David Bruce: The Funniest People in Books, Volume 3 — Sex, Shakespeare, Television


• Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho experimented with sex when he was a young man. He had been in mental hospitals, in part because his mother thought that he had sexual problems. This made him think that he might be gay, so he had gay sex three times. The first time that he had gay sex, he was nervous and he did not enjoy it. Thinking that perhaps being nervous had made him not enjoy the experience, he had gay sex a second time. This time he was not nervous, but he still did not enjoy the experience. “Third time lucky,” he thought, and so he tried gay sex again, and he still did not enjoy the experience, so he realized that he was not gay and started pursuing women.

• When ballerina Allegra Kent decided to write her life story, at first she thought of getting the help of a professional writer. This did not work out. When the professional writer met Allegra’s husband, whom she had divorced and who had had many affairs, the professional writer asked him, “What is the state of your pr*ck?” She also asked Allegra, “By the way, have you ever slept with anyone famous?” (Allegra disappointed her by answering, “I don’t think so.”)

• Georges Simenon, creator of the detective Maigret, was a man of big statistics. For example, he wrote approximately 400 works of fiction and he sold over 500 million copies of his books. These facts are verifiable. What is not verifiable is his claim to have had sex with 10,000 women. His second wife did not believe that particular figure — she thought that he had had sex with “no more than 1,200” women.


• Many people, including playwright Tom Stoppard, were put off by Shakespeare early in their lives. Timesjournalist Benedict Nightingale asked Mr. Stoppard about his first experience of Shakespeare: watching Laurence Olivier in the movie Hamlet. Mr. Stoppard replied, “It bored me sh*tless.” Fortunately, he overcame his aversion to Shakespeare and wrote both the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and the movie Shakespeare in Love.

• As a little girl, Emma Lazarus was taught at school by a tutor who introduced her to the works of William Shakespeare. Unfortunately, Ms. Lazarus’ parents felt that Shakespeare’s plays were not appropriate for their daughter because they were violent and sexual. Therefore, the tutor was fired. Later, when Ms. Lazarus was a young woman, Ralph Waldo Emerson recommended that she make a close study of Shakespeare.


• In 2007, Paul Schrader wrote and directed the movie The Walker, which starred Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Lauren Bacall, whose character had many good lines that Mr. Schrader had collected for years. Someone asked Mr. Schrader if he were interested in writing a TV series that would star this particular character; however, he responded, “Look, it took me years to collect all those funny lines; you expect me to write a show every week? I’m not that good.”

• John Waters, aka the Prince of Puke, both writes and directs his films, which tend to be cult favorites. He once appeared on TV’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in the 1990s, but he was amazed that the episode ever appeared on TV. He says that during the episode, “I would point to stuff in my house and say things like ‘I found this in the trash,’ ‘This cost a nickel,’ or ‘I stole it.’”

• When Don Adams was approached to star as Maxwell Smart in the TV series Get Smart, he asked who wrote the script for the pilot episode. On hearing the answer — comedy geniuses Mel Brooks and Buck Henry — he said, “Ok, I’ll do it.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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