, young lady, you’re 14? What’s your favorite Steely Dan album? What, do you not know a lot about Steely Dan? Ha, ha, ha. Hey, ha, ha. Hey, do all of you not know a lot about Steely Dan? ‘Cause a bunch of the play… Holy shit! Hey, Ravi, what are you doing after the show, you want to hang out? We could go to your dorm room at NYU Tisch and talk about gender fluidity. [Gil] Oh, no. Oh, my. [screeching] [George] The original 1964 Fiddler on the Roof curtain. [Gil] Have we owned this the entire time? [George] Faizon. Random to see you here. [Gil] What’s up, G St. G, how’s your phone call? They were good. Made a lot of friends in the audience. There’s no one out there for me. The world just passes me by. Like I have a clipboard for gay rights. [audience laugh] Yeah, well the band 311 called me and said I can’t fuck raccoons anymore. This play is a disaster. You realize the audience doesn’t even know who Steely Dan is. They know the name Steely Dan. [both] But they don’t know any specifics.

Even Ravi blew me off.

Dear Ravi. I’ve been too hard on him. Here, help me make amends. It’s never too late.

Ravi, hey, it’s George.

And Gil, charmed I’m sure. Ravi, we were just talking. I hate to think that what I thought was our funny banter, ever came off like racist abuse. If it did, we’re simply so sorry. Would you please lift the Fiddler curtain? [both] Thank you. Ravi, you’re a good dude. Ravi, you know that letter you need for course credit on your internship? We’re super swamped right now. It’s not gonna happen, so, you know, just drop it. Boundaries, man. Gil? I’m so sorry that I lied to you about a life-changing voice-over opportunity, and then bullied you for 40 years. George, I’m so sorry that I really didn’t do anything wrong. One day, I’ll forgive you. [audience] Woo! [applause] Gil Faizon, would you do me the honor, of performing with me the final scene of this play, just the way it was written? All right. [smooth jazz plays] Meep meep. Flash forward, Christmas time. We’re back in Gil and George’s big midtown New York City diner, but a lot of time has passed, everything’s different now. The mood is familiar, but something’s off. Like when your housekeeper brings her son. Gil and George haven’t seen each other in many years. Gil’s been hanging out a lot more with Tony Tuna these days. Even though Tony’s in and out of rehab, but… Gil doesn’t judge him. ‘Cause I’m the one selling him the cocaine. Oh, no, that’s OK, waiter. I bring my own chair places. Excuse me. Has anyone ever told you that you look an awful lot like Gil Stone? Yeah, I get that sometimes. [chuckles]

George?

George Reddington. – We were…

[both] roommates for 40 years. Tony Tuna is here. He’s got a mustache now. To show that time has passed. Wow, Gil Stone. Hey, you remember all those years ago when we confronted Matthew Broderick who’s still waiting right behind that door. And look at you now, you’re in Hollywood and you’re a big star. I’m a star of a small action movie franchise where I play a secret agent trying to protect his family called, “How dare you steal my daughter?” But me? You, you’re the number one novelist in America. I guess my young adult vampire series, Skateboard Dracula is doing pretty well. Pretty well, 15 million copies in one day ain’t too shabby. Yeah, but most of those teens only bought the book because in it, I explained how to make a bomb. [tuts]

Is that your new novel?

This? No. A new play I’m working on. Frankly, it’s about me and you. Well, Tony Tuna and Too Much Tuna and raccoons, and finding your way in the world. George, this is the best play I’ve ever read. Thank you.

I guess I just have one question.

Of course. How does it end? Why don’t we find out together? New York City. A million people. A million different stories. And that’s not even counting… the commuters. Oh, waiter, I’ll have… Well, I’ll have two more root beers, please. [applause] [music] Ravi in the booth. Mr. Steve Martin. ♪ Cocaine ♪ ♪ We both like to do cocaine ♪ Great. That was great. – Could you get us a couple of slices?

Get one for yourself.

Pizza you want?

Pizza is nice. You want pizza?
♪ Sweet Rosalie She’s workin’ at the five and dime ♪
♪ Train back to Hackensack With rosemary wine ♪
♪ Yo deeedle doidle dee ♪
♪ Cocaine! ♪
♪ We both like to do cocaine ♪

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