After being canceled last summer due to bad weather that wasn’t so bad after all, the Broadway comedy sensation with laughs Autobiography of celebrities is back at Southampton Arts Center with two shows in one night this Saturday, August 20 at 7pm and 9pm
For this edition of the hilariously hysterical show – which features celebrities reading excerpts from other stars’ memoirs – Autobiography of celebrities veterans Christie Brinkley, Mario Cantone (Sex and the City), Richard Kind (Spin City, Red Oaks), Susan Lucci (All My Children), Sherri Shepherd (the actress and comedian about to take over Wendy Williams’ daytime talk show), TV writer/producer Alan Zweibel (one of the original Saturday Night Live writers from 1975–1980) and show creator Eugene Pack will perform.
Created by Pack, an Emmy nominee (America: A Tribute to Heroes, 2001), and developed with Dayle Reyfel, the show finds funny, absurd, and often unheard of passages in celebrity memoirs, such as Vanna speaks by Vanna White, filthiness by Motley Crue, Star Jones’ You have to stand for something, or you will fall for somethingAND Prairie Tale: A Memoir by Melissa Gilbert, among many others.
Autobiography of celebritiesIts genius, of course, is that readings don’t change any of the writing. Instead, they highlight the comedy and unintentional parody inherent in what famous self-important authors actually wrote.
Actors who read these books bring their own style to each performance, playing to the crowd, sometimes going silent, pausing for effect, making faces, or suppressing it, depending on their individual approach.
During the night’s show, the audience may find answers to questions they never thought to ask, such as: Why did Tommy Lee wear the “dirtiest leather pants” and “an old t-shirt that sounded BO” before to meet Pamela Anderson for their first date? How does Vanna describe the challenging job of returning her letters? What does Stallone keep in his fridge? How did Justin Bieber end up stuck in the trunk of a car? What Hasselhoff tells about the beauties of Baywatch?
Paul Bruinooge/PMC, patrickmcmullan.com
The passages in Autobiography of celebrities reveal many and even combine memories, such as the famous Hollywood love triangle between Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher – told from each of their books into one show.
“We have to laugh and couldn’t be more excited to bring this incredible show to Southampton Arts Center,” says SAC General Manager Joe Diamond. “Autobiography of celebrities it’s a fantastic way to bring the community together with these hilarious performers, some with special East End connections of their own, for some good old-fashioned comedy. It is a truly unique show and we are honored to host the only performance in the Hamptons this year.”
Among the talented readers on Saturday are actors and celebrities who live in the country or visit regularly, and several of them were supposed to be in last summer’s canceled show, including Lucci, Zweibel and Brinkley, the resident supermodel and actress of Bridgehampton.
An international household name, who proved that she plays the role of Roxie Hart Chicago on Broadway, Brinkley recently spoke with us about the joy of performing Autobiography of celebrities and how excited she is to be back on the SAC stage after the eleventh hour cancellation last August.
Christie Brinkley talks celebrity autobiography
Tell me what happened to the Celebrity Autobiography performance last summer.
We were scheduled to do it, but remember we had that hurricane or something on the coast… We should have been hit harder than we were, but they were making such a big deal about it that I think they just determined that they had need to cancel the show until this year, so we’re taking it back. But I’ve done it the other years going back. I’ve done it a few times and it’s a lot of fun.
Saturday’s show features different acts from last year, but some, like you, are returning. Can you tell me about the cast?
Susan Lucci and Alan Zweibel, and of course Eugene Pack, whose idea it was (returning from last year). This year, I’ve never done it with Sherri Shepherd, so it’s new, and Richard Kind. I didn’t do it at the same time as Richard. But I’ve done it with everyone from Debbie Harry and Alec Baldwin to Colin Jost, who I love.
What is it about this show that keeps you coming back year after year?
I just have a blast. First of all, it’s really fun to be with all the people there, they all make it fun. But the way it’s set up, the audience really gets on with it. Most of the time I can go out there and just play completely different characters. I’ll be Miley Cyrus in one of them, and I’ll be a Kardashian or Suzanne Somers, or Pamela Anderson in another. So you never know who you’re going to be, and it’s really fun – you just can’t believe some of these books that people write. It’s really funny how many people think of themselves.
How long has it been since you were last on stage?
Right before COVID hit, I did another run on Broadway Chicago Musical, and I did it in Las Vegas too. Then came COVID. Since COVID, last year would be my first time back on board other than my appearance at The masked singer in March, and then we got canceled the same day it was going to happen.
And I think part of it also had to do with the fact that the COVID was still really fixed, and it was scheduled to be out, and then all of a sudden they were saying there was going to be torrential rain and wind. big and lightning and all about it, so the only way we could have done it would have been to move indoors, and people were reluctant to ask the audience. I don’t know what exactly happened behind the scenes, but we got cancelled.
So it will be fun to be back in that environment. Part of what I love about it is just being behind the scenes and hanging out with everybody, and you can hear from the wings what’s going on there. It’s a great atmosphere, it’s really fun, and we do two shows in one night, and they’re very often really different. So it’s kind of fun to see the different ways people use the material, taking the material in different directions with each reading.
It’s very interesting on many levels, and a lot of fun. And let’s face it, we could all use a laugh these days, because it really is the best medicine.
Do you have a famous autobiography?
I’m actually thinking of writing one. I haven’t written one yet, no.
Do you know what you’re going to read yet?
You don’t know until you get close to the show, and then they’re going crazy – I usually get them the night before, so you never know!
I think people will be surprised. It’s really funny stuff, you can see some fun people reading it, and they’re reading about some pretty fun people too. And they also do these things called mashups, where you’ll take two autobiographies and mix them together, like what Elizabeth Taylor says and what Eddie Fisher says, and they’ll turn it into a scene, like a conversation. So they do interesting things with it, and you just can’t believe some of the things people say. It’s really funny.
Our hope is that the audience laughs, and so far, every time I’ve done it, that’s what has happened. Everyone has a great time and that’s what it’s all about.
Find tickets to Celebrity Autobiography and more information at southamptonartscenter.org/live.